Tuesday, November 30, 2010

In Treatment: Frances, Week 6 and a Few Words on Narcissism

Week 1: Sunil - Frances - Jesse - Adele
Week 2: Sunil - Frances - Jesse/Adele
Week 3: Sunil - Frances - Jesse - Adele
Week 4: Sunil - Frances - Jesse - Adele
Week 5: Sunil - Frances - Jesse - Adele
Week 6: Sunil - Frances - Jesse

 Frances spends the session grappling with her relationship with her dying sister and her angry teenage daughter. She wants Paul to feed her--she's hungry and he must have food, after all he lives here--but he refuses.

She leaves the stage to be with her sister after months of estrangement. They have a nice moment after Frances rescues the sister, bathes her, and puts her to bed. But it's short lived--the sister wakes up confused and needs to go to the hospital.

Frances has a tendency to look at all of her interactions as centering on herself. Her sister's warm declarations become meaningless when replaced by febrile mumblings. Paul's look is skeptical. She feels constantly judged and she looks for repeated approval and reassurance. Her daughter hates her, and it can't just be that the daughter is a teenager who is struggling with her aunt's terminal illness, her parent's divorce, and the tumultuous world of teenagers, it has to be about Frances. Ah, the teenager says Frances is a narcissist and that's untreatable. Is this true?

From my point of view, I don't believe that people change their personalities much. But therapy does seem to help people re-frame things, recognize their patterns, say "oh, I'm doing
that again" and question what is going on. If I don't think I can "fix" something, I work on reframing it in a positive way. Most traits can be both good and bad, and the choice of words makes all the difference in the world. A shrink might tell Frances that it seems to be true that she likes being the center of attention, most actresses do, and it's a pretty helpful characteristic to have if you're going to be the star of the show. But maybe the sister's death isn't about Frances, and maybe she shouldn't take everyone else's distress too personally.

Ah, and here's a link to an editorial in the NY Times about the fate of Narcissistic Personality Disorder in the New DSM.


Anonymous said...

actresses like being the center of attention? garbo, julie christie, hepburn, streep...aren't these intensely private people? just because they produce a public consumable associated with their name doesn't make them attention seekers, does it? is the 3rd seat cellist in the ny philharmonic (whomever that may be) an attention seeker because s/he makes their living performing in front of audiences?

i dunno. and maybe you're right. i was just here and read your tv synopsis and thought i'd try to say something to inject a little life into the old blog.

what else are you doing except watching the tube these days? you need to become a wine enthusiast. you could read about wine, travel to vinyards, have tasting parties where everybody brings a bottle of a certain grape and everybody does blind tastings, and you could go to ny twice a year to sit in on the sotheby's auctions and just witness or buy something every once in a while. they use paddles at the auctions to signal bids. you'd like it. take a class with the culinary institute of america in napa. then learn a little frog and go over to france and do the same. pour your heart into it. rationalize it to the husband that the pricier bottles could be an investement.

you could be the woman everyone turns to when they're confronted with the question, 'god, what wine do I buy?' it's useful, helpful, and fun. you'd be the wine oracle in your world. write about the journey and adventure on a seperate blog.

or, there's alway photography. or fiction. ugh.

Dinah said...

Oh, my, after months of silence, there is the long lost victor!

Roy said...

I think this was from John Talbott, suggesting that she become the female version of John's French foodie blog.

Anonymous said...

no, victor. the moth drawn back to the flame. as the world turns. these are the days of our lives. i looked at you link, roy, and liked the guy's beret. dinah would look hot in a beret.

Anonymous said...

if the beret were purple

Dinah said...

People with curly hair don't wear berets.

Anonymous said...

the world is sad for curly-haired maidens.