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Number 1: Spring 2008

How Not to be a Happy Homosexual

Peter Nevins

These patients seem to be in a constant fight to, ‘LIVE MY OWN LIFE’, ‘DO MY OWN THING’; but they are plagued by someone, something, some other, the Big Other, pulling them back, making them do the ‘right thing’. This is what makes them so miserable. This ideal, ‘the right thing’, is where their love is directed because it is the initial frame of hope and possibility for them as liberal subjects. The rubric of happiness is that one should be free from oppressive forces and your equanimity should afford you the opportunity to live this ideal life. However, it becomes illicit (since the love remains) once the falseness of the founding frame is revealed.

Here are two dramatised versions of a patient’s view of himself and his life

Well, I suppose it’s almost like there is an alternative me that never reads a book and never goes to the gym but just eats badly, sits and watches television and doesn’t have any friends and I am petrified that that’s what I am going to become, so all the time I have to force myself to do things to stop me turning into the alternative me.

And

That person who is sitting on my shoulder is telling me, that it’s self-indulgent to be doing things on my own. It’s either self-indulgent or it’s terribly lonely and I should be out there with friends doing things. So to avoid those feelings, I tell myself I am only going to do things if they have got a purpose and are worthwhile and eventually somebody else will see me doing it and commend me. Therefore I can’t do something as extravagant as watch television or just do nothing but of course I do and I feel guilty.

This represents a broken solidarity with himself at the very heart of his desire. The fantasy represents a constraint on his urge for freedom represented by the pursuit or practice of his desire. But then it becomes necessary to repeat the injury and he becomes the one who is beaten–by his own desire.