I took some of today off to watch television as I’ve been in a bit of an overwork tumult. I finished the 4th season of the psycho-sexual thriller You starring Penn Badgley.
I recommend the streaming series on Netflix (I’ve not read the books on which it is based) unabashedly to all women who have ever dated men seeking to save them and to men with mommy issues seeking salvation in broken women.
I may get a bit spoiler-y in this post so now might be the time to peel off if you don’t like knowing anything about a show though I promise to avoid big plot twists.
I was struck recently by an excellent Twitter thread from journalist and my favorite therapy poaster Heidi about how men are socialized to “never be the bad guy.” I felt it was particularly salient as I finished the newest season of You which hinges on the tricks ego plays on you to help you ignore your shadow.
Realizing that what you do and who you are are not the same thing but that we have responsibility for the consequences of our actions is kind of the whole enchilada of therapy. If you’ve ever worried you are a bad person or struggled with shame you recognize this.
You makes some clever stabs (pun intended) at dealing with the darkest manifestations of this by pairing women who need saving with a serial killer. Empire of skulls becomes a bit more than metaphor as it closes in on how wealth intersects with mommy and daddy issues and inter-generational trauma. I really do recommend it watching it.
In true “it’s hip to be square” American Pyscho style, it’s unclear how much we are meant to consider whether it’s possible to have “a good kill” as an intellectual exercise. What we do end up considering is that shadow integration work is invariably a dangerous Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde affair. And what kind of lies we are willing to tell is a function of our relative power as it intersects with a traumatic childhood.