Psychiatry & Psychology--General/Ambiguous feelings


QUESTION: I had problems finding a job after finishing my PhD and when I finely found something in a small organisation, the manager - and my "boss" - resulted to be... a not very nice person (we are about the same age). We argued quite strongly even before I started and I hesitated till the very last moment, uncertain if I should sign the contract or not. Lacking alternatives I did.

I've been working there for a short period of time and I have to say, I hate it. The work is dull, the team mostly unmotivated. And my boss is even more of a narcissistic, superficial, ignorant hypocrite than I expected him to be. I honestly don't like him. I wouldn't like to have a friend like this.

However, the more I don't like him and the more I hate my job, the more I feel attracted to him sexually. I can't describe how much I fancy him at this point. The more we quarrel, the more upset I am with him, the more I want to have sex with him.

Can you please help me to understand these ambiguous feelings? How can I get rid of them? Otherwise, I've never really been into "bad boys". I only fall for intellectual, witty, selfless men nothing like him.

ANSWER: Hello L.

Maybe it's a dissonance-reducing mechanism in that since he turns you on, your being there must have some meaning or value, or maybe he's not so bad. Perhaps it's a defence mechanism to help you re-evaluate your position there or to convince yourself that if he contrives to have his way with you, it will be as a result of a mutual attraction. Could be a form of masochism that draws you to a hurtful relationship. Maybe your mind is suggesting how to get him to be under your control or at least to defer to you. Or a reaction formation -- you decide you want to bed him out of a fear that he will bed you. Or it's just an inexplicable or random chemical reaction.  

Apart from such conjectures, sorry, I don't know, I don't know how you would get the correct answer, and I'm not sure that finding out would be helpful.

Meanwhile, I hope you will remain professional, and realize that whatever the job is, a nasty experience is more helpful to your career than no experience, and even bad jobs tend to yield beneficial contacts and opportunities. And that a sane credentialed employee looks better and stands out more in a nut house than in a normal environment.

Finally, if I may end on a personal note, congratulations on your excellent English.


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QUESTION: Thanks. But I'm not sure this job is besser than no job. I've never worked in an organisation as disorganised and with such unfair bosses. It's a political organisation and I applied because I wanted to make a change. I ended up with a bunch of disinterested halfwits with no ideals, obsessed with their egos, which bases its everyday work on values contradictory to those it preaches. It's depressing.

Thanks again.

Some perceptive and articulate people in your position might see this as an opportunity to gather information (documented with a quotation-filled diary and voice recorder) over time, and write an article (for a newspaper or magazine) on what can go wrong with political organizations, such as how they can stifle idealism, and how they can be improved for the betterment of the political system and thereby the country.


Psychiatry & Psychology--General

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Alan Auerbach


Taught psychology for 30 years, authored four textbooks. Specialize in introductory and industrial/organizational psychology, but will tackle wider range of areas.

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