Do you enjoy psychoanalyzing the people around you? Does interpreting dreams sound like fun? Are you inspired by the work and theories of Sigmund Freud?
Here is a tongue-in-cheek list of a few signs that you might be the next great psychoanalyst.
(Disclosure: I am neither a psychoanalyst nor a comedian.)
- A friend confides a secret attraction to her much older boss. You suggest that she never resolved her Electra complex and that she is seeking a replacement father figure. P.S. Your friend probably won’t be sharing any of her deepest secrets with you ever again.
- Your roommate has a habit of chewing his nails. You comment that he possibly has an oral fixation. Probably because his mother weaned him too early in infancy. Also, you might be looking for a new roommate soon.
- A friend sets you up on a blind date with a guy who is the lead guitarist in a local band. When he picks you up, he is driving a red sports car. Over dinner, you blithely suggest that his guitar is simply a phallic object and that the sports car might be a sign that he is overcompensating for something.
- Another friend accidentally calls you her “breast friend” instead of your “best friend.” You immediately assume that this is a Freudian slip that reveals her unconscious sexual attraction to you.
- One of your classmates has a habit of spilling his guts, and you, the avid student of psychoanalysis that you are, enjoy listening and giving advice. When he asks you out on a date, you immediately assume that his feelings are the result of transference since you envision yourself in the role of therapist and him as a client.
- At the company Christmas party, a co-worker tells a hilarious joke. You mention that it looks like his superego has allowed his ego to finally express some humor. Way to kill the party again, by the way.
- During study group, one of your psychology classmates claims that the professor hates her. You suggest that she hates the teacher, but that her superego tells her that these feelings of animosity of are unacceptable. To resolve the conflict, the ego is using the defense mechanism known as projection. The professor doesn’t actually hate her, you explain, she is just projecting her feelings onto the teacher.
- Your sister tells you about a frightening dream she had about being chased by a mysterious monster. You interpret this dream by suggesting that it reveals her unconscious fears about reality and implies that she is trying to escape something in her life.
- Your boss is extremely controlling and meticulous about her appearance. After an argument at work, you suggest that she is suffering from an inferiority complex. Because she suffers from low self-esteem and feels worthless, she tries to control other people to make up for her feelings of inadequacy. Incidentally, you might want to dust off your resume and start checking out some job search websites.
- Your new roommate – the old one just up and moved out for some reason – is a total neat freak. She has strict rules about keeping the apartment perfectly clean and has what you think is an unhealthy obsession with organizing absolutely everything. One day when she reminds you to do the dishes, you mention that she seems to be fixated at the anal stage of psychosexual development. Since her parents evidently started potty training too early or were overly strict and punitive during toilet training, she developed an anal-retentive personality.
The Bottom Line
Analyzing people can be fun, and psychoanalysis may even be helpful when used appropriately in some situations. That is when employed by a trained and skilled psychotherapist within the confines of a legitimate client-therapist relationship.
Chances are you probably are not the next Sigmund Freud, but that doesn’t mean you have to stop enjoying psychoanalysis. Just maybe stop psychoanalyzing family, friends, and the random strangers you meet. Try not to spout off psychobabble in casual social situations or, at the very least, limit giving out your analysis to those who share your passion for psychoanalysis.