Good and bad dynamics
Good and bad dynamics
The Family Dynamic is usually neither right or wrong, good or bad. It just is. To see it playing out revisit the books or films: The Girl with Dragon Tattoo and Call Me By Your Name. The main characters in these stories are rich with reaction and response, dysfunction, love, responsibility, care, mistake, fear… all the usual suspects, all the human feelings — family dynamics
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Lisbeth Salander in The Girl with Dragon Tattoo suffered a grotesque childhood. Her reactions and feelings are as extreme as her experiences. As she comes into contact with the bad she reacts appropriately.
When someone is kind and loving she does not know what to do. It puzzles her; her logical brain struggles with her distancing behaviours, just as she craves connection. Her incongruence pushes her to distance and be cold. She has a lover who is threatened and hurt and her reaction is to be very protective, extreme in her retribution. Her goodness shines through even although she has been very badly scarred by hatefulness and cruelty. Her intelligence has served her well. All survival instincts to the fore. She is a definitive study in how to survive well. The franchise requires Lisbeth never self-actualises or she would become an accountant or CEO of a computer conglomerate.
Marzia: “Friends?” Elio: “Forever?”
Marzia: “Friends?” Elio:”For life!”
Elio in Call Me By Your Name is also driven by his intelligence. He is precociously skilled at the piano and his upbringing is bathed in respect and love. His relationships are loving, albeit inexperienced; there is no doubt he is imbued with all that is required to navigate and negotiate the human emotions. After falling in love with Oliver he mopes around, love-sick, not having a clue what he is experiencing. Yet, every contact he makes is loving. Even when it goes disastrously wrong he and his family and friends display the kindness which feeds his quest for understanding.
When Marzia and Chiara are left behind on Elio’s and Oliver’s weekend away, Annella Perlman, Elio’s mother (Amira Casar) invites Chiara to dinner that night “And bring Marzia,” she adds. Here are the two girls, each in love respectively with the boys, losing out, the family immediately comforts, embraces them in their loss.
“I’m not sure I can as courageous as that.”
In each of these stories the family dynamic dictates how the child-as-adult will probably be. Lizbeth is distancing and cold, calculating and suspicious… whilst her mind has loyalty carefully employed to protect those she just might be able to trust, even if just for now. Elio has no fear in trying things because his experience is grounded in trust.
Elio climbs into any and every situation, as uncomfortable as they are, (including a peach, “… you’re embracing the plant world now” says Oliver; always trusting that the others will be kind to him. They always are because he is a kind person. After he says to his parents: “I’m not sure I can be as courageous as that,” his father replies: “Ely-beli, you know you can always talk to us, about anything.” Sure enough, very soon, Elio plucks at his courage and moves into a world that is exciting and frightening and extremely uncomfortable.
Both of these characters survive and survive very well. That’s what is meant by relationships and emotions being neither good nor bad, right nor wrong; they just are. What do we do in them? is the question. Elio’s father:
Elio’s father and Elio.
*When you least expect it, Nature has cunning ways of finding our weakest spot. Just remember: I am here. Right now you may not want to feel anything.
Perhaps you never wished to feel anything. And perhaps it’s not to me that you’ll want to speak about these things. But feel something you obviously did. You had a beautiful friendship. Maybe more than a friendship. And I envy you. In my place, most parents would hope the whole thing goes away, to pray that their sons land on their feet.
But I am not such a parent. In your place, if there is pain, nurse it. And if there is a flame, don’t snuff it out. Don’t be brutal with it.
We rip out so much of ourselves to be cured of things faster, that we go bankrupt by the age of thirty and have less to offer each time we start with someone new. But to make yourself feel nothing so as not to feel anything — what a waste!
*Call Me By Your Name: Andre Aiciman