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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Treatment Tuesday - Two Wrongs Don't Make a Right

This week's assessment comes from Shannon. Carter* is the sheltered youngest son in the Rosentia house. Gene*, his oldest brother by 10 years, began forcing Carter to watch increasingly twisted and debauched encounters with women and manipulating him into doing certain things, like taking frightening hallucinogenics, etc., or Gene would hurt the women more.

Carter was to be ritualistically inducted into the Family between the ages of 12 and 16. It's usually done in a way to acknowledge the curse placed upon the Rosentia house and which allows the curse to blossom into its full potential. Carter's experiences with Gene had warped him and influenced his curse so that he was turning into an incubus. His ritual was to be the rape and murder of Elaine*, a 15-year-old girl from an enemy noble house. If he couldn't do it, she would be given to Gene. Carter decided to kill Elaine with a shard from a consecrated mirror and then kill himself. He didn't count on her will to live, as Elaine would rather be raped than die. Elaine begins to seduce him, and given his incubus tendencies, it isn't hard to do.

Gene comes in the next morning and Carter has to seduce him to keep him away from Elaine. The violation breaks a part of him, as does the fact that Elaine is pregnant. Due to failing the ritual induction and allowing himself to be dominated rather than the dominator, Carter is labeled "Chastened" and loses the protection of his family. Carter managed to smuggle the baby out as he kept Elaine secluded from the rest of the family. To keep Elaine safe, he taught her to meditate herself into a trance so that she would appear to others that her mind was broken and she was harmless. The Rosentia family allowed her to be Carter's Campanion, to obey his orders unquestioningly while also trying to ignore Carter's supernaturally potent sexuality, while Carter is driven to alcohol and drugs as a means of coping and deadening his own twisted sexuality.

Shannon wants to know: What sort of issues might crop up between Carter and Elaine in their dealings with each other? What sort of psychological issues might they each have themselves? If they get their son back, and they become a family again, what sort of emotional issues would they have to deal with?

* Names have been changed to protect the fictional.

I would say the overwhelming emotion between these two would be resentment. Elaine, as a 15-year-old being abducted, held hostage, threatened to be raped and killed, then impregnated and then forced to act like she's mentally off to keep her neck, and Carter, being forced to watch harrowing sexual exploits, being labeled "chastened" and losing his family's protection for doing the right thing, and Elaine for basically emasculating him.

I mean, each character would likely have serious traumatic issues - from PTSD to Acute Stress Disorder to Depression to possibly some sort of Shared Psychosis Disorder. Seriously, they are both "off," you know?

Carter's brother is abusive, and witnessing that abuse would likely give him a leaning in that direction, so incubus isn't hard to imagine and actually fits well with the curse he'd get being a part of this majorly jacked-up family. He obviously has a drug/alcohol dependence (as it looks like it's far above just drug abuse). Substances dull the senses and capacity to execute sound judgment, making him a force to be reckoned with when his sex drive kicks into gear.

Elaine is forced into her decision by her sheer will to live. She's a survivor, no doubt. Seducing a man holding a mirror shard trying to reason with you that it's better to die than be introduced to his brother likely isn't high on her list. And getting pregnant with that man even less so. And then living her life out in service to him while she goes about in a fugue state to appear mentally daft even less than that. She had to give up everything about her former life. She even had to give up her son. Resentment would be a huge obstacle, I'd imagine. 

I'm not really sure if Carter would hold resentment against her. You intimated that he was rather weak, and musically inclined, which gives that same softer picture of a man. Perhaps he wouldn't care that he didn't dominate Elaine in the ritual. Maybe he'd be proud of that, even though he lost his family's protection? I mean, what would the respect from members of this house of horrors really mean to him after all?

As to issues that might crop up between them, I think their conversations in private would be laced with tension, as Elaine is no mute. I'd make her a very sharp, intuitive girl, and living the lie of being mentally broken is would rub on her maybe worse than anything else. Rape victims might never forget, but most eventually move on. Pregnant women lose newborns to fates much worse than Elaine's. At least her baby is alive and hidden from these crazy people. But her mind...the one thing that no one should be able to confined, and that's mentally oppressive and emotionally defeating. 

I'm not sure if you have written her in actual fugue states, or how easy it is for her to "come out" of these states, but I'd play this area up BIG. Lots of almost-being-caught-acting-normal type suspenseful encounters. And the resentment. Oh, yeah. 

Issues they have if they get back together as a family would depend on how old their child was, how heavily Carter is into drugs/alcohol, and where they live. If I remember correctly from the first assessment, their son comes back to them as a teenager, and quite honestly, it'd be almost better if he came back as an adult. Teenagers have so much angst and I've heard from so many clients and older friends that managing the teenage years are the hardest parts of parenting ever. If you've actually wanting the family to solidify, and Carter and Elaine to be "together forever," then I wouldn't put that additional stress of having to worry about their son skipping curfew and staying out all night or getting some teen girl pregnant. 

This family would have a better chance of "making it" if they are outside of the Rosentia Manor and away from the curse as much as possible. Besides, that just seems a healthier way to start a new life anyway. 

I'd be remiss, though, if I didn't point out that two wrongs don't make a right. This family has decks and decks of cards stacked against it. The first time I heard that expression with regards to relationships, it was in the context of pushing to people to get married simply because they had a child. But the wrong of getting married without loving each other won't make the wrong of having a child out of wedlock (depending on who you're talking to) right. I think this same concept might apply to these characters, depending on how you wrote them.

Hope this helps! Thanks for writing in again.

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Miss Sharp said...

Wow! Talk about the dark side of human nature. Will there be anything positive for readers to remember after reading this story and what could it realistically be??

As always, great ideas and suggestions, Jeannie!

Shannon said...

That's a really good analysis. I'm most certainly going to have to do some more research in all of those areas. Resentment is certainly going to play a big part of it and their son certainly isn't going to make anything easier.

Of course, since Carter has been her only confidante, and having seen what he's had to go through to keep her safe, I've wondered if she might even be perversely protective over him. Perhaps even seeing them as common allies, perhaps even friends, in a war against his family and suppressing her natural resetment over him as too immoral and unfair to be acknowledged? If so, how might her hidden hostility present itself? What other psychological ramifications might there be for that line of thinking?

I'm also sure that if this were the case Carter would be socially aware enough to spot the hostility underlining her overtures of friendship. How might it affect him or bring out his disorders? How might he react?

Basically, I'm thinking it would be fun to create a nice, big old dysfunctioning functionality to the duo where they keep themselves propped up in a nice circle of psychological disability. Basically, after a decade of this, it might be fun to see what would happen if they reached a point where they couldn't exist without each other's dysfunctions (at least, not without some serious psychological help).

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Both comments and questions are welcome. I hope you enjoyed your time on the couch today.