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November 02, 2003

The purpose of a poppet

Whenever I need to find the split off parts of myself, the parts that scare me to death, the parts that I disown, the parts that I will probably need in order to be all of who I am and fulfill my worldly purpose, all I have to do is think about my poppet. Poppet is an archaic term for a doll through which one can cast spells.

I first heard about poppets while working on the play, "The Crucible" by Arthur Miller, about the Salem witch trials. I did props; there was probably a poppet prop required. This was a college production and it starred Faye Dunaway, (a fellow student) who was "discovered" by Kermit Bloomgarten, the famous Broadway producer, while she played the lead in this production. Because the script was a revision, Arthur Miller was hanging around campus too. Back to the point.

My poppet exists somewhere just outside my experience. I have only seen her occasionally in the waiting room, but I hear about her. She is a real human being, the "other". I find her despicable, and I can really work up strong negative emotion when I think of her. I feel lucky to have her. I also feel lucky that I do not have to live with her (the real person, although I do live with those difficult parts of myself). When I examine my projections onto her, I can find those parts of myself that got squashed, that I continue to squash and that squash me with great regularity. They are my identifications with the aggressor. Shall I count the ways? (NOTE: If you can't think of a personal poppet of your very own, some people find George W. very useful and you can't get near him because of the secret service. George W. himself has found Osama and Saddam useful . The problem is that he acts out his rage because it is unconcious. When he acts out it causes great destruction, but someone has to do that nasty job. ) I was counting the ways:

1. She thinks only of herself in the most narcissistic way, speaks only about
her experience and is only interested in others because of their potentiall
to serve her. She lacks empathy.

2. She trusts no one, and, therefore, treats others as if they have already
done something "wrong". She does not, however, get her feelings hurt,
not my poppet, she distains, judges, sneers and retaliates from a position
of superiority.

3. She feels entitled to use others - their financial resources, time, expertise
good will to her own ends.

4. She is arrogant. She thinks she is the smartest, most culturally
advanced, most beautiful, most talented, most interesting person on the
East coast (at the very least).

5. She is never wrong. When her foot gets stuck in a
bucket of wet cement you are using to make a repair
for her, you have warned her about, and have asked her
to stay away from, she blames you for your lack of consideration
and ineptness.

I will add to this list. Of course, I never think that she is this way because she was traumatized by her manic, narcissistic father and that she is actually supremely insecure. That kind of thinking defeats the purpose of a poppet.

Question to myself. How can I contact these qualities in my traumatized self, so that I can add them to my repetoire? I certainly feel alot of judgement and distain toward my poppet. I probably feel the same about those parts of myself. Are these the parts of me that took my mother's "hits"? The disowned parts that continue to "hit" me, just like she did. Feels horrible to cultivate these qualities, but to ignore them hasn't worked. Shirley Jean Schmitt describes these parts of self as being dressed up in costume to look like the critical parent. A little girl tottering in big high heels, a dress trailing on the floor, a hat down to her ears. Healing happens when you help her to take off the costume and stop playing the role of the critical parent, "protecting" you by anticipating that terrible feeling of having your spirit annihilated.

Elmer Green, in "The Ozwakie Book of the Dead", says to recognize and value split off parts of self, then negotiate with them so that they can transform and come out in the light. It will lead to peace.

Wouldn't anyone have trouble with my poppet? Here's the answer. Yes.

A recipe metaphor about anger. Cayenne pepper is a strong flavor. If we have it in our spice cabinent, we don't necessarily use the whole container, or even a whole teaspoon in any one dish, but it's available. We have options to create using cayenne.


Asya Schween has captured many parts of herself on film.

Asya Schween

Posted by Dakota at November 2, 2003 06:05 PM