Cathexis and [no] other Malapropisms

So I found out I’ve been using a word I like incorrectly for donkeys’ years now.

Turns out it’s cathexis and its numerous grammatical iterations.

So, colloquially it means “to invest energy in or stimulate” (or its infinitive version is for the grammocrats). But I’m not sure that’s what it started out meaning.

Back in the day, and I could have this wrong based on atrophy of my gray matter (or green matter for that matter; I can’t remember which color matters in matters of brain matter), it meant something else entirely.

Mostly because of two books that I wouldn’t classify as “pop psychology” because they were much deeper than that, but they did have a huge influence on the masses in the ‘70s (that’s of the 1900s).

These books were called “The Road Less Traveled” and something like “The Drama of the Gifted Child” and yes, I read them both. Not in the 70s of course because I was a small child then and wouldn’t have known the meaning of words like “cathexis.”

So anyhoo (that’s the second time I’ve used that term today; it’s not looking great for my green matter), I honestly can’t remember which of the two books addressed the all-encompassing issue of cathexis. Which apparently made such a strong impression on me that I’ve been using the term incorrectly all these years.

See, I thought it meant to love and attach to your caregivers and vice versa, and if it doesn’t happen, you’ll grow up to get really upset when someone drops an ice cream cone on the ground. Or something like that?

If any of my 21 subscribers have read either book or happen to be mental health professionals, elucidation would be greatly appreciated.

Because I’m going to quit “cathecting” to the wrong right things, and I’m going to start cathecting with the right wrong things. Or quit eating ice cream altogether.

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