Blame My Analyst

A good friend and long-time blogger sent me the following message:

"I've noticed that your posts have changed markedly over the past couple of months. You wax more eloquently, but wax. You've become more self-indulgent. You have become increasingly "sensitive", almost to the point of whiny. You are suddenly in touch with your emotions, maybe your feminine side. Less purposeful and more feelings. Have you grown a vagina? Have you forgotten how to say "fuck you?"

"What happened to your edge? "

I never know whether a note like this is dark humor I am simply too dense to appreciate. So I will take it at face value.

"Fuck you" is about self-indulgent as it gets, and I've been writing about the law in the fuck you vein for a decade. I wrote first, and continue to write, as a columnist at the Connecticut Law Tribune. I did a brief stint at Northeast Magazine. Then in 2005 I was invited to blog at Crime and Federalism. I moved to blogs under my own name in 2007. I learned long ago the thrill of taking aim with a keyboard. I count as one of my proudest moments the decision of the Connecticut Judicial Department to cancel subscriptions to the Tribune for all state law libraries a decade ago. I am hoping it was because of something I wrote. I've had a song written about what a nasty prick I can be. You can buy it on a CD produced by Dan Klau.

The other day, I was invited to serve as a speaker at an event. The organizer told me that the other two speakers were the Chief Justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court, and a senior member of the Yale Law School. "Are you sure they will agree to appear with me?" I asked. "I know the professor has been trying to get me thrown of the op ed page of the paper for some time. Check with them. My feelings won't be hurt if you have to drop me."

Somehow, I don't think I've lost my edge. Ask Robert Chatigny.

I may be a little more openly introspective. If so, and if that makes me a less interesting read, blame my psychoanalyst.

Several years ago, my wife was very ill. She nearly died. I was scared and panicked. I went to see a psychiatrist to talk me through the potential loss of a mate, lover and best friend. If my center disappeared, how could I serve as the axis for my children, employees and clients? Many people need what I have to offer; few replenish.

My wife recovered and is fine. But I stuck with the psychiatrist. For approaching two years now, I spend four hours a week on an analyst's couch. It's been eye-opening. I haven't always liked what I have seen.

My first instinct is always to attack. I do so to defend against hurt and fear. The best defense, I say, is a strong offense. But this defense is not always constructive. Sometimes I attack another when the only real threat comes from within. I can be irrational, uncouth even. Anger is easy; equanimity is hard and sometimes terrifying work.

So as my analysis progresses from a slow crawl to baby steps I am delighted from time to time to simply open my eyes and hands to accept what the world offers. If I grasp less tightly at every passing thing, it is less a sign of growing soft than growing strong.

I'd like to think I have not lost my edge. I still attack when the occasion calls for it. But scoffing is a tiresome posture. Forgive me if I refuse to rant at the setting of the Sun.

I read a few blogs on the law, and I follow the personalities projected in each. "Fuck you" works for some folks. It is a spicy brand. But the taste of it has grown bitter on my tongue. If I've grown soft around the edges, there are plenty of other places to go for edge play. For me, the biggest risk comes not it attacking, but in opening a window to the turmoil within. Besides, my wife tells me she likes the warm and fuzzy stuff.

About Norm Pattis

Norm Pattis is a Connecticut based trial lawyer focused on high stakes criminal cases and civil right violations. He is a veteran of more than 100 jury trials, many resulting in acquittals for people charged with serious crimes, multi-million dollar civil rights and discrimination verdicts, and scores of cases favorably settled.

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I believe that the state is a necessary fiction and that failing to combat it is the first step toward tyranny.
– Norm Pattis


Nothing in this blog should be considered legal advice about your case. You need a lawyer who understands the context of your life and situation. What are offered here are merely suggested lines of inquiry you may explore with your lawyer.

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