Mati, let me just ask you, I have a feeling that people are mistaking Staphysagria for both Lycopodium and Lachesis. Do you agree? Do you want to do a differential diagnosis among the three?
Oh, boy! Where do I start?
Excuse me, that was the oven timer; Shana’s pizza is done.
Is this an interview, a soap opera, or a cooking show?
I like to think of it as all of the above. You see, Mati, this is what professionalism is all about. I should caution our readers not to try this at home.
Try WHAT at home? And now if I can return to why I’m here (and if anyone knows that, please write to me at [email protected]) ….The first thing I would think, in terms of what they have in common –
And that would be Staphysagria, Lycopodium and Lachesis…
…yes, thanks…they all love to get attention, but for different reasons! Staphysagria thinks that he is “The Greatest” but he needs constant reaffirmation of this, similar to what Phosphorus needs (Staphysagria needs to know he is great, Phosphorus needs to know she is beautiful). Now, we have to keep in mind that there are different types of Staphysagrias – some are more introverted, and others love to talk, but both types will do whatever they can to impress you! Some talk a lot about their own greatness, often exaggerating or making things up as they go. Others will keep showing you their portfolios if they are artistically inclined. One Staphysagria, who was a very good singer, went to an event were a band was playing and immediately went up on stage and asked if he could sing a song. So, they had to stop their own performance and play for him while he sang, and he was very happy after the performance when people came and told him what a great singer he was.
The reason why Staphysagria does this is that his feeling of greatness is totally dependent on other people’s opinions! Without this kind of confirmation from others, they often feel worthless or humiliated. So, Staphysagria can even appear like a Sulphur at times, especially if he is bragging too much. But, it is still easy to distinguish between the two. The main difference is that Sulphur already knows how great he is and he doesn’t care what others think of him, but Staphysagria cares as if his life depended on it! So, in Staphysagria, we often see someone who is bragging about themselves one minute, and expressing how small, worthless and humiliated they feel the next. Anytime we find both of these extremes, we should always think of Staphysagria.
Thanks, so well stated!
Lachesis also needs attention. In a snake, the need for attention has to do with survival. The snake gets the attention of the prey, hypnotizing and distracting it, before striking. No attention means no food, and we see the same in people who need Lachesis. They talk a lot, very fast, and they are so vivacious that the listener may feel “spellbound”, giving Lachesis their undivided attention. This kind of attention puts Lachesis in complete control in every situation, and, if you don’t give them the attention they want, they can “strike” at you with a very sharp tongue and hurt your feelings.
Fascinating, truly fascinating!
Lachesis’ need for attention is different from Staphysagria’s in that Lachesis simply “feeds” off of your energy. It is not a matter of self confidence, as in Staphysagria’s case, it is just Lachesis’ way of putting themselves in a superior position and enjoying your attention and your energy.
I remember one Lachesis client who demanded that I listen to her whole story, because I couldn’t possibly understand her case unless I first knew every detail of her story. For three hours, she kept talking, and talking, and talking, and wouldn’t let me interrupt or ask any questions! At the end, I had a whole list of questions that needed to be asked, and she refused to answer any of them!
I suspect that she refused to answer my questions simply because it was no longer on her terms, but it didn’t matter because her attitude confirmed my remedy choice!
So just her refusal to answer spoke louder than what she might have said. Interesting. What about Lycopodium?
Like Staphysagria, Lycopodium’s need for attention also has to do with wanting to establish his own greatness, but there are still differences. Lycopodium feels small and wants to become big and important. He is ambitious and wants to achieve goals and become capable so people will look up to him. Once he achieves his goals, he spends the rest of his life trying to secure his position. He has a natural instinct for always putting himself in a superior position whenever possible.
While Staphysagria tends to talk a lot about his own personal greatness, Lycopodium talks more about his great achievements. Lycopodium also tries to impress people, but it is still different than Staphysagria. They try to impress people with their knowledge or what they can do, rather than with who they are. This has to do with a difference in their delusional perceptions of reality. Staphysagria believes that they aren’t going to be loved unless they can convince others of how great they are, and Lycopodium believes that he won’t be loved unless he achieves something great. This difference is easier to spot if you look at how they do things.
Staphysagria wants others to respect him without having to do anything to earn it. So, he tends to sabotage his own efforts causing people to insult him. I saw an example of this one day when I was invited to somebody’s house for dinner. I didn’t know the way, but a friend of mine told me that her husband said he knew the way, so I could follow their car. Her Staphysagria husband didn’t bother making sure he really knew the way first, so we all ended up getting lost and going around in circles for about 1/2 hour before we finally found the place. And, of course, his wife told him what an idiot he was!
Lycopodium doesn’t sabotage his own efforts like this. He is very capable and sincerely wants to achieve, and he isn’t afraid to put in the necessary effort it requires. So, you’ll find that Lycopodium doesn’t attract insults the way Staphysagria does.
So, therefore, he doesn’t feel as victimized as Staphysagria, either.
We can also look at jealousy issues. Lachesis is jealous if someone else is in the top position, and they are willing to fight to get it back.
Lycopodium is jealous if someone else has achieved more than he has. This could be a better degree, more money, a bigger house, a more expensive car, and so on. Lycopodium needs his status symbols because they are symbols of how much he has achieved, and how superior he is. The more he achieves, the better his self confidence becomes. So, his achievements are basically a way to compensate for his naturally low self confidence. Even though he may stretch his credit a little more than he should, he is still basically responsible and good at managing money.
Staphysagria is jealous if someone gets more respect and recognition than he, even though he isn’t willing to do what it takes to get it! Staphysagria is like a kid in many ways. He wants nice things because he thinks he deserves them, but he isn’t necessarily interested in earning the money first. Therefore, he can easily get addicted to using credit cards, and he isn’t too worried about whether he can pay the bills when they come, either. He just trusts that somehow it will all work out. (Lycopodium would never just “trust.” He would plan and use logic and a calculator, so he is much more sensible than Staphysagria could ever be).
Staphysagria doesn’t want to work hard for what he wants. He just wants an easy life where good things are simply given to him, and he feels very sad and unfortunate when it doesn’t happen. So, the biggest thing that points toward the remedy Staphysagria is a very strong feeling of being unfortunate, of being a victim of different circumstances, especially if mean women are part of the story – an angry, unappreciative, insulting mother, a nagging wife, a horrible girlfriend…. One Staphysagria client told me that he had been yelled at by women his whole life. Lachesis would have yelled back, Lycopodium would have simply left the nagging mother or wife behind and not looked back, only Staphysagria carries the emotional pain of this for years and years and is perhaps never able to really get over it. He is like a teenage boy, unable to free himself from his mother, while Lycopodium and Lachesis are grown up people who can be responsible whenever they need to.
Mati, then where did Lycopodium get the reputation for being irresponsible, childish and shallow? Also, the snooping and stalking we know Lachesis so well for, how would we distinguish this trait in Staphysagria?
Lycopodium sometimes has a problem with commitment, similar to Staphysagria. The difference is that if Lycopodium does decide to make a commitment, he will do his best to make it work, possibly from fear of failure, but when Staphysagria makes a commitment, he doesn’t really do his best to make anything work. Rather, he makes a sort of half-hearted effort, and when things don’t work and he gets criticized and insulted, he feels hurt, but he still doesn’t try any harder.
So, in my opinion, Lycopodium is still a more responsible and a more grown-up type, even though he can also be irresponsible at times.
Fear of responsibility due to his fear of failure. It’s in the repertory as Mind: fears, undertaking anything new. “People will find out I’m a ‘nobody’,” Lycopodium thinks. All his “achievements” you mentioned earlier insulate him from the likelihood that anyone will notice he’s a “nobody”. Relationships: If he makes any commitment that’s not shallow, the partner will surely notice in due time that he’s really a “nobody”!
What about Lachesis and Staphysagria: snooping and stalking?
You are right, both Staphysagria and Lachesis tend to snoop and stalk, but they are still coming from slightly different points of view. Staphysagria snoops and stalks to see if somebody else is getting the respect and appreciation he feels that he deserves! Lachesis snoops and stalks if someone younger or more attractive than she takes her place. Lachesis will try to manipulate and intimidate her way back into the relationship if possible, while Staphysagria will take a more passive-aggressive approach. He might drive over to her house and “peel out” in her driveway, just to put some nasty energy there, or he might tell everyone he knows what a horrible person she is. Lachesis, however, would be more likely to get into some kind of verbal confrontation with the person who took her position. The difference is somewhat subtle. Again, Staphysagria will feel more like a victim, especially if he thinks his ex-mate has found someone she thinks is better than he is. He’ll end up feeling insulted, humiliated and extremely sorry for himself, while Lachesis would be more likely to get horribly angry and want to fight back. So, in a Staphysagria case, we can always expect to see some sense of victimhood. Something happened that wasn’t fair, and Staphysagria always ends up feeling sorry for himself. Lachesis, in a similar situation, would rather try to make the other person the victim.
Mati, we’ve got three remedies that, I take it, are vindictive: Phosphorus, Staphysagria and Lachesis. Apparently all three will strike back if you try to replace them. Last time we talked about Phosphorus reporting “rivals” to the authorities. Staphysagria will, if I understand you correctly, resort to harassment if you reject him. Lachesis, perhaps, is to be feared the most, as he may actually become violent. Is that your understanding?
Yes, I agree. Staphysagria will harass, stalk, snoop and slander, but avoid direct confrontation for the most part; Phosphorus will turn you in to some kind of authority to make you suffer; and Lachesis is more likely to take things into his own hands, since he loves a good confrontation.
Would you say that Lachesis is more likely to confront the new boyfriend or girlfriend and Staphysagria is more likely to avoid the new boyfriend/girlfriend and focus his intimidation techniques just on you?
Staphysagria will confront the new person only if his anger gets out of control. He much prefers to avoid direct confrontation if possible.
Mati, I’m getting the impression it is very hard–next to impossible–to break up with Staphysagria because he won’t leave! Do I understand this correctly? What is he hoping to accomplish, other than attracting more and more insults?
Staphysagria has a complicated relationship with women because he has a complicated relationship with his mother! He wants to free himself (that is why Staphysagria often threatens to leave a relationship), but at the same time, he is afraid to do so because he doesn’t trust that he will be ok alone. So, he has a hard time making commitments, and also a hard time letting go, because he doesn’t really know what he wants. Therefore, he always feels an inner conflict about what to do. But it is not impossible to break up with Staphysagria. The mate just has to tell him it is over, and stick to it, and, of course, once again, he will really feel like a victim.
I was thinking of Tina’s husband, who sabotaged every new relationship Tina got into: looking in the windows, rummaging through the shed, the trash…he was like fly paper, she couldn’t get rid of him! Why do they do this?
I think it is a form of self torture. Staphysagria gets so obsessed about his pain that he almost starts to feel some kind of pleasure from it. Notice how he’ll tell anyone about how horrible he feels, you can see how excited he gets the more he gets into the details. So, on some level, he actually enjoys his suffering – it gives him something to talk about. The guy you are referring to, he was probably just looking for more things to complain about, more proof that his ex-mate was a really horrible person. And then he could tell others. The complaining to others becomes a kind of negative bragging. And bragging, whether positive or negative, gives some form of pleasure.
Yes, bragging, as you alluded to earlier; and, I was thinking, if Staphysagria is a “Victim”, as you so correctly pointed out, then it would be counter-intuitive for him to leave and start over! Better the rejection should intensify! I think that’s why they become like fly paper when you try to break up with them.
What about Lachesis, will he or she refuse to leave too?
When it comes to Lachesis, it depends on who wants to leave. If Lachesis wants to leave the relationship, she just leaves, it is as simple as that. She may not even care if she leaves her children behind. (Remember, the snake takes good care of its eggs, but after they are hatched, she doesn’t pay much attention to the little snakes. The same can also apply to Lachesis, she often takes great care of her little babies, but as soon as they start walking, she may become more involved with her own interests). However, if Lachesis’ partner wants to leave, she’ll definitely put up a fight, and it won’t be pretty! Lachesis is much more of a fighter than Staphysagria will ever be. Staphysagria is so sensitive that the cruel world is almost too much for him, and Lachesis is much tougher emotionally, so even though Lachesis and Staphysagria have some things in common, they are still very different types.
This is why we can never just pick simple rubrics and look them up in the repertory; for the rubrics to be meaningful, we also have to understand where the person is coming from. Is someone stalking because they feel left out and they want to see what is happening, or are they waiting for an opportunity to hurt the person they are watching? This is what you have to find out. The fact that they stalk or spy is not of much use unless you know why; once you know what is behind the stalking and snooping, you won’t mix up the two remedies.
Which remedy type does Staphysagria feel most comfortable with? Which ones will he stay away from?
So far, I have seen Staphysagria with Arsenicum, Nat-mur, Medorrhinum, Carcinosin and Pulsatilla. I also saw a Staphysagria go after a Phosphorus once, and she insulted him for even thinking that he was good enough for her!
The combination of Arsenicum and Staphysagria creates some very definite problems: Arsenicum likes to boss Staphysagria around, and often criticizes or insults him whenever he doesn’t do things right. She will basically play the same role as his mother; so eventually, Staphysagria will threaten to leave the relationship. This will trigger Arsenicum’s insecurity and feeling of not being loved. Staphysagria often becomes emotionally evasive and avoids Arsenicum when she wants to talk to him, and this always pushes Arsenicum’s buttons. The more she criticizes him, the more irresponsible he becomes, and eventually, Arsenicum will insult him to get him to shape up, and this is usually the beginning of the end of the relationship.
Staphysagria and Nat-mur is just as explosive a combination, since Staphysagria has mother issues and Natrum has father issues. Natrum’s father was emotionally unavailable, and may have been a Staphysagria himself, so no matter how much Natrum tries to do her best and make the relationship work, he doesn’t even notice her efforts. This, of course, leads to hurt feelings, tears and eventually rage in Natrum. And, because Natrum is trying so hard to make things work, and Staphysagria doesn’t seem to be trying very much at all, she will also end up insulting him for being useless. This hurts Staphysagria’s feelings, and they will end up having some nasty fights and if the tension gets too much, he will most likely leave the relationship.
Medorrhinum likes it if someone else is in charge, so she puts Staphysagria in charge, and he feels honored, of course. But, true to his old patterns, he doesn’t do a good job, and when Medorrhinum realizes that what he is doing isn’t good enough, she’ll push him aside and take charge instead. To Staphysagria, this is a complete insult, and he’ll get downright nasty as a result and, down the hill it goes….
Since Staphysagria always feels unfortunate, and Carcinosin always identifies with the underdog, the attraction is irresistible! Finally someone Carcinosin can save! (And, Staphysagria loves being saved!) She can sort out his financial troubles, pay his bills, get him some new clothes, maybe even find him a job. But, is he grateful? No. And Carcinosin needs appreciation for all her efforts. She’ll get tired of continuously saving him, so after a while, she’ll build up resentment and start nagging him and bossing him around. And, again, it goes downhill from there….
I think the combination of Staphysagria and Pulsatilla is probably the best one because Pulsatilla is so sweet and gentle that she actually brings out a different side of Staphysagria. She needs to be taken care of, and when someone needs taking care of, Staphysagria can actually turn into a “knight in shining armor”. He will really make an effort to take care of her, even if it means that he has to be responsible, so this can actually bring out his best side! Pulsatilla hates confrontation just as much as he does. She may even look up to him and will rarely insult him, so this combination can actually work. The only problem I can think of is that Pulsatilla may not get as much affection as she would like, but she still won’t even think of leaving. So, Staphysagria should probably stick to Pulsatillas.
Mati, let me ask about a relationship a family member of mine had–the same family member I spoke about in the Phosphorus article. This family member had a boyfriend whom I believe was Staphysagria. He was raised by two women–you mentioned that Staphysagria has an issue with women growing up– nagging him, judging him and criticizing him. He seems to fit very well with your Staphysagria description: He believed he was absolutely great! He once said, “All my friends are Nobel laureates!” He had achieved absolutely no notoriety in life–no job, no profession, etc. (he was doing “work” for a guru), kind of living off his two aunts’ largess. Under his influence, my family member was being cut off from her friends and family and gaining weight to the point of unrecognizability–it was as though, if she could be made unattractive, no one would steal her away from him.
A Staphysagria may sit down and tell you what an extraordinary talent he has, and that anyone who gets to work with him should feel honored. It is basically bragging without any modesty whatsoever. And a few sentences later, they talk about how so and so made them feel completely humiliated. This is the key – bragging one minute, and then revealing how worthless they feel, the next.
The part where he was happy about her being unattractive so nobody else would take her away, his lack of achievement, living off of his two aunts, could definitely fit Staphysagria. I met a Staphysagria once who told me that he used to be a gigolo and lived off of older, rich bored women who paid for everything as long as he pleased them sexually! So, he started hating sex – No wonder! It was probably just like making love to his mother!
Mati, let’s just sum up. The side of staphysagria we’ve come to know is the victim side: The rape victim, the child abuse victim, the victim of spousal abuse, the poor innocent little person who draws our sympathy….
I call this the “puppy-dog” syndrome. Staphysagrias are experts at getting people to feel sorry for them! They look at people with big puppy-dog eyes and tell their very sad tale, and people immediately take their side. A friend of mine used to do craft shows with her Staphysagria husband. Because he always had this hungry puppy-dog look, all the crafts people in the neighboring booths started bringing him food! And, this happened at every show! How he did it, I don’t know, but this is a very special talent that Staphysagrias have. The judge that I mentioned earlier also fell for Staphysagria’s sad and miserable tale, and chose to give the son to him, even though she knew he was lying about things. But he was very convincing, and that is where Staphysagria has his great advantage.
The poor victim in childhood grows up, and then makes everyone else’s life miserable! Now he’s the bully! Now he’s looking for a victim, someone he can be better than and control and keep from living her own life.
He has to think he’s great to keep from remembering how inconsequential he’s been told he is! But he can’t actually WORK at being great because deep down he believes that he’s a failure, or that he will fail! Why try if you “know” you’re going to fail?
So, the staphysagria child grows up and becomes a pain in the neck to his wives and girl friends, and naturally, he seeks out Pulsatilla types who he can dominate!
Yes, someone they can dominate (Pulsatilla), or someone who can save them (Carcinosin–by creating order out of Staphysagria’s chaotic life) or Arsenicum (they’ve usually got money), or someone who is just as hurt as they are (Nat-mur — misery tends to attract misery).
Wait a minute, why Arsenicum? They’re big on wanting security and finances and Staphysagria usually has little to offer.
Simple! Arsenicum doesn’t mind paying for everything as long as it makes the partner dependent on her so he won’t be able to leave the relationship when Arsenicum starts criticizing! (And Staphysagria loves being financially dependent on someone!) Arsenicum always looks to create some kind of dependency in the relationship: either the partner is dependent on Arsenicum, or if the partner is too independent for comfort, Arsenicum will make herself dependent by getting sick, or having an emergency.
Think about it – Staphysagria already doesn’t feel good about himself and always attracts insults because he never does anything right, and Arsenicum loves playing the role of the insulter. Eventually, Staphysagria will feel that “enough is enough” and threaten to leave the relationship, which immediately triggers Arsenicum’s feeling of being unloved. It’s the perfect match! They will both push each other’s core buttons and both will have an opportunity to work through their own issues. So, this combination is either a recipe for unbelievable misery, or a great opportunity for spiritual growth. Which one they chose depends on how deep their understanding goes.
What about the staphysagria female? Does she grow up and dominate the relationship or does she remain the victim throughout?
Whether the female Staphysagria will stay a victim, or become controlling in her relationships, has to do with how feminine she is. If she is very feminine, she’ll just receive abuse and lack of respect and appreciation, and she’ll enjoy complaining about it to everyone she knows. Energetically speaking, men are more aggressive, so male Staphysagrias are likely to become more trouble to their mates than female Staphysagrias. Male energy is aggressive, dominating, ego oriented, and female energy is softer and more yielding. The thing they both have in common is that they are extremely sensitive to any kind of emotional pain or humiliation, and they both enjoy complaining or bragging about it. Women are more likely to complain about their misery, and the men are more likely to brag about their greatness. But these are just two sides of the same coin, so either of them can go from one side of the coin to the other. You can find Staphysagria men who complain, and you can also find female Staphysagrias who are bragging or become controlling in their relationships. Both those sides are part of the remedy picture, and which one will manifest has to do with the degree of misery they are experiencing, as well as how feminine or masculine they are.
Well, Mati, I have to say, you’ve done it again! You’ve shared a great deal of knowledge with us and you’ve stayed up past your bedtime! I think we owe you a debt of gratitude! I would encourage our readers to check out our other materia medica articles–
I’d invite everyone also to buy your book, Beyond the Veil of Delusions where you delve into the relationship problems specific remedies tend to have. For example, what happens when Nux vomica marries Pulsatilla? I’ve been meaning to ask you about that….
Maybe on our next visit.
And your book can be purchased at a number of locations including Amazon.
Thanks, Elaine, until next time….
You haven’t heard the Staphysagria theme song!
The Staphysagria theme song!
I wasn’t aware that Staphysagria had a theme song–though I probably should have guessed. What is it?
“He’s Sure The Boy I Love” by The Crystals!
Mati H. Fuller, DIHom (Pract)
Elaine Lewis, DHom, CHom