Anthony: Hello and welcome to Capes on the Couch where comics Get Counseling. I’m Anthony Sytko, and
Doc Issues: I’m Dr. Issues.
Anthony: This is Issue 160. I always like the even number ones, every 10. It’s, yep, just special. I’m amazed we’re still doing this, frankly, four and a half years in almost five at this point. But , we are covering Mystique as requested by our president level Patron, Ruby.
You can become a patron like Ruby and go to patreon.com/capes on the couch and subscribe, unlock additional content, early access on censored material, a whole bunch of stuff. And we’ve got some good stuff planned for you. You patrons, as I said, coming up over the next couple of months. Mystique, who is one of the more well known X-Men villains, characters, I would say mostly villain at best, Anti-hero.
Way more villainous than ever portrayed by Jennifer Lawrence. I’ll say that I think the Rebecca Romaine mystique was much more in tune with the comic book version of the character than Jennifer Lawrence. I think they got Jennifer for first class, and then her career took off and they said, Well, we just have to keep milking this for as long as we can.
And as you do, as as you do, I don’t blame Fox for that decision at all. But it was obvious that as the films went on, Jennifer Lawrence just had less and less interest in doing the movies.
It was just as, as plain as the blank ass expression on her face. That she could not, She was phoning it in so hard.
Doc Issues: Amen. So hard. Gotta get that check.
Anthony: Act like you care at least a little bit, though, my gosh, by apocalypse, Which was bad enough as it was, but it, it did her no favors. Or she did that movie No favors with that.
Anyway, this is not to sag. Jennifer Lawrence, she’s a fantastic actress, but just when she cares about the material, which was not the case at all when she was playing Raven Dark Home. So let’s get into the background mystique, Raven Dark Home, created by Chris Claremont and Dave Cochran in Ms.
Marvel, number 16, April, 1978, which that is interesting enough that she was created actually in the Ms. Marvel book. Although if you know anything about the history of Rogue and Ms. Marvel, et cetera, et cetera, you will understand why and you can go back and listen to our episodes on Carol and Rogue to get a little better understanding.
Their dynamic in their relationship. And if you are a patron, you can go and listen to our interview with Chris Claremont from New York ComicCon, I guess about three years ago. Yeah. He’s a very passionate man with very clear ideas on character choices and who certain characters should be. The pest interview I ever did.
So here’s something also cool to this day. Mystiques true origins have never been revealed, and I think that is befitting her name, that she is mystique, She is a mysterious character. We don’t know where she came from. The earliest stories place her around 1900 where she was presenting as male and in a relationship with Destiny, also known as Irene Adler.
An obvious reference to Sherlock Holmes, and we will get into. The relationship between mystique and destiny in a little bit. But there’s also, as I said, a lot of trans allegories here, and we’re not really going to delve into that, both of us as ci hetero dudes. I don’t really feel comfortable trying to speak about the trans experience, but I’m sure at some point if we can get a trans podcaster on, or a trans advocate on, we can certainly discuss those issues more in depth.
But I’m not gonna try to talk about what that’s like.
While undercover, she had a short fling with Sabertooth, which led to a child named Great and Creed, who despite having two mutant parents, turns out to be a normal baseline human who comes to resent all mutants. He then grows up to become a powerful politician before being assassinated by a time traveling version of Mystique,
Doc Issues: hashtag because comics,
Anthony: she then later gets seduced by Azazel and becomes pregnant with a baby that she abandoned at birth.
That baby would be taken in and named Kurt Vogner, aka Night Crawler, who is one of my favorite X-Men. Not that I have a lot of favorite Xmen, but I just really enjoy the character of Knight Crawler. I think he’s a fascinating character, and one of these days we will get around to doing an episode on Kirk, which will then, of course give me an opportunity to attempt my, my German accent for falls, a skit.
And on a side note, Claremont intended for night crawls parents to be mystique and destiny and mystique would have turned her body into a male for the purpose of procreation. But the comics code, which was in place at the time, was not going to allow a lesbian relationship in the books. Nevermind, not, not the lesbian relationship, nevermind the whole, she’s gonna transform into a man to then impregnate destiny.
Doc Issues: Wow. I don’t know what to think about that, Huh? Other than I feel cheated.
Anthony: I feel cheated too. And I think it really speaks to the foresight that he had at that time, which you have to imagine was probably the early eighties to come up with that storyline that he had this idea. Nighter’s parents were going to be two women and all that that would entail.
Unfortunately he wasn’t permitted to do that, and so we got Mystique and Azazel. So then Rahan Encounters a young runaway girl from Mississippi and after Destiny foresees that she would become important to them. She takes in the Young Rogue and acts as her foster mother, and again, you can go back and listen to the Rogue episode and hear more about that relationship.
So she leads a version of the Brotherhood of Viv Mutants and trains Rogue to join them and attack Miss Marvel Rogue ends up absorbing Carol’s powers, memories and personality for a time hashtag because comics, so that is really the first time that. we meet Mystique is learning through all of this.
And again, that’s a very famous storyline. It was in place for many years that Rogue was dealing with the effects of Carol’s power set. And that’s why Rogue basically became the powerhouse that she still is to this day, is because even after shedding Carol’s mind and et cetera, she still retained a lot of those power sets.
Before that she was just, Oh, I’ll absorb this one for a while, and then this one for a while, but Carol stuck with her literally. So Mystique turns the brotherhood legit, quote unquote, as Freedom Force. And they work for the government basically in a sort of suicide squad esque version where everything gets wiped away.
And as long as you don’t commit any crimes while working for us, you can. Do what needed to be done. What are we some kind of freedom force. So they still clash with the X-men and during this time, Irene is killed and this has a serious impact on her. So she joins X factor under duress, but after some time she escapes and flees to Europe where she becomes of all things a top fashion model, you know, like you do.
Doc Issues: Well it makes sense. I mean
Anthony: that was, yeah, that, that’s fair. It makes sense. But, hmm. So then she joins the X-Men under the name Fox as a Shapeshifter and she attempts to seduce gambit so that she can break up gambit and rogue and set up rogue with another mutant deploy fails. But she does end up joining the team on a probationary basis.
But Kurt says he needs some time to process. And she gives him that space. We do talk about that in the gambit episode. We touch on that a little bit as well.
She then ends up working with Gambit and the marauders to betray Mr. Sinister in the fallout of M Day, Logan is sent to kill her and he does severely wound her, but he doesn’t finish the job for a variety of reasons. She is later actually killed by Logan, though after she had been posing as Professor X for Norman Osborne’s Dark X-Men.
And you can learn more about that if you read the Dark Rain storyline where Norman basically was in charge of a whole bunch of different teams and saying, This team is gonna be my Avengers and this is the X-Men, and I’m gonna have everybody pose as a whole bunch of other different charact.
Doc Issues: Yeah, it’s almost as if Norman Osborne has some things that need to be worked out, which you can find out Norman Osborne episode.
Anthony: Yes. Although that was an early one and I think we’ve probably could do another deep dive on Norman and still barely scratch the surface on him. So she was revived by the hand and posed as Dazzler, who was a mutant liaison for Shield in Madripoor, and this gave her the opportunity to just set up shop and do what it is that needed to be done.
Kinda like Sharon Carter and Falcon and Winter Soldier, but I digress. So she did have a really sweet tender moment with Rogue before her wedding to Gambit where she shows up and everybody is on edge because they were like, Oh, Snap Mystique is here. It’s about to go down. What is gonna happen to Mystique is like, No, I’m actually happy for you.
I’m just here as your mom. I’m not even really gonna stay if you don’t want me to. I just wanna let you know that despite all of our differe. I’m happy for you and if he makes you happy, then I wish you the best. And Rogue is like, Wow, that’s actually incredibly sweet and kind of out of character for you.
But I appreciate the sentiment and as present, she serves on the Quiet Council of CRE as a representative of the winter delegation. And those are the characters that are, shall we say, more ethically, ambiguous I’m just trying to be polite when I say that. And again, this is, I haven’t read, you know, Powers of, Powers of 10 and House of X, so I don’t, I’m not up on every single thing going on in the Xmen.
I’m pulling more from the historical X books that I’ve read. So I’m sure that there’s quite a bit recent stuff involving Mystique that I’m missing. But again, this is the show to talk about what’s going on with these characters in the comics. We’re here to talk about what’s going on in their brains.
So let us now talk about the issues. And the theme here for Mystique is Piercing the Veil, which doc and I came up with. And Doc said, Well, you know, it’s a legal term of art, which I can absolutely appreciate. But the first issue, and some of these were presented to us by Ruby, who, as I said, picked the, the episode.
And so this first one is that she can’t really be herself because of the hatred towards mut. And this, we’re gonna touch on some of the outward stuff as well in the third issue. But this whole notion of mutants are, are hated. So she can’t really walk around with the blue skin, so she always has to be somebody else.
And I, I’m sure doc’s gonna get into that, both in universe and out universe. That is a heavy, heavy burden to bear.
Doc Issues: So I know in previous episodes we’ve talked about the idea of code switching in many forms, but there’s something deeper than that that many people have had to endure. There’s no switching.
You just have to have a certain facade at home, at work, any social gatherings, all of it, and you don’t get a break. And while, thankfully, maybe I’m being naive, but I, I think that is happening less in modern society. It still happens. Definitely happens. And so there are pretty much two ways that you can mentally process that.
You can either simply shun and ignore the part of you that is not even up for discussion. That, that no one is willing to accept or acknowledge. And I apologize for the, the mellow drama of what I’m about to say. But you, you just let that part wither and die. Or you can find some way to compartmentalize it and find a way to maintain the emotional resilience and mental capacity to appreciate the idea that as the world changes or as your situation changes, cause unlikely the whole world will change that someday you’ll be able to get the opportunity for that.
That part of you that is. Hidden to be able to be granted appropriate expression, but there are no guarantees that those things are going to happen. So you can act in ways that will allow for it to happen faster, or in theory, challenge the social dynamic that is creating this secret. Or you can somehow look to find as many coping mechanisms as you can so that nobody ever even questions what you’re doing.
I admit that I’m very uncomfortable with this because it’s something that actually bothers me immensely that, that people even have to go this far and, and I can’t imagine the amount of dissociation that you would have to accomplish to stay calm while doing it. Or the level of intense concentration that you have to maintain so that whatever emotional impulse or reactions that you would have, if people bring up the topic in a way that is simply reinforcing either stereotypes or, or bigotry or hatred of something that is a part of you and you know that you can’t or will not look to endure the consequences of acting out or, or really standing up for yourself.
It’s fascinating because I wish I were just talking in fantasy. I wish I were talking in metaphors, but there are moments in history and you can, you can read them and, and look them up for yourself. I, I recall a jazz musician that, and, and. I’m just going to say it because it’s, it’s just the way it happened.
The woman taped her breasts so that she would appear flat chested and therefore be able to get gigs and up to her dying day. Even her partner didn’t know, because there were some excuses of men of medical conditions and things where, you know, they, they couldn’t actually have much physical contact. In other words, avoiding anything where she would be seen naked, and so never knew because it was actually a lesbian relationship and her partner didn’t know, thought that all this time it was a man that was just purely trying to be celibate or whatever.
And the idea that you take that to your grave, I mean, that’s the most outrageous example I can think of, but, Whatever it is. It doesn’t have to be gender, it doesn’t have to be sexuality. It could be, it could be any part of you that you feel is just so aran to the rest of the world that it has this quality to it.
I shuder at, at the idea that anyone would have to hold onto something like that.
Anthony: You shouldn’t have to. And it is a real shame this day and age 2022, Hell, at this point, almost 20, 23, but there are still people who, who make things difficult for people who wanna live as their authentic selves. It costs you nothing to be a good person. It costs you nothing. To treat people with a baseline of decency and respect.
And I would argue, frankly, in favor of being, This is gonna sound interesting, but you’ll understand where I’m coming from. Being self-centered and egotistical to the point of caring about yourself and not giving a damn what other people are doing because it doesn’t affect you what someone else does in the privacy of their own home.
If they’re not harming another person. Doesn’t bother me one bit. Doesn’t, doesn’t change my life for good or bad. And again, maybe I’m selfish for thinking. But I don’t have the, the energy, I don’t have the mental bandwidth. I don’t have the desire to care about what everybody else in the world is doing.
So I may reach the same conclusion as a lot of people, you know, but again, my perspective is, does it impact me? No. Do whatever you want, as long as you’re not hurting yourself or anybody else. Have fun. You do. You boo boo. Why? More people choose to actively pursue a mindset and a lifestyle where they are actively searching for.
This stuff boggles my mind. I just, I don’t get it under what guys. Because you think somehow it endears you to a deity. News flash, they don’t care if they exist. They don’t care because if they exist in the version that you claim to believe in, they made that person same as you. So if you truly believe that God made us all in his image, then God is a little gay.
God is a little trans. God is a little non-binary. God is definitely somewhere on the queer spectrum. Otherwise, you wouldn’t keep making all these queer folks. I mean, I’m, I’m being kind of tongue and cheek here, but by the same token, you know, it really frustrates me and I know this has nothing to do with mystique and everything to do with the real world corollaries here, but.
I’m just really frustrated by everything and, you know, we just had election day, so here in the States and I, I don’t mean to go off on these kinds of tangents. I’m very proud to see Gen Z voting the way in the numbers that they are. But in any case,
back to the point, I would hope that if Raven existed in some version in the real world here in 2022, that she, they would feel comfortable enough to present as authentically as they needed to, as, as they felt at a given time, and that the majority of us would respect and accept. For who they are and to know that any bigotry they’re dealing with is, you know, wishfully thinking slash fingers crossed a vocal, but dying minority.
That’s basically just my long winded way of saying that Anthony, and Doc are here for whatever affirming care and advice you need. We accept you, we respect you, we love you. All of our listeners, whoever you are, however you choose to present, whatever manner in which you choose to live your life doesn’t bother us.
Cause you’re here, you’re listening, and you’re sharing the show, and you’re sharing the love, and we’re sharing it right back to you. We got really deep and emotional there, , and I didn’t intend it to start out that way, but I feel like points two and three aren’t gonna be nearly as impactful. But this is the way the show rolls sometimes people.
So the second point that Ruby brought up is that she’s always distant in her relationships.
No matter who she’s dealing with, no matter what the situation is, it’s always at arm’s length. And there are rare exceptions. And the only two that I can think of, and the only two that Ruby could really think of are Irene and Rogue. And it’s funny because we were just talking about gambit, who similarly has a tendency to very much keep people at a distance.
And of course, gambit married rogue, Mystiques foster daughter. So it’s very much kind of like a family thing almost.
Doc Issues: You know, it’s, it’s fascinating that you mention that, and I was thinking about this ahead of time when, for obvious reasons, as we just said with the first issue, you know, that you have to keep things close to the vest.
You start. Develop a detector, like just this, this intellectual ability to sense whether or not you should divulge parts of yourself to other people. Now, how good that detector is, There’s no guarantee. I mean, some people seem to just know instantly. Some people feel like they should never reveal anything unless another person has revealed something of themselves.
So it’s a trade basically. Other people will do fishing and I do mean that like they literally will, will give like a little teaser of something that they think is relevant about themselves. And if the other person genuinely sounds interested, that opens the door for further conversation. And then there are the lock boxes.
The people that simply say, I’m good, I’d set you do not have to have any meaningful interaction with me in your lifetime, and I will be satisfied and you will be satisfied. And if you come close to trying to develop that with me, not only am I going to ignore you, I’m actually going to antagonize you so that you get away from me.
So thinking along that spectrum, Mystique has an added thing, and I, I know it relates to her mutant ability, but truly the idea that she’s a chameleon, the idea that she can blend in with so many different groups of people, it allows for incredible power. It allows for control that she otherwise wouldn’t have.
Because think about it, when you are a person that doesn’t necessarily want to interact with other people all the time, then you can be seen as paranoid. You can be seen as aloof, narcissistic, other things that get perpetuated towards you that may not otherwise, because people are simply filling in a blank space.
They don’t know what to make of it. But Mystique doesn’t do that. Mystique always presents something that’s intriguing, something that’s interesting, something that is of value to the people that she is directly involved with, and therefore, even if she has this barrier around her, she makes sure that it looks exactly how she wants.
When you get to control the narrative like that, you really get to be an excellent gatekeeper, which also means that the intensity, once people are let in that gate, once you do that, that’s an intensity that some people don’t realize even exists. People think that they know what close relationships are until they get to someone that only has a few of them.
And by the way, I am really making sure I make it clear that I’m trying not to talk about myself right now because. I’ve been accused of this before and not to, not to divulge too much. Wow. I’m really , I’m doing a horrible job. The point is it’s nice to know that if you have the ability to look at things from an intellectual lens, socialize when necessary, regardless of, I’m not even talking about introversion or extroversion, that’s not the point of this.
To be able to control social situations so that you get what you want out of it. As Anthony alluded to with the previous issue, to to be a little selfish, to know that the relationships that you want in life are purely yours for the taking, that can be incredibly empowering. The one problem with that is if you don’t recognize that sometimes there are things outside of your locus of control that can still have a positive benefit.
A lot of people don’t realize that and it means that they are completely ignoring other spheres that if they would just allow for that random chance to happen, it would actually expand their ability to tolerate interactions with others. So yeah. So on one hand I’m espousing just how great this can be and may not necessarily be all bad.
So if you’re a person where you say, Look, I only have a few close friends, I don’t have like a, A huge network, that’s fine. There’s no shame in that. Having said that, be aware that you have some blind spots, and if you don’t, at least acknowledge even within your own close circle that sometimes it’s okay to allow new opportunities and new people in and new experiences to happen.
Then you’re short changing yourself. And then there’s the one last part that I know we have to acknowledge that isn’t as fun, which is. Sometimes those close relationships still don’t work out. There may be a souring, there may be something that happens that was outside of everyone’s control, and it ends up in a negative result.
As much as I said, you don’t know the experience of dealing with someone like that and the joy and all the other positive emotions that you get from it. You haven’t seen a person like that with their pain, and the irony of that is you probably won’t, because even if you are close to them, a lot of times we, I mean, they are very good at hiding an incredible amount for a long period of time, and sometimes it comes out in a flood and those people close to them, they learn how to deal with it.
But, oh, it can be it. It can be incredible. In terms of the like impulses, the actions, the behavior, the irrationality, all of it, that seems to come outta nowhere because it doesn’t fit who they present as. To go back to that overarching theme, but believe me, when people are putting up just one front, there are the other dimensions, and if they’ve been neglected for too long, they may come out at the wrong times.
Anthony: One of the things you were saying earlier made me think it’s almost Pennywise pound foolish with people that yes, in the short term you are making the safe play, but over the long term it’s harmful because as you said, you are not allowing yourself to open up to those possible new experiences. Now, yes, those new experiences may hurt, they may burn, and they may not go the way that you want them to.
But, I’m of the mindset that you can’t just live your life shut off like that and close, closed off for your whole life and still live. I don’t wanna say a good life because I think that’s unnecessarily reductive, but not one that is not as shall we say full of experiences as it could otherwise be.
There has to be some risk for that reward. Without the risk, there can be no reward. And so in order to get that fulfillment, in order to get that feeling, Wow. I’m really glad that I trusted and, and put myself out there to get this kind of experience. You have to take that first step. You have to open up a little bit.
It doesn’t have to be opening up the whole thing. It doesn’t have to be, it doesn’t have to be an all or nothing scenario, but just to be able to say, Hey, I’m doing this little bit here, is, is really going to pay dividends in the long run. You know, think of it as an investment in yourself. Not every, not every investment has to be, I’m gonna throw, you know, 44 billion at something and hope it pans out.
Sometimes you can just, you know, because if you’re throwing $44 billion at something with no idea of what it is that you’re doing, then you like a jackass. And I don’t even have to pay $8 a month to tell you that.
Doc Issues: Yeah. But, but you know, I think mystique is a great example of that because just about anybody could say who you are and, you know, just doesn’t matter.
Anthony: She doesn’t need a blue check. She is a blue check.
Doc Issues: All right,
Anthony: boy. We’re just real timely here on this one, this episode, Whew. Piercing the veils. It’s not just about mystique. This is about our personal lives and about our, our inner thoughts. So the last issue is ties back into that first one. Inner self-acceptance isn’t always reflected in the outer appearance, which is difficult.
Now, Rav. Is very confident in who she is. She knows who and what she is. She does struggle with things from time to time, but she knows what she brings to the table. But because of the circumstances and because of the roles that she has to play, she has to present as someone who may be less secure, less confident, and I would imagine that would in turn impact the inner psyche and it, you know, so I’m trying not to repeat too much of the first issue, but again, it’s a situation where it’s the role that you’re playing it, you know, it kind of seeps into your inner
Doc Issues: self.
So I’m gonna do something that I haven’t done in a long, long time, and I’m actually going to invoke a diagnosis. I’m not saying mystique has this diagnosis. I’m saying that this particular topic allows for the discussion. In this case, I’m talking about personalities or if some people outside of the US aren’t familiar with the idea of personality disorder or personality disorder traits, character disorder is the other term for it, which is ironic considering we’re talking about, you know, characters,
So in this case I know we’ve mentioned things like borderline in the past. I know we’ve mentioned narcissism in the past or things like that, but specific to this one, because you’re talking about when, when it comes down to it, the idea that you know who you truly are, but because of everything around you, you have to do other things and do it in a certain way.
You’re acting, you’re basically reacting to the drama of. The circumstance and trying to control it. Because if you don’t, it creates more trauma for you. That’s histrionic. And that’s something that has been a common term but hasn’t been used nearly as often as the others because it gets so specific. So, like I said, not trying to apply this directly to Mystique, Just giving, in this case an opportunity for learning. So some of the criteria, pervasive pattern of excessive emotionality and attention seeking beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts indicated by five or more of the following, uncomfortable in situations in which he or she is not the center of attention.
Interaction with others is often characterized by inappropriate, sexually seductive, or provocative behavior. Displays rapidly shifting and shallow expressions of emotions. Consistently uses physical appearance to draw attention to self. Has a style speech that’s excessively impressionistic and lacking in detail.
Shows self dramatization, theatricality, and exaggerated expression of emotion is suggestible. I e, easily influenced by others or circumstances and considers relationships to be more intimate than they actually are. So mystique is actually the flip on a couple of these, because I would definitely not say that she’s suggestible.
I think it’s it’s the opposite. She. Can be incredibly manipulative of others. I, don’t think that she mistakes the intimacy that she encounters as one that she is creating, that’s being shallow. It’s the opposite of that, that she will only focus on ones that are very intimate to her while she creates the shallowness around her and gets other people to think that they’re deep.
So, in several ways, she is the opposite spectrum of this, but the idea that because there are a lot of things going on and she has to play to the emotions of others as much as she has to do it for herself, and then pretty much mask anything that she’s really feeling. That’s what I’m referencing. And so when you take that into consideration, it’s really not surprising that someone in those circumstances is really gonna learn, in theory, what it’s like and study what others do.
When they react to situations and then mimic it. So there’s a lot of mirroring going on with mystique. It’s a technique that we do as children to make sure that we, in the proper situations, are always doing the right thing. So she’s taking that to expert level. All those things are wonderful for her, but that doesn’t mean that people, as has been shown time and time again, that doesn’t mean people appreciate it on the other end when they find out what you’re doing.
So you now have to deal with the backlash if you’ve been trying to hold this up for however long it works. And that’s the other thing I wanna point out with Mystique, I know because she does the physical part and the voice change and all the other things that go along with it biologically. So it’s a lot harder to figure out if we’re talking other human beings that simply are trying to put on an act and trying to do things so that they get their way.
We’re not, I, I, regardless of what we say, we can make sure that parts of lies can live forever, but many of them will get found out a lot quicker than you think if you’re trying to do it with enough people. So I’m not trying to butcher the quote. You know, you can fool, you know, all the people some of the time and you know some of the people all the time, but you can’t fool all the people all the time.
Wow. I actually did it correctly. Nice. , But the point still stands. I would also say you can’t possibly handle all of the emotions that you’re creating while you’re doing all of that. And yet that’s pretty much what mystique walks into all the time in her life. And I sure as heck wouldn’t wanna have to deal with that.
Anthony: I don’t like having to keep one lies straight, nevermind. Trying to juggle all of the lies all of the time with everyone and have to keep them all straight and. As you said, it’s, it’s bad enough to try and intellectualize ’em and just remember them. But now to have to emote those lies and live them believably is superhuman,
And it can’t be done because as you said, someone will find out, You can tell a small fib here and there, you know, get away with it sometimes, but it, the more you tell and the bigger they are, it’s just exponentially more difficult. And at some point it becomes more than any one person. Can physically and, and mentally tolerate.
So yeah, that weighs on mystique all the damn time. And she has to devote so much mental bandwidth and brain power just to keep all of that stuff in track and, and in check that I, I pity her, I mean, for a number of reasons, but when you think of it like that, it’s really sad to, to think about. I certainly hope that there’s no real world car Larrys that, you know, at least people that are listening to this show, that are dealing with that level of a seat in their lives or carrying on at that level of deceit.
So we. We’re all over the place with this episode. This one I wasn’t anticipating was gonna go here, but we’ve we’ve drilled pretty deep, so we are gonna take a break. I’m going to rest my throat for a moment, , and we get back, we will get into treatment. So stick around.
And we’re back. So, treatment
in universe, starting first, this is gonna be interesting and you, you gave me a little bit of a hint before we, we started rolling, and I’m curious to see where you’re gonna go with this.
Doc Issues: So, I know most people right now are thinking, All right, so Doc is gonna have. Take the form of the people she cares about and then try and talk about them and and whatnot.
I’m going to be way more abstract because I think a big part of mystique is that she learns the intricacies of so many people that she can do that almost instinctually at this point. So in a weird way, that’s a little boring. That’s a little dull. I don’t think that would intellectually stimulate her.
So rather than focusing on individual people, I’m going to extract it out into thoughts and emotions. So for example, I would ask her, Could you please shift yourself into love? Can you shift yourself into excitement? Can you shift yourself into anger?
Interest, sadness, depression, even. Whatever comes to mind. And the reason why is because that’s the unknown. Well, let me, let me take a step back. It’s not unknown, it’s unconscious, but shifting towards it means that it becomes conscious. And most importantly, I want this done without a mirror, without her being able to check her work.
And then I’ll show it to her after the fact. Because I don’t expect some sort of abstract thing that is formless or shapeless. I expect it to be maybe elements of different people in her life, maybe even different emotions that those people have experienced, and therefore have certain facial expressions or other bodily features that are.
And we simply discuss each one that she’s done and see how she actually processes that. Because having someone that’s outside of that actual circle of experience would allow her to have someone’s view that is not a threat to her, and I think that would allow for a significant emotional growth.
Anthony: Wow, that’s a really interesting concept.
My only comment would be about the not having a mirror to check her work. I think at this point she’s been doing it for over a hundred years, that she would be able to come up with something, I don’t wanna say quickly. Confidently, but that she would understand what you were going for and not be as maybe hesitant or second guess herself as much as maybe you think she would.
Only because, as I said, she’s so good at what she does, that if you throw something like that at her, it may take a second, but she’ll pull it off and then she’ll respect you for, for trying to, throw her a curve ball. But she’ll get what you’re going for
Doc Issues: until I point out one thing that doesn’t match.
And I may even do it for the sake of the antagonism because when a person thinks they’ve done something absolutely perfectly and someone even questions. Something that is a flaw, they usually reveal much more than what they were trying to present in the first place.
Anthony: All right, that’s, that’s fair. I can respect that and I understand where you’re coming from.
So out of universe then, Well,
it’s difficult to come up with an exact Corolla Larry here, other than someone leading perhaps multiple lives, someone who has a lot of secrets. I don’t want to use this as an opportunity to say, Oh, well this would be a person who’s non-binary. Not, Oh, I got this, I got this cisgender, et cetera. I’m not saying, Dude,
Doc Issues: don’t worry, don’t worry. I got this. Okay. Okay. And, and I, I swear to you, I, it just came to mind.
I’m talking milliseconds before you just opened your mouth. Once again, I have to give a disclaimer. I know we do it at the start of every episode, but to make it clear, I am not saying that this person is who I’m treating. I am not saying that this is the particular case that I would be focusing on, but if you’re wondering what might be an example of the type of complexity that we’re talking about, y’all need to watch something on HBO Max.
Y’all need to watch Jared Carmichael. Nathaniel, if you have not seen that, the way that he talks about secrets, the way that he talks about his own family and his own life, The things that he had gone through, the things that he hadn’t said up until that special. It’s how funny as hell special, but it has its parts where, especially near the end, where it’s just, it’s just him sitting there in front of an audience and you could see he’s trying to process things in real time.
That’s an example of what happens when there are things that you just don’t even know what the heck you’re supposed to do with it all. For those of you, if you’ve seen that special, if you have any idea, what I’m talking about has to do with, has to do with sexuality, has to do with race, has to do with with religious backgrounds, expectations, with careers, all sorts of different things.
Affairs, you know, having, you know, different children with different people. All just, just the full spectrum. All of it. For anybody that just feels like the world is too much and you’ve been holding in a lot from the therapist’s standpoint, all you have to do is just take one step at a time. Don’t expect to have all of this resolved over the course of a session or that you talk to a, a professional and they’re even going to understand all of it.
They may not, I mean, clearly you don’t want someone that’s antagonistic. You don’t want someone that is actively going to try and change you for who you are based on other cultural norms or things like that. You know, if, if you’re getting that vibe, please get away. Like that’s, that’s not a good idea. But anything beyond that, it’s meant to be Sessions usually related to discovery of the idea.
First, making sure that you still have an understanding of your value as a human being, regardless of any of the traumas that have happened to you before. Secondly, to recognize that you have used that trauma to create a system for yourself that is for the sake of survival first, and then potentially thriving second, but the thriving always came secondary.
If you have had significant success in your life, regardless of what you had intended in the first place, that doesn’t mean that those mechanisms that you use to get there are going to continue to be successful. As a matter of fact, the emotional turmoil that you may be going through may lead to burnout, may lead to the idea that you’re no longer going to enjoy or feel fulfilled based on those previous actions because they’re not sustainable, or at least not sustainable with full emotional acceptance.
That dissonance is going to eat you alive. If you don’t actually find a different way to address it, if there’s the necessity to, as in aa, they say, make amends or, do the apologies to people that you may have harmed in the past, which by the way, is not a guarantee. Recognize that it’s for you to do that, not to actually improve or, or get the approval or get the forgiveness of the other person.
That may never happen. But the idea that you are creating a different mindset for yourself, that you’re willing to accept the mistakes that you’ve made, or the harm that you intentionally or unintentionally have caused, and move forward with that. Those are all wonderful things, and it might be a good idea to have someone process that with you rather than just.
You know, really hardcore on, it’s switching everything that you’ve ever done in your life to try and make it better or whatever. Cause a lot of people do those types of dramatic things and it, it doesn’t always go well. And in addition to all of that, still recognizing that at the core you still had those great, wonderful, positive traits that you had in the first place.
And they weren’t destroyed just because you had some potentially negative outcomes. Don’t let the result be the be all, end all as to whether or not something is, is good or not. And guiding all of that without judgment, without without personal investment. Because that can happen. And, and as, as mental health professionals, we have to know what our distance is.
We want to build the relationship with you, but we wanna build it in a healthy. In a healthy manner that doesn’t impinge on your personal life. And believe me, these types of cases that can happen. So walking that fine line, making sure that if there is that sign that things have taken a step too far and things are getting too close and being willing to acknowledge it by the way, you, as the, as the client or the patient, you have the right to say that as well.
It’s not just the mental health provider that can say that coming to mutual agreements as determination when it’s necessary and continuing to find people that help if necessary, all of those steps taken at a pace that is challenging. Cuz we don’t want you just sitting idly by thinking that the status quo is gonna happen and you’re just sitting there for the sake of making those people around you that you’ve been lying to this whole time.
Happy. That’s not the point. Even if you’ve been doing that. And I know some people might feel seen saying that, cause I know who you are. You’ve been in, you’ve been in therapy for the past 10 years and you know a damn thing hasn’t changed as opposed to really getting some results that, you know, may have pissed you off in the moment, but made you better in the
Anthony: This doesn’t happen often, but I have nothing further to add because you said it so eloquently and wonderfully that I’m not even going to attempt to further explain. So thank you for that fantastic explanation. I hope all of our listeners really take that to heart. And with all of that being said, we’re gonna see what happens when we get mystique on doctor issues his.
- Skit (49:34)
- ***knock at the door*** Come in –***Mrs Issues*** Hey, just stopping by
- Oh! Um…usually you text me, but ok, I thought you were my next patient -No problem, I figured I hadn’t been to your office in a while and I know you’ve had some rough days.
- Thanks *pause* I thought you had class tonight. –I do, that’s why I brought someone along with me to cheer you up; plus you can keep watch for a bit. I’ll be right back but I have to get my stuff from the car. ***door closes***
- As always. But where’s -***Door opens***Daughter Issues*** Daddy!
- *pause* Ok Getthef**kout –WHAT? Why? ***fake crying***
- Seriously get out or identify yourself or I’m calling the police -***some sort of morphing sound, now Mystique***
- M: well you don’t have to be so rude, I thought you were a professional.
- D Professional enough to know my own daughter hasn’t called me “daddy” in years. Her choice, not mine. And I guess I can’t call the police on my own patient if I haven’t given them a chance to explain. Don’t expect me to be cheery after a stunt like that. –
- M You’re perceptive, I’ll grant you that. But now we have a problem.
- D I know what my problem is. What’s yours?
- M *sigh* Let’s be real. You can’t fight me, and I don’t necessarily want to fight you. But you’re valuable. More than you know.
- D You were going to kidnap me?!
- M *laughs* No, nothing as dramatic as that. This was supposed to be a stealth operation. You have information. I need it.
- D I’ve already been down that rabbit hole. Secure encryption, magical wards, along with undisclosed offshore servers have made sure I don’t make the same mistake ever again.
- M Doom really hooked you up, then.
- D HOW…*deep breath*…you are masterful, you know that? Always seeking more information, more leverage.
- M: It’s my currency, it’s how I get ahead.
- D: But do you need that anymore? You don’t come across as someone who wants to be at the beck and call of someone else, but you also find ways to put yourself as the center of attention, even if no one else knows it yet. I know those aren’t mutually exclusive, but that can get complicated very fast.
- M: My life is complicated? Hmmm, I would have never thought that in a hundred years…no wait, that is EXACTLY what I’ve spent every day for the last hundred-plus years thinking about. I have enough baggage to fill an entire airport. I just choose which ones to pick up on various occasions.
- D: So what set of circumstances would lead you to add me to the mix? It’s obvious you don’t want therapy.
- M: I won’t divulge my secrets if you won’t divulge yours.
- D: This isn’t a negotiation.
- M: Au contraire. All conversations are negotiations. Most people don’t apply the proper context. Or pressure.
- D: This must be so difficult for you. You’re talking to a person that’s not of your world, nothing to offer that you couldn’t weasel out in some other way, and yet, this is the path you chose. You find me weak, but interesting, and I don’t know why.
- M: *pause* Are you fishing, or trying to sound profound?
- D: Why not both? My point is, you seem to set up your own challenges without respect to the person, or the emotional consequences even for yourself. I’ll give you a hypothetical. What if you learn of someone you DIDN’T want to have on your radar, and they hunt you down after they destroy me? Is that risk worth it?
- M: It wouldn’t be the first time that someone else gets hurt in the crossfire.
- D: But what if it’s someone you actually care about? Are you really going to throw away the opportunity to improve a lasting relationship for the sake of an odd job or morbid curiosity? What if I could offer you that chance and the other person is willing to talk about it…with you and me?
- M: You can’t make promises like that.
- D: Never said I could. But I can try. That’s all I’m saying.
- M: I know for a fact that you aren’t a…family therapist.
- D: Who said it was family?
- M: *pause* I…
- D: *snaps fingers* YOU were fishing! You didn’t know! This was a hunch, wasn’t it?
- M: *sigh* There aren’t that many psychiatrists that delve into…our type, for lack of a better term. Word spreads fast. I have the background on your services, but things were locked out, as you so eloquently put it, before I could get any good dirt. But still…if there was a chance…
- D: There’s no alternative mission…no monetary gain? You really just want…hmmm…I meant what I said. No guarantees. This may get messy.
- M: As always. So…you know, I may have wanted someone that is NOT considered a person close to me. If I disclose it, would you be able to set up someone like that, too?
- D: Nope Nope Nope. This is a one-time deal. You get one person, I contact on my time. If they say no, you don’t get another chance. Understood?
- M: Clearly. Doesn’t mean I will stop trying. I have more on you, you know. Think about it. Every person you see in your life could be me, doctor. A. Ny. One.
- D: And every person you meet is an opportunity for you to stop looking at them as a puppet to mimic, and engage them for who you really are. I guess we’ll both have doubts.
- M: You are learning to negotiate better. Keep at it, and I might consider this…therapeutic.
So that seemed pretty unnerving that she just presented herself as your wife and daughter right at the start there.
Doc Issues: Yeah. I guess it’s also a credit to me that I know them well enough that it was unnerving rather than me just taking it as status quo according to just about every other trope you could think of.
Anthony: True. I suppose there’s something to be said for really knowing someone deep down beneath the skin. So that’s going to wrap it up for this particular episode then. So recommended reading is going to be the Mystique Solo run. Specifically the first 13 issues. Brian K. Vaughn creates the story where mystique has to work as a double agent. For Professor Xavier. And so he poses as Magni to basically break her out from prison and potential execution. So then she says that someone is out to frame her taking control of the brotherhood.
And so as long as mystique doesn’t kill anybody, Xavier is going to keep her safe from the authorities. And so this puts her into conflict with some of the other X-Men. It puts her into conflict with Rogue. It’s a pretty solid story. I didn’t really mention it in the backstory because it’s not relevant to a lot of the larger scale stuff other than the conflict with Rogue, which is an ongoing thing, but it’s it’s pretty good stuff.
And so there is a tray paper back that collects the whole 13 issues of. Brian Kon. And then the second half, I forget the author is the second half of the solo run. There’s like another 11 issues or so, , So you can check that out. So upcoming episodes, Poison Ivy or McTaggart and Gladiator of the Imperial Guards Bit bit out there selection, but that does like his more obscure characters.
I’m just waiting for him to pick somebody from Sebus, because I know Matt loves that story and that means I’m gonna have to sit down and read 300 freaking comics the entire run. , I’m gonna have to devote a whole week just for that. But anyway
As always, you can find all of our episodes on our website, capes on the couch.com. You can also find us on the Gonna geek website, the Gonna geek.com site for the Gonna Geek Network. We are a proud member of that network of shows, and you can check out several of the other fantastic shows. I know Doc and I both have appearances on play comics that will be coming up soon-ish.
I know Chris has a whole bunch of episodes in the can. It’s just a matter of him getting it out and actually releasing them. He’s got the opposite problem that we have. We’re scrambling to get these things done last minute. He’s sitting on month’s worth of episodes, . So Chris, you know, if you wanna share.
You wanna throw one over on our feed? Give us a break so we have a buffer. I laugh but I’m not joking. But in all seriousness, go over to gonna geek.com and check out the other fantastic shows that are on the network. So you can find us on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter for however long that is gonna last.
Add capes on the couch. You can email us capes on the email@example.com. And as we said at the top of the show, you can go to patreon.com/capes on the couch and subscribe and unlock additional content, early access, uncensored material, and so much more. And I’m gonna wrap all that up. So, Doc,
Doc Issues: no matter how complicated life can be, you’ll always have control of your own mystique.
Anthony: Oh, do you?
Doc Issues: Uh, for Anthony, I guess. Oh God. I’m Dr. CHUs. Thank you so much. We’ll see you next week,
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