Thursday, July 30, 2009
This is an interesting book.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
- consciously think about how you feel and what you need to say
- visualize a barrier around negative emotions
- see a barrier or wall between you and what you want to keep out
- visualize a protective bubble around you
- image or even verbalize that you now have control over your body, boundaries, and the abuser
- trust your gut feeling and inner voice
- tell people what your limits are
- tell yourself that you are worthwhile
- look in the mirror and tell your that you love yourself and approve of who you are
- be aware of colors that give you strength or a sense of of confidence
- feel a physical and time distance between yourself and the old hurts
- see the distance between you and others
- think about and listen to the distance that feel comfortable between you and others
- from a physical sense practice not merging with others' emotions and issues
- do you feel compelled to help people solve their problems or by trying to take care of their feelings
- do you find it easier to feel and express anger about injustices done to others than about injustices done to you
- do you feel safest and most comfortbale when you are giving to others
- do you feel insecure and quilty when someone gives to you
- do you feel empty, bored, and worthless if you don't have someones else to take care of, a problem to solve, or a crisis to deal tih
- are you often unable to stop talking, thinking, and worrying about other people and their problems
- do you lose interest in your own life when you are in love
- do you stay in relationships that don't work and tolerate abuse in order to keep people loving you
- do you leave bad relationships only to form new ones that don't work, either?
Monday, July 27, 2009
Greetings, my dearest friends. Again, I shall try to help those of you who are on the path to move forward from where they may be stuck. Although each of you may have a different problem to encounter in himself at this moment, this lecture will converge into the one point all of you now need in order to proceed without too much hindrance from within yourself, So, let us understand certain fundamental factors, as they exist in yourself and in the universe.
It has been said by all great spiritual teachings that creation is infinite in its possibilities and that man's potential to realize these infinite possibilities of happiness exists in the depths of his being. Almost all of you have heard these words. Some of you may believe them, at least in principle. Others may have their doubts about accepting them, even in theory. Let us now try to overcome some of the difficulties in this respect.
It is, first of all, necessary to understand that no one creates anything new by himself. Nothing new ever comes into existence. This would be an impossibility. But it is possible to make manifest something that already exists. It is a fact that everything, absolutely everything, exists already. The word everything cannot convey the scope of this concept. When one speaks about the infinity of God, about the infinity of Creation, this is part of the meaning. There is no state of being, no experience, no situation, no concept, no feeling, no object, no manifestation -- in whatever variety, or type, or degree -- that does not already exist. It exists as a potentiality, and already in that potential lies the finished product. I can see that this idea is not easy for man to embrace, for it is so contrary to the way of thinking, being, and experiencing on the level of consciousness he generally lives in. But the more you can deepen your thoughts on that subject, the easier it will become to perceive, to sense, to grasp this truth.
Nothing is created anew, all exists already. It exists on another level of being, of experience, of consciousness. It can be found right now, immediately -- if and when specific obstructions are eliminated. Knowing and understanding this principle of Creation -- that all exists already and that man can make these existing possibilities manifest -- is one of the necessary prerequisites.
Before man can create new possibilities of unfoldment and entirely new ranges of experience in his personal life, it is necessary that he first learns to apply these laws of Creation to his problem areas: to those aspects of life where he is troubled, limited, handicapped -- where he feels trapped. Healthy unfoldment follows the creation of a healthy personality. The learning and comprehension of the laws of Creation can take place only if one applies them first to the afflicted area of the personality.
Whatever possibility you can conceive of, you can realize. Suppose you are in a conflicting situation from which you cannot see a way out. As long as you do not conceive of a way out, you truly cannot realize the already existing possibility. Or, if your concepts about the way out are hazy or unrealistic, so will be the temporary solutions that will appear as the only possibilities. The same applies, of course, to your life as a whole, as well as to specific areas. If you truly comprehend that an infinite number of possibilities exists in any given situation, you can find solutions where it was hitherto impossible to do so.
It is man's prerogative to make use of these laws of Creation and to reach out for these infinite possibilities to unfold and partake of life's offerings. If man's life seems so limited, it is only because he is convinced his life must be limited. He cannot conceive of anything more than what he has experienced until now, and what he is experiencing at present. This is precisely the first handicap. Therefore, in order to expand your own possibilities of happiness, your mind must grasp this principle: you cannot bring to life what you cannot conceive. This sentence should be truly meditated on, for the understanding of it will open new doors. And you should understand that there is a vast difference between conceiving of further possibilities of expansion, of happiness, on the one hand, and of daydreaming on the other. Wistful, resigned daydreaming that grabs the fantasy as a substitute for a drab reality is not at all what is meant here; such daydreaming is really a hindrance to the proper conceiving of life's potentials. What I mean is a vigorous, active, dynamic reality concept of what is possible. When you know that something you wish to bring about exists in principle, you have made the first step toward its realization.
Therefore, I invite everyone of you to contemplate what you truly conceive of as possibilities for your life. If you examine yourself closely, you will find, primarily, that you conceive of negative possibilities, which you naturally fear and wish to avoid. You defend yourself against negative possibilities. You use the main part of your psychic energies in order to defend against negative possibilities.
Negative motivation does not necessarily mean a destructive intent. For that matter, a positive motivation, in this context, could mean a very destructive intent or aim. The avoidance of a feared possibility means negative motivation. Upon close examination of your mental and emotional processes, you will find that you are negatively motivated to a considerable extent. This is one of the first obstructions which encloses you in an imaginary and needless prison. This applies, of course, to all levels of your personality. It applies to the mental level, where you cannot really envisage the infinite vistas of experience, of expansion, of stimulation, of all sorts of wondrous and happy possibilities you have a prerogative to achieve in this life. It exists on the emotional level, where you do not allow the spontaneous and natural flow of your feelings. You fearfully, anxiously, and suspiciously hold back this spontaneous flow of what you really feel. And it exists physically, where you do not permit your body to experience the pleasure it is destined to experience.
All these are limitations which you artificially and needlessly inflict upon yourself. The next hindrance and obstruction in connection with expanding your life and creating the best of all possible lives for yourself is a cluster of misconceptions widespread in the world. We have discussed them in the past and in various other connections. Briefly recapitulating, they are: "It is not possible to be really happy; man's life is very limited; happiness, pleasure, ecstasy are frivolous, selfish aims the truly spiritual person must abandon for his spiritual development, which must consist of sacrifice and renunciation." We do not have to elucidate these deeply lodged misconceptions, which are often more in the unconscious than in the conscious mind. We discussed this sufficiently in the past. But it is necessary that you discover the subtle way in which you abide by such concepts, no matter what you consciously believe. You may discover these subtle reactions by observing the reluctance which you feel against realizing a perfectly harmless and normal fulfillment, a genuine need, a truly constructive aim. You feel as though something were holding you back, paralyzing your effort. Although there are often a number of other reasons for this reluctance as well -- some of which we shall discuss shortly -- it is also often true that you simply have accepted a negative idea that really makes no sense and has no good purpose.
Fear of happiness, of pleasure, of wide expansion in one's life experiences is based on ignorance that such fulfillment could exist. On ignorance that you possess all the powers, faculties, and resources to create and bring about what you wish. On misconceptions, such as that pleasure is wrong, that it is selfish to want personal fulfillment. On fear of being annihilated and dissolved if one trusted the flow of the universal forces and went with them. Such trust necessitates letting go of the ego-will and the ego-forces and surrendering to the beneficial forces of your deep nature.
Every single human being in this world harbors an attitude of fear and weakness. This corner of the personality usually induces a strong shame, so that it is kept secret, often even from the conscious mind. Many different devices are invented in order to hide this weak, dependent area in which one feels utterly helpless, dependent, unable to assert the self, unable even to protect one's truth and integrity. Here one is constantly compelled to sell out, to betray oneself, in order to ward off disapproval, censure, rejection. The need for such acceptance by others is mostly less shameful than the measures to which the personality goes in order to submit, to placate, to appease. We did discuss some of these aspects in the past, of course, since they are psychologically so fundamental that we could not have gotten so far in our work unless considerable work had already been done in this respect. All the defense mechanisms you have discovered and, perhaps to some extent, begun to remove, are nothing but either ways to obtain this apparently vital acceptance from others, and/or ways to hide this shameful submission.
In this lecture we shall go into this topic with a still closer scrutiny, especially from the point of view of realizing life's possibilities. We are less concerned here with ways in which you hide this shameful area -- often by an apparently opposite attitude, such as indifference, hostility, compulsion, and blind rebellion, over-aggressiveness, and so forth.
Few things give man as much pain and shame as this weak spot in himself, which makes him feel impotent and compelled to sell out. We already know, my friends, that this area has remained a child. The child does not yet know that the whole of the personality has grown up and is, indeed, no longer helpless and dependent. An infant or a young child truly is helpless and dependent on the parents. But in this corner of your being that is still a child you either do not know or do not want to know that this is no longer true, that you are no longer helpless and dependent, that you are an adult.
To briefly recapitulate: the child is dependent on the parents for everything: shelter, food, affection, protection, and last, but not least, also on the so necessary supply of pleasure. For man cannot live without pleasure. It is one of the most harmful errors to deny this truth. Body, soul, mind, and spirit wither without pleasure. As the adult is able to establish conditions by his own forces and resources to provide shelter, food, affection, and safety, so is he able to do the same about pleasure. In all these areas he must have contact, cooperation, and communication with others -- in varying degrees. He cannot provide for himself any of these necessities without interplay with other people. But this interplay, or interaction, is entirely different from the passive, weak, dependency of the small child. The thoroughly adult person uses his own best forces, his intelligence, his intuition, his talents, his observation, his flexibility to get along with others in giving and taking. His sense of fairness makes him sufficiently pliable to give in. And his sense of self makes him sufficiently assertive not to be stepped on and abused.
The often fine balance in these forces of communication cannot be taught; it is an awareness that comes through personal growth. The child is incapable of this. He is rigidly one-sided in his insistence to receive, for this is his need. The same applies to pleasure. The child must have the parent's permission, as it were, to have pleasure. The adult must have his own permission to establish and utilize the source of all pleasure deep within himself. Through his own permission, he will have the force and security to make meaningful contact. If he first needs the other person to approve before he can allow himself to experience pleasure, he is still in the position of a child, or even of an infant. I repeat, this never implies that one can do without others. But the emphasis is shifted. The adult finds in himself a well of inexhaustibly wonderful feelings. Insecurity and weakness are not possible when these feelings are activated.
When man is distorted in this respect and part of his development is arrested, he waits for another person -- a parental substitute -- to make it possible for him to realize this deep source of his own rich feelings. He knows of them and yearns for them. But he does not know that he is no longer a child who is dependent on others for being allowed to feel them, for being able to activate and express his feelings. This is his tragedy, for he thus moves into a vicious circle. Whenever a misconception is adhered to, immediately a vicious circle comes into being, which paralyzes the pleasure forces, a good part of energy, and thus makes life dull and lusterless.
To deny the intense pleasure of being, the pleasure of the energy flow of man's body, soul, and spirit, is to deny life. When a child suffers such a denial, his psyche receives sort of a shock -- perhaps by repeated absence of pleasure and unfulfilled yearning. This shock prevents growth, so that the personality grows lopsidedly. In his conscious mind, man ignores the fact that in him exists a crying, claiming, angry, and helpless child. He believes himself entirely grown. Yet on the unconscious level, where this child exists, he is unaware that he has not grown up, and no longer needs the parental permission, or, even more, the parent (substitute) for the source of pleasure and life. He does not know that he is free to move toward pleasure, toward his own fulfillment, toward the realization of his own powers to obtain whatever he wants and needs. This is one of the most fundamental splits in man's personality.
Let us now look a bit closer at this hidden corner, where man has remained a child. Let us see where his consciousness ignores this and where the child ignores the rights and powers of the adult state. The particular vicious circle I mentioned before is this: not knowing that all exists already, so that it can be (re)created as a manifestation in his life, makes him dependent on an outside force, another authority, for all his wants and needs. In this distortion of facts, he waits for fulfillment from the wrong source. This keeps the need perpetually unfulfilled. The more unfulfilled he is, the more urgent the need becomes. The more urgent the need, the greater his dependence, his hope, his attempt to please whomever is supposed to fill it. He becomes desperate. Desperate because the more he tries, the less the need is fulfilled, as it must be in this unrealistic attempt. Consciously he knows nothing of this, he does not know what forces drive him -- not even in what direction. And he is desperate because, in his urgency to have the need fulfilled, he betrays himself, his truth, his best. Both his frustrated striving and his self-betrayal create a forcing current. This forcing current may manifest in a very subtle way. It may not be overt at all, but the emotions are all cramped up with it and it must inevitably affect others and have its lawful and appropriate consequences. Any forcing current is bound to make others resist and shrink back, even if what they are forced to do were for their own benefit and delight. Thus the vicious circle continues. The continued frustration, believed to be caused by the mean refusal of the other to cooperate and to give, brings rage, fury, and perhaps even vindictiveness, and also varying degrees of cruel impulses into the soul. This, in turn, weakens the personality even more, for guilt comes up. The destructive feelings must be hidden, so as not to antagonize the "source of life." The net of entanglement becomes tighter and tighter, the individual is completely ensnarled in this trap of his own misconceptions, distortions, and illusions, with all the destructive emotions that follow suit. He finds himself in the preposterous position of craving for the love and acceptance of a person whom he hates and resents for having left him unfulfilled for so long. This one-sidedness -- this insistence to be loved by a person one deeply resents and wishes to punish -- increases guilt, for the ever wakeful presence of the real self flashes its reactions into a mind that is unable to interpret and sort out the messages of the real self from those that come from the child inside.
The fact that this need is not fulfilled by the other also weakens man's conviction that he has a right to the pleasure he so much desires. He vaguely suspects that he may be wrong to want this. Thus he begins to displace the original, natural need and desire, he conducts them into other channels, where they are "sublimated." More or less compulsive other needs come into existence. All the while he is torn between the force of the deeply hidden original need and the doubt that he has a right to it. The more he doubts, the more dependent he becomes for reconfirmation by an authority person -- a parent substitute, public opinion, certain groups of people who represent the last word of truth.
The more the vicious circle goes on, the less pleasure and the more unpleasure exists in the psyche and the more such a person must despair about life and doubt that fulfillment is possible. There comes a point when a person inwardly gives up.
There is not a single human being who does not harbor, in some way and to some degree, such a weak area within. In this secret corner he feels not only helpless and dependent, but deeply ashamed for the means he employs in order to placate the person who, at any given period, is supposed to fulfill the role of the authority to grant him what he needs in pleasure, safety, and self-respect.
The forcing current says, "you must." It makes demands on others to be, feel, and do what the person needs and desires. This may not at all manifest outwardly. In fact, on the surface it may have the entirely opposite effect. Man's inability or difficulty to healthily assert himself is a direct result of hiding the shameful and threatening forcing current. It is threatening because the person knows quite well that if it shows openly, it will evoke great censure and disapproval and possibly even overt rejection.
I invite all my friends to vigorously face this feared area in themselves. Some of you have done so already, others are still struggling with it and have only half-heartedly admitted its existence. Perhaps some of you may still have to face up to it. But all of you must tackle it if you wish to realize life's and your own best potentials, if you wish to discover your own infinite powers to create infinite goodness in your life.
The stronger the "must" is secretly and inwardly thrown at others, the more man inactivates his own powers and the more paralyzed and inactive he becomes in body, soul, and mind. This inactivity exists, on the one level, where he does not move into his own nucleus, where all realistic promise lies, where all potential for every kind of fulfillment and delight exists. He inadvertently makes himself hang on to others, which must elicit hate. Finding the treasure of one's nucleus, on the contrary, makes one free, and contact with others becomes a delightful luxury that elicits love.
By continually using inner, covert pressure on others, because he believes himself dependent on them, man diminishes his available energy supply. If energy is used in its natural, correct, meaningful way, it never exhausts itself. There are innumerable means man uses in order to send forth this forcing current. It may be from every degree of compliance, passive resistance, spite, withdrawal, the refusal to cooperate, forceful outer aggression, the attempt to persuade through false strength, and assuming oneself a kind of authority role, intimidations, etc., etc. They all mean, deep down, "you must love me and give me what I need." The more he is blindly involved in this way of being, the more man weakens himself, and the further he alienates himself from the center of his true inner life, where all is found that he needs and can ever want.
In order to re-orient and re-condition the soul forces into health and into their true nature, the following must happen: man must let go of the particular person or persons of whom he expects his life fulfillment and whom he, simultaneously, resents for this very fact. He must recognize that he extends expectations to and makes demands on others that no one else can fulfill but himself, for himself. The real love you all need and long for can only come when your soul is fearless and when you know that the material to love with -- the strength of your feelings, with which you can give and receive -- is found within you. For as long as you hang on to another in the ways of a child, denying the adult you are, you enslave yourself in the true sense of the word. The more you do this, the less you can either receive or give; the less real feelings of any sort, feelings about any vital experience, can find a place within you. For fear and anger take up most of the "room" in your psyche. This is why it is so essential to let out these negative emotions, in the way you learn to do on this path, where no one is harmed. Letting out makes room for the good feelings. Here so many of my friends are still locked and paralyzed. It is the last thing you want to do. Even if you admit such negative emotions in principle, you still prefer to act them out rather than express them and take the responsibility for them onto yourself. You still claim a false perfection, which you do not really believe to exist in yourself any longer, in order to favorably dispose others toward you. Also, you cling to the negative emotions for dear life because you fear the positive feelings.
The less you are responsible for yourself in the deepest possible sense -- concerning the negative feelings you still possess, as well as your possibility to create happiness -- the more you must live in fear. Consequently, the more you must "do" to eliminate that fear. Thus negative motivation comes about. You live in a makeshift life of avoidance, rather than unfoldment and expansion, of positive experience and pleasure. You aim to avoid the threat of your own negative feelings, which would spoil your aim of obtaining from others that which you must obtain from yourself. You stake your salvation on others, from whom it can never come.
Apart from recognizing all these aspects, which is the fundamental necessity, the reorientation must always begin by the willingness to let go. This cannot be forced upon one who has not been made aware of the dependency itself in very exact ways. But once this is the case, it becomes possible to give up what one so tightly holds on to. This loosening up must occur in order to bring about a change in the balance structure of soul forces so that benign circles are set into motion. You must also be willing to dispense with your rationalizations that make your "case" seem so right. For you can always succeed to present it to yourself and to others as though your wishes, your needs, and your demands on others are not only justified, but that there is nothing wrong about them, that, in fact, they are also beneficial for the other. This may even be quite true, as far as it goes. What you want, in principle, may indeed be good and legitimate. But in a hidden, emotional forcing current you go about it in the wrong way and you do not grant the other person the freedom you wish for yourself. You do not give him the right to freely choose whom to love and accept, you coerce him; you feel rejected and hated when he asserts this freedom; you refuse him the right to be wrong without being hated and totally denied. This is a freedom you very much wish for yourself and you deeply resent it when others do not grant it to you. You are unable to defend yourself adequately in such cases, only because you do not grant this same freedom to others on certain emotional levels. When you look very closely, you will find this to be true. And when you do so, your sense of fairness and objectivity will help you to give up what you so desperately hold on to, even while you emotionally still believe that your life depends on getting the other to feel and do as you wish.
Once you have learned this initial condition -- surely with a number of inevitable relapses, that must forever be newly observed and dealt with -- you will take a vast step towards the source of your inner being, where you are not chained in weakness and anxiety, in fear and anger. You all chafe at the leash around your neck that keeps you dependent and anxious in a situation in which you cannot find the strength to assert yourself; in which you find yourself absolutely caught and cannot see a way out, for each possibility seems wrong. None of the visible alternatives give you that good feeling about yourself, that resilient strength and well-being, in which even different steps become feasible because you know they are right for you. Most of you have, at least occasionally, experienced this. It is that your real self is freed and is operative through you. It is our aim to bring it out completely. In order to do so, this weak point must be found so that you can eventually let go of it.
The weak point is where you are most bound and anxious. Ask yourself what it is that you want from the other person -- where you are bound, resentful, afraid, weak, and unable to assert yourself? This is your leash, which can be given up only when you stop wanting from others what you must supply from yourself. Whatever it is you find you need from others, verbalize it concisely to yourself. This will bring you nearer to letting go. You will then know that this is precisely where you enslave, weaken, and paralyze yourself. You will then experience a new, resilient strength coming out of you that suddenly conciliates apparently insoluble problems. You will become free as you let free. Only when you can let go -- on the ego level -- in the areas where you exert force, can you gain or win -- on the level of Creation -- the power to form a good life. Conversely, your inability to give up, to let free, to be fair; your insistence to win and have your way, your refusal to lose on this ego-level, makes it impossible to win where it counts and makes it impossible for you to find your real strength.
Jesus Christ spoke about this when He said, "He who wants to live must be able to lose his life." This is the meaning. In the very first lectures here, a good number of years ago, I spoke the sentence, "You must give up what you want to gain." This is the meaning. Here we are dealing with levels. I hope it is quite clear that there is no sacrifice or renunciation involved. What is meant here is that you cannot obtain what you want, and what you should have, in the manner and through the source you exert your effort to. The emphasis must shift. If you insist to win on the wrong level, you cannot win. If you can lose on that level, you will win. You will inevitably come into that nucleus of yourself where every conceivable power exists. As you grant others the right to be, whether it is convenient to you or not, to that extent you will truly find your own rights.
It is a steadily growing process to find these rights. First it will manifest by no longer selling out, in no longer downgrading yourself. You will find genuine, good defenses against abuse. You will feel good about them. Later, you will discover ever increasing "rights" for pleasure and happiness, which you can expand towards obtaining. You will find yourself move toward vistas and visions of what your life can be, possibilities you never dreamed could exist. You will suddenly permit yourself pleasure. You will no longer cramp up against it, as inadvertently you continuously do. You will stop undermining the spontaneous processes and will learn to trust in them. This will open a richness of life and a security that truly are heavenly. By letting go and giving up inner forcing, you will experience the beauty of free relationships, not forced relationships. When you live in the dependency pattern, you force the other and are thus forced to make him do what you want. Thus you have mutual force. This weakens you and creates a host of negative emotions through which you lose contact with the nucleus of your real being, as well as with your good feelings. When you can lose gracefully, you will find a treasure within that is an entirely new venture, a new way of life, whose beginning stages you are just embarking on. You will feel free in the areas of your life where heretofore you have felt so weak and trapped.
Reach into your inner being, communicate with it, for the purpose of eliminating this weakness in you that binds you and that wastefully and needlessly holds you back in your life, for no good purpose whatever, no matter how much you may glorify this holding back. All of you do this in one way or the other, just as mankind has done for millennia, by saying that pleasure is wrong and frivolous and unspiritual. This way you may have your own private excuses to beautify your weakness and apparently make an asset out of it. Thus you cannot really come face to face with yourself. Only by coming face to face with the forcing current in you that says to others "you must," can you also come face to face with the strength, the beauty, and all the potentials that exist in you, in a way you cannot even fathom yet.
Be blessed by the great strength that is here now, but even more so by the great strength that dwells in you. Be in peace, be in God.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
involves misunderstanding that what in reality, comes from inside as coming from outside. In its mature use, it is the basis for understanding, intuition, and empathy. In its immature form, projection creates misunderstanding when the projected feelings and attitudes distort the person on whom they are being projected. Others resent being misperceived and may retaliate when treated as if they are, for example, angry or dishonest, when the person projecting is actually the angry or dishonest person. (It is interesting to observe the reaction of each party. The person being falsely projected upon frequently appears upset and emotional, trying to justify and explain why they are not guilty. When they confront the person projecting onto them, the projecting person often flies into a immediate rage, as if to bully the accuser from the accusations, which are in fact true. This often indicates who is the projector and who is the person receiving the projections.) It has been thought by some psychologists, that projection is not always completely unconscious, due to the extreme protestations of the projecting party. As in Shakespeare's example from on of his plays: "Methinks the lady doeth protesteth too much", there must be some level of conscious acknowledgement in order for the person to know what to project and to rage when caught. There are differing theories including the belief that when the person projecting his/her unacceptable feelings onto someone else, and that someone does not accept the projections, then the projector cannot 'get rid' of the unacceptable feelings and is very threatened by the feelings, thus the rage reaction may be due to having no acceptable psychological space to contain the feelings, which are so threatening to the projector.
lesson -------- be aware who we are, do not take the projection from others, if others get mad, that is his or her own problems, not ours
involves misunderstanding that what is coming from outside as coming from inside. It is the opposite of projection. In its benign form it involves identifying with important others. Children take in attitudes of teachers, heros, and significant people in their lives. Many long to be like mommy and daddy. In its extreme forms, is very destructive. The most notorious form in psychoanalytic literature is 'identification with the aggressor" where the victim takes on behaviors of the perpetrator in order to feel less helpless and more powerful. The victim in effect, becomes one with the aggressor. Another maladaptive situation occurs when one is unable to move past a death due to a deep attachment to the departed. The result is sometimes permenant depression as the person feels diminished as if part of the self has died. (An example from literature would be Mary Shelley, who was unable to overcome her identification with her deceased mother and wrote almost exclusively about death, deterioration of the human body, and grief, in her early years.) Another example would be the case of a parent taking on the mistakes of their child as a reflection of their own lack of competency. This also implies boundary distortion.
Projective identification is a process where projecton and introjection are fused. The person doing the projecting onto another, not only projects in a distorted way that is determined by their past introjections, but also pressures the person to behave in a way that reflects this fantasy. The person both projects what is inside (anger, fear, envy, etc.) onto the target person and works to get the person to act as if they have the same internalized introjects. It is a very primitive form of projection and differs from more mature forms in that there is a lack of adequate boundaries as well as separation from parents psychologically.
An example of projective identification would be a person who feels they may be unattractive to the opposite sex, yet projects this feeling onto the partner thinking the partner is actually the unattractive one, thus disowning the feelings. (Perhaps it was triggered by the partner's overconfidence in appearance that triggered envy in the projector and or due to detection of a subtle, ocassional feeling of being unattractive at times, that the projector picked up on.) The projector then works to get the partner to respond likewise, if the partner fails to comply, and continues to act confidently, the projector will subtly provoke feelings in the partner, by actions that suggest/imply the partner is not attractive to the projector (by making flattering statements about others' level of attractiveness but not the partner's, etc.) thereby creating or eliciting the partner to feel unattractive in the relationship. One can readily see who is projecting onto whom, when the partner/victim leaves the relationship and no longer feels unattractive. The projector then, upon crisis or abandonment, may become aware of the personal feeling of unattractiveness in themselves, until they find another partner/victim to project it upon. Thus the repetitive nature of relationships involving projection. Generally, the projector refuses to consider that the projections originate within. It is a way of protecting the self from unacceptable feelings.
A similar example is seen in the case of a person who doubts his/her own intelligence level and attempts to manipulate others perceptions/opinions by using complicated phrasing while communicating, or by referring to themselves as having a high IQ. They attempt to lead others to feel unintelligent by their intellectualizations due to their own doubts about their own intelligence. They may be highly critical of others and belittle their accomplishments to compensate for their inferior feelings.
Splitting is another defense mechanism originating from a preverbal time where the infant is unable to understand that good and bad qualities reside in the same individual (caretaker). Until object constancy is established in the infant, splitting will occur. In everyday life, examples of splitting can easily be seen in cartoon depictions of good vs evil, in political campaigns, racism, and corporate factions. Splitting can be effective in maintaining self-worth and in reducing anxiety. However, since it involves a distortion of reality, it is not considered to be an effective defense. It is a tendency to make gross good-bad distinctions. Examples of splitting would be the belief that all republicans are bad, all persons of an ethnic group or particular socioeconomic class are inferior, etc.
This book is ok.
A boundary is the:
- Emotional and physical space between you and another person.
- Demarcation of where you end and another begins and where you begin and another ends.
- Limit or line over which you will not allow anyone to cross because of the negative impact of its being crossed in the past.
- Established set of limits over your physical and emotional well-being which you expect others to respect in their relationship with you.
- Emotional and physical space you need in order to be the real you without the pressure from others to be something that you are not.
- Emotional and/or physical perimeter of your life which is or has been violated when you were emotionally, verbally, physically and/or sexually abused.
- Healthy emotional and physical distance you can maintain between you and another so that you do not become overly enmeshed and/or dependent.
- Appropriate amount of emotional and physical closeness you need to maintain so that you and another do not become too detached and/or overly independent.
- Balanced emotional and physical limits set on interacting with another so that you can achieve an interdependent relationship of independent beings who do not lose their personal identity, uniqueness and autonomy in the process.
- Clearly defined limits within which you are free to be yourself with no restrictions placed on you by others as to how to think, feel or act.
- Set of parameters which make you a unique, autonomous and free individual who has the freedom to be a creative, original, idiosyncratic problem solver.
You can tell boundaries are being ignored if there are one or more of the following characteristic symptoms:
- Over Enmeshment: This symptom requires everyone to follow the rule that everyone must do everything together and that everyone is to think, feel and act in the same way. No one is allowed to deviate from the family or group norms. Everyone looks homogeneous. Uniqueness, autonomy and idiosyncratic behaviors are viewed as deviations from the norm.
- Disassociation: This symptom involves blanking out during a stressful emotional event. You feel your physical and/or emotional space being violated and you tell yourself something like: "It doesn't matter." "Ignore it and it will go away soon enough.'' "No sense in fighting it, just hang on and it will be over soon.'' "Don't put up a struggle or else it will be worse for you.'' This blanking out results in your being out of touch with your feelings about what happened. It also may result in your inability to remember what happened.
- Excessive Detachment: This symptom occurs when neither you nor anyone else in the group or family is able to establish any fusion of emotions or affiliation of feelings. Everyone is totally independent from everyone else and there doesn't seem to be anything to hold you and them together in healthy union. You and they seem to lack a common purpose, goal, identity or rationale for existing together. There is a seeming lack of desire from you and the other members to draw together to form a union because you fear loss of personal identity.
- Victimhood or Martyrdom: In this symptom, you identify yourself as a violated victim and become overly defensive to ward off further violation. Or it can be that once you accept your victimization you continue to be knowingly victimized and then let others know of your martyrdom.
- Chip on the Shoulder: This symptom is reflected in your interactions with others. Because of your anger over past violation of your emotional and/or physical space and the real or perceived ignoring of your rights by others, you have a "chip on your shoulder'' that declares "I dare you to come too close!''
- Invisibility: This symptom involves your pulling in or over-controlling so that others even yourself never know how you are really feeling or what you are really thinking. Your goal is not to be seen or heard so that your boundaries are not violated.
- Aloofness or Shyness: This symptom is a result of your insecurity from real or perceived experiences of being ignored, roved or rejected in the past. This feels like a violation of your efforts to expand or stretch your boundaries to include others in your space. Once rejected you take the defensive posture to reject others before they reject you. This keeps you inward and unwilling or fearful of opening up your space to others.
- Cold and Distant: This symptom builds walls or barriers to insure that others do not permeate or invade your emotional or physical space. This too can be a defense, due to previous hurt and pain, from being violated, hurt, ignored or rejected. This stance is your declaration that "I've drawn the line over which I dare you to cross.'' It is a way to keep others out and put them off.
- Smothering: This symptom results when another is overly solicitous of your needs and interests. This cloying interest is overly intrusive into your emotional and physical space. It can be so overwhelming that you feel like you are being strangled, held too tightly and lack freedom to breathe on your own. You feel violated, used and overwhelmed.
- Lack of Privacy: this symptom is present when you feel that nothing you think, feel or do is your own business. You are expected to report to others in your family or group all the detail and content of your feelings, reactions, opinions, relationships and dealings with the outside world. You begin to feel that nothing you experience can be kept in the privacy of your own domain. You begin to believe you don't have a private domain or your own space into which you can escape to be your own person.
Rational boundary building thinking These are just a few examples of unhealthy thoughts or beliefs which allow boundaries to be ignored or violated. Following each unhealthy belief is a more healthy, rational, realistic, reality-based affirmation for healthy boundary building.
- Unhealthy: I can never say "no'' to others.
- Healthy Boundary Builder: I have a right to say "no'' to others if it is an invasion of my space or a violation of my rights.
- Unhealthy: It is my duty to hold them together.
- Healthy Boundary Builder: I have a right to take care of myself. If they want to stay together as a family or group, it is up to each individual to make such a decision. They all have equal responsibility to create the interdependency needed to keep us a united group.
- Unhealthy: I can never trust anyone again.
- Healthy Boundary Builder: I have a right to take the risk to grow in my relationships with others. If I find my space or rights are being violated or ignored, I can assertively protect myself to ensure I am not hurt.
- Unhealthy: I would feel guilty if I did something on my own and left my family or group out of it.
- Healthy Boundary Builder: I have the right and need to do things which are uniquely mine so that I do not become so overly enmeshed with others that I lose my identity.
- Unhealthy: I should do everything I can to spend as much time together with you or else we won't be a healthy family or group.
- Healthy Boundary Builder: I have a right and a need to explore my own interests, hobbies and outlets so that I can bring back to this family or group my unique personality to enrich our lives rather than be lost in a closed and over enmeshed system.
- Unhealthy: It doesn't matter what they are doing to me. As long as I keep quiet and don't complain, they will eventually leave me alone.
- Healthy Boundary Builder: I will never again allow my space and rights to be violated. I will stand up for myself and assert my rights to be respected and not hurt or violated. If they choose to ignore me, then I have the right to leave them or ask them to get out of my life.
- Unhealthy: As long as I am not seen or heard, I won't be violated or hurt.
- Healthy Boundary Builder: I have a right to be visible and to be seen and heard. I will stand up for myself so that others can learn to respect my rights, my needs and not violate my space.
- Unhealthy: I'd rather not pay attention to what is happening to me in this relationship which is overly intrusive, smothering and violating my privacy. In this way I don't have to feel the pain and hurt that comes from such a violation.
- Healthy Boundary Builder: I choose no longer to disassociate from my feelings when I am being treated in a negatively painful way so that I can be aware of what is happening to me and assertively protect myself from further violation or hurt.
- Unhealthy: I've been hurt badly in the past and I will never let anyone in close enough to hurt me again.
- Healthy Boundary Builder: I do not need to be cold and distant or aloof and shy as protective tools to avoid being hurt. I choose to open myself up to others trusting that I will be assertive to protect my rights and privacy from being violated.
- Unhealthy: I can never tell where to draw the line with others.
- Healthy Boundary Builder: There is a line I have drawn over which I do not allow others to cross. This line ensures me my uniqueness, autonomy and privacy. I am able to be me the way I really am rather than the way people want me to be by drawing this line. By this line I let others know: this is who I am and where I begin and you end; this is who you are and where you begin and I end; we will never cross over this line so that we can maintain a healthy relationship with one another.
How to establish healthy boundariesIn order to establish healthy boundaries between yourself and others, you need to:
- First: Identify the symptoms of your boundaries currently being or having been violated or ignored.
- Second: Identify the irrational or unhealthy thinking and beliefs by which you allow your boundaries to be ignored or violated.
- Third: Identify new, more rational, healthy thinking and beliefs which will encourage you to change your behaviors so that you build healthy boundaries between you and others.
- Fourth: Identify new behaviors you need to add to your healthy boundary building behaviors repertoire in order to sustain healthy boundaries between you and others.
- Fifth: Implement the healthy boundary building beliefs and behaviors in your life so that your space, privacy and rights are no longer ignored or violated.
Steps to establishing healthy boundaries
Step 1: In order to motivate yourself to establish healthy boundaries in your life, you first need to do a self-assessment if any symptoms of ignored or violated boundaries exist in your life. In your journal, record which of the following symptoms exist for you. For each symptom identified, detail what was the stimulus in your past for this behavior. Also detail how this symptom affects your current life. Lastly, describe how you feel about this symptom's affect on your life.The Violated or Ignored Boundaries Symptoms * Over-enmeshment* Disassociation* Excessive detachment* Victimhood or martyrdom* Chip on the shoulder* Invisibility* Aloofness or shyness* Cold and distant* Smothering* Lack of privacy
Step 2: Once you have identified the symptoms of your boundaries being ignored or violated and what the stimulus was for these symptoms, then you need to identify in your journal what unhealthy thoughts or irrational beliefs you have which led you to have your boundaries violated or ignored.
Step 3: After you have the irrational beliefs and unhealthy thoughts identified, then in your journal write down affirmations which are healthy boundary builders. You will need these boundary builders as you begin to take steps to protect your rights, privacy and personal space.
Step 4: In order to ensure your healthy boundaries are maintained, you next need to add the following behaviors to your healthy boundary builders repertoire. Each healthy boundary-builder behavior is linked to a respective Tools for Coping Series topic. To ensure the healthy boundary-building behaviors are in place, work out in your journal each of the "Steps to" sections of the boundary-builder behavior topics referenced. Healthy Boundary-Builder Behaviors
- Building Trust
- Handling Insecurity
- Handling Fear of Rejection
- Handling the Need for Approval
- On Becoming a Risk taker
- Becoming Vulnerable
- Handling Intimacy
- Goal Setting in Relationships
- Overcoming Fears
- Improving Assertive Behavior
- Accepting Personal Responsibility
- Handling Conflict
- Handling Guilt
- Overcoming the Role of Victim or Martyr
- Handling the Use of Power and Control
- Handling Confrontation
- Handling Forgiving and Forgetting
- Creating a Healing Environment
- Developing Detachment
- Eliminating Over-dependency
- Eliminating Passive Aggressiveness
- Eliminating Manipulation
- Tempering Survival Behaviors
- Developing Self-Control
Step 5:Once you have completed acquiring the healthy boundary-building behaviors, then begin to implement them as you proceed in your relationships at home, work and in your community. If you find you are still experiencing your emotional and/or physical boundaries being ignored or violated, then return to Step 1 and begin again.
Saturday, July 25, 2009
“He's not here for me," complained Hailey. “We don't spend enough time together."
“She's too needy. I need space," complained her husband, Ryan.
“He just does whatever he wants to do, with no concern for me," countered Hailey.
“She's so demanding that I just don't feel like being with her lot. I wish she'd just back off. I need time with my friends."I
in my counseling practice, I often see married couples where one spouse is emotionally dependent and the other is emotionally distant. Interestingly, both aspects of this system come from fear.
Neediness - emotional dependency - comes from a deep fear of rejection, stemming from inner abandonment. Hailey gives responsibility to Ryan for her feelings. She doesn't have enough of an inner adult self to take care of her own feelings and needs, so she makes Ryan responsible for them.
Emotional distance also comes from fear - of engulfment. Not having a strong inner adult self to speak up against being controlled and smothered by Hailey, Ryan resists and distances as a way to feel safe.
In this codependent marriage system, each person is triggering the fears of the other. Hailey's anger and complaints trigger Ryan's fear of engulfment, while his distancing triggers Hailey's fear of abandonment. Then they respond to each other with the very behavior that continues to trigger the fear. They are caught in a vicious circle, each blaming the other for the problems. Hailey really believes that if only Ryan would spend more time with her, everything would be okay, while Ryan really believes that if only Hailey would back off and stop pulling on him for time and attention, everything would be okay. Neither is accurate.Ryan cannot make Hailey feel loved and safe as long as she is abandoning herself. Until Hailey starts to notice the thoughts that create her feelings of abandonment and develops her loving inner adult self who can take emotional responsibility for her own feelings, Hailey will be a bottomless pit. No matter how much time and attention Ryan gives her, it will never be enough because the inner abandonment will continue to make her feel alone.On the other hand, even if Hailey does back off from pulling on Ryan for time and attention, it is likely he will continue to be emotionally distant. Hailey is not causing his fear of engulfment - it is being caused by not having a strong inner loving adult self to speak his truth and take care of him in the face of engulfment. As long as he does not know how to lovingly take care of himself in the face of Hailey wanting something from him, he will continue to emotionally distance. Even if Hailey is not making him responsible for her feelings, her just wanting anything with him or from him can trigger his fear of engulfment and resulting resistance.Hailey and Ryan's marriage problems will not be solved just with agreements to spend time together, or agreements regarding when Ryan can spend time with his friends. Agreements often don't last because they may be covering over the real issues of control and resistance - coming from fears of abandonment and fears of engulfment. Agreements are often another form of control. Hailey and Ryan's codependent system can heal when both people commit to developing their loving adult self.If both Ryan and Hailey practice taking responsibility for their own feelings instead of controlling or resisting each other, they will eventually develop their loving inner adult selves and become capable of: Not taking rejection, resistance and emotional distance personally.Filling themselves with love so that they are not needy for the other's time and attention.Speaking the truth about not wanting responsibility for the other's feelings, without resisting, attacking or distancing.Taking loving care of themselves without anger or distance.Taking loving action in their own behalf to ensure against engulfment.Sharing love instead of trying to get love or avoid pain.If you find yourself often complaining that your husband or wife does not spend enough time with you, you might want to look at how you might not be taking emotional responsibility for your own feelings. If you find yourself complaining that you never get time alone or with friends, you might want to look at how you are not speaking up for yourself, not taking responsibility for your own needs. Rather than blaming your spouse, over whom you have no control, try opening to learning about what loving actions you need to take in your own behalf.
There are numerous forms of emotional dependency:
- Dependence on substances, such as food, drugs, or alcohol, to fill emptiness and take away pain.
- Dependency on processes such as spending, gambling, or TV, also to fill emptiness and take away pain.
- Dependence on money to define one’s worth and adequacy.
- Dependence on getting someone’s love, approval, or attention to feel worthy, adequate, lovable, and safe.
- Dependence on sex to fill emptiness and feel adequate.
When you do not take responsibility for defining your own adequacy and worth or for creating your own inner sense of safety, you will seek to feel adequate, worthy and safe externally. Whatever you do not give to yourself, you may seek from others or from substances or processes. Emotional dependency is the opposite of taking personal responsibility for one’s emotional wellbeing. Yet many people have no idea that this is their responsibility, nor do they have any idea how to take this responsibility.
What does it mean to take emotional responsibility rather than be emotionally dependent?
Primarily, it means recognizing that our feelings come from our own thoughts, beliefs and behavior, rather than from others or from circumstances. Once you understand and accept that you create your own feelings, rather than your feelings coming from outside yourself, then you can begin to take emotional responsibility.
For example, let’s say someone you care about gets angry at you.
If you are emotionally dependent, you may feel rejected and believe that your feelings of rejection are coming from the other’s anger. You might also feel hurt, scared, anxious, inadequate, shamed, angry, blaming, or many other difficult feeling in response to the other’s anger. You might try many ways of getting the other person to not be angry in an effort to feel better.
However, if you are emotionally responsible, you will feel and respond entirely differently. The first thing you might do is to tell yourself that another person’s anger has nothing to do with you. Perhaps that person is having a bad day and is taking it out on you. Perhaps that person is feeling hurt or inadequate and is trying to be one-up by putting you one-down. Whatever the reason for the other’s anger, it is about them rather than about you. An emotionally responsible person does not take others’ behavior personally, knowing that we have no control over others’ feelings and behavior, and that we do not cause others to feel and behave the way they do - that others are responsible for their feelings and behavior just as we are for ours.
The next thing an emotionally responsible person might do is move into compassion for the angry person, and open to learning about what is going on with the other person. For example, you might say, “I don’t like your anger, but I am willing to understand what is upsetting you. Would you like to talk about it?” If the person refuses to stop being angry, or if you know ahead of time that this person is not going to open up, then as an emotionally responsible person, you would take loving action in your own behalf. For example, you might say, “I’m unwilling to be at the other end of your anger. When you are ready to be open with me, let me know. Meanwhile, I’m going to take a walk (or hang up the phone, or leave the restaurant, or go into the other room, and so on). An emotionally responsible person gets out of range of attack rather than tries to change the other person.
Once out of range, the emotionally responsible person goes inside and explores any painful feelings that might have resulted from the attack. For example, perhaps you are feeling lonely as a result of being attacked. An emotionally responsible person embraces the feelings of loneliness with understanding and compassion, holding them just as you would hold a sad child. When you acknowledge and embrace the feelings of loneliness, you allow them to move through you quickly, so you can move back into peace.
Rather than being a victim of the other’s behavior, you have taken emotional responsibility for yourself. Instead of staying stuck in feeling angry, hurt, blaming, afraid, anxious or inadequate, you have moved yourself back into feeling safe and peaceful.
When you realize that your feelings are your responsibility, you can move out of emotional dependency. This will make a huge difference within you and with all of your relationships. Relationships thrive when each person moves out of emotional dependency and into emotional responsibility.
What are some signs of deep, abiding shame in our clients? They may actually appear shamed- shy, hunched over, with slow, hesitant speech and little eye contact. They have mustered few defenses against the inner barrage of shame. Often, they may feel deeply exposed, unable to deny the pain, unable to protect
their core identity from attack and disruption. And so they naturally withdraw, physically in reduced eye contact and hunching down, and emotionally in avoiding connection with you. Your countertransference may be experienced as frustration, impatience, even anger. You may also feel deep compassion that moves toward unproductive yearnings to rescue the client, or you may oscillate between the two poles, assuaging your guilt for the first with exaggerated caring in the second. Not a good place to be!
Others may present as overly defensive, wanting to control sessions with excessive verbiage and emotionalism. Power over others is a common defense against shame, as no one can shame you if you’re in charge. . As a counsellor, your unproductive countertransference may take the form of resentment, anxiety, anger or active dislike. Good to know the source of the behavior, to look for shaming themes or events early in the therapeutic relationship and deal with them.
1. Shame begins to heal when it is exposed to a safe environment.
The need to create a safe place is the most important factor in understanding and treating shamed persons. Though shame is experienced within the person, it is largely created and maintained through interpersonal communication. The shamed person brings into therapy many old feelings and fears. He may be
particularly afraid of being abandoned by the counsellor and of being renounced after he exposes his hidden self. Clients have reasons to be suspicious of your intent. They may have been shamed by family and by others on a daily basis. They bring into therapy a sense of deep misgiving. They understandably wish to protect themselves, to stay hidden. However, when the counsellor has made a strong effort to assure the client about safety, the client is likely to risk trusting. Informing the client about confidentiality laws can help to build needed trust. Also, remind clients that your office is a safe place- no one will enter, notes are confidential, and the client’s needs are the focus. Once the client decides to make part of her shame visible, she is likely to feel relief, provided her disclosures are treated with respect. Note that when a client does disclose shameful information, she may experience a wave of fear and renewed shame later in the evening. She may benefit from being warned of this, and
offered an opportunity to call you, to receive further assurances that she will not be rejected.
2. Never shame a person feeling shame.
Shamed persons need a safe place in which they can grow. Negative therapeutic responses that increase shame will reinforce a message that they are not good people. Counsellors must watch for signs that they have inadvertently shamed a client by something they said or did. Such signs include the client’s new
wariness, narrowing of the eyes, heightened anxiety and tension in the room. Counsellors must be alert to their own small, seemingly trivial behaviors that may appear as criticism, including raising their eyebrows, looking away or staring at the client, interrupting, laughing, all possibly interpreted as shaming. Counsellor self-discipline is key to avoid triggering ‘shame waves’ in the client.
3. Attend regularly to the therapeutic relationship.
Healing a shame-based identity is based on developing a caring relationship with someone trustable. The process of a trusting relationship transcends the actual shared content. In particular, the relationship with the counsellor becomes a new template, which can then be used by the client as a guide for future relationships. A counsellor who has faced her own shame will be aware of her personal needs and trigger points, and be attuned to the dynamics of shame in her clients. Good supervision and personal insight can help the counsellor to relate with caring and objectivity to highly vulnerable clients. Therapists treating shame must be comfortable with the feelings, able to acknowledge the shame before fixing it quickly or explaining it away, able to apply emotional boundaries to avoid being swept up in the client’s pain. The rewards to both client and counsellor are great. Clients will be seen healing their shame and transforming into people happier with self and the world.
4. Let the client see that you are human.
Clients tend to idealize counsellors, to see them as powerful; and magical figures. Kohut would name this as an idealizing transference, needed by the growing child as a source of comfort, wisdom and safety. Counsellors need to offer a non-anxious presence to the client, someone who can give them positive
messages about themselves to counteract their shame. But they also need to see the counsellor as a human being with challenges and failures like themselves. This is the ‘twinning’ need, a universal yearning to feel similar to the counsellor, to feel a part of the larger human family. Share a few of your own embarrassments, large or small, and reap the trust-enhancing rewards of vulnerability. The fear of shame may be a greater problem than shame itself. The client may perpetually avoid situations that could lead to shameful feelings, generating phobias and life-choking isolation. Here is another reason to consider sharing your own incidents of shame- to model for the client that shame can be shared safely and productively. This can have freeing power, as shame usually shrinks down when exposed to the light of human caring.
5. Expect many trust tests in the therapeutic relationship.
Clients may gradually disclose progressively more disgraceful episodes, each time checking carefully for signs of rejection from the counsellor. Such tests include showing up late or not at all and delaying bill payment. How will the counsellor react? Other tests may be more subtle. Will the counsellor remember to ask about homework, call the client at home when requested, not look upset when the client shows confusion or fear? Clients may be compelled to pursue these tests because they cannot believe that another person could maintain interest in them or respect for them. Some tests may be consciously planned, particularly at the start of therapy. The client may make up shameful information just to see how the counsellor responds. Phony revelations should be confronted and not taken too seriously. They are understandable tests from low-trusting, deeply wounded clients. Mistakes are inevitable. No one can always be there for someone else. Note that failures in empathy can be
faced and explored, so that both persons can admit the error and commit to relationship despite the failure. Here are the seeds of forgiveness and deeper trust for the future. From Kohut’s work, we also see the inevitable empathic breaks as opportunities for the client to internalize self-worth and positive self-image. When sufficient trust exists, the client can view these breaks as times to affirm his own belief in himself, independent of the counsellor. This self-affirmation strengthens his internal self structure, and helps lead to gradual reduction of the bonding with the counsellor. This is indeed a goal of the therapeutic relationship. A client may perceive that the counsellor has abandoned her when the client is simply projecting her own self-disgust onto the counsellor. If you sense this happening, keep reaching out in trust, and keep affirming the client’s worth. Most clients will respond in time.
6. Listen carefully for hidden shame themes.
Clients may hint at their shame rather than express it directly. The subtle cues include downcast eyes,hesitation in speech, or avoidance of a seemingly innocuous topic. As counsellor, you may decide to bring the material out into the open, to invite the client to expose her pain and shame. However, the client may decline the offer, may even react with indignation or anger. It helps to name the feeling s shame, because the client may have no name for the overwhelming feelings. Naming it may allow a sense of relief, of finally knowing what to call the long-held uncomfortable sensations. If the client mentions past feelings of shame that she hid from you, it is best to accept that you missed them and go on to explore their dynamics. This shows that you are a fallible human being who can admit errors without being shamed yourself. It also shows your commitment to honesty above perfectionism, and your comfort level with imperfection, both valuable learning’s for shamed care seekers.
7. Listen for shame in a client’s anger.
Anger is a complicated emotion that signals something is seriously wrong in a relationship. It warns others to keep their distance. A shamed person may become infuriated with a counsellor who wanders too close to the shame. This rage may cover the deeper feeling of fear that others might reject and abandon him. As counsellor, take note of narrowing of the eyes, louder or softer voice, edgy laughter or a cynical, out-ofcontext comment. These may be signs of approaching underlying shamed feelings. Clients who express anger may be inviting rejection and distancing so that they may keep their shame hidden. They are willing to sacrifice the therapeutic relationship, as they have sacrificed other relationships, to keep the painful shame hidden. They may be provoking rejection to protect themselves, a self-defeating defense previously mentioned. However, the counsellor need not accept this invitation to abandonment.
She can reframe the situation, naming the provoking behavior as a sign that the client may be actually beginning to trust her more, because the client is willing to show more feeling, particularly the challenging feeling of anger.
Below are steps useful when a client’s shame-based anger is directed toward the counsellor.
a) Acknowledge that the client is angry with you.
b) Explore the reasons for this anger.
c) If you have done something harmful, apologize and repair the damage.
d) If there is no evidence of your being at fault, explore the possibility of a misunderstanding.
e) Focus attention on the client’s pain, searching for shame and abandonment themes.
f) Reassure the client that you accept him and will not abandon him.
b) Help the client through the shaming material that prompted the angry response.
Avoid responding to anger with anger. Let the client know that you are not intimidated by the anger, and that you understand the source of the anger. Courage and insight conquer fear.
8. Help the client accept her basic humanity through recognizing, accepting and investigating the shame. Once shame has become demystified and ceases to instill terror, moderate shame can be seen as a signal to review current behavior, to see if one’s actions are in line or not. People can learn to notice their shame at much lower levels of intensity and adjust their behavior consciously before shame feelings start to escalate. They may seek out supportive friends, relax with deep breathing exercises or just remember that they are a beloved child of God with a right to be here. Significant relief is achieved when persons can accept that they don’t like feeling shame, but know that they can survive it. Clients’ benefit by tracing the source of shame to their family of origin (as with a genogram), and by noticing what they do to perpetuate their shame. Each successful encounter with shame can lead to powerful healing.
9. The counsellor must accept the client’s shame rather than trying to argue it away. Shame can be painful to see. It is tempting to argue it away. “You’re not ugly/incompetent/toxic.” The danger is that the client may then feel ashamed of sharing shame, creating a double lock on the secrets. He may discern that it’s not acceptable to talk about shame, even that he must protect the counsellor from filling the room with his shame. Remember that the client is strong enough to bring it up, so you can be strong enough to accompany him
into the encounter. With true empathy, you must be willing to feel deeply while retaining enough distance so as to not be swallowed up by the shame. Again, negative countertransference can be minimized by first dealing with your own shame issues.
10. Link the client’s current shame with messages from her family of origin.
As mentioned previously, present shame can often be traced to derogatory messages the client received as a child. Linking current feelings of shame to old outdated messages helps to externalize them and radically reduce their power. Inform clients that images of their parents that they carry around in their heads may need to be faced and revised. Clients can learn to deal with their internalized, shaming parent. Empty chair work, journaling, and drawing may serve to creatively expose and diminish the harmful effects of the internalized ‘bad parent’. Be aware that attacking the parent may provoke a defense, making further externalization more difficult.
11. Identify specific defenses the client uses to protect against shame.
The six common defenses here are denial, withdrawal, perfectionism, arrogance, shamelessness and rage. The more deeply shamed the person is, the more frequently they will use these defenses. The first step is to help the client notice that something is wrong, as in acting boastful when he really feels unworthy. Selfawareness can be assisted with reminders such as, “What you were saying sounds familiar. Isn’t this part of the pattern we were discussing last week?” An important goal is to help the client realize that they can make choices about how they manage their lives. They can learn to decide when to use their defenses, as with a rude co-worker, or when to drop their defenses, as with their spouse. Sometimes withdrawal is prudent, and at other times it may block desired intimacy. Freedom to choose options is a liberating, affirming way of being in the world.
12. Help the client move toward the acceptance of moderate shame as a normal part of life. Shame felt at moderate levels can motivate the person to investigate both her specific behaviors and her general concept of self. This is because she can move from connecting overwhelming shame with abandonment, and begins to welcome moderate shame as feedback that something she is doing needs attention. She may wish to stop cracking her knuckle in public or dress less provocatively. Of course, she may choose to act in an eccentric way, but now it would be under her control, part of her conscious identity. Mirroring can be valuable in the form of corrective feedback. In their defensiveness, clients may be missing the very cues from others that would help them feel welcomed and accepted, what many yearn for fruitlessly for years. Be patient. Shame heals slowly. Shame is usually revealed in layers. Time is needed to integrate the healing and build confidence for new exposures. Other feelings also need attention and can provide a break from the shame issues. The counselor may need to encourage the client to return to shame issues, but total eradication of shame may not be necessary for a timely termination. The skills to keep debilitating shame at bay and welcome the feedback of moderate shame may be sufficient for a fulfilling future life.
Note: This is my brief summary of suggestions from “Shame, Guilt and Alcoholism” (1989) by Ronald
Potter-Efron, an American clinical psychotherapist. Many of the principles here apply to other challenging
feelings as well.
We do not passively meet the environment. We pick and choose and at the same time are picked and chosen. Although this interplay is a complex one, it is only part of the way that we participate in organizing our experience. Another important way we structure our experience is by altering our experience by manipulating the contact boundary. This can be done in many ways. Its location can be altered, so that the meeting is somewhere else than where it appears to be. The nature of the boundary itself can be changed, its characteristics altered or the boundary dissolved or ignored. These are the contact boundary disturbances.
Confluence and Projection
An instance of confluence was described earlier, in the discussion of the first, forecontact phase of figure formation. The reader will recall that the field in that phase is not differentiated, meaning that while the elements of the field are distinct, no element or elements stand out in front of the rest. In that case, there is no contact, no figure, and no boundary. When the boundary does not exist, the elements are confluent.
Another instance was mentioned in the description of the third, contact phase of figure formation. There, the individual is absorbed in the figure, not (as in the first phase) in the field. The boundary disappears when the absorption is total. We generally prefer to say that the boundary has been dissolved as a function of that phase of figure formation.
This confluence is the experience of no difference, no contact, and no meeting (because no difference). It is even so an experience. In fact, some of our most important experiences have this boundary-less dimension. Confluence is the contact boundary involved in experiences we call oceanic, when we feel at one with the universe or with God or our beloved. The boundary is dissolved in this experience of inseparability; the dissolution of the boundary provides the condition for the experience of inseparability. It is a frequent occurrence in infancy, when the child's ability to experience a meeting of differences is more occasional than it is for us. Later on, it is the characteristic contact boundary disturbance in empathic experiences, when we know another's experience because we are experiencing it as well, and perhaps, in the background, it contributes to the fellow feeling we have at those times when our relations with others are most human and special. If we create confluence by dissolving the contact boundary without knowing we are doing so, we create a situation in which we will confuse another with ourselves. We may not be able to distinguish our own thoughts or attitudes or feelings from something or someone else. This phenomenon underlies the psychology of crowds and mobs, and it is commonplace in personal relations as well. We may think we are in contact, but we are not.
Projecting, we do not dissolve the boundary; instead, we relocate it. For example, looking at a landscape, a sunny hillside, we typically make the boundary meeting between the scene and ourselves. But, if the hillside is bare and we imagine the house we might like to build on it, we see what is in our mind's eye projected onto the hillside. Projecting, we change the location of the boundary. We are looking at our own wishes against the background of the hillside, instead of looking at the bare hillside. At the boundary, we meet our own thought or feeling, something within us. If we can see that we are doing this, it is aware projection; if not, if we believe the house is out there, we are unaware that we are not just making the boundary but manipulating it
Whereas in confluence we are indistinct and the boundary is absent, in projection, we are on both sides of the boundary we have created. We make an environment of an element of ourselves, and then we meet it. If at some time in the past, you became angered by a friend and did not recognize your feeling, you may run into your friend subsequently and, looking at the friend, believe he or she is mad at you. In doing so, you disturb the contact boundary between you, relocating it so you are seeing your own anger. You project your own feeling onto the friend. Though it appears to you that the boundary joins the friend and you, it does not. You are only meeting yourself. (Of course, you will see other salient pans of the friend at the same time; the boundary disturbance concerns only the anger you have that you are projecting.)
Introjection and Retroflection
As creative synthesis, figure formation reorganizes the field according to the requirements of the present situation, in the service of growth. Using the example of our metabolism, we transform the field by choosing and taking in something from the environment and subjecting it to the digestive process. lntrojection treats digestion differently. It avoids it. In introjection, we take in an element of the environment without digesting it. Since we have not digested it, it is still in its original form (though it is in a new context).
If we imitate a gesture we have seen in a movie, we introject it. We have not made it ours--we have merely swallowed it. If we try to be the kind of person our parents wanted us to be--a dutiful husband, say, who acts responsibly and does what his wife, bosses, and peers expect--without making our own choices about these goals and attitudes so they are our own, we are acting on the basis of what we have introjected. lntrojecting is swallowing whole; introjects are what we swallow. Awares introjecting is trying something out; unawares introjecting is playing a role without knowing we have taken it on. Faintly sensing our introjects, we are like Pretty Nurse in "Penny Lane," "And though she feels as if she's in a play / She is, anyway."
When we are introjecting, as when we are projecting, we retain the nature of the boundary as a meeting of differences, but we place it farther away. What belongs to the environment--these values, or that gesture--seems to be within us. Thus, we avoid the aggressive digestive labor, the tearing and separating and destroying which is an important part of our way of making things our own. We slip out of the obligation to assess what we encounter in the light of our own values, needs, and circumstances. Instead, we swallow them just as they are given, hook, line, and sinker. As with projection, introjection sets the boundary not between ourselves and the environment, but between one part of ourselves and another.
If our lives are based on what we have introjected, our behavior may well be vague and colorless, our figures lacking in the incisiveness and definition which come from using our own compasses to guide ourselves. We will seem inauthentic to others, and we are. We are almost believable; what we say and do is nearly heartfelt, but not quite. (To the extent that what is termed "the superego" represents values which are incorporated in this fashion, we see it as a constellation of introjects.)
If we bite our tongue to keep from sniping at someone who has offended us, if we titillate or masturbate ourselves because it seems inappropriate to us to act sexually toward another person, we are retroflecting. Similarly, if we control and channel the excitement of a high-powered tennis match into our strokes and strategy, resisting the impulse we feel to hit the ball too hard or throw our racquet in the air, we are retroflecting. When we chew on the inside of our cheek and do not recognize that we are angered by someone and unwilling to chew them out, we are retroflecting unawares. In all these cases of retroflecting, we allow the boundary to retain its properties--it is not dissolved, for instance--but we disturb it by changing its location so as to alter what is being met. The boundary, typically between us and the environment--to that person who has irritated us, or turned us on--is placed instead so that we are our own environment. Then, we do something to ourselves. We are on both sides of the boundary, doing to ourselves what is intended for the other.
Egotism, Deflection, and Other Contact Boundary Disturbances
You have surely met someone who talks to hear herself speak, or to let you know how smart she is. Or someone who, while seeming to listen to you, is listening only to prepare his next response, or to convince you of his sincerity or concern for others. These interpersonal events involve the contact boundary disturbance which Gestalt therapists call egotism. Egotism is a boundary disturbance of a different order than any we have described thus far. In egotism, the boundary is not relocated, nor is it dissolved. Instead, something which is characteristic of contact boundaries is eliminated: the interplay of the meeting.
The contact boundary is the location of a meeting of differences, where the interaction of the elements which are meeting contributes to the forming of the figure. In egotism, there is a contact boundary event, a meeting. The person making the figure is intent only on his or her own contribution to the meeting. Mutuality is absent or exceedingly diminished here, the boundary seemingly one-sided because the concern here is almost exclusively with one's sense of oneself. Thus, there is no interplay, no give and take. Egotists are so tuned to their own voice, thoughts, actions, or feelings that they proceed without full knowledge of who or what they are meeting.
We may manipulate the boundary in this way, with awareness, in insisting on our right to be heard in a situation where we are being made unwelcome, for instance, or in restraining ourselves during a lengthy period of preparation and maturation during which premature commitment is invited. But egotism as a contact boundary disturbance substitutes looking at oneself for a more embracing focus upon the entirety of the meeting. The result is that you are out of touch with the part of the field which is outside oneself.
For the most part, egotism in contacting makes for stiffness and rigidity in figure formation, the quality of figures, and personal demeanor. Abandon, or just flexibility, requires a keener sense of the other that is being met than egotism allows. Nor is true spontaneity possible, because that also requires contact, not just an impulse. The only thing possible is the impulse itself without any contact, which is impulsivity.
These five contact boundary disturbances, which the authors of Gestalt Therapy described, do not exhaust the ways in which the contact boundary can be manipulated. Primary among the others which have been proposed is deflection, in which the individual relocates the boundary so that the contact is with some other individual or topic or idea or feeling--some other element of the field. If you are annoyed by your employer and come home and kick the dog, you turn the action meant for your boss to the dog by creating a boundary meeting between your dog and yourself. If you do not allow yourself to know you have been irritated by your boss and believe instead that your dog's insistent jumps onto your leg are the sole reason you are kicking him, you are deflecting outside awareness. If you bite your tongue when your boss is bawling you out unfairly and then come home and kick your dog out of frustration at the boss, your retroflecting (the biting) and deflecting (the kicking) are awares. In deflection, the impulse is directed toward a substitute in the environment. You may substitute an object, as in the example of the hapless canine (object deflection), or you may substitute a subject, as happens when a child complains about the way in which her day will be spent, "Mom, I don't want to go see those stupid people today," and Mom replies by changing the subject to the way she expresses herself, "Honeybunch, don't talk about your Aunt and Uncle that way" (subject deflection).
This listing of the contact boundary disturbances is no doubt incomplete. As Gestalt therapists continue to look at the events at the contact boundary, new structures will undoubtedly be recognized. For instance, an additional boundary disturbance, provisionally named conflection, consists of doing to yourself what you wish for yourself. An example is the kind of idle caressing--rubbing their face or arm or fingers with their own hands--which people do sometimes while talking about themselves. Here the desire is not to caress someone else; that would be retroflecting. Rather, it is to have another caress you. In this instance, the boundary is relocated as it is in retroflection, transferred from its intended place where you and the other meet and placed instead so you meet yourself. You have made an environment, an other, of yourself. Some forms of masturbation are instances of this, as is the action of a woman who says to the person to whom she is making love, by way of instruction, "Here, touch me like this," and touches herself to illustrate her words.
Boundary disturbances play an important role in the formation of good figures, as tools in the service of the creative imagination and healthy, free functioning. When the boundary is disturbed unawares, however, these creative energies become implicated in the disabilities and miseries which beset us. They allow us to avoid aspects of the field and thus make it possible for us to construct the inadequate and unsatisfying, painful and destructive solutions and achievements which typify those miseries and disabilities. The use of the term "disturbance" in contact boundary disturbance, however, is intended to suggest only which the normal boundary functions have been interrupted or altered, not that the individual is disturbed.
INTROJECTION----Introjections are undigested attitudes, ways of acting, feeling and evaluating, that we swallowed whole, usually from our primary caretakers, however anyone who was a main character in our early lives would be a person to whom we looked as a "rule giver". Introjects are undiscerned pieces of the whole which we never analyzed before we took them into our psychological system; they often form the SHOULDS and OUGHT TO's in our make-up. To be REAL and in touch with our own integrity and morality we must digest and master what is truly our own, truly a part of the personality. Bit if we simply accept these rules and beliefs whole-hog and uncritically, on someone else's say so, or because they are fashionable or safe or traditional or unfashionable or dangerous or revolutionary---they lie heavily on us---introjects become undigested materials. They are still foreign bodies even though they may have taken up residence in our minds. Many times, one can see blocks of energy around the stomach area (unusual protection of the undigested material). The dangers of introjections are two fold; first of all, the man who introjects never gets a chance to develop his own personality, because he is so busy holding down the foreign bodies he has swallowed whole. The more introjects he has saddled himself with, the less room there is for him to express or even discover what he himself is. And in the second place, introjections contributes concepts, you may find yourself torn to bits in the process of trying to reconcile them. And this is a fairly common experience today. We end up incorporating into ourselves standards, attitudes, ways of acting and thinking, possibly coming from mother and father, which are not truly ours. Introjection moves the boundary between ourselves and the rest of the world so far inside ourselves that there is almost nothing of us left. I look at clients whose language reflects many shoulds, trying to get permission, etc. Or one who is very angry and does not have anyway of expressing that anger, so it lies in the stomach area. Women introject many shoulds around how you are suppose to be a mother/wife...SHOULD, SHOULD,. Until they have had all they can take and develop a physical ailment in the female parts of the body, breasts, uterus, etc. The extrication of these introjects and the examining and discernment process need to take place in order for healing to occur. Identifying the Shoulds, and Ought to Bee's in our lives is one great step to solving the extrication.
Projection ----- Reverse of introjection.As introjection is the tendency to make the self responsible for what actually is part of the environment, so projection is the tendency to make the environment responsible for what originates in the self. Clinically, we recognize that the disease of paranoia, which is characterized by the development of highly organized system of delusions, is the extreme case of projection.....that is not what we are talking about. Here...this is the projections of which we are all guilty, like the highly aggressive personality who, unable to bear the responsibility for his own wishes, feelings, and desires, attaches them to objects or people in the environment who will hold the projection and fit the pattern beautifully. A person who feels he is being persecuted unfairly, in fact may be making the statement that he would like to persecute others. That which you have tremendous energy to unload on others, is often very true of SELF....In projection, then, we shift the BOUNDARY between ourselves and the rest of the world a little too much in our own favor---in a manner that makes it possible for us to disavow and disown those aspects of our personalities which we find difficult or offensive or unattractive. And this is very important....IT IS OUR INTROJECTS THAT LEAD US TO THE FEELINGS OF SELF-CONTEMPT AND SELF-ALIENATION THAT PRODUCE PROJECION. The over-wary, over-cautious person, who tells you he wants friends and wants to be loved, but who tells you at the same time that "you can't trust anyone, they're all out for what they can get," is a projector par excellence. When working with people listen to how many times they talk about someone else, either positive or negative, (positive projections are as important to own, as are negative ones), they will use You...much of the time, second person in their verbalizations. Gossip is something that Fritz Perls never allowed in the Gestalt Community...as it was about someone to someone else. instead of face to face, projections run rampant in gossip. Gestalt work is a very hard-nosed therapy, but, it really stresses honesty with self . If we clean up our own psychology, then, it makes the world a better and more ethical place to be, because we are essentially not going around messing on other people with our projections. Ask yourself before you are making a judgment of another, are you sure that it is not you, you are talking about?
CONFLUENCE....Boundaries are very diffused when we are confluent, as confluence indicates that the individual feels no boundary at all between himself and his environment, when he feels that he and it are one...he is in CONFLUENCE...Parts and whole are indistinguishable from one another.....The person in whom confluence is a severe state cannot tell what he is or feels and cannot tell what other people are or feel....He feels all of the feelings and all of the emotions and identity, without boundaries. As he is unaware of the boundary between himself and others, he cannot make good contact with them. Nor can he withdraw from them. Indeed, he cannot even make contact with himself....This has serious social consequences too. In confluence, ONE DEMANDS LIKENESS AND REFUSES TO TOLERATE ANY DIFFERENCES. We find this in parents whose children become merely extensions of themselves. Such parents lack the appreciation that their children are bound to be unlike them in at least some respects. Grammatically, you can pick up confluence to a degree, by the person's over usage of the word "we", speaking for all instead of speaking for SELF. When one is counseling or listening to another, often there are tears on both sides...or even when tears flow, it is a state of confluence. Confluence is necessary for a counselor to feel compassion, but also the counselor must have the ability to attach. The healer can feel and see into the body...but, must become removed from the body to objectify the knowledge. and do what is necessary to heal...
RETROFLECTION - the last of the Gestalt defense mechanisms...we use to set boundaries...Retroflection, literally means "turning back sharply against." The retroflection knows how to draw a boundary line between him and the environment, and he draws a neat and clean one right down the middle--but he draws it down the middle of himself.
THE INTROJECTOR DOES AS OTHERS WOULD LIKE HIM TO DO,
THE PROJECTOR DOES UNTO OTHERS WHAT HE ACCUSES THEM OF DOING TO HIM,
THE CONFLUENT PERSON DOESN'T KNOW WHO IS DOING WHAT TO WHOM,
RETROFLECTOR DOES TO HIMSELF WHAT HE WOULD LIKE TO DO TO OTHERS.
When a person retroflex behavior, he treats himself as he originally wanted to treat other persons or objects. He stops directing his energies outward in attempts to manipulate and bring about changes in the environment that will satisfy his needs; instead, he redirects his activity inwards and substitutes himself in place of the environment as the target for behavior. To the extent that he does this, he splits his personality into doer and done to. He literally becomes his own worse energy.Again the grammatical usage of the client can reveal which of the processes is working at any given moment...
As introjection displays itself in the use of the pronoun "I" when the real meaning is "they;" as
projection displays itself in the use of the pronouns, "you", "it", or "they," when the real meaning is "I" as
confluence displays itself in the use of the pronoun "we" when the real meaning is in question; so retroflection displays itself in the use of the reflective, "myself".
The retroflection says, "I am ashamed of myself," or "I have to force myself to do this job." He makes an almost endless series of statements of this sort, all of them based on the surprising conception that he and himself are two different people.
Hour Glass Gestalt Explainedes -- Walk Your TalkLecture given online in 1997 in Prodigy AuditoriumI am delighted to be here with you all tonight and hope that the lecture will be helpful for you and your walk along your spiritual path. I will focus on the importance of learning to walk our talk, get meaning from our lives, mean what we say, and tell the truth about ourselves at all times. These factors are very important for us in order to live a life of integrity and meaning as we go about our personal lives and get more in touch with our soul work. The personality will always engage in dramas and egos however, even these can be done with honesty and integrity if we pay attention and learn to connect below our necks to the people around us. To say that we are living the truth means to be honest with self at least. Being truthful and connected means paying attention to the moment...here and now and to begin using present tense grammar, and connecting with the I AM rather than I was or I am going to. It also means that we have to give up our investment in living the past or future.. Living in the past only creates fear and anger and living in the future only creates anxiety so becoming aware of ourselves right now means acknowledging that part of us that says I am doing the best I can at this moment in time and all is perfect. It means that we need to focus on being response oriented not reaction oriented.We live our daily lives in layers of consciousness or multi inner dimensions in our one being. These layers can be looked at as if you are looking at yourself as an HOUR GLASS with the SAND being the CONSCIOUS/AWARENESS. The top of the hour glass represents us in our roles/dramas we play in the external world, the middle of the top is the phobic stage (afraid to be what we are), the middle/center of the hour glass is the impasse (our stuck place, emptiness), The lower half is implosion (where we are frozen, contracted compressed) and the bottom and final step is the EXPLOSION INTO AUTHENTICITY (who we are as the real person). I will continue in this lecture to explain the details of each LEVEL OR LAYER OF CONSCIOUSNESS and how it applies to us personally. We will discuss these layers of consciousness at 5 different levels of attachment; these are all normal processes in all of us and it is our attachment to these processes that makes a difference.
The first Layer of Consciousness and one in which we remain most of the time..is that of the ego ---Roles we play (clichés/manipulation)...The Games we play within those roles take on many characters; helpless, keeper of the wisdom, good boy, stroker, ego ideal, persona and all other self involved systems. The way we free ourselves from these roles is to look UNDER the Ego..and see where we are selling our selves short, give up the attachment to the ego and ask a very important question. WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF I STOP PRETENDING?
The second Layer/Level of our personal consciousness is that phobic stage (fear of pain, interruption, confusion, compulsive repetition). In this attached phase we are afraid to be what we are. Here in lies our addictions, attitudes, fixed judgments, unwillingness to take risks..so we maintain the status quo..The way out of this is to: 1. Develop discipline, 2. Be willing to suffer emotional pain, 3. Be willing to encounter unpleasantness, 4. Discover what you don't want to do..and as yourself WHAT DO YOU WANT?
The Center Layer of our Hour Glass of Consciousness is the IMPASSE (where we are stuck, empty, and lost) . Here, we find ourselves at the center of our personal neurosis (we stop breathing, Blue Baby, unwilling to see fantasy based distortion)..The way out of this is to 1. Make an existential leap, 2. Rebirth, 3. Stay in the Here and Now with experiences, 4. Jump into the void, not the A VOID DANCE. 5. Give up the fantasy of being stuck. When someone is really attached to this level for lengthy periods of time, we call this DARK NIGHT OF THE SOUL.
IMPLOSION is the level right before we become real it is the frozen, contracted, compressed self. This is a place experienced as autistic (catatonic---nothingness, convoluted, impatience, potential violence, double bind) The way out of this state is to 1. reinvest vital energy, 2. Come to your SENSES and live below your neck for awhile, 3. Become response able, 4. Use your own resources, 5. Rekindle primary vibrancy. This most often happens during times when too many stressors are thrown in our faces at different stages of personal growth.
EXPLODE INTO AUTHENTICITY is the final and most real person level of awareness. We become mobilized, spontaneous, truthful, adapting to life and truly alive with energy. The way we maintain that state of existence is to get in touch with 1. I am what I am, I am that, I am one, 2. Give yourself Grace, 3. Call on creative transformation. 4. Get in touch with your own WILLINGNESS.
All of the layers/steps of awareness that I have mentioned are only suggestions for your consideration as you WALK YOUR INNER PATH..and learn to create more spontaneity, courage and realness in your life.
LAYERS OF CONSCIOUSNESS: GESTALT MOMENTS OF PERSONAL CONSCIOUSNESS.
Imagine an HOUR GLASS and at the top of the hour glass we have THE ROLES we play (as if /sympathetic/ clichés/ manipulation)...The games we play within those roles are: helpless, keeper, good boy, stoker, ego ideal, Personal, self systems. The way to get out of those roles is to: 1. Give up selling yourself, 2. Give up your self ego, 3. What would happen if I stop pretending?As we move down the hour glass, before we land in the middle, we come to the PHOBIC STAGE... (Fear of pain, interruption, confusion compulsive repetition)...In this space we are afraid to be what we are. It is where our addictions, attitudes, dread, unwilling to go through pain, maintaining the status quo... The way out is: 1. Develop discipline, 2. Be willing to suffer pain, 3. Encounter unpleasantness, 4. Discover what you want to do...WHAT DO YOU WANT?
In the center, you are in the IMPASSE, (stuck, emptiness-- loss) You are at CENTER OF THE NEUROSIS (Blue baby, not willing to see fantasy based distortion) The way out of this is: 1. Make existential leap, 2. Rebirth, 3. Here and Now with experiences, 4. Jump into the void (not the a void dance), 4. Give up the fantasy of being stuck.
The next step is IMPLOSION (frozen, contraction, compressed) This is a place experienced as autistic (catatonic--nothingness, convoluted impatience, potential violence, double bind. The way out is 1. Reinvest vital energy, 2. Come to your senses, 3. Become response able, 4. Use your own resources, 5. Rekindle primary vibrancy. This most often happens with several of the outer planets making aspects to the angles..or luminaries...will cause people to seek out help because it hurts too much to not seek help
The Final Step is EXPLOSION (Authenticity) ...the way we see this acted out is a Real Person, being mobilized, spontaneous, truthful, adapting to life and alive with energy. The way we maintain that state of being is 1. I am what I am, 2. Give yourself grace, 3. Call on creative transformation, 4. Will yourself out of existence, 5. Thy will be done.