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Whiz-dumb


malign

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I've been reading a lot, lately. Trying to self-teach some of the foundations of psychological thought. I read (as much as I could of) a collection of Freud's work, including Interpretation of Dreams and Totem and Taboo.

First, he's hardly an exciting or even a very clear writer. In his defense, he was writing in German around the turn of the 20th century, and I'm reading 100 years later in translation. And, he was wrestling with the task of defining new terms for things that most of us don't even agree that we do. But maybe that's part of the problem ...

He was a very innovative thinker about the human condition. He was also headstrong enough to continue despite strong opposition from his contemporaries. We all owe him a debt for even trying to find a cause-and-effect relationship for mental illness; most people at the time assumed it was due to "degeneration", essentially incurable and somehow the fault of the sufferer.

But on the other hand, I would submit he probably wasn't all that much fun to be around. He wanted to reduce everything to two opposing forces (what he called them varied over time) and more importantly, he wanted to believe every person responded essentially the same. Such an attitude might have been necessary as a simplification, early in the fledgling science of psychology, but it's really hard to deal with now.

Too, his approach to opposition was to declare that his opponents were simply exhibiting behavior that was covered by his theory. His theory claimed that we repress certain natural urges, for various reasons which amount to "because we don't approve of them", and force them back into our unconscious. But then, those urges end up expressing themselves in other ways, usually symptomatic ones. While that may be true in some cases of some illnesses, he was quite willing to describe any denial of his theories as a similar situation of his opponents repressing what they don't want to believe. In other words, either you agree I'm right or you're mentally ill.

The reason I'm going into all of this is that, after saturating on his writing, I was starting to get irritable and unhappy, and I wondered why. What I realized was that I was letting Freud get into my head! I was starting to doubt my own beliefs, to think that maybe they were all based on my own repressions. After all, I can't prove my beliefs.

But that's where I had to call "bullshit": neither could he. He had his; I have mine. I even agree with some of his. But in my head, I'm the Decider. That's not selfish; that's survival.

And, now that I feel better again, I thought I would share that experience. Never let someone else into your head, including me. That's not the same as sharing what's in your head with others; I think sharing, letting stuff out of your head, is vital. But don't let them in, to make your decisions for you, whether it's through doubt, guilt, or fear.

Now, translated into German, that probably makes no sense at all. But I know what I mean. :-)

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And, now that I feel better again, I thought I would share that experience. Never let someone else into your head, including me. That's not the same as sharing what's in your head with others; I think sharing, letting stuff out of your head, is vital. But don't let them in, to make your decisions for you, whether it's through doubt, guilt, or fear.

Thanks for sharing big bro :)

Erm I have a question........

How do you NOT let people into yer head and make decisions for you?

Coz well in some ways everyones choices are defined by anothers say so. Hmmmm, or maybe thats just me and the choices I make :o

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Can you give me an example, Sue?

In many ways, our choices may be limited by others ... though even there, it's more a matter of us agreeing to let them be limited. For instance, there are laws, but it's possible to choose not to obey them. Even when circumstances really do limit your choices, such as being confined to a hospital (or being attacked by someone stronger than you are), there's still a choice about how to respond.

I suggest reading "Man's Search For Meaning", by Victor Frankl. He was a psychiatrist who was a concentration camp prisoner in World War II. He felt that finding a meaning for life was essential to surviving something like that. One place where he found a possible meaning (of course, each person has to choose their own) was in bearing one's fate with dignity. Even though the prisoners might be killed at any time and had no way to resist effectively, they could still control how they acted.

When we start to believe that we have no control, we have an excuse not to try. It may not be a completely free choice (you're unlikely to be able to fly, even if I give you a wand), but within the limits of reality, there are still a lot of different ways that a person can react.

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I could give you many examples big bro - but you already know about them dont ya :)

"....theres still a choice as to how you can respond."

If your lucky in certain circumstances that choice can be made up instantaniously - even if its not always the right one. If your unlucky that choice is taken out of our control, coz - too late & TS, the "choice" option has vanished.

Oh and as for that magic wand - you will never know if i would be able to fly or not - until you give the wand to me;) :o

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You're still responding to the stuff that happened to you, Sue. I didn't just mean "while it's happening." You still get to choose what to do about it, what it meant, what you believe (about yourself and those who did things), and lots more. In fact, one of the things people remark about you most is your willingness to reach out to other suffering people. That says a lot about you right there, and it's a direct result of your choices.

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Sorry, I guess I have a habit of responding to the stuff that happened to me - at times its difficult to differenciate between my 'stuff' and the bigger painting of the world.:(

Its true though everyone gets a choice as to how they deal with past events... To a certain degree.

Sheeze, I hope this doesn't sound ignorant or sound like me being obnoxious - but (yeah I know always a but :o)

Its not always possible (if at all) to not allow another person get inside your head.

For example, everything I have done in my past or do in the future has been or will be influenced or determined in some way by another persons actions or words - to a greater or lesser extent.

Hmmm, maybe I've just answered my earlier question, people will get inside your head (in some way) and influence your decisions but ultimately the choice is still yours.

Is that what you mean?

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Hmm..this is interesting. Hadn't read it yet.

I don't think there is a right or wrong approach to psychology. It's the human mind after all...nothing is black and white or simplistic. I like being open to new ideas and giving them a chance. I do have ideas that work best for me. I think that's really what it's about...finding what fits best and leaves an individual feeling the most balanced.

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Well, Sue, there may be some confusion because I haven't been very clear about what I mean by "getting into my head".

I don't mean memories. In that sense, I have everyone I've ever met (including everyone here) in my head. I also have Freud, and lots of other stuff I've read. My memory is quite good, and I use it as an asset all the time.

But I still see it as "me" deciding which memories are important, which I listen to, how to interpret the information that my memories bring to me. For instance, if I remember something bad that happened to me, it makes all the difference whether I interpret that as something that _I_ caused by being intrinsically bad, or whether I see it as something bad that happened for some other reason outside of me, where I just have to decide what to do about it.

But there's a deeper difference between our experiences: I'm approaching this as an adult who has had at most isolated "bad things" happen to me. Of course, all sorts of things in my past have "influenced" me. We all had parents, childhood friends, pains and successes. But I believe that we get to choose the influences, or at least their direction. More importantly, we get to change our minds, later in life, if our perspective changes on the meaning of what influenced us.

To a child growing up in the midst of ongoing "bad things", like you did, I'm not sure how it would feel. I can hope that I'm still right, that it's possible to organize those memories into the past in a way that lets you make your own decisions about the future.

I may not be able to prove that from the outside. To my mind, the only way it could be proven without doubt is by the person trying it and succeeding.

And Beth, it wasn't that I was dealing with whether Freud (or any theory) was "right" or "wrong". It was that I was no longer treating it dispassionately, as a theory whose validity _I_ was entitled to examine. I was letting his theory shift my viewpoint, not because of its correctness, but because of my own uncertainties about myself. My conclusion was that, even though I'll never be certain, I'll always be myself.

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Uh-hu - okay. I'm confused :confused:

I know when to admit defeat - my head just is not up to functioning on a intelligent level today (is it ever:rolleyes:) so I will leave this for now till dear ol' brainy decides to waken up! :o

Just wanted you to know I had read what you wrote and to say thanks for trying to further explain :(

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Never let someone else into your head' date=' including me. That's not the same as sharing what's in your head with others; I think sharing, letting stuff out of your head, is vital. But don't let them in, to make your decisions for you, whether it's through doubt, guilt, or fear.[/quote']

Projection is a curious thing. I read this, focused on it, and then immediately felt it was being directed at me.

Sigh. Sorry about that.

Choice can be complicated. Maybe fear sometimes plays a role in the choices we make. We probably shouldn’t let that happen. But maybe it’s okay sometimes to protect what you value, want, and need. Serenity.

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Well, Beth, you were another person I knew who had this happen to them recently. But I wouldn't have written all that if I hadn't found it happening to me, too.

We have to protect what we value, want, and need. We get into trouble when we feel that we're reacting to an external threat, when we blame that threat, when we let them make us feel like victims, instead of simply saying "this is what I value, want, and need, and dammit, I'm going to protect that." It matters who chooses, even if the input and the outcome remain the same.

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"this is what I value' date=' want, and need, and dammit, I'm going to protect that." [/quote']

Yeah. In the end, that's exactly what I did...for me. My choice.

Doesn't stop me from still feeling angry (:mad:) and hurt (:o) by the external threat and also frustrated with myself for not handling everything more capably. As you've said, learning hurts sometimes. I'm engaging life and stuff happens sometimes. I'm also learning to accept myself, be compassionate towards myself ,and know that I'm not perfect.

Damn, this is hard. :-(

I'm a fighter, though, and none of this will keep me down. Still walking forward. Still embracing life. All of it. (I seem to have a need to pep talk myself, but hey it works...:()

Sorry for going off on a tangent in your blog. :o

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There are no tangents, just new directions. Same as there being no stupid questions, though I've heard some really stupid answers in my day.

Nothing's going to stop anyone from feeling whatever they feel, not even them. Doing productive stuff with what we feel, that's wisdom.

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Well, there is a certain balance between humility and belief in ourselves. And, often, what's missing is the faith in ourselves to rely on our feelings as indicators. Of course, for others, what's missing are feelings that are stable enough to steer by.

If there were a one-size-fits-all answer, we'd all be wearing it. ;-)

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Could all of those absolutes be one example? ;-)

It's easy to get angry at feelings for steering us wrong, but how about when they steer us well? Are they getting equal credit for those times, or is this criticism coming from the intellectual part, that doesn't understand feelings at all?

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Could all of those absolutes be one example? ;-)

It's easy to get angry at feelings for steering us wrong' date=' but how about when they steer us well? Are they getting equal credit for those times, or is this criticism coming from the intellectual part, that doesn't understand feelings at all?[/quote'] Well, speaking for myself, the criticism is coming from 'the dragonlady'. She is deafening. She drowns out all the other kinder voices. Perhaps this is why I have an avatar with a sword? :o

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Okay. {Lots of people can recognize and name different parts of themselves; that's not necessarily truly dissociative. But it gives you something to work with.}

What would you say the dragonlady needs? How would you (the full adult self) reassure her that her needs can be met?

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Okay. {Lots of people can recognize and name different parts of themselves; that's not necessarily truly dissociative. But it gives you something to work with.}

What would you say the dragonlady needs? How would you (the full adult self) reassure her that her needs can be met?

Well, I'm not sure there IS a full adult self. But playing that role for a moment, I suppose I would say, "Lay off, quit making my life so miserable, quit criticizing everything I do, quit making me double guess every decision, quit making everything a competition. Quit demanding so much, just give me some space, give me my freedom to figure out what I'm good at without pouncing on me every time I make a mistake or don't live up to your expectations. Quit telling me I can't do something before even giving me a chance to try. Then...you will at least get a real live person who will at least make a difference to this world. You will get a person who matters. If you keep up your put-downs, you will never get anything more than a ghost in a shell. And you know that to be true because that's exactly what you've got so far. So stop doing what you already know doesn't work. You've been at this for four decades. Why do you expect the same actions to achieve different results?
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