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Luna-
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I wonder how much of the difficulty we experience as mental patients is due to not liking ourselves, rejecting ourselves and not accepting how we are, warts and all. I don’t mean in the sense of “there’s nothing wrong with me that needs to change”, but I wonder if we aren’t working against ourselves by being at war with ourselves so much. Life is hard enough without being constantly criticised, put down and devalued and not being able to get away from that nag for a second (unless we drug ourselves silly, which is a "fly now, pay later" strategy). If the therapist is our ally, wouldn’t it make more sense to be our ally too?

We can’t be convicted for our thoughts or feelings, only when our behaviour oversteps legal limits. Then there are smaller “socially acceptable” limits that we have to stay within to be able to interact with people, have relationships etc. But if we keep within all of those, and respect the rights of others etc etc, then aren’t we good enough people and why should we hate ourselves so much?

We are our own worst enemies, I swear!

-Your local, amateur, armchair psychologist and professional mental patient

Edited by Luna-
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  • 1 month later...

Mmmm,

For me, it feels more like a tear in the fabric, a torn place where something got damaged, that I don't even remember.

But in my experience, it can heal, gradually, from the ends. Like a Ziploc bag. As long as we don't keep tugging on it, holding it open because we're used to it, because the pain is familiar and we know what to expect.

Agony is optional.

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Oh yeah, I am definitively my own worst enemy! I know that the people around me wonder why, since I'm no different than any other normal person. They scratch their head as they see me duking it out with myself.... I know it's that mean voice of my dad's when I was young, putting me down, trying to break me - it haunts me .... It's weird how that voice was 40 years ago, and my dad changed with time and we eventually had a good relationship before he passed 2 years ago, but still that damn voice echoes in my consciousness and mocks me every chance it gets. :mad:

I'm learning to challenge it now and not let myself go down the old beaten path of self-abasement... maybe someday I'll even believe that I'm OK just the way I am... would'nt that be nice! I get glimpses of it lately, it's a very soothing feeling, I like it ;)

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it's all very interesting to me.

I've been reading a lot in various texts (both secular and religious) about how our ego is really not our best friend.

Yes, we need an amount of ego to survive and thrive in society, but from what I can understand the ego can be our own worst enemy, itself thriving on negativism, unpleasantries, and, yes, complaining.

I do think that our self-image is formed early and greatly influenced by whomever raised us, but we do have choices to help ourselves in our goals to "heal" or not. From a personal standpoint I know it's very hard to like myself when I continually beat myself up.

It seems to me mental healing is kind of that "you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink" thing - you have to want to "fix" yourself first before you or anyone else can help you with the process.

Any thoughts?

;)

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FRANCIS DURIVAGE once stated: "They teach us to remember. Why do they not teach us to forget? There is not a man living who has not, sometime in his life, admitted that memory is as much a curse as a blessing." So, the act of forgetting (and of not having to relive or re-experience) is essential to the art of living.

This is a core pain issue to most of us -- and for me it's only memories that freely rent space in my mind, for others it's everyday struggles.

Very beautiful post Luna! GRACIAS:)

David

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  • 2 weeks later...
it's all very interesting to me.

From a personal standpoint I know it's very hard to like myself when I continually beat myself up.

It seems to me mental healing is kind of that "you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink" thing - you have to want to "fix" yourself first before you or anyone else can help you with the process.

Any thoughts?

:)

Totally agree. I wanted someone else to fix me for the longest time and only started feeling better when I started working on the things I needed to to fix myself:)

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I get to the water, and I want to drink, but I don't seem to know how. I for sure am my own worst enemy, ridiculous as that is. I don't want it to be that way, but somehow that's how things ended up. I'm trying to change that though...

Edited by Symora
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While you may have the ability to be your own worst enemy, Symora, you also have the ability to be your own best friend. It's true that it may take some time to learn this. I'm glad to hear that you are working at it.

Interesting thought, David, about memories being a potential curse. I've often wondered about how to find the best balance between potentially re-experiencing painful events and working through them by acknowledging and talking about them. Maybe it depends on what works best for the individual. Talking about things always helped me because it brought things out into the open and it lessened the power the painful events seemed to have over me. But I can also see how the opposite might be true as well for some.

That thought brought up some other thoughts. Hopefully it's okay to add some discussion type of thoughts here. After reading another thread and the responses here on the boards, I find myself curious about whether personality type may influence whether a particular type of therapy method is successful for any one specific individual. DBT, CBT, psycho-dynamic, internal family systems, solution-focused etc.etc. My former therapist lists CBT, psycho-dynamic and solution-focused as methods that he uses. I hadn't really known what solution focused was all about until reading David's description of it. Then it became clear to me that former T didn't use this method with me. I began wondering why and came to the conclusion that it likely wouldn't have fit best with my temperament and style of thinking. I like knowing the whys. My mind wants to put the pieces of the puzzle together. I want to understand how everything works and why. I take comfort in understanding and awareness. So a combination of psycho-dynamic and cognitive behavioral worked very well for me. So maybe it is not so much about there being a right or wrong way to find one's path to a healthier emotional self during therapy but more about finding what works best for each individual. There's more than one answer, but one that must be seen the most clearly by the client. My former therapist must have seen and sensed what was working for me and so continued to go with that approach. I wonder if those who struggle with making significant progress in therapy could possibly benefit from trying alternative approaches? Did I stray O/T here? I was just considering this.

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I think that's very interesting. Added to the various types of methods and approaches that may be helpful based on our personality types, there is also the timing I think. I had a psychologist try to gear me toward CBT about 15 years ago and it went in one ear and out the other. But now I get it and I'm ready, and I think that makes a huge difference...

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It's so great that there this forum where people can talk about things like this. I sympathise with all of the previous posts because each and every one mentioned describes me. I have this hugs dark hole inside me that has been eating me up a little at a time and would, if I let it, eat me whole. I too have always wanted someone to heal me, never thinking I could heal myself, because, simply, I don't know how. I have never spoken about my deepest fears and feelings because I have had no one to tell them to, not having a therapist or even a really close friend I could open up to, and to be honest, the thought of saying out loud what i'm feeling inside makes me panic. Someone is trying to lead me to the water, to help me, but i'm here just staring at it. I can't make myself 'drink'.

I want to say thank you to everyone on this forum. You are such wonderful people, being hurt yourselves yet reaching out to others the way you do. God Bless.

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I recall being at a Ladysmith Black Mambazoo concert and sitting behind a man who was clearly from Africa. As we were walking out we began to talk and I asked him where he was from. He said New Mexico, so I asked him where he was from originally and he became uncomfortable and walked away. Later on that evening my friend and I were having dinner when this same man entered the cafe. He spotted me and came over quietly, touched my arm, leaned over and whispered-- "I am from Somalia!" It took my breath away as at this time Somalia was in the midst of much civil unrest and we had been raising money for mission appeal.

I have never seen him again and doubt I ever will, but what I do know is that for that time he simply wanted to be somewhere else. His own country had spit him out into the world and now he was on a lifetime journey trying to find another place, one where he could be at peace, but I had stopped him momentarily and reminded him that he was not from here either.

In a way, we are all sojourners, people not from here and so our own skin makes us uncomfortable at times.

Edited by David O
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I so agree with that David. For me it is a feeling like I should be in a loftier place, where spirit is a part of interactions and life. Instead I feel trapped in a place where the realisties of an earthbound existence are restrictive and often very saddening ... like an oversensitivity to material existence... I know it's terrilby idealistic, but sometimes it takes my taste for living away. The 'souful' talks I have had here have provided such wonderful nourishment..

Can someone explain 'waterboarding' to me please?

Edited by Symora
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hands down, one of THE most effective things i learned from my latest therapy was something my therapist called "unblending." I had to be shown how to do it, and experience it, before I had any clue what it was or what it's value could be....so I doubt my description will benefit anyone much. Of course, I'll try anyway:p. His method was Internal Family Systems, which briefly, is the idea that we have an internal "family" of parts that each play a role in our functioning. When we are in horrible pain, we are most likely in a "blended" state with a part, and usually, are also feeling the extreme reaction of another part that is upset with the former. A miserable polarization that is actually coming from within the person. The required step is to "unblend" from the powerful identification going on.... in order to look at it as a witness, and eventually to work with it to bring the conflict into resolution. The mere act of unblending can bring on incredible relief. And, the mere act of unblending can unblock energy that had been terribly subverted by the polarization. It's amazing what relief and energy can do for a person!!!! Taking steps that seemed impossible before, can feel possible.

From this unblended, "witness" perspective, the ego is no longer the enemy, it is a part doing its job. If it's in trouble, help can be negotiated...Hateful feelings toward self become a part of you, not the whole of you... and the feelings can get their hearing and their needs addressed...

My therapist went another step and worked with me on a spiritual center, a core self that was a place to go for healing and guidance. That worked well for me because of my personality.

just sharing:)-- I know it's tough to put all this stuff into words that convey many many many sessions and years even, of work!:o

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Sounds amazing, finding my way. :o

I agree that both the type of therapy and the timing of that type makes a big difference. I've seen it happen with me along the way - I would have been too fragile for my current therapist's style, back when I started. Now it's just what really helps and is effective for me. I've also had therapy where the therapist was really sweet, but the therapy was just ineffectual and dragged on for months. Luckily my first therapist was really gentle and I had a great therapeutic relationship with him that was very healing.

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...From this unblended, "witness" perspective, the ego is no longer the enemy...

Although not the same, this reminds me of something I learnt in Tibetan Buddhist meditation. I started meditating around the same time I started psychotherapy - the two are very compatible. What we learned was to develop an "observer consciousness", meaning that as you meditate you observe yourself as your thoughts arise, watch them float by and disappear and then observe the next one that arises and so on.

I've found that being able to think and feel whatever is happening while at the same time observing yourself and notice what you're thinking and feeling from outside yourself, has been enormously useful. You MUST do this with great compassion for yourself and not judge or try to push away thoughts that arise (the idea is to watch them but not attach to them, just stay in the Here and Now) and you see that your thoughts/feelings are transient and you don't have to cling to them. I think of it as sitting on the banks of a river and watching things float by.

Being a witness to what is going on inside yourself and practising looking from your observer consciousness, has been very powerful for me.

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I know what you mean about meditating and cultivating the observer and the now moment... all very helpful. The only part that doesn't work for me is when eastern writing talks about annihilating the ego... the ego is the enemy, etc.... I prefer the western psychological perspective that says we function out of our egos, need a healthy one, because without one we go psychotic... or something like that:p.

Another awesome book is Eastern Body, Western Mind by Anodea Judith

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I think the annihilation of ego is meant as an end state, quite close to death. As a perfection that won't be achieved in this life.

Even Buddha knew who his disciples meant when they called his name. :-)

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