random therapy-ish thoughts

January 24, 2018
TL; DR: are our emotions as truly us as our thoughts??... also... are our inner children all Tommy Pinball Wizards?

1. Lately I've been trying to chart down my willingness to be a bit of a martyr; I think it has some roots with my "OCD about being 100% factually reliable" (i.e. making it very clear how definite or unsure I am of any simple fact.) Subconsciously I feel as if my personal preferences have zero weight in the world, or at least, they have zero ability for self-justification; so if there's an (objectively reasonable) sacrifice I can make to stop an external, observable situation from going to shit, I am morally obliged to make that sacrifice.

2. Somewhere I've honed abilities to curate many emotions... so that they inappropriate or not-completely-objectively-justifiable feelings get weeded out very early. Other feelings (especially around fixed-mindset/ego-protection "better to not try and not succeed than swing and miss and lay bare my limitations") are more resilient, sadly.... along with impulse control for sweet and tasty things

3. That brings me to thinking about my "inner child"... Or to use another metaphor, the Elephant of my subconscious, emotional, movement life vs my Rational, narrative self. Since my 20s I've tried to grow beyond thinking of my inner-voice, narrative self as "me" but I don't know if I fully believe it, if I really grasp every subconscious process as being as "truly me" as my ability to recollect and consciously decide thing. Or - this just occurs to me now - I act as if my EMOTIONS aren't as valid, nor as "truly-me", as my THOUGHTS.

But maybe some of the problem is that "inner-child" is living a bit of a Helen-Keller world? Like possibly it doesn't have full access to the sensory input my narrator-self does - or maybe just lacks the linguistic framework to hang ideas off of, and so lives in a much less finessed world. (Reminds me a bit of Tommy the Pinball Wizard, that Deaf Dumb and Blind kid sure plays a mean pinball!) This kind of thing might be why affirmations seem so dumb and repetitive, that that's the kind of training and communication an inner-child needs because of those sensory gaps.

4. Finally... reading about Sweden's lifestyle philosophy of moderation called Lagom. Lately I've been thinking about how little in the West- especially the USA, I think - encourages moderation and balance for its own sake. If something is good, then why isn't cranking it up to 11 better? In practice, many people find their own moderation in, say, religion - but I think it's a serious loss that my evangelical heritage really doesn't stress that as a property - this life can feel like an admission exam for heaven or hell, so how can any earthly pursuit truly matter? That's why I built up my ability to objectively rationalize, I think younger me hoped he could lawyer is way out of hell...

FOLLOWUP: On Facebook Dachary said:

The inner child musing reminds me of a tool a therapist gave me ages ago. Because it’s sometimes difficult to surface subconscious thought processes, he had me use a journal and write out questions with my dominant hand and write responses with my non-dominant hand; the theory being, the other brain hemisphere is getting a chance to communicate directly.

I will say it surfaced a lot of things I wasn’t really aware of. The therapist had me write responses with my dominant hand, and “care” for my inner child - I.e. acknowledge thoughts and concerns, respond to them in a loving way and sort of try to rationally reach out to these subconscious knee-jerk types of things. At the very least, it helped me better respond where some things were coming from, and I believe it helped me resolve some things with my inner child.
It all reminds me how much of what I wrote is covered with Freud's Id/Ego/Superego division. (Also this point from the Wikipedia page on it: Figures like Bruno Bettelheim have criticized the way "the English translations impeded students' efforts to gain a true understanding of Freud."by substituting the formalised language of the elaborated code for the quotidian immediacy of Freud's own language." - the original German is more like "The It", "The I", "The Over-I". Latin gets in the way.
So beautiful....


"When you don't have money, but you have #Lego, imagination and determination."