How do we help the imaginary self meet the real self?
This is usually hindered by a neurotic aversion to some part of ourselves that we consider “bad.
Is it worth dragging out the groundhog?
When we tell someone about our problems, we usually hear that we need to accept and love ourselves for who we are. And then we’ll be fine.
This is often said to almost everyone, whether you’re a schoolboy who does his homework every day, a student who is constantly busy lecturing and editing his papers in an online paper editor, or an office worker who works almost every day. We are constantly faced with problems that are hard for us to get through.
But how do we do that when many people’s view of themselves, their desires, their weaknesses and strengths are often warped – due to excessive motivation from an early age in the pursuit of success, due to forbidden emotions and imposed values.
Such a condition is commonly referred to as neurotic. But should it be treated as something irreparable?
Remember how our parents or teachers taught us to be comfortable and “good,” approving certain expressions of our little personalities that were acceptable to them, and shaming us if, in the process of our rapid development, we sharply fell out of the general mainstream.
This is how we learned that we have a “bad(er) me” in the middle. And that this part of nature should be hidden away and try not to show anyone. Better yet, we should “forget” that we can be jealous, want to hurt someone, rejoice in other people’s misfortunes, or dislike our parents or children.
But these tendencies and feelings have not gone anywhere. More or less repressed, buried in the subconscious, they continue to live their lives, creating a lot of problems for people.
After all, when someone annoys us, few of us think that it is us who do not perceive in others the trait of character or behavior that we deny in ourselves. Observe, who and what the most resentful – so it comes out condemned by us, our “bad self,” according to psychologists.
For example, a client, let’s call it Anna, divorced her husband a year after the birth of their daughter. And although she was and remains attractive and self-sufficient and had many chances to marry, and did not want to hear about it.
When her daughter began to live with her husband separately, she stopped by the newlyweds’ house almost every night and criticized her daughter. She did not properly greet her husband from work, she did not lay the table nicely, and she cooked without inspiration or imagination.
After the appearance of her grandson, the young grandmother resented her daughter’s desire to go to work in a few months, her unwillingness to have two more children. She criticized her daughter for her callous and, in her opinion, even cruel attitude toward the child, because the couple decided to hire a nanny.
I do not think it is necessary to explain that the woman’s relationship with her daughter deteriorated sharply, and she began to complain about the lack of understanding and indifference of her loved one. Like, she just wanted her daughter not to repeat her fate – to be lonely.
Despite the fact that the client said how nice it was, when the house is filled with children’s laughter and cries, and friendly mistress puts a freshly baked pie on the table, while her husband is changing clothes after work, her face remained stony, and nervously rubbed her fingers with a napkin.
When I asked her why she did not create such an earthly paradise for herself, which, by the way, it is not too late to create, she almost cried. She said she had not met the right man.
In the course of the conversation it became clear that she regularly met decent men. Then she “remembered” that she had Leonid, who annoyed her with phone calls, and that she could move in with Victor at any time.
Flowers in someone else’s garden
It turned out that Anna was really very scared; she painted a picture of family comfort. The same need to meet and feed her husband every day, to listen to his stories seemed incredibly boring to her.
But she liked meeting in a cafe, going to the theater, and romantic dates. When the relationship became more serious, Anna deliberately alienated their partners. And to justify themselves in his eyes, she recalled and exaggerated their alleged deficiencies.
Likewise, Anna admitted she was annoyed by children’s noise, and everything associated with the first year of raising a baby, caused panic. It also stopped the woman from remarriage, because the man, she thought, would have to give birth to a child. So she conflicted with her daughter, avoiding conflict with herself.
Of course, she considered her views to be wrong, and she considered herself “something different. And she at least wanted to prevent her daughter from repeating her mother’s fate.
In general, it is typical for a neurotic to consider himself even if he is abnormal, just not wrong. And to defend his neuroses so strongly, that as soon as the specialist gets close to them, to deny everything, to close in on himself.
For then she would have to remember the part of her personality that she thought was bad, and accept it.
The way out for Anna was to accept her attitude toward marriage and children. Why this happened is another story. The task was to accept the shadowy part of herself as normal, which she didn’t need to be embarrassed about. Neither was it to look to men for the supposed reason for one’s own reluctance to live with them.
Alarm clock for the neurotic.
People with neurotic traits are very different. And they are not miserable frightened creatures, but often seemingly successful, beautiful and intelligent people. But what they have in common is that they do not live in objective reality, but in the past or the future. This can be detected, for example, by analyzing what and how we say or think.
We mentally go through our past experiences, trying to correct something there, to finish it off, to justify ourselves.
We don’t talk about things or intentions directly; we often use “seems,” “supposedly,” “as if,” “I don’t know,” “I’ll try.”
We often quote (wise sayings, poems, proverbs, anecdotes).
Telling about ourselves, in fact, we do not speak in the first person, but as if about someone else. I was insulted, it didn’t work out, it wasn’t my destiny, I wasn’t let go, I was driven away.
When we explain why we procrastinate in solving vital problems, we often say, “Yes, but …”
And finally – most importantly – neurotic people are much easier to build an imaginary ideal relationship, recall or dream about, than to communicate with specific partners. After all, you have to live in the real world. And this, sometimes, is not easy.