Tag Archives: Ego

Thoughts on the Separation or Fall

Eden was an epic event. Whether you believe it to be allegorical, psychological, anthropological, developmental, or a doctrine of absolute literal truth, I believe at least some of the following will still apply.

One point we can glean from this story of the fall, or separation as some like to call it, is that when we grasped to be like God [or our Higher Power] by knowing the difference between good and evil, we not only separated ourselves from God, but we also separated from each other and even our own selves.

Before that event, our relationship with Him was so close that the entire concept of being like Him was foolishness. We were already so near Him in our natural state that there was no real conceivable need to be as him, except for perhaps the desire of the Ego. He communicated with us. We understood Him. Only peace and harmony existed. Division among men had not yet been conceived. No issues to divide us had yet come into existence.

Once we fell and we separated from God, we likewise found ourselves with a new separate identity considerably different from the previous one. The consequences of knowing good from evil were more than what was anticipated. We now had a good and bad self. Judgment, shame, good and bad, right and wrong, fear, danger, reward and punishment all came into being.

Man gained the capacity to oppose God, other men, and even himself. The core of our being was fragmented. We could dislike parts of ourselves or dislike ourselves entirely. We compared ourselves to others and found ourselves superior or inferior. Hence we not only split from God but likewise from others and ourselves.

Lucas Cranach d.Ä. - Adam und Eva (National Gallery of Art)
Adam and Eve in Paradise by Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472–1553)
From that point forward, we based everything we see, do, and believe on that new flawed or fractured identity. The ego rose to supremacy, alone against all others and even somewhat frightened as our psychologists will tell us. It created a group called us for safety, protection, and support. It created the group called them as in those who are different or not among us, who are enemies, or at least potential enemies.

Nearly everything mankind has created from that point forward was built on that separation, that fractured personality, or the new renegade ego. All society, ancient and modern, reflects this with me, us, and them mentality. Society at large is the macrocosm of the microcosm.

Mankind has been trying to fix himself and his problems ever since and just one look and we can see how well he is doing. The us and them mentalities are so ingrained that if it were possible for one side of the equation to drop that mentality, surely the other side would conquer and destroy them. And that they must do, as it is the nature of the separation, the fractured being, and the extended fractured society.

The other side could not help but to continue the judging of right and wrong, superior and inferior, and reward and punishment. It must do so by its fractured nature. It is one of the bigger consequences of the fall. Man needs to attack others and defend himself. Attacking others is part of his defense. He is an ever comparing, ever criticizing, ever projecting, and ever judging creature. Just list all the judgment and criticism you hear for one single day. Write it down as the day progresses. It comes at you from all directions, work, relatives, friends, the television, the papers, and more. Also, add your own critical and judgmental thoughts to the list. You will be surprised if you can stay focused enough to do the exercise,

Man has a need to prove himself or his group right. Prone to violence, man will strike others to prove himself correct. He justifies his anger then justifies his attack on others verbally or physically. The cycle escalates. Entire societies get involved and the division increases exponentially resulting in fights, elections, murder, protests, and riots. The ultimate effect of separating, of creating us and them, is war.

Although the rate of death from war is declining since 1945, we have no guarantee that trend will continue. The Peace Pledge Union Project claims that three times more people have been killed in wars in the last ninety years than in the previous five hundred. My search on how many days there have been no wars in the past century ranges from 26 days to 45 days. One could argue that having a fifty-year decline during a historical surge is not the best argument for progress. Perhaps that is why it is said, “Blessed are the peacemakers.”

Before the fall there was no need for peacemakers. Since the fall, however, creating peace is a very difficult thing to do. Ironically, it’s a good way to make enemies or even get killed.

[Inspired by ACIM Chapter 5, II, 1-11]

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WHAT IS THE EGO?

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WHAT IS THE EGO?

From: A Course in Miracles Workbook [Part II, 12 What is the Ego?]


The ego is idolatry; the sign of limited and separated self, born in a body, doomed to suffer and to end its life in death. It is the “will” that sees the Will of God as enemy, and takes a form in which it is denied. The ego is the “proof” that strength is weak and love is fearful, life is really death, and what opposes God alone is true.

Art- Personality and Ego image from Pixbay The ego is insane. In fear it stands beyond the Everywhere, apart from All, in separation from the Infinite. In its insanity it thinks it has become a victor over God Himself. And in its terrible autonomy it “sees” the Will of God has been destroyed. It dreams of punishment, and trembles at the figures in its dreams; its enemies, who seek to murder it before it can ensure its safety by attacking them.

The Son of God is egoless. What can he know of madness and the death of God, when he abides in Him? What can he know of sorrow and of suffering, when he lives in eternal joy? What can he know of fear and punishment, of sin and guilt, of hatred and attack, when all there is surrounding him is everlasting peace, forever conflict-free and undisturbed, in deepest silence and tranquility?

To know reality is not to see the ego and its thoughts, its works, its acts, its laws and its beliefs, its dreams, its hopes, its plans for its salvation, and the cost belief in it entails. In suffering, the price for faith in it is so immense that crucifixion of the Son of God is offered daily at its darkened shrine, and blood must flow before the altar where its sickly followers prepare to die.

A Course in Miracles text bookYet will one lily of forgiveness change the darkness into light; the altar to illusions to the shrine of Life Itself. And peace will be restored forever to the holy minds which God created as His Son, His dwelling place, His joy, His love, completely His, completely one with Him.

Any thoughts? Please share below. If you like it, feel free to share.

A Course in Miracles

The Ego and the Tyranny of the Superego

The Freudian model is a great representation, but keep in mind it is only a model. The model points the way and conveys the information, but your brain does not have 3 separate compartments with walls between them. It is not a three in one trinity.

SUPEREGO

The superego is the policeman or the judge. It keeps the rules given to us by our families and culture. It could be seen as your conscience and a storehouse of rules, laws, and values. The superego has the tendency to demand perfection and will judge itself and others harshly as it develops. It can be viewed as opposite the id.

Freudian icebergID

The id, present from birth, contains a human’s basic instinctual drives. It is the source of our wants, desires, impulses, and bodily needs. The Id has no judgments of value, no sense of good and evil.

EGO

The Ego deals with the outside world. Per Freud, the ego mediates between the id and reality. It works to fill the id’s drives and needs in sensible ways and should eventually learn to do so in a way that benefits the person in the long-term, rather than causing pain, grief, or other problems.

The ego navigates a tricky three-way obstacle course between the outside world, the superego, and the id. Following the rules of the superego, the id may not be happy. If the ego makes mistakes, the superego may cast harsh judgments. Meanwhile, the outside world watches, rewarding and punishing according to its standards.

One can view the ego as common sense compared to the id which is uncontrolled desires and passions. The ego is the seat of reason, thinking, and conscious awareness, although not all operations of the ego are conscious. The superego, as the law keeper and judge, also has operations that are not conscious.

JUDGE, JURY, & VICTIM

This sounds like a good model so far, that is when everything is working in balance. The problem is that often things are not in balance. We are all aware of those who seem to have no superego (conscience or ability to follow laws) and or those whose id is unchecked and out of control carrying out desires, and impulses in antisocial ways.

Yet, what we often overlook is the superego’s assaults on the ego. The super-ego or judge constantly watches every move of the ego then punishes the ego with feelings of long-term guilt, anxiety, and inferiority for any failure, or even perceived failure or shortcoming. The superego occasionally rewards the ego for what it considers good behaviors with positive feelings, but they appear short-lived in comparison to the judgments and punishments.

The superego, as keeper of the rules and laws, sees itself as right and its judgments infallible as though God Himself was on its side. It does not matter that the rules and customs it exalts are not the results of any original thought. It does not matter that most of its ideas came from someone else. Nor does it matter that many of the rules and laws were never challenged, but were accepted blindly, many before the development of critical thinking.

Growing up, the superego accepts all that is programmed into it by family, friends, neighbors, subculture, culture, the educational system, television and various other societal sources. It accepts the rules it is given as absolute and judges harshly by those standards. It aims for perfection and the person it occupies is not capable of perfection. Neither is anyone else the superego meets. With the images of perfection shown by modern media, the judgments are even harsher. To make matters worse, many of the superego’s rules and values are below ground or in the unconscious realm.

Thus the ego after being judged by the superego believes (consciously or unconsciously) that it is not good enough, not skilled enough, not smart enough, not lovable enough, or not pretty enough. Its teeth aren’t white enough, its car is not stylish enough, its spouse and kids don’t measure up to what is on television. In short, it does not have enough of whatever it needs to feel good. It can never measure up to the superego’s standards and never will. There will always be some regret, feeling of inferiority, failure, or dislike about either itself, its circumstances, or the body it occupies.

The judgments cast against the ego forces it to adapt by taking several of many options. Some of the options available to a suffering and persecuted ego include masochism, co-dependency,over compensation, rationalization, repression, regression, dissociation, splitting, projection, identification with an outside model, and somatization – the unconscious manifesting of repressed emotions into psychosomatic illness.

This war between how things are supposed to be (the superego) vs how things appear to be (the ego’s perception) has huge and devastating consequences. It results in a large host of disorders including, depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, anxiety, eating disorders, and many types of physical illness ranging from ulcers, arthritis, headaches, heart problems, and even cancer.

WINNING THE WAR
One step toward getting better and happier is to challenge the rules and the “shoulds” that have been forced on you.

Ask – Whose rules are they? Did you choose them or inherit them? Do they serve you or hurt you? Do they bring happiness or do they bring bondage?

The Ancient Toltecs also had simple effective ways of dealing with this issue. Don Miguel Ruiz offers the following simple aid among several in his book “The Four Agreements.” I call it questions to the judge.

Get a marker and write the below words on a bright piece of paper. Whenever guilt, anxiety, shame, depression or any value struggle occurs, look at the words and say to the judge:

Big deal!
Who cares?
So what?
Why not?
(If none of these satisfy your situation, then remember this last one.)
It doesn’t matter.

Try both aids together. Good luck and please stop persecuting yourself and others. We need to quit being judge, jury, and warden. We need to lighten our load from this tyranny as much as possible.

Never forget, most of what causes our suffering is based on someone else’s ideas. Many of these ideas are hundreds of years old. Many of these ideas were not necessarily created from any real wisdom but were simply good ideas at the time. Many of them are incorrect and are inaccurate at best.

I will cover more on these subjects in the future. All Comments, discussion, criticism or advice are welcome. Please post below.

Credits:
More on Freud – Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Carlson, N. R. from Personality. Psychology: the science of behavior
Freud, New Introductory Lectures
Snowden, Ruth from Teach Yourself Freud.
Carlson, N. R. from Personality. Psychology: the science of behavior
Schacter, Daniel from Psychology Second Edition.
Freud, On Metapsychology
From “Ego Development and Psychopathology: A Study of Hospitalized Adolescents”.
Freud from The Ego and the Id, On Metapsychology p
Gangaji from the Diamond in your Pocket
S. Sutker/H. E. Adams from Comprehensive Handbook of Psychopathology

Don Miguel Ruiz from The Four agreements
Vishen Lakhiani fromCode of the Extraordinary

MindPicture Credit:
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Structural-Iceberg.svg   public domain
attribute –  By historicair 16:56, 16 December 2006 (UTC) [public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Paul Nieto – The Old Dirt Road
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Thoughts on Healing the Adult Wounded Inner Child

shame child workd cloud

As young growing children, we were all wounded to some degree. It is impossible not to be. The wounded inner child carried into adulthood received its wounds from many places. It was not only the parents who hurt and wounded us. The list can include grandparents, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, and any other caretakers. As a child ages, the list gets bigger, including the school system, religion, friends, and peer groups for starters.

The images the wounded child receives from these figures often stays and hinders the inner child for life. One look at the number of pills prescribed for depression and anxiety alone starts to shed light on how many people are still in pain and have unresolved issues. Coupled with all those victims are those who are still suffering, but not yet diagnosed, just simply living dysfunctional or co-dependent lives.

This is an important topic for many reasons. For starters, you cannot love another person if you do not love yourself. Since most wounded inner children have been shamed into a subtle form of thinking “I am bad,” or “I am not good enough,” they do not love themselves.

Another issue that a wounded inner child may face is that it is difficult, if not impossible, to succeed long term in most any endeavor if you do not find yourself worthy. Until you are freed, you will continue in mediocrity. As for relationships, you will simply pass on the inherited poisons you accumulated to other people, including your mate, children, and grandchildren. You will keep repeating the same cycles in the same or in some other varied form. In a sense, you become frozen in time. Many psychologists agree on these points and for the purposes of this short article, I will be primarily referencing from John Bradshaw’s book Creating Love. This material is also included in a more expanded form in his book Homecoming: Reclaiming and Championing Your Inner Child.

The wounded inner adult child has a tendency to either a) idealize his parents or b) degrade his parents. The danger in a damaged inner child idolizing the parents is quite clear. The young growing child, not knowing any better, believed out of necessity, “They are good, and I must, therefore, be bad.” The young child formed a new self to do whatever was necessary to avoid pain, feel love, and get attention, to please the parent and adapt to or endure the soundings. Several defense mechanisms were put in place that both served the child and also fractured the personality. These defenses are always carried into adulthood and form the wounded adult inner child.

In adulthood, however, the defenses are seldom valid and often no longer needed and have no real value. Rather than serve us, they are generally counterproductive and even harmful. Yet the defenses and habitual thoughts still remain. The damage continues and the adult inner child is still in pain hearing the long distant voices of the painful past.

As for the degraded image of the primary source, one might think that would aid to liberate the child. However, that is not true. The hold on the adult inner child is just as strong. The resentment stays with the wounded inner child and, in a sense, the resentment bonds him to the source figure and never allows the child to leave home, no matter how far the geographical distance may be. We have all met those adults who hate one or more of their parents and we can’t help but notice they often have some serious issues.

Whether the source image is idealized or degraded, it is still not reality. The internalized parent, not the real parent, remains either saint-like or monster-like. Per Bradshaw’s book, it appears that either is just as deadly. These fantasy figures will remain magical and all powerful. Their reach will continue from even beyond the grave. The effects on relationships, happiness, and even success can be devastating to the adult. They will also have a negative effect on your ability or raise children. It is typical to think one can outmaneuver these forces in raising children but seldom is it true. The voices of these images are experienced is though they are our own voice. A fantasy bond is maintained with the internalized source figure image or images.

Most people will say, “Well, that is all fine but I had a normal childhood with good parents. I was lucky I guess.” At this point, we can refer to the landmark Book Love is a Choice. In this book, the authors point out that that almost ALL victims say this. Ironically, the fact that you believe your childhood was normal indicates there is strong possibility it is not true. We all tend to think what happened to us as normal. The subtle forms of abuse children receive are well covered in the book in very easy to understand terminology. You may be quite surprised at what you discover.

Bradshaw suggests, that with the help of a therapist or in a support group with the therapist’s permission that you go through certain exercises which I decided to do on my own.

One exercise, among the several, that he recommends in the process, is to make three columns on a piece of paper for each primary source in your life; one for the idealized image, one for the real person, and one for the degraded image. Draw lines to make separate the columns – Idealized, Real, and Degraded.

Bradshaw suggests first you do a list of the idealized image or the mythological person that was attempting to be projected to the outside world. See all the good that other people believed on the outside. Naturally, there will often be some good points that are true.

Angry person Next Bradshaw suggests you move on to the degraded opposite, the pain you felt as a child, the horrors you saw that contradict the idealized person. Here is where you can vent your anger to some degree if you have been abused in some way. It is where you cover all the injustices committed against you. Here is where you list the traits you saw that contradicted what other people may have believed about that person.

Finally, you are ready to make a list of the real person, which is somewhere between the too.

Even if you believe you are quite mentally and emotionally well, this process is quite revealing. You will also find his order of process quite logical once you have completed it.

Continuing onward, he goes into a death and burial exercise. The death and burial exercises are not intended as a way to “forget” you real parents or turn your back on them. It is an exercise to put way the mythological parent or voices that have been haunting you and that are having an adverse effect on you all these years later. Finally one must go on to become one’s own parent and fill the adult inner child’s vacuum that s left by left by the dismal of the previous source images.

It is important that everyone deal with these internalized images. Of course, there are some who are lesser impacted and can continue to slug it out on their own. But why endure unnecessary pain? A very large number of people in our society are actually affected or in need of some help. I have read estimates as high as 25% for the negative effects of codependency alone, but I personally believe it is much higher.

Once you have dismissed the disabling source images, there is often a gap that needs to be filled. With the new gap or emptiness comes the danger of attaching to something else just a deadly, possibly even worse. Finding a support group is the best route to go and it may often be essential. There are many self-help groups available for free that can assist a person depending on the need. Groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Depressed Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous, Emotions Anonymous, and groups for survivors are among the many. You may not like a particular group, but you would be wise to continue shopping around. This may take some time and work.

Pick your group carefully. There can be pitfalls in some groups. A good book by another author to read is The Mastery of Love by Don Miguel Ruiz. He will take you into the pitfalls of how religion can be used negatively or only as a mere mask. Bradshaw covers this as well. This is not to say all religious groups are bad or harmful, far from it, but there are some things to be weary of in some groups.

Any group with a one size fits all needs philosophy or doctrine needs to be looked at with scrutiny. Any group that tells you how to think or what to value may end up only putting a new veneer over your original issues. This some goes for secular groups as well as there can be some pitfalls in those too. In general, however, a non-religious group is a good place to start. Most all 12 step groups recognize a higher power but leave what that power is up to you. Politics and religion are generally forbidden topics. You owe no allegiance to the group except keeping things confidential. You can quit anytime you want. You can come and go as you please and in general, you are always welcome. I’d suggest avoiding any groups that demand loyalty unless it is headed by a qualified therapist that you have personally evaluated.

If you are truly serious and want a better life you should also read. I may be a good idea to do any suggested exercises in the books you read also. I am amazed at how many people simply want to sit somewhere and simply talk hoping for the issues to be magically be fixed without doing any work. Even worse are persons who do nothing but daydream of a person or event to magically materialize and save them.

Bradshaw writes quite a series of books that anyone having repeat relationship issues, or perhaps even repeat job issues, or in a sense, any repeating life issues should read and perhaps take into therapy or a small group at the very least. I will end by listing a few of the books that have helped me personally and also helped me to understand others much better.

What I like about Bradshaw is his ability to simplify and yet not dilute any of the power of the message. It will also stand on its own without having previously studied other works.

I personally recommend reading several books per year at the very least. I would be wise to start attending a group and have some therapy before making any large decisions. Don’t let any type of wishful euphoria of a book sweep you away into anything just as bad or worse either.

Healing books by John Bradshaw:
Healing the Same that Binds You
Creating Love
Homecoming: Reclaiming and Championing Your Inner Child

Another great book on this subject:
The Mastery of Love – Don Miguel Ruiz

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Thoughts on the Ego, Discontent, and Ambivalence

Blue face and purple face overlapped and looking in opposite directions

When the ego through the means of guilt steers you into repeatedly doing something that you do not really want to do, in order to relieve the guilt for example; it often creates resentment. In summary, the ego and its perception (often miss-perception) creates the issue and offers one a solution, only to either repeat a similar situation or manufacture a new one. By similar egoic processes, even the good things in life must eventually, in the least, turn to a state of some sort of ambivalence. Things such as love, hope, and joy must either end, become boring, turn fearful, or turn bittersweet with problems.

The ego’s favorite pastime is to analyze, rationalize, judge, attack or criticize things, people, ideas, and circumstances. So even if things are good, all good things must eventually become bad or not quite so good at the best. Peace and harmony, in general, cannot continue for too very long before someone’s ego needs to start a conflict or at least make some sort of negative judgment.

The affected egos are often quick to enter the new state of turmoil, worry, discontentment, or conflict and deny any responsibility for their new found fear, anger or discontent. Why? Because it fulfills the ego’s primary goal which is to focus on itself and its perceptions. It accomplishes this by either elevating itself against the differences in others, or aligning itself with the similarities in others, all within its imaginary magical kingdom where it rules relatively supreme. The ego distracts its host into thinking all of life is the ego’s little kingdom, be it good or bad, peace or conflict, contentment or despondency.

On and on the egoic processes continue with most everything in life, using smoke and mirrors promising some sort of pleasure, relief, justification, purpose, or satisfaction, but giving nothing at all. The most it will offer is a short-term fix at best.

The Ego can primarily only offer distractions and perpetuates its expansion and existence primarily at the expense of the host and secondarily at the expense of others. It cares for itself, more than its host. It will even use the wildest or rationalizations to support its position. In essence, the ego offers nothing of much or of lasting value. Yet why do we submit to it and obey its impulses so?

Article by Paul Nieto
The Old Dirt Road

Related: The Ego and the Tyranny of the Superego

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