Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Dexy, Jan 5, 2016.
Great thread, thanks for starting it Dexy
Can you elaborate on that, Marco, I'm not sure I understand.
I should add, sitting with feelings is one way to manage, but also redirecting thoughts and finding a way to feel empowered against the inner bully, laughing at it, not cowering, these are also important, not just marinating in anxiety. Right....?
Two ideas in reply. No, I try not to just sit and stew in anxiety. However, I notice that if I don't acknowledge it, and instead mindlessly react, I seem to feel an unconscious need to distract by doing compulsive behaviors like use the internet, or "stay busy to avoid," talk, etc. So I think it is helpful to know that my system is activated by anxiety and learn to stay in the fire a little bit, to learn about it, and not let it "run me."
Second idea: One teacher I have studied a lot is A.H. Almaas. He teaches disengagement from the superego or Inner Bully as it is described in the book "Soul Without Shame" by Byron Brown. This technique, by the way, is similar to Alan Gordon's recordings with clients in the Recovery Program at the Wiki: you use your indignation and even anger to meet the energy of the Inner Bully. You see the treatment of the Inner Child as diminishing and even "abusive" in its messages and energetic flavor, and you respond like a protector of that child.
My point about anxiety related to this is that Almaas wrote a paper "Work-on-the-super-ego," in which he describes that when we are not under attack by the Inner Bully, we are often in anxiety, fearful of an impending attack. We don't understand it as superego activity necessarily. We can also move away from feelings simply out of fear of the rejecting attack, even without a clear attack.
See this for some fascinating ideas on anxiety, superego, and Being!!
Reading this, you can fit some of Sarno's TMS work right into it (!), which Almaas does not explicitly do, of course.
This to say that, not talking with you personally, it may be that much of your anxiety is related to superego activity, (as you seem to suggest) in which case I would recommend Brown's book. One way to investigate the origin of the anxiety is to sit with it, and if it differentiates into discernible "put downs," "rejections" of your feelings, thoughts etc, this is superego activity (Inner Bully) and should not be "sat with," but rather it is best to take action to defend your Inner Child, such as you suggest: laughing at it, not cowering. [I would add standing up for yourself and telling it to BACK OFF.] I am glad you brought this up, because I was thinking of a more systemic anxiety that I am dealing with lately, not related to superego activity, as much as I can tell! More to do with rank survival fears.
In working with my TMS, and with clients, I find the superego is a very important factor to get to know and deal with. It is one of the defenses against feelings; its attacks create difficult feelings for the Inner Child like rage, sadness, and fear; and it is a form of embedded rejection of our experience, so it even makes it hard to explore what's going on in us!
On a very basic level, it functions as pure distraction: it diverts our attention from anything "threatening" by activating our Inner Child to respond to the attacks, so we get lost in identification with the Inner Child in relationship with a powerful, mean parent, rather than noticing what is below this painful interaction (feelings, awareness, insight). You can see the similarities of the action of the superego to the "pain as TMS distraction."
Superego activity also attempts to maintain our self-identity as 'good' or 'perfect.'
Good luck in this investigation! I've enjoyed exploring this with myself tonight, and hope some of this might resonate with your experience.
Thank you for all of this helpful information, Andy. I've just checked out the link you shared about anxiety/super-ego/ego and the first blurb I happened upon really struck a chord with me:
"Indications of Unusual Anxiety
When the defenses start actually breaking down, a person will experience increased anxiety, followed by the repressed impulses and feelings. So under normal circumstances, the presence of unusual anxiety indicates that some defenses are dissolving and that some piece of the unconscious is pushing towards consciousness. The anxiety, therefore, can be seen as a preview to self-knowledge."
I really feel that my defenses (the obsessive, pseudo-protective focus on my TMS symptoms) are starting to crumble under the very recent gut-level understanding that my emotions are what are hurting me, not my physical body. Until very recently, I told myself this intellectually (the pain is psychogenic); yet, I in hindsight, I can see that I didn't fully comprehend this on a deeper level. Now that I am, I am experiencing much higher levels of pure anxiety than I have really ever known (consciously). It's not a barrel of fun to keep rerouting to these anxious feelings, and I don't want to marinate them or energize them forever, but I feel that for right now, it is where I am at in terms of TMS healing. It's an important step--re-routing my fear of physical symptoms to the fear my mind feels.
As I become more proficient in this, I believe I will better be able to manage these scary feelings and trust my ability to do so. I am hopeful that this will become habitual and programmed in my subconscious. I think that I have been trying to make too many changes at once, which has been exacerbating my symptoms and obsession. I think that getting proficient at noticing how much anxiety I am generating whenever I catch myself starting to focus on the physical, and not always trying to "make it go away" via meditation or breathing or redirection or what-have-you is what I need to focus on for a little while. Whenever I am able to also deal with these anxious feelings, bonus, but I don't want to pressure myself to have to make them go away. I want to get okay with just noticing them and noticing how uncomfortable they are and noticing how much I want to make the focus in my body. Step One!
I will say that by doing this, while I have become at times (particularly first thing in the morning) very anxious and fearful, I have definitely decreased the amount of thought I put on my physical body. I am rerouting the obsession to my anxious thoughts, haha! Hey, it's a step and I believe that once I get more comfortable at this, I can then really work the techniques for better managing those anxious feelings. I just don't want to overwhelm myself with too much at once.
I really value your insight and thoughts on what I have expressed so far, and I can't thank you enough! I feel that I am really heading in the right direction, even though at times, the feelings can seem unbearable, and all I want to do is escape them. It would be convenient to escape back into thinking about my physical symptoms, but the curtain has been pulled on that, the jig is up! Cheers.
I mean u think it works so it does
Yes, I understand that but I just didn't understand in what regard you meant it was the placebo effect.
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