By Brian Lynch, M.D.
Why is it that we do not progress in life? Why is it that we might take a step for forward maybe three and fall back? Is it that the world is just overwhelming?
That is an important question. Many times it is just overwhelming. Presently we are in very difficult economic times. Are these any individual’s fault? Not entirely and often not at all. One losses their house and they “did everything right” or everything they could.
But we do come from a family; we do have an inner psychological world that can play tricks on us.
Some years ago a teacher of mine said to me, “you know Brian it is often very difficult for children to do better than their parents.” I understood this to have a great deal to do with shame and humiliation. That it might be understood by all that it would be humiliating to the parent if the son became more than the father. There are many works of art that demonstrate this. The father does everything to sabotage the son’s efforts to leave the farm or not stay on at the family business. “What boy you think you’re better than me?”
Shame can “bind” us to the family. We can actually feel it is wrong or bad to improve ourselves. We see a better world out there but if I leave will I not hurt my parents? Will I not disrupt all the family is? After all it is “the family.” Even those that do leave and are successes oft times will struggle for years with guilt and addiction because of their betrayal. If these thoughts seem insane they might just indeed be the basis of a great deal of what we call “insanity."
We know and see the “the good” and the healthy but we cannot bring ourselves to achieve it for to do so would be to break the bound with our primary caregiver. With that which was the healthiest and loving and giving to begin with. But what happens when we quickly learn “the family” as a whole is not so loving and healthy. There are many types of intelligences and anyone of these can inform us that there is a “better life over the hill” but again “how do I leave this life for that life?” “Who is my guide? Who can possibly be my guide?” Today I would think it is more and more difficult to find those guides as “pop culture” is devoid of “heroes”, for the most part, and the act of “humiliating” others in public is now taught nightly on Television.
Who do we turn to, to be taught to be interested in each other?
So it is quite a bind; I continue terrible brutal family traditions of abuse and unhealthy habits all the time knowing there is a better way. I continue this out of “love.” But this love, although it is genuine and healthy at its core, as these are your primary care givers it is now a love based greatly on guilt. There needs to be a new birth through, yes, interest, interest in self to bring about a rebirth. Today it seems we have to be our own hero, and find like mined souls, like-minded heroes. They do exist. Then we can return to the family and not change them but be their model, their “hero” even though they at first might “hate” us for it.
Tomkins, Silvan S.: Affect Imagery Consciousness NY: SPringer Publishing Company, 1963.
Shame and Pride : Affect, Sex, and the Birth of the Self by Donald L. Nathanson Paperback (March 1994)
W.W. Norton & Company; ISBN: 0393311090
How To Get Where You Want To Go Brian Lynch, M.D. 2000 PageFree