The Evolution and Domestication of Feelings

Chapter 5a of Meeting the Voices in My Head and Searching for an Inner Adult

Image from Pixabay

I suspect I’m not going to find my Inner Adult in my feelings. There doesn’t seem to be anything adult about them. Good or bad, they are some of the most childish things I’ve got.

How can I be so down about feelings, you wonder; don’t shrinks always want to talk about them? I haven’t always been a therapist. When I was younger, I was a roofer, busting my hump, carrying packets of shingles up a ladder. I swung a hammer till my hand fell off. It was a hundred and ten on the roof, with no shade. If I thought about my feelings, I wouldn’t get the job done; I’d be under a tree, having a beer. Feelings do you no good when you’re putting on a roof. Feelings get in the way.

Continue reading “The Evolution and Domestication of Feelings”

Are the Inner Voices of My Parents My Inner Adults?

Chapter 4b of Meeting the Voices in My Head and Searching for an Inner Adult

Photo by Bicanski on Pixnio

Parents hope you will install bots of themselves in your brain for when they can’t be around to stop you from doing things they would disapprove. If your father was the kind that yelled at you when you swiped a cookie, you might still have his voice in your head when you break your diet and go for the Oreos. Is that voice your Inner Adult, watching over you just like your parents watched over you when you were a child?

Continue reading “Are the Inner Voices of My Parents My Inner Adults?”

The Bot I Call My Parent

Chapter 4a of Meeting the Voices in My Head and Searching for an Inner Adult

An image of the robot ‘Kismet’, Wikimedia

When we closed the last post, we left me screaming, alone in my crib. Eventually, I learned to accept transitional objects I call security blankets to help me pretend I wasn’t alone. At this stage of my life, they were all I had for an inner adult. There were outer adults, for sure, or I would not have survived. After I learned to use language, I developed the security blanket into a voice that more closely resembled my inner voices of today, a distinct point of view I can I engage with, argue, and wish would go away. The security blanket will become a bot I call my parent.

Continue reading “The Bot I Call My Parent”

How to Be Close to Your Loved Ones Without Losing Your Mind

Image from Pixabay

Spending too much time at home will put a strain on your relationships. You’ll get on each other’s nerves. Pet peeves will put your love at risk. Even if you get along, you’ll become like roommates; seeing each other continuously, but lacking real intimacy. So, you either drive each other crazy or get bored.

Continue reading “How to Be Close to Your Loved Ones Without Losing Your Mind”

The Security Blanket

Chapter 3b of Meeting the Voices in My Head and Searching for an Inner Adult

Image by Apelad

In the last installment, I began to talk about how babies learn to cope with being left alone in their crib and the long-term outcome of this universal experience. The baby finds itself in an abyss, utterly helpless and confused about what is going on. It can go three ways, and I talked about the first two. A kind of firefighter can come out, maned for those civil servants who have license to ruin a home in the interests of saving it. We usually call this rage. The second is the baby could get the Fuck-Its, which enable the baby to cope by becoming lethargic. Fully grown people can exercise these same two options when they feel lost and powerless.

In this post, I present the third option. The baby can create a security blanket and pretend everything is fine.

Continue reading “The Security Blanket”

How to Cope with Being Left Alone

Chapter 3a of Meeting the Voices in My Head and Searching for an Inner Adult

Image by Dave Buchwald

There had to be a time when I was a baby, left in my crib, screaming my head off, wondering if someone would ever come. Someone did, but not before a momentous realization occurred. Up until that point, I might have regarded my caretaker as a part of me, like an arm or a leg. Arising from that dreadful experience, I learned I couldn’t control everything, there were other people in the world, and it wasn’t all about me. This is an important thing to know and it’s an essential step towards maturity, but it’s also terrifying. To cope with it, I developed three new voices I still have to this day. And that thing I learned that I couldn’t control everything? The three voices convinced me it wasn’t true, so I went on nearly as self-centered as before.

Continue reading “How to Cope with Being Left Alone”

The Face of the Other

Chapter 2 of Meeting the Voices in My Head and Searching for an Inner Adult

Mother and Child by Bob Whitehead

It’s the first day of school and I’m late. As I step into the classroom, I feel everyone’s eyes. They’re judging me. I look down and realize something I should have noticed before. I’m naked.

This common nightmare is your everyday experience if you’re self-conscious. It’s not that you walk around naked all the time, but you feel like you do. It’s not that everyone is really judging you; but, in your mind they are.

Continue reading “The Face of the Other”

The Innermost Child in the Abyss

Chapter 1b of Meeting the Voices in My Head and Searching for an Inner Adult

Image by Pixabay

In the middle of everything, there’s this deep, dark, depressing hole. When you fall in, sometimes there’s no climbing out. When we call it anything at all, we often call it death, brokenness, meaninglessness, futility, emptiness, or despair. I like to call it the Abyss[i]. Think of it as a psychic black hole. The Abyss is beyond what you can imagine. It cannot be grasped by language, it’s something other than your belief in ordinary reality. It’s everything that’s left over after explanations try their best. The Abyss is what you’re trying to fill up with your insatiable, misplaced desires.

Continue reading “The Innermost Child in the Abyss”

The Innermost Child

Chapter 1a of Meeting the Voices in My Head and Searching for an Inner Adult

Image by Pixabay

I don’t remember, but I’m sure I didn’t begin with so many voices in my head. When I was a newborn, I possessed only one point of view, but was unable to articulate it. When I had a need, I felt it as acute, but undefinable distress. I cried instinctively but didn’t even know what was wrong because I had no understanding of what could be wrong, nor words to describe it. In that time in my life, I had no feelings, perceptions, or learned behaviors, but I did have nameless emotions, sensations, and instincts. I had no desires; but boy, did I have needs.

Continue reading “The Innermost Child”

Meeting the Voices in My Head

And Searching for an Inner Adult

Image from Westend61

Introduction

I don’t know about you, but voices are constantly chattering in my head. I don’t mean audible voices. I’m not having hallucinations. I call them thoughts, feelings, memories, cravings, impulses, self-consciousness, and self-criticism. There seems to be more than one person in there because sometimes they talk to one another. I don’t mean there are actual other people residing in my skull and I don’t have what used to be called multiple personality disorder[1]. They are all parts of me, although sometimes they talk about me and judge me as if I were a person they don’t like very much. It’s a strange thing, but it’s the kind of strange thing that’s so ubiquitous, so constant, and maybe so universal that I went through most of my life thinking it wasn’t strange. Sort of like a fish not thinking it’s remarkable to live in water.

When I started thinking about these voices in my head, I wanted to know who was talking, who were they talking to, where they came from, what they wanted, who to trust, and what would make them go away. I started to ask them, but some only said, “I’m you, dummy and I’m talking to you. I’ve always been here. I want what you want. You can trust me, and I’ll never go away.” Other voices disagreed. That’s the first thing I found out. These voices don’t always get along with each other. They represent multiple points of view that are often in conflict.

Continue reading “Meeting the Voices in My Head”