Chapter 3b of Meeting the Voices in My Head and Searching for an Inner Adult
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.
Chapter 3a of Meeting the Voices in My Head and Searching for an Inner Adult
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.
Chapter 2 of Meeting the Voices in My Head and Searching for an Inner Adult
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.
Chapter 1b of Meeting the Voices in My Head and Searching for an Inner Adult
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.
Chapter 1a of Meeting the Voices in My Head and Searching for an Inner Adult
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.
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. 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.
Recently Congress passed the No Surprises Act, which is supposed to correct a wrong that’s committed when a patient enters medical treatment and later finds that not all their health care providers are in-network with their insurance company. These unfortunate souls have been stuck with high bills they had to cover. The act is also designed to facilitate the ability of patients to shop around and get the most cost-effective medical care. I trust the law will accomplish these worthy goals, but in the process, it has mandated that I give clients a document which is impossible to provide.
Imagine turning on your TV and looking at all the programs, movies, and sports available. You have cable, so you have thirty-four hundred channels to look through. You have Roku and subscriptions to Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon. There’s also YouTube. Despite this bounty, there’s one show you always watch, over and over again. Not just one show, one episode of one show. You could recite the lines and act out all the parts. You know what’s going to happen, but you see the show to the end anyway. That’s what it’s like to be a Scab Picker. It’s madness. Continue reading →
The addiction, the madness, the lying, the cheating, and the selfishness have just done too much damage. Your relationship is crippled and you’re not sure whether it will ever be the same again. You’ve heard enough apologies, forgiven too much. You can’t forget all the things that have happened. You’ve hardened your heart, dug in, and hate.
I will not argue against the justice of your cause. Yes, she did things that were unwarranted, things that hurt. Bad behavior wrecks things and some of those things are your feelings. You probably can’t even count the number of disappointments. It’s your right. Your cause is just, but don’t be an idiot. Don’t be one of those people who think, just because they are right, they can afford to be stupid. Continue reading →
Once you’ve gotten in touch with your feelings and values, you realize that you are hurt. The next step, if you took the path towards healing, is to renounce revenge. If you don’t, you are at risk of becoming the next specimen in our menagerie of people stuck on the Road to Reconciliation: The Ax Grinders. Continue reading →