Saturday, November 30, 2019

Re-integration

I had a dream five summers ago. It was during a little bit of a hiccup in my therapeutic progress. Due to external circumstances that were particularly psychologically trying, I was "going through it," as the kids say. I felt like I had lost the sense of self and inward sense of forward motion and direction from therapy. I was lost to myself again. But mixed in with these feelings was relief -- relief that I once again was detached from my own emotions. I went back to my old habits. I manifested weak sense of self, chameleon-esque behavior, but that particular version that I always liked to think was "being on my best behavior." In other words, I was doing stuff just to get along with society and being a little more careful than usual to follow rules or social norms in order to keep things smooth in my life. I was no longer choosing to do things primarily as a true expressions of my identity. I kind of went through periods like this cyclically. I would blow up my life, people would bail me out, and for a short period of time I would feel like I needed to clean up my act. But I didn't really know what that meant, so mostly I just tried to force myself to be what others wanted me to be. This particular time, because of what I perceived to be expectations of my religious faith (and my family, who shares that religious faith) that I live in a very particular way and out of my desire to not rock anybody's boat, I was ready to live a cloistered life of hermitage rather than keep trying to be more authentically myself in a flawed and imperfect way. This was probably the peak of me thinking that I should try in every way possible to fulfill the expected role of legit Mormon upstanding citizen, whatever the personal sacrifice.

That whole summer I was plagued by depression, anxiety, and bad dreams, which led to bad sleep. I started to see a neurobiofeedback guy, who my mother had heard about and wanted her two most troubled children at the time (me and my little brother) to see during the summer while my brother was home from college. I called him my brain doctor.

When the brain doctor first mapped my base level EEG brain activity, he was so tactful and gentle trying to break the news to me that I had abnormally low activity in the areas of the brain associated with empathy. And perhaps because that was such a blatant lack, he always wanted to spend out sessions working on empathy. I always wanted to work on my sleep because the bad sleep and bad dreams were making me a little miserable. As part of that concern for my sleep, he had me keep track of my dreams, which is I think why I remember this one so vividly. I wrote about it a little at the time.

A bad guy (or multiple?) are after me for most of the dream. There are these government agent looking men (dressed in black, sunglasses, assault rifles) that are my security detail. The main bad guy gets caught. For some reason, he has hands that are like just flat circles, like the shape of a thick hamburger patty or pancake -- like a skin and flesh mitt that has been placed over his hands or that his hands have been burned and deformed intentionally that way by whatever "good guys" got him (cops? government agents? a private group?). His face is also deformed and scarred. His lips have been fused together so he can't talk. I thought in the dream -- this is part of his punishment somehow for being bad, that they tried to neutralize his ability to do harm while still allowing him to exist. He doesn't get locked in prison, though. Instead, he gets locked in a walk in closet in a master bedroom suite of what sort of looks like my parents' house. I'm also staying in the same house in another bedroom off the same hallway. Time passes and the men and black and I go to check on the bad guy, but he's not in the closet. Then I notice bloody footprints on the carpet. I immediately know who caused the bloody footprints, another bad guy that has no skin, just exposed flesh. I understood no-skin guy to also be in that condition somehow as a result of the government men. Based on the footprints, no-skin walked in the sliding glass door, walked to the closet, let out pancake hands, and appeared to be still in the house somewhere. So basically the one bad guy let this other out and now they're both on the loose. That's when I woke up.

The dream was such a great example of my typical bad dreams at the time. That summer, being asleep felt like it was the only time in any given day that I didn't have control over my thoughts and feelings and I didn't like it. I didn't want to be asleep because it didn't feel safe. I was afraid of where my mind went.

When I met with brain doctor next, we talked about the dream. He seemed to already understand what this dream likely meant in the context of me, but was asking me questions to see if I would come to see what he was seeing: "Who are the bad guys, aren't they just you? . . . . Parts of yourself that you've disassociated from? . . .  And figuratively castrated or mutilated so they have no say, no ability to do anything? . . . Stripped of any identifying features or relationship to you? . . . They're not looking for you to hurt you, but to be reunited."

And in that moment I knew he was right. When I saw the dream in that light, it was not scary at all. I felt so sorry for the bad guys. So sorry for what I had tried to do to them, unknowingly. I realized very naturally and without having to be prodded that these figures were not to be feared and opposed, they were to be embraced.

I don't know that I've ever experienced such a profound paradigm shift, or at least not so quickly or as obviously as in that moment.

That was the day that I finally gave up on trying to distort myself to fit some concept of what someone else wanted me to be. Because I saw it for it was, mutilation.

And I stopped having bad dreams after that because I realized that the things I feared had nothing to do with uncontrollable external forces and everything to do with me being wrong about what was best for myself and unwittingly self inflicting pain and attempting to live in a world of delusion rather than just seeing and accepting things as they really are.

For a while I was very deliberate about making sure that all parts of me found easy/daily self expression, even if it was just playing cheesy wedding music gigs or watching terrible movies. I wanted to regularly acknowledge and find expression for every aspect of who I am, never silence or disempower.

I think this is something that every body deals with (but especially the personality disordered). I really wish I could find this reference, I want to say it was Ta-Nehesi Coates, but he was describing how he saw his African American daughter gradually grow from being almost completely unaware of her African American status in the eyes of society, to gradually recognizing it, to gradually distorting her true self in response to the expectations -- either in defiance or compliance. We all distort ourselves a little bit. But it is not a good thing. It is the worst thing we can do to distort our essential identity. We shouldn't be doing it for any reason, not for any purpose, and never to please any person. But since we all do it, the good news is that we can re-integrate those parts of us that get lost along the way. We can re-familiarize ourselves with the aspects of our own selves that we have lost touch with. As someone recently told me going through a similar healing process: "I feel more like I have a way of thinking that is like my old self and my new self."

25 comments:

  1. Psychopaths don´t dream. And if they have psychic gifts these show themselves in unusual ways due to a stiff mind. Some socios may suspect they are psychotic when the external world gives them warnings or hints about coming events. But they are "only" psychic psychos..

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  2. i like the life system i'm in but i fear it requires too much of this process. I do not know how to honour/integrate all the aspects of myself and still remain in the system (IE relationship, job, etc) especially as i am unaware of all the facets of the stuff i have de-integrated and some of them seem a little scary to indulge in

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  3. They are drifters. They don´t have a home. They don´t have a family. They cannot belong. The more they try to be other things the more alienated they become. Some have the ability to turn into "insects" gathering material things; it´s their biggest mistake if they do.

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    1. I don't know if insects is a good example; ants are very social animals

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    2. This was a really interesting read. Somehow i had the feeling that the bad guys would be you when i was reading the dream because i also have my dreams interpreted by my therapist.For example one bad guy in a personal dream was my anger. This dream of yours was really powerful and symbolic. Thank u for sharing

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    3. The piling of items is socio Waterloo: by doing this they admit their life is without meaning, they are trying to fill the dark pit. Socio "oracles" never buy unless they have to. They think apartments should look like monasteries.

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  4. Some folks are insensitive, or lacking in empathy. These folks have a bad rap for being vicious and sadistic like on purpose. F.Ex the sociopath. They don't understand, the others don't. Because a sociopath him or herself is insensitive to his or her own pain, he or she can act with cruelty and not understand the harm he or she is doing to the others. This is because if someone then tries to harm the sociopath, he or she doesn't feel it very strong and so that's why he or she doesn't understand why the others react with such harm. Sensitivity training. That's what is needed. Just that. Nothing more.

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    Replies
    1. That's wrong. I know that people feel pain when I hurt them (emotionally). I just don't care if they feel hurt or not.

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    2. yeah and are you everybody?

      thought so

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    3. Socios are highly sensitive to their own emotional pain. But others insults just bounce off them and turn on their rage.

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    4. Yeah good that you all are so smart and know everything...

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    5. Many have been deluded by the myth that psychos don´t feel anything. Reality is very different. The death of a liked pet can make a socio stay in bed for a week (mourning for his great loss)..

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    6. I think you care if somebody doesn't feel hurt.

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    7. Pain is the only reliable signal

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    8. What a dweeb. What a dumbass.. Don't go out and do something stupid.

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    9. We don't need hostility

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  5. I came to this site hoping to gain some insight on the mentality of true sociopaths through their personal experiences. I leave, now, more generally confused that I was before. I regret reading the comments. As usual.
    I'd warn anyone wanting to understand more about sociopaths to leave this place before it's too late, but they've probably already read an article and some comments before seeing this one.

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    1. Why do you want to gain insight on the mentality of sociopaths?

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    2. Many get disappointed by socio reality. Onlookers often don´t see supervampires, and the "successful" ones behave like wheel-hamsters. Similar to anorectics socios are obsessed with the things they cannot enjoy. They all have "the pit". It cannot be filled with anything. Until they learn this they resemble alcoholics unable to stop destructive behaviour, ranting about their lack of problems..

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    3. My brother discovered somebody is downloading/transferring our information..

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  6. Interstellar

    Dogs lick. It's annoying but we sometimes allow them this activity because that's their doggy nature and we love them and want them to express themselves. There are limits, of course.

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