About Lying, Illusion and the Predator's Mind

Buddy

The Living Force
Palinurus, I want to thank you for taking the time to respond. I'm open to reassessing every thought I have now and I now feel like this might actually come in stages rather than all at one time, though I may be wrong.

I hope it matters to my growth that I've never really thought or felt that I've been completely frozen out of, or completely disconnected from, my emotional self because I've almost always felt - sometimes powerfully and like being on a roller coaster ride. My major malfunction seems to be that I came to believe I almost always emotionally misunderstood everything. People around me living in their own denials also fueled my self-doubt so I had no choice but to switch to an intellectual (or talking to myself) mode so I could convince myself that what everyone else said was what was real. So, this actually feels more like I made a choice on purpose at some point and that I'm already vaguely aware of the truth of this and about when I did it.

Assuming that to be true, the irony here would be that for me to protect myself from feeling torn apart, I would have to do the separating of the intellect from the emotions myself and create some buffers to make it a reasonable thing to do.

My past, in the period of time I referred to, doesn't seem to include extremely heavy trauma content so much as extreme reactions to some things that I did experience. I suspect this is because I generally perceive the stimulus of everyday life more intensely that what the average person I know seems to experience anyway. Plus, I've been through some heavy emotional processing already where I bottomed out pretty low, so this is why I say I'll probably be dealing with it in stages. With me, as usual though, whatever happens will likely be the unexpected, and you may even be totally right.

Having been through what you have, you are probably in a much better position to help others through their emotional traumas and recovery than I ever will be. At any rate, I imagine you know that this reply to you is just words and that what counts is the emotional knowing.

ATM, I feel like still trying to participate here a little bit, as I can, unless wiser people than me who know me advise against it for now.
 

thevenusian

Dagobah Resident
Buddy said:
Assuming that to be true, the irony here would be that for me to protect myself from feeling torn apart, I would have to do the separating of the intellect from the emotions myself and create some buffers to make it a reasonable thing to do.

Here is an excerpt from You Are Not So Smart that might be interesting to consider. It doesn't even take trauma to push our emotional IQ lower. Just having to think about or explain something can do it.

THE MISCONCEPTION: You know why you like the things you like and feel the way you feel.

THE TRUTH: The origin of certain emotional states is unavailable to you, and when pressed to explain them, you will just make
something up.

Imagine a painting the world considers beautiful, something like Starry Night by Van Gogh. Now imagine you have to write an essay on why it is
popular. Go ahead, think of a reasonable explanation. No, don’’t keep reading. Give it a shot. Explain why Van Gogh’’s work is great.

Is there a certain song you love, or a photograph? Perhaps there is a movie you keep returning to over the years, or a book. Go ahead and
imagine one of those favorite things. Now, in one sentence, try to explain why you like it. Chances are, you will find it difficult to put into words,
but if pressed you will probably be able to come up with something.

The problem is, according to research, your explanation is probably going to be total bullshit. Tim Wilson at the University of Virginia
demonstrated this in 1990 with the Poster Test. He brought a group of students into a room and showed them a series of posters. The students
were told they could take any one they wanted as a gift and keep it. He then brought in another group and told them the same thing, but this time
they had to explain why they wanted the poster they each picked. Wilson then waited six months and asked the two groups what they thought of
their choices. The first group, the ones who just got to grab a poster and leave, all loved their choice. The second group, the ones who had to
write out why they were choosing one over the others, hated theirs. The first group, the grab-and-go people, usually picked a nice, fancy
painting. The second group, the ones who had to explain their choice, usually picked an inspirational poster with a cat clinging to a rope.
According to Wilson, when you are faced with a decision in which you are forced to think about your rationale, you start to turn the volume in
your emotional brain down and the volume in your logical brain up. You start creating a mental list of pros and cons that would never have been
conjured up if you had gone with your gut. As Wilson noted in his research, ““Forming preferences is akin to riding a bicycle; we can do it easily
but cannot easily explain how.”

Before Wilson’’s work, the general consensus was to see careful deliberation as good, but he showed how the act of introspection can
sometimes lead you to make decisions that look good on virtual paper but leave you emotionally lacking. Wilson knew previous research at
Kent State had shown that ruminations about your own depression tend to make you more depressed, but distraction leads to an improved
mood. Sometimes, introspection is simply counterproductive. Research into introspection calls into question the entire industry of critical
analysis of art——video games, music, film, poetry, literature——all of it. It also makes things like focus groups and market analysis seem less
about the intrinsic quality of the things being judged and more about what the people doing the judging find to be plausible explanations of their
own feelings. When you ask people why they do or do not like things, they must then translate something from a deep, emotional, primal part of
their psyche into the language of the higher, logical, rational world of words and sentences and paragraphs. The problem here is those deeper
recesses of the mind are perhaps inaccessible and unconscious. The things that are available to consciousness might not have much to do
with your preferences. Later, when you attempt to justify your decisions or emotional attachments, you start worrying about what your
explanation says about you as a person, further tainting the validity of your inner narrative.

...

Believing you understand your motivations and desires, your likes and dislikes, is called the introspection illusion. You believe you know
yourself and why you are the way you are. You believe this knowledge tells you how you will act in all future situations. Research shows
otherwise. Time after time, experiments show introspection is not the act of tapping into your innermost mental constructs but is instead a
fabrication. You look at what you did, or how you felt, and you make up some sort of explanation that you can reasonably believe. If you have to
tell others, you make up an explanation they can believe too. When it comes to explaining why you like the things you like, you are not so smart,
and the very act of having to explain yourself can change your attitudes.
 

Buddy

The Living Force
venusian that is so right. I've experienced this phenomena way too many times, yet it didn't even occur to me on here. For an instant, I wondered if, sometimes the longer one of my posts gets, the lower my emotional IQ gets. Yes, I believe it can and does. Thanks for sharing that!
 

SeekinTruth

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This is another fascinating thread I've been reading and pondering. Thanks to everyone's feedback, it has helped me to get a better understanding of many things. It really makes clear how little we know ourselves, how we can't see ourselves objectively and how valuable a network like this is to show what we can't see in ourselves.

Also, how important cleaning up and waking up our emotional center is to function in a healthy way in everyday life AND make progress in the Work.

And I wanted to add that I also appreciate your presence and participation on the forum, Buddy (even your difficult to understand posts notwithstanding). Every struggle and every little breakthrough you make (as well as so many others on the forum) helps others in their own struggles, obstacles, and Work. Hang in there, and onwards and upwards. :)
 

Laura

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It may be useful for the readers of this thread to also read these two where I'm posting about some new material that seems to be very useful.

http://cassiopaea.org/forum/index.php/topic,25969.0.html

http://cassiopaea.org/forum/index.php/topic,25989.0.html
 

Palinurus

The Living Force
Buddy said:
My past, in the period of time I referred to, doesn't seem to include extremely heavy trauma content so much as extreme reactions to some things that I did experience. I suspect this is because I generally perceive the stimulus of everyday life more intensely that what the average person I know seems to experience anyway.

Reading this, I suspect you might be what is called The Highly Sensitive Person.

Here are some references about that:

_http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Highly_sensitive_person

_http://www.hsperson.com/pages/test.htm

_http://www.hsperson.com/

_http://www.youtube.com/watch?hl=en&v=04gnoReKgD4&gl=US

_http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6DezjkilrSY

_http://www.amazon.com/Highly-Sensitive-Person-Elaine-Ph-D/dp/0553062182


Would this hunch of mine prove to be a direct hit, we could talk from there. If not, I have other options for you if you're interested.
 

Buddy

The Living Force
Palinurus said:
Reading this, I suspect you might be what is called The Highly Sensitive Person.

Here are some references about that:

_http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Highly_sensitive_person

Although I disagree with HSP as "type", the description applies to me all too well. I was pleased to see the author/editor of the Wiki entry mentions high sensitivity as both 'result of trauma' and 'initial condition'. I suspect 'initial condition' applies to me since I recall always being this way. Also, high sensitivity to sensory stimulus has been linked to the "set point" of the thalamus - a condition commonly connected to AD/HD, though not necessarily limited to it.

In light of this, and with transientP's note in another thread:

transientP said:
i think the manipulator/s don't like to be looked at directly.

...I was reminded of a possibly related experience:

There is an incident in my childhood when the family (without a mother) was at the dinner table having the evening meal. Dad was really mad at my sister (she's the only sibling older than me) for some reason. As I sat there trying to eat, Dad instructed me to show my sister how to drink a glass of tea. Apparently she made the mistake of looking over at him while she was drinking from her glass and while he was mad at her about something.

I was put on the spot and not sure if I knew what he was wanting me to do, but I took a chance and assumed he wanted her to look at the bottom of her glass while drinking. So that's the demonstration I made. He appeared to be satisfied that I did it correctly, so she was commanded to do it that way - to effectively drink her tea without looking at him.

During this situation, I was extremely on edge, feeling kind of sick in my stomach and very nervous. Though it wasn't me being singled out this time, I don't think I could have felt much worse, emotionally. I was near tears, very embarrassed for my sister, ashamed and feeling embarrassed of my own Dad and couldn't do anything about anything. I could barely even force myself to believe that this situation was even happening because it was so stupid-crazy-irrational-sickening-and-not-positive-or-good-for-anyone "in any way, shape, form or fashion", as far as I could tell. So I did whatever I had to do to make things as easy as possible for everyone involved and when it was over, I just wanted to put it out of mind and get back to a "happy place". I never forgot about this incident, though.

My Dad was a study in contrasts. While he could be cruel and hurtful when angry, he would also do things like bawl like a baby when alone in his own room, swallow his pride and stand outside a grocery store begging for money to feed us kids when he was broke and beg his own somewhat estranged siblings for help when us kids needed anything. I've seen this stuff for myself as well as heard it from his own family. We never had much, but we always had a roof over our heads and something to eat, no matter if he had to sleep in his car or on the street during a crisis of some sort. When Christmas rolled around and he couldn't get us all something, I could hear him crying and that would tear me apart too.

So, as a highly sensitive person experiencing emotional consequences that don't even deal directly with me, you might imagine how I would react when I am personally singled out for punishment. How could I possibly have ever come to emotionally reconcile and understand what was really going on around me without "telling stories" to myself and others?

Anyway, I'll check out the remaining links soon. I'm about ready to shed some of those tears now.
 

Laura

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Buddy, what you describe IS a situation of high trauma. Trauma doesn't have to be physical abuse.
 

SeekinTruth

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Laura said:
Buddy, what you describe IS a situation of high trauma. Trauma doesn't have to be physical abuse.

Yes, reading your post had a big emotional affect on me. I began to tear up. I think there's quite a bit of trauma experienced in what you wrote.
 

transientP

Jedi Council Member
FOTCM Member
and i can tell you that you are definitely not alone. many people have had such instances in their past.
i've had my share of mental / emotional abuse while growing up.

all i can say is that once you really face it within yourself, and get passed placing blame and feeling guilty, and keep on looking it in the face, it ends up empowering you.
it might sound cheesy, but it is what it is.

IMHO it's necessary to look at it and acknowledge it happened and work through it, because, at least for me, that was the road to discontinuing identification with it.
it reaches a point in which you no longer define yourself by such events.

i am not a therapist, but this is my humble opinion based on my own experiences.
 

Muxel

Dagobah Resident
Buddy said:
I'm about ready to shed some of those tears now.
Letting the tears flow never solved anything for me. I would cry, then think about what made me cry, then cry some more, think about it again, cry some more. My body couldn't help this positive feedback. Crying is emotional masturbation, a STS act that ultimately exhausts you, and you have fed the moon. Yes, the tea-drinking incident was traumatic for you, but now you must be the observer and not the participant. To quote anart earlier in the thread:
anart said:
Often, we identify with our personal challenges, taking them for 'us'. They aren't - and if we feed them with all this energy of identification, we never really know where they stop and we start.
The child who felt sickened as he stared at the bottom of his glass while drinking, is not your essence.

The P's said that emotion ought to be explored. You can explore this sadness without channeling the energy into crying. Hold yourself at the brink of tears, and keep yourself there. Have you ever read, listened to, dreamed of, or seen something that granted you sudden emotional insight? Perhaps a situation where you watched the suffering of another, and at that moment possessing knowledge (which is love) of his/her suffering you suffered for him/her. The heart learns as the mind does. Imagine if you'd like, the C's "blasting open" your heart chakra.

Buddy said:
Assuming that to be true, the irony here would be that for me to protect myself from feeling torn apart, I would have to do the separating of the intellect from the emotions myself and create some buffers to make it a reasonable thing to do.
There is no need for separation, Buddy, for they can work in unison. Let emotion join the circuit through which your essence interacts with reality.

Buddy said:
My major malfunction seems to be that I came to believe I almost always emotionally misunderstood everything.
I can relate to this a little. As a child I was rather emotionally retarded, or maybe just "slower on the uptake". When my friend fell down, crutches and leg cast, I just stood there blankly while others helped him up. Whenever my younger sister cried or injured herself, I watched and did nothing. I was often insulted/made fun of by classmates, but it would not "register" in my emotions until years later. These were thorns in my heart that I had to pull out, one by one.
 

anart

A Disturbance in the Force
Muxel said:
Buddy said:
I'm about ready to shed some of those tears now.
Letting the tears flow never solved anything for me. I would cry, then think about what made me cry, then cry some more, think about it again, cry some more. My body couldn't help this positive feedback. Crying is emotional masturbation, a STS act that ultimately exhausts you, and you have fed the moon.


No, Muxel it's not. In the right context, crying is VERY important. It would be helpful to the forum if you would learn to question your own thinking - if only a little.

m said:
Yes, the tea-drinking incident was traumatic for you, but now you must be the observer and not the participant. To quote anart earlier in the thread:
anart said:
Often, we identify with our personal challenges, taking them for 'us'. They aren't - and if we feed them with all this energy of identification, we never really know where they stop and we start.
The child who felt sickened as he stared at the bottom of his glass while drinking, is not your essence.

Boy, are you misunderstanding the crux of the matter. The two situations that you have equated are very, very different.


m said:
The P's said that emotion ought to be explored. You can explore this sadness without channeling the energy into crying. Hold yourself at the brink of tears, and keep yourself there. Have you ever read, listened to, dreamed of, or seen something that granted you sudden emotional insight? Perhaps a situation where you watched the suffering of another, and at that moment possessing knowledge (which is love) of his/her suffering you suffered for him/her. The heart learns as the mind does. Imagine if you'd like, the C's "blasting open" your heart chakra.

Muxel, this is so off, it's not even wrong. Please - before you give erroneous advice, please read more and try to understand the dynamics at play here. I think this was suggested to you in another thread as well.

m said:
There is no need for separation, Buddy, for they can work in unison. Let emotion join the circuit through which your essence interacts with reality.

This is newage fluff - emotion that has been blocked for a lifetime can't just 'join the circuit' - it is a process and crying can be a very important part of that process.

m said:
I can relate to this a little. As a child I was rather emotionally retarded, or maybe just "slower on the uptake". When my friend fell down, crutches and leg cast, I just stood there blankly while others helped him up. Whenever my younger sister cried or injured herself, I watched and did nothing. I was often insulted/made fun of by classmates, but it would not "register" in my emotions until years later. These were thorns in my heart that I had to pull out, one by one.

Muxel, considering your input on this thread, I really - truly - think that you need to do some major reading of the books in our recommended book section. Start with the books on narcissism and also read the new discussions that Laura is posting about in the Psychology and Cognitive Science section so you can get up to speed on some basic premises.
 

Joe

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Laura said:
Buddy, what you describe IS a situation of high trauma. Trauma doesn't have to be physical abuse.

Indeed, and the fact that you never forgot it also suggests that it was traumatic. I have always remembered a similar type of family-life dynamic. I must have been 7 or 8 and had come home from school to find a kitten in the back garden. I took it into the kitchen and gave it a saucer of milk. A couple of hours later my father came home from work (I can't remember where the kitten was at this stage) and saw the empty saucer of milk on the kitchen floor. He had apparently asked my mother about it and got the story, but decided to pull me in for some rather disingenuous questioning anyway.

So I remember standing there and him looking rather severe, pointing at the saucer and asking me "what is that doing there!?" I was already in a state of fear because of the dynamic and perhaps it was that that led me to interpret his question literally, i.e. 'what is the saucer actually doing on the floor'. Of course, the saucer was not actually 'doing' anything, so I couldn't really give an answer. My father got more angry at my apparent refusal to answer his question and repeated it, with increasing anger and vociferousness, several times more, until I, teary-eyed, blurted out "It's not doing anything, it's just sitting there!". I know this sounds sort of comical, but at the time it was pretty traumatic for me and something I had, unfortunately, become accustomed to.
 

webglider

Dagobah Resident
quote from Buddy:

How could I possibly have ever come to emotionally reconcile and understand what was really going on around me without "telling stories" to myself and others?

I don't think that you could have. You show a lot of empathy for your dad, his struggles and his rage at failing to meet his own expectations of himself. In a way it's harder that way because you can't really get angry at him or hate him because you see him as a flawed human being whose best is woefully inadequate.

I understand the retreat into stories. It's a safe place to go, and you can go there whenever you want. The problem is that you can't stay in them forever because the situation that drove you to seek refuge in them is still there even if "there" is not a physical place but a series of images and impressions in your memory.

And it's still there when as an adult where the situations you find yourself in are different but the emotional life is still that of the child at the table who was embarrassed for his sister and shamed by his father.

And that's why you have to cry. You couldn't cry then because maybe if you had, you would have had to connect with other feelings besides sadness which may have put you in a very vulnerable position in relation to yourself. But not feeling and being informed by one's emotions is really crippling to the adult who must navigate a terrain that has different actors and different rules and expectations

The intellectual center can be a wondeful buffer. But it narrows the range of possibilty fpr personal growth, relationships with others,
and with oneself. Emotions can be really scary and easily get out of control without knowing how to manage them. It seems that you could not learn about how to sublimate or channel emotions from your dad. Perhaps you may be afraid that if you allow yourself emotional expression you could become like your dad.

I do think that opening up emotions that have been surpressed for a very long time needs to be done very carefully and possibly with help.

As difficult as this may be, doing this kind of work releases a lot energy that can be directed consciously to serve the aims you set for yourself.
 

Palinurus

The Living Force
Buddy said:
Although I disagree with HSP as "type", the description applies to me all too well. I was pleased to see the author/editor of the Wiki entry mentions high sensitivity as both 'result of trauma' and 'initial condition'. I suspect 'initial condition' applies to me since I recall always being this way. Also, high sensitivity to sensory stimulus has been linked to the "set point" of the thalamus - a condition commonly connected to AD/HD, though not necessarily limited to it.

Your initial reaction towards this info was almost an exact replica of mine, when I first encountered this typology about 10 years ago. It would be adviseable, I think, to first get acquainted a bit further with the specifics of it and then let it sink in for a while, playing a bit with these new notions as you observe yourself from this new perspective and different point of reference. It also might help you to get a bit detached from the AD/HD label which you seem to have a very strong rapport to/with. I even think to have noticed several times that you hold up that AD/HD label as a sort of shield - as a warning sign you're not to be tampered with, or for us to not tresspass any farther.

Any typology has a cartoonlike feel around itself, I quite agree. So we're not supposed to take it completely litterally, nor to expect we would fit any and all details from it. It just may ad supplemental circumstantial evidence to a rather complicated issue, so as to better understand what might be going on with these happenings.

Just a few words about trauma. Laura already signalled, you might have a fairly skewed perception of this concept as did Perceval in his own way.

Each trauma has objective and subjective sides to it. In the example you gave, playing ones kids one against the other and embarrassing them both in passing, is a very cruel thing to do by any account, objectively speaking.

Moreover, would highly sensitive really appear to be one of your attributes, it then seems easy to comprehend that you operate from a different vulnerability threshold than a 'normal' person (statistically average) would. That is to say, you could get traumatised by situations, persons and experiences where others wouldn't flinch nor blink. This constitutes an objective difference between people and is a fact of life.
Trauma arrests the flow of feelings and emotions and fixates that 'snapshot of the situation' into bodily residues (crampings, muscle tensions, postures, shallow breathing, high bloodpressure and the like). It thereby becomes a real, psychosomatically anchored burden that you carry along with you until Work is applied.
To be called "a wimp" for that, or naming (and blaming) yourself as such or as whatever, would be a subjective part of this - mainly because of opinionated judgment in stead of scientific analysis.
However, in an objective sense this namecalling could be a cause of deeper traumatizing on top of the initial one. And so on and so forth...

Exactly this heaping up would amount to an entanglement of the quantum variety, see? That's one of the reasons why these predicaments are so difficult to unravel and the emotional upheavals so difficult to manage and/or to rearrange on an adequate footing, specific to your essence and core being, and in accordance with your aims.

More at a later date (if needed).
 
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