Redirect: The surprising new science of psychological change

Buddy

The Living Force
Laura said:
Not liking to write is probably a System 1 response reinforced by the false personality. I have learned how absolutely crucial it is to actually write - not type, write with the hand on paper - in order to change certain brain circuits. It's similar to memorization in its power to re-wire the brain and there is cognitive science backing for the efficacy of holding certain things in short term memory for a certain period (while writing) in order to transfer it to long-term memory.

Plus... there's the simple discipline of doing what "it" doesn't like or want to do... And with discipline, the predator flees.

Gotcha. Working on it. Thanks for the feedback! :)
 

Oxajil

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truth seeker said:
Windmill knight said:
So I gave it a try and so far I can say that it has helped greatly. It feels as if things settled on one particular issue. I think one mistake I have made all my life is that if something bothers me, I go over and over it in the hope that I will gain further insight or some hidden emotion will be set free and I can finally be 'cured' of that particular 'wound'. But reading this material made it clear that this is mere ruminating, and it is not the way to go. It is as absurd as unearthing corpses again and again to perform new authopsies hoping that those who are still alive can get over it! And what I find with the writing exercise is that one final, simple story is needed and that's that. No hidden secrets in the dirt to uncover, but making a meaningful and as accurate as possible tale of the event(s) is what matters. Lessons learned, move on.

With such a great discovery, I do intend to make use of this technique on every other issue! Thanks very much for sharing the info! :)
Amen to that! I too can get caught up in over thinking something under the illusion that I'm working it out when all that's really happening is that I'm just reliving it over and over again and ending up stuck. Doing the writing exercises, for me, has stopped some of those loops in their tracks. There's finally an end to the madness.

My experience has been that reliving certain events actually is helpful to me. I've reviewed what I wrote down about how I felt and how I saw and understood a certain event, and by reviewing it, I could see how I understand some things differently now. So, I rewrite the event, with more clarity.
Of course, it's different when one becomes obsessed with a certain event and all energy is spent on it, in a bad way.
 

Windmill knight

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My experience has been that reliving certain events actually is helpful to me. I've reviewed what I wrote down about how I felt and how I saw and understood a certain event, and by reviewing it, I could see how I understand some things differently now. So, I rewrite the event, with more clarity.
Of course, it's different when one becomes obsessed with a certain event and all energy is spent on it, in a bad way.

My understanding is that the reliving part, as in processing emotions, comes first and is a phase in the process, but what actually sets us free is coming up with a credible, meaningful story of the event that makes us feel that we learned something out of it and we can become better people as a result... But I'll let you know in more detail soon enough as I just finished 'Puzzling People' and will start 'Redirect' tonight or tomorrow! :whistle:
 

Oxajil

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Windmill knight said:
My understanding is that the reliving part, as in processing emotions, comes first and is a phase in the process, but what actually sets us free is coming up with a credible, meaningful story of the event that makes us feel that we learned something out of it and we can become better people as a result...

Yes, certainly. I would guess that the eventual goal is to come up with a credible, meaningful story, and as you wrote, one that is ''as accurate as possible''. In my case, I was not able to do this at once, a lot of things still made little sense to me, but I tried my best to make it as meaningful as I could. As I continued to meditate and network, I would get a better understanding of the event, and of myself. And this helped me to rewrite the same story which was more meaningful. As it is stated in Strangers to Ourselves:

Writing seems to work by helping people make sense of a negative event by constructing a meaningful narrative that explains it. Pennebaker has analyzed hundreds of pages of writing his participants provided, and found that the people who improved the most were those who began with rather incoherent, disorganized descriptions of their problem and ended with coherent, organized stories that explained the event and gave it meaning.
 

Ollie

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Oxajil said:
Windmill knight said:
My understanding is that the reliving part, as in processing emotions, comes first and is a phase in the process, but what actually sets us free is coming up with a credible, meaningful story of the event that makes us feel that we learned something out of it and we can become better people as a result...

Yes, certainly. I would guess that the eventual goal is to come up with a credible, meaningful story, and as you wrote, one that is ''as accurate as possible''. In my case, I was not able to do this at once, a lot of things still made little sense to me, but I tried my best to make it as meaningful as I could. As I continued to meditate and network, I would get a better understanding of the event, and of myself. And this helped me to rewrite the same story which was more meaningful. As it is stated in Strangers to Ourselves:

Writing seems to work by helping people make sense of a negative event by constructing a meaningful narrative that explains it. Pennebaker has analyzed hundreds of pages of writing his participants provided, and found that the people who improved the most were those who began with rather incoherent, disorganized descriptions of their problem and ended with coherent, organized stories that explained the event and gave it meaning.
What the exercise is primarily about is discovering the positive intent of the behaviour in the event (with the resources then available to you) - there is always a good reason for doing something at the time - that is the 'learning' or 'meaning' that the exercise is aiming to produce. Now, with more resources at hand it is likely that you would act differently. Also, remember, that when you discover the positive intent/learning/meaning to replace it with what would do now in a similar situation - ie, fill the void created.
 

Liberty

Padawan Learner
I'm only part way through this book but have found the writing exercise very beneficial, learning to allow the dialogue in my head out on to paper, keeping in mind to be objective and reasoned, so that thoughts and emotions in a sense are less highly charged. Only writing for a short period of time and then only for four days and then breaking off seems to break the loop. To then reflect, and acknowledge that a weight has been lifted and I can learn and move on.

Windmill knight said:
I think one mistake I have made all my life is that if something bothers me, I go over and over it in the hope that I will gain further insight or some hidden emotion will be set free and I can finally be 'cured' of that particular 'wound'. But reading this material made it clear that this is mere ruminating, and it is not the way to go. It is as absurd as unearthing corpses again and again to perform new authopsies hoping that those who are still alive can get over it! And what I find with the writing exercise is that one final, simple story is needed and that's that. No hidden secrets in the dirt to uncover, but making a meaningful and as accurate as possible tale of the event(s) is what matters. Lessons learned, move on.

With such a great discovery, I do intend to make use of this technique on every other issue! Thanks very much for sharing the info! :)

A gem of a book for me and I hope that others give it a go, thanks for sharing Windmill Knight.
 

3DStudent

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I've tried the exercises (finally) twice so far. I did find them soothing and cathartic. But I don't know if it's long lasting. Also, as I suspected, I had trouble filling in the small time space of 15 minutes for three days. I ended up repeating myself and thinking over the experience again.

So I tried to write about the events leading up to the trauma on the first day. Then the trauma and experience of it happening on the second day. And the third day my thoughts and anything else.
 

Turgon

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3D Student said:
I've tried the exercises (finally) twice so far. I did find them soothing and cathartic. But I don't know if it's long lasting. Also, as I suspected, I had trouble filling in the small time space of 15 minutes for three days. I ended up repeating myself and thinking over the experience again.

So I tried to write about the events leading up to the trauma on the first day. Then the trauma and experience of it happening on the second day. And the third day my thoughts and anything else.

One thing that clicked for me when doing the writing exercises was that I ended up writing it as if I was sharing my story with another person. So based upon the trauma or what the topic is, it could be the forum, or someone in particular in your life that could be a supportive figure or somehow involved in the event(s). But the key was 'putting it out there' so to speak and not getting caught up in myself. It really helped me to be more objective about the events, the emotions and especially trying to derive a meaning behind it.

It especially made sense after just reading Healing the Spirits of Trauma and how Michael talks about the importance of sharing your story which helps heal the memory demons of the past.

I had tried doing the writing exercises once where I didn't have this type of focus in mind, and I ended up repeating myself, going around in circles as to what I was trying to convey and what meaning I could derive from the events. Just some observations, fwiw.
 

Psalehesost

The Living Force
I tend now to write when I realize something about my approach to or mindset in life in general.

It's not so easy for me to write about any specific trauma, because there's not any single, solid event behind my neurotic tendencies - it's a long process involving many experiences and the shaping of my worldview over many years. And there's much more to work on - in short, anything that is relevant to how I live life in the present and which needs clarification.

So I don't worry about, or try to fit a certain mold in how I "redirect" - I simply get going when something specific comes to mind, when something stirs within, and it helps.

Sometimes it is fairly quick, and sometimes I get a bit stuck and it takes time to shape the text - sometimes I finish it in one sitting, sometimes I return to it later.

The end result, having written of different things in different ways (sometimes a story, sometimes an "article", sometimes simply a clear expression of my thoughts) is that it brings clarity, in bits and pieces, to aspects of my life. And settles things in me, including important choices made.
 

obyvatel

The Living Force
Psalehesost said:
I tend now to write when I realize something about my approach to or mindset in life in general.

It's not so easy for me to write about any specific trauma, because there's not any single, solid event behind my neurotic tendencies - it's a long process involving many experiences and the shaping of my worldview over many years. And there's much more to work on - in short, anything that is relevant to how I live life in the present and which needs clarification.

So I don't worry about, or try to fit a certain mold in how I "redirect" - I simply get going when something specific comes to mind, when something stirs within, and it helps.

Sometimes it is fairly quick, and sometimes I get a bit stuck and it takes time to shape the text - sometimes I finish it in one sitting, sometimes I return to it later.

It may be useful in some cases to have the first draft(s) express raw feelings only - without censoring, editing or much cognitive input. Subsequent entries could bring in cognitive (system2) input and achieve the "redirection". That way, there is less chance of suppressing some more deeply buried feelings. OSIT
 

Psalehesost

The Living Force
obyvatel said:
It may be useful in some cases to have the first draft(s) express raw feelings only - without censoring, editing or much cognitive input. Subsequent entries could bring in cognitive (system2) input and achieve the "redirection". That way, there is less chance of suppressing some more deeply buried feelings. OSIT

That's tricky in my case - given the inner distance to my feelings. As a concept for it, you could think of the transparent "plastic wall" described in The Narcissistic Family, only instead, it is applied on the inside (relation to self and own psyche), as opposed to on the outside (relation with others). That is, I can often come to see and experience various things in me, but still there is a degree of separation - distance - between them and me, so to speak.

Usually - since there is always suppression and things held either buried or half-buried, automatically, in me - all I have to start out with is the topic and a restlessness, an inner urging to process it.

Then, as I write, feeling can begin to seep through and "break out" to a greater extent, become relatively vivid, provided the writing, and the thought that goes into it, touches something deeply. When it "resonates", feeling is increased. And there is an intuitive "feedback" to every proposed thought, in the form of a "feeling" of how it "fits" or not. I follow, to a great extent, this intuition - at the same time questioning it in case, as sometimes happens, it tries to divert me, to lull me to sleep.

So, in short, I tend to begin with the cognitive input - which may be colored by an underlying feeling - and which may also start out vague or incoherent at times. Then, feeling comes - rather than the other way around.
 

Ollie

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Psalehesost said:
obyvatel said:
It may be useful in some cases to have the first draft(s) express raw feelings only - without censoring, editing or much cognitive input. Subsequent entries could bring in cognitive (system2) input and achieve the "redirection". That way, there is less chance of suppressing some more deeply buried feelings. OSIT

That's tricky in my case - given the inner distance to my feelings. As a concept for it, you could think of the transparent "plastic wall" described in The Narcissistic Family, only instead, it is applied on the inside (relation to self and own psyche), as opposed to on the outside (relation with others). That is, I can often come to see and experience various things in me, but still there is a degree of separation - distance - between them and me, so to speak.

Usually - since there is always suppression and things held either buried or half-buried, automatically, in me - all I have to start out with is the topic and a restlessness, an inner urging to process it.


Then, as I write, feeling can begin to seep through and "break out" to a greater extent, become relatively vivid, provided the writing, and the thought that goes into it, touches something deeply. When it "resonates", feeling is increased. And there is an intuitive "feedback" to every proposed thought, in the form of a "feeling" of how it "fits" or not. I follow, to a great extent, this intuition - at the same time questioning it in case, as sometimes happens, it tries to divert me, to lull me to sleep.

So, in short, I tend to begin with the cognitive input - which may be colored by an underlying feeling - and which may also start out vague or incoherent at times. Then, feeling comes - rather than the other way around.
That tends to be my approach too, for similar reasons. The 'emotions' come out during sleep at night. My text contains very few 'feeling' words, yet it seems to work. The first night's writing is chaotic and raw, rambling, yet an identified pattern, theme. is usually expressed in the words, and these form the basis of the next night's writing, with possible meanings, and learnings beginning to emerge in embryo, and are usually complete by the third night. A very fruitful exercise for me. I tend to do two a week with a night's break in between. This week, whilst away, I didn't do any, and there were no emerging 'emotions' during the night's sleep.
 

obyvatel

The Living Force
Thanks for the clarification Psalehesost and Prodigal Son. When I referred to "raw feelings" I was including things like the vague sense of disquiet, or restlessness as you put it, that drives us to write in the first place. In my experience, these can be identified in the body as well. Staying with this discomfort while using the writing exercise is much like detective work imo - one gets a lead and gradually follows the lead deeper into the investigation. Just like investigators try to preserve the site of investigation in its original form in order to collect the maximum amount of information from it before starting on a theory, a similar approach can sometimes be useful in the writing exercise - osit.
 

Buddy

The Living Force
Psalehesost said:
obyvatel said:
It may be useful in some cases to have the first draft(s) express raw feelings only - without censoring, editing or much cognitive input. Subsequent entries could bring in cognitive (system2) input and achieve the "redirection". That way, there is less chance of suppressing some more deeply buried feelings. OSIT

That's tricky in my case - given the inner distance to my feelings. As a concept for it, you could think of the transparent "plastic wall" described in The Narcissistic Family, only instead, it is applied on the inside (relation to self and own psyche), as opposed to on the outside (relation with others). That is, I can often come to see and experience various things in me, but still there is a degree of separation - distance - between them and me, so to speak.

Because you want to maintain an identity that contrasts with a you that is direct, semantic-less experience; pure duration of being? I don't know, of course, I'm just asking, because I sense this about myself sometimes, OSIT.

Psalehesost said:
Usually - since there is always suppression and things held either buried or half-buried, automatically, in me - all I have to start out with is the topic and a restlessness, an inner urging to process it.

Indeed, my own restlessness seems to come from a similarly perceived state. And it's like I intuited that I've got to look in order to see, but then I've got to stop looking (in the narrator sense) in order to be or do (something, anything).

Psalehesost said:
And there is an intuitive "feedback" to every proposed thought, in the form of a "feeling" of how it "fits" or not. I follow, to a great extent, this intuition - at the same time questioning it in case, as sometimes happens, it tries to divert me, to lull me to sleep.

And if it doesn't seem to be a 'fit', I keep looking for a metaphor that does seem to capture what's there. It seems to work quicker when I place no limits on what I may see or feel in myself.

Psalehesost said:
So, in short, I tend to begin with the cognitive input - which may be colored by an underlying feeling - and which may also start out vague or incoherent at times. Then, feeling comes - rather than the other way around.

I never even noticed if I have a predominant input starting point. I just pick a place and go, so whatever works for a person is their pragma, I suppose (in James' terms) as long as their goal is useful.
 

Carl

The Living Force
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I have not yet read the Redirect book, but seeing people's experiences in this thread prompted me to try writing again.

I saw Laura's suggestion of writing one's life story. I have put this off for so long, simply thinking that I didn't need to bother, but thought I'd give it a try. It turned out to be really helpful, and uncovered a lot of things that I wasn't aware of.

I remembered my earliest memories of interacting with other children very vividly. They always went badly, I was bullied and rejected by most kids, and would feel like a total alien even at the age of 4, like I just didn't belong in this world. I could never understand why other kids could be so cruel, and it uncovered a lot of deep sadness, remembering what my true essence was like before the ponerization really kicked in. Remembering what it felt like to be in that innocent, trusting and loving state and to have it thrown back in my face was horrible.

I have much more writing to do, but I am starting to pinpoint the key events that formed my personality, and how I was influenced to be who "I" am today. I remember my dad encouraging me to be violent, and giving me praise for getting into a fight. This made me see myself as more violent, and started to ruin my capacity for empathy.

One incident I remember quite well was when I was very young, playing with my cousin. My cousin was one of my first true friends, and we used to do everything together.One day we had a dispute over something very minor, and because of this program from my dad I thought it would be okay to get aggressive with him. I remember punching him in the nose about 4 times, with the pure malicious intention of hurting him. I still have the vivid memory of his face quivering and then bursting out crying and running home.. Upon writing about this I sat there crying for a long time, I have never felt remorse and shame quite like it.

Seeing my early friendships for what they were also uncovered a lot of sadness in me. Although I didn't get on with most kids, I always had a couple of close friendships. These friendships were so pure and true, based just on love for the other person (though we never called it love). It's amazing to see how loving children can be before we devolve into cogs in society. I can see the progression in myself, reflected in my friendships, towards narcissism as I see myself growing up.

The explanatory system provided by this network has been so valuable in understanding this and getting over it, and I have been making efforts to uncover my essence and regain that open, loving nature that I had as a child. There is still a lot more I have yet to uncover, but I feel like I am making good progress :)
 
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