Dagobah Resident
FOTCM Member
I came to the forum today looking for help and answers then started reading this thread which is tying in with my issues. I am fed up with myself! At the basis I feel my life has no meaning and my direction is scattered. Lately I've been noticing more clearly how the automatic, mechanized patterns take over and lead me into activates that aren't in my best interest. Staying up very late indulging in distractions instead of going to bed and getting a good nights sleep is an example. There is an element in this of wanting to be "free" to just do as I please, a rebellious child element perhaps. I consider I have very little real will to do what is best for me....sigh. When I am in the mode of doing activities that have meaning and value for me I say "I will continue with this creative flow, nurture this, as this has meaning for me and is how I want to live". But its soon gone, momentum is lost and I'm back to no meaning, dullness, auto pilot taking me nowhere.

I have a hard time finishing things as well. For years I've tried to get back into the wonderful expression of creating works of art as I once did. A great inspiration will come up(which I love) for a project and I will go all out in preparation gathering all the materials I need. Then the inspiration is GONE. All the energy seems to go into the "idea" and preparation but actually doing it never happens, the inspiration is gone.. I can't tell you how many times this has happened over the years and the result is a collection of materials for all sorts of projects that never happen, or started initially then where dropped.

Procrastination is more of a problem these days as well for instance I haven't even started EE breathing yet. A block comes up when thinking about actually starting this which I know would be helpful for me. I don't want to commit? A demand that impedes my freedom again, to do what? Indulge in distractions?

This seems applicable to me:

Quote from: beetlemaniac on March 16, 2015, 01:01:04 PM

With constant application of will and affirmation of intent, coupled with a growing sense of self -- I seem to be digging myself out of this whirlwind of chaos which used to characterise my life. Daily activities that form a routine and structured lifestyle, including exercise (swimming), cooking ketogenic meals ahead of time, reading, breathing exercises all feed in to the healing process. I have also picked up a book on accupressure which helps a little in calming nervousness and sometimes also helps with my insomnia.

Yes, I think this is the way to go. I noticed that I need an organized routine in order to function better without feeling so nervous about everything I do. Then, I'm procastinating a bit with breathing and exercise, but everytime I manage to include that into my routine, I can see the difference in the level of stress that is constant in my life.
I need more understanding to get myself out of this rut I fall into so often and I look for answers. Are parts of my brain undeveloped? And how may I work on this if so. I haven't read any of Gabor Mate's books and haven't gotten to Gurdjieff yet either although have read many quotes here by him and find truth and value in applying this to my life. The reading list here is truly awesome and have already read many books recommended.

I suppose I should read this thread again, looks like some ADD symptoms going on with me also. How does one grow this will, I know its been discussed here in the forum.

I didn't have parents that where unavailable to me in terms of bonding as far as I know. I was a very sensitive child though and the harshness of others outside my family caused a lot of wounding in early years. Pretty much I was given a lot of freedom to do as I chose with very little guidance and no discipline what-so-ever. I remember actually "playing" at giving myself tasks where discipline was required. Perhaps I felt a lack of structure in those early years although the basics where covered, regular meal and bed times etc.

So the digging in the garden of ones soul continues on. Thanks for all the comments here.


Dagobah Resident
SummerLite said:
I suppose I should read this thread again, looks like some ADD symptoms going on with me also. How does one grow this will, I know its been discussed here in the forum.
Hello SummerLite, here is an excerpt of what Gurdjieff mentioned above will:

Gurdjieff said:
"So that when a man attains will on the fourth way he can make use of it because he has acquired control of all his bodily, emotional, and intellectual functions.

"In order to understand the interrelation of truth and falsehood in life a man must understand falsehood in himself, the constant incessant lies he tells himself. "These lies are created by 'buffers' In order to destroy the lies in oneself as well as lies told unconsciously to others, 'buffers' must be destroyed. But then a man cannot live without 'buffers.' 'Buffers' automatically control a man's actions, words, thoughts, and feelings.
Consequently, if a man begins to destroy 'buffers' within himself he must at the same time develop a will. And as will cannot be created to order in a short space of time a man may be left with 'buffers' demolished and with a will that is not as yet sufficiently strengthened. The only chance he has during this period is to be controlled by another will which has already been strengthened. "This is why in school work, which includes the destruction of 'buffers,' a man must be ready to obey another man's will so long as his own will is not yet fully developed. Usually this subordination to another man's will is studied before anything else. I use the word 'studied' because a man must understand why such obedience is necessary and he must learn to obey. The latter is not at all easy. A man beginning the work of self-study with the object of attaining control over himself is accustomed to believe in his own decisions.
And from the glossary Cassiopeia, which are the buffers:
glossary said:

In 4th Way psychology, a buffer is a sort of thought-proof compartmentalization of the mind. The term comes from the buffers which absorb shocks between railroad cars. Buffers make it possible for man to ignore almost anything and generally serve to keep one living in subjectivity.
Repeated denial of facts may over time create a buffer. For example, buffers make it possible for one to apply entirely different principles of ethics to different groups of people.
Getting rid of buffers is an aim of the Work. However, buffers should not be deleted too quickly, even if they could, since some are necessary for survival, at least until one's internal constitution is strengthened enough to withstand reality without the dampening effect of buffers.
Receiving shocks without the mental anesthetic of buffers facilitates fusion and formation of a consistent I.

"Exactly the same appliances are to be found within man. They are created, not by nature but by man himself, although involuntarily. The cause of their appearance is the existence in man of many contradictions; contradictions of opinions, feelings, sympathies, words, and actions. If a man throughout the whole of his life were to feel all the contradictions that are within him he could not live and act as calmly as he lives and acts now. He would have constant friction, constant unrest. We fail to see how contradictory and hostile the different I's of our personality are to one another. If a man were to feel all these contradictions he would feel what he really is. He would feel that he is mad. It is not pleasant to anyone to feel that he is mad. Moreover, a thought such as this deprives a man of self confidence, weakens his energy, deprives him of his 'self-respect.' Somehow or other he must master this thought or banish it. He must either destroy the contradictions or cease to see and to feel them. A man cannot destroy contradictions. But if 'buffers' are created in him he can cease to feel them and he will not feel the impact from the clash of contradictory views, contradictory emotions, contradictory words.
"'Buffers' are created slowly and gradually. Very many 'buffers' are created artificially through 'education.' Others are created under the hypnotic influence of all surrounding life. A man is surrounded by people who live, speak, think, and feel by means of 'buffers.' Imitating them in their opinions, actions, and words, a man involuntarily creates similar 'buffers' in himself. 'Buffers' make a man's life more easy. It is very hard to live without 'buffers.' But they keep man from the possibility of inner development because 'buffers' are made to lessen shocks that can lead a man out of the state in which he lives, that is, waken him. 'Buffers' will lull a man to sleep, give him the agreeable and peaceful sensation that all will be well, that no contradictions exist and that he can sleep in peace. 'Buffers' are appliances by means of which a man can always be in the right. 'Buffers' help a man not to feel his conscience."
I hope to help a bit
Thank you so much Shijing for starting this thread, and everyone who contributed. I came across ADD when it was being mentioned in certain member's personal thread, and it was a big revelation for me. I've never heard about ADD before, only ADHD, which is as prevalent in Poland as it is in the US and other parts of the world (especially westernized countries, I think), but then someone quoted "Scattered" and listed the symptoms of this condition, and imagine my shock when it felt like there were describing me.

Shijing said:
Regarding the latter, Maté emphasizes the role of connection, first with parents and caregivers in childhood, and later with significant others (including close friends) later in life. He says at one point that ADD is literally "Attention Deficit Disorder" -- meaning that children with ADD have suffered from a lack of attention from the caregivers which they were supposed to bond with early in life. He is very slow to assign blame to parents for this, however, arguing that in today's society it is nearly impossible not to be neglectful as a parent to some extent, particularly when they are under financial, work, and other kinds of pressure. Part of what makes the book so attractive is that Maté freely discusses his own shortcomings as a parent and spouse, and what he has learned from these as he has studied ADD and worked with his own patients.

There are several concepts which Maté introduces that I found useful. One example is 'time-blindness', where the adult suffers from an inability to make realistic temporal judgments, often procrastinating or biting off more than they can chew due to a kind of wishful thinking, which he relates to an underdeveloped prefrontal cortex (something which he argues characterizes the ADD personality in general). Another is 'counterwill', which is the resistance (either active or passive) that a child erects as a defense to being forced to do something for the sake or convenience of the parent, which is later habitualized to the detriment of the child as they mature and it stops serving a useful function.
Psalehesost said:
Some of the ADD traits

A person with ADD will typically need to have a much greater sense of personal motivation in order to focus well. It is harder for the brain's motivation circuit to rouse - and it tends to be underactive most of the time, unless the person stimulates it into disorganized overactivity. When a strong motivation is there, focus can be strong - even becoming obsessive, to the detriment of the person's life (and others who depend on them) in general.

Engagement in activities can follow a chain of associations in an uncontrolled way. One activity leads, by association, to another, and another, and another, while the original task is left hanging. That frequently means things are left undone.

There can also be a poor sense of time - and an immature "all or nothing" attitude towards it. Until the last minute, the person feels like they have all the time in the world - or on the contrary, the feel like they have no time at all.

Large projects and goals can be hard to work with. Distraction, "all or nothing" attitudes, poorly regulated motivation, impulsivity. Usually, work is only consistently productive when it involves a series of small tasks under time pressure.

Often, people with ADD have a sense of urgency, usually feeling they should do something, but not knowing what. (Mate calls this being "organically driven".) There is also often a pervasive sense of having missed something in life, and a strong sense of unrealized potential. (Indeed, people with ADD often go through life without managing to make good use of their talents. In the more severe cases, people often even fail to keep their lives together in a basic sense.)

Also related to addictive tendencies, someone with ADD usually works best under the influence of stimulants - whether from the body, e.g. adrenaline (connected to workaholic tendencies, and to doing important work at the last minute), or from external sources. Among the latter, I think in most cases, the best ones for us to consider (and use or not depending on the effects on each individual) are nicotine and caffeine. Anyway, in the absence of stimulants, the prefrontal cortex can be sluggish, even slowing down further when it should rouse. Stimulating it enables it to coordinate brain activity more efficiently, which brings some order to the chaos.
When I read that I started sobbing like a child. I've always seen myself as faulty and broken. Always compared myself to all these fell-functioning people, who lived their life to the fullest, while very often I was struggling with even the smallest thing. And then someone writes this book and tells you that you are not at fault and broken beyond repair. That things happened to you when you were little. That you've just had emotionally distant/unavailable and un-attuned patents, who although tried their best (well, at least one parent), couldn't help how their own problems and severe stress affected their kids. And maybe it wouldn't be even this much of a deal, if I wasn't extremely sensitive child. But I was. And I had to sacrifice myself, the real me, in order to adapt and survive.

"Scattered" in now definitely on my reading list. By some extreme luck, I've been able to find it in Poland (the original, english version), so I'm elated. I will probably write more as soon as I read it.


Dagobah Resident
FOTCM Member
Thank you riclapaz so much for your reply. I don't know how I missed this before now. Maybe I moved into avoidance mode of the forum after "revealing" myself here which I do sometimes.

I will study your reply closely and have G's books on my next book purchase. Since writing the above post, developing will has been on my mind. I consider it to be like working out little used muscles. Alas, progress hasn't been that great so far. A understanding of buffers would be helpful so looking into that more. In some ways I have great will and the ability to do, in other ways I fall absolutely flat.


FOTCM Member
Gaby said:
I got the book as a source of inspiration for difficult times.
I just finished reading this book and the appropriate emoticon would be: :jawdrop:

Some of my traits described in the book improved over the years due to several factors: networking and getting feedback + mirrors, SRT and past life integration, diet, detox, meditation, martial arts, autoimmune/antibiotic protocol and finally, the much needed iodine.

At nearly 38 years old, I feel like I can tolerate my feelings and regulate myself much more effectively than at any point in my life. I'm still surprised how I escaped the medical label of ADHD considering that my closest friend in med school later became a psychiatrist. She later told me a few years ago when I saw her, that I surely needed help many years ago but was unable to explain to me how or exactly why.

I decided to read this book after realizing during Lynne Farrow's interview how much iodine helped my mental clarity. Here is the context:

Health & Wellness Show: The Iodine Crisis - Interview with Lynne Farrow

Their parents have written to me and the thing that comes up all the time with the ADD and the autistic kids is the ability of iodine to let the kids focus better. They can dance with their parents or they can just think more clearly. And one of the kids who had a disability, he was so articulate about this and most of us that have all our marbles didn't think about it this way. He said the difference he felt on taking iodine was it was like having a radio dial and when the dial isn't right on the station, things are sort of furry sounding and blurry and not clear. And he said "When I have my iodine right, it's like getting the radio dial right on the station". And I thought, yeah, that's what I feel like too but I never thought to put it that way.

Gaby: Me too actually!
Also, because I was eating several foods that I eliminated long ago in preparation to my IgG food intolerance test. As the brain fog came back, I realized that even if the test comes back negative, there was no way I was going to eat certain foods. I also realized it was time to read "Scattered" as a source of inspiration.

I did had my Gabor Mate moment as I learned more details of ADHD traits that went against all my stereotypes about the condition. Although borderline traits, cover narcissism traits and many other descriptions were helpful throughout the years to learn more about my programs, the ADHD traits as explained by Gabor Mate just nailed it for me.

Now I'm currently doing a mental health rotation with several psychiatrists. One of the psychiatrists, who specializes in ADHD children and is also a mindfulness teacher, invited me to teach EE to her mindfulness group. The psychiatrist had a powerful experience during 3 stage breathing and was inquiring with me if it was really due to enhanced attention. I relayed my experience with teaching EE for the public in general: people are so immensely stressed that when they finally pay attention through EE, they feel immensely relaxed and in touch with themselves. In general, powerful experiences which is accompanied by some visual imagery are experienced only by attendees with experience in meditation. Then I joked about the irony that I taught this program considering that I would probably test positive for ADHD if I filled in all the questionnaires. To my surprise she joked back affirming that that was precisely her case too and she teaches mindfulness.

No harm done, everybody loved EE a lot and we all got relaxed training our attention muscle. I'm finally understanding more about myself and what needs work and what has to go. I think the book is useful for everybody in one way or another.

Here is my amazon review:

5.0 out of 5 stars Carpe diem!, March 13, 2016

This review is from: Scattered: How Attention Deficit Disorder Originates and What You Can Do About It (Kindle Edition)

This is one book I should have read at least 10-20 years ago, but as Dr. Gabor Mate kindly implies, you don't wake up until you do. Perhaps it was better that way. I never took medication and painfully embarked on a self-exploration and knowledge journey which lead to many discoveries. Throughout the years, people that care for me have pointed out how my "scattered" behavior and "sensitive" feelings came across, much to my initial dismay, but much to my self-understanding at how destructive said behaviors can be. The healing journey has empowered me to own my self. Not a bad's day work. And thus we embark in loving actively, a process that requires active attention and knowledge, and where there is no disorder. Highly recommended reading!
Somehow life is more tolerable now despite the brain fog :P


Dagobah Resident
Gaby said:
I think the book is useful for everybody in one way or another.
Sad to say, starting to look as if many, if not the majority, of humans are in a similar state - I recall a recent Mate' quote from a YouTube video where he points out that this society in general traumatizes a lot of people as a regular thing.


The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I highly recommend this book for everyone. The book is nominally about attention deficit disorder, but it is much more as it discusses the intersection of developmental trauma, transmission of intergenerational trauma, genetics vs environment, relationships with parents and spouses and significant others, the prefrontal cortex, free will, and basically survival by avoiding and running away from pain. So I think reading Healing Developmental Trauma, Hold on to Your Kids, Inside the Criminal Mind, and Anatomy of Violence is necessary before reading this book.

Anyone thinking about having children or raising children must read this book, ideally before getting pregnant. This is because the most important timing of brain development is the 9 months of pregnancy and the first 9 months after birth. Parental stress during this critical time is devastating for the baby.

At the moment, the e-audiobook is also available for free here if your library participates.

Forum thread for Hold on to Your Kids
Hold on to your kids: Why parents need to matter more than peers - Gabor Maté
Top Bottom