Monday, January 24, 2011

How we deny our selves

A few ways of rejecting our selves:
  • We project our feelings and state of the mind onto others around, specially those who are close to us. We are angry, but instead of dealing with the anger, we "see" our spouse angry. We need attention and love, but instead of seeking it, we "see" people as if they need love and attention (or sometimes we actively search for people in despair) and shower them with love and attention.
  • We explain and justify ourselves and seek others approval. We try to share all our experiences, happy/sad, beautiful/ugly, etc., as if we are not enough to experience them and there should be others with us to make the experience meaningful.
  • We do not take full responsibility of our choices and actions, we involve others into the process and want them to make decisions for us. We refuse the joy of taking the risk, benefiting from good decisions, and learning from mistakes, as if we have forgotten how, as a child, we drew simple pleasure out of our little experiences.
For me all three items appear stronger in the times that I cannot sit with myself, and am looking for a place to hide!? :)


Incidentally, I got this in my email today.

How our mind projects our vision on the real world:

Story (NPR):

Video on youtube:


Today, I received one of those emails about Arabs invading Iran and destroying our identities, and that we have to fight back and get rid of everything Arabic/Islamic because they are the source of our problems !? :)
Here is what I wrote back:
"When someone who is rapped in childhood goes to therapy, s/he is not advised to "forget" the incident, or even worse, to deny that it happened, or even worse, to believe it has not had any effect on his/her identity. They ask him/her to accept that incident as part of experiences s/he has had in life. In fact, in order to "reduce" the negative impact of such incident on the victim, the first step is to see it just as it was.
Our experiences shape who we are, whether we like them or not, and "denial" is probably the worst strategy (for an adult) to deal with unpleasant experiences.
Think about this and then decide for yourself what you want to do with that part of our history. I am not interested in telling anyone how to think, neither do I have the information to do so. Everyone of us has to find his/her own ways ... I just wanted to offer  an alternative way of looking at this [Arab invasion of Iran and the effect on our culture and other aspects of our lives] that may be helpful to some."


    1. The today's email exchange caught my attention too. I guess the bigger question here is what constitutes "identity" and how is this different from nationality or culture.

      What is obvious is that these 3 are very inter-connected. And I don't know the formal definition of "identity".

      One more thing that iranian elite often fail to see in this context of Iranian identity vs Arabic rituals, is that religion is deeply embedded in the so-called identity of the bigger majority of the people living in Iran for many centuries now, and most of them would not be willing to part with it even when they would have an option to.

      I'd like to know/read more about "identity" vs nationality vs culture vs religion. Do you know any good reads?

    2. Thanks Jeerjeerak jaan!

      I agree with your points. I do not have a reference. "Identity" at the individual level is heavily discussed in psychology and specially in dealing with traumas. I believe the social perspective is studied in sociology too, but I cannot remember any source right now.

      My perspective was more individualistic, and I totally agree that most people find it very hard to erase part of their identity, even if they try hard and even if they think they can. Such things remain deeply rooted in their psyche and causes them to show strange, contradictory, and sometimes funny behaviors :)

      I am sure you will find your answers if you keep looking ;)

      Stay safe and happy!


    Unknown, Unknowable, and Eyes

    First Quote: ... unknown as something that is veiled from man, shrouded perhaps by a terrifying context, but which, nonetheless, is withi...