We’re often the dupes of our defenses which render us blind to our emotional life and mislead us about the sources of our suffering. For starters, we don’t see that common varieties of suffering are both symptoms of mysterious dynamics unfolding in our psyche as well as defenses covering up our participation in our suffering.
To understand this, take a look at the following painful experiences (List 1) and see if you can tell what they have in common:
Anger and rage; sadness, grief, depression; worry, anxiety, guilt, and fear; envy, jealousy, and loneliness; resentment, humiliation, and shame.
These painful experiences are all symptoms and defenses of deeper dynamics in our psyche. Our ability to avoid these unpleasant states is hampered when we fail to understand the deeper processes that instigate these forms of suffering.
What are we defending against? Deeper down, we remain entangled in unresolved negative emotions first experienced in childhood. Through psychological defenses, we cover up our willingness to remain entwined in these painful emotions. The emotions (List 2) include the sense of being:
Deprived, refused; helpless, controlled, and dominated; criticized, rejected, and abandoned; unloved, seen as unworthy. [Read more…]