Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Fantasy impromptu #4: Inner child and outer adult

What would be the ideal, or apex of the healthy, happy person? This would be the person who grew smoothly through his or her youth without capsizing abuse, neglect, trauma, with no entrenched defenses – only as-needed transient ones, such as looking away from a terrible sight. Interests will have grown from the childhood landscape, so one’s adult occupations come directly from child energy and spirit, are leaves from the original tree, wherever the wind may blow them. Creativity and discovery – the birthright of the infant – would remain in place, nuclear fuel, making play and work identical. We wouldn’t assume compromise is right, just necessary: A passion to study insects is right; having to teach entomology at a college is necessary. Enjoyment, whether passive or active, would be a single quality, not split into self-medication (alcohol, chocolate), false self-esteem (accumulating money, having power), offensive defenses (revenge and competition), and true kinds (smelling the roses, learning cosmology, inventing a new engine). Benevolence would start with one’s own molecules spinning warm, loved and sound, and extend to the world.

What we see in our world is for the most part zombies of one degree or another: desperate, even dying children stuck in the adolescent and adult. That desperation sometimes makes hopelessness and defeat, sometimes crisis and homicide, sometimes hope that can never be very realistic, always blind movement toward something that needed to exist in the past – love, attention, visibility, importance. It makes a fixed remove within each adult, a fixed contradiction and saboteur: what is right for the child, and what is necessary for the adult. We become jaded, we become philosophical, we become ironic or sarcastic, we are depressed and anxious – all the consequences not of growth, wisdom or right, but of the child defect permeating the adult structure. We become regressive, we become sick romantics, we are magnetized to puerile consensus (political parties and religious clubs, heroes and villains). And we don’t realize it is disease.

A father, I’ve learned, tells his suicidal, hospitalized daughter that she is a “disappointment” and has done harm to the entire family by her “drama and attention seeking.” It is amazing that someone this monstrous can even speak the same language as us, giving him the illusory identity of humanity, of validity. That one sentence – You are a disappointment – can crush a child’s soul ’til the end of its days. Telling her that her feelings are poisonous, are too much for the family is, in one sentence, to end her parents, to poison her self-value, to abandon her yet leave her too malignant to be her own caretaker. What makes this happen? The hopeless child embedded in the adult.

I suppose it could be said that in therapy I try to de-monster the parent and de-cancer the youth and adult, by looking to the actual injuries that made them grow away from themselves. Even the sixteen-year-old girl has grown away from herself: a reasonable, sophisticated intellectual that has lost the child. Yes, it’s difficult to de-cancer that: She is already two people who, having no real parents, need each other.

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Comments are welcome, but I'd suggest you first read "Feeling-centered therapy" and "Ocean and boat" for a basic introduction to my kind of theory and therapy.