Saturday, June 23, 2018

It's a matter of bleeding internally


A forty-three-year-old client who has for years been unhappy with his life. He never learned or had a career. A nice-looking man with no perversions, violence or abnormal beliefs, he’s never had a real relationship. He sees old friends on Facebook with their happy families, vacations, high-altitude careers, and that peculiar dreadful depression that says “I am nothing,” “I never became a person,” “I don’t know what I am,” engulfs him.

The only biographical facts we need to know are that his father was continually violent toward his mother, father “never cared about anyone’s feelings,” and the little boy would sometimes “defend” his mother. They are enough because they led to everything he became, and everything he didn’t become for all his days.

If we had a psychological x-ray machine, we’d see beneath the skin-deep self a person still in the past, stuck there. We’d see a boy who could never grow up, because organic, real growth isn’t what a person thinks – thinking’s easy and easily self-medicating – it’s what he feels deep inside, and nothing ever healed his painful injuries. Imagine continuously bleeding internally. You really don’t “move on.” This is a true analogy because the lifeblood of a defeated child is always being pushed out of the body by time that goes on without him. And time goes on. You continue to live and probably do things. But you really don’t move on.

This is what fools us: He opens his eyes and is anxious about needing to be in the present he sees. His mind says “succeed.” If he were to close his eyes and shut out every thought, he would simply feel the pain that never went away in his childhood. He would simply be the internally bleeding boy. That’s all he would be. And that would be the truth.

Psychology and psychotherapy don’t want to know this. They turn thought into the person. We are thought, changeable thoughts, correctable thoughts, educable thoughts. We have feeling, but we are thinking. So everything done in almost all therapy defaults to the windshield wiper of belief and idea and word.

From that terribly, terribly misguided approach, a therapist wouldn’t see that the man is a forty-three-year-old Book of the Dying under a contemporary cover. He is merely a phantom in the present. Therapy would usher him to have different thinking, express a feeling for a moment or two, use reason, go to college, not compare himself to others, socialize.

And the bleeding would go on.

There is a better way, that goes almost to the depth of the ocean floor but must stop just above it. It wants the person to know his worst, feel through his worst and hold his child while the therapist is holding him in understanding. That is the four-dimensional person. There is no 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.