Last week, during a conversation with a colleague over a particularly fine single malt, he asked me what “presentation” I see most of in my practice. I mulled over it for a while before answering that many of the people I see who bravely step into therapy, struggle with an emaciated sense of self.
That started me thinking about my-self. It is obviously in a constant state of flux due to the environmental circumstances I encounter each and every day. The psychological lens I use to understand what is happening to me was formed a long time ago and even though there have been ‘updates’ to the way I perceive and integrate information, many of my (and one could presuppose my clients) ‘mind-wounds’ were formed through early developmental dramas. Now that doesn’t necessarily imply that we are all walking automatons navigating under the direct hypnotic impact of our early developmental traumas, but it is fair to say that there is a very strong possibility that they may have a strong influence on the way we manage particular interactions that resonate with these early battlegrounds.
I often observe some of my antiquated psychological defenses leap to what they suppose is my aid, only to wreak havoc in my intimate relationships. Old, dark feelings can be elicited by relatively innocuous exchanges when the self is worn thin by Anger, Loneliness, Tiredness, Stress, Boredom, Rejection or any physical catalyst (illness, hunger etc).
As I continue on this journey of discovery, my internal psychic scar tissue becomes more known to me and I am less often surprised by the motions of my Ego. Whether I like it or not, I have one, as do we all and learning to tame its sometimes histrionic, sometimes dystonic steps is an ongoing lesson.