Fear of our own behavior

A person with a Substitute Sense of Self has many fears, all consequences of the root Fear of Annihilation. (See the Map of Healing.) Those fears are all related in a complex way. On this page we will explore one of those many fears: the fear that we (will have to) display a behavior (anger) that works against our Ego-References because there really is something that we can’t let pass.

When you read the title of this page, wasn’t your first thought: “But aren’t you ‘there’ and in charge yourself, deciding whether or not to behave in a particular way?”  There exactly lies the problem because the answer is: No, ‘you’ are not ‘there.’ There is no ‘you’-Self. There is only the entire Substitute Sense of Self-oriented System, which is so desperate as well as operating with the Force of Nature, that it overrules your best intentions, your will, your best judgment for how you want to behave, or ought to behave, at a given time.

It doesn’t really matter whether the reason for the anger is ‘a Quality of Life one’ or a Substitute Sense of Self-oriented one…the fact that we have this feeling of ‘Oh no I can’t deal with it’ when something goes differently than we want it to go, together with the Ego-Reference, ‘I will make sure that I don’t get angry so easily’ that we don’t want to screw up – is a set up for exploding in a (pathological) Rage.

Now we are not aware of what plays on our subconscious level but only sense great apprehension for what comes our way and we try to stay away from conflict. Now that in itself is already very difficult on a Quality of Life level but when an Inner Conflict arises and one or more Ego-References is at stake, we feel so justified in our anger that we ‘go for it’ and let it out. Unfortunately, because there is also the Ego-Reference ‘not to get angry’ there is a high level of frustration about ‘having to be angry’ at the same time. And what happens now is that a situation, that started out with either a regular Quality of Life-level of anger, or with an already Substitute Sense of Self-or Frustration culminates rapidly and becomes a huge amount of anger that keeps reinforcing itself.

After many years of repetition of this pattern we learn that this can be a devastating situation, both for others and ourselves (note: ourselves here refers to our Substitute Sense of Self-oriented System, which represents all of who we are at that point.) Anticipating on the result and effects on others and ourselves of these emotions we become highly afraid of our own behavior, as if we were victims of it, not in control of it – which is the truth in the state we are in. We have to get out of that state and in the state of having a Restores Sense of Self to not be prone to these emotional explosions anymore.

The paragraph above already indicated in a few words why it is that we would be afraid of our own behavior? We will go over what the danger really is. The danger, what is at stake, is something we are not consciously aware of because we are not aware of the whole Substitute Sense of Self-oriented structure that has taken the place of a healthy Self experience.

The lack of transparency in this situation which makes it unmanageable for us becomes clearer even if we realize that we don’t know that it is of utmost importance to us that we can work to achieve our Ego-References, meaning become that person that our parent would have approved of and FgaS as a Substitute Sense of Self.

We are totally unaware of the fact that we lack a healthy Sense of Self and that makes us automatically dependent on a Substitute Sense of Self for our Self experience. Before having taken in the information of this Holistic Psychological theory we didn’t know how our priorities really lay.

We were not aware of the fact that if there is any situation that is perceived as a threat to achieve the Ego-Reference there is a strong reaction to protect the achieved level of performance (in achieving the Ego-Reference so far). However, it is in fact our worst night mare that there happen anything that might thwart (see Self-Sabotage) our so-carefully-built-up attempts to achieve one or more of our Ego-References. This page will help you get an insight into what is ‘playing behind the scene’ of a Substitute Sense of Self-dependent person’s fear of their own behavior.

Fear of Getting Angry and of Having to Get Angry

The discussion here will focus mainly on one particular behavior of ours which we are afraid of: getting angry, and/or feeling as if we are being compelled (by something inside us) to get angry, against our will. Fear of being angry is one of the strongest fears, because anger is an explosive, destructive emotion that usually has a lot of impact. What a dilemma, not being able to control it even despite resolutions to never be angry – or perhaps because of those resolutions. More about that, below!

The complex inner world of the Substitute Sense of Self

How could we start to understand the psycho-emotional makeup of a person who is dependent on a Substitute Sense of Self-oriented System for his self-experience?  It has been impossible to give a detailed, ‘linear’ description of all that was playing emotionally within me when I still was totally Substitute Sense of Self-oriented. There were multiple aspects playing, generating multiple emotions. Even one single emotion was present in multiple facets having multiple causes. Even one facet of such an emotion was experienced in multiple layers, having impact on multiple layers of my self-experience.

The Soup of Substitute Sense of Self-related goals and emotions

The overall result was that my ‘disposition’ was comparable to soup: Everything is in it but you don’t recognize the individual ingredients anymore. So I’ve decided to describe my psycho-emotional makeup as if it were soup. Everybody’s soup tastes different, even though many of the ingredients might be the same as mine.

My goal in creating this description is for you to get insight in what ‘laws’ are at work when you combine certain of these ‘psycho-emotional ‘ingredients’.

Here are the ingredients of the internal soup:

–       Normal Quality of Life events and emotions-

–       ‘Holy decision’ –

–       The two sides of Ego-References. For example, the Quality of Life normal motivation for not wanting anger in your house, plus the Substitute Sense of Self-oriented motivations for not wanting to be angry –

–       Multiple simultaneously-existing but incompatible Ego-References that lead to Inner Conflict

–       Potentially multiple Inner conflicts –

–       The ‘Elephant in the room’ of ‘feel-good-at-all-cost’ (as a family-wide Ego-Reference) –

–       Fear of encountering reasons to be angry, and the continuous conscious and subconscious drive to be on the lookout so as to avoid those.-

–       Fear of ‘screwing-it up’ (See It’ as a Substitute Sense of Self-oriented Concept). There is so much at stake, but we are distressed and puzzled because we are not aware of that, or what is at stake (nor is anybody else).  All we are aware of about ourselves is that we are ‘high-strung’, that our temper is not always contained, and that in some vague, undefined way, we sense a temper display puts us back to zero, having to start from scratch. Start what, we don’t know!-

–       Add in also, the fear that others might become resentful of our behavior and ‘leave us behind’. (See Fear for Abandonment).

The need-to-Control, and the constant presence of Fear and Stress, function as the binding ingredients for this soup (comparable to the function of corn starch).

Throw into this pot of soup as herbs-of-the-season some random ingredients like the parental expressions ‘everything has been for nothing’, the accusation ‘you screwed it all up again’, ‘you blew it again’,  ‘walking on eggshells’, ‘if you are this or that way everybody will walk out on you’ – and yet other similar expressions.

Put this on the fire of the Hidden Agenda, stir it really well while heating it up to a boiling point, and serve it to your loved ones. Do you think they will like this soup?

Principles at work in making soup

Let me try to elaborate some more on the analogy with soup so you might get a clearer sense of the mood and mindset of a person who is dependent on a Substitute Sense of Self (feel-good-about-Self) for her Self-experience.

There are a number of principles at work:

Ego-Reference plus Ego-Reference equals Inner conflict

Inner Conflict increases Need to Control

Need to Control increases Stress and Fear

Stress plus Fear equals more Need to Control

Stress plus Need to Control equals more Stress

All of the above can, under the right conditions, explode into Anger and Rage.

One of the flavors of that Anger and Rage is the subconscious thought: ‘Why can’t I get things the way I need them to be (which, subconsciously, means ‘the way the Ego-References require them to be in order to achieve the fleeting ‘feel-good-about-self’ which is the Substitute Sense of Self’)?

Note I don’t say: ‘….why you don’t get it your way,’ as by now you might remember, ‘you’ are not there at all. Your life at this point (being dependent on a Substitute Sense of Self for your Self-experience) is about ‘maintaining the system at all cost’. You are skipping your own life, as you are not in touch with the living-person-you-really-are.

We are talking about a person whose Ego-References (improving the self with an eye on Hidden Goal of the (virtual) parental approval, not for the sake of his or her actual wellbeing) are priority #1. That means all Vehicles that are used to manifest the Ego-References need to be ‘just so’ (Need to Control) so that there will be a positive outcome. The circumstances have to be ‘just so’ (Need to Control) so that the person is successful in fulfilling the Ego-References. Anything that is in the way is a Hindrance/Obstacle and leads to anger or Rage.

So anger and rage are always lurking, and can emerge at any given moment, because most of the time life does come up with a hindrance to a good outcome of the Ego-Reference, be it by words of an unwilling or non-complying family member or through circumstances that are not ‘just so’. If one of your Ego-References is ‘not being angry’ you are living in the soup: a complexity that is impossible to deal with because anger is coming up all the time because of Ego-References being thwarted but it isn’t being allowed to be expressed!

Anger coming up and not being allowed to be expressed is generating an Inner Conflict which leads to stress that keeps reinforcing itself. A person is able to hold in all that tension to a certain point, and then there comes a point of saturation: the balloon that was stretchable initially comes to a point where the flexibility of the surface reaches its limit. Boom! Explosion!

In fact, in the reality of the life of a Substitute Sense of Self-oriented person, once in this state of tension around anger, sometimes a minor irritation is enough (the straw on the camel’s back) to make the person snap. Or a minor opening of the source of anger (trying ‘to talk it out’) results in an unforeseen avalanche of stress and anger. Fear turned into stress breaks free and is unstoppable. This IMO is the moment in which violence – murder – suicide can take place, or other destructive behavior. This is where the child or the wife or husband gets beaten.

The role of decisions ‘to-avoid-anger-at-all-cost’

The firm decision to avoid being angry at all cost has two sides. First there is a Quality of Life side that is sincere, straightforward, and ‘directly motivated’: ‘I don’t want as much quarreling in my home as there was in my family of origin.’*

But it is the Substitute Sense-of-Self-oriented side of the coin, if the decision creates an Ego-Reference, that is the destruction-inducer: not allowing yourself to express anger and yet being frustrated (angry) continuously when your Ego-References are thwarted – as they so often are – brings about an enormous amount of stress.

The stress and anger are mixed up, just like the ingredients in the soup, and not recognizable anymore. But they do come out of the person with such force, tumult, and loudness that it sounds like anger/rage.

You can easily see that the longer the Ego-Reference ‘not to be angry’ is successfully kept in operation, the longer the soup cooks with the lid on, the bigger the anger that ultimately boils over. ‘At all cost’ turns out to be impossible, and the final ‘all cost’ is very, very high.


How to interrupt this cycle

The first (and only!) effective step to take in order to break this pattern is to actively work on getting a (restored) Sense of Self implemented in the person, or yourself. Once that is in place (even sometimes in place) we can break free from the addiction to having to make sure that there is a Substitute Sense of Self (‘feel-good-about-Self’) operating as the only connection with one’s own existence. No need for a Substitute Sense of Self if there is a real one!

Now there is no need for the person to ‘bring the Ego-References to a good ending’, in every instance, because the Hidden Goal doesn’t exist any longer. The person does not have to generate the Substitute Sense of Self anymore. Automatically the Vehicles lose their function as ‘Vehicles,’ and finally the person’s Motivations turn into straightforward (Direct) ones.

* A personal note

Things are never black or white. As a young child I made conscious decisions, when relevant, to not go on the angry path I observed my parents were on. For example: my younger sister accidently pulled my little red radio off a shelf and broke it. My father stormed in yelling at her and cursing. I stood up for her stating:” It is my radio and I am not angry. You don’t have the right to shout at her in anger!” Yes I did that, I remember!

On the other hand, as a teenager I remember having many quarrels and verbal wars with my parents. So obviously my non-anger policy wasn’t in operation during that time of my life!

When at the age of about 33, I felt my life didn’t work out the way I had expected and that maybe I would end up with no relationships, no job or just ‘a job’, I made a very conscious decision to avoid being angry (and avoid other things as well.)

Later I called that moment in my life: point zero! At that moment, the biological clock was ticking; I feared to end up with no relationships, no family, no job. I decided to do things ‘my mother’s way’. My rebellion ended, and all the criticisms that she used to have about me now became my guides on how to live my life henceforth. I would behave, be less selfish, be more adjusted to what was called ‘normal’ at the time, be less confrontational and reactionary, etc. This is probably worth a page to be better explained but I mention it here at this place only to indicate that for me there wasn’t a straight line of the development of myself into the acceptance of the Ego-References. For some people, the line is straight; others wander in and out through rebellion maybe.

Where the reader goes next….