Cautions and Pep Talk about Recovery


First Caution: Habit and Slipping Back

A big caution for those venturing toward a Restored Sense of Self: Throughout your whole life so far you have lived based on the habit of depending on a Substitute Sense of Self. Humans are creatures of habit and the whole Substitute-Sense–of-Self-oriented System is a habit you can and will slip back into. No judgments about that, it’s just a fact of life. Beating up on yourself for any slips will only cause suffering and slow down your progress, so refrain from that!

Recovering from a Substitute Sense of Self is a continuous battle between gaining the new, Restored Sense of Self and falling back into the habit of the old Substitute Sense of Self-oriented System. There is no way around it: You have to persuade what originally was your ‘survival system’ (= Fear of Annihilation, =  Early Childhood Survival Strategy) to make way for your-‘self’-as-a-reality. With time and persistence, you win.

To guarantee a successful implementation of a Restored Sense of Self it is absolutely necessary that the exercises of awareness in the Recovery Section have a permanent place in your life, to keep you from slipping back into the habit of a pathological Sense of Self. Encourage yourself by noticing how your problems and pains are diminishing.

Second Caution: Addiction

While I just spoke of ‘habit’, in this case ‘habit’ can be used in the sense it is used in addiction discussions, because in your case, the ‘habit’ feels like a life-or-death matter. (= Fear of Annihilation) Compare yourself to a drug addict, nothing more and nothing less. Just like a junkie you are continuously prey to the numerous triggers that lie in yourself and your environment. (= Vehicle) Only with the strongest will and intention and in due time are we able to choose another path, the path of healing.

Think of the pictures I presented earlier, of the branches of trees. Your addiction to the elements of the Substitute-Sense–of-Self-oriented System is represented physically in your neurotransmitter brain bio-chemicals and the brain neuronal wiring.

What you need to do mentally and emotionally amounts to leaving those already-carved pathways and choosing to create other neuronal pathways from scratch. These pathways are like a path in a jungle: the moment you stop cutting the bushes and plants that are on your path they grow back – and they grow back fast! Before you know it, the new path toward a Restored Sense of Self which you created just a few hours ago looks completely overgrown, with seemingly no trace! (In truth, the new neuronal ‘grooves’ are still accumulating, thank goodness!)

For you, for us, just like for alcoholics or drug-addicts, there is hope for complete recovery. In our case, it is slightly easier because there is no physical addiction, no substance involved. But there will be stages in which you are like a dry-drunk: explicitly avoiding working on the Ego-References but mentally being focused on them all the time. You have to. How else are you going to remember? But keep on trying not to stay there.

Third Caution: Fear and Blame

Remember also that the whole Substitute-Sense-of-Self-oriented System developed because your childhood deprivation of appropriate regard (See Mirroring) by your parent created a Black Hole in your developmental process, and you were threatened with feeling, and trying to avoid feeling, Fear of Annihilation Fear of Annihilation. This is heavy stuff. We’re talking serious existential terror here. So cut yourself some slack, while not letting up on your will to heal. Expect those fears to come closer to your conscious awareness, and just have compassion for them.

A Black Hole is a Black Hole; it sucked in your childhood feelings and motives like a Force of Nature. There is no blame to be had; your child-mind did the best that Nature offered it to do, in the unhealthy situation you found yourself. Don’t impede your healing with the nonsense of blaming yourself for anything, including ‘wasted years of my life.’

You might also need, as part of your recovery process, to learn some forgiveness techniques which work for you toward your parent or parents or other caregivers, to diminish your inevitable blame of them, which then works wonders on your own ability to live in the present. Alia suggested: ‘Radical Forgiveness, by Colin Tipping.’

Fourth Caution: Tools and Time Needed

You also need many tools to support you: creative imagery, visualization, body work, creative expression (crafts, arts, music). (At some point I might dedicate a page to this.) Please be fully aware that this Recovery work is hardly something you can do ‘on the side’ in your life. If you want to succeed, it requires a lot of attention and action. Make ‘Becoming Myself’ the Master Plan for your life, for the time being!

As an incentive, I might let you know that a half-hearted Recovery attempt might be likely to cause more suffering than it alleviates, just because the fears and blame mentioned above will emerge bigtime, and you’ll feel like a failure bigtime as your habits and addictions keep re-emerging!

Fifth Caution: The System co-opting the Recovery Process

Don’t use the problems you (still) have right now as an excuse, as a justification for why you can’t live up to your Ego-References. Doing that precisely shows that you are still using them! You are still using the degree to which you are able to live up to those conditions as criteria for your right of existence!

The Substitute-Sense-of-Self-oriented System is very tricky. It can co-opt your new healing process! Let the new experiences not become your Substitute Sense of Self in disguise. Introspect conscientiously and honestly assess whether you might be letting your problems be a way that you Sense and relate to your Self, or be a way through which you feel alive.

Step into the world of being in touch with your own person as opposed to blindly and habitually going by memories of what made you feel (close to) being accepted by your mother or other care giver, (= Enmeshment) even though your current life might feel grey and undifferentiated, simply because it lacks the emotional extremes you’ve gotten used to, never known anything different! Your new life will color up beautifully, trust me on that!

You’re entering a new world, a world where it is about ‘you’ – and only from that authentic ‘about me’ can you authentically feel empathy and compassion, care and concern, or love, for others! Most likely you will at first miss the great highs and lows which gave you, up until now, a sense of ‘being’: the ‘drama’ in your life gave you a sense of being alive.

Pep Talk

Step into the world of the ‘real’ Reality where you can be more detached from what happens in and around yourself. There will almost surely come a time when the Restored Sense of Self is strong enough to change your Motivations in life from Indirect to Direct. Then the Hidden Agendas will cease to pull, and the Ego-References and the Substitute Sense of Self will have lost their appeal to – and their hold on – your subconscious mind.

That is when you will Sense your Self in a direct way which by then has become more ‘natural’, more automatic, to you. That is what this work hopes to help you establish. Then, instead of being the Slave of your Ego-References, you have become the Master of your life.

Where the reader goes next….

Or….Definition of Self-Esteem….