What do I know?

Thanks to Litlove for this tag, which gives me a chance to write a quick post before I get down to studying for the day. Ten things I know should be easy right? But I’m feeling the pressure to show how clever I am, or well-balanced, or just ‘real and deep’ 😉

1. Love is Transference. This can be very helpful but it’s also a limited perspective. Love means different things to different people. Perhaps we could say that “falling in love” is transference but that the growing-and-changing-and-appreciating-and-struggling every day form of love is much more than that.

2. Next to Love, the next most important emotion is probably Fear. Notice the ‘probably’ there. That’s my fearful side providing a qualifier in case some very wise person comes along and says “what rubbish – it’s Anger or Hope” or whatever else I happen to have overlooked!

3. Anxiety forces us to grow. A helpful distinction is between different kinds of anxiety — natural, toxic and ‘sacred’. The fear of fear itself, which we’re seeing so much of with this credit crunch, is toxic anxiety. The ‘sacred’ kind confronts the big questions of existence.

4. Paradoxically, facing up to our vulnerability can make us stronger.

5. Anger is healthy, but not if you give yourself over to it.

6. Violence feeds the Ego.

7. People are motivated primarily by self-interest, which is why it’s important to enlarge our idea of the Self.

8. We are constantly changing (often in subtle ways).

9. Trauma works in cycles. I read an excellent quote by Martha Beck a while ago in which she was talking about grief as walking along with a huge boulder on your back. As you make your progress, this burden gets lighter and lighter – from a heavy rock to a light pebble – until you hardly notice it at all.

10. There’s always a Middle Way, especially when it comes to dealing with conflict. Being assertive for me means standing up for yourself while still acknowledging and respecting the other person.

Consider yourself tagged if you’ve read more than two of these posts and haven’t posted one yet yourself.


7 Responses to What do I know?

  1. Natalian says:

    I really enjoyed reading this post. Will have to put a few of your points into practice!

  2. Novalis says:

    The love as transference point is so true. My boundaries are as firm as anyone’s, but I think it’s disingenuous to think that an erotic transference is merely someone falling in love with a true blank screen. In addition to having an obviously visible body, any therapist consciously or unconsciously gives off all kinds of hints about his or her true nature (particularly since therapists, while usually discreet of course, aren’t trained actors), which may be found to be more or less appealing by any specific person. Because of the professional and ethical focus of the undertaking, this kind of attraction cannot be followed through on, but it is not different in kind from the attraction that might arise during, say, a blind date.

  3. Bee says:

    I’m glad that you took this challenge straight-on . . . rather than the glib approach that is so much more common. Your comments about love and anxiety (and everything, really) were very interesting.

  4. […] I would never have realised I was supposed to do the same, and to Pete at Couchtrip, who also knew what to do. As it happened, I simply became curious about the other bloggers Litlove tagged, and so […]

  5. doctordi says:

    Pete, I think my favourite of these (why are we so compelled to nominate a favourite?!) is #4. I think it’s so, so true, and it’s something I wish more people knew. Admitting vulnerability is often an act of bravery, so not only does it build strength, I suspect it also requires it. I admire people who aren’t afraid to admit to their fears.

  6. Litlove says:

    Ah, I knew you would do an amazing job. I love all of these answers and think this is a post I ought to print out and refer to in all times of doubt.

  7. Pete says:

    Natalian – Thanks, and let me know if any of the advice actually works. Sounds good in theory though.

    Novalis – I just knew a psychiatrist who loves the Arts would have a wise take on this. Would love to hear about your experiences if it weren’t for that damned confidentiality. (And I’m studying ethics today too). And the blank screen is not very practical as you point out.

    Bee – Thanks, you’re too kind. When I find the time I’ll try and post on Love and Fear some more. At the moment, I’m in a panic about my exam so it’s all fear.

    Di – Yes, and they’re really interesting people too. Think of some vulnerable, articulate person you know and chances are they make you want to hear more. Well, it works for me.

    Litlove – Thanks, you’re very kind. I was worried this post would come out sounding a bit pompous or full of itself, but I guess it’s good to put down what you know. And once it’s out there, it’s easier to work with.

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