Separation & Individuation (Part 1)


family tree TO STAY ATTACHED OR NOT –
how can I be truly safe?

PREVIOUS: Symbiosis & ACoAs

POSTs: Autonomy & Attachment

SITE: Object constancy (vs object permanence)

BOOK re. S & I:‘‘The UNFOLDING SELF”  by Mara Sidoli


Normal DEPENDENCE

As children we are all dependent on the ‘kindness of  strangers’ (parents / caretakers). This makes us vulnerable to their personal, social & religious training, so children are either nurtured & loved OR abused & neglected.  Even those of us who had an outwardly ok family may have experienced abandonment in ways that others can’t see from the outside.
As adults, IF we were victimized at home, we have the illusion that staying dependent will get us taken care of, to make up for the past. However, the tradeoff is to give up adult rights – to have our own opinions, make our own choices, follow our own destiny.

Healthy INDEPENDENCE
French aristocrat, writer, poet & pioneering aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupery said, “I know but freedom of mindone freedom and that is the freedom of the mind.”  We can say that the root of independence lies in our ability to think freely, since to a large extent, our thoughts determine our actions & experiences.

• Some expressions of independence are: being competent, having our own unique voice, acting autonomously in the world – while still being able to consider the differing ideas and feelings of others. It allows us to stay connected with others without being symbiotic.

Object Constancy: To develop healthy independence a person would have needed a genuine connection with dependable, competent & emotionally available caretakers, starting with a psychologically healthy mother.
🌺 That would result in the ability to remember that people or objects are consistent, trustworthy & reliable, especially when out of the person’s immediate field of vision

THE GOAL of all therapy & other types of Recovery is Separation & Individuation (S & I), the struggle to become an adult*. This can only be done by clearly identifying & expressing the person we were born to be, as part of our genetic & social heritage, yet not a carbon copy of anyone else. Children from healthy families are allowed this process while growing up, so they don’t have to go thru the stress of this particular type of ‘letting go’.

*Many ACoAs balk at the suggestion that we have to grow up (become an adult), because —
— the WIC doesn’t want to give up being in charge.  This ego state has allowed us to survive thus far – but with great limitations. Having to rely on ourselves way too early gave the WIC the only sense of power it has ever known & won’t relinquish it easily

— we equate being an adult with being like our parents – either mean, weak or crazy.  We need to remember that our dysfunctional parents were acting out of their Bad Parent & WIC, but never from a Loving Parent / Healthy Adult state. So we can’t look to them for a model of adulthood!

The False Self (FS) is made up of two or more sub-selves that develop from S & Ichildhood damage. These well-meaning but wounded, comfort-seeking persona (the mask we present to the world) have usurped leadership from our naturally talented True Self (TS).
As they were formed they disabled or stunted our TS, so that what we think, perceive, feel & how we act is not coming from our wise brain/body, but rather blocks us from making instinctively wise, holistic decisions.

• These sub-selves (FS) have tried valiantly to manage, under difficult conditions, & we can appreciate their efforts that allowed us to survive.  However, they no longer serve our adult needs, so we can’t afford to let them continue ruling our life.
In our ‘language’, it means not letting the WIC be in charge anymore, by grwing the UNIT
(CHART modified from “Break the Cycle”)

NEXT: S & I (#2)

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