S & I : Lack of Individuation

taken care of  

rather that “grow up”!

PREVIOUS: S & I – #2


• The normal (un-damaged) process of Individuation, which gradually occurs as a result of Separation, is the long transition from the family’s ways of defining us as a person, and of viewing the world, to becoming an individual with our own emotions, thoughts & values. In healthy families children are encouraged to gradually find their true Self, so that by the time they’re in their 20’s they have general sense of their essence.
It is the process of learning what we want to say NO or YES to – from intuition as well as experience. The result of this awareness is expressed by easily taking actions in the world based on what we know about ourselves – making a statement about who we are (ME) and who we are not (NOT ME) – without isolating or feeling superior to anyone.

Even tho Individuation is ever completely achieved, it’s important that none of the phases of it be skipped, since it’s much harder, later in life, to fix the problems which that causes.
• Unhealthy parents interfere with the Individuation process in many ways, includshut down Esing not allowing us to have all our emotions – when only one or two are acceptable (only happy, only scared…) OR when any expression of E. is ignored or punished.
Result: We have to shut down our Es – which is what would give us internal info about what’s right or wrong for us – so we end up not being able to trust ourselves, because we’re cut of from the cues Es would normally provide.  Then, without the ability to reflect on our internal process, decision-making becomes very difficult or distorted.

a. One extreme is when a child is forced to experience a later stage of individuation – prematurely (like ACoAs who as kids were ‘little adults’: being a parent’s confidant or rescuer, or someone’s object of sexual attention). This can turns a child into an arrogant adult with an over-developed, inflated False Persona, preventing or severely slowing down self-examinationlittle adult and emotional growth.

• These people can function quite well as long as they’re in familiar settings, but miss genuine spontaneity, the ability to let go of controls, even to the point of being unnaturally rigid, lacking zest or authenticity. Others can be taken in by this lack of personal development because externally they seem so ‘together’. But under the surface there’s a very unhealthy WIC, which shows up mainly as unavailable & harmful spouses & parents.

b. At the other end of the spectrum are those children who were bullied, browbeaten & brainwashed into buying into every aspect of their family & social culture – with no room for their True Self. They conformed to the dysfunction from a combination of their natural personality (naturally more compliant OR natively most like the parents) and from a deep terror of punishment for disagreeing.like father....

• They grow up without having found out who they are as individuals apart from their training, so they’re out of touch with even their most basic tendencies, dreams, wishes. Many will continually react to everything & everyone like children, emotionally & mentally, without realizing it. However, people in this category are more likely to seek out therapy & recovery, because they know they’re incomplete, feeling lost, stuck & unhappy. Unfortunately they blame themselves (S-H) rather than correctly identifying the source of their lack!

FIELD-DEPENDENCE (FD):  the degree to which a person is influenced by environmental vs. inner cues – to orient themselves in space, the level of their perception or understanding of information coming at them, & the extent to which they’re able to make fine distinctions about their experiences in the moment (not everything is B & W or of equal importance / intensity).  This is mainly inborn, but can be modified or distorted by childhood experiences, especially sustained trauma over many years. (vs. Field-INdependece)

NORMAL: Extroverts are generally outer-directed, more influenced by their surroundings – which by itself is not a bad thing. Introverts more inner directed.  Field-independent (FI) people can vary widely in personality type, but interact with the environment from a stable inner world.

firld-dependentUNHEALTHY – FD is not about inborn tendencies, altho they contribute to how we deal with the world. Being FD is primarily the result of a weak or unrecognized True Self, the lack of a clear stable Identity, so that such a person is consistently reacting to PPT (people/place/things) in the environment. This shows up as symbiosis, co-dependence, people-pleasing, isolating, raging…. in ACoAs. Being primarily outer-directed (both Extro- & Intro-verts), it represents a lack of S & I, which Jung called being Field-dependent – a term taken from the field-ground concept of Gestalt Theory. (MORE….)

• F-Ds tend to be other-directed & motivated by others (not the same as outer-directed), relying mainly on external circumstances & communication, instead of their own emotions, needs & values. This leaves us totally at the mercy of outside forces.
EXP: If you’re mad at me I’m automatically bad, If you like me I’m temporarily OK
• They often have a built-in forgetter – not remembering experiences & info they already have – especially if it’s positive – so have trouble accurately identify new experiences that are similar
• They learn less efficiently in a hypermedia-based teaching environments (because they need the personal touch), & tend to favor social sciences or educational fields

• On the one hand – F-Ds have trouble noticing, identifying or making sense of unclear, ambiguous info, including subtle social cues (not picking up on facial expression, indirect comments, body language…). These cues represent what other people are actually not in chargeexperiencing, & not what the FD person is projecting, mind-reading, assuming…..

• On the other hand they’re totally oriented toward other people, overly focused on every little nuance of someone’s tone, words, expressions… BUT always interpreting these in the most negative way, AND taking everything personally! This represents projections our PP &/or WIC onto others rather than seeing who they actually are.

NEXT: S & I – Separation


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