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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
About ten years ago I got involved with my exwife in seeing a marriage counselor who worked for the county. Because I was recieving SSI benefits at the time I was also eligible to see him privately. He worked for what used to be called the Department of Mental Health, now called something like The Department of Behavorial Wellbeing, or something politically correct (in a 1984 sort of way)to that effect.

Well anyway after visiting with him on several occasions privately my ex saw him a couple of times privately as well. Later some months after our divorice was complete she told me that she had asked the therapist what was wrong with me. I mean because I was recieving the SSI disability each month etc.

According to her the therapist told her that there really wasn't anything wrong with me other than that "I thought there was something wrong with me".

At the time I took great offense at his statement because it seemed to be minmizing the emotional pain I was then experiencing and sort of trivalizing my suffering. Also it made me suspect he may have been thinking that I was malingering for ulterior purposes. Either financially for the sake of maintaining my monthly pension from the State, or perhaps for emotional leverage with my wife at the time.

What ever his actaul attitude towards me was is a moot point since due to cutbacks in the county budget therapy became only available for the more seriously impaired, i.e. for those who required closer monitoring to arrange adjustments in their psych meds regiment etc.

I chalked his statement up to his "cognitive behavorialist" orientation.

But after a few years had passed I began to see a Jungian oriented "alternative therapist" who I had many "deep" and emotionally satisfying sessions with. In other words we had a sort of rapport I did not have with the cognitive therapist.

Anyway during one of our sessions he mentioned the possibility that as a young child I was made to feel "wrong" by my mother. I had a very strong emotional reaction to this and was flooded with a sense of sadness that seemed to extend way back in time to a period perhaps even before I was even able to conceptualize ideas, lacking even a knowledge of words at that stage of pyschic development.

I have this image in my mind of looking up into my mothers eyes while nursing at her breast and sensing a look of disgust, resentment, and perhaps even hatred. Even saying that here on this forum feels me with extreme guilt and dread. It is in this way I refer to a feeling of being "wrong" a feeling of violating a "taboo". A wrongness beyond words to describe.

Why beyond words? Because the "feelings" happened before I had words to conceptualize what I was experiencing. I started to feel "wrong" in an intuitively fashion from the reflection in my mothers eyes.

Now when I think back to that therapists statement to my ex wife, that there was nothing wrong with me "I only thought there was," and the Jungian suggesting that my mother made me feel "wrong" I can't help but wonder if the DP I experience periodically might be a way to hide from this sense of wrongness when all else fails.

My initial diagnosis years ago was "Character Disorder-Depressive Type". I have had a hard time relating to the issue of depression because I generally don't feel particulary sad, which is the way I tend to think of someone who is depressed.

But if one uses the term depression in reference to excessive feelings of guilt,... well that i can relate to.

Unfortunately it is not guilt that can be rationalized away. For it is structural in the same sense that a brick house is structured from brick, so a "depressive" like me has a personality structured from guilt. When the mostly unconcious guilt becomes too intense or too close to being conciously experienced, I dissociate and enter into states of "Depersonalization".

Anyway that is my current "working hypothesis" explaining why I sometimes experience DP. But then again maybe it is simply a matter of brain chemicals. I really don't know.

But does my "working hypothesis" make sense to anyone else here?

The feeling of the violation of a "Taboo" with its "associated guilt" is something new for me which i have never considered until this morning.

Best to you all

Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I wonder if it's Guilt. It might instead be Shame.

Balint wrote about something he called "The Basic Fault" - a fear/obsession that many people have that there is some intrinsic "something" missing inside themselves. It's a "negative hallucination of sorts" - a void, an emptyness or a sense of something innately wrong with the Self.

It might stem from Guilt - but more often from a sense of shame...from a gut instinct of the Self's inadequacy or inferiority, and a lifelong obsession with hiding from it and hiding it from if one never quite "got started" as a self in this world...and longs for something that one can never be.
It can stem from not "seeing" oneself reflected back adequately from a caretaker's gaze.

Food du thought?


Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi john,
Let's say that your Jungian therapist is correct and let's say that your working hypothesis is also correct( I personally have no idea)

What could you do about it to change your dp?I'm asking not because I doubt there is an answer.
I'm sincerely wondering what solution there might be.

Cheers Shelly

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342 Posts
God yes John your "working hypothesis" makes total and perfect sense. That was a great post.

I can relate to you in very, very many aspects, John. An overwhelming sense of "wrongness" is definitely something I've had to deal with for a long time and worked with... As Janine says, and as my psychiatrist says, it's Shame down to a T. A feeling of an inherently inferior Self.

One thing that caught my attention was your theory that because you think you felt the shame/guilt or what have you -- the wrongness -- before your personality could conceptulize language and words, that it resulted in sensations of being "beyond words". John, my sense of "wrongness" too was so pervasive for so long, in different parts of my Life, that it seemed simply as overwhelming feelings, a sense of shame, wrongness, and inferiority that simply couldn't be verbally described (or counteracted by a therapists "cognitive distortions")... And yet I know that there were many incidents in my Life where my mother was dismissive, disowning, and shaming, however, I certainly had some grasp of the English language by that point... So basically I guess I'm saying that simply an overload of Shame could make it seem like "beyond words" later on when you think of yourself and your relation to the feelings... Errr am I making sense?

I think too there are many emotions surrounding this. I "think" that if you are engrained with such an absurd amount of guilt and shame from the person raising you, there's still a part of you that "knows" this isn't true, knows your inherent right to Life maybe, and possibly there's a ton, a ton of rage within a part of you that was betrayed and (as Janine would say) given this "lifelong negative hallucination" of such a poor Self...

Anyway I think this is really important thing and totally relevant, at least I know because I can relate a great deal.


Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks Janine for substituting the word guilt for shame.

I can relate to these feelings of shame due to my own beliefs of self inadequacy.
It appears these are common feelings for those who have an avoidant personality.

I can also relate to the feelings of non acceptance from parents,feelings of not being enough(not the same as good enough).
Feelings of not being worthy of their attention or love.

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2,383 Posts
In my case, my family life consisted of my father being thrown out of the house by my mother, my mother endlessly attacking me/him/the rest of humanity.

She took away my belief that my feeling were real. If I cried she told me I was "acting", etc.

She also told me to keep my parents' separation a secret, and I did for the most part (save hints to very close friends) up through around 12th grade.

My theory is slightly different though. My family situation of being constantly vigilant, waiting for an attack, threats of abandonment (my mother threw me out of the house once to live with my father who had OCD/hoarder-clutterer and it was indeed unbearable), then being asked, "Am I the best mother you have ever known?" etc., etc.

This I believe led to chronic anxiety, fight/flight, which then became chronic DP/DR -- the ultimate in the fight/flight experience. "Playing dead" in a sense to survive endless pouding/overstimulation, fear.

I have always had very low self esteem, hopelessness, but I have a problem knowing when a baby can be fully aware and cognizant sp? of rejection. Whenever I became aware of the chaos in my family and that it threatened my survival is when the fear started. When I was old enough to contemplate my existence in an existential way w/out anxiety, I was around 4,5,6.

I "forgot" that ability. But later, in 8th grade, it seemed to be the culmination of years of high-level anxiety.

I also had to have some predisposition to respond in such a manner. My healthy self always planned, and did run from my mother. I moved out of state after uni, etc. I don't think I ever loved her though I wish to hell I'd had a loving mother.... and a healthy loving father.

Predisposition to oversensitivity (creative, self-analyzing child) + Invalidating enviornment lead to -------> poor social skills, poor sense of Self, chronic anxiety, and ultimately the DP/DR door I had opened as a very young girl reopened when I could no longer tolerate the stress.

Who knows.

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2,383 Posts
PS, John, it was CRIMINAL, literally for your original therapist to share ANY information about you to your wife.

I had some marital counseling with my husband with one Clinical Psychologist. He was my husband's Psychologist. When I needed one on one I was given another Clinical Psychologist.

There is a rule among decent therapists that relatives (unless this is group therapy/marital therapy) and friends should not share the same therapist -- a good therapist could slip up and reveal something by accident.

It is awful that your PERSONAL MEDICAL RECORDS were revealed. Inexcusable. Even to your spouse.

That is completely unprofessional. Also, that therapist was rude, insensitive, oh..... it just infuriates me.

I'm so sorry that happend.
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