Finding overwhelming chaos within

Psychiatric models of our psyche divide our minds into a conscious and unconscious realm. I find these to be unfortunate labels. The "unconscious" is not unconscious. The "conscious" is merely unconscious of it without finding that it is unaware, asleep or clueless. The so-called "unconscious" is extremely aware, insightful and resourceful. The unconscious is actually more conscious than the so-called conscious realm.

I've drawn a line between "rational" and "irrational" sides of our psyches instead. My use of the term "irrational" includes illogical, non-linear, paradoxical, recursive, reciprocal, self referential, systemic, ecological, cyclical, complex, interdependent, indeterminate, entangled, intertwined, holistic, comprehensive and emergent. Our closed-minded rational personas experience the irrational as chaotic. From a logical frame of reference, the irrational is confusing and overwhelming. It does not make sense within a linear model of causal relations.

Our closed-minded rational personas do their particular jobs very well. They are not intended to handle the irrational side of our psyches. They test the waters and choose sides among all the significant others imposing on them. They determine if they can be a "good one" or have to be a "bad one" among these characters they're facing. If being a "good one" seems feasible, closed-minded rationality figures out how to please other people, win their approval, fit into their crowd, avoid their rejection, earn their respect and establish a trusted reputation with them. If becoming a "bad one" appears to be the only option, the personality seeks rejection, distance, differences of opinion, suspicions and ways to deceive, manipulate and contrive situations to it's own favor. As it discovers what works reliably, it adopts success routines. These habitual reactions are tough to break because they are irrational and entangled with other people's personas.

Our closed-minded rational personas carry a full load simply handling other personas. There's no spare attention to cope with the complexity of the irrational side of the psyche. That irrational half becomes a dumping ground for unresolved incidents, issues and decisions. The irrational depths also internalize positive and negative experiences that may occur again. This can result in hidden talents but also produce bad moods, dark thoughts and unwanted emotions. Different models of therapy offer a variety of names for this inner source of torment: toxic introject, super-ego, internalized abuse, a negative father complex, unresolved power issues, a top dog, a gremlin, an inner enemy, or toxic shame. All of it seems unstoppable, invasive, unreasonable and dreadfully persistent. It makes no sense from our rational perspective where we can reliably make ourselves stop, change or fix something that's not working. It simply makes sense to feel overwhelmed by these encounters with chaos found within our own psyches.

Of course there is more to this story. Our closed minded rational personas are not really relating to other people. That accomplishment requires an open mind to really listen and learn about others. It's not until we can really relate to other people that we can relate to our irrational side. We need to expand our range of what we find tolerable, acceptable, valuable and instructive. With our minds opened, we can approach our irrational side with humility, curiosity and receptivity. We become capable of resolving our inventory of incidents, issues and decisions. We find there is help within to clean up our past and become who we're meant to be. We get over what happened to us and move on with new confidence, insights, projects and relationships.

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