Sunday, December 19, 2010

The unCivil War

Dear Jennifer – in answer to your question:

The negative mind exists in memory, from what it has gleaned about you, inadvertently, from you, as a result of your perceptions about yourself, initially derived from feelings you have had in your particular circumstance.

Sometimes, sensitive children are negatively affected when families experience personal tragedy, illness or loss. These children have not yet a reference for strength against adversity and become mired in helplessness without available respite or positive resolution. Sometimes, parents themselves have not had the benefit of a positive environment and, as a result, are incapable of managing their own direction or knowing how to show love, or how to be a healthy parent.

Unfortunately, a young child does not have the ability to choose, to regulate, to defend against, to discount or approve – what he is subjected to emotionally by tone, by circumstance, by body language, word or action. The infant or young child looks to his primary caregiver to serve as a guide for direction and comfort – for indication that the world is a safe place to be in. Initially, anxiety states occur when there is a deficit or an inadequacy in reassurance or, in the nurturing of the developing brain. Parental regulation and approval is basic and mandatory for a child’s emotional growth and, ultimately, for the acceptance of his developing self.

If the potentially positive direction of a child’s world has been compromised, the child is at serious risk of assuming a negative self-regard and identity. As the child continues to grow, he can unconsciously seek evidence to support or verify his detrimental self-belief, even while simultaneously hoping desperately for someone to contradict his bleak negative supposition. This thinking becomes the status quo – the way of being.

Fortunately, though it is initially resistant, the brain can change.

The thinking is resistant because its existing way of being has, most likely, taken a lifetime to develop.

It is resistant because the sufferer doesn’t think he deserves better.

It is resistant because the sufferer is convinced that, “if people really knew him”, they would realize how terrible he is deep down.

The thinking is resistant because the sufferer has felt this way for so long, it is all he knows of himself, despite how demeaning it is.

It is resistant – to change because it is a thinking pattern that has become established and familiar. He can’t imagine who he would be without it.

Though it is terrifying to live in this negative place, the unknown is often also terrifying. In order to maintain its status, the negative mind will threaten, insult and demean in its attempt to weaken one’s resolve. When the existing negative mind feels threatened, it doubles its efforts to maintain control. The consequence to the sufferer can be a temporary loss of courage. To stay ahead of the negative mind takes patience, persistence, practice, vision, understanding and resolve. Eventually, with unconditional support and compassion from those in your world, the brain will retrain itself and the negative will simply cease to exist. It is harder than anything you will ever do, but it is possible and the results mean freedom and peace.

Know that you are understood and loved. You are special.


Shoshana said...

This is amazing! Thanks so much Peggy! You truly understand. All my love.

Jennifer said...

Dear Peggy,
I am completely overwhelmed and so grateful that you have taken the time to so fully explain and answer my question/concerns.

It means more than I can probably express to you in words, so I am hoping you can FEEL the depth of my appreciation and love.

I feel a little calmer having read your post and KNOWING that this is precisely what is happening to me at this point.
I was given a slightly greater window of opportunity, at the Eating Disorder Conference I attended, to experience positivity, acceptance and a sense of belonging from those who were so kind to me during the time there. The anorexic/negative mindset was pushed a little to the back of my mind/quietened a bit by the encouragement/support/care and positive affirmation I was receiving.

As you have so intuitively told me in the above post, the negative mindset , my anorexia is now frightened, terrified that it may be losing its hold on me, so has reinforced its hateful ways in a desperate attempt to reel me back in!

And, in turn, the thoughts I have listened to and been bombarded with for so long, once again seem 'correct" and "normal" and I find myself falling into the false safety of self-hatred and being undeserving and not good enough...oh, how familiar yet sneaky its ways are...

I am not "ok" right now- the mindset has been screaming constantly for the past few days especially, and writing this to you has been near impossible (so please accept my apologies for its lack of coherence,Peggy), but I am 100% CLINGING TO YOUR WORDS OF WISDOM AND UNDERSTANDING - I KNOW and BELIEVE and TRUST that what you say is TRUTH and I am DETERMINED to come out of this downslide, utterly determined to focus on what I know is true.

Peggy, I THANKYOU with all of my heart and being, damaged as it is right now, I thankyou and send hugs/love/huge appreciation for the gift that has been given to you, for you to in turn be the conduit to us.

Jennifer, (I will write hopefully more succinctly when my mind is less in turmoil, please forgive me.)xxooxxoo

Shoshana A said...

My love to u both peggy and jennifer. Its nice to know there are others going through this and peace of mind is attainable

Lori said...

i am an ocd sufferer and never heard of this negative mind that you described. the things you write about describe exactly how my negative mind was born. after reading thru all the blogs i am stunned at how you have hit the nail on the head. i can't wait for your new book to come out and pray it can help me reverse my severe ocd. i have been told i am treatment resistant.