Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

Feeling That I’ve Really Lived

Originally posted on November 20, 2015

If I think about it, I have indeed really lived. Curiously, I don’t often feel this way. Indeed, I have a mild neurotic complex that suggests gently in feeling tones that I haven’t. Thank goodness, it’s very mild: I’m pretty well balanced; but I’m cleaning up mild complexes. It never ends, you know.

At times I become interested in my life and all I’ve done, but I think that to some degree I’m compensating for a lack of really deeply feeling that indeed I have done anything. Now that’s neurotic: What’s it about? Allee noted that I have indeed led a very varied and eventful life and I recognized that I realize this only intellectually, and with reminders.

I think I have a lack of vividness in feeling my own life. It’s called “ego-feeling” in psycho-analytic terminology. It is sort of a deferential attitude, more uncertainty than submissiveness. I have a mild tendency to be unsure of even that which, if I consciously think about it, is relatively certain. I am sure of what is am very sure of, but my lack of certainty leads to a modest over-sensitivity. Few see this because I do several seemingly confident things, such as teaching classes. But push come to shove, such as in local or national politics in organizations, I tend to defer.

I think this is partly temperamental and partly family of origin, the result of being disqualified. My parents seemed very sure of themselves, while I was not so sure. They had no restraint about telling me what I should be feeling, and I went along, distrusting what I was in fact feeling. I replicated this in my first marriage, choosing someone who seemed sure of herself. She was great in some ways, but this factor was not constructive.

Allee noted that this is a very mild variant of the Stockholm Syndrome—that the individual loses contact with their own truth. Many people who have been dominated have this, and it makes them more easily manipulated. It happens with people who are sexually or physically abused— and they are fiercely loyal to their abusers. In mild cases, such as mine, the fairly mild mental and emotional abuse was sufficient, combined with my temperament, to make me rather uncertain of my own feelings.

What’s intriguing is that only now can I see that however mild the dynamic, it did affect my confidence. It set me up for a first marriage where I idealized a wife who was ambivalent to me; she treated me better than my mother in many ways, it seemed. I don’t have this problem with my second wife, but my tendencies to disqualify myself, to be perhaps a bit too humble in some ways, seems to be something that I’ve become aware of and am realigning.

I’ve had a local community magazine article about me and it praised me, but didn’t mention my failures on the way to becoming successful. (Well, that wasn’t on the table.) But truth is that I’ve stumbled many times and have spent many years learning life lessons. These were not mentioned in the article, but I have noticed that in some ways, those are also the truth of my life. So much for some self-analysis.

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