Having a lot of thoughts just now, discovery, and some folks that seem to speak my language a little, having insights. Almost moved on before I got this one down:
That kids idolize or idealize their parents isn’t automatic.
That’s abuse too. And simple mental arithmetic. A scenario.
A child is doing something a caregiver doesn’t want, or not doing something the caregiver does want, perhaps the child is very young, preverbal, and so the parent resorts to simple pain deterrents, or fear, a raised voice, a slap, or perhaps the chid is verbal and the parent is just that sort of a person – but generally in psychological conversation and I agree, younger is more important, more causative, more impressionable, so perhaps it’s a baby, simply trying to move about out of its dirty napkin during a change, which would cause a terrible mess, and the caregiver uses a sharp word or a look, maybe a slap to turn the child away from its idea.
Perhaps not the best example to say it’s an argument, that rolling about is the baby’s “idea,” and it’s an argument, but inasmuch as it is, and surely better examples happen every day, in so much, the infant has an idea, maybe a feeling, surely both, and the caregiver has another idea, another feeling, surely both and they’re in conflict: that’s what it is, or what it was, until the caregiver turned it into a fight, with perhaps mild but still threats and violence.
The baby’s argument is “wrong,” and the adult is having no more, and making their argument the policy, and their argument is the world they both live in now. And the baby has an internal problem now, an internal conflict.
There are bad feelings, and we sort of address those in many conversations, but my insight last evening was the baby’s reason, the baby’s logic – how does it deal with the forced situation, that it is already wrong in the world? It wants to be right, needs to be right, especially with Mom, and the path to getting right with Mom, the only logical path to anyone being right, to there being any sense in the world is to accept, OK, I’m wrong, but Mom and Dad are right . . . this is very much a forced play on the child’s mind. Sanity, continuance, demand that they move their sense of self away, give it away to the caregivers.
I always cringed when I heard or read that, that our idealization of our parents causes our problems, and now at last I’ve sat down with a pencil and worked it out.
Of course, like everything, it’s ball-busting, blame the child, blame human nature, blame anybody but the brute who forced it. As though we all just willingly ignore our own inner voices in favour of our parents, why, because they are just so impressive?
Of course not. Come on.
April 21st., 2022
I am asking Twitter, trying to ask the world here – is my premise true?
Is our parental idealization considered to be automatic, a cause rather than an effect of our troubles? It occurs to me that I can think of at least one psychologist on my side of this with me, and of course it’s another weirdo, don’t get me wrong, I loved them: R. D. Laing. The disaster has already happened.
If so, if R.D. and I are wrong and alone, and most of the world of psychological help is rolling along talking as though it was your choice to idealize your father (and so your fault when reality disappoints), then I have a question – why? What’s the rationale – evolved? Again, I’m still three years old – why?
There are great swathes of science speaking in the other direction, self preservation and Dunning Kruger Syndrome both say that we automatically think more highly of ourselves, that the mental gymnastics we do is to protect and promote the self, that we must think well of ourselves in order to deserve our share of the mammoth, better than someone who settles for life (or death) without a share.
But the very first thing we do in life is give all that up to our parents?
Perhaps that’s my overreach, perhaps to idealize is not to give up oneself. I think that’s in the balance of this debate too: if it’s built in, then maybe not, but if it happens how I suggest in this blog, then it is more self splitting than it is idealization.
But I’m asking. Someone educate me – do they say why we idealize, if it’s automatic? Let me guess, game theory, we are dependent upon them for life, we will go off and get ourselves eaten if we are allowed to do what we want? I don’t like those answers anymore, but rather than credit it with a detail argument, I’ll just ask: does it get better when we grow up?
Automatically? Or not until therapy? Aren’t we here talking about it because it’s a big source of our problems rather than our safety? Also – this safety adaptation would not seem to protect us from our parents, would it? Rather the opposite, so I’m not buying it. I’m afraid I’m stuck with my dark side, AST explanation, and it’s all very sad but at least it’s a step closer to reality.
Jeff April 24th., 2022