NEXT SHAME EVENTS
Shame: Your Q and A’s 17th May
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“The first concept is Differentiation of Self, or the ability to separate feelings and thoughts. Undifferentiated people can not separate feelings and thoughts; when asked to think, they are flooded with feelings, and have difficulty thinking logically and basing their responses on that. Further, they have difficulty separating their own from other’s feelings; they look to family to define how they think about issues, feel about people, and interpret their experiences.
“Differentiation is the process of freeing yourself from your family’s processes to define yourself. This means being able to have different opinions and values than your family members but being able to stay emotionally connected to them. It means being able to calmly reflect on a conflicted interaction afterward, realizing your own role in it, and then choosing a different response for the future.”
(Bowen Family Therapy, http://www.psychpage.com/learning/library/counseling/bowen.html, accessed 25/1/21)
“The ability to be in emotional contact with others yet still autonomous in one’s own emotional functioning is the essence of the concept of differentiation.” (Kerr & Bowen. 1988)
“Differentiation is a product of a way of thinking that translates into a way of being….Such changes are reflected in the ability to be in emotional contact with a difficult, emotionally charged problem and not feel compelled to preach about what others “should” do, not rush in to “fix” the problem and not pretend to be detached by emotionally insulating oneself.” (Kerr & Bowen 1988)
“Relationships are people growing machines” Schnarch
It’s like this. Something kicks it off —
a sharp word, a noise, the soughing of the wind,
an unexpected, complex animal smell —
a thing that is not exactly of the event
but close enough to make the leap,
to confound the present and loop back to the past,
to make of a breeze, or the lemon scent of polish,
a trigger that re-enacts the moment.
Not a drama, with its little lies and embellishments,
its opportunities for creating a bit of mileage,
but the real thing, complete and inescapable,
total immersion in the event itself;
exactly as it happened, in every fibre of your body:
the skin becoming clammy, the chill, the rigidity,
the shutting down of your stomach and liver,
the bile in your throat that is really adrenaline,
the bitter taste that comes with survival.
What you see without seeing, what you hear
without hearing, are the crystals
of memory dissolving in your blood.
Suddenly you are acting from another, older place,
living in two times simultaneously:
your mind alerted, with its calculating edge,
your subtle heart banished to unreachable safety;
the old reptile part of you hanging on,
ready to do anything to get back to the dark,
to peace, to the cool embrace of silence;
and if that means lashing out or hurting, if that
means wounding with tooth, or tongue, or blade,
so be it.
Afterwards the shame, the shaky hands, the staring,
the re-inventions of history, the never-ever-agains.
I have hurt the people that I have loved most dearly,
And try as I may, the truth is, I could hurt them again.
My hope, as the spiral winds down to its centre,
is that they might come to look at me
without an edge of fear.
© William Ayot
Published in The Inheritance