Summary: High anxiety and depression occur when life circumstances link up with an underlying belief about who we believe ourselves to be and how we assess our world. Therefore, depression and paralyzing stress are NOT just a consequence of external circumstances. They need an anchoring belief we carry within us. This linkage causes painful emotional episodes characterized by self-sustaining blockages in our thought stream. Note how thoughts flow freely when we are not experiencing intense stress or depression. Learn more below.
Take a look at the computer you’re using. Is that computer you?
Obviously it isn’t. You can look to the right and left and be unchanged. These are only objects in your field of vision.
Have you ever had a stray violent thought that passed through your consciousness that you would never actualize in your own life?
Does that thought tell you who you are?
Obviously not. It’s just a stray thought. Everyone has them.
Have you ever had the thought that you are a jerk?
Probably yes. Is that thought you? No, its just a thought, but if you read this whole post, you will see that irrational self-critical thoughts are a inevitable consequence of an underlying and generally unseen belief in our inadequacy.
Now notice your body and imagine that your natural legs were amputated. Would the essential sense of self, of you, change? You might be less mobile, but the essential you would not be changed.
Have you ever known anyone that you really liked and your feelings about that person change over time?
Of course, we all have had that experience. You might have been sure of your feelings at one time, but life changes, we learn, others change, and our feelings change. We are certain of a feeling one day and that feeling can change completely the next day.
But if this little exercise shows us that we are clearly not our thoughts, feelings, sensory field, or body, then why do we cling to certain thoughts, particularly when we are feeling badly about ourselves and our life? When we are depressed a special thought stream becomes stuck – almost nailed into place and the process that nails it is our agreement that this particular thought stream IS who we are even though we might not even believe its agonizing message. So what is happening?
A thought stream can become anchored in our consciousness because it links into a much deeper cluster of thoughts which is, normally, below our everyday level of consciousness. The merging of these thoughts with the internal thought nexus creates a special and profoundly personal relationship.
The internal cluster is our identification with what I call the “Invalidation Triad”; a belief in our inadequacy, insufficiency, and unlovability. The Invalidation Triad (IT) takes root in us even before we are verbal. It is a direct result of a repeated and sustained experience of invalidation which is a consequence of our physical separation from our parents, often in our first moments and months of our lives, as well as being raised in an environment which believes that children need to be obedient, loving, well-behaved, and pliable. Our natural being as children was rejected by not only our parents (who could parent no differently because they knew no other way), but our society. Essentially every social institution from school, summer camp, and work require our obedience and the undermining of our authentic self. We loose our connection with our authentic self at a very early age.
In this environment the burden of love falls on the shoulders of the very young children who soon realize that love, even from their parents, must be earned. Even in loving and caring families, the underlying theme of invalidation is unavoidable. Most of us grow up in an environment of both love and invalidation, but because we need love and support, invalidation tends to trump love. As a result we need to abandon our natural being, our authentic voice, and develop a secondary fear-based personality, which becomes the person we believe ourselves us to be. This is the Lie of Liberation from the Lie.
Our life of insecurity, uncertainty, and confusion is part and parcel of this incomplete fear-based personality. This is a complex subject that I devote nearly 250 pages of text in my book Liberation from the Lie, so it is not possible to present the whole theory in this post, but this is the general outline. It cannot be fully appreciated without the detailed support of the book, but suffice it to say, that when life challenges us, and our secondary fear-based self experiences defeat, it will make contact with the core invalidating identity cluster. When this happens, the Depression link is made complete. We feel really bad and life feels hopeless. So even though we understand, intellectually, that most of our thoughts are NOT who we are, this, particularly painful thought, IS who we are. It has linked up with our underlying self-identity and we are now debilitated by depression.
So what can we do? When we are happy and are feeling confident, our thought stream just flows like a burbling brook. It isn’t a problem. But when our thoughts link up with the underlying inadequacy identity, the flow is obstructed and we become deeply identified with the obstructing event. What we need to do is to see the whole dance of the external thought stream with its, largely unseen, underlying self-identity (which is called the Wound in Liberation from the Lie). I strongly recommend purchasing the book, which will take the reader on a detailed healing process, because the journey can be a difficult one, but if we are to liberate ourselves from the depressing and debilitating trance this underlying invalidation cluster has on our life, we need to stop believing it. We need to examine its whole structure – we need to dis-entrance ourselves with it. Also, we need to stop fighting it. We need to see both our infantile pain, as well as our beauty as people who have lived with this weight, for no one is spared the mark of invalidation; it is a part of who we are. So we make friends with it. Our heart goes out to it, so the next time the linking thought structure happens we are able to develop a natural and self-empowering resilience to it in the midst of challenge.
Eventually, the linking thought structure will weaken and we will no longer selectively believe what it tells us about who we are. As we become liberated from its thrall, our authentic, passionate, and resilient voice will emerge and we will live in our truth. Thoughts will assume their natural flow and the love that we are will allowed to emerge all on its own.
You can learn more about this process at my web site www.liberationfromthelie.com. You can also download the first chapter for free. I am always open to comments and questions. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org – I will always respond. Eric