Monday, 18 December 2017 07:56

Only return to God heals personality issues

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TO KNOW GOD YOU MUST HAVE NO SEPARATED SELF

Ozodi Thomas Osuji

This morning I went to church.  After the church service I decided to hang around and mingle with people. Normally, I headed for the door and was out of there in a jiffy. So, I hung around and observed what folks were doing. People drifted from one small group to another having small talk.

Although I was there I really did not participate in the small talking going on. Nevertheless, I hung around for thirty minutes observing this phenomenon.

At some point I asked myself why I do not participate in making small talks.  That inquiry naturally led to examination of my personality type.

I know a thing or two about human personalities and therefore ought to know about my personality. Moreover, I have taken every personality test in the market, such as the MMPI and others and they all yielded the same result: avoidant personality disorder. In ordinary language this is called shyness.

All my life, I have been avoiding intimate relationship with people. In elementary school I was the child who kept quiet in the classroom and was afraid to say anything. I did what teachers asked us to do but beyond that kept to myself.

The avoidant child feels enormous anxiety. He feels fear around people. He feels that if other children and people in general get close to him that they would see that as he is he is no good and, as such, reject him. He does not like the anxiety he feels around other kids and people and to avoid that anxiety he stays quiet or avoids people.

In the real world, no child can entirely avoid the other children so, generally, the avoidant child has one or a few friends.

In elementary school, depending on the class, I had one or two friends. I would go to their houses and they would come to my house. But beyond the one or two friends I had no other relationship with the other children.

This pattern of relationship continued through secondary school and university. I always had a student who was a friend but beyond that kept to myself.

In the work world it is easy to completely avoid intimate relationship with people; I related to people superficially and had no friends at work.

The pattern continues all my life. At the moment, I have a friend, a professor of mathematics; we talk practically every evening.

So, why do I avoid people? There is a reason why people do what they do, you know.

As a child I was very sickly. I inherited serious genetic disorders (cytochrome c oxidase deficiency, spondylolysis and mitral valve prolapse). The cumulative effect of these medical disorders was that I was at the door of death most of the time.  At school, I could not participate in children's team sports without getting hurt so I avoided most contact sports. I approached sports with trepidation, fearing hurt and pain. Another boy's legs touching mine while at play would send unbelievable pain sensation throughout my body. To avoid such debilitating pain I avoided contact sports. I did participate in noncontact sports, such as running. To the present I still run.

The salient point is that there was a medical reason why I avoided other children. Avoidant children generally have medical reasons that produce anxiety in them and thereafter initiate their avoidance of people.

Alfred Adler (see his The Neurotic Constitution) got it right when he said, in 1911, that neurosis (avoidant, dependent and obsessive compulsive and passive aggressive personality disorders are the neurosis) is the result of inherited inferior constitution (it may also be due to social rejection, as is the case of minorities in the USA).

All my life I avoid relating intimately to other people. I believe that if people come very close to me that they would see that I am not good enough (as I was not good enough medically) and, as a result, reject me.

Naturally, I do not want to be rejected by other people. To avoid being rejected I avoid people; I keep to myself but relating to people if they take the initiative to relate to me.

Even when people take the initiative to relate to me I generally keep quiet and kind of believe that I should not let them into me, that if they get to know the real me that they would believe that I am no good and reject me. To avoid rejection in society I keep quiet and behave appropriately.

This phenomenon occurs even when I relate to my family members. I avoided being emotionally intimate with my ex-wife. I bet that she did not know who I am. I avoided being emotionally intimate with my children, with my siblings, my parents and all people.

Children who are avoidant in personality structure tend to develop powerful imagination. Karen Horny, in her writings on neurosis, elaborated on the nature of neurotic children (see her most famous book, Neurosis and human growth, 1950. New York: Norton).

She observed that neurotic children (she was actually talking about herself for she was a neurotic child, an extremely bright woman who went to medical school in Scandinavia when girls were not even allowed to go to university and became a famous psychoanalyst when Freud still believed that women are inferior to men).

She noted that neurotic children tend to be imaginative. In their imagination they visualize how they ought to become and how people ought to become and how social institutions ought to become. That is, they tend to be idealistic.

The neurotic child imagines his ideal self. At some point he rejects his real self, which, as in all people, is imperfect, and wants to become the imaginary ideal self.

The neurotic child identifies with his idealized self.  This identification with an imaginary ideal self leads to rejection of his real self.

Because he rejects his real self and wants to become an ideal self the neurotic child is full of anxiety; he has enormous fear of not becoming his ideal self, and fear of being only his dreaded real self.

He loathes his real self and does not want to be it and wants to be his imaginary ideal self. Because of this fear, the neurotic child has what Horney called free floating (basic) anxiety.

The shy child has generalized anxiety disorder.  Every perceptive teacher knows this fact. The shy child is afraid to speak up in the class room for he feels that if he speaks up he would make mistakes; making mistakes means that he is not the ideal self; to avoid making mistakes he avoids participating in class and in society in general.

At the root of fear of rejection is fear that as one is one is not good enough. At the root of neurosis is belief that one is not good enough.

In neurosis, one wants to be perfect. But what is perfection? What is perfect in life is always a mental construct. We do not know what perfection is; we individually and socially construe what we consider perfection.

Simply stated, there is no such thing as perfection in nature; perfection is a mental and or social construct.

In the Republic, Plato talked about human beings having a vague idea of where they came from and that that place is perfect. He implied that our real-self is spiritual, and our real home is heaven; our real self and home, Plato said, is perfect. Our present selves and home on earth, he said, is not perfect. We, as it were, hark after the perfect selves and home from which we came.

Plato posited what he called architypes.  It implies that there are perfect states out there and we are imperfect rendition of those perfect states.

Our world is the imperfect version of perfect heaven.  Thus, on earth, we struggle to become perfect but never become perfect.

In his famous cave analogy, Plato said that we are like men in a dark cave. In a different part of the cave is light. However, a wall separates us from that light. Only a glimmer of light enters where we are. That glimmer of light shows us our bodies reflected as shadows on the cave's wall. We do not see our bodies clearly but only see shadows of them.

In effect, we do not see our reality as it is; we do not see ourselves clearly but only see the shadows of who we are.

Who we, in truth, are is perfect.  Because we live in darkness (ignorance) we only live as the shadows of our true selves.

We need to leave the cave and get out into the open sunshine to see who we are in truth. We need to step out of our ignorance to know our true self which is perfect.

Plato's neo-platonian disciple, Plotinus, around 250 AD wrote a book called the Enneads; in it he reiterated Plato's philosophy.  Plotinus said that he did give up his ignorance, did transcend his ego and attained awareness of his real self, which is perfect, which is one with what folks call God.

Plotinus was a Gnostic. Gnostics believe that we came from a place of light, which is pure knowledge, and live in darkness, ignorance, and that through secret studies we can transcend darkness, ignorance and attain perfect knowledge. Plotinus claimed to have done so.

In Hindu categories, Plotinus transcended Maya, ego and its ignorance and attained light; he became enlightened; he was illuminated to his natural state of oneness with all being.

Excuse me; I have deviated to talking philosophy! Ah, philosophy. I enjoy reading philosophy. My love affair with philosophy began at age fourteen when I got a copy of Will Durant's story of philosophy and could not put it down until I had read all of it. It gave summaries of the major Western philosophers and their writing, such as Plato, Aristotle, Bacon, Pascal, Descartes, Machiavelli, Spinoza, Leibnitz, Hobbes, Locke, Montesquieu, Rousseau, Hume, Berkeley, Voltaire, Rousseau, Diderot, Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Feuerbach, Henri Bergson, William James, Jeremy Bentham, John Stuart Mill, Karl Marx and many others.

From Durant I graduated to Bertrand Russell's compendium of Western philosophers and their writings.

I consumed western philosophy and from there expanded to Eastern philosophers such as Buddha, Lao Tzu, Confucius, Shankara, Ramanuja,  Ramakrishna, Vivekananda  and so on.

I have digressed. Let me return to the subject at hand, avoidant behavior. The avoidant child is seeking perfection. Perfection does not exist in our world.

The avoidant child posits imaginary perfection and pursues it; thus, he is an idealist. He is always judging his self, other people and society with the imaginary standards of his ideal state, perfection and necessarily finding people and things not good enough and criticizing them for not being perfect.

The neurotic child is judgmental and critical. Nothing is ever good enough for him; your best behavior is not good enough for him; he always has an eye on how things should be better.

If you approximate perfection he shifts the goal post and posits another perfect post that he wants you to attain, so that in the end you are never perfect in his eyes. Thus, he does not accept you as you are, imperfect.

When I was a child and student I was always dreaming of how to improve me, improve other people, improve social institutions and improve nature.  I desired perfection but there is no perfection in nature.

In withdrawal from society, in social isolation my mind imagined how I ought to be and how other people ought to be. I lived in the imaginary world of perfection.

THERE IS DESIRE FOR ABSOLUTE POWER IN NEUROSIS

A person who wants to make his self, make people and make the world perfect must have enormous power to carry it out. For you to have the type of power to transform an imperfect universe to a perfect universe you must have power that transcends human power.

Thus, Alfred Adler is correct in stating that the neurotic is pursuing inordinate power. The shy child actually is pursuing unbelievably vast power.  In fact, he seeks to be more powerful than the creator of our imperfect selves and world. He wants to be more powerful than what religionists call God, the putative creator of the universe.

Since God created an imperfect world and I want to make his world over to a perfect version of it, it follows that I must have more power than God.

The neurotic child wants to be more powerful than God.  The neurotic wants to be powerful, important and superior to people and the world; this is Adler's thesis (see Alfred Adler, The Neurotic Constitution. New York, Ayer, 1987).

The neurotic child is seeking impossible power and superiority; with that fantasy power he wants to recreate our imperfect selves and make them perfect. He will not succeed for as longs we live in bodies we must be imperfect.

Body, space and time make all human beings imperfect. Perfection, as even Plato recognized, can only be in the realm of spirit, outside matter, space and time.

In the meantime, here on earth, I have an approach-avoidant relationship with people. I approach people and quickly appraise what they are saying and it seems utterly trivial and I avoid their company.

After today's church service I tried to relate to the people milling around but what they were talking seemed trivial so I left them, went to a room and sat there for a while. I browsed through the books on the table and thereafter left and drove him.

Talk to me about the universe, relativity theory, Quantum physics, physics, chemistry and biology and you engage my mind but talk trivial stuff and I am bored and find a way to leave you.

THE DESIRE FOR SPECIALNESS AND SEPARATION

To avoid is to separate from what one avoids.  So, why do I want to separate from people?

Let us talk some metaphysics. Human beings are a bit more complicated than the animals that contemporary psychology makes them out to be.

Here is a mythology. Originally, we are part of one unified self and one unified mind. Each of us desired specialness, power. Each of us desired to create God and create his self and other selves.

We have been created and cannot create our creator or ourselves. To have a state in which we have power and are self-created, as it were, we went to sleep and in our sleep dream our separated world.

Our world is a place where each of us, working with all of us, constructs a separated self-concept for himself (see George Kelly, Personality as a personal construct. New York: Norton, 1955).

The self-concept says that one is separate from other people. Consciously or unconsciously, each of us feels superior to other people.

People came to earth to gratify their sense of specialness and separation. They could not attain that desire in heaven and seem to gratify it on earth.

In dreams we fulfil our wishes, old Sigmund Freud said. On earth we seem to gratify our desire for superiority.

White folks gratify their neurotic (delusional) desire for group superiority by feeling superior to black folks. Each African tribe gratifies its wish for superiority to other tribes. Igbos, in their delusion, believe that they are superior to every other human group on planet earth, including white folks.

The world is a place where the children of oneness, God, who in heaven are the same and coequal, contrive to seem superior to one another. They invented space, time and matter and now seem to live in bodies and in their bodies seem separated from each other. In their bodily enclosures they fancy themselves better than other people.

I avoid people to go seem superior to other people. I do so because it is the reason why I came to earth. I came to earth to gratify my wished for fantasy to seem superior to other children of God and to God.

I fancy myself superior to other people and to God.  Neurosis is human nature (the so-called normal person is a neurotic writ small). On earth we are all neurotic in that we all desire superiority to each other.

In other writings I pointed out that to be a human being is to be insane; we are all literally hallucinating and having bizarre delusions when we see us in bodies and living in space and time. In truth we are not in forms; in our truth we are formless parts of a wave of conscious light that folks call God.

To avoid neurosis one must transcend one's sense of separated self. All sense of separated self, normal, neurotic or psychotic are aberrations.

DISCUSSION

The ego separated self is a means of feeling special and separated from other selves and from the whole-self called God.

As long as one identifies with the ego separated self-one must be apart from other ego selves and from the whole self that folks call God.

If one lets go of one's identification with the ego separated self in body one transcends the world and experiences holy instant; in it one feels oneness with existence; that experience transcends body, matter, space and time.

The experience of oneness has been given different names. Orientals call it Samadhi, Nirvana, Satori; Christian mystics call it the union of the son with his father. It has no name but we can simply say that if one lets go of ones sense of separated self-one experiences oneness with the universal consciousness that folks call God.

People come in many shapes; some white, some black; some men, some women; some normal, some neurotic and some psychotic.

People with superior intelligence tend to be neurotic. Regardless of what personality one has one must give it up; to do so one must return to the state of oneness that folks call heaven, that I call unified spirit state.

To heal avoidant personality and other types of personalities, normal or not, one must extinguish ones personality; one must let go of ones ego to become mentally healthy. As long as one has an ego, a personality, normal or abnormal, one is not mentally healthy.

CONCLUSION

Does what I said above square with your understanding of avoidant personality disorder, as summarized by the pasted material below?  Obviously, I went beyond the superficial understanding of human beings presented by Western Psychology.

If you have avoidant personality disorder try philosophy as psychotherapy; avoid childish psychiatrists giving you anti-anxiety medications for your underlying anxiety. You can resolve your anxiety with rational thinking.

Whereas neuroleptic medications may be called for in psychosis, medications are not necessary in neurosis. Psychiatrists trying to make their profession a science are working too hard to deceive themselves into believing that people are only their bodies and that all their thinking problems are caused by body and can be healed by medications.

Human beings are more than their bodies. To understand and heal their cognitive issues we must return to thinking, to philosophy and to real science (physics, astrophysics, chemistry, biology and geology).

One of my tasks is to help transform psychology to a system of rational knowledge instead of the present childish understanding of human beings it is.

Ozodi Thomas Osuji, PhD

December 17, 2017

www.centerformindscience.org

 

Avoidant Personality Disorder

By Steve Bressert, Ph.D.
~ 4 min read

 

People with avoidant personality disorder experience long-standing feelings of inadequacy and are extremely sensitive to what others think about them. These feelings of inadequacy lead the person to be socially inhibited and feel socially inept. Because of these feelings of inadequacy and inhibition, the person with avoidant personality disorder will seek to avoid work, school, and any activities that involve socializing or interacting with others.

Individuals with avoidant personality disorder often vigilantly appraise the movements and expressions of those with whom they come into contact. Their fearful and tense demeanor may elicit ridicule from others, which in turn confirms their self-doubts. They are very anxious about the possibility that they will react to criticism with blushing or crying. They are described by others as being “shy,” “timid,” “lonely,” and “isolated.”

The major problems associated with this disorder occur in social and occupational functioning. The low self-esteem and hypersensitivity to rejection are associated with restricted interpersonal contacts. These individuals may become relatively isolated and usually do not have a large social support network that can help them weather crises. They desire affection and acceptance and may fantasize about idealized relationships with others. The avoidant behaviors can also adversely affect occupational functioning because these individuals try to avoid the types of social situations that may be important for meeting the basic demands of the job or for advancement.

A personality disorder is an enduring pattern of inner experience and behavior that deviates from the norm of the individual’s culture. The pattern is seen in two or more of the following areas: cognition; affect; interpersonal functioning; or impulse control. The enduring pattern is inflexible and pervasive across a broad range of personal and social situations. It typically leads to significant distress or impairment in social, work, or other areas of functioning. The pattern is stable and of long duration, and its onset can be traced back to early adulthood or adolescence.

Symptoms of Avoidant Personality Disorder

Avoidant personality disorder typically manifests itself by early adulthood and includes a majority of the following symptoms:

Avoids occupational activities that involve significant interpersonal contact, because of fears of criticism, disapproval, or rejection

Is unwilling to get involved with people unless certain of being liked

Shows restraint within intimate relationships because of the fear of being shamed or ridiculed

Is preoccupied with being criticized or rejected in social situations

Is inhibited in new interpersonal situations because of feelings of inadequacy

Regards themselves as socially inept, personally unappealing, or inferior to others

Is unusually reluctant to take personal risks or to engage in any new activities because they may prove embarrassing

Because personality disorders describe long-standing and enduring patterns of behavior, they are most often diagnosed in adulthood. It is uncommon for them to be diagnosed in childhood or adolescence, because a child or teen is under constant development, personality changes, and maturation. However, if it is diagnosed in a child or teen, the features must have been present for at least 1 year.

Avoidant personality disorder appears to occur in 2.4 percent in the general population, according to 2002 NESARC research.

Like most personality disorders, avoidant personality disorder typically will decrease in intensity with age, with many people experiencing few of the most extreme symptoms by the time they are in their 40s or 50s.

How is Avoidant Personality Disorder Diagnosed?

Personality disorders such as avoidant personality disorder are typically diagnosed by a trained mental health professional, such as a psychologist or psychiatrist. Family physicians and general practitioners are generally not trained or well-equipped to make this type of psychological diagnosis. So while you can initially consult a family physician about this problem, they should refer you to a mental health professional for diagnosis and treatment. There is no laboratory, blood, or genetic tests that are used to diagnose avoidant personality disorder.

Many people with avoidant personality disorder don’t seek out treatment. People with personality disorders, in general, do not often seek out treatment until the disorder starts to significantly interfere or otherwise impact a person’s life. This most often happens when a person’s coping resources are stretched too thin to deal with stress or other life events.

A diagnosis for avoidant personality disorder is made by a mental health professional comparing your symptoms and life history with those listed here. They will make a determination whether your symptoms meet the criteria necessary for a personality disorder diagnosis.

Causes of Avoidant Personality Disorder

Researchers today don’t know what causes avoidant personality disorder, though there are many theories, however, about possible causes. Most professionals subscribe to a biopsychosocial model of causation — that is, the causes are likely due to biological and genetic factors, social factors (such as how a person interacts in their early development with their family and friends and other children), and psychological factors (the individual’s personality and temperament, shaped by their environment and learned coping skills to deal with stress). This suggests that no single factor is responsible — rather, it is the complex and likely intertwined nature of all three factors that are important. If a person has this personality disorder, research suggests that there is a slightly increased risk for this disorder to be “passed down” to their children.

Treatment of Avoidant Personality Disorder

Treatment of avoidant personality disorder typically involves psychotherapy with a therapist that has experience in treating this disorder. While some people with a personality disorder may be able to tolerate long-term therapy, most people with such concerns typically go into therapy only when they feel overwhelmed by stress, which usually exacerbates the symptoms of the personality disorder. Such shorter-term therapy will typically focus on the immediate problems in the person’s life, giving them some additional coping skills and tools to help. Once the problem that brought the person into therapy is resolved, a person will typically leave treatment.

Medications may also be prescribed to help with specific troubling and debilitating symptoms. For more information about treatment, please see avoidant personality disorder treatment.

 

 

 

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Ozodi Osuji Ph.D

Ozodi Thomas Osuji is from Imo State, Nigeria. He obtained his PhD from UCLA. He taught at a couple of Universities and decided to go back to school and study psychology. Thereafter, he worked in the mental health field and was the Executive Director of two mental health agencies. He subsequently left the mental health environment with the goal of being less influenced by others perspectives, so as to be able to think for himself and synthesize Western, Asian and African perspectives on phenomena. Dr Osuji’s goal is to provide us with a unique perspective, one that is not strictly Western or African but a synthesis of both. Dr Osuji teaches, writes and consults on leadership, management, politics, psychology and religions. Dr Osuji is married and has three children; he lives at Anchorage, Alaska, USA.

He can be reached at: ozodiosuji@gmail.com (907) 310-8176