The purpose of ego boundaries is to protect the self. And through having these in place, one will know the difference between who they are and who someone else is. They allow for ones inner space to be protected and looked after.
These are not visible to the naked eye like a physical body is. And although everyone has a physical body, it does not mean that everyone has ego boundaries that are invisible.
As ego boundaries are what make one feel safe or unsafe and not the physical body itself; it shows how important they are.
This may partly explain why so many men and even women have become obsessed with gaining muscle. To compensate for their lack of ego boundaries and the sense of safety that they bring, one looks to create this inner safety by strengthening and armouring their body. I will go deeper into this in a future article.
There are many benefits to having ego boundaries. When one has them, they will feel safe to be who they are and on top of that – they will know who they are. This has got to be the primary reasons for having them.
Not only will one know who they are, but they will feel that it is safe enough for them to be themselves. Once this is the case, many other benefits will occur as a consequence.
The relationships that one has will also be a lot more fulfilling. For if one feels safe within and protected, the fear of losing oneself in another will not be there or it will have very little effect.
Opening up to the world and what the world has to offer will also be possible, without fearing that one’s personal space will be invaded. And if it is, one will have the personal strength to set appropriate limits.
Knowing what one wants, needs, desires and what their preferences are will also be normal to this person. And this is due to ego boundaries allowing one to be in tune with what is right for them. Instead of being caught up in what others want one to do or following others in order to feel safe within.
As one feels safe within to follow their own purpose and all that that means to them, there will not be a strong need to gain the approval of others. This will naturally make one feel free within. Having an inner centre will also be possible and this means that a sense of wellbeing will have a greater chance of being experienced.
No Ego Boundaries
For the person with no ego boundaries, it can create feelings of being: invisible, nonexistent, vulnerable, empty, and wide open to the world. This means that one will not feel safe to be who they are or that they are protected.
There are obviously extremes to this. Even though this could relate to someone who is shy or unconfident for example, it could also relate to someone who is overbearing, overconfident and loud.
However, being taken advantage of and compromised are often consequences for people who have no ego boundaries. This person may find it easy to say yes, but extremely difficult to say no. Through being wide open to the world, one is unlikely to feel safe enough to say no, for the fear of what may happen.
Knowing what their needs, wants, preferences and desires are will be difficult; it will be hard for them to know the difference between what’s theirs and what’s other peoples. And so this means that they are likely to need more approval than people who have strong ego boundaries; simply because they don’t have the same sense of inner safety and protection.
For the person who have weak or nonexistent ego boundaries, relationships are unlikely to be rewarding or fulfilling. Here, one may end up becoming either enmeshed to others or avoid them all together.
So if they become enmeshed they will lose the identity that they do have and take on whatever indentify they feel will please others. And if they avoid relationships for the fear of losing themselves, then it is only going to lead to pain and suffering.
These two options don’t give one much to work with and very little to feel empowered about.
People who have strong ego boundaries are having a completely different experience to people who have them. Having no ego boundaries is the recipe for leading a life that is without fulfilment, true happiness, real success or fulfilling relationships. One can feel like a doormat and that there presence on this earth is irrelevant.
When one has boundaries, it can only lead to a more fulfilling existence. Knowing what one wants, experiencing richer relationships, feeling safe to be oneself and protected are just a few benefits
If we were to take two people, one with strong ego boundaries and another with no ego boundaries we would see that they are both human beings. So why are they so different from each other?
As a baby one has no ego boundaries, it is when one starts to develop into a child that they should develop. This is because as a baby one doesn’t know the difference between themselves and the caregiver. Through the mother’s empathic care, which is made up of mirroring, validating and attuning to the baby’s needs, it begins to form a sense of individuality.
The baby will sense that it is safe to have needs and that its needs are different to the mothers needs. And this will enable the baby to internalise this model; creating associations of safety and of being protected.
If the one has a caregiver that is unempathic as a baby it will lead to the opposite things happening. The baby’s needs will largely be ignored and covered up with the mothers needs. And through this, the baby will have no connection to its needs. What it will learn is to tune into the needs of others.
What this will result in is not only the loss of ones needs being taken care of, but the loss of a self being created. It is through the mirroring and validating of one’s needs as a baby and then as a child, that allows one to form a self.
The association is, if my needs are ignored then I can’t exist either. Having a caregiver that forces their needs onto the baby and denies the bays needs, is a result of the caregiver having boundaries problems. Perhaps their childhood was the same and carried out the same behaviour.
This means that through their own lack of boundaries they are unlikely to recognise the baby’s personal space. So situations where the caregiver overwhelms, smothers, abandons and rejects the baby are going to be common.
What I have described above is just a general guideline and this means that there could be other variations or causes.
These early experiences created the ego minds associations and these associations then become how one perceives others and themselves. They are not the truth; they are simply what have become familiar to the ego mind.
And what is classed as familiar to the ego mind is what is interpreted as safe. This means that as these associations change, one will begin to develop ego boundaries.
How long this process takes will depend on numerous factors. Finding the appropriate support will make a big difference. A good therapist may be needed, for others a supportive friend or book may do.
I do not claim to be an expert on astrology or someone that see's astrology as the be and end all. For me, it is another point of interest and something that can be used as a mirror; to assist in self awareness and awareness of others.
What I am going to take a closer look at here is how the ego minds associations can and do shape people’s views on astrology.
Associations can shape how one sees everything in life and not just astrology of course. However, astrology will be the primary focus here. This means that it is not my intention to either prove or disprove the legitimacy of astrology.
What one believes is a personal matter, and I have no interest in trying to prove anything. I am interested in making people think and question their mind.
The ego mind forms associations around all things; they are what create personal and collective meaning. This is not to say that these associations are always true, accurate or functional.
And this is because the ego mind doesn’t necessarily create associations based on what is true, accurate or functional; it simply forms them based on what is familiar.
Once something has been experienced enough times, it will then become familiar to the ego mind. So no longer will one have to think about these associations or meanings; the whole process will become automatic.
Freedom Of Thought?
Now, if the associations that one’s ego mind has around something are accurate it could lead to a better chance of a balanced perspective being attained. To see something for what it actually is and to limit: prejudice, ignorance and inaccurate ideas from getting in the way.
If the associations that one has are not accurate, it is inevitable that; ignorance, prejudice and inaccurate ideas are more likely to appear.
But if these associations are running automatically and therefore unconscious, one will become a slave to them. And this means that freedom of thought will no longer be an option.
Once familiarity has been formed, the need to be right will be extremely important to the ego mind. And this is because what is familiar is classed as what is safe. So this means that should it be different, it would be perceived as leading to death.
This may sound completely crazy and out of proportion. And yet this doesn’t matter to the ego mind, it is still interpreted in the same way; whether it is a life or death situation or if it means changing ones beliefs, perception or ideas about something insignificant.
So the ego mind needs to be right, as this certainty is linked to its survival. It cannot see that being wrong, is unlikely to lead to death.
So now that the foundations have been laid, let’s go back to astrology again. In the mainstream media when astrology is mentioned or looked at, it is usually to do with star signs. And very little else is ever covered or mentioned.
This means that invariably people see astrology as something that is very general and could relate to anyone. There is nothing unique or specialized about star signs.
The Glass Is Full
After being exposed to this kind of astrology, ones ego mind will have created numerous associations. This can then be the perspectives, beliefs and ideas that one has around astrology.
Now, one can always question these associations, but that will depend upon how aware they are of their mind. The mind can then either be open or closed. If it remains closed in wont matter what other information is offered, as the ego mind will reject and deny anything that conflicts with the associations that have already been formed. Regardless of if they are true or not.
The Birth Chart
While the star sign or sun sign as it is often called, is undoubtedly an important part of astrology, there are many other important signs. And these are what make up ones birth chart. There is the Moon, Ascendant, Venus, Descendent, Midheaven and the Mercury sign to name but a few; as well as houses, planets and aspects.
The Ascendant is often described as the face that one shows to the world and this covers their physical appearance, personality and specific talents or ability’s that are associated with the sign. Whereas the star sign is to do with how one is with friends and behind the eyes of the world.
Ones emotional style and their inner child are attributed to the moon sign. The side that one rarely shows to others and is only seen by close friends and family for example.
How one is seen is said to depend on the ascendant sign and how one likes to see others is based on the descendent. And this is the sign that is opposite to the ascendant. How one relates to others in an intimate relationship and the kind of person that one looks for is related to the Venus sign.
The Mercury sign relates to the communication style that one has and how they like to express themselves, through speech or writing. And the midheaven shows what kind of work one has to do to be fulfilled.
The Four Elements
And then there are also the four elements: air, fire earth and water. Air and fire signs are described as masculine, extrovert and positive. The fire signs are: Aries, Leo and Sagittarius. And the air signs are: Gemini, Libra and Aquarius.
The water and earth signs are classed as feminine, introvert and negative. The water signs are: Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces. And the earth signs are: Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn.
These represent what type of sign it is, the three modes are: cardinal, fixed and mutable. And these correspond to the seasons of the year. Cardinal represents the start of a season and it represents signs that like to lead. Fixed represents the middle of a season and it represents signs that complete things. Mutable marks the end of a season and represents signs that embrace change and all that is new.
Cardinal is: Libra, Aries, cancer and Capricorn, Fixed is: Aquarius, Leo, Scorpio and Taurus. Mutable is: Gemini, Sagittarius, Pisces and Virgo.
Once one has done their birth chart they will see all the different aspects and elements. Although one may have a fire or water start sign, the rest of their chart could be made up of primarily earth or air for instance
If someone has a star sign that is an introvert sign and comes across as an extrovert or vice versa, it won’t make any sense to people who have been programmed to only know about star signs. So one can either denounce astrology or come with another idea; when it could simply be the result of their ascendant being an extrovert or introvert sign.
And so this means that one can often appear to be the complete opposite of their star sign. There can also be afflictions in ones chart. And this means that one can have opposing signs in certain positions and this can lead to conflict and challenges being created.
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to astrology. There is so much more to look into. So if this has lead to an interest in astrology or a change in opinion is irrelevant: what matters is that one thinks critically.
And regardless of all of this, what we have as human beings is free will. To choose what we will believe in and what we will place our attention on.
There are many other areas, subjects and even people that are seen through perceptions that have come about through the ego mind forming inaccurate associations.
There are many types of abuse; from child abuse, to abuse in relationships, abuse in the workplace and even through leaders of countries for example. And no matter what kind of abuse it is, people are put through pain and are made to suffer.
One is then made to believe that something is wrong with them and to be responsible for how the abuser is behaving. Some people will naturally be more vulnerable to this than others.
For some, this will go straight to their core and there will be little, to no resistance. On the other side, there will be people who may reject what is being said at first and then gradually begin to succumb to the abuse. And some people, who are mentally and emotionally strong enough, will remove themselves from the abuse completely.
However this all depends on numerous factors and is could be described as relative in many ways. These can be: what kind of environment one finds themselves in and how old the person is. If one was in a country where there was a dictator, it is going to be different to a person who is in an abusive relationship.
This is not to undermine an abusive relationship; it is simply to show that there is a difference. And for a child who is being abused by its caregiver/s it is going to be highly unlikely that this child is going to walk out. At such a young age the child can do very little. It is probable that the child will have been brought up that way and so will have no other model to compare it with.
So it is then something that can easily be associated as normal for the child. And if one was brought up with a dictator as a leader this can also be classed as normal. Having worked in an environment for a certain period of time, it wouldn’t take long for abuse to feel normal.
The same can be said for relationships with friends, friendly or in intimate relationships that are abusive.
Above I mentioned that people are who abused often feel responsible for how the abuser is behaving. And if we put aside the fact that some people are more vulnerable than others, it becomes clear that the abuser is not being responsible for their own pain and challenges.
And as a result of this, they are inflicting pain onto someone who generally has nothing to do with what is going on for them at a mental and emotional level.
In order for this to occur, there has to be some kind of disconnection; a separation between what they are feeling and what they believe the causes actually are. The abuser is not looking within to see what is causing them to feel such: pain, anger, hatred, rage, frustration, shame, guilt and feelings of hopelessness and powerlessness for example; or the different thoughts and sensation that are being experienced.
These feelings, emotions, thoughts and sensation are being interpreted as being triggered through other people. And because of this, the abuser then has to take revenge on the person that appears to be the cause of them.
This is what is described as projection, where one sees in others what is ultimately coming from their ego minds associations. And this makes it more of or less impossible to see another person clearly. But, due to being unaware of this process, through defence mechanism such as repression being utilized, fail to see that they are seeing nothing more than their own reflection being mirrored back.
A psychological term that is often used for this is the narcissistic wound, where one doesn’t see other people as separate; with their own needs and wants. One sees others as an extension of themselves. This then allows them to project onto others without knowing it.
Now, there are undoubtedly extremes to this. And yet what this is a clear sign of is a lack of psychological boundaries. Understanding where one begins and ends and where other people begin and end is part of this, and seeing that other people have different wants, needs and preferences is another.
Knowing the difference between ones thoughts, feelings, and emotions and other people’s thoughts feelings and emotions is another aspect of boundaries. Having a balanced sense of responsibility is another part.
So if one hasn’t differentiated and therefore become an individual; it is going to be difficult to see what is theirs and what is another’s. Not just mentally and emotionally, but also physically.
This is why abuse is often past from one generation to another; for if one was brought up by an abuser or someone with weak to nonexistent boundaries, it is unlikely that they would receive the kind of care that creates boundaries. Unless one does this work themselves in later life of course.
And this means that people who have boundaries that are weak or don’t exist, are more vulnerable to abuse than people who have boundaries.
If one doesn’t have solid boundaries, they are going to be wide open to picking up what is not theirs. And to not knowing the difference between what is their stuff and what is another’s.
In order to end the cycle of abuse and to place responsibility where it should be, on the abusers shoulders; one has to be aware enough to see this dynamic. And building boundaries is a vital part of this. To know where one starts and ends and where another person starts and ends is incredibly important for mental, emotional and physical health.
And this is not an overnight process. What is important here is to have the right support and assistance. This can help one to see that the abuse is not personal and is simply a result of projection.
There are numerous books around today on abuse and therapists who are skilled in assisting in the process of letting go/processing the past and gradually building boundaries. It starts with the first step being taken.
This is something that has surely been around for many, many years. In the very beginning of human evolution it was probably only food that was hoarded for those moments when it would be in short supply.
However, in the modern day world, this can relate to just about everything on this planet, Food will of course be one of them and so can: clothes, furniture, different appliances and numerous other objects and items.
Bigger houses are often brought and extensions created as a way to deal with what has been accumulated. If ones suitcase on holiday is not big enough for all that has been consumed; one can buy a bigger one and then buy more.
The latest surge in storage units is partly a consequence of hoarding and is a sign that it will continue and has no intention of slowing down.
For some people this will involve holding onto what no longer has a purpose. And instead of letting it go, it will be kept or stored away. It may also involve having more than one actually needs or will ever have enough time to wear or use.
The reasons as to why one would do this can vary and will often come through the ego minds filter. This will mean that justifications and rationalisations will often be utilized.
And this can mean that unless one is conscious of why they are hoarding, they could end up being enslaved to this habit.
I believe that there are three primary reasons as to why people hoard. This is not to say that there are no other reasons or that hoarding is also completely negative or dysfunctional. What I am taking a closer look at is the extreme cases of hoarding. And not the odd occasion that someone may hoard.
What I believe will have a strong influence on whether one becomes a compulsive hoarder or not is the quality of their early childhood care. If one can emotionally regulate themselves or not; how secure their attachment style is and whether they have experienced trauma, will all have an effect on this.
And although they are three separate things, each relates and influences each other. For example, if one has experienced trauma as a child and has the ability to regulate themselves, it can be a lot easier to deal with. As opposed to someone who doesn’t have this ability.
Just as having a healthy or secure attachment style is going to mean that one is likely to be able to reach out to others when they are feeling emotionally unstable and cannot regulate themselves. Whereas if one didn’t have a secure attachment style it could lead to a higher chance of one isolating or closing themselves off and trying to cope on their own.
Although hoarding has to do with physical things, it is also having an effect on ones emotions. However, as I have mentioned above, this process can go on so naturally and without awareness that one could be completely unaware of what makes them hoard.
What hoarding can lead to is emotional regulation. Through this, ones emotions can be kept at bay, repressed and covered up. Feelings of emptiness, aloneness, abandonment and isolation that can come about through being insecurely attached as a child, can also be regulated. And any trauma that has not been dealt with can also be regulated through hoarding.
The importance of early care cannot be emphasised enough here. When it comes to being able to regulate oneself, having a secure attachment style and the amount of trauma one has experienced, are all directly shaped by this care.
If a caregiver is empathic and therefore attuned to the Childs needs, it is likely to develop the ability to self regulate and to form a healthy attachment style. And as a result of this, if trauma is experienced at this stage it is likely that the caregiver will be there to regulate the child.
And in later life, one will have a developed this ability within and so is in a better position to deal with what life brings and to ask others for assistance.
When a caregiver is unempathic and therefore out of touch with the needs and wants of their child, all kinds of problems can develop. Self regulation is unlikely to be developed and an insecure attachment style is also likely to be formed. And as a result of this, trauma has a higher chance of being experienced.
This can then mean that as an adult, seeking regulation through external things is perceived as the only option. Because they have never experienced being regulated by their caregivers and so didn’t internalise this ability. Or learn that it was acceptable to look to others to assist with this.
The Modern Day World
And in the modern world, where caregivers are often over worked and full of stress; it is naturally going to affect the quality of care received. As a result of this extra stress, they are often absent either physically or emotionally; which limits the quality of this early care. That can change of course, if another caregiver is consistently used to create a secure attachment during their absence for example.
As well as this, there are also the instances where caregivers pass on the same abusive care that they received. And out of their lack of awareness, continue the cycle of abuse that was inflicted upon them.
These are just some factors in what has shaped the modern day rise in hoarding. Everything has consequences and I believe that extreme hoarding is often a result of early care lowering in quality. This is not to say that one has no choice in later life.
Changes can be made in later life with the right assistance and support. Awareness is also important, unless one is aware of what they are doing; there is not much chance of anything changing. Emotional intelligence is part of this process and something that is beneficial to every area of one’s life.
Life is made up of what are often described as opposites and giving and receiving is part of this dynamic. When one of these is done and not the other, it will lead to an imbalance being created.
One may receive from another and be unable to give in that situation. Or one may give in one situation and be unable to receive. This is part of life and something that can’t always be avoided. Due to it not always being possible to return the favour or to receive from the same person
However, as a result of this, one will feel the need to give to someone else in their life or to someone they come into contact with. And one may receive something from an unexpected source or from someone who is close to them and seemingly without having to give anything in return.
This shows that a natural balance is being restored. It may not be instantaneous and could take a while.
One Way Relationships
The challenges arise when the above is something that happens on a regular basis in ones relationships. Here one is always giving to others and rarely receives anything in return. There is also the other side of this, where one constantly takes and never gives.
What these two types of people experience is going to be different. This is not to say that in other areas of their life it is the same experience.
One may always receive in their close and intimate relationships and rarely give. And yet in their other relationships may have no problem giving. People who rarely receive from their intimate and close relationships could have no such problems from their other less intimate relationships.
Intimate relationships are usually the ones that bring up the biggest challenges. This is a result of one’s needs being triggered the most in these relationships.
The needs and wants that were not fulfilled during ones younger years will resurface once more in ones intimate relationships. All that has been repressed and denied for many years will add to the present day intensity.
And this means that they can be incredibly powerful and have an extremely strong effect on ones behaviour. This of course can make it difficult to have self control or behave consciously.
Consequences - Givers
So if one is continually ending up in relationships where they are constantly giving, there is going to be different consequences. On one level there is the potential for: anger, frustration, resentment, rage and a feeling of powerlessness. The amount of energy that one has is going to be severely affected. Because in order to have energy, it is important that one can receive from others or one will simply be running on empty.
So feeling exhausted and even burnt out are common themes for people who don’t receive. This can create feelings of being a victim and that one’s needs and wants are unimportant.
And at the bottom of all these consequences and the dramas and pain that is created will be a feeling that one doesn’t deserve to have their needs and wants met by others. One hopes that if they can do enough for others, they will somehow earn the right to have their needs met.
Consequences - Receivers
For the person who constantly seeks to receive from others and without giving anything back in their relationships; there is inevitably going to be a sense that there is not enough. And as a way to overcome this perspective, one has to gain as much as they can.
Feelings of guilt may appear for this behaviour, but they will generally be replaced with the feeling of one missing out if one ever gives to another. One could even feel that they may be taken advantage of if they give to another.
At the root of the need to receive and to rarely give in ones intimate relationships is likely to be a sense that one has nothing to give. And that if they do give something, it won’t be enough.
Although these two seem to be completely different to each other, they are actually very similar. It is often the same kind of experiences that have created them and one may choose to consistently embody one of them or to switch between the two depending on the circumstances.
Having a healthy sense of self worth and deserving means that one knows they deserve to receive and that they have something to give; without feeling guilty or ashamed for having needs or doubting the value of what they have to give.
If one only gives or only receives for example, it is inevitably going to affect one’s self esteem. And with that one will feel out of balance.
The associations that one’s ego mind has around their needs wants and preferences are generally formed during ones younger years. And as a result of being around for so long, they can be taken as the truth.
Appearing normal and not only how life is, but how one is. However, they are not the truth or how life has to be or how one actually is. Once something has become associated as what is familiar to the ego mind, it is associated as what is safe.
This then becomes normal and what one unconsciously accepts about themselves. And should one change these associations, the ego mind will create all kinds of reasons why it is not safe; as a result of the changes having the potential to be interpreted as unfamiliar and therefore as a threat ones survival.
The importance of understanding how the ego mind works cannot be emphasised enough. It will continue to perceive everything based on the associations that have been interpreted as familiar.
At the time of their creation they may well have kept one safe, but as time has passed they are simply creating unbalanced relationships. Letting go of these associations is important and for some this will not require much assistance.
Reading and then questions ones associations may be enough. For others, going over this with a friend, coach or therapist may be required.
The word normal can trigger all kinds of meanings and what can come to mind are the judgements that are made around people. How someone looks, dresses or behaves is often part of this judgement.
However, this article is not going to be about what is classed as normal or abnormal about people. What this will be looking at is what is normal on a personal level. This is the behaviours, thoughts, feelings and perceptions that one has become accustomed to and the behaviours that one is used to from other people.
Although these are two different description of normal, they are both the consequence of what is familiar. Socially what is classes as normal, is the result of what has been around for a while. What is normal can be functional and acceptable and it can be dysfunctional and unacceptable. It may also fall in the middle of the spectrum and be neutral.
In recent years tattoos have become fairly normal in society. Many years ago they would have provoked a strong reaction and for some people they still do. But due to their popularity they have become familiar. And so they are generally classed as normal now and don’t stand out as much.
The above example is fairly neutral, as no one is being harmed through them. Unless ones interpretations are leading to harm being created within one’s mind.
I tried to think of another example, but this was the one that came to mind. Politicians have become synonymous with lies and deceit. They are masters at telling people what they want to hear or in avoiding answering certain questions.
However, as a society we have become used to this kind of behaviour. So even though it is not acceptable or functional it is now normal. And as a result of this, it often goes unnoticed.
Two Sides Of Normal
So on one side there is the societal aspects that numerous people can relate to and then on the other side there is what’s classed as normal in one’s life. Now, these two can be connected and are not necessarily separate.
What is the same is the fact that the ego mind functions on what is familiar. And what is registered as familiar is what one has been exposed to the most. As a result of this, it then becomes associated as what is safe and here one will feel comfortable.
Now, we have what is called normal. And as anything can become familiar and therefore safe and comfortable; it shows how this process can become disempowering, dysfunctional and even life threatening.
Once something has become normal, the ego mind will run on auto pilot. This means that one will no longer have to question or think about what is now associated as being normal
So if something is leading to one feeling disempowered, frustrated and angry and being compromised, abused or being taken advantage of for example; it won’t matter. Consciously it is creating pain and suffering, but to the ego mind it is simply what is familiar.
On an individual level one may be experiencing challenges to do with: abuse, acting in ways that are destructive, participating in harmful addictions, dysfunctional relationships and many other occurrences.
Certain patterns of behaviour and thinking are dysfunctional, but unless they are challenged, they won’t change. To the observer they may look dysfunctional and wonder why someone is acting in these ways.
And even though the onlooker may have relationships that are not abusive or routinely engage in harmful addictions like the person they are observing - the same process is at work. Their ego mind has created associations of familiarity around what is functional and the other person has not.
One person is not necessarily any luckier or more fortunate than the other; it is often what their ego mind has come to associate as what is familiar and therefore normal.
The patterns of thinking and behaviour in one’s life are going to be different for everyone. And yet there are often primary challenges that people have. These can be accepted as how life is and that there is no other way of being.
And the reason why they feel this way is generally because they mirror the childhood environment that one had. Thousands and thousands of experiences formed what would later be classed as familiar and normal as an adult
The ego mind is then programmed to accept certain behaviours and environments that support this behaviour. This is the reason why people who are abused or taken advantage of during childhood create the same scenarios as an adult.
It maybe dysfunctional, destructive, disempowering and have the potential to lead to extreme pain and suffering. And yet to the ego mind, it has been programmed as normal.
At One Point
There may have also been a time when what was classed as normal had benefits, but then through time has become the opposite. However, the mind has not caught up with this and continues to hold onto the past associations.
The disharmony that can exist between the conscious and unconscious mind can create tremendous conflict and pain. And due to the ego mind running on auto pilot, unless conscious changes are made it will always be this way.
Here one is nothing but a robot, doing the same thing and expecting something different to happen. The mind can become a prison and this is why it is essential to allow new stimulus to enter the mind.
Letting go of the past is an important part of this, as is allowing new information and experiences in. reading books that empower and expand the mind can assist with this process, so can being around people who are examples of how one wants to be.
Therapy and coaching can also make a massive difference to ones growth. There are many options out there and what matters is one chooses what works for them.
Most people have heard of the saying ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ and yet this is generally what happens. We see that someone is wearing a certain item of clothing, looks or acts a certain way and a judgement is made.
This judgment is automatic and is a consequence of the unconscious mind. And how one came to such a conclusion is often unknown, as a result of this process happening so quickly.
What is observed, fires of associations in the mind and based on these associations that are triggered, one makes a judgement on what is seen. Now, sometimes these associations will be accurate and sometimes they won’t be.
These associations are generally the result of the conditioning that one has received. And the media is one of the most powerful forces in shaping the associations that one has about people.
Friends, colleagues and romantic partners can also have a say in the associations that the ego mind has of people.
And then there is the childhood environment. This is another incredibly important influence in what associations one will come to have of people as an adult.
The Ego Mind
Although this article is to do with the associations that one can have around people, this is the way the ego mind functions with everything. And these don’t have to be based on what is true or functional; they can be completely dysfunctional and have no truth to them.
But then the ego mind doesn’t form these associations based on whether they are functional or empowering. They are formed as a result of being familiar.
Once something has been classed as familiar, it means that it is now recognised as what is safe. And now, instead of one having to think about something it becomes automatic and leads to less energy being utilised.
Many years ago, when humans lived in tribes and were at risk of being eaten by animals: making snap judgements not only saved energy it also would have saved lives. And perhaps this is when this ability was formed.
When it comes to reading people and making snap judgements, these associations make life easier. If this ability didn’t exist, it would lead to all kinds of problems. From spending minutes and even hours on finding out something that usually takes seconds.
And instead of being able to read the clues, one may even end up putting their life in danger. This could be through not being able to read a person’s facial expression or unable to interpret what someone is holding could be dangerous.
The Halo Effect
There is something known as the halo effect. And this is where one associates someone as being a certain way based on them having just one positive trait. This one trait then leads to many other traits being attributed to them.
This goes on automatically and without one having to make any conscious effort. A good example of this is when one comes across someone who they perceive as being attractive. And as they are attractive, one will typically associate them as being intelligent and even successful.
How attractive someone is, has very little to do with how intelligent or successful they are. In reality, some people who are perceived as attractive will be intelligent and successful and some won’t be.
This also works in the opposite way; with associations being made if someone has a trait that is personally or socially classed as negative. One may see another person taking drugs and out of this one trait could label them as; being dangerous and as having criminal tendencies.
And as the media likes to portray drug users in a certain way, a lot of these associations will be the result of the media. However, people of all walks of life take drugs and not everyone who takes drugs will be dangerous or a criminal.
The above are examples of inaccurate associations. If one were to employ or to date someone based on the first example or to speak to or get to know someone from the second example and the associations proved to be incorrect; it could lead to a new awareness being created.
Countries And Religions
As a result of watching the news or reading the papers certain associations can be formed around people from different countries or religions. These can also be wrong and lead to all kinds of challenges being created.
Violence, racism and prejudice can be a consequence of this. Here, based on the associations that have been formed through the media, one doesn’t see the person for themselves. What they see are the associations that the media has created in their mind, being projected onto others.
The Younger Generation
The youth of today are often described as: unruly, dangerous and troublesome. This may be the case for some of the younger people, but it is not an absolute truth. However, through buying what the media says about the younger generation, one’s mind can form these associations.
It will then be difficult to keep an open minded and to see each situation for what it is. Interpretations will automatically be made and this will make it hard to see otherwise
Men And Women
A man with a muscular physique may be associated as being aggressive or unapproachable, by men and women alike, and yet this may be far from the truth. This will be true for some, however it won’t relate to all of them.
Women who are attractive can be associated as being arrogant and aloof. When in reality this may be wide of the mark. For some women this will be the case, but not for all of them.
The ego mind works in absolutes and this means that everything is either black or white. There is no middle ground or grey area with the mind. And this means that the ego mind will have a tendency to either see these associations or to edit and deny anything that goes against these associations.
Another thing that can also happen is the ego mind will interpret reality in a way that does correspond with these associations. And this can involve the use of projection. The saying "We Don't See The World As It Is, We See The World As We Are” by Anais Nin encompasses this perfectly.
The ego mind often perceives the present based on the past or a combination of the past. And this is why it is important to be aware how the ego mind functions. We also have what is called intuition, instincts or hunches and this can be another way of coming to conclusions and making quick judgements.
Associations make life easier and save a lot of time and energy. Through being aware and questioning these associations, one will be able to have a choice, instead of being controlled by them.
People who put others first are often revered and are seen as an example of how to live. The fact that they appear to always put others first, is what makes them different to people who appear to always put themselves first.
This could be to do with helping a friend, partner or colleague at a local level. And at a wider scale this could include some kind of charity work. Ultimately, their position is not important, because they are always on the look out to be there for another, regardless of their needs.
The Right Thing
For the person who is happy to put others first and to deny their needs; approval is never going to be far away. Their behaviour is certain to lead to a lot of approval being received from other people.
And this can then lead to one feeling that they are doing the right thing. The amount of approval that one receives may be used as a barometer as to whether they are doing the right thing or not.
One of the challenges of always putting others first is that one’s needs are being ignored and denied. And this means that one constantly has to compromise who they are.
It could simply be a matter of habit and doing things for others may feel like the only way that one is worthy of having their needs met.
Because although it may seem that there are selfless people and selfless acts, this is not the case. The great illusion of selflessness has been created, but part of being human means that we have needs.
So everything that one does has a benefit or a perceived benefit to their existence. On the surface one act may appear as selfish and another as selfless and that is nothing more than a pint of view.
The only way one could be selfless, is if they had no needs and in order for that to be true one would have to have stopped breathing.
For people who act selfless and are always looking to be there for another person, it often comes down to approval. This person has learned that the way to gain approval from others is to do what they say and seldom say no.
It could also be a way for them to feel that they deserve to have their needs met and are worthy. So by being there for others, one may feel that the other person will be indebted to them; which will result in them getting what they want.
However, playing this role is inevitably going to lead to pain. On the surface it may give one a sense of pride and even superiority over people who appear to be selfish. And to the onlooker, one may be described as a good person and model citizen for example.
But within is likely to be a build up of anger, frustration and even resentment. This may be a conscious realisation or it may go on out of one’s awareness. And as soon as it appears, it is soon repressed and covered up.
The reasons for this behaviour and continuing to deny ones needs has to do with the associations that one’s ego mind has formed around needs and wants. Two of the most powerful associations here are guilt and shame.
And it doesn’t have to go as far as asking another person for something, it may only be a matter of thinking about ones needs in order to feel guilty about them. So, if one cannot ask another directly for something, one will have to go about getting their needs met indirectly.
Acting in a way that appears selfless can be a great cover up for people who feel guilty and ashamed for having needs. On one side they will appear as though they don’t have any and on the other side they will gain the approval from many people.
This in turn could then lead to their needs being met; through this indirect way of behaving. But even though one may look happy on the outside, is often far from how one feels on the inside.
To always put the needs of others before ones personal needs shows that one doesn’t value themselves. Feeling guilty and ashamed for having needs shows this. One can feel like a burden and that they don’t deserve to exist.
This is not to say that one’s needs are more important than anyone else’s needs. What it does say is that if one doesn’t feel they deserve to have needs and act on them; it is unlikely any one else will do it for them.
Perception Of Needs
The associations that the ego mind has around needs being a bad thing had to come from somewhere. This may be the only way that one knows and what seems normal.
To be this way will also feel familiar and this is what the ego mind runs on – what is familiar. This is what is classed as safe and if one were to act in another way, fear would likely arise. Fear of rejection or being abandoned may surface as a result of this change.
These associations would likely have been created when one was a child. How ones caregivers responded to these needs would have been a big factor in how one feels about their needs as an adult.
If they were generally responded to and treated with importance: one would be able to develop associations that their needs are important and not something to be ashamed of or feel guilty for having.
On the other hand, if ones caregivers rarely responded to ones needs or one was used to take care of the needs of their caregivers; very different associations would be formed. The consequences could be that one ends up feeling ashamed and guilty for having needs. And if one had to care of their caregivers needs, one may come to conclude that the only way to get their needs met is to please others first.
This second example is unlikely to create a healthy sense of self worth. Other people will be seen as more important. And this sets one up for a life of compromise. As a result of having their needs denied as a child, one may grow up to be completely out of touch with what their needs actually are.
Selfishness and selflessness are often put forward as the only two options; with one being portrayed as negative and the other as positive. But I think these are two sides of the same coin and are no better than each other. On one side you have a description of someone who only thinks about their own needs and has no interest in assisting others. And on the other is a person who denies their needs and is only there for others.
Feeling comfortable with ones needs is important. If one is not comfortable it will only lead to denying their existence or to be so consumed with them, that there is no time to balance ones needs with the needs of others.
These associations need to be changed and as this happens the perspective that one has of their needs will begin to change. Different approaches can be used for this. Reading, therapy and/or friends can assist with this process.
Being able to trust is an important part of life. And this not only relates to trusting other people, it also relates to trusting oneself. Having trust in life, is another expression of this. This could be trusting in some kind of god for some and for others it could simply be a sense of trust in life. Or what is known as faith to some people.
Trust In Others
For some people trusting others is a way of life and something that is rarely questioned. Whether it is a close friend, family member, or a spouse for example; the same outcome will be expected.
This trust will often extend to people who they haven’t seen before and are not very familiar with. People who are classed as ‘strangers’ will generally be expected to be trust worthy; this is not to say that they are naive.
It is just that due to the expectations that they have, others are expected to be trustworthy. And if something were to happen, to lead to the opposite being true, these people will often dismiss it and put it down to being a one off.
Trust In Oneself
By having trust in oneself it will lead to an inner belief and that the decisions and actions one takes will often be for the best. If this is not the case and something doesn’t go to plan, an acceptance and understanding will be felt within.
It is unlikely to result in one feeling a sense of failure and inner doubt. The experience will not become generalised and turned into one no longer trusting themselves.
Trust In Something Else
Having a sense of trust in something else is a normal experience for many people. And even though this other thing cannot necessarily be touched or seen doesn’t matter. One can feel more at ease and have a deeper sense of connection through trusting in what is not visible to the five senses.
At its strongest influence, this is what guides their day to day experiences and the actions that they take. And through this connection, they feel that they are not alone and are always looked after. Often described as what religion is or what spirituality is all about. However, there is no right or wrong, only what one feels is true.
Distrust In Others
Now, for people who don’t trust others, the idea of trusting others could sound not only irresponsible, but also dangerous. Other people could be seen as unreliable and, given the chance, will only take advantage.
This is not simply limited to the ‘strangers’ and all those they are familiar with; people who are close to them may also be kept under a watchful eye. Their expectations are likely to be based on people being distrustful.
If situations arise that go against this point of view, they may well be ignored, dismissed or interpreted as being one offs.
Distrust In Oneself
As result of not trusting oneself, it could mean that one always looks outside for reassurance and guidance. This could then lead to being dependent on other people’s advice. By doubting their judgements and ideas; self sabotage is another potential outcome.
To others this may be seen as negative and that one should believe in themselves. However, this may seem to be the only way that is possible.
And if they were to trust in themselves and what they did ended up going wrong, it would be taken personally. It would be generalised and as an example of why one can’t trust themselves.
Distrust In Something Else
The thought of trusting in something else and letting go to this source can be met with resistance. One may doubt that this other source exists or that it can be trusted.
Doing everything by oneself may appear to be the only way that anything can be done. To let go and trust in something else, may be interpreted as a sign of weakness and lead to one not getting what they want.
Giving up control may be seen as equal to being controlled. And that as soon as this happens, one will feel that they have no choice.
These areas of trust can affect people differently. One person may trust in themselves and not trust in others. Or trust in others but not themselves. It maybe that one trusts in something else and not other people and many other combinations.
Consequences - Trust
The person who trusts is going to have a completely difference experience to the person who doesn’t trust. Trusting others will lead to having deeper and richer relationships with others. One will feel more at peace with others and this will lead to more happiness and joy being experienced.
Being able to oneself will also lead to more happiness; as through trusting oneself, living ones truth will be possible. One will know when they are on course and when they are not. This will lead to a sense of self esteem and personal power.
Being able to let go of control and trust at certain times, will enable one to work with life as opposed to trying to force life all the time. This can lead to ones outcomes being achieved with less effort and energy.
Consequences - Distrust
For the person who doesn’t trust in others, life is inevitably going to be a lot harder. One will have to do more work that is necessary and all because one cannot trust others.
Living to ones truth will rarely be possible and one will be forced to follow what other people say or don’t say. The choice to do what one feels is right, will not be an option; apart from on the odd occasion. One is also unlikely to have a sense of their personal power either.
And if one feels that they have to do everything themselves and that there is no other source to assist them, it will create a lot of struggle, frustration and pain. One may also feel that they are alone and are isolated in this world.
What is clear is that these are two very different perceptions. One perception will lead to more happiness and fulfilment. And the other to a higher chance of unhappiness and lack of fulfilment.
The defining factor in how trust worthy one is or is not usually comes down to what ones childhood was like.
It is during these early years that one comes to conclude whether other people can be trusted; if one can trust themselves and how one feels about trusting in the unseen. The quality of one’s early care and whether it was primarily empathic on unempathic care will make a big difference.
If ones caregivers were aware and empathic to ones needs, this would have allowed a functional attachment to occur.
Here one would begin to form a sense of trust in being able to rely on others. And providing ones caregivers allowed for one to separate and explore; it would likely lead to self trust being formed.
The thought of letting go and trusting in the unseen would also be more likely to be accepted. And this would be due to the first description; with the memory of being able to rely on ones caregivers supporting the belief that were one to let go and trust in the unseen - one would not be let down.
On the other hand, if ones caregivers were umepathic and generally denied ones needs; ones attachment style would not be functional.
Trusting in others would make one feel uncomfortable and fearful. And if ones caregivers didn’t allow one to separate and explore, it could have lead to one not developing a connection to their instincts and being able to trust themselves.
How their caregivers were, would then be projected onto an unseen power. Letting go may then be interpreted as being controlled and having no choice.
It may have also been a one of event and based on the trauma of having no one there to take care of one’s needs, one was deeply wounded.
The ego mind has formed associations around trust. And the early experiences that one has, helped to create these associations. This means that the ego has held onto them because they are familiar and not because they are functional.
In order to trust, these associations need to be made aware of and released. Because the ego mind will interpret situations based on these associations; project the past onto the present and attract experiences that validate these memories.
And all because they are what is classed as familiar to the ego mind. As to what assistance one needs with this will depend on how much of a challenge this is. A therapist or someone similar may be required. Or some focused reading and then changes in ones behaviour may be enough.
When it comes to understanding what enmeshment is, it helps to look at what boundaries are. Boundaries are what create a sense of individuality between people. And although we are all physically separate, it does not mean that we are emotionally separate from another person.
This becomes what is known as enmeshment, here one will look physically separate, but emotionally they will feel attached to the other person. One will feel that they have no boundaries between them and as a result that their not an individual.
So when it comes to mother enmeshed men, it is describing a man who is emotionally entangled to their mother. While it is true that they may live in a different house or a different part of the country; the emotional cord has not been cut.
In a functional relationship with boundaries the emotional connection will be choice and what one has chosen. When it comes to an enmeshed relationship, it doesn’t feel that one has a choice and that they are enslaved to the other person.
And for the mother enmeshed man it is a feeling of having no sense of self; other than an identity that is based on being attached to their mother.
What this experience often creates is two powerful emotions, these are anger and guilt. On one side there is the anger at feeling as though one has to do what their mother says and can’t say no.
And on the other side there is the guilt that is felt if one were to say no or was to think about saying no to the mother.
This can create a feeling of being emotionally trapped; because based on these two options, it won’t lead to a sense of peace or empowerment. One can easily end up in a cycle of going through these two extremes time and time again.
The anger can be amped up and turn to rage and may alternate between the two. And the guilt can also become shame and betrayal.
A Sense Of Self
By not being able to say no and to stand up for oneself, the man is caught between these two primary emotions. And this is largely due to the mother enmeshed man not knowing that he is a separate individual.
His mothers wants, needs and desires, are not seen as separate from him. Where he begins and ends and where his mother begins and ends: is unclear to him. This then leads to him feeling responsible to his mother.
How his mothers feels is then his responsibility and something he needs to take care off. Her wellbeing is something that he has to look after. And what this also means is that his wellbeing and his own needs, wants and desires are often denied and ignored.
So being responsible for himself is then overlooked and his boundaries will end up being constantly crossed. And as a result of extending himself for his mother, a natural consequence is being exhausted.
On the surface this sounds completely dysfunctional and doesn’t make any logical sense. And one of the biggest reasons that this behaviour is occurring is due the mothers enmeshed mans association of what love is. To his unconscious mind, this is what love means to him.
At a conscious level it is only creating: pain, struggle, conflict and suffering. But to the ego mind this is being associated as familiar and therefore what is safe.
The reason it is familiar is due to it being how their mother treated them as a child. As a result of those early experiences being played out thousands of times, it is no wonder that its affect is so strong on a fully grown man.
In a functional upbringing a child would be recognised as a separate individual; with their own needs, wants and preferences for example. For this to happen, the caregiver would have to have good boundaries themselves and to see that it is not down to the child to take care of their needs.
However, if the caregiver is unaware of the child being separate, as a result of having no boundaries themselves, it will be more of less impossible to treat the child as a separate being. And by the caregiver being needy and emotionally undeveloped the child will be used for this purpose.
The way that the caregiver acts, is more than likely how they were brought up. And as a result of not being aware; are playing out the same pattern.
So what this leads to is the roles being reversed. Instead of the mother taking care of the Childs development, the child ends up taking care of the mothers unmet needs.
The process of separating then doesn’t happen and instead of boundaries being formed, enmeshment is what remains. Part of the reason for this process is often down to having a father that is either physically or emotionally absent.
What this early conditioning creates is an undeserved loyalty to the mother. As the ego mind associates the whole experience as being what love is, it creates a kind of compulsive need to please the mother.
In reality the mother used the child for her own benefit and only harmed the Childs development. And because the separation didn’t occur all those years ago, ones ego can associate separating as being equal to death. This means that overwhelming fear can be triggered were one to separate: with feelings of emptiness, abandonment and rejection surfacing.
There are many consequences that can be created from this early dynamic. Having problems with boundaries has already been mentioned. Experiencing a sense of self control will also be very difficult. Another likely issue here is with intimate relationships. Through still being emotionally connected to ones mother it can be a real challenge to let in another woman.
This is because ones mother is still number one and were one to go with another women there may be feelings of betrayal and guilt that arise. Here one may go for women who they are not completely attracted to, so that they won’t have to emotionally leave their mother. And these feelings are not rational; they are based on the ego minds dysfunctional associations.
There can be a tendency to attract women that are similar and this means that one will re-enact the same role. And therefore end up creating the same internal experiences. It can just as easily create a fear of intimacy; with ones ego mind associating intimacy to mean being smothered and overwhelmed. As this was how it was with their mother. The unprocessed wounds can also be projected onto others.
Due to only being loved through what they did and not for who they were, it is inevitable that one’s self worth is going to be affected. And based on what one does for others and not for who one is.
One may also feel completely cut off from their inner world. And generally unaware of what their thoughts, feelings, emotions and sensations are. Along with this could be a disconnection to ones: needs, wants and desires. This could then result in a feeling of having no personal power.
This article has covered the basic dynamics of enmeshment and some off the consequences. To the degree that one has been affected by this, will define what actions need to be taken. The first thing is to be aware that such a challenge exists. To deny the existence of something will not change it and can lead to it getting worse.
In recent years awareness has increased around this area and this has lead to more progress being made. This is not only limited to men and can affect women in similar ways.
Reading a book and going over what they suggest may be enough for some men and for others it may require some serious therapy. What matters is that something is done to put an end to this dysfunctional attachment.
Oliver JR Cooper
Teacher, Author, Transformational Writer & Consultant - With Over 2,000,000 Article Views Online.
That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.
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