Many years ago, I heard the following quote from Friedrich Nietzsche, “The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.”
There was something about it that really pulled me in and I ended up sharing it online soon after. Recently, I heard this quote again and I came to see that there was another reason why it resonated with me all those years ago.
The First Time
So when I first heard it, I thought about how society tries to mould people into being a certain way. It is not really interested in encouraging the individual to accept themselves and for their life to be an expression of who they are.
As long as they go along to get along and don’t question anything, they should be fine. The outcome of this is that someone might feel safe and as though they belong, but their true-self will be covered up and their life is likely to be anything but fulfilling.
Undoubtedly, to be one’s own person is something that takes strength and a fair amount of courage. Additionally, there is the pressure that someone’s family, and even their friends, can put on them.
The people who are supposed to be their side and to have their back can then serve as an undermining force in their life. When it is this close to home, it can be a lot harder to notice what is taking place.
The Second Time
When I thought about this quote recently, I came to see how it also applies to children who grow up in dysfunctional families. In this case, a child won't struggle to keep themselves from being overwhelmed by society; they will struggle to keep themselves from being overwhelmed by the people who are supposed to care for them.
Through having at least one caregiver who is unable to see them as a separate being, their true-self will rarely, if ever, be acknowledged. If they ever try to express who they are - that’s if they haven’t lost touch with who they are - they will often be frightened and lonely.
A Closer Look
The reason they will be frightened is due to the fact that not doing as they are told could cause them to be abused in some way or to be abandoned. As for being lonely, this will take place whenever they are cast aside and love is taken away.
To say that love will be taken away won’t be the complete truth, though, as a caregiver like this is probably not even capable of truly loving their child. Unconsciously, the child will be seen as being there to fulfil their needs as opposed to the other way around.
However, being left is not going to be the only time when they will feel lonely, they can also feel this way in general. They won’t be able to express who they are or to connect to this caregiver, which will lead to a very isolated existence.
This caregiver won’t be emotionally available, probably because they themselves also had a very traumatic childhood, which will cause the child to feel invisible. Their other caregiver might not be around either, or if they are, they might be just as available.
Naturally, if someone doesn’t receive what they need to receive as a child, it will be a lot harder for them to ‘own themselves’ as an adult. It will take even more strength and courage for them to rise up and to live a life that is worth living.
Still, the human spirit is strong, and there is no reason why someone can’t move beyond a traumatic childhood. The key will be for them to reach out for the right support and to take the step that they need to take to heal themselves.
How Can I Serve You?
This will be a time when someone will need to question what they believe, to heal their emotional wounds and to process trauma. If you can relate to what I have written and need additional support, one of the ways that I can provide this is through the personalised consultations that I offer via Skype or Zoom.
To find out more, please go to www.oliverjrcooper.co.uk/consultations. If you are committed to your own healing, it would be an honour to assist you on your journey.
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Oliver JR Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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.