We experience a wonderful sense of relief when we no longer feel the need to defend and protect the ever changing and illusive ego.
Assistance Needed In The Baking Aisle
I was recently speaking with a friend (I will call Mattie) who became distraught following a verbal attack by her father. The father has a history of verbal abuse, is believed to be mentally-ill, and is perhaps showing signs of dementia. Mattie stated her “breakdown” occurred with what Oprah calls the “ugly cry” in the middle of the baking aisle of Kroger. Complete strangers were saying “God Bless You” as they tried to help her out to her car with her groceries. While in the safety of her car, the self-criticizing began. “What is wrong with you?”, “You just made a fool of yourself”, “Those people probably think you are crazy”. Due to her previous work in counseling, Mattie was able to recognize the critical voice and told it to get in the back seat of the car where is belongs.
Insult and Injury
After the emotions subsided Mattie began to examine the intense hurt she felt. She knew that to some extent the insults and cruel words were the voice of a mental illness. She also knew that the words were hurtful and mean. Words that no daughter should have to hear from her father. Mattie continued to examine her response because she knew there was some truth, or lesson within this difficult experience. Then Mattie realized that part of her hurt belonged to her damaged ego. Her sense of “self” was under attack. In fact an important and valued sense of self. Being a “good daughter” was important to Mattie. She had an idea, a vision, a dream, of what it meant to be “a good daughter”, and the hateful words crushed that part of her ego.
Protecting The Ego
When we have a strong emotional reaction following what is perceived as an insult, look at ego. Look at your sense of self. Another person may not see you as you want to be seen. Another person may not see you as you really are. Perhaps you are trying to protect a part of ego that does not even exists. We all have a certain amount of delusions. Trying to protect the dream of ego can be a slippery slope indeed and increase our defensive responses, angry responses and sadness. We experience a wonderful sense of relief when we no longer feel the need to defend and protect the ever changing and illusive ego.