Logosynthesis Logo

Harlow Broomes wrote:
‘I write concerning your brilliant post concerning the myth of inner child, however as I zero in on those frozen child states using logosynthesis I find that I am experiencing a lot of anger especially as those frozen states disolve leaving examples of where my boundaries where invaded. The childish states seem by their nature passive.’

My two cents:
There are different levels of negative emotions. First there those directly associated with trauma and abandonment, like shame, guilt, apathy and fear. In these the person feels, thinks and acts from a ‘not OK’ position. Trauma and abandonment are immediately experienced and the person feels excluded from the community (first order dissociation). In these emotions, the person is frozen, passive.

In the second level of negative emotions the o.k. position is reversed: ‘I’m o.k., and you’re not.’ This is the spectre of anger, rage, arrogance and pride. The behaviour is dominant, and my feelings are associated with your faults. In Logosynthesis we call this second order dissociation, and the corresponding behaviour is active.

If we look at these patterns more closely, we can discover easily that the second level is a compensation of the first one, a creative adjustment to the fact that the emotions on the first level are simply unbearable. The child – smart, learning fast – observes the behaviour of its counterpart, sees that the other person does not suffer and borrows the pattern as a solution to escape from the distress and the pain of abandonment, as soon as he’s strong enough. Thus beaten children become beating fathers.

Anger and pride are relatively pleasant emotions, compared to those associated with first order dissociation. The person feels entitled to aggressively defend what they consider as invaded boundaries and can even be proud of that aggression. We can observe a lot of this kind of behaviour at this moment in the history of the world.

However, and the Child ego state mentioned before comes in here: As ‘adults’ these people carry the suppressed anger and rage from their childhood into the open, to defend against the underlying trauma. That will work as long as someone else is willing to accept anger and adjust to it (children, spouses, employees), but the original ‘solution’ will turn into a problem if the other person is a healthy adult who asks ‘Why are you so angry?’ from a position of ‘I’m o.k. – You’re o.k.’

The moment in which the emotions and the behaviour originating from second order dissociation are successfully confronted, everything will change. The solution becomes the problem (‘I’ve beaten my own child’) and the shame and guilt of first order dissociation will be reactivated as seemingly relevant for the current environment. In fact these emotions are reenactments of the original ‘I’m not o.k. – You’re o.k.’ position, or even the desperate ‘I’m not o.k. – You’re not o.k.’

In Logosynthesis the insight (with the problem) that the creative adjustment doesn’t work anymore is called third order dissociation.

In a nutshell:
First order dissociation: ‘I’m in pain.’
Second order dissociation: I’m angry because I’m hurt.’
Third order dissociation: I’m in pain because I’m angry.’

My guess is that 85% of all cases of anger are cases of second order dissociation, not a real defense against real intruders. That anger may have been justified for the situation the person has lived through as a child, but it is totally irrelevant with respect to real people in the real present.

One way to adress this with Logosynthesis is searching for the grandiose fantasy behind the anger. An easy example of this is road rage: If I get angry at another car driver on the road – he drives too slow or too fast – this means that I’m having a fantasy that the road is mine and that the other person is invading my space. I’m o.k., and he’s not. The Logosynthesis sentences for this fantasy will resolve the rage and let the insight emerge that the road is there to share. Another fantasy connected to road rage is that people should behave rationally, like me.

A recurring grandiose fantasy is that those around me as an adult should meet the needs that my parents did not fulfill for me as a child. They should not. They should not even try.