Saturday, September 29, 2012

Escape from Self

During my younger years, I had an "activity addiction" that created dysfunction in basic parts of my life. I played chess a lot. The more I won games and championships, I felt good feelings and acceptance from others. That drove me more to engage in it as an attempt at self-validation and relationship. Only much later did I realize that I got driven to it because of some belief inside me that I'm flawed as a person.

In any addiction, the content - whether it be "ingestive addiction" (e.g. drugs, food) or "activity addiction" (e.g. sex, work, buying, gambling) - is an attempt to fight or avoid loneliness. It's a quest for intimacy in relationship. The workaholic with his work, the alcoholic with his booze, the adulterer with his partner, are all having a love affair!

Because fear of exposure of self to self lies at the heart of most emotional illnesses, escape from self is necessary.  The escape of self is facilitated by mood-altering addictions.  It seems obvious that many mental disorders classified in the DSM psychiatric manual are related to escape from self. These include clinical depression, schizoid phenomena, and personality disorders. My own belief is that the false self or escape from self is a unifying concept amid the maze of clinical and psychotherapeutic definitions and distinctions.

No comments: