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Martin Seligman: Childhood has nothing to do with our problems

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I would actually say just the opposite:

All of your current dysfunctions in life are the result of past events.

It's not so simple as correlating some one horrid childhood event to your current problem. It's much more complex. All problems are the result of whatever the "self" you identify as. This "self" was constructed as a reaction to survival challenges in the past. The "self" is nothing more than a survival mechanism. So of course it's highly conditioned by upbringing, childhood, teenage years, and early adulthood. Whatever stuff happened to you between the ages of 0 to 30 has shaped your personality almost totally to the point where you cannot even know what your self would be without it. Of course your are not just shaped by bad events but good events too.

Of course none of this means you can't change.

It's a bad idea to listen to academic psychologists when it comes to understanding the dynamics of the self. Broad surveys and studies are not gonna cut it here. This requires existential level insight through direct work on oneself.

Ask yourself where your "self" came from? You'll see it was from the past. In fact, your entire mind came from the past. Every word you use came from your past. 99% of the ideas in your mind came from your past. You hardly invented anything new. You are like a snowball rolling down hill collecting more snow and dirt.

But the strange looping twist here is, the past is just a figment of your mind! There never was a past or a self or a world! You made it all up. You sneaky devil, you.

Survival has everything to do with your problems. Without survival there is no problem at all.


"Be melting snow. Wash yourself of yourself." -- Rumi

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Shunyamurti gives an overview over the core traumas a child can suffer from and the survival mechanisms that are developed along the way

 

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I don't think every sort of trauma or impurity in your system can be traced back by childhood per se. I think much of it can potentially also have to do from the phase before childhood (previous incarnations) or the phase after childhood.

Just going by personal experience: I am vastly different than my brother even though we had roughly the same upbringing. I have had to deal with a lot of heavy energy and anxieties and feelings of hopelessness and feeling lost and confused whilst he (as far as I'm aware of) didn't have to deal with it so much at all and he is now a rather confident, attractive guy who is doing a psychology-related master with an (on the surface) pretty decent relationship. We both grew up in a (relatively speaking) safe and caring household with parents that didn't fuel us with much unconscious, emotional reactivity and repressive conditioning, although they weren't awakened beings.

Granted, I experienced probably quite a bit more stress and anxiety at school and in social interactions than my brother did, as I simply wasn't very good at it, and I was very insecure in the domain of social interactions, but most of that started only happening when I went to high school and not much before it.

Considering the nature (genetics)/nurture debate, neither of them seem to explain very well why have been dealing with so much more heaviness than my brother (again, as far is I know of) has been dealing with, as we have roughly the same genetic inheritence and roughly the same upbringing. I suspect myself that much of the heaviness I have been dealing with in this life has much to do with the karmic baggage I inherited from previous lives. I don't claim to know this for certain and it is indeed just speculation, but it does seem to explain my situation better, since otherwise there doesn't appear to be a very suitable theory that would explain the difference between me and my brother. Alternatively/additionally, it can (also) have to do with the fact that I'm a much more sensitive person than my brother is and therefore negative in my life leave a much bigger imprint, but again, how is this heightened degree of sensitivity explainable from the genetic inheritance perspective or the social conditioning perspective?

So I think it's false that everything can be explained from the idea that everything you are now is related to childhood, but indeed I do think that there are a people whose behaviour is very correlated to the experiences they had in their childhood.

But I just wonder: Why just childhood? Why not your teenage, or adolescence, or adult years? Why should these phases in your life be much less relevant for the amount of trauma-energy that has been put into you as opposed to your chldhood? Do you think that for instance becoming a victim of war activity is not going to give you new traumatic experiences (unless you're a very conscious being)? Perhaps your childhood may set the basis more for how you are going to perceive the experiences during this war, but certainly I feel that new experiences liek this that didn't occur during childhood are still able to affect your psyche to sometimes a rather large degree. I never like it when people say that everything that happens now in your life is all directly and only because of your childhood.

Edited by Skanzi

I am using a new account named "Nightwise". In in fact intend to stop using this account from now on and use that account instead. So I am not planning on using these two account interchangeably or intermittently. Only "Nightwise" from now on. I am doing so merely because I like the username much more. For some reason, that feels to be important to me. 

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@Skanzi theres also how you interpreted events versus your brother. Same event, radically different interpretations. 

Edited by d0ornokey

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@Leo Gura This makes total sense.


"Maybe aliens is sitting somewhere up there looking at this at like a video feed and jerking off to it. You don't know!" - Leo Gura, 2018

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There's so much that I could say to each of your replies, but I'm too lazy for that. But I can clearly see now that mister Seligman was indeed tripping balls, on so many levels!

Thanks for all your replies, I appreciate the input <3

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@Leo Gura But the ego is building on top of genetic base. Child with large and overactive amygdala (which he got in a genetic lottery) will build an identity of a fearful person, cause his amygdala fires in social "events". As opposed to a child with small and underactive amygdala who may even have some sociopathic tendencies cause no inhibitions.


Equanimity, Stillness, Non-Reactivity, Cessation, Emptiness, Void, Disenchantment, Nothingness

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Love, Joy, Infinite Goodness, Intelligence, Consciousness, Beauty, God, The Absolute, Divine Nature, Grace

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On 9/12/2019 at 11:24 PM, d0ornokey said:

sometimes the story you've told yourself is the problem

Yes.

Lots of beliefs we have today stem from childhood. And many of them are incorrectly. We as children concluded many things, but oftentimes inaccurately. After all, we were children. So it's really important take time to examine our beliefs. 

For example, if someone was told in childhood that "Rich people are evil"; this person might subconsciously self-sabotage when he or she is earning more money. 

Cognitive-behavioral therapy can be really useful in this case so as to challenge those outdated limiting beliefs. 

 

Edited by kag101

Go forward gently.

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23 hours ago, Enlightenment said:

@Leo Gura But the ego is building on top of genetic base. Child with large and overactive amygdala (which he got in a genetic lottery) will build an identity of a fearful person, cause his amygdala fires in social "events". As opposed to a child with small and underactive amygdala who may even have some sociopathic tendencies cause no inhibitions.

Nothing I said denies the genetic base. Obviously a child born with 1 leg and 1 arm will have very different survival obstacles than one who is born "normal". His childhood will be very "problematic" as he has to figure out how to deal with kids laughing at him, girls rejecting him, self-esteem issues, etc.

This actually supports my point: your genetics is really just the original "childhood problem". Whatever your genetics are, you'll be dealing with the fallout of that your whole life. If you are born a woman, that's one kind of genetic problem. If you are born a man, that's another kind of genetic problem. And so on. And of course all of these "genetic problems" become cultural and social problems.

It does not matter what your genetics are, whatever they are, they define the scope of your survival. If you are born a cat, you will be dealing with "cat problems" your whole life.

You cannot separate genetic problems from behavioral problems from societal problems from childhood traumas. It's all interconnected.


"Be melting snow. Wash yourself of yourself." -- Rumi

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this is assumptions not too much of direct experience but you most likely have choosen to experience these problems since you are so infinite you see it as no problem....so why try to escape it? wouldn't the wise fully experience the state or circumstance his in? when i was on medication and had no anxiety i kind of missed all the big emotions i was in it was a big fuss. if everyone accepted their experience of what ever they are experiencing then no one would have anything to sell you. you also have chosen your current state of consciousness so it will affect if you can just accept your current circumstance! 

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On 9/16/2019 at 1:16 AM, kag101 said:

Yes.

Lots of beliefs we have today stem from childhood. And many of them are incorrectly. We as children concluded many things, but oftentimes inaccurately. After all, we were children. So it's really important take time to examine our beliefs. 

For example, if someone was told in childhood that "Rich people are evil"; this person might subconsciously self-sabotage when he or she is earning more money. 

Cognitive-behavioral therapy can be really useful in this case so as to challenge those outdated limiting beliefs. 

 

A child is usually defined as between 2 to 12 years old. 1-2 years is just a baby.

So while lots of beliefs may have stem from childhood, even more beliefs may stem from teenage hood and adult hood since those are even more recent and you tend to remember them.

Our mind can only think of 1 or a few thoughts at one go so obviously, you tend to think about on something you remember better which is usually something that happened recently or something remarkable.

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@hyruga  Core beliefs are formed in childhood, and most of them aren't even verbal. Pretty much beliefs that all other beliefs are layered on top of.

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