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Showing posts from September, 2013

Nathaniel Branden on Self-Esteem, Pleasure and Escapism

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The following text is from Nathaniel Branden's book "The Psychology of Self-Esteem."


Self-esteem and pleasure

Pleasure, for man, is not a luxury, but a profound psychological need.

Pleasure (in the widest sense of the term) is a metaphysical concomitant of life, the reward and consequence of successful action—just as pain is the insignia of failure, destruction, death.

Through the state of enjoyment, man experiences the value of life, the sense that life is worth living, worth struggling to maintain. In order to live, man must act to achieve values. Pleasure or enjoyment is at once an emotional payment for successful action and an incentive to continue acting.

Further, because of the metaphysical meaning of pleasure to man, the state of enjoyment gives him a direct experience of his own efficacy, of his competence to deal with reality, to achieve his values, to live. Implicitly contained in the experience of pleasure is the feeling: "I am in control of my existence…

The Cycle of Child Abuse and How to End It

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Intellectually, the mechanism of continuous child abuse is not that hard to understand. Childhood trauma that we haven’t consciously processed we impose on our children. Most people haven’t even started to uncover their past and gain real knowledge on how the world works, or have done very little self-exploration; therefore they inevitably harm their children to the degree of their own unprocessed traumas and ignorance.

The Cycle of Abuse

As children, we are abused in various ways by our parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, teachers, priests, coaches, or other caregivers and authority figures. Sometimes the abuse is overt and instantaneous, like beatings or molestation – but often it is subtle and continuous, like emotional unavailability, shaming, threats, over-control, or neglect. Such experiences often start basically when we are born, and in one form or another they last for decades. All of this cripples us mentally and stunt our emotional and psychological growth.

Then we grow up…

Nathaniel Branden "Emotions and Repression (Part 2): The Repression of Positives"

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The following text is from Nathaniel Branden's book "The Psychology of Self-Esteem."

The first part, called "Emotions and Repression: The Repression of Negatives," can be found here.



Nathaniel Branden "Emotions and Repression (Part 1): The Repression of Negatives"

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The following text is from Nathaniel Branden's book "The Psychology of Self-Esteem."


Emotions and repression: 
the repression of negatives

Repression is a subconscious mental process that forbids certain ideas, memories, identifications and evaluations to enter conscious awareness.

Repression is an automatized avoidance reaction, whereby a man's focal awareness is involuntarily pulled away from any "forbidden" material emerging from less conscious levels of his mind or from his subconscious.

Among the various factors that may cause a man to feel alienated from his own emotions, repression is the most formidable and devastating.

But it is not emotions as such that are repressed. An emotion as such cannot be repressed; if it is not felt, it is not an emotion. Repression is always directed at thoughts. What is blocked or repressed, in the case of emotions, is either evaluations that would lead to emotions or identifications of the nature of one's emotions.

A…