Excerpt About Repression

Identification that is Not a Matter of Repression

We return to our example of working through the issues regarding the strength essence to illustrate the structural level of issues that expose the barriers to the soul’s liberation. As the soul begins to be open to her aggression and anger, and allows herself to feel strong, she may encounter new difficulties. Now she finds new and deeper barriers to experiencing the essential quality of strength, even though she can be somewhat open to anger and aggression. Continuing her exploration, the soul becomes aware of a sense of weakness, which actually feels like an identification with weakness that the soul is not able to transcend. Further inquiry reveals an image of being a weak person that has become part of the soul’s identity. This identification is not a matter of repression; rather, it is character and structure. Inquiring into this image, the soul may find that as a child she disowned her strength not only because of fear of others’ anger, but because if she had felt strong she would have felt able to stand up to her mother, and even to be separate from her. This insight might reveal conflicts around separation from her mother, a separation that is appropriate at a certain stage of ego development. She may, for instance, discover that her mother could not tolerate the child separating from her, and wanted her to continue to be the mother’s dependent little girl. Because of guilt and compassion for her mother, plus the fear of her wrath, the child resisted acting or even feeling separate. Therefore, in order to stay close to her mother the child abandoned and continues to ward off her separation drive, which necessitates disowning and repressing her strength. Thus not only is the essential strength repressed, but as the child’s self structures are being built, a part of this structure will include an identification of being without strength, of being a weak child.

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