The Disowned Self
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Publish Year note: First published in 1971
Have you ever not known what you were feeling? Have you ever thought you should be angry, upset, or even joyous about something but all you felt was numb?
Nathaniel Branden, bestselling author of The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem, tackles the frightening problem some people face when they find themselves disconnected from their own emotions. In The Disowned Self, Branden explores the different ways in which people avoid or repress certain aspects of themselves for example, intellectualizing experiences instead of fully living them and shows the unnecessary loss in self-esteem that can result. Through powerful and effective self-exploration exercises, Nathaniel Branden reveals how you can liberate your repressed, or disowned self and fully integrate your thoughts, feelings, and actions to realize your true potential.
other me, the guy that’s in power, you know, the evil part of me. Whenever you try to help me, he’s going to say, “No!” So how is anything that happens here in group going to get down to the other part of me, the part that wants to change? Therapist: Let’s borrow a technique from Gestalt Therapy. I would like you to have an imaginary dia-logue between the good you and the evil you. A: All right. (He leans back and closes his eyes.) T: Begin talking as the evil you and then let the good you
act of will. To those who accept the validity of Jesus’ pronouncements, and their wider implications for undesired or “immoral” emotions in general, his teachings are clearly an injunction to practice repression. Whether or not by intention, that is their effect. It should be mentioned that these two doctrines are not incidental to Christianity, but lie at the heart of Jesus’ teachings. (For an excellent discussion and critique, see Richard Robinson, An Atheists Values, Oxford University
themselves and wonder about possible defects in their character revealed by their sexual response. Enduring and persistent emotions that clash with one’s conscious convictions are a sign of unresolved conflicts. Occasional, momentary feelings need not be. [ Referring back to the example above, should such a man reproach himself for his momentary feeling of sexual attraction, should he, in effect, forbid himself to experience it, the attraction is very likely to persist — if only subconsciously —
and volitionally; repression is subconscious and involuntary. In repression, certain thoughts are blocked and inhibited from reaching conscious awareness; they are not ejected from focal awareness, they are prevented from entering it. [ They may have been ejected from focal awareness at an earlier point in time; but that process as such is not repression. ] In order to understand the mechanism of repression, there are three facts pertaining to man’s mind that one must consider. 1. All awareness
the editor, Gerald Sykes, specifically scorns those who are too eager for a definition of the term; haste for definition, he declares, reveals that one suffers from “an advanced case of — alienation.”2 2 New York: George Braziller, 1964, Vol. 1, p. xiii. Certain writers — notably those of a Freudian or Jungian orientation — declare that the complexity of modern industrial society has caused man to become “over-civilized,” to have lost touch with the deeper roots of his being, to have become