Jun 8, 2009

What Self Compasion is Not

When individuals feel self-pity, they become immersed in their own problems and forget that others have similar problems. They ignore their interconnections with others, and instead feel that they are the only ones in the world who are suffering. Self-pity tends to emphasize egocentric feelings of separation from others and exaggerate the extent of personal suffering. Self-compassion, on the other hand, allows one to see the related experiences of self and other without these feelings of isolation and disconnection. Also, self-pitying individuals often become carried away with and wrapped up in their own emotional drama. They cannot step back from their situation and adopt a more balanced or objective perspective. In contrast, by taking the perspective of a compassionate other towards oneself, "mental space" is provided to recognize the broader human context of one’s experience and to put things in greater perspective. (“Yes it is very difficult what I’m going through right now, but there are many other people who are experiencing much greater suffering. Perhaps this isn’t worth getting quite so upset about...")

Self-compassion is also very different from self-indulgence. Many people say they are reluctant to be self-compassionate because they’re afraid they would let themselves get away with anything. “I’m stressed out today so to be kind to myself I’ll just watch TV all day and eat a quart of icecream.” This, however, is self-indulgence rather than self-compassion. Remember that being compassionate to oneself means that you want to be happy and healthy in the long term. In many cases, just giving oneself pleasure may harm well-being (such as taking drugs, over-eating, being a couch potato), while giving yourself health and lasting happiness often involves a certain amount of displeasure (such as quitting smoking, dieting, exercising). People are often very hard on themselves when they notice something they want to change because they think they can shame themselves into action – the self-flagellation approach. However, this approach often backfires if you can’t face difficult truths about yourself because you are so afraid of hating yourself if you do. Thus, weaknesses may remain unacknowledged in an unconscious attempt to avoid self-censure. In contrast, the care intrinsic to compassion provides a powerful motivating force for growth and change, while also providing the safety needed to see the self clearly without fear of self-condemnation.
- Dr. Kristin Neff Ph.D.


William's wife said...

Wikipedia explains:

Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a personality disorder defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the diagnostic classification system used in the United States, as "a pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, and a lack of empathy."

The narcissist is described as turning inward for gratification rather than depending on others, and as being excessively preoccupied with issues of personal adequacy, power, and prestige. Narcissistic personality disorder is closely linked to self-centeredness. It is also colloquially referred to as "the god complex".

Marie Tremblay said...

Perfect Possession
May 2009
By Maria Hsia Chang

References to perfect possession are sparse. One won't find them in the books of Fr. Gabriele Amorth, the Vatican's chief exorcist and president of the International Association of Exorcists. The diligent and careful reader will, however, find allusions in the works of Frs. Jeremy Davies and Malachi Martin.

In his 1992 book Hostage to the Devil: The Possession and Exorcism of Five Living Americans, Fr. Martin wrote, "In every case of possession that comes to the point of Exorcism, the subject has reached a crucial crossroads. Some small corner of reservation remains, some glimmer or recollection of the light of Jesus still shines." It is from that last redoubt that the possessed manages to muster sufficient autonomy of will to call for help. That is why their possession is only partial instead of complete.

Not so with the perfectly possessed. Fr. Davies, in his 2008 book Exorcism: Understanding Exorcism in Scripture and Practice, observes that the far more terrible state is that of the possessed who are complacent. He calls such cases "perfect possession" because the individual has freely given himself totally to evil. So, who are the perfectly possessed?

To answer that question, we might begin with the factors that can render a person vulnerable to demonic possession in the first place. Fr. Amorth is of the opinion that a person can become possessed because of another's evil spell, or by associating with evil people or places, OR AS A RESULT OF A GRAVE AND HARDENED SINFUL CONDITION (An Exorcist Tells His Story, 1999). The first factor is clearly not the person's fault. The individual does bear some responsibility for the second factor because he chose to associate with evil, becoming contaminated as a result. As for the third factor, it clearly is operative in cases of perfect possession because the individual has freely assented to evil either via an explicit pact with the Devil or as a result of habitual sinning.

Fr. Martin, however, disagreed with the no-fault view, insisting that no one can become possessed without some degree of consent: "The effective cause of Possession is the voluntary collaboration of an individual, through his faculties of mind and will, with one or more of those bodiless, genderless creatures called demons." For that matter, the individual does not even have to intentionally engage the demonic. Fr. Martin maintained that simply dabbling in the occult -- by playing a Ouija board or attending a séance or practicing transcendental meditation or the enneagram -- can dispose a person to possession because he has made himself an "aspiring vacuum" to "whatever happens along."...

The Catholic Church has supplied a collection of signs and indicators for partial possession, including blasphemous and vituperative language, preternatural knowledge, preternatural physical strength, levitation, the ability to speak an unknown language, a violent aversion to the holy, and voices in the mind saying evil things. But neither the Church nor her exorcists have given us the signs that point to perfect possession. Worse still, Fr. Martin warned that being absolutely controlled by evil, the totally possessed gives no outward indication, no hint whatsoever, of the demonic residing within. The individual will not cringe at the sight of a crucifix or violently react to the touch of holy water or hesitate to discuss religious topics with equanimity...

those who are perfectly possessed do not display the usual symptoms that the Church attributes to partial possession. Given this, how can a perfectly possessed person be recognized?...

(full article at Spirit Daily).

This is a powerful article. I've seen this lack of empathy at this Blog. An individual who not only downplayed the murder of Mary Stachowitz, but who implied that she provoked her own murder by witnessing to another that homosexuality is a sin.

JayG said...

I re-watched the Exorcist a few years ago, and two things stood out;
This time I noticed that the girl Regan, played by Linda Blair, used a Ouiji board. Also the psychiatrist (same one as in the Terminator) recommended a "new" drug (remember this was 1976 or so) called Ritalin.

Marie Tremblay said...

I have the uncut directors version but I believe each has this scene: Regan's mother has just arrived back home and is walking by a mirror. For just an instant, the demon appears in the mirror. I have watched the film more than 14 times. I just caught this the last time. Regan's mother is more responsible than she knows for her daughter's possession. Her philosophy toward life, her lifestyle and other factors (such as her liberal circle of friends) all contribute. And then there is the Ritalin.

Kym said...

I cannot believe what I have stumbled upon here.

Right wing Christian banter yay!!

I am going to have fun reading and responding to some of this :-)

Happy Pride Everyone.

JayG said...

Remember the mother's driver, the Director called him a Nazi, but he insisted he was Swiss.