I do want to tell you about my life, but I have only hazy memories of so much of it. That’s because I had the exact kinds of problems my theory talks about on this website. My focus was on my own desperate inner life, not on external things. What a pity!
I was born right after World War II so I wasn’t living during the war. I vividly recall listening to my father’s stories about the horrors that happened during the Holocaust. I also clearly remember my firm decision, even as a little girl, that I myself had to do something to make wars stop! Little did I know that life would offer me an opportunity to contribute to the understanding of human behavior by having me grow up with ‘a Lack of Sense of Self’ and therefore with the task of figuring out what was ‘off’ in my life.
I hope this work you are reading and perhaps using will help others like me improve their quality of life. Also, I like to think that I am paying my dues to that mission, avowed in my childhood so long ago, of helping toward the elimination of war. After you fully understand the concepts of this theory, you be able to apply them on a larger scale to families, nations and races.
The essence of my message is that once a person the ability and the courage to honor their own spirit, they can let others honor theirs and no fighting is needed to establish who has the power. We can just be who we were born to be.
As a child I grew up feeling quite detached from friends and school. To make myself believe I was part of the world, I felt I had to pretend. For example, I remember often having stomach aches after dinner but I had to sit up straight and finish my plate, to feel accepted by my family.
After my undergraduate studies in French I chose to become a musician (bassoonist) rather than a teacher like my father wanted me to be. It never occurred to me to figure out what I wanted to be; I was hoping/needing to gain my mother’s admiration as I knew she was in awe of musicians.
Once I had my first job I had a real hard time getting up early. My parents resented my ‘always being late’ and I guess their dislike of it, and my dependency on their approval, were sufficient to establish an Ego-reference around ‘lateness’ later in life. In other words, my whole sense of being a ‘real person’ depended on never being late.
I played for some 18 years in established orchestras but the feeling that something ‘was off’ stayed with me. At the moment I had to return to work after the birth of my first daughter and my pregnancy/leave being over I was confronted with a sort of acute insomnia. At first I figured it would pass as I adjusted more to my new circumstances of being a working mother but my condition didn’t change and I was exasperated by it, not being able to function well as a mother nor as an orchestra-musician.
After 3 years I couldn’t keep up with work and child rearing: I quit my orchestra job. The insomnia stayed though for almost 25 years. It was a major motivator to look inside myself and figure out what was going on; the insomnia has faded as I have worked hard to achieve a genuine sense of being who I am. I now can say that, even though occasionally I don’t sleep well, overall I do. I do OK as long as I am able to not let ‘sleeping well’ be ‘an achievement’ (Ego-Reference) on which my (Substitute-) Sense of Self depends! Link to jargon terms for Ego Reference and this phrase.
In order to be able to fully understand myself, I have explored why people do what they do: motivation! So I’m a musician who has integrated the in’s and out’s of motivations around music and found that what I discovered about my motivations in my music-life was valid in daily life as well.
You can read more about what I discovered about my motivations as a bassoonist in ‘Solo-syndrome’, ‘Teasing thoughts’, and ‘Coming in late’ in the Jargon List. [do hyperlinks] Also more about insomnia in the ‘Clean floor syndrome.’
When I got married at age 38, my wonderful husband became my guide into the world of ‘normality’. Thanks to his patience and common sense and to my persistence about gaining insights into myself, we have reached the point that we now thoroughly know each other and ourselves. Without him, my journey into self-understanding and self-healing would have been impossible and I would have ended up in a not-so-nice place in life. He supported me in my search for the truth about myself, whatever it took. He also actively stood by me with technical support during the process: the digital recordings and the ever-changing aspects of computer use.
Without his support, and without the insights and healing I gained, our children would have been victim to the same narcissistic rage my mother inflicted on me. I broke the chain of emotional abuse by becoming aware of what was going on and then being able to do things differently. Often times I have to remind myself that even if this ”breaking the chain” is all I will ever have done in my life, I will still have reasons enough to feel satisfied.
I also owe a great deal in this to both my girls. I do wish they hadn’t needed to go through all the drama played on a regular basis in our household. Miraculously, they picked up on my intention to make things better, and made their own contributions to the process. Often times the days that were supposed to be fun, like parties, birthdays, vacations, Christmas, Mother’s Day, were all preceded by a ‘blank night’ ( no sleep at all), as I was always scared ‘to screw it up’ (Jargon list) on those days where all my Ego-References were challenged. As you will read the theory you will start to understand what it means if I say that I wasn’t really present myself but totally preoccupied with keeping my Substitute Sense of Self-oriented System going.
We moved to Portugal (Corotelo, Lisbon) and my not-sleeping was a continuous problem. Spurred by that, I took my first steps on my long road of introspection. One decision I then took was that I would refuse to take sleeping medication has ultimately been my savior: not only my body didn’t get poisoned by it and my mind addicted but also I couldn’t pretend that things were OK, which kept me creative to find the real cause. I started to monitor the back of my mind and in a later stage to record my thoughts and feelings on a minidisk that I had always at hand.
We moved to Ithaca NY, where I was a stay-at-home-mother of choice and conviction indeed, but also due to not-sleeping and the necessity to spend all my time trying to trace the reason for that insomnia, which turned out to be a full-time job. I tackled that job because at some earlier point I had understood that if I wanted to change my disruptive sleeping patterns, then I needed to look into who I was and why I was the way I was, as a whole person, not just a problem-sleeper.
The things I discovered, and the things I did to heal myself of the deep problems, are what you now have access to. I’m convinced they will be useful to many people; I am convinced I am not unique in these ways.
I did get involved in music again. I practiced violin like mad. I thought I would prefer that far above playing bassoon; besides it was a symbol of freedom for me all along as the gypsies roaming through Europe were the best violin players. For that reason I loved Hungarian Music and everything that had to do with Hungary and the Pusta. As a young kid in school I choose this country to be the subject of my presentation in class, with in the back of my mind already that great need for feeling free!
I practiced saxophone, voice, piano, oboe, flute and what not in a desperate attempt to get the acknowledgment I wanted so much. Did it have anything to do with music…it is a question that I still have to answer by finding out how important music is for me after getting this work out and published.
In Ithaca NY I, together with a colleague, I founded the Ithaca community Orchestra which is still in existence. I had a lot of fun with it even though my quality of life was hindered by the insomnia and many other stressors (Substitute Sense of Self-oriented)
After little more than a year there were some issues and I felt that ‘I wasn’t taken into account enough.’ My pride was hurt, my ego crushed. My sense of having found back (since I left the orchestra world) a meaningful activity and circle of people in which I could function in a valuable way was destroyed, maybe due to my big need for recognition: I wasn’t aware then that I fully depended on the outcome of my achievements for my Substitute Sense of Self. By now I have understood my part of that story.
While in Ithaca NY my father died and in the same year my brother Pim. He was 54 years old and a late-stage alcoholic and diabetic. Pim’s tragic death has been one of the strongest motivations for me to figure out my own problem and his’ at the same time, as I figured there might be similarities. Not settling for the common explanation and usual clumsiness of people’s ignorance when it comes to explaining certain drama and lost lives, I took it upon me to get to the bottom of why his life had gone so wrong. Relating to my own struggle and how you can try and try over and over again and people don’t get any further then blaming you for ‘not being normal’ or ‘weak.’ I think I have proven that none of these attributions make any sense and in fact just serve to cover up people’s lack of understanding.
When you are reading this, I’m hoping you are one of the people who will benefit from using my insights and suggestions in this website. Of course I have questioned the healthiness of my motivation of actually spending so much of my life writing it all down. It seems a paradox that in order to be your Authentic Self you have to do so much to get in touch with it. And there have been ‘butterflies’ in my stomach anticipating what a great work this was going to be and how I would get finally the so much wanted ‘recognition’. I vividly remember the first steps I undertook to get this Theory written down that were moments of determinacy overshadowed by undermining anxiety and fear not to be able to function due to insomnia, eye-migraines and many other perceived threats.
Both figuring out and creating the content of the Theory as well as the process of getting this work in this website have helped me tremendously on my path to a Restored Sense of Self. I have come to a point in which I can truly say: I am not dependent on the outcome anymore; I AM anyway whatever happens or not happens. It would be great if what helped me would be of benefit to you and many others.
Last but not least I would like to state here that in the process, as a special gift from the Universe, I have been able to keep my promise expressed in my vow to contribute to gaining insight in what keeps people tied to engaging in WAR even in our day and age. Making your Self your life’s project will ultimately be a huge step toward a world without war.