How To Face A Duel

Let’s see, for example, how to go through a duel or a loss:

If we lose a loved one, we will feel hurt. We are likely to want to fall back on ourselves, distance ourselves a little from the world around us, and be in touch with that genuine pain.

If we believe that this pain will destroy us -because, for example, this happened to our mother- or if we believe that we must be strong -because our father taught it to use, then we will not allow ourselves to feel the sadness. We will interrupt the healthy, though painful, a process of mourning.

If, on the other hand, we have been able to go through the duel, we will discover that we can contact other things and other people and find satisfaction there.

But if in that we see a sign of lack of love towards the being that we have lost, it is possible that at that moment we interrupt that process of reopening the world. We will remain locked, doing what we have lost an altar; and of our life, a consecration.

Healthy pain or neurotic pain

It is not possible to establish general rules to know, in each situation, what our organism needs as a whole. That is why our conscience is often confused. It is about being attentive to the real needs that arise at every moment so as not to get in the way.

To do this, in order not to divert or stop the natural process that leads to the satisfaction of each need and, therefore, to a state of equilibrium, it is necessary to pay attention to what we fear would happen if we surrender to our feelings.

What appears as fearsome on the horizon, and which we usually avoid, is usually one of these four things:

A loss – as in the first example.

A confrontation,

A rejection

The revelation of an unpleasant truth for us – for example, when the supposedly unpleasant truth is revealed that we can love others beyond the lost person.

When, as unpleasant, we avoid these experiences, what we do is change healthy pain for neurotic suffering.

The terrible difference between the two is that healthy pain is nutritious, it teaches us something; when passing through it, when crossing it, it evolves towards another sensation and, finally, it leaves us, having grown up with it.

Neurotic suffering, on the other hand, can be eternal: it is repetitive and, therefore, it does not teach us anything, it leads us to behave in the same way over and over again; we do not cross it but we stagnate in it.

We could compare healthy pain with a gear inside machinery that, when turning, consumes energy to produce a job; the neurotic suffering, on the other hand, would be a loose gear that turns in false, useless.

For that reason, sometimes, the therapy process is painful, because it does not pursue happiness -or at least not at the beginning- but rather leads us to experience the painful experiences that we have been avoiding and that contain the learning that that same avoidance – we have skipped.

Sigmund Freud himself, at the beginning of psychotherapy, said how great the gain was if, as therapists, we managed to “change the neurotic suffering by common and ordinary suffering”.

Avoid Avoiding! How To face our Fears And Conflicts

Avoiding those situations that we fear can bring us short-term relief. But, in the long run, it is a mechanism that encloses us in a repetitive cycle with no exit. The problem will become greater and will gradually limit our vital possibilities.

Our mind is self-regulating

Fritz Perls, a creator of Gestalt therapy, argued that in this therapeutic model there are only three really important questions:

The first is “what are you doing?” , Which tries to lead the person to experience the here and now.

With the second question, “How are you doing?” , It is intended that the one to whom it is directed deepens in the realization.

The third and final question is “what are you avoiding?”.

With this, we can get an idea of ​​the importance of the concept of avoidance in Gestalt therapy.

From its beginnings, the creators of this therapy emphasized the idea of homeostasis; that is, the capacity of our organism -and our psyche- to self-regulate itself before the changes in the environment in order to maintain a state of internal equilibrium.

If we let our organism “flow”, then, of course, we would find balance again.

We should allow our body to seek the appropriate way to react to a certain event to cry, to get angry, to laugh, to get closer, to move away-without interrupting or repressing it or questioning it.

Complications appear when our conscience intrudes and interrupts this process. We are constantly interrupting ourselves, Perls said. And why do we do it? we interrupt ourselves because, for various reasons, there is something we want to avoid from that natural flow of experience.

Our past experiences, our mandates or the vanity of maintaining our self-image tell us that something unpleasant or dangerous will happen if we let the natural process run its course.

To avoid this dreaded consequence, we interrupt the process of homeostasis and force ourselves to move in a certain direction or to remain immobile.

Without knowing it, by interrupting this process we have unbalanced ourselves. We have become neurotic.