Saturday, February 5, 2011

Re-Defining The Good,The Bad and The Ugly

In light of a recent comment from an atheist, I wanted to re-define my recent blog post by this title (The Good The Bad and The Ugly. This entry will be a personal analysis of myself based on Freud's theory of "the Id, the Ego and the Super-Ego".

The Bad is my Id. The Id's desire, hopes and dreams were not to be realized, as my undeveloped Ego had been whipped into place by the "Super-Ego" (parental authority, which was the Ugly). It was reasonable under the circumstances. My step-father was not ready to get married, with a child whose only security was her grandfather's love and was hyperactive to boot. He was a Marine and had also had a difficult up-bringing.

My childish "Id" was harshly disicplined by a step-father who didn't understand his step-daughter and was too stressed from work and making ends meet to learn what my childish heart wanted. He was seeking to be responsible for my mother, me and my soon to be born half-brother. Unfortunately, we didn't have time to develop any relationship, as I moved back in with my grandparents only after living with him 4 years.

The move to another state was an abrupt one for me, who was beginning school that year. I had lost my sense of bearing and my childish heart was stripped of the security of my grandfather's love, the house I knew and my friends from church.

I remember going to school that first day with my mother and there was a little girl crying. I tried to comfort her, as I, myself, was feeling most insecure. I found some friends down the road that I played with regularly and my brother also became of instant intrigue and interest. But, I was not happy. I wanted to be with my grandparents, but also didn't want to make my mother unhappy. I was torn all my life by these conflicting desires. So, my "real world" never was my "ideal one". This is the Bad.

The Good was my developing Ego. I didn't know all my life that I was of value or worth anyone's special attention. I thought that I was a mistake, as my parent divorced and so the existential message was a nihlistic one.

My teen years were a struggle to prove I was loveable. That struggle has gone on until recently. I was always seeking a "special relationship" that would value me, where I would be "the One" and could come to know "family". Then, I became a "Christian".

A Chrisitan meant that I was valued. I had a "isntant family", who was to love and accept me "just as I am". That had never happened before. During that early Christian commitment, I met a young man that I fell deeply in love with. He had a stable family life in a small town as a doctor's son. He encouraged me in my ability to learn. I had such a low self-concept that I used to cry after "our group" would talk about "intellectual things". But, he kept encouraging me and so, I went back to school, making good grades, I became more confident. My helpless Ego was beginning to grow. This is the Good.

He eventually proposed and I thought that we would "live happily ever after", until he went home to tell his family. His mother was adamantly opposed to our engagment. He tried numerous times to talk with her, but to no avail. She was convinced that I was not "good enough" for her son. I broke up thinking it was making him miserable, though his brother had offered support. His little sister was not going to be allowed to be in our wedding. I couldn't stand to see him suffer and I certainly didn't think this was a beginning of a happily ever after! I was crushed and devastated. This was Ugly. Social status had a undermining effect upon my Ego;s developing confidence.

I continued in school and just aroung the corner a man I'd met and be-friended 5 years prior, who was aware of my relational difficulties became more than a friend. He eventually proposed and promised that I would finish school when we moved to our first place after we married. But, unfortunately, I could not continue my education because we couldn't afford it with "out of state" costs and his post-doctoral salary! So, we decided to wait for a year and I'd go back when I'd gained residency status. Then, I became pregnant with our first child and decied to wait to go back to school. This is the Good.

We moved after the following year when our daughter was only a few weeks old. And my husband went off to training, while I moved back "home". During that time at home, I wanted so much to have my daughter to have what I didn't a stable, loving and extended family! So, I sought to perform (my Super-Ego superintending my Ego), hoping to win my family's love and approval for my daughter. I did not realize that I was settting myself back to earning my way to another's heart. This is not healthy Ego development. This is the Bad and the Ugly..

To make a long story shorter, I was still seeking that "happily ever after" where I would have a loving and supportive extended family for my children, when we moved to another location. The Ugly is that religious culture can be damning to those that aren't tuned to those cultural norms and values.This was another "Super-Ego" time where performance bantered my Ego's desire for normalcy and not radicalization of life.

Then, my husband and I moved to D.C. for a year's fellowship with the State Department. During that time, i was to be working on a Master's degree on "moral development". What I learned and experienced shook everything my Ego was based on, that is an evangelical faith. I found myself re-thinking my commitments of value and this was a turning point away from a fundamentalist understanding of faith. I was learning so many things that it thrilled me and changed my life forever. This was the Good.

I think that I split during this time where I didn't want to define my life on narrowed values because of the over-bearing nature of them. My Ego was much too important for me to give in to the demands of the Super Ego. Moralization of life is not a life of liberty and what I realized that our government was for liberty of human value. I had found a secular correlation of human value to my intial understanding of human value in my religious frame. I then, started to question of what value is religion if it oppresses the Ego? And one lives their life separated from 'reality'?. This was the conflict of the Good and the Ugly.

Today, I think that my Ego, while not fully developed is strong to resist over-bearing demands of religious claims and parental images. In a free society, one can choose and determine one's life ultimate values, goals and purposes. So, I fight to know what interests me and there are many things of value to pursue. It will all be a matter of decision and commitment.

 I know I will always pursue a life of learning because I value human knowledge. And I will always pursue family and friends, because without these supports life's commitments aren't celebrated!

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