Being Beyond Criticism

Some of us are inhibited from joining in to a simple conversation because we need to feel that we are "perfect" before we speak. Being "perfect" has a special meaning for some, to them it means being beyond criticism.

Criticism of a type that kindly and gently creates something better while being given respectfully and non-competitively is the type of non-punishing interchange that teaches instead of destroying the person. Few of us are lucky enough to have that kind of parent or parenting person in their backgrounds.

Not being negatively "compared" to others is an important ingredient in creating a child's personality structure that does not need to develop symptoms. Symptoms are distortions of a defense against misery. Our separating into being one's own person is threatening to some of our parents and mates, but it is an essential aspect of becoming our self. However, we may have learned to view the "separation" as our being "bad" because it does not make us seem to be more like "others" who we think are, or our parent said are, the "right" kind of person. One can feel very sad about being different even when that difference is really objectively a beautiful aspect of them.

Not being able to celebrate our individuality we may view ourself as "inferior" when actually we are functioning in a superior manner. If we were raised in a way that made us feel that we were "less," than we could ever feel comfortable about them we may be spending the rest of our life trying to fight off depression and anxieties that we cannot identify. We need the help of some expert outside of ourself who is trained in understanding human development and also the development of human psychopathology, namely, a psychotherapist.

We cannot usually control that which we cannot understand. Insight oriented interpersonal psychoanalytic psychotherapy is one of the kind of therapy which works at helping people comprehend  the "why" of their life, the reasons that they became them and which made continuously repeat the life patterns that keep them feeling inadequate, depressed, phobic, obsessive-compulsive, anxious, and/or an endless list of symptoms that diminish of their life.

Understanding or insight is almost never like that which people see in some movies which consists of a single startling "ah ah" insight after which life is never the same and cure rapidly ensures. Insight means experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and actions that made the person develop their way of life. Sometimes the reasons for the development of our type of personality are so uncomfortable for us that it takes many approaches from many different angles before the person can truly see, and know what made them them. Symptoms are usually only able to function as a defense against understanding as long as we have insufficient data. As data gets more and more sufficient we often find that the human mind extends control over many symptoms that threaten our psychological well being. We all tend to make some kind of struggle to make a more comfortable life for ourself. The struggle to avoid anxiety for some results in withdrawal to avoid psychological pain which itself causes other interpersonal problems, but whatever the psychological defense is, it often costs us as much or more than it prevents. No one is ever completely free of symptoms, but the issue is how much do the symptoms affect our quality of life. If a symptom or series of symptoms is having a major effect upon our life, then it is destructive to keep those symptoms.

We at Associates in Psychotherapy, P.A. wish you the best in your endeavor to be yourself comfortably.

Drs. Arnold and Maxine Lehrer
Associates in Psychotherapy P.A.
(908) 654-3677
(908) 654-4118