The Divided Self

I found a fascinating quote today while reading The Divided Self: An Existential Study in Sanity and Madness by psychologist R.D. Laing.

Our civilization represses not only ‘the instincts’, not only sexuality, but any form of transcendence. Among one dimensional men, it is not surprising that someone with an insistent experience of other dimensions, that he cannot entirely deny or forget, will run the risk of being destroyed by the others, or of betraying what he knows. In the context of our present pervasive madness that we call normality, sanity, freedom, all our frames of reference are ambiguous and equivocal.

A man who prefers to be dead rather than Red is normal. A man who says he has lost his soul is mad. A man who says that men are machines may be a great scientist. A man who says he is a machine is ‘depersonalized’ in psychiatric jargon.


Psychiatry could be, and some psychiatrists are, on the side of transcendence, of genuine freedom, and of true human growth. But psychiatry can so easily be a technique of brainwashing, of inducing behavior that is adjusted, by (preferably), non-injurious torture. In the best places, where straightjackets are abolished, doors are unlocked, luecotomies largely forgone, these can be replaced by more subtle lobotomies and tranquillizers that place the bars of Bedlam and the locked doors inside the patient. Thus I wish to emphasize that our ‘normal’ ‘adjusted’ state is too often the abdication of ecstasy, the betrayal of our true potentialities, that many of us are only too successful in acquiring a false self to adapt to false realities.”

This is pertinent to my personal studies of what constitutes normality. I have joked that I am not nor have I ever been card-carrying crazy.

But sometimes it feels that way.

And today it feels that way.

And I am tired of this emotional roller-coaster ride.

No, nothing “happened” to “trigger” this.

Just caring too much, worrying about a lot of things I have no control over, both globally and locally.

I’m just tired of being too sensitive to things.

This entry was posted in gifted adults, gifted support, highly sensitive mom, intellectual stuff, Intensity, overexcitabilities, personal issues. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The Divided Self

  1. Lisa says:

    There is much I want to say but don’t have the right words, other than I hear your feelings in this post. Take care.

    By the way, I love love love you new blog look!

  2. raisingsmartgirls says:

    Lisa –

    Thank you so much for your kindness. Sometimes it’s not “words” that I need, just to be “heard” is sometimes enough.

    I know these feelings are transient. I know I was really worried about my friend Papa T and those others in Nashville, and the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the potentially collapse of Greece’s economy, on top of the volcanic activity and the earthquakes of late. Sometimes it’s just all too much and it bubbles up and over.

    I realize too, that donating money to some of these disaster relief programs is NOT the same as donating time and manpower to help out. I think, perhaps maybe that I need to explore some local volunteer agencies so that I can take a more active role in helping my local communities. I think I might see if the girls can volunteer, too.

    The thing that struck me the most is being impotent…watching things unfold and being unable to do anything but sit and watch and pray and wait. After a pretty tense 24 hours when I waited to hear from my friend about him and his family and tried to keep a positive attitude, I was simultaneously relieved and drained. Emotionally I felt better, physically I was wiped out.


    I worked on some self-care yesterday by going to the local Borders, ordered a decaffeinated Raspberry Mocha Kiss with the whip cream and chocolate and raspberry drizzle and tried to write. It usually isn’t busy on Tuesday nights, but it was last night and I could hardly do much writing. There were two high school boys working on AP chemistry and a high school boy from and presumably his girlfriend working on pre-calculus homework. They were talking and sometimes loud.

    So I finished my coffee and browsed the discounted books section.

    I came away with a beautifully illustrated (with color photographs) book on attracting and feeding backyard birds, the Out of Sync Child Has Fun (for $3.99! – I wish there was 2 because I’d give one away on the blog), and a book on guitar chords (I have this dream someday to learn how to play acoustic guitar – I love the acoustic guitar!).

    I woke up this morning and just laid in bed for a few moments, listening to the songbirds and was glad the morning sun streamed through the window and feeling so grateful to be alive one more day.

    So, yeah…there’s an upside to being so emotionally intense.

  3. raisingsmartgirls says:

    Oh, and thanks. I love love love the new blog look too.

    I just love the picture in the header…

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