What to expect in this episode:
- A major developmental split we see is the split between self and other.
- Really Good Boundaries equate to really good mental health. Psychosis is an extreme example of this imbalance
- If you ever stumble upon a person on the street of LA experiencing psychosis, you notice they might cuss
Developmental Splits in the Psyche
One of the things that we work with in recovery are called splits, and splits are part of the psyche, part of the self that split off from each other and are not communicating well with each other. A common example would be my cognitive capacity, my ability to think and reason, and my emotional capacity. Those two capacities should grow together relatively close.
A split is where one area of the self or structure of the mind continues to grow, and the other one gets stuck. So let’s say I continue to grow cognitively; I go to college, I am able to reason and think well. But for some reason, usually some kind of trauma or traumatic dynamic or drug use, I don’t grow in the area of emotion regulation. There you have somebody who is very reasonable and under stress is 7 years old. Throws tantrums, we all know people like that who we can say the tail wags the dog. They are very reasonable, they’re smart, sophisticated, and mature when it comes to their thoughts, but emotionally they’re tyrants. That is a split, between emotion regulation and cognitive capacity.
One of the major splits we deal with is the split between self and other. I have to negotiate and navigate the interpersonal sphere and I have to constantly understand where I stop and start, both in my field of existence and in my boundaries. In fact, you can equate mental health directly to how good my boundaries are. Really good boundaries basically equal really good mental health.
An example of bad mental health, meaning mental health that has really gone chaotic or awry is psychosis, someone who is clinically detached from reality, someone who is psychotic. If you have ever walked the streets of San Francisco or downtown LA and you see a psychotic person, one of the things you’ll see is they have terrible boundaries. They will cuss you out right in your face and you’re like wait a minute here.
Mental health and boundaries are pretty much equated and one of the areas where people need a lot of work when they come into recovery is figuring out how to navigate and negotiate Self and Other. It’s easy to pull back into myself, it’s easy to accommodate into the other, figuring out how to navigate that in the complexity of our lives. For some people that’s really easy with friends and family, well I don’t think for anyone it’s easy, but they’ve adapted to it and know how to do it, but they don’t know how to do it in multiple roles. It’s a certain level of development. How can I be a husband, a father, a worker, an employer, an employee, a friend?
These are different roles with different boundaries and different demands and different competing claims. Part of mental health and maturity, and part of recovery is becoming attuned to those fields and figuring out my general boundaries and my specific boundaries in each moment and each role. It’s a tremendous amount of work, and it’s why recovery is so hard. You’re not just treating your drug addiction, you’re also figuring out how to live well. Living well means figuring out how to navigate what it means to be a self, and what it means to care about the other.
Schedule a 30-min consultation with Yeshaia or Adam
We can help you begin to heal the splits in the psyche