Superego “cure”: rejection of the unwanted

“I want to get rid of my anxiety.”

“These tears are so ridiculous.”

“I went to an anger management course but it didn’t do any good. I’m still angry.”

“I’m fat and I hate myself for being such a pig.”

“I started crying in front of my boss. I’m such a crybaby!”


Clearly, we want to help patients face their feelings as deeply so they can feel their feelings rather than get anxious instead. We want to help patients face and experience their grief without devaluing themselves for being in pain. We want to help patients face their anger as deeply as possible so they can channel their anger into effective action, rather than live a life of continual “self-management.” We want to help overweight patients face their feelings so they don’t have to cover their feelings with food. And we want to help patients assert themselves so that they don’t have to hide their power under tears.


But patients often come to us seeking a superego “cure”: help me get rid of my anxiety, tears, anger, and fat! I want to be free of these feelings. Help me become free of these feelings by eradicating them!


Interestingly, the patient thinks his feelings are the problem when the problem is how he relates to his feelings, his inner life, and himself: with hatred.


We will never become free through self-eradication. We will only become dead, emotionally amputated. Psychotherapy can never be a cure through self-hatred and self-rejection. That would only be emotional suicide. ISTDP is not a cure through hatred but through love.


What if our feelings….ok, what if that inner mess inside us, the disavowed, the denied, the ignored, what if that is your beloved seeking reunion with you? What if those feelings that keep coming up, that keep “haunting” you, are coming up as an act of love for you? What if those feelings coming up in you right now are the answer you have been hunting for? You have tried ignoring your beloved, disavowing his/her existence. You have kept denying that your beloved exists….even if you report feeling lonely for some reason…..   What if your inner mess of feelings is bringing you a message: “You will never be free from me (your feelings) because I am always in you and because I am always reaching out to you. You will only become free if you let me love you by touching you inside, by becoming at one with me so you can be transformed.” The love you seek has always been within you, the feelings who keep loving you by reaching out to you even when you reject them. What a faithful lover you have!


Your feelings never ask you to become someone else, to do anything else, to be more than you are. Your feelings never ask you to change anything about yourself. Your feelings only ask, “Will you come closer?” And if you can’t, that’s ok because your feelings are always turning toward you, reaching out to you from inside.


If I were your feelings, I’d be asking you, “Why do you reject me? Why do you hate me when all I’ve done is try to protect you and love you? When can I come home? Will you let me come home?” In fact, you see, it’s not a matter of whether the feelings can come home. They are already home inside you. The question is this: are you willing to come home to your feeling, in you, here, now? Are you willing to come home to your beloved that has always called out to you through your body? There is nowhere to go. Nothing to do. No one to be. Just embrace your beloved, your feelings, your experience here, now. S/he has been waiting for you to come home.






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