MEDIAL PERSONALITY – Part 7: Resources

I am providing information about resources for those interested in learning more about the medial personality or topics related to it.  I have read or viewed most but not all of the material I’ve listed, and I’ve made comments about some of them.  This is hardly a complete list or resources.  I may add to it from time to time.  (In case you are wondering, I am not being paid for sharing any of this information.)

This concludes the series on the Medial Personality.  I won’t rule out the possibility of future articles related to the medial, but I have — at last and at least — completed the task assigned to me three and a half years ago.  


 

Aron, Elaine.  (1997)  The Highly Sensitive Person:  How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You.  New York: Broadway Books.

Aron also has a website:  http://hsperson.com/

Beattie, Melody.  (1987) Codependent No More.  Center City: Hazelden.

Blackstone, Judith.  (2012)  Belonging Here:  A Guide for the Spiritually Sensitive Person.  Boulder: Sounds True.

Blackstone also has a website:  http://www.judithblackstoneblog.com/2012/judiths-new-book-belonging-here-a-guide-for-the-spiritually-sensitive-person/

Corson, Roberta Bassett.  (1998).  Wounds of the Medial Woman in Contemporary Western Culture.  Santa Barbara: Pacifica Graduate Institute.

This dissertation is the very best resource for information about the medial.  ProQuest offers it as a PDF document.  Price is $38.  The website is not easy to navigate, and it is helpful to have the publication number:  9912586. 

If you are serious about understanding this topic, Corson’s work is worth the investment!  For an academic paper, it is an easy read, but feel free to skip sections that don’t seem relevant.  You may want to begin with the five portraits of medial women in Chapter 3 before diving into the background material and the conclusions.  .  It is available at:  http://ProQuest.com

Curtan, Jim.  (Blog posts published 12/2016 – 11/2017)   Finding God In All Thingsjimcurtan.com

Curtan’s essays are inspiring, informational, and entertaining.  From his website:  “Jim Curtan is a motivational speaker, spiritual director, retreat leader.  He has taught extensively with New York Times best-selling author Caroline Myss and has been a faculty member of the Caroline Myss Educational Institute since its inception in 2003.  He has taught at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York, The London Centre for Spirituality, The Crossings in Austin, Texas and The Learning Annexes in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego.  He has lectured and led workshops throughout the United States, in Canada, Great Britain, the Netherlands and Indonesia.  He has led spiritual retreats and workshops for the Young Adult Ministry of the Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles, the Metropolitan Community Church of Los Angeles and the California Men’s Gathering.”

Dale, Cyndi.  (2009)  The Subtle Body:  An Encyclopedia of Your Energetic Anatomy.  Boulder: Sounds True.

Dale also writes self-help books.  I prefer her more scholarly works.  She also has a website:  https://cyndidale.com/

de Castillejo, Irene Claremont.  (1973).  Knowing Woman: A Feminine Psychology.  New York: Harper & Row.

This book was my first introduction to the medial even though the medial is covered in only one chapter.  The rest of the book is just as valuable.  Please don’t be put off by the focus on women.  In today’s culture, it applies to any and all genders.

Delattre, Pierre.  (1971).  Tales of a Dalai Lama. Boston: Houghton Mifflin

This is a collection of short stories about a fictional, child dalai lama.  It includes the story, “Ten Conversations at Once” referenced in Medial Personality: Part 4 and Part 5. The book has been reprinted by other publishers and is still available.  You can also read it for free online.  Internet Archive makes it available as a 2-week loan.  https://archive.org/details/talesofdalailama00dela

Doherty, Catherine de Hueck. (1975) Poustinia: Christian Spirituality of the East for Western Man. Notre Dame: Ave Maria Press.

This book saved my life!  I was on the verge of committing suicide when I read it.  It gave me a reason for living and provided the loose structure I needed to organize my life.  I still consider myself a poustinik even though I am no longer a practicing Catholic and my approach to the spiritual life has more in common with Taoism than with Christianity.  However, Christian values are deeply ingrained in me.

Dubois, Allison.  Allison DuBois interview with Oprah.  The real life person on which the show Medium was based.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKNbBzz5bdI

The first season of Medium on DVD has among its special features a documentary about Dubois, her husband, and their children.  I was fascinated by how well the family has adjusted to their extraordinary gifts.  They appear to live pretty much ‘normal’ lives.  I could not find another source for that documentary.  This interview with Oprah is the closest I could get.

Eden, Donna.  (1998, 2008)  Energy Medicine:  Balancing Your Body’s Energies for Optimal Health, Joy and Vitality.  New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher.

Eden and her husband, David Feinstein, Ph.D., also give online classes.  YouTube has several videos of her demonstrations.  Her own story is fascinating.

Estes, Clarissa Pinkola.  (1995)  Women who run with the wolves:  Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype.  New York:  Ballantine Books.

There is much about the medial in this book even though it is rarely addressed specifically.  This is another book that applies to all genders even though its title suggests otherwise.  Estes also has a website:  http://www.clarissapinkolaestes.com/

Finley, James.  (1978)  Merton’s Palace of Nowhere:  A Search for God Through Awareness of the True Self.  Notre Dame: Ave Maria Press

I included this book as a way to identify the author.  It has been reprinted many times.  The 40th Anniversary Edition was published in February 2018.  I have not read this book.  However, I have been privileged to participate in one-day retreats presented by the author, and I’ve attended his meditations at St. Monica Parish.  Thomas Merton was Finley’s spiritual director when both were monks at the Abbey of Gethsemani.  Finley leads a group meditation on the first and third Thursdays of each month for his home parish in Santa Monica, California.  More information is on his website:  https://www.contemplativeway.org/

Ford, Michael.  (1999)  Wounded Prophet:  A Portrait of Henri J. M. Nouwen.  New York: Doubleday.

Internet Archive Nonprofit Library.

This Internet Archive is not an easy site to navigate, but it does provide a wealth of material — including some that are on this list.  I watch free movies there!  https://www.archive.org

Merhige, Elias.  Remote Viewing lecture by Elias at the International Remote Viewing Association (IRVA)

I was intrigued by a documentary that was included as a special feature on a DVD of the movie, Suspect Zero.  Merhige had asked for a demonstration of remote viewing, and the ‘demonstration’ was his own directed experience of remote viewing.  I could not find that documentary online.  The closest I found was the video of this lecture.  https://archive.org/details/RemoteViewing#

Myss, Caroline.  (2001)  Sacred Contracts.  New York: Harmony Books.

Myss considers this her most important work.  However, it’s not my favorite.  Her works have had significant influence in my life.  In the beginning, they just sort of presented themselves to me when I most needed them.  My introduction to her was a video I found while browsing a thrift shop.  It was from one of her workshops, “Energetics of Healing.”  I liked her down-to-earth, no nonsense approach and her sense of humor.  Sacred Contracts showed up for me in another thrift store a few years later.  Several of her books have become best sellers.  These are available on her website along with many of her workshops.  https://www.myss.com

Orloff, Judith.  (2017)  The Empath’s Survival Guide:  Life Strategies for Sensitive People.  Boulder: Sounds True.

This book focuses on helping empaths and highly sensitive people manage their sensitivities — especially the effects from others.  Orloff is an empath herself, and she teaches a course for professional health practitioners:  “Becoming an Intuitive Healer.”  Orloff is psychiatrist and a member of the psychiatric clinical faculty at UCLA.  She also has a website:  https://drjudithorloff.com/

Progoff, Ira.  (1975). At a Journal Workshop:  The Basic Text and Guide for Using the Intensive Journal Process.  New York: Dialogue House Library.

The ‘Intensive Journal’ changed my life!  However, Progoff’s book is not the easiest way to learn the process.  His writing is stream-of-consciousness and sometimes circular so that figuring out the sequence of steps in the journal exercises is a challenge.  I spent many hours converting his circular language into linear steps.  It was worth the effort, but I wouldn’t have attempted it if I hadn’t already been introduced to the process through a workshop taught by a therapist who had studied with Progoff.  Sometimes I give informal classes using those linear steps.  However, formal workshops are available.  A schedule of official workshops is posted on the website:  http://intensivejournal.org/index.php

Psychology Today:  “Are You a Highly Sensitive Person? Should You Change? A sensitive person’s brain is different: Research points to some advantages.”  Posted Jul 27, 2017:  https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/neuroscience-in-everyday-life/201707/are-you-highly-sensitive-person-should-you-change

Simon, Tami.  (2009)  Kundalini Rising:  Exploring the Energy of Awakening.  Boulder: Sounds True.

This book is a wonderful resource!  It is a collection of articles written by a variety of authors.  Some are ordinary people who have had extraordinary experiences.  Some are spiritual teachers (Lawrence Edwards, Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa, Sivananda Radha).  Some are transpersonal psychologists (Ken Wilber, David Lukoff, Bonnie Greenwell).  And some are scientific researchers (Andrew Newberg, John Selby, Bruce Greyson).  Simon is the founder of Sounds True. 

Sounds True Publishinghttps://www.soundstrue.com

The Sounds True website has a wealth of publications — print, audio, and video — on spirituality, self-help, psychology, and probably other topics as well.  There is also a lot of free content.  In addition, many of their programs provide CEU’s for mental health professionals through R. Cassidy Seminars .

 

MEDIAL PERSONALITY – Part 6:  The Subtle Medial & the Borderline Personality

- Meme - I live in another dimension - 17760863_1500269446696862_8484280091939456806_o

 

Borderline personality disorder carries more stigma than any other  — especially among mental health professionals.  In graduate school we were taught to pay attention to our initial reactions to clients.  Immediately wanting to go out of your way to take care of a client or feeling unaccountably irritable, resentful, and rejecting were indications that we had a borderline client.

Most literature about borderline personality disorder (BPD) tends to blame the BPD client’s behavior, attitude, and emotional reactivity for causing these initial reactions in others.  However, ‘initial reactions’ occur long before behavior, attitude, and emotional reactivity can be demonstrated.

‘Initial reactions’ occur long before behavior, attitude, and emotional reactivity can be demonstrated.

Initial reactions are not about behavior.  This suggests that a BPD diagnosis based on the therapist’s initial, subjective experience is either:  1) an excuse for the therapist’s countertransference or; 2) there is something about the client’s ‘being’ or physical presence that causes the uncharacteristic reaction in the therapist.

If therapists — who are trained to cope calmly with extreme emotions — have exaggerated reactions to BPD clients, what happens to untrained, ordinary people?  And a more important question, one that is rarely if ever asked is:  What happens to someone who consistently experiences exaggerated reactions from others? 

What happens to someone who consistently experiences exaggerated reactions from others? 

Such people could easily:

  • Have stormy, conflictual relationships
  • Find it difficult to trust
  • Feel misunderstood
  • Experience the help given to them as not what they need
  • Feel isolated, alienated, and abandoned
  • Feel hopeless
  • Initially value someone who appears to understand them, and then reject the person when there is evidence that the understanding is an illusion
  • Fear intimacy as a precursor to rejection (and provoke the rejection to end the fear)
  • Feel intense shame and self-doubt
  • Have difficulty trusting their own judgment and making decisions
  • Develop physical illnesses
  • Become emotionally reactive, frustrated, and rageful
  • Act out to express the rage
  • Use manipulation to get what they want/need
  • Come to believe that there is something wrong with what they are rather than what they do.

The causes of BPD have usually been attributed to perceived wounds from early childhood that were experienced as abandonment and/or double bind messages from a parent/caregiver.  The wounds may have been the result of living in a dysfunctional family; the reaction to a major trauma; or long term physical and/or sexual abuse.

What if there is another cause?  At least for some with BPD.  What if there is the sort of physical component that I described in the section, Fish Scales & Hummingbird Wings (MEDIAL PERSONALITY – Part 5:  Metaphors & Strategies for a Subtle Medial)?  What if those with BPD and those with medial personalities have that same component?

What if there is something about the physical being of a person that from birth sets up some kind of interference in the perceptions or subjective experiences of others?  Others could be drawn to or rejecting of such a person based more on illusion than on reality.  This ‘something’ could be brain waves; aura; pheromones; oscillations in molecular and atomic structures that are out of sync with the world, or something else currently unknown to us.

Perhaps this ‘physical component’ causes the person to be like a mirror or a movie screen that reflects the projections of others — either positive or negative.  Others would treat the projections as if they are real and become frustrated, resentful, and rejecting when the person did not react in accordance with the projection.

There are examples of the reflection of illusion in nature.  The beauty of rainbow trout and hummingbird wings is due to the way the scales and the feathers influence light.  The feathers and scales are themselves colorless.  What if a person has similar properties reflecting something that is illusion rather than reality — or a truth about the observer rather than the observed?

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There is precedent for a change in the attribution of a cause for a mental illness.  In earlier times, schizophrenia was attributed to overprotective mothering which led to the development of family therapy.  Since then, we have learned that schizophrenia is a biologically based mental illness with a genetic component.  The disorder may be triggered by stress — which may or may not have to do with parenting style.  A parent whose child shows symptoms of schizophrenia could reasonably be expected to be protective of that child.

Another mental health professional has used Jungian archetypes in regard to borderline personality disorder.  Lorena Williams, LCSW, addressed this in her workshop, “Of Vampires and Goddesses:  Archetypal Considerations in Borderline Personality Disorder.” 

At the workshop, Ms. Williams told of working with a clinic that specialized in treating clients with BPD.  She was feeling hopeless about treatment for BPD until she began questioning what was happening.  Her questioning led her to explore archetypes and symbolic language and to view BPD in terms of “the journey of the soul of the client” and “the accompanying journey of their practitioners.”  Ms. Williams used the archetypes of ‘vampires’ and ‘goddesses’ to explain the experiences of those diagnosed with BPD and the people involved in treating them. 

(Note:  The quotes attributed to Ms. Williams are from my own transcription of a DVD of her presentation.  One of the participants gave me the DVD because of my interest in alternative theories of borderline personality disorder.  I am responsible for any errors in transcription.)

According to Ms. Williams, the symbolic language of archetypes: 

“…moves us into the collective unconscious in that place where all things are known, and with that we enter the language of the soul.  That goes beyond personality.  It is an entrée to mysticism and the sacred.  And it is very much alive.”

Ms. Williams’ description of ‘vampires’ is very much like the ‘brownouts’ I wrote about in Medial Personality – Part 5.  She suggests that these clients draw forth the therapist’s own shadow so that the therapist experiences his or her own inner darkness — not just that of the client.  The therapist is unaware of this and is under a ‘spell.’

“Our (the therapists’) first spell is that we don’t have a shadow — or much of one.  And our second spell is that the patient is the problem — not me.  And it is only after we have rigorously done the work in spell breaking for ourselves that we are in a position to do spell breaking with these patients.”

She goes to talk about the BPD client’s spell:

“…And here is their spell.  Their spell is that fulfillment is found externally.” 

Then Ms. Williams goes into a lengthy discussion of ‘goddesses’ — especially the dark feminine.

“…The Dark Feminine, the Black Madonna, and Kali, these are goddess energies that speak to us of the very qualities that we are taught to repress and suppress.  These are the very aspects of ourselves that we push aside, hide, deny and bury.  Whatever; just get them out of the way!  Since they are bursting through our collective psyche, it’s time to get them out and parade them around.  And in taking a good look at them, what I have seen is that they are the constellation of qualities attributed to borderlines.

“…Now all of these dark goddesses are also goddesses of primordial gardens.  This is about the ultimate mystery.  This is about things that are forever knowable and that there’s something about going into the darkness that lets us see secrets of the soul that we just cannot see in the light.  It is said that if one of these goddesses is visiting you, that you are truly blessed.  And that when you are in the company of the divine feminine, she represents currents of living that we must have in order to thrive and continue as a species. 

So as such, these borderlines — as representatives of the dark feminine — are agents for our own refinement.  These patients are reflecting back to us the darkness of the collective that we refuse to acknowledge.  And I want to say that again.  These patients are reflecting back to us the darkness of the collective that we refuse to acknowledge.” 

 

These patients are reflecting back to us the darkness of the collective that we refuse to acknowledge.” 

- Meme - Dark Feminine - 18447169_1918375928385044_3451318042121416903_n

I agree with Ms. Williams that a spiritual approach to borderline personality disorder is necessary, and I agree with her assertion that the therapist’s own shadow contributes to the problems involved in treating BPD clients.  I suspect the success of Marsha Linehan’s dialectical behavior therapy is due as much to its spiritual practice of mindfulness as to any of the other interventions involved.  Dialectical behavior therapy has become the standard of treatment for borderline personality disorder.

Many years ago I qualified for the diagnostic label of borderline personality disorder.  I have been careful not to disclose that until now.  The label has such a powerful stigma! When I’ve told others that the label had once applied to me, I’ve seen a veil of suspicion cover their faces while mental wheels reinterpreted every experience they ever had with me.  They no longer trusted their experiences, and I was discredited.

I prefer the medial archetype and the medial personality as explanations for my experiences in life.  I consider the medial archetype as a meta-archetype that incorporates all the other archetypes that are associated with nonordinary reality.  ‘Vampires’ and ‘goddesses’ fit well within the umbrella of the medial archetype.

The medial archetype:  A meta-archetype that incorporates all the other archetypes that are associated with nonordinary reality. 

‘Vampires’ and ‘goddesses’ fit well within the umbrella of the medial archetype.

______________________________________________________

References

Beattie, Melody.  (1987) Codependent No More.  Center City:  Hazelden

Corson, Roberta Bassett.  (1998).  Wounds of the Medial Woman in Contemporary Western Culture.  Santa Barbara:  Pacifica Graduate Institute

de Castillejo, Irene Claremont.  (1973).  Knowing Woman: A Feminine Psychology.  New York: Harper & Row.

Progoff, Ira.  (1975).  At a Journal Workshop:  The Basic Text and Guide for Using the Intensive Journal Process.  New York:  Dialogue House Library.

Williams, Lorena. (July 30 – August 3. 2007)  Of Vampires and Goddesses:  Archetypal Considerations in Borderline Personality Disorder.  Creativity & Madness Workshop, Santa Fe, New Mexico.

MEDIAL PERSONALITY – Part 5:  Metaphors & Strategies for a Subtle Medial

Mirrors & Projection Screens; Fish Scales & Hummingbird Wings; Power Surges & Brownouts; Automatic Faucetsthese are metaphors I’ve used to explain my own experiences as a subtle medial. 

 

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Mirrors & Projection Screens

When we look at a mirror we see a reflection.  We don’t ‘see’ the mirror.  When I think of a mirror, I usually associate it with my own reflection and checking on my appearance.  But looking into a mirror could just as easily show a reflection of someone or something else.  It depends on where one is standing in relation to the mirror — one’s perspective.  The rear-view mirrors in our cars show us what is behind us while we are driving — both in space and time. 

In our everyday lives we are often ‘mirrors’ for each other.  Our interactions reflect our perceptions of each other.  We generally trust that what we ‘see’ is ‘real’, and we adjust our behavior accordingly.

But what happens if the mirror gives distorted reflections or sometimes operates like a two-way mirror and sometimes becomes a window?  What if what is ‘seen’ is not a true reflection of the other?  What if the mirror becomes a projection screen?

In recent years I’ve described myself as a mirror that is more ‘reflective’ than most — a mirror so reflective that it is almost impossible to ‘see’.  Most of the time this is not a problem.  When I am centered; when I am grounded in my own identity; when I feel the support of Inner Resources, I am able to be authentically myself regardless of how others ‘see’ me.  Like Delattre’s Great Hum, I can usually manage to “wear the mask the world places upon” me. 

“…Assume any mask the world places upon you and wear it with ease. Only then will your own divine countenance shine through…”

I long ago stopped trying to explain myself to others.  It’s more important that others know who they are.  Sometimes I return a mask to the person who ‘placed’ it on me.  I do this when it feels as if the person has given away too much their power to me.  I try to be gentle in my refusal.  I want them to feel empowered not rejected.

Not being ‘seen’ only becomes a problem for me when I am in the role of one being helped.  Casual interactions with store clerks are usually uneventful.  It becomes more troublesome when I need help with home repairs or car problems.  The real difficulty is when I — the real person — need help. 

When I really need help, my helper is rarely able to see me well enough to give me what I need.  The help offered goes to a reflection.  I thank my helper for his effort and explain that it’s not what I need.  I ask again making my request clearer and more specific — at least from my point of view.  My helper tries again from a different perspective but still doesn’t see me, and again the help goes to a reflection.  The cycle repeats until my helper becomes frustrated and gives up:  “I’ve done everything I can for you and it’s not enough!”  Both of us are wounded by the experience. 

Most of the time this kind of mismatch doesn’t progress to the point of frustration.  I don’t let it get that far.  I have learned to accept the caring intent of the help that goes to the reflection.  When I am spiritually and emotionally needy, I go inward and receive what I need from Inner Resources.  I can reach out afterward for validation from flesh and blood humans, and that is extremely valuable. 

As I grow older and my body progresses in the slow decline of aging, being ‘seen’ becomes more of an issue.  Eventually I will need to rely on others for what I can no longer do for myself.  I am concerned about the quality of the medical treatment that will be offered to me, and I am concerned about becoming so much of a burden for my caregivers that they feel intense resentment toward me.


Fish Scales & Hummingbird Wings

I haven’t always interpreted the misperceptions from others in terms of Jungian concepts.  More than fifteen years ago, I wrote about a ‘physical component’. 

What if there is something about the physical being of a person that from birth sets up some kind of interference in the perceptions or subjective experiences of others?  Others could be drawn to or rejecting of such a person based more on illusion than on reality.  This ‘something’ could be brain waves; aura; pheromones; oscillations in molecular and atomic structures that are out of sync with the world, or something else currently unknown to us.

Perhaps this ‘physical component’; causes the person to be like a mirror or a movie screen that reflects the projections of others — either positive or negative.  Others would treat the projections as if they are real and become frustrated, resentful, and rejecting when the person does not react in accordance with the projection.

There are examples of the reflection of illusion in nature.  The beauty of rainbow trout and hummingbird wings is due to the way the scales and the feathers influence light.  The feathers and scales are themselves colorless.  What if a person has similar properties reflecting something that is illusion rather than reality — or a truth about the observer rather than the observed?

The beauty of rainbow trout and hummingbird wings is due to the way the scales and the feathers influence light.  The feathers and scales are themselves colorless. 

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This theory of a physical component does not contradict the Jungian concept of the medial personality.  Both could be different approaches to understanding the same thing.


Brownouts & Power Surges

These same differences of physical constitution and/or medial personality may be responsible for other problems in relationships.  I have found that the quality of my presence influences how others perceive me and how they react to me — especially when I am experiencing intense emotions. 

Maybe I operate on a different type of subtle energy system.  We are all aware of what happens with electricity in our homes.  Some electrical appliances draw more current than others.  Household lights dim when those are turned on.  Overloaded circuits blow fuses and trip breakers.  On the rare occasions when too much electricity flows through power lines, lights initially become brighter and then burn out — along with our computers — unless we have them plugged into surge protectors.  What if some of us have subtle energy systems that affect others in this way? 

Brownouts:  I have noticed that if I go to someone for help when I am emotionally and/or spiritually needy, I draw from that person more than he or she is prepared to give — even if I am careful about personal and professional boundaries and clear in my communications.  This is what I call a brownout’, aka, ‘burnout’.

Power Surges:  Something similar happens when I am euphoric.  My euphoria is contagious and infects the other causing him or her to react in uncharacteristic ways:  making exaggerated compliments; disclosing too much personal information; blurring boundaries; offering intimacy.  When the influence of my euphoria wears off, the other experiences embarrassment and regret.  I call this a ‘power surge.’ 


Automatic Faucets

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All of us at one time or another have had the experience of another’s need drawing a response from us when we didn’t feel that we had anything to give.  Well, maybe we didn’t.  The other’s need drew a response through us the way putting hands beneath an automatic faucet draws forth water.  Subtle medials have an enhanced ability to perform this function.  Others draw through us what they need — even to the extent that our personalities may change in response to that need. 

None of us are tempted to glamorize the function of the automatic faucets we find in public restrooms, but it is not the same when people function that way.  Rather than recognizing the human automatic faucet as just an instrument, we tend to attribute the help received to the human being.  We focus our gratitude, admiration and respect on an instrument and not on its Source.  

When those of us who operate as human automatic faucets are unaware of our function, our egos will accept all of this as our due.  We own what flows through us as our identity rather than our function.  When no one activates the flow, we feel empty — because we are. 

The traditional label for finding one’s identity and validation in helping others is ‘codependence.’  The concept grew out of addiction treatment.  Beginning with Alcoholics Anonymous the term applied to those who ‘enabled’ the alcoholic’s addiction.  Eventually the term was applied to those who sought validation in helping others because their dysfunctional family system did not provide this for them when they were children.

I suspect there are different types of codependence.  Sometimes codependent behavior is caused by growing up in a dysfunctional family — with or without addiction as a contributing factor.  Sometimes it is due to the value a culture places on care giving — especially for women.  Sometimes it is the inherent function of a subtle medial personality.  And sometimes it is from some combination of these sources.

It is important for subtle medials to understand that we have identities separate from and more than what flows through us in response to others’ needs, expectations, and projections.  Otherwise we become possessed by the medial archetype and lose ourselves to our medial functions.

Subtle medials have identities separate from and more than what flows through us in response to others’ needs, expectations, and projections. 


Strategies for Managing My Own Medial Nature

Those of us with subtle medial personalities have a different way of ‘being.’  We need to understand this well enough to function in the world around us.  While medials are defined by the traits we have in common, we are sufficiently different from each other that we each need to develop our own ways of functioning in the world. 

What follows is a strategy I developed for myself.  Again I advise you to listen for the echo of your own lives in what I’ve written.”


Clare’s Strategy for Dealing with the External World of the Consensual Reality

1. I accept that what I am affects my relationships with others as much as — if nor more than — what I do.

2. I assume responsibility in relationships.  I accept that others will not ‘see’ me, and I make an effort to respond to misperceptions with tact and compassion.  I am careful to establish and maintain clear boundaries.  I set limits on other’s efforts to help me because they may not know when they have reached theirs.

3. I work at compensating for my effect on others.  I attempt to use good communication skills and to evaluate what is appropriate behavior for various situations.

4. The misperceptions I attract cause difficulties in conflict resolution.  To compensate, I try to contain my emotional reactions.  If possible, I leave a volatile situation to calm and to evaluate what happened.  I may write about it in a letter to the person before discussing it with them.  This gives the other time to reflect before responding.  It also removes the influence of my physical presence.  Sometimes I just write the letter to process what happened and never deliver it.  If I feel that more is needed, I will follow the letter — delivered or not — with a face-to-face discussion.  I may invite a neutral witness to assist with this.

5. Because I, too, misperceive others, I need to do reality checks with people whose judgment I can trust.

6. I need frequent time alone without outside influences to be myself and think my own thoughts.

7. I attend to my inner life and rely on Inner Sources for support and guidance. When I experience intense emotions, I go there for help. I wait until the intensity has dissipated before reaching out for validation from flesh and blood humans.


Clare’s Strategy or Dealing with the Inner World of the Other Consciousness

1. I practice maintaining a moment-to-moment awareness of this inner world.  I pay attention to thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations.  I have inner conversations with the concepts that have become my companions and guides.

2. I evaluate those inner experiences using both intellect and intuition to discern if, when, and how to translate those to the external world.  I’ve learned that I need to question whether the intense emotions I feel are mine or some else’s or both. When it’s ‘both,’ separating mine from another’s is more difficult.  I also question impulses to action.  Is this genuine intuitional guidance or some totally personal response?  How could my actions affect others?  Would they be harmed if I acted on the impulse?  Can I cope with the consequences if things don’t go well? 

3. I manage boundaries in the inner world.  I ask for guidance within and from that place. How do I help this person or this situation?  Is it necessary that I take action in the external world?  Do I reach out from my interior place to theirs?  Do I boundary myself in my own depths and ‘hold space’ for the other in doing so?  Most often I’m directed to boundary myself.  My boundaried presence there facilitates others’ access to the depths within themselves.  Reaching out from my space to theirs could interfere with their process.

4. I pay attention to my body.  My body is an instrument for discernment.  Are muscles relaxed or tense?  Butterflies in my stomach?  Tightness in my throat?  Dryness in my mouth?  Tunneled vision or panoramic view?  Sometimes my body signals a shift in my state of consciousness.  I may feel subtle energy flowing through me.  My body may convulse around my abdomen.  This often occurs when I’m directed to ‘go deep’ or told to ‘loosen the connections.’  ‘Going deep’ is entering my own depths and being boundaried there.  ‘Loosening the connections’ is making my inner boundaries permeable so that material from the depths flows through me.  I experience ‘going deep’ and ‘loosening the connections’ as slightly differing states of inner consciousness that I also feel in my physical body.

5. I continue to learn from and about this inner world and how I operate there.

 


Resources

Corson, Roberta Bassett. (1998). Wounds of the Medial Woman in Contemporary Western Culture. Santa Barbara: Pacifica Graduate Institute

de Castillejo, Irene Claremont. (1973). Knowing Woman: A Feminine Psychology. New York: Harper & Row.

Delattre, Pierre. (1971). Tales of a Dalai Lama. Boston: Houghton Mifflin

Progoff, Ira. (1975). At a Journal Workshop: The Basic Text and Guide for Using the Intensive Journal Process. New York: Dialogue House Library.

MEDIAL PERSONALITY – Part 3: Living in Two Worlds

Preface

Publishing this series on the medial personality is difficult for me.  I am not an expert on anything except my own life and even there I’m still learning.  My anticipation of others’ reactions threatens to derail the project.  I am tempted to write for potential critics when I’m not on the verge of giving up altogether.

Concepts about the medial are complex and explaining them requires personal disclosure.  It’s not easy to find the right balance of telling enough about myself to illustrate the concepts without making myself the focus.  To counter that, I’m using material from my journal and from personal correspondence — revised only for clarity and for confidentiality.  That writing is as unself-conscious and as honest as I get!

I want to reiterate something I wrote in the first article of this series:

“Listen for the echo of your own lives in what I’ve written.  That is what is most important!  Each of us knows more than we realize.  Our ‘knowing; is not something anyone can teach us.  It is something we already have; It is ours to discover or rediscover.”


Living in Two Worlds

- - - - unicorn meme - cropped

While I can smile at the humor of this unicorn meme, it actually rings true for me.  Events in the everyday world are disorienting.  It is only in the depths of my inner world — a world where unicorns may be found — that I feel validated.

I was born living in two worlds.  I think all of us are.  As children we lived in the inner world of our imaginations as much as we did external reality of everyday consciousness.  As we grew toward adulthood, this changed.  The world of our imaginations was almost imperceptibly replaced by the consensual reality of everyday life.  Some of us never stopped living in two worlds.  It took many of us a long time to recognize this and some of us never will.  It took me decades! 

NOTE:  I need to explain the words I use.  Elsewhere I’ve written that the medial was born living in two worlds:  “the outward world that is considered ‘reality’ by consensus and an inner world of the collective unconscious.”  I interpret Jung’s term, ‘collective unconscious’ as an umbrella for other concepts that I associate with that realm:  creativity, imagination, dreams, daydreams, fantasy, insights, intuitions, gut feelings, mystical experiences, altered states of consciousness, nonordinary experiences, etc.  And so, I could also say that all of us were born living in the inner world of the collective unconscious and the outer world of the consensual reality.

I feel the unreality of ‘reality’.  With a foot in each world, I can’t maintain my balance for very long.  I fall to one side or the other.  When I spend too much time in the consensual reality, I begin to believe in the separations that define it.  Then I suffer.  In the past I feared that complete immersion in the inner world would risk insanity.  I don’t anymore.

I’m not sure when I began feeling drawn to this inner world.  It had an eerie, seductive quality, and I called it the ‘Other Consciousness.’  It frightened me.  I was afraid that I would get lost there and not be able to find my way back.  And there was another fear, too:

“The fear that I’ll look foolish — that my body will be in one world and my consciousness in another, and I will act out in my body things appropriate to the other world but inappropriate to where it is.”  (Poustinia Journal, July 1989)

Back then, I used Ira Progoff’s Intensive Journal to confront this Other Consciousness and my fear of it.  The Intensive Journal provides a method for personifying concepts so that they can be explored in written dialogues — essentially inner conversations.  Progoff called these conversations Dialogues with Events.  It has always been my favorite part of the Intensive Journal.

After many dialogues over a period of several months, the Other Consciousness revealed itself as a trinity of concepts with one of them eventually shifting identities to that of my medial nature, ‘Medie’.  That was in 1989.

In those dialogues, the Other Consciousness told me:

It is imperative that you learn to perform your role as medium (medial) correctly.  There is much good that you could do.  The dangers from a knowing misuse of that role are not nearly as great as its misuse from ignorance.  And not much good can come from allowing it to happen — from allowing the ignorance to continue.

It would really help if you understood as much as possible about how the mediating works.  You don’t have to deliberately use it.  You already know some things about the process.  At the very least, review and organize the knowledge you do have.

It would help if you could distinguish your own emotions from those belonging to someone else.  It would also help if you could distinguish between responses that are genuinely to you from those that are to material that’s been mediated.

Being centered is a prerequisite to being able to make those distinctions, but you need to be more than just centered.  Once you are centered, what you need to do will become clearer.

Despite my intention to immediately comply with this guidance, my inner work went into hiatus shortly after that.  For the next twenty years or so my attention was drawn to the external world of school and work.  Occasionally some personal distress would send me back to the Other Consciousness for assistance.

During the past decade, I’ve learned that when I have both feet firmly planted in the inner world, I can function well in both worlds — maintaining an awareness of oneness in the illusion of separation.  It is not easy to do this, and far too frequently I fail.  It is only in cooperating with Grace that I am able to do anything at all.  It has taken most of my life to understand this.  (Below is a quote from my Poustinia Journal from 2008)

Try walking with two ‘right’ feet. It’s easier than having a right foot and a left foot going in different directions. 


Excerpts from my Poustinia Journal:

Sunday, October 22, 1989:  (Reflecting on events surrounding my move from Iowa City to Los Angeles in 1973, a spiritual quest common to that time)  That whole period in my life was lived at the point of convergence on my Map of Consciousness.  I frequently lived in that Other Consciousness and my actions were determined by events there.  But I also lived in the ordinary world and kept track of everyday reality and accepted responsibility for myself and the consequences of my actions in that everyday reality.

I remember, too, the confusion about which world to live in.  The Other Consciousness usually felt more authentically ‘me.’  But sometimes it would seem too ‘far out,’ and I would switch back to everyday, practical reality where education, job, security and opportunities of advancement, conformity, etc., felt more appropriate.  The ‘right’ thing to do.   Acceptable.  But I always knew which consciousness I was in.  The confusion was about which to choose.  The confusion over choice extends back before the period I wrote about — at least a year or two before that.  And more likely all the way back to my childhood.

…I remember how the role of medial seemed to explain a lot of things that puzzled me about my problems with relationships.  Recently while reading Codependent No More, I found in that whole syndrome (of codependence) a more complete and acceptable (reasonable, rational, normal) explanation of those same problems.  Now this role of medial, psychic stuff comes up again.  I suspect that they are both the same thing, but from different perspectives.  Having weak boundaries is part of codependence, and I’ve also heard weak boundaries used as an explanation for psychic experiences.

I’m not sure where I am now on my Map of Consciousness, but I suspect I’ve been living more in ordinary reality, and my plans for school, career, marriage, etc. are in the ordinary reality.  I wonder if they will continue to be so.  Medie (My Role of Medial) and Other Consciousness both kept insisting on their importance in my life — “central to it” — no matter how much I argued against them.  I hope the whole thing manages to be resolved, integrated, and made wholesome.


Earlier entries:

Sunday, May 29, 1988:  I feel as if I live at the point of convergence of different ‘realities.’  I work hard at staying in the everyday, Ego reality, but occasionally drift toward Madness.  It’s a weird, crazy sort of feeling that I try to avoid and push away.  Depression, loneliness, unhappiness and anger aren’t a part of Madness.  They are very much a part of the everyday, Ego reality.  I want to live out of the Self, and I’ve been there enough to know what it’s like and that it’s possible to do that.

Self has a weird sort of feeling, too — weightless, free-fall.  The initial experience of it is so much like Madness that I automatically push it away, too.  The boundary between the Self and Madness is easily crossed and I’m afraid of moving toward the Self and finding myself in Madness instead.


Wednesday, April 26, 1989:  I don’t have my ‘Map’ with me.  But I feel as if I’m living out of my Self while trying to heal parts of Ego and Madness and having to fight the pull of each.  If I can manage to do this — more or less by choice — maybe I will be able to handle ‘bad things’ happening without becoming severely depressed.

Ego reactions this morning.  Feeling a little depressed.  Insecurity about my ability to have loving relationships.  Loneliness — wanting loving relationships.  Reminded myself that living out of Self gives me all I need for me and for others.  That is possible, and I can choose to do so.

Tonight feeling lonely and insecure — ‘different.’  Not like those who are people-oriented and with lots of people resources.  Not as lovable as they.  My most significant, human other is a professional relationship.

I’ve got to remember that feelings like this come from Ego.  I’m not really needy or inadequate.  I have it all within me.  And I’ve been living out of that space for most of the last four months.  That’s what I have to remember.  Growth — and maybe eventual involvement with people — will come from that place within.

Let’s face it, I am different.  Not eccentric or crazy, but ‘complex’ and ‘different’ and surprisingly simple, too.


Tuesday, June 27, 1989:  After reading Chapter IV, Role of Woman as Mediator, in Irene Claremont de Castillejo’s, Knowing Woman, it’s obvious that the role of mediator (medial) is strongest in me.  It explains a lot of things:

Needing to be alone so that I can sort out my own thoughts and emotions and distinguish them from the influences of others.

Being able to put on another’s skin and speak for him as I did so often in the various forms of group therapy — and for friends.

Why various people found my giving and caring to be threatening.  G’s saying, “I was afraid you could see through me.”  Maybe I saw too clearly.  I was certainly experienced as being too intense.

The times I’ve misunderstood another but didn’t realize it until some time afterward.  My delay in experiencing reactions to various events, feeling angry or insulted and discovering what I really wanted to say too long after the event to say it.  Are these all part of being a medium, too?  Having my identity so overshadowed by the person I’m with that I cannot respond as my Self until I am away from them, until I’m alone.

My Map of Consciousness.  Feeling that I was at the convergence of Ego, Self, and Madness.  The confusion of moving from one to another and feeling ‘crazy,’ or of being in two at once.

The poustinia is an appropriate vocation for a medial.  But is it still mine?  Can I achieve the greatest wholeness there?  Or is marriage a better path for me?  I would choose marriage if I could become whole enough to be a positive medial.  Otherwise the quarantine of the poustinia would provide for the mutual protection of myself and the world around me.  And maybe only in the solitude can I be positive enough to benefit both myself and the rest of the world.


Wednesday, June 28, 1989:  I feel unlovable.  Too different.  Too uncomfortable.  Too much the negative medial.  When useful as a medial, too invisible.  I pour myself out and there is nothing to fill me.  In a marathon group therapy I did role playing for so many.  Wanting someone to do that for me.  No one did.  No one could?

Anger (someone else’s not directed at me) – resistance to it makes me hard like a tuning fork.  Opening to it makes me soft, and I let it flow through me and dampen its effect.  So much material coming out.  I feel overwhelmed by it at times.  Drowning.  I want a break from it.  But afraid to stop the flow or try to slow it down.


Friday, June 30, 1989:  How do I do that?  How do I learn to control the mediating?  Exploring the whole area of being a medial and an intuitive is a terrible temptation to pride and superiority.  Every person I’ve known who has claimed to be psychic has been unbalanced and used the gift destructively.  I would rather deny it than do that, but Irene Claremont de Castillejo says that it will just have to be dealt with by a later generation when other business would be more appropriate for them.  I guess I’ll just have to wrestle with it as best I can.

There seems to be something very strong in me that will not allow the essential part of me to be lost or overshadowed for long.  Self-preservation is a powerful force in me.  My spiritual director has commented that I’ve continued to be my individual self even when it was confusing and uncomfortable to do so.

I really want to understand this medial role in myself.  I want to see it for what it really is without all the prideful, ego inflating things getting in the way.  I want to be able to distinguish events in the past when I operated as an undifferentiated medial from those that were something else entirely.

I honestly don’t think I’m a strong psychic.  But something in me definitely appears to have acted as an undifferentiated medial.  I have had difficulty sorting out my own thoughts and feelings from those of the people around me.  ‘Impressionable’ I’ve called it.  I am not as ‘impressionable’ as I used to be.  Or am I?  I’m not as ‘nice’ to unattractive people as I used to be.  I’m most comfortable and at peace when I’m alone.  But I’ve had lots of bad experiences with people since I was a child.  Maybe this is all because I learned to be a people pleaser rather than being intuitive.  Or do the two go together?


 

Map of Consciousness

- Meme - People with think you're crazy

These journal entries mention my Map of ConsciousnessI chose to write about it last because it just sounds ‘crazy’!

I did a lot of work before I understood my reliance on the inner world.  I experienced shifts that appeared to have more to do with different states of consciousness than with emotions.  To sort this out, I created a map that divided consciousness into three, overlapping states:  Madness, Sanctity, and Ego.

According to my Map of Consciousness:

Ego is everyday reality where things are:

  • ordinary,
  • controlled, and
  • known. 

Madness and Sanctity share qualities of being: 

  • extraordinary,
  • out of control, and
  • unknown. 

They differ in that Madness is:

  • insane
  • unwholesome, and
  • sick. 
  • Perhaps evil?

While Sanctity is:

  • wholesome,
  • holy, and 
  • the true Self. 

There is a fine line between Madness and Sanctity and a point of convergence where the three states meet.

I created my Map of Consciousness before I learned about the medial (aka ‘mediumistic woman’), and found validation for it when I did.  Plotting my experiences on the map, I often found that I was at or near the point of convergence.  Below are two versions of my Map of Consciousness:  a photo of the original and a recreation for clarity. 

- - - - Map of Consciousness - photo of original
Original Map of Consciousness probably created in early 1988 or before.
- - - - Map of Consciousness typed scan

Map of Consciousness recreated for clarity.

 


 

References

Beattie, Melody.  (1987) Codependent No More.  Center City:  Hazelden

Corson, Roberta Bassett.  (1998).  Wounds of the Medial Woman in Contemporary Western Culture.  Santa Barbara:  Pacifica Graduate Institute

de Castillejo, Irene Claremont.  (1973).  Knowing Woman: A Feminine Psychology.  New York: Harper & Row.

Progoff, Ira.  (1975).  At a Journal Workshop:  The Basic Text and Guide for Using the Intensive Journal Process.  New York:  Dialogue House Library.