For a few years I have been devouring up books about archetype and personality disorders. I am beginning to believe from my experience of life thus far, that we "bring" our stuff to everything we do and each conversation we have. I don't like to think of it as if I am not an individual of my own making, but I think it kind of is. If we try to undo or change something about ourselves in our lifetimes, I think it may be because we learned it (probably at a very, very young age) and it has become a part of us. This, in it's negative state, feels a bit parasitical. I find that I want to pick off certain qualities about myself that are deeply ingrained, like an elusive late summer chigger in my sock that is so difficult to locate and so irritating. Personality disorders (as defined by the DSM) are pretty serious, but in their descriptions are lots of little features, which someone may possess as a trait, without having an actual disorder. I find it enlightening to know what causes these features to come forward in a person. Childhood experiences seem to form such a huge basis for how we interpret what happens to us and how we cope. I have an alcoholic parent and grandparents, (so common, of course), so much of my healing deals with looking at the borderline personality. This is strictly my opinion, but I would have to wager that a very large portion of alcoholics are borderlines or have those traits. (They can go from loving to scary pretty quickly, causing a child to be anxious while waiting for the parent's mood to shift. Those who are impulsive spenders, reckless with money or sex, overeat, abuse substances, ruminate about other's words and actions, self mutilate, rage on friends, family or strangers, engage in feeling really guilty, shameful or self-loathing may also fall into this classification. There is much much more to it that this, but this is what stands out for me.) This is a lot of unraveling to do in one lifetime. Back to what we bring to our experiences(stay focused!): I have avoided saying certain things to my son because I have a negative association about them. "Ssshhhh" is one such thing we don't say around here. I perceive it as rude and as shutting down anothers feelings and words. If he has something to say, I want to hear it-no matter how it might hurt my ears. Iwant to comfort him without shutting down his process. If you are a fan of Harvey Karp, then you know that Ssshhh is one of his famous 5 S's to create The Happiest Baby on the Block. I know Harvey's onto something. All of our friends think he is brilliant-and if you see the babies respond to his S's, melting like magical little malted milk balls in his hand-a stranger's hand!-you would believe him, too. But I still don't dig that Ssssshhhhing word. A friend recently pointed out how I'm bringing that negative association to the experience, so of course it's going to feel wrong and weird to me. How I love this friend! I'm still not going to Ssshh, but talking about how I came to believe what ssshhhing would result in was enlightening and I needed that! Here are some of my favorite reads on the subject of psyche, personality, archetype: She - Robert Johnson (and also He and We) Four Archetypes - C.G. Jung The Moon and The Virgin - Nor Hall The Heroine's Journey - Maureen Murdock (a major goodie) Women Who Run With the Wolves - Clarissa Pinkola Estes Understanding the Borderline Mother - Christine Ann Lawson In the last decade I have turned to these more times than I can count. There is a pattern here, in these selections, that myth and fairy tale are used to describe experiences and personality tendencies. I read because I want to stop bringing that earlier mentioned "stuff" to how I interpret the world. I want to feel that inner spark within me helping me be more courageous, more in love with the truth. I admit, I want to feel whole.