Pinholes in the soul

16 Apr
Light at the end of the tunnel

Light at the end of the tunnel (Photo credit: Swobodin)

He had his second therapy session last week and, once home, I noticed he had left out a little sticky note which says

 ‘Don’t forget this: Could’

Assuming he left it as an invitation for me to ask about it…I did. His therapist has noticed that he says should rather than could and has urged him to focus on the could rather than the should.Of course I’m going with whatever she wants him to do but I’m confused. My husbands explanation of why was a little (ok really) vague so I got on Google but I’m still unclear…can anyone explain the logic?

(used to express condition): Were he to arrive, I should be pleased.
(used to indicate duty, propriety, or expediency): You should not do that.
(used to make a statement less direct or blunt): I should think you would apologize.

(used to express possibility): I wonder who that could be at the door. That couldn’t be true.
(used to express conditional possibility or ability): You could do it if you tried.
(used in offering suggestions or advice): You could write and ask for more information. You could at least have called me.

From this I can only assume that the point is to make him focus more on the positives of possibilities and his own ability (what he CAN or COULD do) rather than concentrating on what he should be…..*voice trails off as I confuse myself again*

The other thing he told me is about a well known (in the psychology world) theory of the 3 ego-states (parent, adult, child) in ‘Transactional Analysis’ – of which his therapist thinks he is missing the ‘child’ element. -again his description was vague so I jumped back on google and had a little more luck…

‘At any given time, a person experiences and manifests their personality through a mixture of behaviours, thoughts and feelings. Typically, according to TA, there are three ego-states that people consistently use:

  • Parent (“exteropsyche”): a state in which people behave, feel, and think in response to an unconscious mimicking of how their parents (or other parental figures) acted, or how they interpreted their parent’s actions. For example, a person may shout at someone out of frustration because they learned from an influential figure in childhood the lesson that this seemed to be a way of relating that worked. 

  • Adult (“neopsyche”): a state of the ego which is most like a computer processing information and making predictions absent of major emotions that could affect its operation. Learning to strengthen the Adult is a goal of TA. While a person is in the Adult ego state, he/she is directed towards an objective appraisal of reality. 

  • Child (“archaeopsyche”): a state in which people behave, feel and think similarly to how they did in childhood. For example, a person who receives a poor evaluation at work may respond by looking at the floor, and crying or pouting, as they used to when scolded as a child. Conversely, a person who receives a good evaluation may respond with a broad smile and a joyful gesture of thanks. The Child is the source of emotions, creation, recreation, spontaneity and intimacy.’ 

In other words:
Parent is our ‘Taught’ concept of life
Adult is our ‘Thought’ concept of life
Child is our ‘Felt’ concept of life

Now, I dont know about you but that makes SO much sense in his case.His therapist wants to help him reconnect with his ‘inner child’, to break down the barriers he has subconsciously built around his true self and allow him to rediscover his own emotions.

As my counsellor put it…’its like putting pin pricks into his soul and letting the light shine in…it’s a difficult process but it’s a very good place to start’

That’s the ultimate silver lining right there…I’m feeling hopeful



Tags: , ,

35 responses to “Pinholes in the soul

  1. greenembers

    April 16, 2013 at 10:43 am

    This sounds very positive. I’m hopeful. 🙂

  2. beetleypete

    April 16, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    As far as I have always understood it, ‘should ‘ is something that you have to do, or to have done. ‘Could’ is a possibility, a maybe, or a ‘might do’. That’s just my take on it though. Glad you are feeling good about things.
    As ever, Pete. X

    • Comfortably Numb

      April 16, 2013 at 2:01 pm

      Just saying it that way makes it make so much more sense lol (so thank you) 🙂

  3. Cathy Ulrich

    April 16, 2013 at 1:01 pm

    Good news,Beth. While it can take time, it sounds like both of your therapists are good ones and you’re both open to possibilities.

    • Comfortably Numb

      April 16, 2013 at 2:02 pm

      Definitely, I saw mine today and he said that overall, thinking back from the first session with both of us to how much has changed and how well we have coped now hes impressed. He thinks there is hope and we are definitely making progress – slowly but surely.
      Thanks Cathy

  4. Olivia Stocum

    April 16, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    Keep hoping, keep loving! You are sooo brave!

  5. Doggy's Style

    April 16, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    It’s a great place to start.
    I worked on the 3 ego-states for awhile with the shrink, I keep blocking the inner child when it comes to deep emotions, I like to be rational and it’s not always a good thing.

    • Comfortably Numb

      April 17, 2013 at 8:02 pm

      No i suppose its not always a good thing but neither is purely feeling deep emotions…its all about balance. Did he help you rediscover your inner child? xB

  6. Kira

    April 16, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    It sounds like he’s got a good therapist! This sounds like a really positive movement forward! Stay strong and thank you again for sharing from your heart!! I looking forward to your continued journey.

    • Comfortably Numb

      April 17, 2013 at 8:03 pm

      I will definitely keep you updated, thank you for the support xB

      • Kira

        April 17, 2013 at 8:47 pm

        You are very welcome. You are a great support for me 🙂

      • Comfortably Numb

        April 18, 2013 at 8:13 am


      • Comfortably Numb

        April 18, 2013 at 8:14 am

        xx* damn autocorrect

  7. Donna Gwinnell Weidner

    April 16, 2013 at 5:05 pm

    Pom-Poms are shaking…

  8. Charlie

    April 16, 2013 at 5:41 pm

    He has a very good therapist and I, too, think your positive and hopeful attitude is amazing!

    Transactional Analysis gives meaning to this, for sure. But TA is built upon the intellectual foundation of another.

    The other, prior, source for the could/should thing is Alfred Adler. He was a Freudian with immense influence. He is best known for the phrase: “Should is shit.” He asserted that “should” comes from a feeling of inferiority that we learn from some authority figure with significant “power” over us, most likely father. He further suggested the way to health is to counter the “should” with “I can” or “That is not who, or what, I am.” He said something else, “Just ask anyone around you what they think!” He brought the community into the therapy. A first.

    Sorry for the lecture. I’m a graduate school librarian with a school of counseling as part of my responsibility. I don’t EVEN know if this helps but my father always told me I should be different, that is, better than I am. This is my way of saying, “What you thought of me, Dad, is not who or what I am.”

    You are helping me heal too. Thanks!

    • Comfortably Numb

      April 17, 2013 at 8:06 pm

      Should IS shit lol Im glad im helping you too and thank you for the explanation. It makes a lot more sense now – in general AND in relation to my situation xB

  9. Fat Bottom Girl

    April 16, 2013 at 5:59 pm

    Sounds like your therapist knows how to break it down and not get lost in a bunch of psycho-babble!! 🙂

    • Comfortably Numb

      April 17, 2013 at 8:07 pm

      He knows I dont ‘do’ long words and confusing stuff lol 🙂

  10. kat

    April 16, 2013 at 6:52 pm

    ‘should’ is a must do…it is pressure. i had a therapist who said ‘dont’ should on yourself’. whereas ‘could’ gives you control, and also opens up possibilities you would not see if you were ‘should-ing on yourself’.

  11. TemptingSweets99

    April 16, 2013 at 9:34 pm

    Keep hope alive! 🙂

  12. behindthemaskofabuse

    April 17, 2013 at 4:24 am

    I understand this as I grew up with “I should’s and I shouldn’ts ” My entire thought process is that now. Everything I do is because “I should” in my mind, that is connected to guilt. I have been learning not everything is “I should” some is I could or want too or don’t want too.

    Also part of the child personality is the ability to have fun, or be silly. I’m missing that as it was dangerous as a child to do so. My Hubby is missing it, because he started working very young and grew up too fast. I hope that helps.

    There is hope!

    • Comfortably Numb

      April 17, 2013 at 8:09 pm

      Thank you for your response; Its interesting because my husband is always silly, laughing, messing around so i guess it is different for everyone…unless hes faking it :/ But lets pretend hes not lol xB

      • behindthemaskofabuse

        April 17, 2013 at 8:13 pm

        that is interesting, he may not be, he may be stuck in a child mindset in some areas ?

        you’re often stuck mentally at the age you were first abused.

      • Comfortably Numb

        April 18, 2013 at 8:13 am

        He is a big kid so it’s possible – though saying that I know a few guys that don’t want to grow up regardless 😉 xB

      • behindthemaskofabuse

        April 18, 2013 at 4:07 pm

        yes there is that! lol

  13. Mocha

    April 20, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    Reblogged this on liveuntil.

  14. Janae

    April 21, 2013 at 6:21 pm

    So, I know you’ve gotten clarity on everything your wrote here, and it’s probably old news by now, but I wanted to chime in my two cents on the should/could thing. I have PTSD, so here’s my experience and understanding of what those two words mean to me.

    “Should” is a word used often when guilt is involved. It’s frequently used like this: “I SHOULD do this, but I’m screwed up/I suck/I’m a bad person, so I actually won’t.” Only the first part of that sentence is actually said out loud, but the rest of it is implied. It’s a way out of what is right or true because of a false understanding or belief of self.

    “Could,” on the other hand, gives a possibility for new insight and new truth to be accepted. “I COULD do this…” And there’s no room for “and” or “but” because that single word changes the rest of that thought process. If you say that you COULD do something, you’re giving yourself hope to actually be able to accomplish it.

    Having hope and realizing that you can change or improve is kind of a big deal for someone with PTSD. I think that’s the point of focusing on that word change.

    • Comfortably Numb

      April 22, 2013 at 1:34 pm

      Wow thank you so much for that response. That – and the replies from others- gives me a much clearer understanding so thank you xB


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