Internal Dominance

I have a great deal of trouble getting myself going to do things. I have had a couple of projects I have been meaning to do for a long time. I got started the other day but I was thinking about why this is.

I have set out and accomplished various things, but only when I have been motivated by some prize I really wanted. Just grinding out something I needed to do but didn’t really feel like has always been really hard for me.

Freud divided the personality into three parts, the unedited urges, or Id, the rational thinking part, or Ego, and the controlling part, or Superego. A psychiatrist in the 70’s did a pop culture version of this- Eric Berne called it “Transactional Analysis” and the parts the Child, the Adult and the Parent.

Obviously you need a reasonable balance between these- too much Parent and you’ll be uptight, too much Child and you’ll be disorganized. I’m not really sure what too much Adult would be like.

In any case I think I lack a strong Parent, or Superego. My parents were strict and controlling but they did it passive-aggressively rather than through strength and authority. I don’t think the idea that being controlling with children will make them weak is true. If you tell a child “You have to do this, even if you don’t want to because I’m your parent and I’m telling you you have to” the child learns the valuable lesson that some things have to be done even when you don’t want to and can learn to internalize this voice and direct his own behavior in situations like this.

Providing the child with a reason, to the extent he can understand it, is reasonable but if the situation is framed in terms of “you should do this because of this” the child is free to come up with reasons why it’s OK not to do it. Berne divided the three parts into their own three parts- the Adult in the Child he called the “Little Professor” and I’m guessing parents who try to be reasonable with their children are quite  familiar with this part of the personality.

The bottom line is I just need to learn to make myself do things. I suspect low status, low dominance people in general have parents with low dominance, and this part of the personality is weak in them. But if you don’t direct others you at least have to direct yourself.


6 Responses to Internal Dominance

  1. Sheila Tone says:

    “My parents were strict and controlling but they did it passive-aggressively rather than through strength and authority.”

    This is so very unCatholic, and so very Jewish.

  2. Sheila Tone says:

    I don’t think the amount of parenting dominance is the cause of the problem. I got hit and yelled at frequently, and have the same problems you describe.

  3. […] Omega Man – “Mental Problems and Relationships“, “Internal Dominance” […]

  4. Hermes says:

    I can relate. I too have tremendous difficulty motivating myself, and my parents are both pretty passive, unambitious people. Not sure what the solution is.

  5. Jay Fink says:

    Your last paragraph isn’t true with me. My mother was high dominance in every aspect. She had a good carrer and active social life. Plus she was very strict and domineering in raising me. She was so domineering in fact that I suspect this helped shape me to become an omega male.

    Looking back, some of my friends had meek, low dominance mothers yet they turned out more dominant than myself. My father was a nice guy beta so maybe that’s who I took after, he had a domineering mother as well.

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