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.