Catatonic – Stuck in Indecision?

From workshop / Malibu 6/69

[From Marsha:  Have you ever been unable to make up your mind — felt catatonic?

       Here’s a definition from the dictionary.

2. characterized by a marked lack of movement, activity, or expression.

I have noticed at times when I’m unable to decide what to do that I’m in a catatonic state about a certain situation. I experience inner thoughts that say “do this or say this”; and then immediately there’s the diametrically opposed thoughts saying “No — do this or say this!”  I unconsciously base it on “doing the right thing” or want to express pure reaction that is often detrimental to and about the other person and not to my advantage.

So Dr. Bob gave a description of “what’s going on”  when this happens. So we begin with a question from the audience.]

(What happens when we have two “authority figures” giving directions on what to say or do; and they don’t agree?)

[For “Believe and do what my authorities say” is #4 in the picture of man which is illustrated on the website.]

Then it’s in conflict within itself; and if they are of equal strength — you can then have a catatonic — one who can’t move in either direction — they just sit.  You would like to get up and hit them because one authority figure said, “Knock ‘em down.”   And the other one said, “Love ‘em.”  The poor person is so tied up — he wants to knock ‘em down; but the other side says, “You must not because you got to love ‘em.”  So one sits there in tears. 

One of the things we find in very sensitive people is that they are taught, “You ought to love your enemies.”  And so they see him as their enemy — and they’re trying to love him too?  Now they believe him to be their enemy, but they’re trying to love?  This is an excellent way to produce a “catatonic”.  Okay? 

(You love and hate at the same time?)

What we are really saying is not to love your enemy, but to understand the enemy; and then he’s no longer your enemy — you see him as human being.  But you don’t look to understand him — understand that he’s conditioned and is unable to do anything other than what he’s doing.  In other words he’s doing what he sees is right, proper or justifiable.  It’s the only light he has.  It is all you can operate by also. 

But you continue to “believe and do” what you have taken on from some authority — to “love” them which is included in what we call *sentimental feelings”.  In other words, you’re thinking of this joker as someone you feel is going to stick a knife in your back if you get close enough to him — and so you truly think of him as an enemy.  You hate him for all he’s done to you, but you’re going to love him if it kills you — and I’ll tell you this — it jolly-well will.  I have been around people who are paralyzed with hatred for a neighbor or someone they are blaming.   This puts more people in hospitals than anything I know of — mental hospitals.

[From Marsha: I have discovered that at times I have found myself catatonic and was not conscious of it. Perhaps the first sign is I’m angry, frustrated or fearful of someone. The thinking mind won’t let go of it because a decision can’t be made of how I want to handle myself when I’m next involved with this person . The idea from this excerpt gives me a place to look.  If I discover which “authorities” I have accepted in the past, it gives me more understanding of what’s going on within me.

I even had a living example this week. I have company every Thursday. It started out as a fun, laughing, sharing thing; and we cooked dinner together. As time went on, it comes out that the person has many ideals in eating whether real or imagined, I can’t say — can’t have too much fat, can’t have fish because it’s too strong, can’t have brussel sprouts or cabbage because they’re gassy,  can’t have this, can’t have that and it has to be prepared in a certain way ie only romaine lettuce with no spine in the salad, only feta cheese, only certain spices that are the best.  I reached a place of intolerance and couldn’t decide how to handle being a gracious hostess. 

So I asked myself – what are the “authorities” fighting within.

One is from childhood – “You will eat what I fix or not have anything at all – just go to bed hungry.” – an old parenting strategy – A side became an accepted unconscious authority for handling finicky eaters.

Another one is – “If you come to “my” house and I cook, then eat it or bring your own”.  Truly an A-side comment. Seems I made up my own “authority” from the anger I felt or maybe I unconsciously took it on from a friend’s comment.

The other one sneaked in from the “pleaser” [see picture of man] “I should be understanding of and considerate of them and find out what they want and how they want it cooked; and do it that way.  So it is catatonic. It comes to “What can I do?” and at this moment I still have no answers. And of course, I can’t begin to know what I will feel, say or do this coming Thursday. I want to see it as not important – hum, easier said than done.  Dr. Bob talked about using simple good manners; so perhaps I’ll see if I can play the role of a gracious hostess despite the chatter in the mind.]

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