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Are you merely living as an echo of another human being or are you defined as yourself?

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posted on Aug, 15 2009 @ 06:25 AM
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This thread is fully inspired by another live thread on ATS at the minute. (Sometimes you need to smack a woman).

It made me think about the effect that parents have on us all with respect to our formative years and learned behaviours.

To give this context and as illustration I will describe my experiences.

In my early relationships I was confrontational, constantly sought approval/reassurance, and viewed mild domestic violence (a push or a shove) focused at me as a sign of passion..that I could push my partners to that. That I could make them so angry, hit them so deeply emotionally, that I could push them to that. I would get myself into a cycle of anger that I sought to have it broken by violent intervention. Worst of all, I couldnt understand why I needed that.

My perspective now is that this was entirely wrong and pointed to something broken inside of me - to deliberately seek to push another individual into this kind of action is sick. I am not proud of it.

During one event, it's almost like I left my body and could see myself repeating the steps I had always taken to get to that point. It was like an emotional process map - I was going through the process to get my "emotional hit". Like a junkie prepares the spoon and the needle to get a hit, I recognised the tools I needed to get me to the point that I felt important to my partner.

In that moment, I could see my mother. I could see my mother pushing my father (although my father never resorted to any kind of violence, even when my mother did things like break his elbows and toes by hitting him with things like hairbrushes and can openers).

I was "echoing" my mother. I was replaying her behaviour. All of a sudden I found a new objectivity and realised that I was replaying her bullying. I was replaying how she reacted to the world and it totally changed me.

I wonder how many of us are living the echos of our parents and how many of us are truly, self-defined individuals.

I would love to hear of others' experiences and views.

This is not intended as the start of a discussion on whether men should beat women or not. This thread is about views on how defined each of us feel. My experiences above are there purely to act as an illustration of circumstances where I realised that I was replaying learned behaviour.

How much of our behaviour is purely echo?




posted on Aug, 15 2009 @ 06:51 AM
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reply to post by chillpill
 


Hi Chillpill=)

My family is very vocal, over most everything. We have all mellowed with age but screamfest was my growing up. I won't go into the rest at this time, I am pre-paranoid=).
In my 20's when I started my first more serious relationship. I had a very calm, quiet bf. I didn't push him for loud emotional confrontation. But I assumed that if he didn't argue and scream when we disagreed it was because he didn't care for me enough to shout, get passionate, etc. Then I had a relationship that mirrored my home life growing up. That didn't work either. Mostly I didn't want the shouting and yelling but felt something was missing if it wasn't there.
Later on as I understood that facet of my life, I began (subconsciously, I believe) looking for a man who was unemotional to avoid conflicts. That worked out, Not! I got what I think I was subconsciously looking for, a calm, unemotional man. But it was because he was severely emotionally stunt. I didn't realize it at the time. He knew that about himself and I realized it. But it was years of devastation before I realized he just wasn't capable of deep caring. For anyone.
A lot of times people copy their childhood. Other times people try to do the complete opposite. The extremes wreck us either way. I've made both mistakes.
When I had my son, I realized I needed to raise him first. I looked at my history of picking guys and decided to not date till he was older. I figure it's bad enough his Dad not being around, but subjecting him to 'uncles' thru a revolving door would be worse. Maybe this, too, is a mistake. Perhaps it's choosing another extreme. I'm not sure, but I made the choice as best as I am able.
I think you are 100% right about copying patterns. I also would add that some avoid the patterns of their parents. Either way, your parent's behavior is controlling your reactions, relationships and life. I still try to break the patterns in myself quite often. My wish would be that people would be able to see their behavior in the light of their past. It's truly eye opening.
Good thread!
~pre



posted on Aug, 15 2009 @ 07:05 AM
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Great post, great insights about yourself and brave of you to share it!


I think a lot of our behavior is an echo of sorts. At least I notice it in me. But I see some of my behavior as a "negative echo" (repeating undesired behavior) and some as a "positive echo" (making a conscious choice to NEVER repeat an undesired behavior).

An example of the former ("negative echo") is to for me to eat to soothe, comfort, or for any other emotional reason. I have had to stop this behavior in myself, but it wasn't easy and I still "fight" it. I'm like a recovering addict (you spoke of addiction) but my addiction was to eating for emotional fulfillment, instead of "pushing" someone for emotional fulfillment.

My mother ALWAYS fed us for every reason you can think of:
Sick? Eat something comforting.
Have a fight with your sister? Here - have a cookie, it will make you feel better.
Someone at school make fun of you? I'll make you some pancakes.
Take this cake to your daddy. It will make YOU feel good.

Food was always about feeling better. She loved us with food. It wasn't until I saw my eldest sister and brother become obese from their eating that I realized this could be a problem. Fortunately I, like you, realized my pattern and took steps to make a different conscious choice to do otherwise, but it's a CONSTANT awareness that I must keep to prevent myself from following the same path as my older siblings. I still have the addiction, though. I just rarely partake in it. (Yes, I still sometimes do).


An example of the latter ("positive echo") is that I don't hit. My father hit me and my siblings. Many times. To the point of abuse. It wasn't just spankings, it was beatings. His temper was horrible and it almost seemed like revenge. Like he hated something about us and resented our very existence.

As an young adult, I felt the great desire to hit mostly kids that were in my life. I never did hit them, but the desire was strong. And I hated it. My temper reminded me of my father's and I had a lot of resentment and scorn for the children that I knew, but I dearly wanted one of my own. It's probably a good thing I never had kids.

I made the conscious choice that I wouldn't hit anyone or be violent or let my anger, temper get the best of me. It took many years, but I'm a totally different person now that I was in my 20s. I'm known by my friends as mellow, calm, peaceful, generous, wouldn't-hurt-a-fly.

Fortunately, the "positive echo" is a LOT easier to attain than the separation of the "negative echo". I expect that to be with me the rest of my life. But at least I am aware of it and successfully deal with it.

So, I would say that I definitely am not a living echo of my parents. There was a time in my life (20s) when I'd have to say that I was. But my life has been an amazing journey of self-exploration and growth and really stepping away from their influence to form someone that I really like. And I definitely define myself as an individual, but still carry some mostly positive behaviors from them. The difference is that they are of my choosing.

[edit on 15-8-2009 by Benevolent Heretic]



posted on Aug, 15 2009 @ 07:05 AM
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Hi pre!

Cool experiences! I am assuming by your use of "z's" in various words that you are in the good old, US of A. Please correct if I am wrong!

I am in Scotland - and it's amazing how much of our experiences and feelings are not that unique.

I was out for a wine fuelled lunch yesterday with a group of young women from age 23- 27. It was eye opening...I thought, jeesh..I thought exactly the same thing when I was that age.

I am guessing you and I are similar ages and it's funny - I am going "Jeesh, I can really relate to her!" People in their 50s reading this might say, "that thinking was so two decades ago".

I am working to examine how much of my life is echo. I really want to improve as a human and be a better person every year I am alive.

I think you are right on being careful about the influences bringing the "wrong man" into your son's life.

You sound like a fantastic mum.

We all have a huge responsibility as to how we react to others and influence their negative or positive development.

I experimented this morning by being positive and said good morning to everyone who met my eye when shopping. It was a very cool experience.



posted on Aug, 15 2009 @ 07:15 AM
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reply to post by Benevolent Heretic
 


I found your piece so insightful. I very much will build some of your thinking into how I want to interact with the world.

I love your views on positive attainment. I think this is a very powerful technique.

Self-awareness is exceptionally powerful - it can be tough if you dont accept yourself as imperfect, a work in progress, and merely human.

Your awareness of your desire to hit children brave to admit. However, I think this is probably pretty common. I think having the self-awareness to realise this and deal with it is exceptional.

There are many bullies on the planet, getting their fix from dehumanising others, who have not recognised that behaviour in themselves to the extent that they cannot address it.

Wow, loved your post. Would love to hear more.

You are an excellent writer.

Bu



posted on Aug, 15 2009 @ 07:21 AM
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Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
Great post, great insights about yourself and brave of you to share it!


I think a lot of our behavior is an echo of sorts. At least I notice it in me. But I see some of my behavior as a "negative echo" (repeating undesired behavior) and some as a "positive echo" (making a conscious choice to NEVER repeat an undesired behavior).

I hope I'm getting this bbcode stuff straight, here goes=)
I made an big mistake many years ago with the conscious choice behavior. Well, in honesty, I'm not sure how much I chose what I did, but I did it. Rather than scream, yell, throw, etc. following the family model, I shut down. I didn't raise my tone, over anything, for 5 years. Learning a healthy level of reaction took a while...



An example of the latter ("positive echo") is that I don't hit. My father hit me and my siblings. Many times. To the point of abuse. It wasn't just spankings, it was beatings. His temper was horrible and it almost seemed like revenge. Like he hated something about us and resented our very existence.

As an young adult, I felt the great desire to hit mostly kids that were in my life. I never did hit them, but the desire was strong. And I hated it. My temper reminded me of my father's and I had a lot of resentment and scorn for the children that I knew, but I dearly wanted one of my own. It's probably a good thing I never had kids.

I made the conscious choice that I wouldn't hit anyone or be violent or let my anger, temper get the best of me.


I spank my son. It's rare, but I do. When he was born I promised myself, though, that if I had to self limit. No hitting out of anger. No hitting again and again. Each spanking I weighed in my mind, chose a number of swats to give, and that was my limit. No matter what. in another 6-7 years I'll know how that worked out! =)
It's hard to overcome some of this stuff, I'm glad to meet other folks like you that have.
gb,
~prep



posted on Aug, 15 2009 @ 07:33 AM
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reply to post by chillpill
 


Why yes, yes I am an American. Durn Z's give it away everytime!=) (that and the pic of target shooting, I hear that doesn't happen as much in other countries!)
23-27, I remember those years...vaguely... LOL.
The biggest thing I'm working on atm regarding being me and not my past is how critical I can get. That is a mirror of my Mom. 110%.. One day I was visiting, hearing Mom and Dad and I thought, "Ya know, in the 41 years they have been married I wonder if he has ever done anything right according to Mom...anything at all..." It was pretty stunning for me, serious moment. I think the same, critically, about people... I'm working on it. The only difference is I rarely voice my cutting opinions. That one is a battle for me, very deep in my psyche. Right now I'm working on it. I'm also going to people I've been openly verbally critical of and apologizing when/if I realize that I've been to judgemental. I hope it helps. I know what it felt like to live with extreme criticism and I hate when I do it to others. That's why I backed out of that thread earlier. I felt myself going there.
Just trying to do a bit better every day,
and yeah it's pretty awesome to meet folks like you who I can relate a lot to! Lovin' ATS!
~prep



posted on Aug, 15 2009 @ 07:43 AM
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Yes, I do believe in echo behavior.

Children live what they learn, and are a product of their environment. When you see people treating each other badly for 18 or so years of your life, it is only natural to assume that is normal behavior. Even if you come to the realization that what you have lived is not normal, those old devils can rear their ugly heads from time to time.

You woke up, because you saw a pattern. I did this also. I woke up one day after having a huge fight with my first husband, and looked in the mirror and saw not myself, but my mother.

It's been a huge struggle to get her out of my life, mentally. I haven't spoken to her for years, and I don't regret putting her out of my physical life because she was not healthy for me.

I keep a journal, and looking back at some of my remarks, I still see my mother, but her echo is fading.



posted on Aug, 15 2009 @ 01:01 PM
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I also believe in echo behavior. Not only because of mushy Freud stuff you're all discussing but also because I personally believe that memory and experience alters the genetic code past on to your offspring.

There are studies of famine in relation to growth and metabolism rates.
I'm not only too lazy to search and link these studies but also despite there being a direct correlation between famine causing significant changes to growth, metabolism and other physical differences, but like Freud it makes little sense. Example: A generation goes through a famine period, this then causes the next generation to have a HIGHER metabolic rate. Dad didn't hug you enough, so that could mean, promiscuity violent relationships, OR the opposite.

But my point is yes echo behavior makes perfect sense to me. Because I believe I'm just an extension of my parents. I was at the same time a cell in my mother and a cell in my father. And I am nothing more than a cell containing cells experiencing things so that my improved cell (Offspring) can continuously improve. Your experiences and memory will in some elaborate way affect your children.(Before they're conceived.) your actions and behavior during the upbringing of your children will affect them as well.(After conception.)
Nature vs nurture. Whole point to being conscious is to be self aware.



posted on Aug, 15 2009 @ 01:38 PM
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reply to post by preparanoid
 





A lot of times people copy their childhood. Other times people try to do the complete opposite. The extremes wreck us either way. I've made both mistakes.


This is exactly what I see in most people including myself at one time. It took many years to find the balance and forgive myself for not knowing.

Determined not to be like my mother or have children grow up without a father, I stayed in an abusive marriage 37 years. Ah! but I chose an abusive husband just as I had been programed growing up.



posted on Aug, 16 2009 @ 03:03 AM
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reply to post by Zealott
 


I am really glad that you mentioned the genetic aspect - I have seen some research on this and find it absolutely fascinating.

What we are saying is that - effectively - we are nothing other than a collection of cells that are built through memory and experience.

I wonder how our ancestors' experience influence current events. Can our sense of learned despair or joy create global events?



posted on Aug, 16 2009 @ 03:13 AM
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reply to post by Blanca Rose
 


I have also cut my mother out of my life - she turned up on my doorstep for the first time in three years just last month.

A friend said something very insightful, "Sometimes people turn up to make you realise how much you dont need them."

It summed it up for me. I still wonder how much of my parents I am "channeling". Luckily, my dad was top notch!



posted on Aug, 16 2009 @ 03:24 AM
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we are merely dust in the winds....



posted on Aug, 16 2009 @ 03:35 AM
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reply to post by chillpill
 


I am myself. I know this because in some directions I did go with my enviroment growing up but in others I always went my own way. I picked and choosed the behaivors I took on.



posted on Aug, 16 2009 @ 06:08 AM
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Originally posted by Zealott
I also believe in echo behavior. Not only because of mushy Freud stuff...


LOL! That is the first time in a loooong time my way of thinking has been referred to as 'mushy'. (I'm not yer typical gal.) =) Seriously though, I understand that you are meaning the inexact 'science' of psychology.



Nature vs nurture. Whole point to being conscious is to be self aware.


So if I am following your very well written post, you're partly referring to cellular memory and adaption? If your forefathers cells adapted to deal with stress, and his did, etc. the cells that are past on pass on that adaptation? I can see that. In fact I've wondered how many traits are passed on that are more than simply physical. Intelligence, for example.... how much of intellect comes from the nuture of being raised by intelligent parents who actively teach you and how much comes from the genes from said intelligent parents? Or emotional response... Is very low key emotional response to events completely a learned behavior from the pattern you see (nuture) or is it something at a cellular level?
And that begs the question... if it's cellular, how much can anyone overcome behavior? I know the learned behavior itself is a b...bear to overcome, genetic? That would have to be harder. For example, you can't make yourself feel an emotional response if the capability is not there. Ugh!

@chillpill and bianca,
How does a person decide things are bad enough to break contact with family? That's ....shakes head... Trying to visualize doing that and cannot..

Good morning yall!
~pre



posted on Aug, 16 2009 @ 06:11 AM
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Originally posted by Watcher-In-The-Shadows
reply to post by chillpill
 


I am myself. I know this because in some directions I did go with my enviroment growing up but in others I always went my own way. I picked and choosed the behaivors I took on.


I try to do that. I think we all are. What has been amazing to me is how things have creeped in that we don't realize right off are from our past. Then when I, for one...realize I'm doing something like that, it's like...HOW could I have missed this one?? Congrats on finding that balance in your life! =)
~prep



posted on Aug, 16 2009 @ 08:31 AM
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@chillpill and bianca,
How does a person decide things are bad enough to break contact with family? That's ....shakes head... Trying to visualize doing that and cannot..

Good morning yall!
~pre




My mum is a real strange fruit! She basically sought to exclude me from my father's death and turned the family against me.

She forbade me from visiting and then told the rest of the family I refused to visit.

She moved home, didnt give me the address and then said I wouldnt visit? I was like "huh?"

The take on it is, she was very jealous of my relationship with my father. She was also doing things like taking out credit cards in her maiden name when he was alive. He said it was like she was hurrying him to be dead.

She turned up and just started complaining about her sisters and I thought that nothing has changed!

I didnt miss her and miss her less after her visit.



posted on Aug, 16 2009 @ 08:58 AM
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reply to post by preparanoid
 


My mother physically and mentally abused me while I was growing up on nearly a daily basis. Have you ever seen the movie, "Mommy Dearest?" It was about Joan Crawford, but it very well described my mother.

When I became an adult, she did some very horrendous things while in the company of my children.

I did not want her impressing another generation of children, so, for me the descision was very easy.

edit for typo


[edit on 16-8-2009 by Blanca Rose]



posted on Aug, 16 2009 @ 11:05 AM
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Originally posted by Blanca Rose
reply to post by preparanoid
 


My mother physically and mentally abused me while I was growing up on nearly a daily basis. Have you ever seen the movie, "Mommy Dearest?" It was about Joan Crawford, but it very well described my mother.

When I became an adult, she did some very horrendous things while in the company of my children.

I did not want her impressing another generation of children, so, for me the descision was very easy.

edit for typo


[edit on 16-8-2009 by Blanca Rose]


I'm real sorry your childhood was like that! I can -totally- understand protecting your kids. My folks have...mellowed quite a bit, if they hadn't my son wouldn't be around them, which means I wouldn't. The level things are at now, sometimes I think I should make a break, sometimes not. There are other complicating issues, as well. (Like my house is 500yds up the road from them, my health, income...pick one) =)
Ever met ppl who seemed well intentioned but you suspect might be subconsciously trying to create problems? That's kind of where my folks are a lot of the time.
Talk about echoes. Yesterday my folks and I took my son on a pre-birthday outing fishing at a state park. Before we headed out, I specifically checked with my Mom, as I was getting stuff collected, if she had packed the fishing poles. (we were speaking kind of around it so my son would get a surprise, so what I actually asked was 'Did you pack the equipment we will need to use?') She replied she had gotten the 'she had gotten enough, the kid one. So I kept packing foodstuffs.
When we get there, my son and wait in line...get his free permit (it was free kid day), I turn to her and said, 'Ah heck, we forgot the pole in the trunk.' (long walk back)
She looks at me like I'm an alien and says she didn't pack one, we don't have one. (He has 4, actually, 2 at her house, 2 at mine.), but she is sure we can 'borrow' one.
Fortunately we could. No bait, Son and I ended up using a hotdog. LOL! He and I made do, which is what we do. Mom and Dad said on blankets (picnic style) at the car. Oh, also when I go over to get the pole, she -disappears with my son! It took me 15 minutes to find them. (Note here, she knows I've always been spastic about where my son is because of fear of his biological fathers family.) Mentally I flipped! They had just walked over to a display, but there were over 2000 people in that area. I (mentally) flipped, as I said. Outwardly I had to stay calm so it wouldn't upset my boy. That isn't all that happened in that vein, but I don't want to bore yall so....
On the way home I got these flashes of memories of some really terrible b-days of mine. And ya know, I just thought "Bleep, I can't believe it. Now it's that way for (my son's name)??"
So before I go any further, I'll say: yes, I darn well should have double checked for the fishing pole myself. I'm his Mom. My responsibility! The buck stops here. My bad.
But it 'feels' (to use mushy terms) like it was at least subconscious sabotaging. It really does. This isn't the first year an action of theirs has had my son in tears at his birthday. One year he got upset when they wanted to start serving his cake because his uncle wasn't there. He wanted them to wait, they informed him they were going to eat it right now. I took him out of the room to calm him down, telling them to wait, promising him we'd be right back. When we walked back in two minutes later, they had cut into his birthday cake and were eating it. That was years ago, his 5th birthday.
Four years later I shouldn't have forgotten! I'm pretty upset with myself, actually.
Annnnyhow,
What do yall think of my idea that they may be subconsciously wrecking things like that?
prep



posted on Aug, 16 2009 @ 01:23 PM
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reply to post by preparanoid
 


That sounds pretty damn selfish to me. The birthday cake story is appaling - sorry, but it was the kid's birthday...and he was doing a lovely thing waiting for his uncle.

I never used to question my behaviour, in the sense that I thought I was my own person...entirely seperate. I made me.

Now I sometimes see the negative aspects of my parents in me.




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