Shame, the Sequel

Every time I write a post I am unsatisfied with it. I always feel as if I haven’t managed to get to the nub of the issue and it niggles me.

With regard to my previous post about shame I was thinking about the relationship between the Id, the Ego and the Superego. I was thinking about how shame may well be about the Superego’s attitude of disgust to the Id (as in Civilization being disgusted with Nature – in this regard, Superego has a bloomin’ cheek since it is the artifice, the fake) and about how the Ego, being piggy-in-the-middle and feeling like it might be ripped in two, might plump for siding with the Superego, thereby abandoning the Id. So, the Ego, terrorized by the Superego and fearing being tarred with the same brush, joins in with subjugating the Id, the source of its shame.

I was thinking about the wording of another blog post on the matter when I discovered a cool blog in which tons of stuff resonates with me.

Here are some posts, and quotes, about the very issue:

‘With shame, a person often feels that he or she is a phony, fake, or imposter. Sometimes the person feels like a complete loser or utter failure as a human being.’

‘In essence, shame is produced through our surrender to the bullying of our inner critic.’

‘When we are failing to check the power of the inner critic, we absorb its aggression, criticism, and negativity.’

‘Our inner passivity allows the inner critic to get away with its abuse of us.’

In this post the writer refers to the Superego as a ‘rogue operator’ that ‘can’t be trusted’.

I love it! I don’t need to think these things through anymore, because this dude’s saying what I want to say!


6 thoughts on “Shame, the Sequel

  1. Jenny – This is a great blog. Thank you for finding me so that I could find it! I have felt very much the same about many issues you write about. And I used to think the same as you above about the id, ego and superego. But I’ve come to change my mind about it quite a bit. Can I recommend a great book? (if you haven’t read it already, that is). It is called “Other Lives, Other Selves” by Dr. Roger Woolger. He’s an Oxford-trained Jungian psychologist who stumbled upon past life regression therapy. I know that topic turns a lot of people off, but what i discovered in reading his work (and visiting one of his pupils – I write about her, Patricia Walsh), is a completely different idea about what is happening in the psyche.

    What I now think is that the soul can bear wounds – sometimes really terrible and traumatic wounds. And the ego – the body or identity in this life – is bearing the brunt of past experiences and scars, but it doesn’t remember what the trauma was so it doesn’t know how to understand what is happening. But those things that I think you might be attributing to the superego and ego versus id could instead be left over ‘scripts’ that have to be dealt with. So the battle happening within the psyche is actually the soul hammering away at the current identity with its still unresolved traumas – something wants to come to the surface so that it can be resolved and healed. The trick/solution is to look into it and find out where the script comes from, what it means and what the fear is behind it.

    I’m not really doing the thing justice here. Woolger gives a lot of case studies and a very credible account of this completely different way of seeing the psyche. At the very least, you might find it just to be good food for thought.

    • Hi Valerie,

      Hello and thanks for your comments. I’ll certainly check Roger Woolger out. I love getting book recommendations, and I’m partial to Jungian theory.

      But, I’m now wondering whether we bog ourselves down with the idea of having minds full of ideas that are inaccessible because they’ve been buried and all we have to do is show them the light of day and they’ll dissolve and the problems they cause will be solved. We’ve been taught that they must be there, and we believe in that, so we go looking for them and get frustrated at not figuring them out, or frustrated because we figure something out yet the problem we believe it’s causing doesn’t go away so we think there’s more to find. And so on. Deeper and deeper we dig. Further and further back we go. But, I’m now wondering whether they seem ‘invisible’ not because they’re hidden but because they don’t actually exist! I wonder whether we create them out a belief in their existence, a belief we’re so certain of because we bought into it without question; ie, the belief comes first and the nature/detail of the belief follows (like the God concept).

      I wonder whether things are simpler; that we have conditioned emotional responses to stimuli (ie, fight, flight or embrace), or we’re in a particular ‘mood’, and then make up a story about it simply because that’s what our minds do: make up stories.

      Another thing I’m pondering just now is how much of our ancient memories (I mean from this life – from infancy and early childhood) is based on errors in perception and interpretation constructed in partially-formed minds. From these errors other errors in understanding occur because our perception is skewed by the original error. For example, if we beleived our parents didn’t love us, we might believe we are unlovable and behave accordingly (shying away from others for example), which would make it difficult to form intimate relationships and we might believe that others don’t like us which reinforces our beleif that we are unlovable, etc…

      We try and figure out what happened to us way back when, but I think it would be better to understand how we perceived our existence. However, I think there’s a problem with using an adult mind to imagine how a toddler might have perceived the world. Is that possible?

      I think we place a great burden on ourselves in this game of trying to ‘figure it all out’. I think perhaps a way to go is to let it go without bothering to figure it all out. Let’s free ourselves of the burden.

      Yesterday a quote from Eckhart Tolle popped up in my inbox that said : “The more shared past there is in a relationship, the more present you need to be; otherwise, you will be forced to relive the past again and again.” I love this! I think it can just as well apply to the relationship we have with ourselves – all the parts of ourselves – as much as to relationships we have with other people. We keep the past alive – having possibly invented it in the first place – by feeding it with our thoughts about it.

      Anyway, thanks a lot. I’ll check RW out.


      (Later: Aha! Just seen how the connection has occured… yes, astrology… the greatest story ever told?)

      • Jenny – fascinating reply. Are you a post-modernist by chance? I see what you are saying…. But I think this line of thought – for me anyway – leads to more anxiety and less certainty. At one point I was very big into existentialism and had a post-modernist friend and we discussed this stuff at length. But I found I lost myself in it – I couldn’t figure out what I was just making up and didn’t know what to believe about anything. It was the opposite of simple for me… it was too complex to bear. My philosophy has moved to something different now though. I think there is a fundamental truth to the soul and you can’t suppress it or ignore it. And the best way to stop thinking about the past is to understand it. But – do look for the book… it isn’t quite what you are expecting. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. 🙂

      • Hi Valerie,


        I don’t know about being post-modernist… I don’t really know what that means! I don’t want to be labelled / defined… too limiting for the complex psychic organisms that we are. If I had to be labelled, though, I’d go for Discordian as it’s the nearest thing I’ve come across that fits my philosophy (here’s my post about it).

        I found your blog because I was looking for understanding about Pluto energy in synastry charts. I’ve got some Pluto / Saturn stuff going on. I’ve been very confused trying to sort it out in my mind and am now thinking, through considering chart-related circumstances, the way out is by harmonising with Neptune principles. I’m thinking the way out of confusion is to accept the mystery of things – stop trying to figure out the contradictions – a right-brained (Neptune) rather than left-brained (Saturn) approach to Pluto energy. Complexity then becomes a rich tapestry that can be enjoyed for its beauty rather than feared for its incomprehensibility.

        Thinking these things is really helping me, so I’m delighted to have connected with you!

        Re your comment about not knowing what you were making up and what to believe in: sheesh – I know that feeling! I blogged about it: here. But I think it’s ALL made up in our minds – on the one hand that sounds insecure in comparison with people who have been fed, and swallowed, belief systems, but for those who haven’t it allows us a choice about what to believe in, if we like, through proactive rational internal debate vs passive thoughtless reception and digestion. It allows us to construct our own version of reality rather than get one off the shelf.

        Is that your chart on your blog? With Pluto in your 4th and Moon in your 12th I’m not surprised you’re into past lives. Mind you, my Sun is 29.35.42 Pisces so I should have plenty of past lives to confuse me! (I believe we’re all the same ‘age’, though.) Connections are interesting, don’t you find? I also have Moon (4th) and Venus (3rd) opposite Neptune, plus Saturn in my 1st (Capricorn Asc). (I’d probably find more with scrutiny, but I’m now conscious of having to hurry up and finish so I can get to work.) So my Pluto transit thing is a 1st/7th transference/projection thing. Arg. But Pluto’s current position in Capricorn must be affecting you pretty uncomfortably, too – it’ll in T-Square with your natal Saturn and Pluto. Actually, Grand Cross with Jupiter. Might Neptune be a solution for you, too? It’s conjunct your Mars right now. Maybe that’s why we’ve connected… Neptune is being brought to your consciousness via that Uranus trine (ie, technology)? Plus it’s in the house of philosophy, so maybe you’re being asked by your subconscious / the universe (same thing?) to dissolve existing frameworks of conceptual understanding because they’re limiting (Saturn), have outgrown their usefulness and need to be dismantled (Uranus)? Mind you, Mars isn’t about thought-processes, is it? Hmmm, whatever, it’s food for thought.

        And you’re in Canada? I come from Vancouver, but now live in the UK.

        Anyway, I must get to work! 🙂

  2. 🙂

    I’m jealous that you are living in the UK – it’s been a dream of mine for a while to study there… partly because I’m obsessed with British comedy and comedians. But yes, I’m in Canada – on the East coast.

    It sounds like there are some similarities in our charts. Your Venus in the 3rd maybe explains your interest in blogging a bit – does that make it an Aquarius Venus? Or Pisces? Capricorn asc would fight hard against the Neptunian qualities and Pisces Sun, I’d imagine. It wouldn’t surprise me that you’d have this sort of internal shouting match between Saturn and Neptune.

    RE: Pluto/Saturn in synastry….. power tension, power struggles between you, I would suspect. I’ll tell you where I’ve come to be on these things and see what you think. You saw in my chart that I’ve had a lot going astrologically. Let me tell you, it’s been a crazy two/three years! Everything all at once. But I’m coming to the other side of it now. It had the result of sending me back to school (Neptune just crossed my MC while conjuncting Mars). I’m now a philosophy major, getting a second degree that I hope will end with me being a professional philosopher one day.

    On that – I had never heard of Discordianism before. Quite fascinating!

    But – you won’t be surprised on this given my chart – my bias is VERY Neptunian. I’m very spiritually oriented in general with a penchant for mysticism. So that’s my bias. Saturn is very weak for me, but I’m learning to stop ‘othering’ it and learning discipline… better late than never!

    After all the hell I experienced over the past couple (or more) years, I’ve found that it is absolutely essential for me to trust my instincts and trust my soul. Astrology and the past life stuff has convinced me of a way of understanding the self as being almost two at once – the soul and the ego with neither being better than the other. My goal (with all that Neptune, esp now with Neptune conjunct my Pisces Mars) is to see how well I can merge identity (ego) and soul (the eternal self).

    What I found – this is me with my Neptunian lack of boundaries – is that if I stop trusting that there is something concrete and real within me, I lose everything. The line of thinking that I associate with my 1st house Cancer Saturn square Pluto/square Jupiter will bite back at me: are you just making this up? How do you know what you see and feel is right? Are you just telling yourself stories?

    What happens when I do this is that I start looking to others for truth because I lose truth within me, and in my life that has messed me up so badly. I have to trust: I can have faith in what my mind tells me. I have a certain mind-reading ability. I also have a very strong intuition (moon in the 12th trine Pluto there) and these are hard to trust, but I have learned that I can if I try.

    Because I went through such bad experiences recently, I’ve had to recognize that I do have a truth within me. Very briefly, with that Chiron transit, I had a number of people trying to convince me and others that I was a horrible person for various reasons (a workplace bullying issue). It was unpleasant, but I realized that I had to recognize a certain inherent truth within myself in order to withstand it. That truth doesn’t come from other people, it comes from me and it comes from trusting my own mind and the things it tells me that I am.

    Do you see where I’m going? I’m quite into Buddhism and really value many of the things the Dalai Lama says. It occurs to me that to be lost inside is a waste in a way. I think the search for inner truth is essential. But I think that finding that truth has to be the goal, not a never-ending search in a sea of nothingness.

    I’m an entirely different person these days than I was even 2 years ago because of this. Ever since I stopped searching for myself in a void, ever since I stopped thinking that my own truth existed outside of me and especially ever since I came to realize that ‘everything that’s meant to happen happens; nothing that’s not meant to happen happens’, I have stopped feeling so desperately lost. I don’t look to others for validation anymore. It’s hard to explain, I feel more solid now. I’ve stopped wrestling with events that happen and feel like – well, if something bad or undesireables occurs, then it will do so for good reason. Have no fear. And to my mind (and this is, admittedly, a somewhat shaky grounds for validity but…) I feel that the truth FEELS right. If it makes me feel positive and less anxious, then I put more stock in it. Believing that I was making it all up made me crumble into a pit of anxiety and tears.

    This all kind of comes back to the Buddhist sense of ‘egolessness’… I’m a very far cry away from that…. but the ideas I have are garnered to a certain extent from that. And here I’ve written you an essay…. my Gemini Moon/Venus frequently gets the better of me! 😉

    • Hi Valerie,

      Yes, I’m fortunate in having always lived in beautiful places… Vancouver, London, Bristol/Bath.

      I’ve never been to the East Coast – always wanted to and love the music. I have some Natalie McMaster CDs. Where is Loreena McKennit from? I’ve got a feeling it might be Toronto (my dad and sister are in TO).

      If you’re into British comedy, are you familiar with Sid James? His daughter, Reina, read my chart for me once upon a long time ago.

      My Venus is in Aries. I’ve always attributed my writing ‘ability’ (not the most appropriate word… it’s more like an unstoppable flow… I don’t even feel that they’re my words… I’m just a channel for pre-existing ideas) to my watery Grand Trine (Mercury/Pisces/2nd – Mars/Cancer/7th – Neptune/Scorpio/10th). I work as a writer – I’m a magazine editor. At one time I considered studying properly so I could work as an astrologer (I think that Grand Trine lends itself to that ambition) but I opted for the ‘safety’ of a more conventional, and publicly respected, qualification and did a History degree instead – how Saturnine! That interupted by astrology interests and I’ve only picked it back up in the last few years.

      I’m going to read more of your posts, but I’m not convinced about the soul or past lives, if you mean it in the sense of individual souls on individual journeys. My philosophy tends more to oneness, with all life on a collective journey, connected to (with varying abilities for utilising) a collective consciousness, sharing resources – the metaphysical resource of consciousness and the physical resource of matter in an eternal recycling process. So, with regards to reincarnation, the molecules that make up my body and the ones I’m currently consuming in my coffee (I start my mornings in Starbucks with my laptop) have been part of all manner of physical objects – frogs, trees, other people, whatever – and will become others, and my mind is filled a selection of ideas created by the collective human mind that I have mined and that I am contributing to with contributions that may be mined by someone in the future whose physical make-up might contain some of the molecules that are currently in my body. But the molecules aren’t ‘mine’ (therefore my body isn’t mine) and the ideas aren’t ‘mine’ (and therefore my mind and its thoughts aren’t mine). It’s all borrowed. I see it all as an eternal dance of molecules and a kind of sea of consciousness and all individual constructs (whether a rock or a mammal) are temporary collections of molecules on a nodal point of consciousness – physics and metaphysics come together in a particular point in time and space. I don’t believe there’s a ‘me’ – only an idea of ‘me’ that’s a flash in the pan. Nothing about me is unique except for this particular temporary combination of stuff that isn’t me or mine. Molecules within you and me may once, or many times over, have been within the same body, perhaps at the same time. That may even have happened in this lifetime, or may yet happen in this lifetime – for example, one of us may have eaten something, shat some of it out, that shit may have become compost in a wheat field from which bread was made that made up a sandwich the other ate. That sort of thing would have happened (and still will in the relevant social structures) in groups of people who farm their own land and eat its produce.

      I don’t mind the idea of there being nothing concrete to me. Do you like poetry? Here’s one of my favourites, which I reckon has this theme:

      I understand reincarnation as symbolic of the different ‘lives’ we live (ie, the different states of mind and situations we journey around) in this life.

      I’ll read what you’ve got to say, though.

      Re Pluto/Neptune: here’s another poem on a theme –

      Re your comment ‘are you just telling yourself stories?’ My answer to that is: yes. But what’s wrong with that? I agree that at times in life it’s hard to trust your own thoughts, and that’s distressing. But I don’t think there’s a truth to know and the best way out of the distress is not to try and determine the truth, because if it doesn’t exist it’s a pointless endeavour, but to accept the mystery of it all. That’s what I’m finding. Trusting your feelings is the best idea for judging how to act, I reckon, but I don’t think those feelings represent any enduring truth about ourselves – they will vary according the circumstances. And there is almost always, I believe, a subconscious agenda behind those feelings, and those ‘gut reactions’ are just as likely to lead us to disaster as salvation, but wherever they lead, at least we can say we did the ‘right’ thing by following them, because it seemed right at the time of making the decision without having the benefit of knowing what the outcome will be.

      Do you think you look for truth (aka structure) in others because you’re projecting some Saturn energy from your 1st into your 7th house?

      Here’s a poem about Saturn!:

      I don’t intend my poems to be about planets – I just write stuff and some of them look like planets afterwards!

      What hell to have to go through workplace bullying. That’s a difficult problem to solve. How did it get resolved?

      Yes, I’m working on being fearless, too. I like Buddhist philosophy (though with a skeptical mind). But I also like Jesus (not Christian!) philosophy.


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