How It All Began
e.g. a fruit fly knows exactly how
to be a fruit fly from the get go.
Not so the human. Humans are born totally dependent for their needs – yes, for all of them – on someone else. New humans also have to learn – this is not an option. We do not learn to walk upright for nearly two years and we do not tend to leave the nest to live independently until many, many years after that.
We are learning machines from the moment we draw our first breath – it just occurs naturally.
We learn from everything that happens. The problem is that before the brain is relatively fully developed, we cannot reason about what happens to us.
We cannot reason about the world and our roles in it until we have language.
So as babies our conclusions are literal, unsophisticated and unreliable. These conclusions have long lasting effects for the rest of our lives unless dealt with – but because they are unconscious and lack language dealing with them effectively is virtually impossible.
While we are busily learning through cause and effect, we also have to avoid being abandoned – as a totally dependent animal programmed to survive, abandonment already means death. This is a default piece of procedural memory hardwired into all humans even before birth. It’s this conviction that raises its head from the dark cave of our unconscious when as adults we think or even say aloud, “Don’t leave me or I’ll die!”
Babies learn new stuff procedurally. They form habits based on what they do, and the responses they get. They learn in the same way you learned to catch a ball or ride a bike – through experience and repetition. This learning tends to be black and white, misled and relates to a context that passed by long ago. The learning is difficult to shift once it is laid down. It becomes cemented into the Unconscious. It relates to an obsolete set of circumstances, but it continues unchanged as if the same context threatens to arise at any moment (if it hasn’t already!).
Importantly baby humans learn a great deal about what they should expect in response to their needs, their spontaneous expressions and urges, their range of emotions and important stuff like trust in the world, in other people, and especially trust in themselves.
Indeed the foundations for our entire self concept (what we believe ourselves to BE) was laid down before we could speak. This makes what we truly think of ourselves – our core self concept – what we call in EMSRP the Meta-Schematic Belief – very difficult to talk about as adults. It exists as a basic assumption in our moment to moment existence, unconsciously driving a whole range of already mapped behaviours. It’s a bit like our assumption that gravity will keep us rooted to the ground; a rule we live by as absolute without any thought about it at all.
Getting this meta-schematic self concept out and where we can see it is the starting point for EMSRP – we look in considerable detail at the ways in which it drives almost everything we think we are, we do, believe and say, the relationships we construct , the stuff we put up with, the voices in our heads (we meet a lot of those), the frustrating cycles that defeat us day after day.
It becomes very clear indeed that it drove us to create a false-self that avoids abandonment at all costs, uses up considerable resources to achieve an ‘acceptable’ mask, and censors our authentic impulses that we learned, before we could speak, led us into being ignored, punished, humiliated and/or abandoned. The Meta-Schematic Belief results in a complex and sophisticated web of smoke screen behaviours, each with its own sub-belief system and with its inner voices to ensure that it is adhered to. They are truly BOSSY!
It’s not long before the process loosens its grip, and the grip of the inner voices too, and people are released – and that is the beginning a new and much better story for people who do EMSRP.