I never got my licence.
I never drive out of town.
I don't drive on the highway.
I don't take the elevator.
I never travel by plane.
I never travel by ship.
I don't go on holiday on the islands.
I never travel abroad.
I don't go too far from home.
If I go to the beach, I feel bad afterwards.
When I go to the mountains I suffer from vertigo and I feel I can't breathe.
I never take cable cars, chair lifts and other suspended forms of transport.
I can't leave the house unless I have put everything in order.
House cleaning is very important to me.
I take 3 or 4 showers a day.
I feel uncomfortable without sunglasses.
I wash my hands 20 times a day.
As soon as I get home I have to order things in a certain way.
I always double-check that the door is locked.
Before going to bed, I turn off the gas, and then get up to double-check that I turned it off properly.
When I'm walking, I try and avoid putting my feel on the cracks in the sidewalk.
If a venue, cinema or theatre is too full, I don't go in.
If a venue, cinema or theatre is too empty I feel uncomfortable.
When I drive, I continuously check that I have removed the handbrake.
When there is even a hint of sunshine, I have to wear a hat.
I never drink in a bar; the glasses might be dirty.
I always bring a bottle of water with me because that water is safe.
If all the windows and doors of the house aren't closed, I can't sleep.
If I'm home alone, I hear strange sounds and don't sleep well.
If, as I leave the house, I meet a woman, it will be a lucky day, if I meet a man it will be unlucky.
I make my decision based on these casual facts; how an object falls (straight or crooked), if it's raining or sunny, etc., and I'm not joking.
I often make useless and repetitive calculations, based on things I hear or see.
I can't stand not calculating or repeating something a certain amount of times.
And so forth...
How many, among the people we know, act in at least one of these ways? Each of us could probably indicate at least one person, among friends, family or colleagues who has this sort of behaviour.
These people know that their behaviour is different from most other people's.
Many of them have tried, through sheer will, to correct their behaviour, but haven't been able to.
In the end, almost all of them accept their way of behaving and thinking and integrate it into their daily life.
There are those who don't talk about it, pretending nothing is wrong, and try to hide what they are doing. Others talk about their problem to everyone, maybe even making fun of themselves in order to be accepted by the others ("You know, I'm kind of old-fashioned, I never take the plane " and laugh in order to make the others laugh).
There are also those who talk about it, saying it's a problem but then do nothing to solve it.
But the real problem is trying to understand what this behaviour means.
We cannot just put these things aside as strange and bizarre behaviour, jokes, funny things people do, especially those with an exaggerated personality. These are personal limits to human behaviour, which in most cases, heavily condition the quality of life.
Behaviour, like that described above, is not the product of a person's conscious mind. Those living through this type of situation, can almost never decide whether to do or not do a certain action. They have to do it and that's it. If they don't do that action, they suffer symptoms similar to those of addicts suffering from drug withdrawal.
These people do it because they feel they need to do it, and that if they do not do it , their minds will be filled with anxiety and stress.
Often the "fear of fears" appears, which in these cases can be described as the fear a person has when s/he thinks, if I don't do a certain thing, then I'll feel bad and be afraid. I am afraid of being afraid.
This behaviour is actually often a sign of neurotic disorders, or rather, a symptom of neurosis.
Neurosis develops when the unconscious part of our minds:
- Lives with an unresolved problem
- Is always in conflict
- Never knows what to decide
- Suffered a lack of love and respect when it was in a childlike phase.
In these cases, if the real problem is not faced, then the unconscious part of the mind makes the conscious part of the mind think in certain ways and act in ways aimed at defending itself from suffering.
In certain cases a " false self" is created, meaning an identity that is not the same as the person's true nature; a mask, a character that allows a person to show him/herself in public without suffering too much. All of this to the detriment of the true self, which begins to get sick. All of the behaviours described at the beginning of this article are neurotic symptoms, product of what Sigmund Freud called "phenomena of displacement of psychic energy ".
I'll make an example: I am uncomfortable because I realise that even though I am thirty, I am still psychologically dependant on my parents.
I still feel a childlike love towards them, I see them as more powerful than they really are and even though I have been working for years, have friends, a girlfriend or am married, in my mind I always refer to my family of origin. I can't reach an adult love for my parents. I still have a dependant type of love and in many cases infantile love. I am afraid of being separated from them.
If I have to make a decision I ask my father for advice.
I call my mother everyday and tell her what happened during the day, my thoughts and feeling and ask her for advice.
I still ask my parents for the affection they didn't give me as a child.
Facing problems like this, is very difficult for those living through them, and sometimes seem impossible to solve.
So the subconscious mind, in order to not suffer, takes the psychic energy which could help face the real problem (my relationship with my parents) and moves it to another area where it is much easier to obtain success.
For example, checking that everything is in order, never taking the elevator, a plane etc...
If I don't take the elevator and take the stairs, I feel better, but I haven't resolved my problem with my mother.
In many cases, while childhood scars, or those of life have been too cruel, neurotic sufferance becomes a way of life, subconscious but felt through symptoms which appear to be completely different. Symptoms that seems absurd, only because they refer to, in a cryptic or symbolic way, another level of a person's psyche.
In order to try and understand the nature of this suffering, we have to keep in mind that, assumed behaviour, as Carl Gustav Jung explained, is often the sign of something much more important, on a deep mental level for a person, and, if we can resolve this symbol, and live through it, we are closer to the beginning of change, closer to knowing ourselves.