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Mistakes

Another relatively simple way of getting in touch with your unconscious dynamics is to pay attention to the errors that you make - errors of hearing, speaking, forgetting, losing things and work at making some sense out of them, perhaps finding a pattern in them, some meaning from them. I, for instance, will often say my “mother” when I want to say my “wife.” The significance of that is pretty clear. In fact, my wife is very much like my mother in some ways. Her father is an immigrant. She is a social worker. She is basically introverted. I long ago accepted the fact that one of the reasons I fell in love with my wife was to work on some of the issues I had with my mother.

In one of my therapy sessions I said, “I was 43 years old when my father was born,” inverting the fact that my father was 43 years old when I was born. After working for a while on what the slip might mean, I came to see the significance of it: It wasn’t until I was around 43 years old that I could see and accept my father as he was – a relatively normal human being with good points and bad points, worthy of neither idolization nor demonization.

In the process of telling me a story, a colleague of mine said “my second wife” which was a slip since he was married to a first wife. The slip doesn’t mean that he is going to have a second wife but it certainly suggests that something might be going on inside that he might want to take a look at.

Forgetting is a common way for unconscious dynamics to play themselves out. As I say to persons who are having a hard time owning the significance of their forgetting: “Funny thing, I’ve never forgotten a date with a woman who I cared about or a date to play tennis or golf.”

This excerpt is taken from pages 84 and 85 of Lighten Up. Dance With Your Dark Side. Click here to buy the book.

 

 

 

 

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