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  • For some of us, today like every day, will  mean another case of immersing ourselves,  

  • from the moment we wake up, in a by-now  very familiar set of painful thoughts. We  

  • will dwell - once again - on how awful we look and  more particularly, on how our nose is repulsively  

  • proportioned relative to the rest of our faceWe will think - once again - of a website we  

  • inadvertently visited twelve years ago and how  the police might be preparing to close in on,  

  • and arrest, us. We will think - once again - of  how several of our neighbours (especially the  

  • people upstairs) might be colluding to ruin and  disgrace us. Or we will think - once again - of  

  • something we said to a colleague which we fear  they misconstrued and which may well lead them to  

  • seek disciplinary action against us at any moment. These thoughts may ostensibly be about a variety  

  • of topics but beneath the surface, they have two  key features in common: they are about something  

  • appalling we feel we are or have done. Or they are  about something appalling we fear that others are  

  • about to do to us. We are the victims of  one of the cruellest and most remorseless  

  • of all mental afflictions: obsessive thinking. Crucially, obsessive thinking is not - despite  

  • the linguistic proximity - to be confused  with thinking per se. It certainly looks,  

  • on the surface, as though the obsessive thinker is  thinking a lot. All day, they might be drawing up  

  • dense charts and jotting down intricate matters  in a notebook. They might want to leave a party  

  • early or escape family life in order to go to  their room tothink.’ They might have become  

  • near world experts in plastic surgery or police  surveillance techniques or an area of employment  

  • law. They would be able to tell you everything  about tracking devices, post operative skin  

  • treatments and the minute by minute developments  in a specific aspect of the media agenda

  • Their cogitation may be extreme but we  may still want to resist calling any of  

  • this thinking. As obsessive thinkers, we are  not making progress though anything of note,  

  • were not advancing through a dilemma; were  not clearing up a priority. We are thinking in  

  • order not to think. By which is meant, we are  using one kind of thought to ward off another.  

  • We are employing obsessive thinking as a defence  against thinking more laterally and emotionally  

  • about who we are and what has happened to  us; against knowing ourselves properly

  • To try to break the agonising loops in  our minds, we might try to ask ourselves  

  • a deceptively simple-sounding question: if  we could not think about our chosen topic,  

  • if we were to be debarred from returning to our  favoured theme, what might we think about? What  

  • other thoughts might lie behind or to the side  of our entrenched ritualised preoccupations

  • Our minds are unlikely to yield a neat  answer. But we can hazard a generalisation:  

  • if we could not think about our obsessive  topic, we would most likely to need in one way  

  • or another to feel intensely, overwhelmingly  sad, lonely, desperate or bereft. Behind the  

  • monomaniacal thoughts about cameras or data  packets or legal processes or social media,  

  • there is almost always an extremely frightenedisolated, unloved child who long ago could not  

  • bear to inhabit their own experience. Obsessive  patterns of thinking have gripped themselves  

  • remorselessly to the walls of the mind in order  to prevent a tragic re-encounter with an early,  

  • highly vulnerable and hurt version of oneself. In a bid for relief, we should dare - for  

  • once - to risk not returning to our usual  themes and instead, while conceding that this  

  • is what we might be doing, to stop runningWe should pause where we are and leave our  

  • secondary thoughts time to catch up with us. We  should put down our fixations and let the waves  

  • of our background grief and fear wash over usHowever tightly we have associated our problems  

  • with our favoured topic of scrutiny, there has  almost certainly long been something bigger,  

  • older and more tragic that we have been unable to  look at: that we were maltreated by a caregiver,  

  • that our parents chronically preferred a sibling  to us, that a father humiliated us repeatedly  

  • to overcome his shame at his own sexual abuse. We have at an unconscious level made a desperate  

  • choice to think ill of ourselves or to worry  about plots against us in order to impose a  

  • degree of logic on an otherwise impossibly  confounding early experience of neglect or  

  • betrayal: to an indigestible experience of  untrustworthiness, to a failure of love

  • Our minds may gradually have an opportunity to  grow less consumed by obsessive thoughts the more  

  • we can interpret our preoccupations as symptoms  of other concerns we are in flight from; the  

  • more we can give up our feelings of persecutionunacceptability and guilt in favour of a sadder,  

  • slower older truth about ourselvesthat we were very badly let down indeed.

For some of us, today like every day, will  mean another case of immersing ourselves,  


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The True Cause of Obsessive Thinking

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    VoiceTube staff 發佈於 2024 年 03 月 30 日