Jail Lesson: Don’t Look For Your Soul Mate In Jail

After having finished up clearing out the suicide watches one afternoon, I was making my way back to the office. As I was passing through Book In, I saw a slip of paper sliding across the floor. I bent over and intercepted it and looked at the young lady who had launched it toward the holding cell. Curious as to why someone would be passing notes in jail, I opened the note to see a name and telephone number. I looked over at the holding cell to see the male recipient looking back with a sheepish, angelic grin. I tore the note in half and told the female “you don’t want to be picking up guys in jail.” I thought to myself that I would hate to be doing couples’ counseling  years later and find out that they had first met in jail.

All of us are attracted to subconscious cues when it comes to finding a mate. If we happen to have been raised in a dysfunctional family we will invariably seek out the cues with which we are familiar. This explains the reason why we continue to pick partners who abuse, take advantage, or enable self defeating patterns no matter how bad previous relationships have been. We may think that we are attracted to the color of their eyes, or the cute way they smile, but in reality, if we don’t find something “familiar” about our love interest, chances are we won’t pursue the relationship. Often, it is this familiar element that perpetuates the pattern. You may think that you’re attracted to “strong” men when in reality the attraction is to immaturity. You may feel that you prefer independent women when the truth is you pick those who are emotionally unavailable.

We have an incredible capacity to deceive ourselves, and our Egos will go to extraordinary lengths to remain in control, even though its beliefs and actions are not in our own best interests. In fact, Negative Energy such as Addiction, Depression, Anxiety, Paranoia, Fear of Failure, and the Fear of Rejection become so entangled with our Ego that they almost become personality traits. This is why the road to recovery is often long and difficult because we are fighting against our own Ego which has long been deceived and finds it difficult to let go of what it believes and fears. Add to this the total destruction of basic trust, as in the case of abandonment or physical or sexual abuse, and the journey becomes even more challenging.

There is only one Source of Truth, and that is Positive Energy. Authenticity is tied to Truth; therefore, in order to be our true, authentic Self we must function, at least mostly, in Positive Energy. Until that happens, we are living an “alternate” reality. We are not functioning as we were designed to function, neither are we fulfilling our purpose or utilizing our talents in a way that brings personal fulfillment. While it could be argued that the Narcissist is always fulfilled and seeks nothing other than self contentment, the wake of destruction, heartache and injustice caused by their actions is testimony to their Negative Energy. Narcissists do not operate in Love, Truth or Freedom. While they may experience happiness, they do not know true Joy which exists only  in the Positive realm.

Due to the deceptive nature of the Ego, Surrender is the only viable pathway to Positive Energy. One cannot simply decide to pick the opposite type of person with whom they have always been in relationship in order to defeat their negative pattern. The dynamic will simply “flip” and you will find yourself being the controller instead of the enabler or vice-versa. In order for true change to take place, the deception must be uncovered in the Light of Truth and Wisdom must be allowed to set new patterns in alignment with Love, Life and Freedom. Not only must one surrender the old way of thinking and doing, but he must surrender to Wisdom and Truth with a new set of behaviors. This will obviously require developing a new support structure in the form of new friends, advisers and most likely, professional help.  At any rate, Acceptance and Resolve will be needed to make the change. But then, after all, what better things do you have to do?

Jail Lesson: No More Bail Outs

One of my main duties while working as a mental health clinician in a regional jail was monitoring suicide watch. This was back in the day when all the inmate was given to wear was a paper, hospital gown in order to prevent hanging. This was particularly unpleasant since the material was flimsy and the inmate would invariably end up naked in a short time. I would have to check suicide watch daily in order to ensure that inmates who were not suicidal would be released quickly. Although they were constantly monitored by jail personnel, the experience could be brutal, especially over the weekend.

On one particular occasion, I received a request to see an inmate who had scratched his wrist in order to be seen by the clinician. When I arrived, he assured me that he was not suicidal but that he was in need of assistance. “I need you to call my father,” he said. The request took me aback at first and I asked him why he was not able to do this himself. He related that he had lied to, cheated, stolen from and betrayed his father’s trust and that now, he would not take his collect calls from jail.  Thinking that the inmate was remorseful and wanting to make amends, I asked him what he wanted me to say to his father. “I need him to bail me out,” he stated without emotion or hesitation.

Appalled at his brashness and manipulative behavior, I decided to let his actions have their intended effect. I assured him that I would take care of his problem and I knew just what he needed. It was Friday and I simply walked off without taking any further action. On Monday when I returned, the inmate had spent the entire weekend on suicide watch and was not at all happy to see me. I told him that part of his problem was that someone had always bailed him out. I admonished him to remember this weekend, naked in a jail cell, and to promise himself that he would never allow his addiction to put him in that position again. Bail outs prevent one from experiencing the consequences of diseased thinking and behavior, and delay the necessary pain that motivates one to change.

No doubt, his father had bailed him out many times, probably in more ways than one. While his father may have felt that he was showing love in protecting his son from the consequences of his actions, he was actually giving his progeny a free pass to over indulge and become further entangled in addiction. An addict needs a co-dependent in order to continue feeding his addiction. Co-dependents need the addict to feel needed, to rescue, to care for and to get  validation. Although their actions are destined to fail, co-dependents believe they are showing love by being martyrs and sacrificing for the addict. This is a pattern that was established early in childhood and it is tied to a belief system which presupposes that one’s worth and value comes from performance and service to others.

Addiction and Co-dependency go hand in hand. The solution is not simply to take responsibility for their actions or just be more firm. They both need to address irrational belief systems of the Ego and deal with underlying trauma. Their Egos have become entangled with addiction which has infected them to their core. In order to be released, much Acceptance and Surrender work needs to be done. Both will have to come to the conclusion that they are worthy apart from their behavior and learn to love themselves without the need for substitutes and coping mechanisms. It isn’t so much an issue of being “responsible” as it is becoming liberated to truly be one’s Self.

Jail Lesson: Stop Hanging Out With Death

In response to a medical slip requesting counseling services, an inmate assured me that he was not trying to receive psychotropic medication as many do to help pass their time in jail. He stated that he was just passing through on a court appearance while serving time in prison and would not benefit from a referral to the psychiatrist. “I really do need to talk to somebody,” he stated. As he was talking, I was busy assessing his body language looking for cues of dishonesty, nervousness and overall disposition. The inmate stated that he had recently been diagnosed as HIV positive and was struggling with depression. He stated, “I’ve done a lot of bad things, but I don’t deserve to die!”

While observing the inmate’s mannerisms, I noticed a couple of the many tattoos that covered his arms. “What is that tattoo right there,” I inquired. “A skull,” he replied. “What does that represent,” I asked. “Death,” was his response. “And the skull with fire coming out of his eyes?”; “Death,” was his response again. “Guess who just showed up,” I said before I could even think. “If you want Life, you’re going to have to switch sides,” I told him.

At some point, “Death” and our Ego join forces simply because our Ego is so susceptible to Negative Energy. Negative Energy is forceful, manipulative, deceptive, and controlling by its very nature. The Ego is prone to fear and anxiety simply because it cannot understand spiritual principles and often arrives at erroneous conclusions. Positive Energy is spiritually based and intrinsically valuable and operates in Harmony with other positive principles. You cannot “force” Peace, Love or Freedom on to someone no matter how much you may desire it for them. Yes, boundaries must be maintained; in fact, boundaries are necessary for self-respect and personal intention. However, this “force” has more to do with self preservation and personal investment rather than the coercion of another.

In order to make the switch from “Death” to “Life”, one must first realize that a change needs to occur. As in the epiphany demonstrated above, when the consequences of Death finally arrive, a greater portion of the Truth is revealed. Often, this revelation opens the door to even more Truth that there is Hope and Healing available.  This is the “rock bottom” effect mentioned so often by recovering addicts. It comes when one has finally exhausted all attempts to save himself and he is ready to take advantage of the help and support he so desperately needs.

It is not our goal to try to avoid Negative Energy altogether. In fact, we should not view Negative Energy as “bad” or even “evil”, although evil would certainly exist in the negative realm. Our goal is to enjoy all the benefits Life has to offer and in order to do so, we must first see the value of Life and its principles. Having seen their value we must then be willing to invest in them in order to reap their benefits. It is not our objective  to try to be “good” or to “follow the rules” in order to receive a reward from God or the Universe; rather, our objective is to “invest” in ourselves by surrendering to the laws and principles of Positive Energy such as Health, Success, Peace, Love and Freedom. In doing so, we allow our unique gifts, talents and characteristics to flourish and live a Life of abundance and personal fulfillment.

Jail Lesson: Don’t Trade Your Serenity

What follows is a series of encounters I had while working as a mental health clinician at a regional jail, the location of which I shall leave undisclosed. I was teaching a class on Serenity and explaining how that, since it was a spiritual concept, it was not relegated to physical circumstances. I stated that one could experience Serenity no matter in what situation he found himself, if he simply meditated on Truth and allowed the Truth to override his limited understanding.

The following week, one student stated that he had, in fact, found Serenity while in jail. He related how he had been reading his Bible and had arrived at the conclusion that God was in control of his situation and could release him at any time should He see fit to do so. “So what happened” I asked. He stated that he had awakened early one morning in order to get a hot shower. He related that showering alone is a luxury in jail and is something which he relished. He went on to explain that when he entered the shower, he discovered that someone had “taken a dump” in the middle of the room. “Of all the things,” he moaned, “We are all in the same boat in here, just trying to get by the best we can and someone is so inconsiderate…” He said; “I just lost it”. I asked, “what happened to the Serenity?” “Did it leave?”; “Did it change?”. “No” he replied. “So what you’re telling me…”, I stated, “is that you traded your Serenity for a pile of shit.” “I guess”, he said, “but I really didn’t look at it that way”.

When it comes down to it, anything for which we trade our Serenity amounts to a pile of shit. Serenity focuses on that which is truly valuable. Spiritual matters, relationships, our sense of self worth, purpose and value, the every-day provision of the Universe for our peace, joy and happiness are all high priority items which deserve our attention. We often allow lesser concerns such as bills, material possessions and what others think to occupy our thoughts and attention. Often what is needed is to simply lift our eyes off of our current circumstances and allow our Spirit to change our focus to the bigger picture of the Universe and our place within it.

Granted, some situations are more difficult than others, and there are some conditions where it may be impossible not to worry such as the illness of a loved one, job loss or possibly an accident. However, some of these situations may actually have been sent by the Universe to help us get things in proper perspective. Not to say that all circumstances are orchestrated to guide us or that “everything happens for a reason”. It’s like Buddha once said, “shit happens” (or maybe it was Confucius). At any rate, it is easy to lose sight of what is truly important and lose our Joy over small, insignificant, trivial matters which may seem big at the time but in light of the bigger picture are actually worthless.

 

Ego

The Ego is that part of Self that we recognize as our “identity”. It is not our True Self because it does not encompass our Spirit, or that part of us which originates from the Creator, or the Universe itself. The Ego is the earthy, primal, basic part of us that is responsible for our survival, advancement and proliferation. In some sense, parts of our Ego are “involuntary”, much like our heartbeat or breathing. In religious terms, the Ego may represent the “carnal” nature or “the flesh”. It is directly tied to the physical body, the mind and the ethereal part of the Soul such as the conscience and the paranormal. The Ego translates the information it receives through the mind, which is then filtered through the unique temperament of the individual. Someone who is more disposed to “Thinking” will analyze the data carefully. Someone who is more of a “Feeler” will assess the emotional content and engage or disengage with others as deemed appropriate.

Any basic understanding of psychology will include the work of Dr. Abraham Maslow. Maslow is credited with the development of the Hierarchy of Needs, which identifies and categorizes human needs from the basic necessities such as food and water to more sophisticated needs such as altruistic service to mankind. Maslow’s theory suggested that certain needs are so primal and necessary that they must be met before higher, more sophisticated needs can be addressed. In fact, basic needs are so important that the Ego will go to extraordinary lengths to see that they are met. This is obvious when it comes to physical needs, as in the case of starvation or extreme thirst. However, in regard to psychological needs, the picture is not so clear. The need for Trust, Security and Validation are powerful and failure to meet these needs constitutes major trauma. The Ego will attempt to maintain congruence and eliminate cognitive dissonance whenever possible. In other words, it wants things to make sense.

Although the Ego is extremely powerful and capable of superhuman feats, it is limited to the material, physical world and vulnerable to Negative Energy. Ignorance, Deception, Anxiety and Doubt are just some of the principles of Negative Energy. As the Ego attempts to make sense of circumstances and incoming data, Negative Energy creates erroneous conclusions, unrealistic fears, and self doubt, especially when one is growing up in a negative, dysfunctional environment. The less one’s basic needs are met, the more Negative Energy is generated and the Ego must compensate for mental, emotional and psychological trauma. Irrational beliefs such as “something is wrong with me”, “I am not worthy of love or affection” become entrenched. Coping mechanisms such as lying, addictions, fantasizing and other obsessions are developed. In extreme cases, survival techniques may be employed which could include: disassociation (multiple personality); hyper-vigilance; extreme defensiveness; hoarding and violence. Add failed relationships, job loss and addiction to the mix and Positive Energy becomes a distant place.

In many cases, it takes a precipitating event to weaken the Ego enough to allow Positive Energy to shine Hope, send in Love and awaken the Spirit to new Life. Recovering addicts call it “Rock Bottom”. However, as the individual begins to recover, the Ego renews its strength and begins wrestling for control once again. It is at this point that Acceptance and Surrender become vital as a daily practice. The Spirit must be allowed to have access to Positive Energy and Surrender to the Principles of Life and the Ego must  continuously be denied control of the Will and Intention. This is not so much a “choice” as it is Intention. The recovering individual must set his or her Intention to Surrender to Wisdom, Health, Truth, Serenity and the other Principles of Life by relinquishing control to his or her Spirit rather than the Ego. This will require disavowing old irrational beliefs, coping mechanisms, substitutions and self preservation techniques and adopting new practices of meditation, acceptance, study and application.

One must begin a new journey, relinquishing the old, embracing the new. The objective is to fully become the True Self which includes a healthy, renewed Ego as well as a connected and surrendered Spirit. This will include a healthy heart with clear and firm boundaries of Self which regularly invests in and gives of its gifts, talents and resources. Age and time are not factors as one must learn to adapt to change and be present in today’s energy.

The Ego is not our enemy; rather, it is the part of our self that must learn from the Spirit and Universe to appreciate the value of Life and its Principles and Surrender to the vitality that comes as a result.

The Fool’s Journey

OK, so now you know your personality type along with some of the peculiar traits, quirks and proclivities that make you the wonderful, magnificent, spectacular creation that you are. The firsts step in your journey of self love and healing is coming to acceptance of your unique composition and history. Your Ego has evolved according to your personality type by utilizing its strengths and compensating for weaknesses, and interpreting information through the filter of your unique perspective. It is not our goal to eliminate, or even to “set aside” the Ego. Our goal is to connect with Spirit and Surrender to the principles of the Universe in order to bring about Love, Healing, Serenity, Freedom and Success, thereby fulfilling our place in the Universe and healing our Soul.

So, for example, you are an ISFJ and early on you discovered that you felt a sense of accomplishment and self worth when you helped others. Or perhaps you were in a family situation that required your help with care giving and chores. As you grew, you began looking for someone who needed you, even though this was on a subconscious level. Perhaps you were attracted to someone who was immature or even addicted. Maybe you found someone who had emotional or physical handicaps. Your life became one of service and your own identity, with its needs, desires and dreams slowly began to vanish. The spark of Life began to die inside and your existence became robotic, routine and dark. This is not who you were meant to be. You were given a warm, caring heart and the ability to work, create and serve. But all of your service is supposed to be done from a Joyful, contented heart which is fed and nurtured daily just like the ones for whom you care. You must accept the Truth that although you were born to serve and to help others, your caring nature was exploited and you took a short cut to personal fulfillment by accepting the crumbs of smiles and “thank you’s” which your service attracted. You must then Surrender to Spirit and the principles of the Universe in order to become the magnificent powerhouse you were intended to be. You then go on to open up your own chain of hotels, or start your catering business or become an interior designer and you thrive because you learn that you are worthy just as you are and your self worth doesn’t depend on how much you do or how well you perform, but simply who you are.

Or maybe you are an ENTP and you were diagnosed with ADHD early on in school. Your life has been a series of failures, tests and restrictions. What the people who try to “help” you do not understand is that the last thing you need is to be “restricted”. Your mind constantly creates new fantasies, adventures and solutions to problems. You cannot stand to sit at a desk, or be confined to a room staring at lines on paper or filling in blanks on a computer screen. No one understands you and you are unable to explain your thoughts and feelings to anyone. You were made to be different, to go against the status quo. You were given vision, imagination and a sense of adventure. Instead, your Ego believes that something is wrong with you and that you cannot be trusted with responsibility. You accept labels such as “lazy”, “dreamer”, “hyper” and “unreliable”. Your journey begins with accepting the marvelous visionary and explorer that you are. You must accept the judgments and misconceptions of others as well as the hurt and betrayal in which they engaged. Surrender may require that you “reel it in” and focus, either through medication or supplementation but not to deny the unique energy and vision that only you possess. You must forgive others and yourself for harsh judgments and misguided attempts to “conform” and move forward into your life of architecture, engineering, inventing or creation with the full knowledge that no one can touch you!

Whatever your type, Acceptance and Surrender are the keys to moving from Negative Energy to Positive and beginning your journey of Self Love and personal fulfillment. Let the journey begin and don’t forget to have fun!

My Type: Judging

The “judging” of this particular personality type comes from the standard of “getting things done” and “efficiency”.  “J” types need structure and prefer to plan, schedule and organize their lives rather than shoot from the hip. J’s can be relied upon to maintain tradition, to take care of details, to keep things neat and orderly and follow the book. Cliches such as, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, and “a place for everything and everything in its place” were invented by J type personalities. J types believe that there is a “right and wrong” way to do things and stick to the right way as much as possible.

J’s do not feel the need to “personalize” their work, unlike their P counterparts. They are perfectly fine with doing things the conventional way and not “reinventing the wheel”. In fact, in their extremes, J’s can be quite rigid in their routines and become stressed when those routines are disturbed. J’s do not mind being predictable and in many cases may hold this in high regard. Many J types suffer from the need to be in control and struggle when it comes to the need for flexibility. They like their world to be organized and predictable and Life seldom cooperates with their efforts.

J’s are not happy until everything is organized and completed. They prefer the dishes to be done, leftovers put away and everything cleaned before they sit down to relax. While this is an admirable trait, J’s can become caught up in “doing” and forget to be present in the moment and enjoy the company of family and friends. They can also become quite judgmental of others who do not “pull their weight” or live up to their standards, although many are caregivers, guardians and protectors and often sacrifice gladly. Like Feelers, J’s can be easily exploited since they are willing to do the work and may often simply do what needs to be done without asking or even thinking.

J’s often hold themselves and others by a high set of “performance” standards. They may be quite harsh on themselves regarding their behavior and level of success. Even though they may be able to work everyone else under the table, they may feel they have not done enough or performed adequately.  While they need to accept their love for efficiency, cleanliness and service, they will need to practice Surrender and letting go of the need to control and serve others. Many will need to learn to put themselves first and get their own needs met as well as taking care of others. J’s may find it difficult to say no and often end up with far too many responsibilities on their plate. They are the classic enablers and rescuers, preferring to simply jump in and do the work without considering the personal cost. J’s need to learn that their personal worth does not come from performance or behavior, but simply who they are and their place in the Universe.

My Type: The Perceiver

In Jungian Typology and Myers Briggs Temperament identification the “P” category can very well stand for “Procrastination”, although the correct title is “Perceiving”. P-type individuals value freedom and independence and avoid restrictions whenever possible. Perceivers procrastinate because they like to keep their options open right up until the last minute. They may also avoid relationships with friends and relatives because these often include obligations and expectations. These types do not like to commit themselves to activities or plans days in advance for fear of boxing themselves in. Perceivers do not work well in the regular 9 to 5 business week and do better with irregular hours or by being self employed.

One identifying characteristic of Perceivers is their need for uniqueness. They like to approach tasks, jobs or art from a different perspective and often like to put their personal stamp or signature on their work. They get bored easily and having done so will look for ways to break the monotony or stir things up. Perceivers often need to have motivation and inspiration in order to begin an endeavor, which is another reason for their procrastination. The pressure of the deadline often provides the necessary inspiration to get started. However, Perceivers do not like being told how and when to do things. They like to have the personal freedom of making their own decisions and performing a task in their own manner.

Perceivers are often surrounded by clutter. They cannot be bothered by the mundane task of putting everything back in its place or spending too much time organizing and straightening. For this type, the issue is energy and where to spend it. Planning and organizing is viewed as a waste of time and energy to the Perceiver. Since they do not like boxes or restrictions, clutter is not a problem. Perceivers can have piles of various items lying around but know exactly which pile contains the item they may need. This is actually a component of their creativity. Perceivers think “outside the box” and enjoy the freedom to create, invent and improvise. They do not read the owner’s manual and if something lying around can fix the problem, there is no need to buy a new part.

Perceivers need to accept and celebrate their uniqueness. Since they do not fit into the business/corporate world, they often feel like misfits and will avoid jobs that require tight schedules and deadlines. However, understanding one’s preferences allows him to better explain how he operates to a potential employer or even a spouse. Perceivers may often allow themselves to become stuck with inappropriate labels such as “lazy”, “messy” or “incompetent”. No one would dare use such labels on someone as famous as Da Vinci, yet he was clearly a Perceiver. Surrender may require that this type develop some organizational skills, or at least have someone supportive who can keep them organized. However, too much pressure to “conform” may cause the Perceiver to become depressed and frustrated by the restriction. Personal growth will require some level of adaptation but in the end, freedom and independence will rule the day when it comes to Perceivers.

My Type: Thinking vs. Feeling

Thinking and Feeling types are usually about as easy to distinguish as Extrovert/Introvert. The type of Thinking in this category is more of hard, analytical calculation rather than the conceptualizing, imagining of the Intuitive. The major difference between these two types is that Feelers are people oriented whereas Thinkers are more data, task oriented. In a managerial position, a Thinker will be primarily concerned that the job at hand is being executed. A Feeler, on the other hand, will be more concerned about the needs of the workers, the customers and the people involved. Feelers can wear their emotions on their sleeves and be sensitive to the thoughts and opinions of others. In extreme cases, and in conjunction with other personality traits, Feelers can be highly sensitive and empathic. This may cause problems with mental health, especially if one has not learned to balance emotions with reason and circumstances.

Not only are Feeling types sensitive to their own emotions, but they pick up on the feelings of others as well. They are constantly thinking of the well being of those around them and often sacrifice their own needs for those in their care. Depending on their other personality characteristics, they may engage in community action, volunteer work or even take up humanitarian, political causes. The difficulty for these types is in maintaining a strong sense of self and setting firm boundaries for self love and maintenance. Intuitive Feelers may struggle more deeply than other types since their imaginations may lead to self doubt, paranoia and fantasy. Feelers are often exploited since they are easily manipulated by guilt and shame and often seek to avoid conflict.

Thinkers are much more straight forward. These are the Vulcans of the human world. To Feeling types, Thinkers can come across as cold and heartless at times. Thinkers are more concerned with the task at hand and getting the job done. They cannot be bothered by messy emotions or useless sentiment. Thinkers can, and do, become involved in humanitarian projects and endeavors which are geared toward making the world a better place. They often seek out Feeling or more caring types in relationships in order to get their psychological needs met. It may often be difficult for Thinking types to express their feelings and to be vulnerable. This may cause stress and anxiety, especially if they are raised in a dysfunctional environment.

Feeling types will need to accept their caring, compassionate nature and allow themselves to experience their broad range of emotions. They should spend time in meditation and work on keeping their emotions, doubts and fears in check. Feelers are particularly vulnerable to Negative Energy, especially if they are raised in a dysfunctional environment. Feeling types will also need to Surrender in the area of speaking Truth and not avoiding conflict. They need to express their own needs and set firm boundaries in order to preserve their sense of Self and follow through with their intention.

Thinking types need to accept their penchant for getting the job done and being efficient in their work. Intuitive thinkers are innovators, inventors and visionaries. Thinkers should spend time in meditation and cultivate a sensitivity to those around them, seeking ways to express feelings for their loved ones and acquaintances. Keeping a journal is an excellent activity for Thinking types to be able to identify feelings and occasions when they should have demonstrated more care or concern.

My Type: The Sensing Type

In contrast to their Intuitive counterparts, Sensing types are often hard workers and far more industrious. They enjoy hands-on, practical work and play. As Thinking types they can be artists, mechanics, architects and supervisors and as Feelers they can be composers, performers, guardians and protectors. As a general rule, Sensors make decisions much more quickly than Intuitives since all the Sensor needs to do is add up the facts and arrive at a conclusion. While Intuitives may be the dreamers and visionaries, Sensors are the builders and architects.

Sensing types are not without difficulties despite being more practical and grounded. The classic, co-dependent spouse is a Sensing type. Sensing-Feelers are built to serve. Unfortunately, with this type, service becomes the central focus and standard of self esteem and worth. Throw in Judging and things start to become a little OCD. STJ’s may also have difficulty in serving the “higher good” or simply become enslaved to following rules, traditions, or societal expectations. The danger comes in losing one’s own identity and intention to another person, entity or cause. The Sensor may not see this as problematic for many years since they find validation in the service of others. However, when the time comes to identify their own hopes or dreams, they may come up empty handed. Sensors also view their service as an act of love, which it is. However, dutifulness and servitude are no substitutes for vulnerability and expression of emotion and affection. Sensors, especially Thinking types, may find it difficult to show their love in words or affection and may not value the words and affection given to them by others. This adds further to the isolation and identity loss suffered by co-dependent types. They often feel that their service and dedication goes unnoticed, which is frequently true because they have created an atmosphere of dependency on themselves.

Sensing types have a tendency to evaluate themselves by their behavior. They feel that their acts of service demonstrate their love and care and judge others by the same standard as well. However, individual worth is not determined by behavior. Sensors need to establish their self worth apart from their work, performance and service. They need to allow their service to flow from their own sense of value and worthiness and set healthy, self maintaining boundaries. They need to constantly remind themselves to slow down and enjoy the present moment rather than take care of everyone else around them.