Psychology, Pathology – Nature? Nuture?

zodiacThis is from 2007… did not get much attention back then. I wonder what people think now.

Yesterday there was some discussion about a woman’s asexuality being pathological here and here. Turns out the soldier and I were talking about this a couple days prior. He had told me a story from his childhood.

“Now see,” I said. “Some people would say your whole life is pathological. They would say your career was over-compensation for that experience and experiences similar to that experience. What do you think about that?”

“Don’t think it’s true,” he said.

“Well either do I. People will argue with you all day though. Oh, Elsa, if not for your childhood then blah, blah, blah. I think it’s ridiculous. I’d even say it’s naive. I have a chart, I know that. I was born with it and I know what I like. I know what attracts me and what doesn’t. Am I a daredevil because of my childhood? Of course not. I’d be looking for risk, regardless. I would have had a life looking for adventure no matter what my parents did or who they happened to be. Some guy in medical school? Blah. Some guy with a truck, dirt bike in the back? I’m going to be on that. Don’t you think this is true?”

iwo jima“I’d say so.”

“Well then we agree. We know we were born but we best not tell anyone! They’re too invested in this other theory even though I am pretty sure I could come up with a million scenarios that show otherwise. I am an astrologer you know. As far as I’m concerned, people are born and from the moment they hit this world they are a unique individual with a nature. You can blame whoever you want until you are blue in the face and you are still going to be the person you are. I think we are born to our experience. One look at my chart and of course I am in the family I am in. Why should anyone be blamed for that? You’re a soldier. It’s hardly anyone’s fault. I have a hard time thinking you’d have not been a solider if this and this and this and this when you were born a soldier and all. So your experience shaped you into being, what else would you expect? I mean you went to soldier training but as far as I am concerned, your whole life is soldier training just like my whole life is training to do what I do. Your parents, your brothers, your sisters etc. are part of your training. Well no kidding. But to call a person’s life pathological when they are being themselves is both ridiculous and jacked up. But don’t tell anyone I said this, okay? I have no opinion on this subject actually.”

On that, I snickered and he snorted. 😉

Do you have an opinion on this subject?

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Psychology, Pathology – Nature? Nuture? — 18 Comments

  1. my son had a personality before he was born. and it keeps getting more and more obvious over time. but at day one it was obvious to my family, too.

    i mean, if newborns are who they are, and it’s obvious to anyone who pays attention, what’s this tabula rasa (born a blank slate) BS?

    my dad saw the same thing in all his kids- distinctive personality characteristics from day one.

    to me it just seems obvious. experience can shift how you express who you, but not change the underlying structure, imo.

  2. I had to go back to the “asexual scorpio” post to see who was saying she was pathological. I said she has a problem, a conflict, which is implied in her writing asking for advice.
    No good therapist I know would categorize people in these terms, and I wouldn’t either.
    people are in conflict though, if they’re alive, they will be. the cross ascendent – descendent – MC – FC is the basic conflict of everyone alive, no one is free from it.
    I don’t think I beleive in cause-effect. And I began to think this way because of astrology. Makes sense to me that the planets reflect your energy as a mirror would,they don’t cause it. Someone compared the universe to the russian matrioska dolls, they have smalled ones inside of them, but they’re all the same. macrocosmos and microcosmos have the same patterns. 70% water in the planet earth, 70% water in human body, 70% water in the cell. the starts don’t cause anything, they’re part of a pattern. May not be true, but it makes more sense to me.
    I think we have some level of creative power and change our own energy with thoughts and choices.

  3. My mother was dead set against calling my brother Hamish – which was the name my father wanted – instead he was to be called James. The first time my mother held him, she took one look at him and said “he’s a Hamish” and changed his name.

    As well mom had a theory that we choose our family. Which I think is related to astrology.
    When my nephew passed away (childhood cancer), during saturn in leo, all of us at the funeral had leo and saturn energy in our charts linking us – we showed public pride as a family.

  4. The words ‘modified behaviour’ come to mind. My children are definitely who they are, and I’ve been able to help mold them into decent citizens, but not alter their basic personalities. Period. One of them can be a real stinker and needed much more guidance than the others, but have I been able to CHANGE him? No, only modify behaviors slightly.

    He’s gonna be himself, no matter what comes at him in this world, and he’s not afraid to tell you either! 😀 I adore him, it’s much easier to deal with someone who’ll out and out tell you how they feel than it is the passive aggressive types.

    As Viv alluded, I’m thinking those lunar tides have a great pull on us and I actually think that is how I found, by doing a google search on ‘lunar tides’ – if they pull the oceans, do we not think they have some great pull on us as well since we are full of fluids? Thus the leap to astrology is not far behind, which I’ve always had an interest in.

    Elsa – it was Townley’s mention of you as an ‘agony aunt’ that made me come searching! What a cool sounding thing – I don’t agonize much, but wanted to find out who garned such a title.

  5. I have to say that before I became a mother, I might have disagreed. But because I could tell from the day my son was born what kind of person he was going to be someday. He simply was born that way. Learning Astrology has only enhanced that belief.

    Actually, I don’t have an opinion one way or the other either… *giggle*

  6. There’s a Buddhist meditation called “not self” or “no self” and it’s getting rid of this idea that you are a separate entity from everything else. Now, I more see it like a woven tapestry. What appears to be, say, a horse to us, is not a horse. It’s not even one thread. It’s a bunch of threads lined up and all their colors lined up in a pattern so that it LOOKS like a separate horse — but it’s the same threads that make the other animals in the tapestry.

  7. My astrological cosmology is that we choose our lessons, our family, etc before we are born. And our charts do help us to see some causal relationship between our childhoods and our adulthood.

    Pathology? I’m not into that. I think we are all individuals with individual lessons and purposes for being here. So just because I have Moon square Neptune doesn’t mean that there is something wrong with me, it just means that I have an internal challenge with separating my emotions and needs from those of the people around me.

    I too take issue with pathology, but I just have different reason I guess.

  8. I’m sensitive to my childrens nature so I attempt to nurture there natural ways. But the core of who they were u recognized in utero. But then I am very sensitive. Of coarse that is in my nature 🙂 thankfully my grandmother nurtured that:) and my mother nurtured my independent side.

  9. I agree with what liz said up-thread, years ago.

    Before I get to that, I’ll say (again) that I’m a therapist. I work primarily with children, and there’s a huge focus on because *this* happened, the child acts like *that*. But even from a psychological standpoint it is widely accepted that we are born with what’s termed a “temperament,” and two children can go through the exact same experience and come out two different ways. So the experiences of one’s life is just one piece of the puzzle.

    So I am of the school that we choose our lives, that before we are born we choose our family, most of our experiences, etc. There is some leeway in how some things may turn out, but we are born with an agenda. In that wide view, there is no such thing as pathology.

    Then there is Dr. Thomas Szasz, a radical psychiatrist (I believe) who I had the honor of seeing speak. My favorite quote: “There is no such thing as mental illness. There is only perfectly normal reactions to abnormal situations.”

    (I may have not got that exactly, but you get the idea.”

  10. It’s en vogue now to dismiss certain attitudes and behaviors as pathological. Like people who would’ve been called shy in the past are now told they have social anxiety disorder. That’s a small example and not a very good one. But I agree there’s a predominant cookie-cutter narrative about why people do what they do. Not everyone needs to right the wrongs of childhood.

  11. Well said. I definitely think we choose the family we are born into. I used to view people and experiences in terms of “pathological”, but life just doesn’t fit into neatly defined boxes like that.

  12. Well, I think that psychological terms, like pathological, are thrown around and used as a sort of propaganda to medicate entire nations. That being said I also agree to the notion that we choose the life we are born to. And I think that our eternal souls are making a gamble that we’re gonna get what we need out of it, because in most cases there isn’t going to be much remembering where we went astray last time. But we have eternity to get it right anyway, or maybe we’re already “right”.
    And THAT being said, I do think that some people are born into families that royally flark them up. Sometimes people do really bad things to children, and I guess it would have to be a pretty advanced soul to tread into those waters.

  13. I agree absolutely that we are born with a particular nature, which is visible in our charts (although I disagree that we choose our family or out chart).

    The damage. and the pathology, arises, in my opinion (and experience) – when the parents or any other authority figure in early life refuses to accept the child’s true nature and sets about frustrating and punishing the child, basically for being itself. I do believe this syndrome can seriously damage people and that the effects can cause serious psychological and reactive problems further down the line.

    I would not use this as an excuse for cruel or criminal behaviour, however. Adults should be able to process their own childhood experience, at least to the extent of understanding where certain impulses come from – and doing their utmost to channel the energies so created in early life.

    In other words, we who have had a damaging experience in childhood are duty bound to parent ourselves and to work through our own pathologies, so as to minimise the chances of passing the damage down the line and/or acting out that damage by visiting it on others

    I have an almost totally Cardinal chart: but every effort in childhood to make my own decisions and to chart my own progress was a hard fought battle, and mostly frustrated (sometimes spitefully so). It took great mental fortitude to survive that.

    One example of using that ‘self-parenting’, is that I’m doing my best here on EE via my Merc/Ceres conjunct in Cap, to nurture others by sharing my own experiences in this area. My pm inbox bears testimony that it’s a useful attempt to help others to process their own childhood traumas

  14. PS I have an opinion about just about everything!

    [replying for the sake of it since I’ve been logged out and can’t log back in, this sometimes does the trick. Hate having to clear cookies…]

  15. my father says that all his children had unique personalities at the moments he first met them. and i know the essential character of my son has not changed since he was born.
    i think experience pays a factor in the set of opportunities available to us, but what we’re looking for is an internal process… and some people will go out looking until they find what they’re drawn to…

  16. i think we over pathologize people anyway. as if difference from some arbitrary “norm” was a disease. i don’t think we do enough to celebrate human variety. diversity gives us strength, as it gives us, as a society, multiple tool sets to pick from for problem solving. there are situations were certain states of mind whose risks outweigh the potential benefits, but i don’t think we do enough to examine that balance. it sure would be a boring (and stagnant) world if we all were the same…

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