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Old 10-09-05, 05:01 PM
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ADD and fragile Ego

Hi all,

Here is what I have been working on lately. It could be helpful to some of you so I will post it . First the caveat: I am not a medical health professional. This post is based on observations, research and experience that have been built into a model of cognition. If you see yourself in here, it is not coincidence. There are strong commonalities in people who are ADD.

What is Ego?:
Ego is an abstraction of self. It is a tool to help people join in and participate in groups. It is primarily concerned with correct marking behavior that say "I am a member of this group" and the ability to delay gratification for the good of the group "I will do my duty and be loyal to my group".

It provides abstract "invisible carrots and sticks" that keep people in line and provides the impulse to become a functional member of the group.

Ego has two states:
1. Dystonic: The ego is anxious, painful and causes “self doubting”
2. Syntonic: The ego is calm, pleasurable and creates “self assuredness”

Common Ego Structure: (ER)

Most people only go through an Ego dystonic state when joining a new group. If the ego dystonic state remains through “non-acceptance” by the group. The individual leaves the group. The pain caused by the ego dystonic state drives people to stay within their own “groups” based on “self image”, status and external marking (Race, age, gender, physical attractiveness…etc). Ego allows for a “stick” to keep an individual in line. It forces them to cooperate and delay gratification for the needs and survival of the group

ADD/AS Ego Structure: (IR (CM+ and IR+))

ADD is primarily ego dystonic. This is one of the reasons we have trouble joining groups. We rarely experience the “pleasure” of Ego. In the being alone or with people from groups outside our status and external marking, ego is not a factor. This drives us away from “like groups” and causes “self image” to be weak. This is functional in evolutionary terms. We need to spread genetic material outside of our tribe by leaving our "tribe" and mating with a person from another "tribe".

This causes what I term “Internal Reference”. It is also a driver in Autism Spectrum/Asperger’s.

Manipulators of the Ego Dystonic Individual.

Narcissistic Ego Structure: (ER+))
The opposite of ADD functionally (Although it may be diagnosed as ADHD) is “Narcissism”. The “Narcissist” is primarily Ego syntonic with brief but intense dystonic episodes known as “rages”.

“Psychopathic” Ego structure: (HM+)

Ego is eclipsed by “structure” and rules. It tends to drive paranoia. This type has the full spectrum of “ego dystonic – ego syntonic”.

Ego in the Brain:
Ego is stored in abstraction and fueled by dopamine. Dopamine drives pleasure for abstraction. (dopamine is the primary neurotransmitter affected by the ADD genetic marker (DRD4 )).

What are the signs of Ego in ADD?:
In most people there is a “tape recorder” that records and plays in the dystonic state. It plays back all social mistakes made. As soon as there is acceptance in the group, it shuts off. The group joining patterns are learned very early in childhood and cemented in a powerful ego dystonic phase during puberty. There is a subsequent dystonic phase in middle age (in both men and women) seen as “mid-life” crisis.

In ADD, since we are primarily in a dystonic state, ego has a very clear presence. We are in a near constant state of "childhood", “puberty” or “mid-life crisis”. The “tape recorder” rarely shuts off. It is most quiet in periods of intense “hyperfocus”. The effect of prolonged anxiety is depression: A state in which the body and mind are put in a "low energy" state to protect vital organs from sustained rushes of adrenaline.

With ADD there is no possibility of reaching a consistent ego syntonic state. The “tape recorder” must be turned off. Ego is there and always will be, but it is not and never will be functional for us.

Why do we "cling" to Ego if it is Dysfunctional?:

People who are ADD and AS are raised with a constant pressure to build ego and join groups. The emphasis on ego in culture is clear. We are bombarded by it. It is the way most people function. We are also the product of our dysfunctional childhoods and relationships. Ego is a leash. It is used to control people in groups and relationships. People with ADD and AS are much more sensitive to this. We are easily “suckered” by ego manipulators. On the playing field of ego, we are not skilled nor do we have a “group” to protect us.

The ego dystonic attract a type that is primarily ego syntonic. The narcissist is the smooth “self assured” person that we are attracted to. They are attracted to us in turn. They are “ego connoisseurs”. They can actually create a temporary ego syntonic state in ADD and AS. We in-turn are little threat to them on the playing field of ego. The “push/pull” of ego syntonic and ego dystonic states in the ADD individual creates massive confusion, anxiety and addiction to the Narcissist. They are threatened by our displays of self, they cannot compete on that they keep us in an "ego clinging" state. If we leave the "ego clinging" state...they will run away after repeated "ego dystonic" rages. (they tend to come back though, especially during times of weakness for the ADD individual)

The Narcissist + ADD/AS “matrix" is something we are often born into. If you look around your family, it is usually not a “white picket fence” family. We are so accustomed to this type from our childhood (often one parent is a narcissist) that we are groomed to be with narcissists. This pattern is not functional or healthy for the ADD/AS individual.

What is the result of “Ego Clinging” in ADD/AS?
The result is continued relationships with abusers. This leads to a condition often seen as “low functioning Borderline Personality Disorder”(often diagnosed in women) or “Rapid cycling bipolar depression” (often diagnosed in men). Psychology is a product of the culture it lives in and is gender biased. These two things are “functionally” the same in the case of AS/ADD. The individual is thrown into a “survival state” by the stress. This occurs on the physiological level in ADD. We are in a state of “fight or flight”.

Common Signs of Severe "Ego Clinging" are:
Narcissistic/Histrionic behaviors (attempts to create an ego syntonic state)
Sensory Processing Disorder
(Heightened sensory input, listening for danger in a "fight or flight" state)
Clinging to loved ones or the abuser (Protection from perceived outside threats)
Pushing loved ones away (flight behavior)
Dangerous or compulsive sexual behavior (Safety in numbers, trade sex for safety)
Pseudologia Fantastica (living in an alternate “safe reality” in order to create an ego syntonic state)
Exhaustion and Depression followed by Energy and Enthusiasm: the enthusiasm is usually destructive or manic
Seeking abusive partners: (Searching for that “ego rush”)
Tourettes type tics:…A painful ego is very much like physical pain, it causes tics and repeated phrases to drown out the pain)
Extreme lack of focus: (Focus drives dopamine in healthy ADD, Ego driven dopamine reduces focus)
OCD Behaviors: Primarily in people that have been influenced by a strict parent that was rule driven.

What does ending “Ego Clinging” look like to the ADD/AS individual?:

Turning off the tape recorder is “simply” a matter of ignoring it. This can be “learned” through initial use of SSRI antidepressants (avoid SSNRI’s) with therapy that helps in building self. Meditation is useful (even with the racing mind of ADD). Avoid people who engage in ego manipulation. (This may mean divorce, breaking off relationships and limiting communication with parents). Building boundaries is vital. We can run but not hide from “ego manipulators” (Narcissists and “psychopaths” *). The will always be in our lives. With good boundaries, you can avoid being manipulated and even “turn” that manipulation around in the case that the individual is dangerous to you or your children.

After the “ego clinging” stops, creativity flows. Confidence comes back. When you don’t “care” what people think, you can redirect that energy into caring about what people feel…(with boundaries in place)

The "non-ego clinging state" looks like the “ego syntonic state” of the narcissist to the outside world. People will think you are arrogant. That is due to the inability to use ego in the way it was meant to be used. It is ok to be thought of as “arrogant” or even “narcissistic”. Humility itself is “egotistical”. There is always the ability to accept new ideas and people because your ego is not tied into “what you do or produce”. This is not present in narcissism. In the end, you can be a better parent, friend or member of your community.

It is a lifelong process but it is “the cure” for ADD.

* "Psychopath" (HM+)
The “psychopath” is often not “psychopathic” but extremely driven by rules, structure and iconic imagery. If they have the common ego structure (ER)they can be “pillars” of the community. but in a constant ego syntonic state (ER+) they manipulate to get possessions with dangerous rages that are life threatening to ”loved ones”. In an ego dystonic state (IR+HM+), they are driven by abstraction alone and tend to view people as "playthings". They have a very low level of feeling or sensation.
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