The article contains some major ideas, worked up in my book «Comfort me!» completed in 2004, May-June. The book has been published in Bulgarian and, I hope, it will awaken great interest and will be also translated into other languages.
The foremost prerequisites I used are Sigmund Freud and Eric Berne’s theories on the structure of personality.
Taking it more concrete - there is a conception held about the existence of Id-Ego-Superego system in personality’s structure, presented by Freud, as well as frame-work of Ego, defined by Berne as Natural Child (NC), Adapted Child (AC), Parent (P) and Adult (A).
Further, it is absolutely natural to show the necessity of my new approach’s introduction towards a personality and the meaning of “Comfort” (understood as it is explained in the text below), there is an ontogenesis of personality examined in the way the majority of us would call it “normal”. Only then the definition is given to the notion - the most favourable state for every concrete personality’s substructure and its contents are proved. I accept that every personality’s substructure “strives” for its most favourable state independently of the others, that leads to “tension” in the personality itself and, so-called, “Inner Contradictions”. To my mind, for taking away some “tensions” accumulated and solving of personal inner “contradictions”, a personality is forced to solve very simple, at first sight, tasks that in their most elementary variant have an alternative answer- “Yes” or “No”. This background was used to define the so-called, “eternal dilemmas” and levels of their solving.
After considering the genesis of personality and its structure, I present one of its possible models, which supposes a little bit different sense of place and meaning of its different component parts, which are their most favourable states and how they can be achieved.
And only then, the definition is given to the new analysis, which I permitted myself to name “Comforting Analysis” that presents, to my mind, a natural addition to Psychoanalysis, and, especially to the Transactional Analysis.
From the very beginning we will take several prerequisites that will help us further to describe entirely naturally the essence of our undertaken approach.
Thus, let’s consider that a specific biological forcefunctions in any biological organism. This force manifests generally in two main directions – constructiveanddestructive. I suggest to further name this force as Bios (from Greek – “life”). I also suggest the Bios two constituents to be called, correspondingly, Libido and Mortido (although the Psychoanalytic Theory uses them in a different sense). The domination of one of them will define the basic tendency, which is the result of their mutual influence. I also admit that Bios is present obviously only in living organisms. Concerning the human beings, the presence of Bios is considered as a fact from the very moment of fecundation – in the stage of “zygote” until the individual’s death.
Therefore, it is entirely natural to consider that the promoting forces of individual development are these two constituents of Bios – Libido and Mortido. They function within all levels of the given personality’s structure, but depending on this level, they are presented differently and, therefore, we call their manifestations by other names as well.
Besides that, I admit that Bios force is universal, and therefore it should be present in any organism, independently of its complexity and place within the phylogenetic scale. So, that means that it is either “coded” both in genes of simple viruses and unicellular organisms, as well as in human genes, or it is manifested on the particular organization of material – the biological one. I could also admit that being of biological origin the Bios force is the essence of biological, of living. The presence of this force in the given object makes it living (biological) and is the basic, essential difference between living and dead.
Let’s recall that Eric Berne defines the notion of “Physis”as “natural force of development, which makes organisms to evolve, and the embryo – to grow and become an adult organism, making ill people become healthy, and sane ones – achieve their goals, dreams and ideals”.
So, I admitted that Libido and Mortido would mean two opposite components, according to the direction of their action. These components are specific only for living biological objects of the Bios force. Thus, Bios and its constituent forces is exclusively fundamental and characteristic feature only of the biological objects and its presence will be distinguished by the fact whether the biological object is alive or vice versa – the presence or the absence of Bios will define whether the biological object is alive or dead.
We know that besides physical development, the human beings develop psychically as well. Thus I admit, that two human beginnings the somatic and the psychic are firmly and mutually bound, and I also admit, a specific biological force named earlier Bios, makes this link.
Thus, I advise further to keep in mind the following model:
The human being - is a trinity of Somatic, Psychical and Bios.
The interaction of psyche with social leads to gradual formation of psyche’s social component -“the impact” of social upon psyche (or, in general, upon the personality).
So, what does personality mean? It means somatic + psychical+ social, doesn’t it?
If we remove one of the components of the chain, we shall get something else but human personality.
It seems quite logical to take the somatic constituent as an absolutely necessary one for a personality. I also state that we must “tread” upon somatic in order to go further on integral personality structure’s building. (For instance, it is enough the majority of the human’s cells to contain three chromosomes of the twenty first pair, instead of two, and the Down's disease is present, which, you have to agree, will have a great impact on the identifying characteristics of such a person). In brief,Somatic is an indispensable condition for human personality’s formation and development. To no avail it (Somatic) is taken by most of the “default” personality researchers, as a fact by itself.
Psychical - is the second indispensable component of any personality. I may also assert, having in mind the previous scheme, that Somatic + Psychical = Biological for a human being. It comes totally natural that a normalpersonality needs a normal biological background.
Let’s recall that the notions of libido and mortidoare used with complete different meanings in scientific and daily speech. Freud’s Libido present one thing and Berne’s one, for instance, is something else. Here, however, I shall take Libido and Mortido just as opposite forces, the component parts of the Bios force. I suppose it is important to remember that both Bios components are always present (but they can manifest themselves to a different extent - i.e. the tendency towards libido or vice versa) in any biological process of a living organism.
Both component parts ofthe Biological, depending on different factors, mostly on the concrete biological species or/and individual, are also presented to a different degree, one being always at the expense of another. Logically, the Somatic and the Psychical, or, Libido and Mortido, in any proceeding process in the living biological organism could never be equal to “zero”. That means that these pairs can exist just in pairs - nevertheless the fact that one of the components is more expressed than another. It can be better demonstrated with the help of some elementary schemes:
The second scheme can serve as the simplified model of biology (that means Biological) for instance, in case of the newborn. There is more of the somatic within him, than psychical, but both components are present from the birth. More than that, logically (taking into consideration the scheme above) it would be correct to suppose that psychical is evident right away after the fecundation, already at the zygote’s stage. Some questions arise: ”How? What kind of form?” Well, the answer may be: at this stage the Psychical is presented in the minimizedaspect: as a potential possibilityit will appear at the corresponding phase and will develop throughout all its life. This way all the potential possibilities of the development of the biological organism, in any event, are “closed” in genes - at a human being - they are framed within 46 chromosomes.
From the mentioned above, taking into consideration the model described, it comes out that after zygote’s formation, one’s life begins, the bearerof which is Biological (Somatic-Psychical system - presented at the beginning, basically, as Somatic), and the motive force - Bios (the system of Libido-Mortido).
The dynamism between Libido and Mortido, as well as the stadium of ontogenesis leads to the fact that the somatic begins slowly, but steadily yielding to psychical, it is not just a “potential possibility», but a reality, that begins to form the basic psychical education, described for the first time by Freud, named as “It”. I suggest using the Latin word - Id.
According to my perception, Psychical and Id coincide with each other for some time and are the same things, i.e. all psychical consists of Id. As well as all somatic consists of one or several cells within the earliest periods.
Probably (within the frames of the considered model) straightaway after the birth, or even during the birth, Idgoes through radical structural changes, and thus giving the basis to I, or, for sticking to the style - Ego.
Of course, at the beginning Ego structure is minor in comparison to Id, and if we consider the same scheme,
then, we must not forget, that the border between Id and Ego is “flexible”, i.e. the balance between them is dynamic, however at the beginning Id is prevailing, and later on Ego conquers new spaces (but, as I presume, within the frames of genetically defined borders).
As Ego is a newer structure within the Psychical, it is also more distant from the Somatic one. More than that, we supposed that Ego had begun its development from the birth. There is no doubt that Ego is weak at the beginning, but it is called to be the unique bridge between the Reality and the Biological (or the system Somatic-Id, particularly), but Id is its mediator in the relations with Somatic. Therefore, Ego does not correspond directly to Somatic- probably, it won’t stand that.
Hence I reached the assumption that from the very birth in Psychical, two substructures Id and Ego can be distinguished. I accept this model. Then, which part of Ego, could be logically expected to appear the earliest, if we apply Eric Berne’s model of Ego’s structure - NC, AC, P and A?
It is early for the Parent - too early. The Adult in a newborn - surely is not! Remains only the Child. But,as the other Ego’s substructures are still missing, it will be more natural to admit that during the first minutes of birth and right after it, the newborn little Egowill be totally presented as a Natural Child.
The gradual accumulation of images and models of parents’ behaviour to a newborn lead to restructuring of his/her Ego, thus forming a Parent on the basis of the Natural Child, after what the interaction between the Parent and the Natural Child leads to a new restructuring of the Natural Child, and the new signs of another new structure appear - the Adapted Child. Where is the Adult, still? Of course at this early stage the Adultis in his/her “latent” phase - and exists only as a potential possibility to appear and develop.
In the above scheme the small grey ellipsis “within the territory” of Ego presents the potentially possible place of the Adult’s further appearance. Please note, that the Adult is directly linked to all the other structures of Ego. In my opinion, that’s how it should be. Besides that, in my perception, only this Ego’s part called Child, is directly linked and interacts with Id. It is the Child (I even admit that the Natural Child, and only it, directly participates in the interaction with Id!) that is the mediator between Id and other Ego’s substructures. In any case, due to its essence the Natural Child is much closer to Id than all the other parts of Ego. And the considered “natural” process of structuring of the Psychical (within the considered model) expects exactly this conclusion.
I have already said that gradually in its development the childish Ego restructures and its “youngest” constituent feature appears, the Adult.
Thus, if I admit that the mediator between Id and Ego is namely the Natural Child than our model of personality’s structure will look as follows in the system Id - Ego:
It is very important that the offered system is interpreted to have dynamics - that is why I placed so many pointers in the scheme. On the one hand, in order to show that the dynamics is very great, and “resulting vector” of the given force is defined by a large number of interactions and factors, but on the other hand, it is about forces and processes, which flow in different directions and the domination of some of them over the others will depend on the magnitude of force, duration of its influence, direction and presence or absence of counteraction.
Being more precise, I would not want Id and Ego to be perceived as some structures occupying almost the same space within the Psychical, as it looks like to be above, - the presented scheme looks like that for better visual demonstration, but as a matter of fact, taking it into consideration from another point of view, it would have looked as follows:
Superego (or Super-I), as we know, is Freud’s achievement, too. In this concept or constituent part of the psychic he introduces the subjective perception of the social reality (expressed in certain norms, requirements, customs, morals, culture, religion, aesthetics, politics, etc. - i.e. the formation of the image of what is goodand what is bad), as well as the parent’s influence (traits, character, and specific demands of the parents), and the desire of an individual - the Ideal of ones own I, towards which he tends.
Eric Berne (apparently under Freud’s influence) defines Superego in the following way: “...the Superego term includes the conscious conscience,subconscious Superego and Ideal Ego”. (Italics from the author).
Within a certain comparison a quite complete coincidence between the two conceptions may be found. For instance:
Conscious conscience (Berne) = subjective perception of the social reality (Freud)
Subconscious Superego (Berne) = Parent’s influence (Freud)
Ideal-Ego (Berne) = Ideal of ones own I, towards which the person tends (Freud)
If, however, the Superego’s structure is considered impartially or simply “from outside”, we shall be impressed at once of the fact that it (the structure) reminds us of Berne’s structure of Ego.
The “conscious conscience” resembles the Adult, the “subconscious Superego” (the parent’s influence - according to Freud) resembles the Parent, and the “Ideal-Ego” similar to a delighted and dreaming Child, doesn’t it?
To my mind, the resemblance is evident. All these three components are images and samples of a part of the reality; some of them can change with the course of time (by the way, as well as these in Ego). Although, these images and samples (of Superego) can and, essentially, exert influence onthe Ego, and even on the Id (according to Berne), they cannot exist without Ego.
Consequently, it can be noticed, that the derivative structure of Ego - the Superego is rather the result of interaction of its part that is, more or less, bound to the Social, than the result of interaction of the Ego with the external environment in generally.
Let’s analyze the following scheme:
It is an already known scheme for Ego, but we see here that some new elements appeared. These elements are Superego - NC*, AC*, A*, P*. Of course, I definitely think, that as a the result of the influence of the social factors over Ego, some of its parts “harden” or separate as isolated “isles” apart from “samples and images”,which differ from the surrounding images mainly by their origin (that means, what they were got from and what they were provoked by) and by their function regarding their own personality, and Ego particularly.
I suggest to call Superego the “Archipelago” of images and samples, among “seas” of images of the Parent, the Adult and the Child (I consider them as they were defined by Berne). The picture presented this way gives us, in my opinion, a good visual demonstration and the possibility to consider a number of analogies. Besides, the link between Ego and Superego seems to be exclusively tight (as it is in reality), both in the structural and functional terms. I could also suppose that the transference of the given image from “seas” of Ego to “archipelago” of Superego is a process that in natural (that means socially determined) conditions has the tendency to be present more than the opposite process - for a part of Superego’s images to loose their “superior” position and come back into “twilight zone” - that means into the Ego’s frame. Though on the other hand, continuing the analogy, we may at least theoretically imagine the situation when the “seas” of Ego overflow and cover the “archipelago” of Superego. What happens or could happen than?...
Before going further, I have to admit, that tendency for dominationof each Ego’s substructure - NC, AC, P or A, by itself or maybe together with any other substructure might be accepted as a Basic law, acting within Ego. The domination of the given substructure will mean that the personality will fall more often and for longer periods especially into this ego-state that the given structure presents.
Which personality’s ego-state, however, will be the most active (i.e. will dominate) and why? This is the question, we will answer gradually in due course...
Now, I suggest to consider how Id, Ego and Superego interact with each other and communicate with its substructures mentioned above - P*, A*, NC*, AC*. What are the “purposes” of each of these structures, what “bothers” them, how does that affect the others, and which state does each of them tend to, in order to “fell itself comfort”.
In the cited book several pairs of notions opposed by essence and meaning are considered in details. I called them conditionally “dilemmas”. Most often a “dilemma” is the necessity to choose one of the two opposed circumstances or possibilities.
In the Logics a “Dilemma” means a “double supposition, having only one solution.” Now it comes clear why some of the notions mentioned below were named dilemmas - because the processes I consider there, always choose one of the two possibilities as the main one, and the second one is presented as much as it is necessary in order not to disintegrate the process and to keep the possibility of its proceeding in the given direction with a dominant tendency. That is why when I say a “pair“, I mean the structural part of the problem and when I say a “dilemma”, I mean its functional part.
Thus, these pairs or dilemmas will help to understand the considered processes, but I will not analyze them in details - I will only name them and shortly describe their importance for human personality.
So, these are:
I may admit that Libido and Mortido act within all the levels of the human personality. The result of their impact is not always noticeable. However, it is easier to distinguish them, keeping in mind the definition given on the Somatical level.
As well as the pair Libido-Mortido is taken as an universal pair (affecting correspondingly different components of the human personality), the pair Good-Bad, has the same peculiarities - i.e. it is as much universal towards different elements of the personality - but also has its own meaning and content, depending on the level it is considered and functions. Its meaning is not exhausted only by the “ethical” content (Goodness - Evil), that it is usually loaded - the “ethical” interpretation is only a particular case and is important primarily for the Parent and the Superego.
Because of its strong emotional supply this pair should be ascribed, generally, to the Child, especially to the Natural Child (although it makes sense for the majority of other personality’s substructures). The Natural Child’s dilemma solving “Want - Don’tWant” is one of the major Personality’s problems in general, and Adult’s one in particular.
It should be noticed that for the Adapted Child the pair May Do That - May Not Do That has not the same sense and meaning, that it has for the Parent. The Adapted Child accepts what is permitted (May Do That) and what is prohibited (May Not Do That), or one may do it this way, but one may not do it that way, only because the Parent “says” so.
The same pair (dilemma) looks completely different from the Parent’s (P) point of view. With May Do - May Not Do, the Parent “envisions” some ethical and cultural values. The P is convinced (takes them as axioms!) that they are right, or wrong. Besides, for the Parent, the pair (May Do That) one may do it this way - (May Not Do That) one may not do it that way is connected with the Parent’s personal experience, which he, the Parent would like to transmit it to his Child, because, to his mind, it is of great value and will protect his Child from mistakes he (P) had made.
This pair (dilemma) also appears at some levels and is of the greatest importance for the Adult. It is him who makes decisions when he needs and when he does not need; it is neither the Parent (who also can, share his knowledge with the Adult), nor the Child (who can also present his standpoint and ideas to the Adult).
Of course it becomes clear at once how important is to constantly improve the Adult - everything surrounding us changes with the high speed. In case the Adult remains behind while taking the most important decisions, despite the reason of remaining behind, than the personality will be conquered through its Ego by either the Parent or the Child or by a permanent fight for “power” between them, with corresponding and concrete consequences. In the later case the Superego’s influence will only complicate and aggravate the situation.
This is another pair, very close to the previous one according to its essence and meaning, thus it could be correct to “call” the Adult “for help”, when this dilemma appears. On the other hand, although there is a first sight resemblance of Need - DoNotNeed and Necessary - Unnecessary, they have different content and functional meaning. Even due to the fact that each of us can imagine the situation when a certain action, from an objective point of view, Does Not Need to be fulfilled (for example, because the risk of unfavourable consequences if exclusively great), but it is Necessary to be fulfilled for the achievement of a certain goal.
Another dilemma, which only the Adult “has the right” to solve (with the corresponding help of the other personality’s structures). Everybody finds himself often in the situation, when one should decide whether can or cannot physicallydo a concrete action. Here again, (as above) I speak about the objective appreciation of the situation and of the personal abilities, in order to make a final conclusion - Can or Cannot do this... Of course, it is difficult when Need, it is Necessary, but I Cannot...It is also important that the Adult should know his NC to his best, in order not to fall under the NC’s “intuitive” assurance, that the A canmanage it. Due to the same reason the A should know his P, who “in order to prevent the A against failure”, whisper the A that hecannot manage...
I could admit that this pair is actual for the AC - when looking for the appreciation of the Parent, whether the action is right or wrong, for the Adult - whether the situation is objectively appreciated and the final conclusion is reached, whether “this” action is right or wrong for the given situation, as well as for the Parent who always knows what is right and what is wrong. The same pair: Right-Wrong, having a little different content and meaning for the personality, is also actual for Superego’s structures.
From the Superego’s (namely, AC* and P*) point of view it is extremely important to solve this dilemma. But this pair is not less important for Ego - the Parent and the Adapted Child. While the Parent “always knows” what is permitted and what is forbidden, and the Superego’s P* agrees with him, the Adapted Child “worries” and “is afraid”, and this worries and fears are often strengthen by the AC*.
I could state that this is the pair important mainly for the Superego. If your conscious says that you must do something because the society demands it and it is the duty “of every honest and conscious citizen” (the A* with the P*’s help), than no argument of the Adult can save from “remorse”. The society has stated a number of behaviour schemes, concrete actions and acts, which can be linked to the single solution of the dilemma Must-MustNot. Surely, the Social stresses what you Must do, and not the vice versa.
The description of many other dilemmas could follow. These dilemmas could appear and act at different levels of personality, as for example: admiring-disgusting (NC, AC, P), like-dislike (NC, AC, P), love-hate (NC, AC), decent-indecent (AC, AC*, P, P*), offensive-inoffensive (NC, AC, P),etc.
But I will finish by stating, that in my opinion, the above-mentioned ten pairs are the primary (main) ones.
And finally, I would like to recall the pair “YIN - YANG”, that is known to everybody and reflects namely the situation with the existence of the “eternal dilemmas”. It is non-random that I bring it as an example in order to show, on the one hand, that all the above considered pairs can exist only within an interrelationship and inseparably - as well as YIN can not be imagined without YANG, and on the other hand - long ago the people in the East, in the Ancient China, maybe, felt that presence of such dilemmas in the human personality, which are of great importance to him/her (and later projected them on all the nature), and which I dared to consider as “eternal dilemmas”. In this case it is important to realize that nevertheless we choose one of the two possible variants of the dilemma, “the denied” one is also presented in minimized form (due to the structural unseparateness of the pair).
As it seems, it should be right to presume the existence of the indifferent variant of each of these pairs that is why it is about trios, but not pairs. For example: Can-It does not refer to me-Cannot, Need-I do not care-Need not, Permitted-It is not my concern-Forbidden, etc. Here I consider, however, the “black and white” variant of the dilemmas: either...or..., because, when “graphics”is seen, we always can colour the black and white picture, if we want to.
But before going on, I would like to additionally clarify the perceiving of the Social. Is it presented only by the Superego in human personality?
I will further perceive the Social as a whole of the three elements - Superego, Social Roles (SR) and other social factors. The first element is within us as a part of our personality, and the other two - beyond us. As Superego is on the border between the Psychical and the Social, I accept that it can be called as Psychosocial.
We could separate Social Rolesinto2 groups - formal (duties) and informal (playing).
However, what happens there, when the given impulse does not find a way to give away its energy to solve the dilemma our personality is facing? When Want and DoNotNeed, Need and Cannot, it is right to do it but Forbidden, etc. Obviously, the question is about an accumulation of unsolved “inner” personal problems, which will be called “tensions”. The accumulation of such “psychical” (or “personality’s’”) tensions is admitted, by the highest standards, by everybody who studied human psyche and personality in general. I admit that the questionable tensions do not gather only in psychical, but in the biological whole as well, i.e. I presume the possibility of tension’s accumulation both in the psychical and in the somatic “space”. Possibly, we can accept that the tensions are gathered in the Social as well - both in its “inner” (relating to us) part - the Superego, and in its external part (independent of us) - Social Roles (which we are part of) and the other social factors (which directly or indirectly affect us).
The main idea is that while “solving” the above-mentioned dilemmas, various “tensions” appear and gather in the personality. These tensions should be taken off, we should release from them.
We can schematically imagine, towards what “tends” each of the described personality’s structures and maybe this will show us the direction we should go in order to find the desiredbalance to the whole our personality.
I will consider the following scheme and admit that every personality’s substructure tends to its most favourable state, calling the release of the collected tension in the personality’s substructure and the “the external” social the following way:
Now, I will try to explain what I mean ...
When the question is about the Somatic, I suggest to consider the result of the release of the accumulated tensions namely as Satisfaction. From the point of view of the Somatic, this satisfaction is pure pleasure. However, I will admit, even if conditionally, at a certain degree, that Satisfaction is obvious when the realization element lacks.
For the same reason, the result of the accumulated tensions’ discharge at the Somatic-psychical level, or at the level of Id, that I will also call Satisfaction.
Here, surely, I mean that Satisfaction is not only a conditionally indicated “result of the accumulated tensions’ discharge”. The Satisfaction is a totally real emotional experience from the site of the Somatic and/or Id and is characterized by its whole of sensations and perceptions, which can be defined as Good at these two levels.
Ego and Superego contain both unrealized images and, correspondingly, accumulated tensions as well as realized ones (or realized at a given moment). As a result of this, the appearance of the Satisfaction on any level together with the realization of the sensations, perceptions and notions will lead to a higher level of emotional experience, which will be called Pleasure. The absence or the presence of the realization will be the criterion chosen for the differentiationof the Satisfaction and the Pleasure.
Thus, the combination of the somatic and psychical Satisfaction will lead to the biological Satisfaction, but if the elements of the realization of the ongoing processes join, the Satisfaction will grow into Pleasure.
The main thing that will differentiate these two states will be the presence or the absence of the realization of what happens...
What would be the result of the tension’s release in the Child? The most important characteristics of a Natural Child are admiration of something and/or desire to be admired, curiosity, his/her tendency to get at any price what hi/her likes, to obtain, to possess, as well as the characteristic of an Adapted Child are getting a permission to do something or to enjoy something, and the approval of his/her actions and acts, than the resulting value that would outcome, in my opinion, after the release of the indicated accumulated Tensions, I will call it Consolation. In this meaning, I will say that the most favourable state of a Child (NC + AC) is the state of Consolation.
Getting and realizing “his/her” Consolation, our Child will be both quiet and, together with Id and Somatic’s satisfaction, will make us experience the greatest Pleasure.
I will continue with the Parent... What does he “want”, what does he “tend” to? What is there in the accumulated images, which Berne calls Parent? Does not the Parent always “advise” and say what is permitted and what is not, what is allowable and what is not, what is needed and what is not, what is accepted to do and what is not? Besides, the Parent is always sure he is right, even if his recommendations are contradictory! What does he want to get back (what will be the result of Tensions’ release in him)?... And when he always explains us everything that should be done so (as all people do), and not so - they do not do so (people do not do so)? What would the accumulated tensions release because of his ignorance of the recommendations and advices?
I suggest to admit that the result of the release of the Parent’s tensions, the state he “tends” to, comes to the Recognition = Gratitude + Respect. If the actions and acts are fulfilled the way that the Parent sees there the gratitude (for his given advices) and respect (for his “life experience” that he hands on and shares) then the Parent will reach the most blissful, the most favourable state I called Recognition...
In order to finish with the component parts of Ego, I will analyze what the Adult is looking for. What is his most favourable state? We know what the basic Adult’s function is - he is our computer, that must always work out the information received both from the outside and from the “all-knowing” Parent, from the ever demanding and dissatisfied Child, from the severe judgments of the Superego, from the unclear impulses of the subconsciousness - Id and, at the last - from the anatomo-physiological state of the body (the Somatic). Certainly, Adult’s task seems to be beyond somebody’s strength, everything is going to boil in his hands and the tensions will be permanently accumulated in large amounts. What state does the Adult tend to in order to take the strain off? I consider that the Adult will first tend to get the ever-required information and then to understand the essence of the things. The availability of information + understanding the essence, to my mind, are the main components of the most favourable state of the Adult, which I suggest to call further Freedom (of thinking and action).
And even if here, at this intermediate stage of my reasoning, I will admit that the whole of the mentioned-above Consolation (at the Child) + Recognition (at the Parent) + Freedom (at the Adult) represent the essence of the state Comfort.
Thus I come to one of the most important ideas of the present statement that the achievement of the Comfort is the most favourable state of the Ego. As a result of this, always, every minute of our lives, the main goal our own I presses towards, is the Comfort (understood namely as a dynamic whole of Consolation, Recognition and Freedom).
In order to bring to an end my explanation of the above-mentioned elementary scheme, I will continue with the elements of the Psychosocial - the Superego.
What is the most favourable state aChild* tends to? We know that the NC* contains “images and samples” presenting the object in the social aspect. The personality is willing to identify himself with this object,and wants to imitate it - the Ideal I (“I would like to be like him”). While the AC* consists of “images and samples” which, according to the social opinion, must be imitated, i.e. the Ideal I, but only according to the social requirements. Being a constituent part of the Superego, the Child* will influence Ego (precisely, the Child), forcing him to choose thorny ways of encouragements and punishments having the final aim - to approach as much as possible its Ideal-Ego. Hence, a logical conclusion can be drawn, that the most favourable state of the Child* is the maximum possible approach of the Ego towards the integral image of its Ideal-Ego. I will name this state Comprehension (of Ideal-Ego).
According to Freud and Berne (to whom we basically refer in concrete case), the Parent* is viewed as an unconscious part of the Superego, that means the accumulated “images and samples” are unconscious, and since I agree with this formulation and can suppose that the accumulation or the discharge of the Parent’s* tensions will depend on the fact how the Parent’s* “images and samples” correlate with the behaviour from the point of view of the achievement of a corresponding place within the society’s structure, which, “in the opinion” of the Parent*, the personality deserves. So, the totality of “right” and “wrong” schemes of behaviour will regulate the Parent’s*tension, but the most favourable state for the Parent* is the achievement of aconcrete social position, corresponding to the Personality’ possibilities (as it is “appreciated” by the P*). The closer one is to the desired goal (from the P*’s point of view), the lower will be tension in this part of the Superego, and the vice versa. I will call this final result as Achievement.
The Adult* knowing already that the basic function of the Superego’s constituent is the comparison and appreciation of the actions in the context of social requirements and cultural values, so I can call the accumulated tension - “sense of guilt” or directly - Guilt, and the most favourable state of the Adult* is a Pure Conscience (or the absence of the sense of guilt).
Thus I can generalize that Superego requires three things to leave the personality alone - Comprehension + Achievement + Pure Conscience. This whole will be called state of Social Realization. Due to the defined Social Realization, we clearly understand why for each of us it is something concrete, individual and at the same time it contains elements of the socially desired and socially fashionable for the given social epoch.
Since, to a greater degree, the Social Realization is the most difficult requirement towards Ego, which tends to realize itself more in personal than in social ways, and then the tension between two personality’s structures always exits in practice. Therefore, the Superego is one of the main “consumers” of Comfort (together with the Somatic and Id, surely which in case of dissatisfaction do not give any possibility to the Comfort - taking off NC’s consolation).
In some cases, when Ego is powerful enough, at a certain degree is consoled and it paid enough attention to the requirements for the Social Realization, in order to keep to them at least minimally according to the necessary level - then the state of dynamic balance appears (for a known period of time), which I defined above, in the scheme, as Balance of Personality.
“Only” one thing remains, the Social Roles to be played well (both the formal and the informal) and thus to achievethe most favourable state for this level - level of the SR - state which I will call a “professional” actor (that means, one can “play” as a “professional” any necessary social role that appeared at this moment); and the last, but not the least - to regulate (to control) the influence of all the other social factors - here I will call this Freedom of Choice (that means a certain social factor can be chosen, and its influence on the personality can be set to a certain extent). Thus at this level the Freedom of Choice is the most favourable state.
Only when the personality is Satisfied, Comforted, reached the Social Realization and Balance, when he/her (the personality) has already become a “professional” actor when playing the Social roles, and there is a Freedom of Choice regarding the social factors, only than we can say the entire life Adaptation’s level has been achieved.
But... the Adaptation is not “a stop, where we get out, but rather a means of movement”. The Adaptation - is a process and at the same time, a state of dynamic balance, because our surrounding conditions change quicker and quicker.
Everything I discussed earlier was considered to prepare for the perception of the notion, which is often used in everyday life, but it has another meaning. This notion (or word) is Comfort.
Comfort will mean further the achievement of this most favourable state of I (Ego), which is the presence of the whole of three basic parts Comfort - Consolation (for the Child) + Recognition (for the Parent) + Freedom (of Adult’s thinking and actions).
At the very beginning of one’s life - at the stage of a newborn, the whole Ego consists only of the Natural Child (at least for a quite short period). Consequently, the Comfort of a newborn will coincide with the Consolation (of its Natural Child). Only later on, let’s say in a month, or two, or three, when Parent’s formation begins, and, accordingly, the formation of the Adapted Child, little by little the Consolation is joint by the Recognition (for the Parent), thus in practice this will be quite a short stage during which Comfort = Consolation + Recognition. At the same time, the Consolation will be richer according to its content and a more complex process due to the presence of the AC. Once the Adult together with his gradual development appears, the above presented “formula” of Comfort, containing three parts, will be discovered.
The Consolation is the only permanent value for each stage (i.e. the achievement of the most favourable state for a Child). Therefore, I can present the following hypothesis - “If one Consoles the Child, than to a greater extent - i.e. in practice, one Comforted the person”.
But I suggest first to consider the word - comfort itself. Where does it come from, and what content does it usually acquire?
Opening an ordinary explanatory dictionary (and it would be better to open several of them), one will be certain that the word “comfort” is connected to many other words (meanings), which at the first sight express different things - calming (C), amusement (C), relief (C), encouragement (P), prosperity (P), comfort (A), facility (P), support (P), help (P), satisfaction (P), cosiness (C), confirmation (P), rejoice smb. (A), pleasure (C), entertainment (C), good mood (A).Considering these words as a whole and thinking of their meaning, one will see that it is all about several basic states - indicated as (C), referred mainly to the Child, (P) - to the Parent, and (A) - mainly to the Adult. Although, this division is quite conditional...
In Latin there are also many translations, some of which are simply delightful.
For example, joy - oblectamentum, and this notion is directly connected to the life - oblectamentum vitae - joy of life; comfort - consolari, confortare, tollere, levare, relevare, allevare, sustentare, solatium afferre, praebēre; console oneself - oblectare se, oblectari, consolari; consolation - consolatio, solatium, solamen, confirmatio, medicina (!), lux (!); comforter - consolator, paracletus. (We were surprised that one of the translations of the word “comfort” is medicine! Besides that Latin word lux means also light! Comfort is light, and light is comfort?!).
Another interesting fact is that in the majority of explanatory dictionaries the word “comfort”means both a state and an action.
One could be also impressed by some English words that are often used in different contexts: consolation, consolatory, comforting, consoling, comfort, console; console oneself; take comfort; seek consolation (in); be comforted/consoled (by); find comfort/consolation (in); solace; cold/Dutch Comfort (there is a slight hint that comfort is connected to warmth); Comforter, Consoler; consolatory, comforting, consoling. Besides that, comforter means also...a soother (!). As we have already seen, in English consolation is often linked to comfort. But one can be also surprised to find out that in the Bible the Holly Spirit is named The Comforter.
In Russian the notions, translations and meanings are similar to those in Bulgarian - more than that I should add, that joy and comfort have the same spelling, that means that the same word is used.
In German for joy and comfort they use mainly the words Vergnügen, Freude, Trost. The word Vergnügen more often means pleasure, joy, fun, to give pleasure, entertainment, amusement, comfort oneself, enjoy oneself, divert oneself.The word Freude means joy, pleasure, and merriment. However, the most interesting word is Trost and its derivatives. Namely Trost is translated as comfort, and trost spenden - as to comfort. Other uses of this word are also interesting - trost schöpfen - get comfort, trostbringend - comforting, trösten - comfort, comfort oneself, tröster - comforter. The words trostlos and trostlosigkeit are of great interest as well. The first one means inconsolable, and thesecond one - joyless, hopeless. And, finally, the word trostwort, which means a comforting word besides comfort. It is not accidentally that I selected (in italics) these two translations - the one shows that Comfort is related to hope, the other one - that the words themselves can comfort.
Here I will stop my etymological “research”.
So, I will admit that Ego is engine of one’s personality. All the tendencies, purposes, actions, wishes, etc. are not only connected to Ego, and thus to Comfort, but we have to admit they should be considered through the sight of Comfort. This means that everybody during his/her life’s activity (and generally in life) tends to his/her most favourable state - whatever it meant for him/her. As the most favourable state depends directly on I, one has to appeal again to... Comfort.
I think that for this I should define a new type of the analysis of the human personality or, a new approach to it. This very approach I will dare to name (ad exemplum of Freud and Berne) Comforting Analysis.
I will try also to show the necessity of its use, and to separate it from Psychoanalysis and Transactional Analysis. However, it should be noted at once that Comforting analysis is a natural continuation or rather an addendum to the already cited Psychoanalysis and Transactional Analysis. More than that, the majority of the notions are taken from there.
So, what does it really mean - the Comforting Analysis? What does it analyze? How, where and who can carry it out and for what purpose?
The title alone suggests that the Comforting Analysis analyses, studies comprehensively one state of our Ego, which was felt by everybody sometimes - by one more often, by the other rarely, and to which everybody tended and is tending - usually all his/her life. This state I called Comfort.
Therefore everybody consciously or unconsciously tends to the most favourable state of I, besides the aim is that it should occupy the highest possible percentage of time with respect to time of one’s whole life!
In order to be able to continue further the consideration of the Comforting Analysis, I should define the minimum of notions, which I will use considering the meaning I gave to them.
Discomfort is the state of perceived deficit of comfort (i.e. one perceives that he/she lacks “something” when one is not aware of what exactly, or one realizes, besides perception what he/she lacks). I have already stated that there are tensions accumulated within each structure of personality. But Discomfort will be meant when these Tensions in Ego passed a certain threshold (concrete for every human being) and their quantity becomes tangible. While speaking about a concrete, elementary discomfort, I will write this word with lowercase letters, but while speaking about a whole of discomforting states, including all concrete discomforts, I will use the same word, but written with uppercase letters - Discomfort.
Comforting Process - is the name given to the process of taking (accomplishment) concrete actions (no matter what kind of actions) by somebody or by others in order to overcome the given discomfort. However, the result of the comforting process can be (in a general case) as an achievement of the state called moment-of-comfort (i.e. overcoming the discomfort), as well as an opposed to the expectations - increment of the discomfort or even the taken actions came out to be indifferent to concrete discomfort or even wrong.
Moment-of-comfort - this notion will be used as an elementary unit for a concrete state of Comfort, accessible to research and study. Each moment-of-comfort supposes a concrete discomfort, which was overcame, as well as a concrete, for the given case, comforting process expressed by a deliberate or unconscious action (or by a complex of actions), behaviour or vice versa - by inactivity. Besides that, the notion moment-of-comfort will always remind about the fact that Comfort is a concrete state (highly) restricted in time, and it depends also on one’s subjective perception of Time. The whole of many moments-of-comfort, for instance, will be called as Comforting State (as I have described it earlier).
The basic formula in the Comforting Analysis comes to the following:
As it may be seen from the formula the achievement of this desired state - moment-of-comfortis not guaranteed at all. More than that, it is less probable if one leaves the processes to develop by themselves. (The “Equation” has four solutions, the three of which are not acceptable). It is an indirect confirmation of the necessity of an analysis of some concrete types of discomfort as well as of the possibilities of adequate process of comfort aiming to reach the desiredmoment-of-comfort.
At first glance, everything seems to be very simple, elementarily. Consequently, one must understand what is the reason of the appearance of the concrete discomfort and then to choose the most adequate mean of comforting.
It is a pity! It is not as simple as it seems to be. The concrete discomfort may prove itself independently only theoretically. In any case, Ego must find the variants of comforting processes, consisting of the totality of the known, more or less, quantity of concrete discomforts - discomfort 1, discomfort 2,.., discomfort N. This changes increasingly the tactics of the accomplishment of the choice of variants of comfort. Of course, Ego will look for ways and methods of comfort, less in quantity, easier to realize, compatible with each other and more universal.
The complication is supplemented with the error one may commit while choosing the variants of comfort, and that could bring to one of the three unexpected results: discomfort, or higher discomfort, or the addition of a new concrete discomfort, and notonly to the intensification of the tensions of the previous one.
Comfort Consumers - all the objects, factors, actions, phenomena, events (and again - deliberated and unconscious), that lead to time shortening of the moment-of-comfort (or of the whole state of Comfort), discontinuance of the state of Comfort (or of the moment-of-comfort) and relapse to the state of Discomfort (or a concrete discomfort), or to the provocation of a similar by force and significance and, at last, - to provoke the increment of the Discomfort in comparison with the initial state. A Comfort consumer may be also a person (or people).
Comforters - all the objects, factors, actions, phenomena, events or person (or people), that are used during the comforting process, or for the extension of the moment-of-comfort time (or of the time of duration of stay in the state of Comfort). There are deliberated and unconscious comforters.
Egography -“picture of Ego”, notion, by which I shall highlight the concrete state of Ego at the moment with respect to his/her degree of Comfort (or Discomfort), in context of the available Consolation (for a Child), Recognition (for a Parent) and Freedom (for an Adult).
Ego-position - by this notion I will detect Ego’s position (his/her stability, significance, possibility to influence), within the frames of all the personality with respect to the Somatic, Id, Superego, as well as referring to its possibilities to play Social roles and rule the influence of the other social factors on it, that is the level of Ego Adaptation within the society he founds himself. Here I will also refer to the Ego perception, connected with some effects of the Natural factors.
Ego-state - the notion should be perceived as it is described by Berne, i.e., it is about a concrete state the Ego - Child, Adult, and Parent is situated in.
Ego-diagnostics - analysis and synthesis of data, received during the definition of the Ego-position and as a result of the Egography.
Comforting stocks - the notion expressing the possibility of comfort’s storage or storage of possibilities of Comfort’s achievement, which will be used during other periods of time, chosen by the personality. The stocks can be internal - cumulative inside the personality, or external - cumulative outside the personality.
desolation - the state that can be also called “acute discomfort”. This state is usually overcome with the help of others, and it requires more or less urgent interference, but comforting auto therapy if also possible (see below). The Discomfort, in case of desolation, is strongly expressed with a greater intensity of perceptions, sensations, conceptions and emotions.
Uncomfortness - is the state, which analogically can be called “chronic discomfort”. The intensity of the perceptions, sensations, conceptions and less emotion in comparison with desolation, the Discomfort is less stressed, but however is always perceived.
Comfortless (Disconsolation) is the state of desolation or Uncomfortness, for which at the given moment one cannot find (or there is not objectively) any comforting method or concrete comforter.
Comforting diagnostics is the result of the analysis and the synthesis of Ego-diagnosis’s data, Discomfort’s character, and concrete comfort consumers and the presence of comforting stocks.
Comforting therapy is the execution of a concrete comforting process when defining the desolation or the Uncomfortness by means of use of adequate comforters, as well as the increase of the quantity (or creation) of the comforting stocks. A person can practice the comforting therapy on his own - the comforting auto therapy, or with the help of another person (people) - comforting therapy. Of course, the comforting therapy can be combined with any other appropriate for a concrete person therapy or influence - medicamentous, phytotherapy, psychoanalysis etc.
Comforting prophylaxis - is a study, avoidance and/or liquidation of the comfort consumers; the study of reasons for concrete discomforts and accordingly their corresponding avoidance and/or liquidation; permanent maintenance and/or increment of the comforting stocks, as well as the perception and finding of the most adequate, and maybe the most universal comforters for the personality.
Comforting Techniques - are concrete specific methods and modus operandi while executing comforting therapy and prophylaxis. We distinguish rather universal comforting techniques and more or less specific comforting techniques.
Comforting substitutes (surrogates) - are the objects, factors, actions, phenomena, events or person (or people), who are used for the achievement of the moment-of-comfort (or the complete state of Comfort), but characterized by: 1) their comforting influence occurs much quicker than forecasted, 2) they can provoke getting-used - as to a “dose”, as well as to the “frequency” of their administration and tendency to its further increment and 3) entering the state of heightened Discomfort after the comforting effect had passed.
Pseudocomfort - is a complex of worries and consequences connected to the usage of comforting substitutes instead of adequate comforters.
Now some of the questions arisen can be answered - the Comforting analysis studies not only the Comfort as a structure, but rather all the types of discomfort, the comforting methods, the moment-of-comfort, as well as the comfort consumers, the types of comforters, the comforting substitutes and the Pseudocomfort; it defines the comforting stocks and the ways they can be created; it studies the concrete Egography in different moments of time and defines the Ego-position to a concrete moment for the certain personality; it accomplishes the comforting diagnostic, the comforting therapy - if it is necessary, or the comforting prophylaxis. Besides, the comforting techniques are permanently studied and developed in order to use them adequately when fulfilling our tendency to the most favourable state of the Ego - state of Comfort.
And, finally, I will mention some of the most widely spread, the most universal, the most accessible, the most often used and the most effective Comforting techniques:
touching, speaking, weeping, changes of conscious, admiration, approval, encouragement, gift, nutrition (“to eat and to drink”), recognition, rewarding, punishment, confession, prayer, sharing with somebody, justification, promises, dreaming, remembrance, forgetfulness, doing something or nothing, travelling, meditation, empathy, laughter, rituals, entertainment, and other different activities, games, playing different social roles, intimacy, love.
So, in the light of the above-mentioned considered model, we can generalize that:
I consider that the defined Comforting Analysis contains a rational essence and has the right to existence as an approach while studying the personality - if not separately, than as a supplement or addition to the above mentioned Psychoanalysis and Transactional analysis.
In the submitted bibliographic information are specified works that directly are connected to the maintenance of this article including my book “Comfort me!” recently issued.
© Kiril Kirilov