Dead But Dreaming - Dead But Dreaming Brett N. Steenbarger,...

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Dead But Dreaming Brett N. Steenbarger, Ph.D. www.brettsteenbarger.com “The most merciful thing in the world…” H.P. Lovecraft writes in his horror story The Call of Cthulhu , “is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents.” To be sure, if all our memories and perceptions registered in the mind equally, we should be like the unfortunate Funes of the Borges tale—completely overwhelmed by the sum of our experiences, unable to act. Yet, as Freud realized, we pay a price for this compartmentalization. The conflicts, urges, and passions that we sacrifice in the interest of present concern do not merely vanish. Like Cthulhu, they lie beneath the depths; in the apt phrase of The Fields of the Nephilim, “dead but dreaming”. They call to us when our emotional stars are aligned, waiting for the time of their release. Those stars are aligned when we experience “triggers”: situations sufficiently similar to initial traumas and travails that they reactivate memories—and earlier modes of coping. This is a most important concept within depth psychology. Every current problem represents a mode of coping from the past that has long since lost its usefulness. Perhaps as a child I felt humiliated by my siblings and their emotional abuse. Whenever I tried to prove myself to them, they beat me down with taunts and physical threats. My only coping, as a younger, smaller child, was to withdraw in silence so that I would not incite them to a physical expression of their hostility. Now I am an adult, trading the financial markets, and I am eager to prove myself in this most challenging arena. Trade after trade I experience losses and, before long, I retreat to my psychological shell, passively watching as the market ultimately moves in the anticipated direction. “Why didn’t I take those trades?” I wonder after the close, bemoaning my inability to “pull the trigger”. Later, I find myself even more frustrated, as the prescribed self-affirmations and visualizations of trading coaches fail to dent my dysfunctional pattern. Perhaps the most perplexing aspect of this scenario is that I can
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This note was uploaded on 08/11/2009 for the course FINANCE Fixed Inco taught by Professor Proflim during the Three '09 term at University of Adelaide.

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Dead But Dreaming - Dead But Dreaming Brett N. Steenbarger,...

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