The importance of individuation has only been researched in the last century, and today we know a great deal about the ubiquity and harmful impact of under-developed individuation, which is for example a leading feature in relational trauma or CPTSD, something that so many of us are realizing they’ve gone through/are still going through, as it’s affects are long term and often are wrangled with throughout one’s entire life.
A central aspect of healing CPTSD, if healing is the right word, is beginning, developing or completing the healthy development process of individuation, to disentangle one’s sense of self from others, become their own authority with a sense of free agency
Philosophically, ”individuation" expresses the general idea of how a thing is identified as an individual thing that "is not something else” and this is imperative for healthy functioning and meant to be fully established by a certain age. For many, it isn’t however. And this makes spiritual paths that teach radical de-individuation (involving weakening or erasing one’s boundaries) a potential threat to those who developed the notion that their personal needs don’t matter, and never completed healthy individuation in the first place. It can exacerbate and perpetuate the devastating symptoms of CPTSD, including weak personal boundaries, people-pleasing, and weakened capacity to make decisions autonomously. (Harmed further by teachings on “no chooser” “no doer.”) I see teaching this in the way its done in radical non-dualism as existing along a spectrum ranging from naive lack of awareness on one end to irresponsibility, negligence, and heartlessness. In all instances, I feel that any teaching that belittles the importance of and/or deliberately attempts to counteract the psychological development of healthy individuation and personal boundaries before transcending/dissolving them, as reckless endangerment. Regardless of your intentions, it is unacceptable.
This also applies to those who teach permanent dissolution of one’s sense of individuation/individuality, personal boundaries, etc. rather than teaching a balance in which these are neither too rigid nor too flimsy, both of which are maladaptive and harmful. This would be the “transcend and exclude” model that many modern non-dual teachers adhere to, often doing a huge disservice to many people, to the point of doing more harm to them than good. These teachers fail to see that while egotism and radical/rigid individualism are causes of societal and personal suffering, so too are poor self esteem and an under-developed sense of individuation (which involves a healthy degree of “self-centeredness”). It may even be accurate to say that in this age of skyrocketing depression, anxiety, and suicide, thinking too little of ourselves poses a greater threat to humanity. And of course these modern non-dual teachings indiscriminately prescribed, do little to help in this regard, and I repeat, risk making it worse. Throwing out the model of healthy ego development and individuation, and even vilifying it, should certainly not be considered spiritual wisdom by any means.
“the mature and evolving individual within an adaptive-productive relationship and system has an opportunity to affirm and exercise his unique perspective and passions, skills and talents (“Authority & Autonomy”); and at the same time this individual is motivated to be “respectful, real, responsible, and responsive” to others and to fulfilling reasonable role expectations in his or her world (“Accountability”).”
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