April 22, 2024

The Anxiety of Separation, Disapproval, and Threat

Management of Measurement Constructs
The Anxiety of Separation, Disapproval, and Threat

We focus everything upon the light of the Sun; our contact with the Sun is our involvement with life. Separation from that light triggers anxiety: when the “light goes out” for one reason or another, we feel that we’ve lost the energy path of our life; we’re unfulfilled; we’re lost; we see ourselves no more.

When a parent is prematurely taken from us –by death, by divorce– a light illuminating our life development is gone. With both parents gone somehow in our early years, we are alone. We must fend for ourselves. We experience an anxiety that pushes us to transcend the lack we feel. This is the tension of development. –When we lose our job, when we lose an opportunity, when we are denied what we need, we experience an anxiety that demands adjustment toward a new security.

Anxiety is clearly contained within the threat of separation; we are pushed to overcome the situation; that’s what “hard” aspects do in astrology. We feel anxiety when we are off the track or are strongly challenged. We have instinctive anxiety about being separated from what we need for life fulfillment. In our horoscopes, our lives reflect the Sun’s light and that light distributed among the planetary symbols, relating to each other developmentally to one degree or another.

During history, earliest human sophistication was based upon recognition that every day … or during an eclipse of the Sun, the Sun would definitely return to us. –This is hope and confident anticipation, which are handmaidens to our experience of anxiety. There is hope; anticipation of a new day triggers energy.

Fascinatingly, under the threat of separation, we instinctively bargain with life. The prayers of children –and adults—trade off values. Something will be sacrificed if something else will be assured. We feel more noble when we have sacrificed something; for a moment or for a lifetime, we feel that some kind of freedom or reward is due to us in return for the sacrifice we have made. We are ready to sacrifice in order to avoid separation.

A second major area of life experience that triggers anxiety and the resources to reestablish security is disapproval. We can see this initially when a child experiences parental disapproval: it’s akin to being suddenly put into the dark. Disapproval triggers the anxiety of not being loved. [Please see, Tyl, The Astrology of Intimacy, Sexuality, and Relationship, dealing strongly with anxieties of criticism, rejection, and abandonment.]

Early psychological theorists focused this well [especially Harry Stack Sullivan] in this thought: “the self is formed to protect us from anxiety.” –Whatever tendencies we have in our behavior that attract disapproval are kept out of expression as much as possible. This is the phenomenon of repression, a classic defense mechanism. Through repression to gain approval, much individuality can be sacrificed; our identity is molded. This is how we become much of who we are.

We constantly check our behavior patterns in order to avoid attracting the disapproval of others. Anxiety keeps the checking process alert. –Criticism is most easily interpreted as a withdrawal of (approving) light, of love. Repression occurs, and the light of the individual Sun, the potentials within life-sustaining anxiety, is muted in uneasiness, unnaturalness, or agony. Individuated growth is sacrificed through repression as outer prescriptions for behavior are internalized.

The third major area of life experience that triggers anxiety –in addition to separation and disapproval—is a threat to our being. This can be a threat to personal safety, of course, but it is also the threat to psychodynamic awareness of identity.

The theologian Paul Tillich, in his Courage to Be, cites the great concerns of modern man as the anxieties of death, meaninglessness, and guilt.

Our anxieties about death are not necessarily only those about life termination. We fear the end of anything(!) because of the transient insecurity into new circumstances. We see this so often in relation to the “new start” symbolisms of the fourth cusp; the relocation suggestions with strong angular contacts; the frequent denial of dreams and progress to protect the status quo.

Anxieties about meaninglessness rest centrally upon the concept of worth, in terms of money and/or love –the Succedent Grand Cross of Houses. Support and reward are desperately needed to give confidence to Self and meaning to life. The apprehension of possible disapproval can force repression and uneasy maintenance of the status quo. –Isn’t it remarkable how ‘everyone’ wants change (and escape and excitement and new recognition) but so many are afraid to take the steps to make it happen?

The concept of guilt, in my opinion, can be productively understood in terms of feeling that we have not done our best to help others fulfill their needs. Guilt cannot exist without relationship to something, to some person, belief, or value. The concept of guilt is tied to perception, to awareness of personal perspective within relationships of many kinds. To alleviate guilt, we sacrifice self through reparation; through making amends, ‘making repairs’.

Our Apprehensions We experience apprehension of separations or deaths of many kinds during our growth. We experience apprehension of disapproval or meaninglessness as a result of self-worth anxiety. We experience apprehension of guilt within relationships when reciprocity and compromise break down. –Anxiety is omnipresent within life and within the horoscope, and it keys the dynamic behavioral patterns that sustain individual life. Anxiety is a defense against non-being, against non-fulfillment. It urges action and change. Appreciating this energizes our strategies for growth.

Constantly within every life, anxiety is the state of being; it’s the measure of potential and the defense against extinction. It pushes us to grow. –It is the press and support of earth, the dizziness of the freely blowing winds, and the sacrifice of leaves to the seasons of time that encourage every flower to reach for the sun.

***Please consider these ideas in depth. They will season your appreciation of life and your presentations to clients facing developmental tensions past and present.

Please see the Archives immediately following here for access to some 70,000 words of educative essays in this department.