3 Signs You're Mentally Healthy (Bad, Good, Idealized Objects)

Uploaded 3/13/2024, approx. 11 minute read

Spring is upon us and I am shedding my clothes one by one.

Get your minds out of my gutter, you hear?

Anyhow, shedding of clothes in summertime is a healthy thing to do, even a mentally healthy thing to do.

But how do you know, how can you tell that you are mentally healthy?

Let me help you.

Who is better qualified to answer this question for you then?


Sam Wachnin, author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited, a former visiting professor of psychology, a current member of the faculty of CEAPs and the list is long.

Three Signs that you are Mentally Healthy.

This is the topic of today's inordinately short video.

Here are the signs.

Here is what characterizes mentally healthy people.

Number one, they control their impulses.

It's not that they don't have impulses, everyone does.

Everyone is urges and drives and lucid fantasies and wishes and rage attacks and you name it.

Everyone, everyone wants to act from time to time.

You know the famous saying, "I'm going to kill him." That's an expression, a sublimation of impulse.

Impulses are normal, impulses are common, impulses are healthy.

Controlling impulses is what makes a difference.

Mentally ill people, people with personality disorders, people with mood disorders, people with anxiety disorders, people with psychotic disorders, mentally ill people generally lack impulse control.

They have a problem controlling their urges, their drives.

They don't know how to sublimate.

They don't know how to convert instincts and drives and urges and impulses into socially acceptable modes of expression and manifestation.

So their behavior is impulsive.

The behavior of mentally ill people is impulsive.

It's reckless.

It's crazy making.

It's defiant.

It's unpredictable and it's a bit terrifying, frankly speaking.

Impulse control, number one distinction between health and illness in the mental realm.

Number two, mentally healthy people are aware of who they are, aware of what they're doing, their actions and aware of the consequences of their actions.

Three types of self-awareness, which are usually the outcomes of process known as introspection.

Intro, inside, inward, inspection, looking, to look inwards.

Mentally healthy people have conducted or are conducting a SWOT analysis all the time.

Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, they know themselves, mentally healthy people.

They know their strong points, their advantages, they know their shortcomings.

They are fully cognizant of their behavior.

They have a very powerful conscience, superego, call it what you want, inner critic, a voice or a constellation of voices that inform them that some things are wrong to do and others are right to do.

They are able to anticipate and extrapolate the consequences of their actions.

They are fully willing and able to hold themselves accountable and to pay the price when and if they have misbehaved, make amends if necessary.

These are healthy people.

Of course, the opposite of all this, these are mentally ill people, people with mental health problems.

They are not aware of who they are.

They have an inflated view of themselves, like the narcissist who is grandiose.

They have a deflated view of themselves, like, for example, the codependent.

They are not aware of their strengths and shortcomings.

They exaggerate either or.

They are subject to voices which are hostile, ego incongruent, self-negating, self-destructive.

They are sometimes not aware of their own actions because they are dissociative or because they are confabulating or because they are goal-oriented to the point of not caring about whether their actions are right or wrong, the psychopath, for example.

And above all, it's as if they are immune to the consequences of their actions, mentally ill people, as if mental illness is a kind of permit, kind of permission to act wrongly, to misbehave, to engage in egregious misconduct, in ostentatious violation of all boundaries and rules, individual and societal.

So this lack of self-awareness coupled with entitlement, coupled with a euphoric state of mind that seems to confer upon mentally ill people a kind of cosmic immunity, this combination indicates mental illness.

And number three, mentally healthy people always choose to minimize harm, do no wrong or as little wrong as they can.

Minimize harm to themselves, this is known as self-love, and minimize harm to others, and this is known as empathy.

Mentally ill people, even post-traumatic people, people who've been traumatized, and yes, even borderline personality, people with borderline personality disorder, and even codependency, mentally ill people generally have a reduced level of empathy.

The empathy is either reduced or absent altogether, for example, in antisocial personality disorder or the more extreme form, psychopathy.

Empathy is a major barometer and thermometer of mental health because the personality, the self, the ego, call it what you want.

This core identity, which is you, is relational. It's all about relating to other people, interacting with other people, fitting in with other people, collaborating with other people towards common goals, teamwork. It's all about this.

In the absence of a context, in the absence of a human environment, you don't exist.

Generally, individuality, these are metaphors, counterfactual metaphors, where all the outcomes of relationships, starting with the earliest one, mother.

People who are unable to perceive others as separate, as external, as worthy of consideration, as equal to them, such people are mentally ill.

If you are not able to perceive other people as separate, independent, autonomous, agentic units, entities with their own wishes, own dreams, own hopes and preferences and priorities and cognitions and emotions, if you are unable to do this, this separation, this boundary construction of what is known as the internal working model of the world and of yourself in the world.

If you are incapable of this, you are mentally ill.

Now, all this has to do with the concept of object, internal object, which is essentially borrowed from Melanie Klein and later the object relations schools.

We need to distinguish between bad object, good object and idealized object.

The bad object is a constellation of voices, internal voices, also known as introjects.

And these voices are self-negating, self-humiliating, self-destructive, self-defeating.

These voices keep informing you that you are bad, unworthy, inadequate, ugly, stupid, loser and so on.

This is a bad object.

These voices are relentless, they're harsh, they're unforgiving, they're hateful, they're your enemy. People with bad objects, internalized bad object, try to somehow survive despite the bad object. They could pretend that the bad object is wrong. They could suppress the bad object by creating an inflated grandiose fantastic good object that is called, this is known as narcissism. Whichever the case may be, the bad object is intolerable, burdensome and bearable and life threatening in the lower ground. So this is a bad object. The good object is the exact opposite of the bad object.

It keeps telling you that essentially you're good, essentially you're worthy, you're lovable.

And the good object is a precondition for mental health, lifelong mental health.

People with the good object are resilient, they're flexible, they're able to cope with life because they have a stable, sturdy inner core which keeps informing them that you're okay.

You're okay despite everything.

You can do it because you have what it takes and because you're lovable because you will always find people to love you and to support you and so on.

So that's a good object.

And then there's the idealized object.

The idealized object resembles a good object because it says the same things basically.

You're amazing, you're beautiful, you're lovable, you're this, you're that.

So people often confuse the good object with the idealized object.

But the difference between the two is that the good object is grounded in reality.

It is not hyperbolic, it's not exaggerated, it's not a caricature, it's not grandiose, it's not fantastic, it's insane, it's grounded in reality.

It's with its feet on the ground, the good object.

The idealized object is a caricature of the good object.

The idealized object simply implies that you are perfect, you're godlike.

Everything in you is a hundred out of a hundred.

You are drugged, you're gorgeous, you're hyper intelligent, you're an incredible unprecedented genius, you are irresistible and so on and so forth.

That's the idealized object.

Now only the good object is grounded in reality.

Only the good object has nuances, it's shades of grey.

Not everything in the good object is a hundred percent good, totally perfect.

The good object provides compass, navigation compass, orientation and affords its owner with the ability to calibrate and recalibrate, always get it more or less right heuristically.

Both the bad object and the idealized object are fantasy based.

The not real, the divorce from reality, the imperial reality testing.

They're the outcomes of splitting.

The idealized object informs its owner that he is all good while the world is all bad.

And he is superior while the world is inferior.

The bad object does exactly the opposite.

It informs its owner that she is all inferior and the world is superior.

That she is a failure while all others are successful.

That she is irredeemably corrupt and bad and unworthy.

This is the outcome of the primitive infantile defense mechanism of splitting.

Either you're all bad and the rest of humanity is all good, in which case you're in possession of a bad object, or you are perfect.

Your perfection reified while the rest of humanity sucks.

And that's the idealized object.

And of course they don't provide appropriate guidance.

They're very misleading and they lead to dysfunction and self defeat and self destruction.

And the good object is not the outcome of splitting.

The good object doesn't say you're all good.

It says there are aspects of you which are good.

And taking into account these aspects, you are likely to be loved.

You're likely to succeed.

It's a probabilistic model, so to speak.

Now mental health emanates only exclusively from the existence of a good object.

A bad object and an idealized object lead to mental illness, mental health disorders and mental health dysfunctions.

We know for example that narcissism is founded, pathological narcissism, is a compensatory reaction to the existence of a bad object or the existence of an idealized object.

The order of an idealized object suspects deep inside that it's not real.

And therefore the idealized object is actually a bad object in camouflage.

It's in itself compensatory.

We'll discuss in a forthcoming video the fact that the narcissist must accommodate all these layers and layers and layers of camouflage and compensation on a constant basis.

Pathological narcissism is a form of multitasking.

But that's for another video.

That's all I had to say today.

And I wish you a merry spring and a warm summer.

Stay with me for the next episode.

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