Tag Archives: psychic

Reclaiming my intuition

The trouble with intuition, is that some people will use it to replace evidence in a way that cannot be argued with. The experience of people magically ‘knowing’ things that from where I was standing, looked like utter bullshit, left me reluctant to use my own for many years. I’m equally troubled by the way we use confirmation on social media ‘I have a bad feeling about today, does anyone else?’ Of course someone else does – the internet has a lot of people on it. I’m wary of how we can all use ‘intuition’ to tell us the things we want to hear, to affirm our biases, prejudices, personal insanity…

But life without intuition is thinner, paler and missing a lot of tricks. We absorb far more information than we can consciously process, and what emerges as a ‘gut feeling’ may not be ‘magic’ but instead the result of unconscious processing. If I let myself, then some of my best thinking happens this way.

How do you tell if what you’ve got is intuition, self indulgence, or madness? This is a question I’ve been asking myself for years. It’s especially loaded for me, because depression and anxiety create feelings of doom and misery, and I can persuade myself that I must be psychically knowing that something dreadful is going to happen, and spiral down into it, and make it a self-fulfilling prophecy. Or I can attribute it to dodgy brain chemistry and let it go… How do I tell which is which?

The only thing I’ve got as a method of testing, is whether I can use it to make fair models of what will happen. If my gut feel about a person, or a situation, fits in fairly well with what happens, then regardless of whether that’s psychic-ness or unconscious processing, I’ve got something I can use. If my impressions don’t relate to reality, then something less helpful is going on. It requires an uneasy amount of self-honesty. Who doesn’t want to be magical, intuitive and special? It’s hard to look at a gut feeling and say ‘you aren’t real, my brain chemistry is playing up’ but sometimes that’s the path to sanity.

Then there’s the question of how we use intuitive insights in social situations. Some people are assholes. If that’s where you’re coming from, then aggressively asserting intuition as a means to power, to subdue or impress others, is just asshattery. It’s not good to go deliberately trying to poke around in other people’s heads and lives, either. It’s an invasion of privacy. If insight just turns up, then there’s a responsibility to use that kindly, and not as some kind of power trip.

I’ve spent some years now trying to be more open to my unconscious mind, to insight and intuition and at the same time to not let my depressive and anxious tendencies latch onto it. I’ve got a way to go, and I’m a long way from entirely trusting myself, but overall I like the trajectory.

Not so magically psychic

I’m not psychic. I get flashes of insight, and I apply a lot of reasoned thinking to trying to work out where everything is going and what might be needed ahead of time. I miss things, I fail to work things out and I make mistakes, because I am not magically all knowing. That should be fine, and straightforward, but it isn’t.

I’ve spent a lot of time in situations where I was required to magically know ahead of time exactly what would be wanted. Told off for things I didn’t do for other people that I had no reasonable way of knowing were required. This is because I have been through some profoundly psychologically abusive stuff. If you ask a person to magically know things you don’t tell them and then punish them for not being psychic enough, you will harm them. Demanding a magical reality is not always good for people.

For me, the damage manifests as obsessive over thinking as I try to work out what is wanted, based on far too little information. I panic about getting things right in contexts where I couldn’t possibly hope to know what the right thing would be. No matter how well I think of a person, I still go through rounds of fear that my failing to magically know will lead to anger and rejection.

I beat myself up over poor relationship choices, and for getting into situations with people who hurt me and messed me about. In my head, that was clearly all my fault because, magically, I should have known what they were like. I should have used my non-existent psychic powers to see through the lies and deliberate deceptions. That they were able to hurt me is my fault for not protecting myself. This week it has occurred to me that here we have another consequence of being treated like I should magically know everything. How could I know that a sweet smile and an offer of friendship masked a cold heart that just wanted to use me? Or the weird and frustrating weeks when the things I was being asked to do were not the things that were needed, nor even the things that were wanted. There have been many such.

I am willing to see the best in people, and I’ve managed to keep doing that to some degree despite my history. That’s not a trait I plan to let go of. However, I can give up the story that I am supposed to magically know everything. I can stop trying to be that – most especially for anyone who asks it of me. I can become a bit more wary of people who expect me to magically know things. I can recognise that the idea that I should have magically known who was kind and who was manipulative without really testing anything, is just a way of making me responsible for what other people do. I may have mistaken innocence for complicity, and blamed myself for enabling people to hurt me. Perhaps I wasn’t so very complicit, just open hearted and well meaning.

I am not psychic. I do not magically know what you want or need, but if you’re in my life, I’ll be doing my best to figure that out because it’s important to me. I want to know what I can usefully give. It works a lot better, I realise, when people tell me what they want, what they would like, what would be good. On the whole I am much better at magically getting things done than ever I am at knowing what to magically do.