The Hierarchy of Psychological Development:
The transition from the false self (the ego, image, or trauma-induced identity) to Our True Self
Traumatic experiences when we are young divert us from the natural cumulative course of psychological growth, from infancy to adulthood. The more traumas we experience, the more we evacuate from the human qualities that sense the traumas, feel the pain of their impacts, and obsessively think about what happened. We lose our humanity as a result, descending the evolutionary ladder. For example, if our animal body motivates the majority of our decisions, we are in the Animal Stage. When the ups and downs of our environments control our lives, we function like a Vegetable. When we have evacuated so completely from our humanness that we no longer grow, change, or have choice, we exist as a Mineral. Minerals fiercely defend against their humanness or violently attack it, having concluded that it is to blame.
Yes, the tomato is technically a fruit, not a vegetable. But, those stuck in the Vegetable Stage of development are notorious for labeling people other than they are. This misjudgment is because Vegetables only "see" what is within them which they project all around them.
The Vegetable Stage
Focus—"MY" path! Theme—"I choose!" Vegetables believe, "I alone create my special destiny, and I am the star of my show. I choose the 'good'—what gets me what 'I' want. I reject the 'bad'—what interferes. What I choose is none of YOUR business! But YOU need to…" As much as the Vegetable may think that she is making her own choices, she judges by appearances and largely acts from her environmental programming and conditioning.
Hiding under the grandiose and fanciful delusions of the Vegetable Stage are traumatized psychological infants. Since the vast majority of people are unaware of their “infant” parts, these parts remain in largely frozen traumatized states, which I refer to as Vegetables. While they received the basic physical nutrition they needed to survive, they were denied human psychological nutrition. Their caretakers fed them character roles and story lines rather than admitting the truth of their traumatic experiences and giving them what they needed to work through them, such as counseling from someone in a more advanced developmental stage.
Vegetables attach to people’s facades–the images they put forth. They are stuck playing character roles and telling stories of good and evil, or some other black and white theme. While they hold themselves in a positive light, the wounded human “infants” that they have pushed aside to keep up appearances act out the negative reality of their lives. With such polar restrictive movements, resulting from their own split minds, Vegetables cannot venture beyond their traumatic avoidance and reenactment patterns. They endlessly avoid what reminds them of their traumas, or they reenact these traumas themselves.
The Virtual Reality of the Vegetable: Fern is a bubbly, energetic woman in her thirties who dresses beautifully. She spends a lot of time and money on making herself look good. She desires attention for her role as an “activist”—encouraging people to vote. In her mind, she delineates everyone into two camps. Voters are “good people” who love their country and care enough to act on their right to choose their leaders. Nonvoters cause all the problems, in Fern’s opinion. “When leaders feel that no one cares, then of course, they won’t do their best!”
Fern has cast herself as a patriotic person who is making real change in her district. In reality, she lives in a fantasy world. She believes that each individual’s vote counts when the computerized voting in her area is rigged. She is supporting a corrupt system and wasting people’s time. Her efforts could be better spent learning to stand up to the corruption, outside and within, rather than pretending the crooked system works and encouraging others to participate.
Because the Vegetable has no ability to see past the thin veneers of “help” and “healing” put forth by those in the Mineral Stage, he believes the pretty pictures they paint and the fictional stories they tell. He contributes to their pillaging programs, encouraging others to do the same, happy to be supporting a “worthy cause” (notice the “infant’s” limited vision and erroneous labeling based on superficial appearances).
Vegetables use a host of defense mechanisms which distract them from awareness of reality and shield them from anyone who speaks the truth. All these learned defenses keep Vegetables from releasing their tight grasp on their characters and stories, which would give them the mobility of heart and mind necessary to enter the Animal Stage.