Affectivity is the relationship or care or affection that a person has with his/herself and with the person he/she loves. It´s a psychological state that allows humans to show feelings and emotions with other people and or objects. It can also be understood as a bond or connection which sustains relationships which may or may not be of a sexual nature, those we would consider as friendships.
In psychology, the term affectivity is also used to refer to the vulnerabilities and mannerisms we feel when faced with changes happening inside. This sensation is often referred to as an affective disorder.
The most common affective disorder is depression, which portrays typical and variable characteristics such as panic, phobias, somatic disorders and general anxiety disorder, which are all based on changes in the way we relate.
Looking at an old photograph of a deceased loved one, some people have tender, soft, nostalgic and even pleasant feelings. Others may feel anguish, sadness, a sense of loss, weighed down and other unpleasant feelings. What is it in a person that determines what the photo represents? It has to do with affectivity.
It´s affectivity which creates meaning in our lives. It´s affectivity which is capable of reading a room full of people as represent a threat, and causes us to imagine that there might be a snake in our room, or to panic if we imagine dying suddenly.
Affectivity takes account of everything which happens in our lives, everything which is outside of us, the events and happenings, just as it does with that which is inside us (subjective causes) such as our fears, our conflicts, our worries etc. Affectivity also deals with the events of the past and of our possible futures.
The best example to understand affectivity is to compare it to a pair of glasses, through which we see the world. It´s through these hypothetical glasses with which we are able to understand our reality in one way or another. If these glasses aren’t quite right, we might see things larger or smaller than they really are, more brightly coloured or greyer, more distorted or out of focus. Dealing with affectivity means adjusting the lenses with which we see the rest of the world.
Why does someone who suffers from panic attacks think they might be about to die or take ill suddenly? Is it because he/she thinks they suffer from a bad heart, or are about to have a stroke, or that they are so out of control that they´re about to completely lose it? This has nothing to do with objective or concrete reality. It´s a pessimistic viewpoint, a negative judgement which a person makes about him/herself, from a way of relating which has a negative manifestation for the person concerned. If a person sees him/herself in a worse way than they really are, we can say that they are not affectively well.
Typical depression also causes a person to feel and believe they´re worse than they really are. This produces feelings of insecurity and low self-esteem. Here again, affectivity has negative effects for the person concerned. A negative opinion of oneself, thinking that life isn´t worth living and that reality is suffering, feeling exaggerated fears, believing oneself to be ill and all sorts of other negative thoughts come from disturbed affectivity.
To analyse this question of affectivity, let’s take an illustrative example. Let’s imagine we´re in the middle of a streetfight. Our fear or anxiety is directly proportional to the size of our adversary: the bigger our adversary, the larger our fear. How do we judge our opponent?
Their size will always be compared to our size, as our only method of comparing is in relation to our own selves. It doesn´t matter whether our opponent is bigger or smaller than someone else, what matters is in relation to ourselves. And how do we know our own size? Who decides whether we are big or small, strong or weak, quick-witted or not, above or below our adversary is our affectivity, this psychic switch which gives value to everything in our lives, and principally, to our own selves. If a distorted affectivity causes us to think of ourselves as small, weak, dull-witted and low-status, then we will be afraid of facing even a child; we will scare ourselves and feel anxious in the face of pretty much everything in life; of crowds, of closed environments, of travelling alone, of the idea of being ill and so on.
Dealing with altered affectivity
Emotional disorders can exist in two ways: a) the person is affectively shaken or b) the person is affectively problematic. It´s a similar distinction as that which can be made between suffering from an allergy, and being allergic.
People who are affectively shaken are normally those whose original personality doesn´t contain natural features of exaggerated affectivity, but who, for momentary and circumstantial reasons, end up having affective problems. Some of the most common ones today are constant stress, losses and let-downs, and the difficulties of adapting to daily life amongst others. This type of affective disorder happens in the life of someone who is affectively normal, or can be understood as a type of exhaustion arising from tense and traumatic events.
The second type, that of a person who is affectively problematic, happens in people who have exaggerated affective sensibility as part of their personality traits. For these people, life is generally felt with greater emotion and experiences tend to be felt with more intensity. They are people anxious by nature, naturally sentimental people, who become hurt easily, and who take on excessive responsibilities. Normally they are more held back and don´t betray their feelings.
The difference between temporarily and permanently having affective problems is vitally important for being able to treat and regain affectivity. If it’s a case of being affectively problematic, the treatment tends to be more difficult, and in some cases, permanent. It´s the same as having hypertension, being diabetic, asthmatic or rheumatic; conditions which tend to be permanent rather than temporary. The taboos with having a more long-term treatment period for these affective problems arise from our culture; as long-term treatment for the other types of problems cited here doesn´t tend to provoke the same levels of prejudice as those for psychological treatment, despite being practically the same thing.
However, if a person is suffering from affective problems arising from momentary circumstances, the treatment is also temporary, or long enough for a person to be able to re-establish their affective harmony.
Affectivity according to the Tantric Vision of the Path of Love
The Tantric meditations and experiences offered in individual sessions and in groups such as `The Path of Love´ at the Metamorfose Centre offer excellent results in regaining self-esteem and personal worth.
People who use psychotic drugs shouldn’t stop taking their medicines, without medical and psychological advice.
You can trust in the Metamorfose Centre.