Sometimes people "know" but can't "feel" what connections of feeling and knowing they need to use in order to have gentle control over themselves.
There are individuals who have dissociated feeling from ideas because they expect that the actual perceptions of the "Feeling" if connected to the "Idea" will overwhelm then and plunge them into despair and miserable depression or catastrophic action. However, the mind is always trying to make "connections," and while it is possible to sometimes have this connection seem to stay dormant, it usually costs the person a great deal of mental energy to keep this data repressed.
You might think of it as if you had to devote a lot of you to unconscious guard-duty, then you would have less of you to use in your personal life.
There are ideas that should not become a basis for action, but if gentle self-control can be attained along with knowledge of the hidden urges, feelings, and needs we may be able to express the feelings in non-hurtful ways. Possessing a feeling or urge is not the same as acting upon it. If we can accept the reason for having the feelings that frighten us we may be ale to accept our humanness in a kind of way that allows us to feel gentle respect for ourself and then for others. Erotic, sometimes violent, ideas may cross the minds of many. In passionate, sensual, mutual consenting relationships they can occur without hurting ourself or others and can free us to be more at home with the primitive feelings that are more common than many realize. Fear of sex, intimacy, and sensuality can contaminate sensual feelings and produce angry images in our mind that stops us from experiencing healthy sensuality.
The mind is designed to keep anything that we have found unpleasant or unacceptable to ourselves in an unconscious form in an attempt to protect us from anxiety, panic, and other mental pain.
However, these repressive defenses can get "leaky" as the mind builds up more and more of them and they break into our consciousness in some form. Images may be distorted by our attempts to push them back down into our unconscious. This break through of anxiety, panic-provoking data can happen when we are lowering our defenses as when we try to sleep or engage in distracting pleasant sensual activities that require us to be less repressive in order to enjoy. We are prevented from letting loose and relaxing because if we did we may find ourselves sometimes under what seems like "attack" by that of which we do not want to think or feel about. Although we may prevent fear laden data from coming up into our conscious mind, enough starts to come through to cause us to feel panic-like anxiety, or even just an eroding of good feeling, preventing us from comfortably going forward into our lives.
Sometimes a symptom, like Panic, serves a secondary purpose in that it keeps us from experiencing life that would be what we might like but actually do not feel we deserve or "should have."
Every symptom serves multiple purposes in our mind and there is no single answer as sit-coms and movies would tell us. Every person has their own way of developing their own way of developing their psychological problems for their own individual reasons.
Phobias are both a symptom of inner psychic troubles and a defense against feeling worse; but often they increase in such a way as to do more harm than defense. You might think of it as being too tight a bandage, which while stopping bleeding and infection, at first, tends to cause other troubles.
Phobias are sometimes a way of handling ideas and feelings inside ourselves while also controlling the lives of those with whom we interact―this is not done with any conscious intent and may be strongly denied; but a phobia to not travel, for example, may in some people be a way not only to avoid being home, but also having other have to be around us may calm our fear that any breaking of routine will cause bad things to happen to them, and/or us.
While the actual development of a symptom in our Personality Organization is more complex than these generalized descriptions they are not just a "bad idea" that can simply be dismissed by conscious intent. People may use their inability to dismiss a phobia, panic, or anxiety as a sign of their inadequacy, and further lower their respect for themselves.
Becoming truly kinder to oneself may increase our ability for compassion towards others as were are more able to identify with the feelings and needs of other people. Gentleness and concern for others simultaneously needs to combine with regard for ourself to have a mature healthy sense of self-esteem.
What looks like self-esteem but does not include respect for others may actually be a symptom known better as narcissism. Narcissistic ways of life often indicate being out of true contact with oneself and therefore out of contact with others. Therapy, sensitively done, may help us be more pleasantly in touch with ourselves while accepting gentle interchange with others. If one cannot care for others then one cannot kindly care for oneself; both are needed to sustain a maturely satisfying life.
Insight oriented Interpersonal Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, as we practice it, attempts to put you in touch with yourself at your own pace with guided interpretations and other verbal interchanges that are aimed at helping you in your search for a life as you would like to live.