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Your Sense of Self in a Down Market When the market crashes turns bearish or severely corrects we not only lose objective things such as money We also lose the sustaining functions of which the investing process and or money which may psychologically represent self esteem independence power etc has been the source That means in addition to objectively not having the money to buy that new house or car our self-esteem drops our capacity to calm ourselves down is diminished our motivation wanes our confidence is shaken and our vitality ebbs I am reminded here of the patient who when asked about his complaints tells his internist My stomach hurts my head aches my body feels cold and you know doc I dont feel so well myself A down market represents an injury to our total sense of self and all the functions that sustain it In a general way it represents a hope or fantasy lost In response to this injury we institute emergency measures to compensate for the lost sustaining functions For example where we feel anxious and lose the capacity to calm ourselves down we might frantically seek out others to serve that function We repeatedly call brokers company management other investors or pursue scattered rumors on stock message boards We may turn to books or articles for reassurance During bear markets for example sales of Graham and Dodds Security Analysis typically go up significantly It becomes much easier to understand why some investors believe rumors on a stock message board if we understand the self-sustaining functions being served by seeking out information there If the bear market causes us to lose a self-image that was affirming eg I am a smart investor then we may lose the capacity to feel good about ourselves Our vitality may ebb and we feel depleted and empty To compensate we may seek out stimulating activities to overcome the deadness that has
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