Friday, March 9, 2018

Shackled into the chains of repetition compulsion

K: Some loud thinking as a comment to the exchange earlier...
A lot of women DON’T abuse their kids even if they have been or are abused. And it can never be a good model for kids to witness parents that don’t manage to solve their problems especially well. So, there are all reasons to set about dealing with things of one’s own, to begin with. And, in the case of poor conflict resolutions skills, work to improve them, skills where you respect the other part, and where the respect goes back and forth. You can’t get respect for using force or violence though. It has never worked. And it will never work.
I don’t think that everybody that has been abused early in life, even severely, become abusers themselves. Far from. If you know how it felt to be abused, and have access to how it really felt, you can’t expose anybody else for the same thing. No adult or child. Nobody.
Earlier women were totally dependent on men. They were really stuck with an abusive man (if he was abusive). Both she and the kids were stuck. And she maybe had to protect both her kids and herself. The best she could. Not always easy. And the kids were affected in some way or another.
And the man HAD to support his family in earlier days usually. Sometimes that wasn’t easy either for him. A burden. Today man and woman can share THAT burden. That benefits everybody I think.
Thinking about this, greater equality serves everybody, in a family, in the society, and the whole world. I get more and more convinced about this.
People point out here and there that not all abused become abusers or terrorists or whatever themselves. Here is one of those (about those joining extremist groups):
“Let me be clear that I am not in any way arguing that entry into these extremist organizations is preordained by adverse family lives or social isolation in school. The number of cases of young people being abused, bullied, abandoned, or humiliated is far greater than the numbers who end up in extremist politics. There are many routes from such sad and terrible beginnings.” Page 21
And for those who enter, maybe not so different from ordinary people, at least on the outside:
“Charles Mink debriefed hundreds of accused terrorists affiliated with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria between 2007 and 2008. He expected a bunch of ‘political outsiders, economic pariahs, and religious zealots.’ Instead, he found detainees who were ‘fairly well educated, completely uninterested in state politics, gainfully employed in one way or another, and—perhaps most surprising—they were religiously apathetic.’ They were not, by and large, ‘angry, impoverished, or especially pious.’” Page 6

Sylvie Imelda Shene I agree with everything you wrote and everything John Gottman says in his speech about Trust and Inequality -- all sounds very nice -- but as long people's repression goes unresolved -- they will be shackled into the chains of repetition compulsion -- and it doesn't matter how well anyone articulates very nice ideas... The problem is not lack of knowledge and educated people, there are plenty of educated people with intellectual knowledge, the problem is an emotional blockage with the so-called “professionals” or “educated people” hiding behind their rationalizations and seductive theories to protect themselves from having to face and feel their own emotional pain.  It takes courage to see, face and feel our painful truths, intelligence alone is not enough; but it rather helps create seductively, rationalizations, theories, illusions, and lies. Read more HERE

The words below by Alice Miller come to mind also: 

AM: Thank you so much for sending us the article and for having written the excellent Appendix. I hope that some of the GP will open their ears and check what they have read with their own patients. But for doing so they should overcome (at least a bit) their own fear of their childhood pain. Unfortunately, doctors like this are rare; most of them think that they have to DO something (prescribe drugs) to feel powerful and do not to listen. They don’t know that listening gives them much more knowledge, also about themselves, which means to gain true strength for themselves instead of playing the powerful one." Read more HERE
"Almost all of us have corporal punishment inflicted on us in our formative years. But the fear and anger such punishment brings with it remain unconscious for a very long time. Children have no choice but suppress their fear and anger, as otherwise, they could not sustain their love for their parents, and that love is crucially necessary for their survival. But these emotions, though suppressed, remain stored away in our bodies, and in adulthood, they can cause symptoms of varying severity. We may suffer from bouts of depression, attacks of panic fear, or violent reactions towards our children without identifying the true causes of our despair, our fear, or our rage. If we were aware of those cases, it would prevent us from falling ill, because then we would realize that our fathers and mothers no longer have any power over us and can no longer beat us.
In most cases, however, we know nothing about the causes of our sufferings because the memories of those childhood beatings have long been consigned to total oblivion. Initially, this amnesia is beneficial, acting as a protection for the child’s brain. In the long term, however, it is fateful because it then becomes chronic and has a profoundly confusing impact. Though it protects us from unpleasant memories, it cannot preserve us from severe symptoms like the unexplained fear constantly warning us of dangers that no longer exist. In childhood, these fears were entirely realistic. One example that springs to mind are the case of a six-month-old girl whose mother regularly slapped her in order to “teach her obedience.” Of course, the girl survived those slaps, and all the other physical punishments inflicted on her in youth. But at the age of 46, she suddenly developed heart problems.
For years on end, we trust to medication to alleviate our sufferings. But there is one question no one (neither patients nor their doctors) ever asks: Where is this danger that my body incessantly warns me of? The danger is hidden away in childhood. But all the doors that could afford us the right perspective on the problem appear to be hermetically closed. No one attempts to open them. On the contrary! We do everything we can to avoid facing up to our personal history and the intolerable apprehension that dogged us for so long in childhood. Such a perspective would reestablish contact with the most vulnerable and powerless years of our lives, and that is the last thing we want to think about. We have no desire to go through that feeling of desperate impotence all over again. On no account do we want to be reminded of the atmosphere that surrounded us when we were small and were helplessly exposed to the whims and excesses of power-hungry adults.
But this period is one that has an incomparably powerful impact on the rest of our lives, and it is precisely by confronting it that we can find the key to understanding our attacks of (apparently) groundless panic, our high blood pressure, our stomach ulcers, our sleepless nights, and – tragically – the seemingly inexplicable rage triggered in us by a small baby crying. The logic behind this enigma resolves itself once we set out to achieve awareness about the early stages of our lives. After all, our lives do not begin at the age of 15. Seeking that awareness is the first step toward understanding our sufferings. And when we have taken that step, the symptoms that have plagued us for so long will gradually begin to recede. Our body no longer has any need of them, because now we have assumed conscious responsibility for the suffering children we once were.
Truly attempting to understand the child within means acknowledging and recognizing its sufferings, rather than denying them. Then we can provide supportive company for that mistreated infant, an infant left entirely alone with its fears, deprived of the consolation and support that a helping witness could have provided. By offering guidance to the child we once were, we can create a new atmosphere he can respond to, helping him to see that it is not the whole world that is full of dangers, but above all the world of his family that he was doomed to fear in every moment of his existence. We never knew what bad mood might prompt our mother to expose us to the full force of her aggression. We never knew what we could do to defend ourselves. No one came to our aid; no one saw that we were in danger. And in the end, we learned not to perceive that danger ourselves.
Many people manage to protect themselves from the memories of a nightmare childhood by taking medication of some kind, frequently of an anti-depressive nature. But such medication only robs us of our true emotions, and then we are unable to find expression for the logical response to the cruelties we were exposed to as children. And this inability is precisely what triggered the illness in the first place." Read more HERE
"Time and again, I ask myself why it is so difficult to communicate this knowledge, why the perfectly normal response – horror and indignation – fails to materialize when the question at issue is cruelty to small children. Deep down I know the answer, though I keep on hoping I am mistaken. The answer I have found is: Most of us were mistreated as children and had to learn to deny this fact at a very early stage in order to survive. We were forced to believe
that we were humiliated and tormented “for our own good,”
that the beatings we received did not hurt and were harmless,
that such treatment served to protect the community (as otherwise, we would have turned into dangerous monsters).
If the brain stores this aberrant information at a very early stage, then the message it conveys will normally retain its effect throughout our lives. It causes a persistent mental bias. In therapy, such biases may be resolved. But most people are not prepared to question and abandon preconceptions of this kind. Instead, they chant this perverse litany: “My parents did their best to bring me up properly, I was a difficult child, and I needed strict discipline.” Obviously, people who have been brought up to believe this cannot conceivably feel indignation about cruelty to children. Since their own childhood, they have been dissociated from their true feelings, from the pain caused by humiliation and torment. To feel their indignation they would need to get back in touch with that childhood pain. And who will want to do that? Read more" HERE
"Am I saying that forgiveness for crimes done to a child is not only ineffective but actively harmful? Yes, that is precisely what I am saying. The body does not understand moral precepts. It fights against the denial of genuine emotions and for the admission of the truth to our conscious minds. This is something the child cannot afford to do, it has to deceive itself and turn a blind eye to the parents’ crimes in order to survive. Adults no longer need to do this, but if they do, the price they pay is high. Either they ruin their own health or they make others pay the price – their children, their patients, the people who work for them, etc.
A therapist who has forgiven his parents for the cruelty they showed him will frequently feel the urge to suggest this same course of action to his patients as a remedy for their ills. In so doing, he is exploiting their dependence and their trust. If he is no longer in touch with his own feelings, he may indeed be unaware that in this way he is doing to others what was once done to him. He is abusing others, confusing them, while rejecting any kind of responsibility for his actions because he is convinced that he is acting for their own good. Are not all religions unanimous in their conviction that forgiveness is the path to Heaven? Was not Job ultimately rewarded for the fact that he forgave God? No good can be expected of a therapist who identifies with the parents who once abused him. But adult patients have the choice. They can leave a therapist when they have seen through his deception and self-deception. They need not identify with him and repeat his acts all over again." Read more HERE

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