I think, I’ve become weary again. Since my becoming disabled in 2008 on account of unprecedented levels of anxiety that ultimately had me dysfunctional, I had meant to really dig deep into this and find out about my condition, go to the root of it and then work my way out from there. Because telling from where I had arrived for myself in 2008, I had to conclude that whatever coping strategies I thought I had built and applied until then, apparently hadn’t gotten me “all there” – or else, my life would have been more successful, less stressful and a lot more enjoyable. But it – life – had spit me out, time and again. Lovers left me, employers got rid of me, jobs and projects either fell apart or they didn’t want me in the first place. When someone has a distinct problem with you that feels solvable and if you have something they feel they need, they might try to work something out. But if someone can’t stand the “smell” of you – figuratively and literally speaking -, they will try to stay away from you or drive you away, depending on the balance of power in the given situation. Apparently, some people in my past must have felt this way about me or else, I wouldn’t have seen myself “on the road” so often. And seeing as I had never risen to positions of being superior to those who decided over my staying on or not, I found myself getting the shorter end of that stick, often. Way too often. Practically every time. I can’t arrive at any other conclusion than presuming, this had something to do with my behaviors and those behaviours being the result of my attempts to cope with my defects and damages. Because I now know without a doubt: I am (badly) damaged fruit. And since that outcome in 2008, I’m afraid I’m damaged worse than I had been willing to acknowledge until then.

So in my usual way of being realistic and pragmatic about life, I had told myself not to remain in denial about anything about myself and my condition any longer. In other words: I guess, I had meant to go for complete recovery from those damages. It wasn’t until reading Alice Miller’s “Drama of the Gifted Child” that I had to realize that I was very unlikely to ever fully recover, at least according to her findings. This was a major blow to my resolve of going about getting as much healing accomplished as possible. I remember how devastated I felt upon completing the reading of her book. I felt like “Shit! I’m doomed. Am I gonna kill myself right away?”

I’m back in that place. Not immediately planning on ending my life, but feeling trapped in a bad place. Filing for partial and soon afterwards complete disability in 2007 brought about a series of very discriminating and disempowering experiences, not to mention a legal battle that went on for more than two years and only slowed down a little in 2011, when my case was moved from unemployment to welfare. I had meant to get some stability and peace on the outside, so I would have a better chance of working on the insides. While I have established such stability at a very scarce standard of living, the perceived finality of the situation has brought about more anxiety and feelings of being worthless and given up on. At least the system doesn’t support a gradual coming around from that, I had to find. I have checked and researched and made phone calls and talked to lawyers and talked to counsellors and talked to similarly affected people and … but from whatever angle I look upon my situation, it appears as if that’s that! Game over, unless I recover to the extent of working full time again, which … I simply don’t think of as being a realistic option. So that’s not good.

But I had talked myself into feeling that I can do this. I can get used to this scarce standard of living – which might still be considered ample and very comfortable when compared to other parts of the world, agreed – and make the most of it. Try to enjoy myself as much as I can. Get out and about when I can. And I have been doing that for the past six years. Kept to a certain routine, tried to remain at least semi-active and somehow “productive” doing a lot of research into my condition and applying as much self-healing as possible as well as doing some blogging and connecting with others. Not to forget the social media, of course. I don’t think, anyone can blame me for having given up and wallowing in self-pity (o.k., maybe a few times, when I felt overwhelmed with my destiny and condition and its outcomes and the situation coming from it – which, I repeat, from all technical aspects is irreversible). It’s just that… I’ve always kept myself from feeling down by doing, what I thought to be the best possible remedy: Set myself a goal, assess the requirements and tools and – go for it! But this program isn’t available any longer – not by any known standard. I can even do without – or at least temporarily forget about – this bleek “outlook”.

However, I’m terrified of finding myself rejected again. It has happened too many times. And the list of possible reasons for this happening again – or at the very least find myself getting singled out – has just gotten extended: My situation and lack of money in order to be spontaneous being one, the sometimes recurring bouts of depression being another (I never let them show, though…, not that I’d be aware of), the list of food intolerances, which make it hard to order “compatible” food anywhere else and thus becoming a nuisance for everyone – waiters and the people I hang out with. Technically, I feel even too complicated for myself. Which is why I titled this one “weary”. I’ve become weary of myself, of the battle, the setbacks and many frustrations I have already put up with, the open hostility I have experienced at times, the many disappointments of trying to find adequate therapists, therapies or medication… I don’t remember having gotten a real break, ever. In many ways, living as I had been living in my early twens is as good as it gets for me. Which – would be fine, if only I knew, I could still do it.

I guess, this is major anxiety talking along with a share of battle fatigue. I keep talking myself into believing, I can still land somewhere with the music. Not in a big way. Just for company and taking my mind off of things. But I have tried as best as I could. Doesn’t seem to work for all of the above listed reasons.

Anxiety. And… growing despair. This isn’t good.

P.S. And the unsettling thought begins to take root that I might be beyond repair in terms of heart, morality, believing in the common good. All those experiences have taken a toll. I could come out a zombie one way or the other. Maybe some things inside of me really got extinguished along the way. I know for a fact that any sense of romance is gone. And likely for good.


Wrapping Things up?

Over the past five or more years, I’ve been doing my best to backtrack the origins of the often debilitating outcomes unfortunate events very early into my life and earlier had on my emotional being. I read John Bradshaw’s Healing the Shame that Binds You on toxic shame – and found myself in it. Next, I found Susan Forward’s Toxic Parents – Overcoming their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life – and found myself in it. I needed to understand, what I was suffering from and why the suffering was so persistent and so deeply ingrained in me. I thought, once I understood where all this pain came from, I had an angle to start working from.

So I slowly moved from analyzing to scouting out solutions and paths to healing. And came across another Bradshaw book: Homecoming – Reclaiming and Championing your Inner Child. I allowed myself to let long suppressed feelings come forth. Grief, most noteably. I allowed myself to mourn those experiences and that part of me that was lost before I ever encountered it. I gave myself permission to cry – in private, where noone would see my emotions. And the pain manifested itsself in meltdowns of a surprising intensity. Pain bottled up for decades would finally find its way out of my system. I even went so far as to almost consciously induce these ‘fits’, similar to when you pop a pimple on purpose. I noticed that some movies more than others had me particularly emotional. I later identified that those movies had a story that I thought to bear some similarities to mine in their spiritual quest. So I used them to access the injured parts of me and evoke feelings of grief and mourning and cleanse my system from bottled up grief and anger.

I also found Elaine Aron’s The Highly Sensitive Person’s Workbook. While the title may suggest something along the lines of being emotionally sensitive, I was surprised to find that Aron’s understanding of an HSP doesn’t stop there. In fact, higher sensitivity extends into and manifests itsself in the physical realm as well, even in animals. I found myself in that again. (I don’t mean to refer to the animal part, though ;))

But what really drove the message all the way home was Alice Miller’s The Drama of the Gifted Child, which a trusted friend brought to my attention. I guess, this was the first time that I consciously realized I had actually been a victim of child abuse, often following methods that are being described in the Double Bind theory. I must admit that this finding was a setback in what I had believed to become a straight path to healing. It was a blow to the gut and had me fully realize that I was damaged. And would remain damaged to some extent and possibly so for the rest of my life, at least in terms of forming relationships with some form of intimacy to them. To this day, I have a hard time embracing this finding. In fact, I haven’t. I oscillate between being more or less at peace with it by focussing on the parts that have not gotten damaged. And at other times, every fibre of my being wants to rid itsself of this stinging flaw that not only leaves me most vulnerable to manipulation and resulted in about a dozen failed romantic relationships, but also has me feel stigmatized about myself. It has me ashamed of myself all over again, almost as if the damage was visible right away or tattooed to my forehead (in addition to my publicly talking about it… ;)). And, of course, it leaves this deep, deep, never-to-be-satisfied longing for things having gone different. And there’s of course the more substantial longing for needs being met, which where never entirely met the way they should have – and at the proper time, mind you.

Also, on occasion, I felt severe rage with very disturbing ideations of vengeful actions – an impulse, I am glad I have never given in to, for I would have not only immediately regretted it, but felt deep sorrow and pain over it. And I must say I was shocked and appalled at finding I was even able to “produce” such feelings. I consider myself a rather peaceful and peace loving person by nature. I also much favor getting things squared away through honest debate as opposed to getting into a physical argument. I regard it an expression of culture, noble manners and humanity to settle things peacefully. So no acting out on rage for me, thank God! (or whomever…) So rage came and went. And I’m glad it never came back at any noteable degree.

At times, I thought I had forgiven those, whom I largely consider responsible for having inflicted this damage on me. I also entertained the possibly noble, yet very naive notion of taking a shot at addressing things and ideally making room for something new to grow after the past had been put behind us. Although I had taken full notice of Miller saying she had rather seldomly seen perpetrator and victim develop a healthy relationship after her intervention as the helping witness, it did happen a few times. Following my nature – or learned coping behavior? – of being rather over-optimistic, I thought it might work. At least, it was worth giving a try. If I was able to forgive, they might be able to change, right? Naive. Stupid. Idealistic. Maybe slightly narcisstic on my part, too, by automatically inferring my own approach to all involved.

Well, long story short – it never happened. Not really. Not in a way that felt like meeting me half way and then maybe taking things from there. After more than three years – plus another, say, 35-something of me approaching them and trying to meet them halfway and with those attempts never being met with the open, honest, loving, respectful response required for settling a difficult situation on eye’s level, and after a short series of family therapy in 2009 gone awry right into the second session, I think I can finally give myself permission to move on, leave the past behind as chaotic and unorderly unsolved as it presented itsself then and does now and wrap this part up. For good. I have really exhausted every approach, every angle and place to come from, every idea about how this painful past might be transformed into something new and beautiful – and all I got for it in return was getting victimized over and over and over again. No more. Enough is enough. I’ve opened every door and every window over a period of decades, coming from a place of unconditional love and the genuine wish to forgive, forget and move past all this. However – to this day I still find walking half the distance alone – and being left alone there. A perpetrator who is neither willing nor possibly able to see the results of their actions in others is a sociopath, as Kimberly aptly stated (and I’ve quoted her before as her assessment really stuck with me – for reasons of me having stayed in denial over this for so long):

Sociopaths are completely devoid of feelings for others and incapable of developing them. They are never healed, ever.

I think, closing the door for good is what I did today in replying to an email commenting on a preceding action of – again – crossing some boundaries I had previously expressed and established. I don’t think, I’ve said anything that could be taken as burning all bridges, but I expect them to read and take it that way. I have been shying away from putting my foot down for so long now, it was about time I stood up for myself (something, I can’t remember them ever doing for me and which I only found out on my walk earlier tonight. When I found myself in trouble with someone, I was punished twice: For the trouble I was in with whomever and for meaning to share it and seek support).

I think, I have long grown enough to stand up for myself. I also think it’s safe to say, I stood my ground in my previous personal life and career as best as I could. But with this particular situation, this overwhelming sense of being left alone, this sense of utter solitude is still something I haven’t become too good at handling. Maybe I never will. What I can do then is this: Embrace myself for being this way, for feeling deeply and for having a hard time with letting go. Maybe I start thinking about those feelings  differently: Not as flaws, but as little imperfections that make the rises and valleys of my heart and soul. They aren’t shortcomings, but qualities that make me into who I truly am… And that’s the silverlining Miller concludes on in her book: After facing the painful, near devastating truth of abuse and mistreatment, a survivor can come home to themselves and develop as much emotional integrity as possible. An understanding, sympathizing partner, friend or otherwise dependable and close relationship in addition to the therapist will certainly foster a quicker and more pronounced recovery. But the bottomline is: All is not lost. I think I am o.k. settling for that. I better be. That’s the one option I have other than ending it all.

Burning Bridges – and for good?

I like to come here when I need to figure something profound out. Today was one such day that called for taking a solitary contemplative walk by the lake again. Sometimes I get to shoot photography as I walk and deliberate, but I got there too late today and the sun had already disappeared between a solid layer of clouds. It began to snow softly as I pulled up to the small parking area. A surprisingly strong and chilly wind greeted me as I headed down to the Eastern lake shore. I left the DSLR in the car after quickly assessing the weather situation and deciding that I’d be rather unlikely to see the sun breaking through the thick snow clouds before it would finally set anyway.
We’ve had another two inches of snow again over the past few days and a little bit of sunshine later in the afternoon, so the small trail along the shore had turned into a muddy sogging mess with barely any dry spots to walk on seeing as there is partial flooding from a high water level. For a split-second I was tempted to return to the car and find a different place to walk in, but decided against it knowing that for some reason looking across the water always inspires clearer and better thoughts than anywhere else in my vicinity. Also, given the weather and trail conditions, I was unlikely to run into too many other passers-by or joggers, which meant I’d have the lake and the trail largely to myself. So I headed on to my usual destination some three miles north from where I usually park. And after having mastered the first few hundred yards and having crossed a little stream on dry feet, I had made up my mind to keep walking. Plus – the weather matched my murky mind perfectly. I felt I needed to reach a decision on something that’s been gnawing at me for another while again, if not forever. It’s about what position to take towards bio family. But in order to make some sense, I guess I should create some context first:

I had imposed a no-talking rule on them in early 2009 after finding two things: For one, them and I never spoke the same language and with all the energy I need for simply holding on and keeping myself together, I no longer felt I could afford the luxury of bridging the gap between their – simple – world and my complicated one. And second, I hold them responsible for a part of my condition, possibly the larger part of it and I never got to address it openly or otherwise. And here’s where it gets tricky right away: “Technically” and on the outside, they really did everything for us they were capable of. As both of my parents come from a very modest background themselves, providing in the way they did was an effort – and not a too small one. I get that, I respect that and I’m grateful for a couple of opportunities they gave us. Hadn’t it been for getting to attend Senior High School and partaking in extracurricular music and sports activities, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to reroute my life following a short time of playing music for a living following my military service. I couldn’t have enrolled at a major university or done anything else that went too far beyond offering mere physical labour to make a living. I am most grateful for having had these opportunities. I am even more grateful for having had the chance to study guitar and piano and thus getting to play in a number of bands until I graduated from High School. And speaking of High School: I got to participate in a short-term foreign student program and learned two foreign languages in school. So educationwise, they broke their backs to provide us with opportunities they never had. I can’t let this go uncredited for.
On the other hand… there was a price to pay for these opportunities. One was a fairly rigid routine I was to abide by – but which per se never bothered me much. The other one was… enduring abusive behaviour whenever I so much as let on I wasn’t too up to something. “You will do as I say or else …” – fill in your preferred threats and verbal abuse here, like e.g. “Dad’s going to give you a good spanking when he comes home tonight”, “You’re not going to get to have dinner with us”, “Get outta my face and don’t come back till you know what you’ve done wrong”, “You are never going to go anywhere in life, you’ll end up living in the streets”, “You’re no good for anything”, “Don’t you have anything else in mind but excessively entertaining yourselves?” … the list is almost infinitely long. And usually the verbal abuse was followed by/accompanied by or backed up with emotional and mild physical abuse or neglect, like e.g. days of getting the silent treatment, e.g. Even when I meant to express exuberance, I’d be met with s.th. along the lines of “There you go, being all over the top again!” or similar.

It’s not so much about the particular expression of abuse or the devastating combination of varying forms to drive a brutal message home, but rather the overall emotional “footprint” it left on me, which could be translated into something like “You are no good other than for making me unhappy. I’m having the worst of times and it’s because of you. Since I suffer from you, you shall suffer from me.” Today, I think I am able to understand that this was a major projection on the part of my mother, who must have felt left alone and neglected with staying at home all day and tending to my sister and I and her response to me probably came from a place of being overwhelmed with the chore of rearing and from being frustrated from feeling left alone with it more often than once. The above interpretation was probably meant towards my father, who was at work all day and who’d come home tired from work and in hindsight with not much else in mind than grabbing food and getting to relax – or playing sports on other days. Since I was the only other male available to vent – I got the full blow of that venting most times.

After having read Alice Miller’s book “The Drama of the Gifted Child” some time in 2009 per a friend’s tipp, I was convinced that I had involuntarily become one of those gifted children. I remembered the very strong verbal abuse all over, which was so off-the-hook that my best buddy in elementary school refused to come see me any more from one day to the next. I was in total shock and desperately enquired about the why and how, when the former replied: “I can’t bear your mother talking y’all down in front of me any longer. I won’t come see you anymore.” We both were 11 years of age then… I guess, this incident made me consciously aware for the first time that my home was different from my friends’ homes. There were other parents, whom you might have considered being rigid with their offsprings, strict and firm and with many rules to abide by. But although I could sense some air of tension, I don’t remember offensive bordering on cruel language towards any of them – at least not while I was around to pick them up or stop by. Hence my shock blended with despair over potentially losing my dependable best buddy, whom I’d spend almost every afternoon with while being out and about on our bicycles for hours and not returning until it was time for dinner. There were a few precious hours away from all that tension and pressure and losing those precious hours must have equalled a threat to my life in those days. So I made a huge effort to talk him out of seeing his decision through and offered to meet him downstairs after the first time he’d rung the bell or s.th. like this. And in thinking back, I think I remember him actually doing so for a while until either him or I were confronted by my mother. The actual memory gets a bit blurry and foggy here and I can’t be sure, whether I made an excuse for him or whether he actually confronted them back or whatever happened here. All I remember, though, is that I got to keep seeing him and – yeah, when thinking about it, I’m pretty sure, we’d leave things at the “bell code” situation and I’d meet him downstairs – as long as I got to get out!
I also remember that as I grew up, my wish and longing for being somewhere else deepened. Again, memory becomes blurry here, but I’m fairly certain, I even went as far as suggesting I live with my maternal grandparents – our paternal grandparents lived under the same roof. As a matter of fact, we lived in the house they’d built after their expulsion from their native land during World War II. Since I was also often threatened with being sent to boarding school, should I continue with my sassiness – and I never knew, exactly where and how I was being sassy seeing as I abode by their rules and orders anyway -, I even began to dream of that “outlook”. I was sure that being almost anywhere else must be better than here. But – I never tried to run away, fully realizing even then that I’d make my life a whole lot worse should I do so and get caught or rejected by whomever I’d have chosen to run to. It seemed an incalculable risk to take. In High School, I was happy about classes running longer than in elementary school and right till noon. Most times, I dreaded going home after school. I have very clear memories of this onset of growing despair towards the last class in school when realizing that I’d have to go back to all this rigor and pressure. I very clearly remember going “Just why can’t they get off my back?” inside and how other kids would sympathize with me when hearing of the treatment I was exposed to. But since they never went overboard with it, like e.g. beatings that would leave visible marks on my body, since most of the abuse happened behind closed doors and was fairly invisible and inaudible to neighbours – minus an occasional yelling that will have likely passed for regular reprimand -, noone ever saw any need to intervene or question anything. Plus, my grandfather was a short-tempered man as it is, and him and my paternal grandmother would have noisy fights on a regular basis. So I guess, those could sound fairly intimidating – they were to me! – and noone felt exactly encouraged to get in his face about it. In retrospect, I think not minding other people’s business was the generally accepted social code of the day, something that “hear no evil, speak no evil” might refer to as well. Maybe it had to do with our family’s different background as refugees of war that created a social divide between them and citizens native to the area. All I know is that neighbour’s where generally friendly with them and us, and I didn’t have the understanding yet, whether this behaviour came from a genuine friendly place or a superficial one that was meant to keep the distance. I do remember one or two neighbours’ kids being over for birthday parties and vice versa. I don’t remember the adults partying together – ever.

Before I end up recounting all of my growing up, let’s just say that feeling largely uncomfortable and with some sort of threat hanging over my head more or less constantly was the norm for me. I thought I’d get to address certain things as I grew older, most noteably through my teen years. But as my sister told me later, these were merely pointless and endless debates over differing positions that remained separate – talking or not. In looking back, I am aware now and was then that I meant to get them to see my point of view once or feel me or see me at all – not just my talents and accomplishments, like e.g. mostly very good grades until age 14. But – not to any avail, even until today. Sure, there were some slightly more pronounced talks and even family therapy sessions following my breakdown in 2009, when a giant panic attack had me pass out and almost break my jaw, gave me a laceration and a concussion along with a short term hospitalization to treat the latter two. But none of it ever led to me feeling validated for the pain I had endured during my childhood and adolescent years. To this day, their truth and mine were different and according to them, most, if not all of it, is “only in my head”.

So… this is what I deliberated when taking my walk today: Should I cut all ties with them again, burn all bridges and impose a unilateral “no talking” code like I did for some time in 2009 and 2010, when I really had zero energy left to play the role they’d expect me to play? I mean, 48 years of trying should be enough, shouldn’t they? Or – should I stay on “courteous” terms with them, thus keeping a “lender of last resort” option with my dire financial situation in case of emergency, but in this way “selling” my truth for little or nothing? Stand up for myself and have them back off for good? Or stay down and further betray and belittle the unnourished child in me?

In writing this, these aren’t even real alternatives. I can’t expect to get any better if even I, myself won’t recognize the abused and beaten boy. Whatever their truth might be – it is none of my business for as long as mine isn’t acknowledged as well. To quote one of Kimberly’s most insightful comments again:

As for the parents. The point of growth — in a psuedo-Eriksonian sense — is to grow beyond the external parents to become your own internal guardian.

In doing so, I don’t seem to have any other option left but to put some solid distance between them and me again. For

Sociopaths are completely devoid of feelings for others and incapable of developing them. They are never healed, ever. (…) One must think of them other-wise. They are different from those of us who feel for others. We can never be like them. They can never be like us.(KC Callis).

Some of the parental behaviours that I recall as clear as daylight were nothing short of sociopathological. The mere fact that I should remember the exact wording of some of the verbal abuse – the most frequent one, I guess – speaks volumes in and of itsself. So – if they can never be like me or at the very least get to a place of understanding me and if there aren’t any other significant ties left – why bother? Isn’t it funny that I don’t have a single sentimental feeling about any single moment during my childhood? Doesn’t it speak for itsself that all I wished for was to get away – and did so at the first real opportunity that presented itsself?

Possibly having to make this decision and seeing it through is by far the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to do in my entire life. And I’m scared. Because I still feel very alone very often with all this. I guess, my rescue will be in opening up to let new and better people in and in realizing that I’m in fact not alone at all in having to come to terms with a destiny I didn’t consciously choose and which has been overwhelming me for the most part. On the other hand: I’m still here. And the worst is over – at least I hope so.

Alice Miller – Child Abuse and Mistreatment

Alice Miller – Child Abuse and Mistreatment.

Wow. In coming back to this some two years after I had identified that Miller was spot on with the late and prevailing outcomes of my early history, I am shocked to find that a) I have not found a good therapist to help me sufficiently with this and b) that I’ve relapsed into denial and – almost inevitably so – major depression. In addition to that, I c) have had catastrophic results with resumed contact with bio family and some therapy “experiments” that backfired in the worst possible way.

I have lost another two going on three years of a total of now 48 years of silent suffering and majorly reduced life quality, the outcomes of which have now fully manifested on the outside as well: Disabled and unemployed since 2008, bankrupt, depending on welfare and thus technically being impoverished with only one or two items left from my former middle class-“ish” life (I’m no longer sure of that, but that’s a different topic altogether). I guess the unresolved inner conflicts have been – most brutally by now – demanding attention following my divorce in 2003 and some additional and major career and personal setbacks in its aftermath. I assume that my so-far fiercely exercised and maintained resilience collapsed in 2007 after a cancelled migration endeavour with Canada as its destination. I seem to have internalized a feeling of helplessness and also being down on myself following that experience. After returning, I left my position with a software startup company and accepted a job offer to become full time editor with a tech publication. I lasted for three weeks until panic attacks and generalized anxiety ultimately had me dysfunctional. We agreed I’d continue to work for them from my home office, but I lost a substantial part of my salary. I initially made up for revenue loss by contracting with additional employers, but soon felt the overall exhaustion of hunting job after job, which I began to give in. Not too long after that, someone diagnosed me with what’s commonly known as a burn-out (I resent this term and I don’t think I burnt out on my career or lost edge in supporting myself. I rather find that the unresolved matters of the past had been festering away at me and eating into the energy needed to uphold a successful career…). After filing for partial disability and struggling with technicalities of the process, I gave myself permission to focus on my health and also to sort of take a break from stressing myself out or allowing others to exploit me in the ways they had before. This, coupled with medical expenses I had to cover out of my own pocket ultimately led to the burning of all my savings – and very quickly so. Needless to say that the 2008 banking crisis didn’t exactly help, when I sold a packaged life insurance/401k plan in order to regain some liquidity and balance out my banking account…

I’ve been on a journey of recovery since 2005 and with increased intensity so again since 2008. I made some progress on the physical “plane”, which seems to have made me even more painfully aware of my emotional conflicts and unresolved accounts. I was not prepared for this and I have been largely unaware of this – heightened awareness of unresolved emotional pain – until not too long ago. I don’t think, I’ve made much progress with the non-physical aspects of my problems. And I feel completely stuck. Not only do I feel stuck – I seem to be stuck with regard to certain aspects and limitations to the overall situation. But the latter doesn’t bother me as much as the feeling of being stuck in my personal recovery and not getting past a certain roadblock. I can be very tenacious and plain stubborn, which is probably a quality that saved me from giving up earlier or simply ending my life prematurely. But in this very context, my being hard-headed seems to have been counterproductive with regard to my progress. And it hit me like a ton of bricks, when I read this sentence in one of Kimberly’s replies in her latest blog the other day:

Sociopaths are completely devoid of feelings for others and incapable of developing them. They are never healed, ever.

Wow. How had I relapsed into denial over this previously identified experience with one of the perpetrators? (I can’t bring myself to saying their name or role… I need to keep the distance at this point). They may not be a sociopath today, but sure enough when they had parental authority. But their being sociopathic wasn’t reserved for me exclusively. Other family, co-workers, their spouse – no one got spared. Only – I didn’t know how to set boundaries let alone defend them and protect myself from the severe verbal, emotional and also mild, but noticeable and programmatic physical abuse like e.g. beating and hitting me on the back of my head so hard I literally saw stars before my eyes. Humiliation in private and public, berating, getting grounded on account of minor things – the whole nine of textbook abuse.

I had given myself permission to let feelings of rage and despair come forth after reading Miller’s The Drama of the Gifted Child in 2009 for the first time, often facilitated by slightly excessive alcohol consumption and a movie that would steer me towards repressed feelings. The combined effects of feeling less inhibited from the alcohol as well as the expressed movie scenes somehow striking an emotional chord in me resulted in those repressed feelings over childhood neglect, humiliation and overall inattention as described above become accessible and eventually fully manifest – often in devastating ways and resulting in a complete nervous breakdown that would last for hours. I’d go to bed exhausted, desperate and with a feeling of infinite solitude over having to carry this burden all by myself and with noone available to talk right after these very intense feelings. With every fibre of my being I wished for something or someone to acknowledge my pain for what it was, regardless of the fact that it might express itsself decades after the original cause for them.

I guess, I am still looking for someone to be my helping witness, as Miller coins them… I seem to realize very clearly that I will make no further progress, if I can’t find someone to “walk me” through the experience and processing of these very, very intense repressed emotions. So I guess, the search for a qualified therapist as well as the struggle of creatively bridging gaps in my health insurance plan is for me to be resumed yet another time…. Can I get a collective “Ugh” from the audience….?

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