Monthly Archives: May 2018
I am so tired of having to psychoanalyze myself and also of finding that I keep coming to the same conclusions yet do not progress, or progress so slowly.
In any case my insight, new for today is that a great part of my struggle here has to do with not having come here by my own choice. I had to shut down my better judgment, de-prioritize myself to do it, and this makes it difficult to gain access to self. How to change that, how to put self first regardless, how to own the situation, how to be in this atmosphere which inspires withdrawal for its own reasons, is the question. But part of it is not having the centeredness you can have in anything when you feel it is yours.
I learned that abusers stay in your head. If you have to keep struggling or worrying, it is that this relationship has distorted your mind. There was a long period here, for instance, where uppermost in my mind were my parents, every hour–their suffering, how could I remedy it; my inadequacy and uncaringness in their eyes, what could I do to become worthy of them, and how could I demonstrate love in a way they could believe?
I decided there isn’t reason to doubt my background of family abuse. If fear of extreme violence and desire to get to a safe place are always dancing at the back of my mind (unless I do get to a place that feels safe, which is most of the world but not places with the characteristics of Maringouin and Vichy State), is there any doubt?
The family always intruded upon work in terribly inappropriate ways, and had terrible problems that needed resolution, but would then expect me to be fine, not worry, and “go on with my life” as though nothing had happened. This continues in some form now. It is: they create a violent or otherwise heartrending incident, get service on it, but then expect me to recover as quickly as they have. This is why the “just go on with your life” dictum is so hurtful, and feels so much like abandonment.
The trauma was realizing that my father, the apparently less-bad abuser, was abusive too. I don’t think there really is doubt about this and I do note that my brother now seems to consider that it is a gift when he does not “say mean things” (or perhaps, has them just below the surface). But what I feel bad about, the worst about in life, is that I rejected, destroyed my academic career. I rejected it when I realized how troubled he was. It was a traumatic realization and I needed to work with it.
Where and what am I, and what do I have the right to say? These things become clearer in non-abusive spaces, where what is reflected back to me is the light. But in the murk, I do not dare exist or be for myself, only to serve, unless as backup I have a lot of money in the bank (that is why having money is so important metaphorically).
But all the things I did, including the self-destructive things, were attempts to have self and voice. I would love to feel the way I know others do, their feet on the ground, no executioner at their back. I would love to feel my voice coming right up from my stomach, all the way out my mouth, this is me. I would love to feel my mind clear and present, instead of shut down waiting for the next blow.
The problem is not allowing for self, not acting for self, not permitting conviction. I was interested in environment, economics, law, because there I thought I could act with conviction. People never think, initially, I should do these things but when I begin to speak the willing are able see my level of passion and how well informed I am.
The other reason I thought I should go into these things was that I thought I could do them even in bad circumstances (I could put them over quality of life). I realize here that I am making a fairly good argument here for leaving my job, giving up on doing what I came to do, but most fundamentally I am making an argument for voice and self.
And this has been a meditation, and it is good to meditate, and when one considers that I woke up this morning wondering what hotline to call. I am just not sure what I would like to do.It is an unfamiliar feeling but I long for care. These things that sound attractive:
1/ Die. But not before my father does, or before I go traveling slowly around the world and stay somewhere if I find work, but if not join some ascetic ashram.
2/ Go to law school at LSU (THAT is something I really should have done, long ago, although I would not have gotten to live in Oregon then) — although it is too late in my life to develop the career I could have developed had I started 22 years ago, when I wanted to.
3/ Get, or have a job in current field, but at an R1.
4/ Get some really interesting think tank, or movement job.
5/ I have fantasies about going to a sanitarium, some sort of in-patient anti-depressive resort, where you could do analysis and yoga and research. I think of hospitals but people go on resort vacations, beach vacations, yoga retreats, sabbaticals, and writing retreats.
Keywords: care – voice – self – faith in self – self-love – not caretaking – recognizing abusiveness – standing up to abuse – voice – self – faith in self – self-love – love of work – respect for own work.
Mantra: much of my father most insistent advice was wrong (only the things he said when he dropped his mask were right)
How to get them out.
Dispossession, infantilization, and depoliticization are central to the discourse of neoliberalism in which language is central to moulding identities, desires, values, and social relationships. Within this fog of market-induced paralysis, language is subject to the laws of the capitalism, reduced to a commodity, and subject to the “tyranny of the moment, . . . emaciated, impoverished, vulgarized, and squeezed out of the meanings it was resumed to carry” (Bauman & Donskis, 2013, p. 46). As Doreen Massey (2013) observes, within the discourse of neoliberalism, the public are urged to become highly competitive consumers and customers, while taught that the only interests that matter are individual interests, almost always measured by monetary considerations. Under such circumstances, social and communal bonds are shredded, important modes of solidarity attacked, and a war is waged against any institution that embraces the values, practices, and social relations endemic to a democracy. Neoliberal public pedagogy, in this instance, functions as what Hannah Arendt (1968) calls a form of “totalitarian education,” one whose aim “has never been to instill convictions but to destroy the capacity to form any” (p. 468). One outcome has been a heightening of the discourse of narcissism and the retreat from public life and any viable sense of worldliness.
I will start an Evernote page for all the references for this article. That, at the very least.
I really should print and send that contract, in addition to other bureaucratic things.
1. I need some grounding techniques for when grief / pain / fear take over. One of the main ones is to remember I am a person and I have rights, and that I might not automatically be wrong or be guilty.
2. I take on entirely too much responsibility for everything, and really need to see this and then stop it.
3. I cannot talk myself out of the fact that too many things are happening to me now (too many responsibilities, abuse in the family, abuse in the workplace, unwieldy and inadequate support) — all of them really are happening, and all of the bad situations are real.
4. Again, I have to remember that I am a person with rights.
5. The fundamental issues — the fear that if I do not self-harm I will be executed, the idea that there is something terrible I have done that I must atone for, the idea that I am flawed and must recognize it — are things I should address in therapy.
This last is very frustrating since I have been in therapy for 27 years for precisely this, and I articulated it that way when I started. “I am caught in a family system and I fear extreme violence,” I said.
6. I have been ruined by psychotherapy because it kept asking, insistently, what did you do to deserve this? Admit it, be honest, you must have done something!
7. Anything else that may have been said, and that I have not written here. This was all most enlightening. Points 2 and 3 are the ones that seemed the most resonant, but looking back at this points 5 and 6 are the most surprising.
The idea that I should NOT “take responsibility” for everything, look at everything from everyone’s point of view but my own, and so on, is SO surprising. And of course that “grounding technique” is point 4: I, too, am someone, and I, too, may not be all wrong all the time.