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)