” Modern man protects himself against …”

isdisthefaceofrage_zpsc68251f2 “…. seeing his own split state by a system of compartments.”  How well do I know this one.  When I was struggling, IN SOBRIETY, to keep my depression covert, I would compartmentalize my behaviors, the ones which were against my own nature.  My own actions were against my true self, who I was when I was very young. I would deny the reality I was living. I would live in a lie. Living in “my shadow,” I would do things that I was not proud of.  I would behave towards those I loved in ways that were not coming from the self I believed I was. Talking about the details are not important to me in this venue.  I talk about the details with those who are close to me and in my support groups.

Bipolar-Disorder-test-300x168_zpsf2813850“Certain areas of outer life and of his own behavior are kept, as it were, in separate drawers and are never confronted with one another.” This is not surprising to me.  I had to split off those parts of my life that were unbearable when I was young.  I could not deal with many of the traumas that I experienced then.  

alarm_clockBut the discussion about then is not what we need to have as a culture.  My friends, whether they are in 12 step programs or not, are suffering from P.T.S.D. To extrapolate a little, I dont think that it is only people with “addiction,” issues are suffering from it.  I also dont believe that the disorder of P.T.S.D. is constrained to those who are in combat or are affected by some natural calamity like a hurricane or earthquake.  

PTSdA child of 5 watching his brother being beaten by his father is just as traumatized as someone watching someone else be harmed or hurt in any way. To have to witness violence against another human being is the same whether it is by a roadside bomb or a father’s belt.  I would argue that it is the five year old boy who suffers worse in that he did not think that the events would be taking place, whereas the man/boy/woman/girl in the military is made aware of the possibility of the event before it takes place.

lx-but-thap-pgoda-thomas-jeppesen-3I just got off the phone with a dear friend who suffers as much from the effects of P.T.S.D. as I do or anyone else.   I am watching a man walk outside of the coffee shop I am in right now who looks 60, who walks like an old man and holds his cigarette in his hand like an old man.  But I would bet that if I asked him how old he was, he would probably say that he is between 40 and 45.  But as he mutters to himself as he walks back and forth down the sidewalk, he is old.  Maybe not in physical years but in emotional/psychological years.   

normal1Jung talks about in the opening quote that Man has to protect himself by compartmentalizing the events of his life.  Hillman talks about it is not about getting healthier any longer as individuals and the collective, but it as about survival in the world today as well as I believe it is survival OF the world.

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One thought on “” Modern man protects himself against …”

  1. For the 5 year old, “magical thinking” goes on – where he thinks something he had done or failed to do “made” the abuse happen – if only he were good enough or strong enough to help that brother, it wouldn’t happen. In the child’s eyes – the parents can’t possibly be wrong, so the children must be wrong. The child of 5 has limited experience and reasoning skills and small size so he can’t stop the abuse and can’t understand what is really going on (especially when in reality, NOTHING the abused child did was deserving of a whipping) and can’t go for help like an adult can. The child concludes this is what happens when you are bad, so he deserves he abuse.

    But he doesn’t deserve the punishment meted out to him. No child does.

    My mother didn’t use a belt. She used a spatula, until one day, she hit my sister’s spine instead of her butt. Then she used other methods – usually a smack across the face, usually coupled with an “how dare you” attitude.

    When I was big enough, I started fighting back. I was the child in the family most abused, but when my mother went after my siblings, I created diversions to bring the attacks back onto me.

    For me, it’s not the memories of the smacks that I remember so much. I don’t remember the pain, though I remember writing about it. The pain was oddly “good” to me. Negative attention was better than no attention. A smack that tingled at least reminded me I could feel…something.

    The lingering effects of childhood abuse can be crippling, yes. I know the feeling of being 80 years old in a 40 year old body…and as I’m healing, I’m feeling younger and younger.

    Befriend your split off parts. They were your allies when you needed them. But they’ve done their job. It’s time for the healthier, stronger parts of you to take over. I don’t believe we can eradicate all of them, just like that, but with time and unconditional love for ALL of them, they no longer need to be on guard.

    I bet those that have worse military P.T.S.D., also have been that 5 year old boy (or girl) who had witnessed or experienced abuse himself.

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