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Childhood trauma and its consequences
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 Post subject: Confronting our parents
PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2007 9:21 pm 
[edited to fix apostrophes]

Threaded discussion from here:

cc:

It's the first time that I read an intelligent critique of Susan Forward's therapy. Thanks!

I have believed that, some therapies more some therapies less, all of them are poisonous pedagogy. Forward's and Daniel's are poisonous in a far lesser degree. You know that in my Gedankenexperiment here and in Dan's forum I have envisioned a therapy that places the burden of therapy on the perp, not on the victim. Nobody has ever said to me anything intelligent about it.

Miller is right when she states that in this crime, and in this crime only, society doesn't do any legal justice. Recently a female friend (whom I met after 30 years of not seeing her since our High School years) told me that if my Gedankenexperiment were enforced, hundreds of millions of parents would be incarcerated. She is right. And the fact that almost all of mankind cannot see that perps should be in jail doesn't mean that my ideal scenario is wrong. It only means that humanity (the "Neanderthals") has nor reached the "helping mode" level that today I inserted in the avatar image for all of my posts.

Like Spielberg A.I.'s David, only our parents have the password for us to heal. I believe that Dan is wrong with his ideas of total enlightenment thru self-work. Like David's Monica, if our parents die unredeemed we cannot enjoy life again to its fullest. It is impossible. They and only they have the password because of "the problem of attachment to the perp". Of course: they will never redeem themselves unless we force the bastards to do it. But since Karellen (the devil image of my former avatar) doesn't exist, we humans have to fight for centuries so that most of mankind gradually evolves to the helping mode.

Yes: confrontation has its limits. I, a sister and a brother, have confronted our parents countless times. Every time we do it they take refuge in cognitive distortions to bend reality and perpetuate their blindness. We need them in solitary confinement; futuristic technology to make them grow younger physically so that they can tolerate the self-confrontation, and sci-fi machines to see their own traumatic past.

We don't have any Karellen to do the job and, to boot, we live in a society that will never do us any justice. This means that we are condemned to live our own sad lives, CC. Nonetheless, I like Van Gogh's concept of "active melancholia" to describe my frame of mind. The trick is to be always active. There were no helping-mode parents in Van Gogh's times but, in my case, I keep busy by writing my autobio stuff, not by painting (artistic dissociation).

Only the day after tomorrow belongs to us...


Last edited by Cesar Tort on Tue Dec 11, 2007 9:41 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2007 4:52 am 
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Hi Cesar,

My parents both passed away years ago, my mother when I was a child,
but my healing has been accelerating. I don't need them for my healing, the key is inside me, being unlocked. To begin with a person who can help for healing is one who is completely opposite to the parent. A person who can give a little of what the parent failed to do.

The parent, by definition, is the person who will most trigger us. A confrontation with the parent over old issues is unlikely to be fruitful. It is too late for that, except in a regressed state with an enlightened witness or alone.

I had only one such encounter with my own father and he initiated it after he knew I was in therapy. He said to me: "you know... you had a good childhood". My answer was: "No I didn't". That was our whole conversation on my childhood. There never was more. You see, he wanted to believe I had a good childhood. There were some good parts, but overall it was real bad.
My grown-up relationship with my father was limited, and I thought that was better in terms of my getting better with therapy and getting on with my life.

Phil


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2007 5:38 am 
[edited to fix apostrophes]

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I don't need them for my healing, the key is inside me [...]

I envy you, Phil. I posted the above because, as Ross said (remember my long reply to Chickadee, part of it retrieved in the wiki?), when the parent becomes really abusive --dysfunctional parents are not the same as extremely abusive ones-- what he called the problem of attachment to the perp becomes another categorical problem. We enter into a different psychical plane, what Arthur Koestler called the tragic or absolute sphere.

I guess CC (only a guess: correct me if I'm wrong!) and I are struggling with a problem we really cannot hope to fully solve. I always tell my friend Paulina, who is very Catholic, that we can only aspire to accept the burden of a heavy cross for the rest of our lives. Similarly, the loving boy David could not be satisfied unless those most advanced mechas, 2000 years after Monica died, could bring him back to his home, sweet home...


Last edited by Cesar Tort on Tue Dec 11, 2007 9:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2007 3:57 pm 
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Cesar,
I think healing is possible. I hear of people healing from all sorts of abusive stuff. It certainly is a long road, and is not a sure thing.
It's possible to get worse instead of better.
I have always thought it was worth the effort and worth taking the chance. I think our psychological issues are always within us, to be possibly healed or not.
As an adult, you have the locus of contol, not your parent.

I don't consider that my own parents were extremely abusive, but my sister disagrees. My only brother is psychotic, so he can't really say.
Siblings can have different experiences within the same family.
For myself, I've uncovered tons of neglect and some abuse.
This is stuff that can't be measured, it is all how the individual child experienced it, and what it did to him or her.
Its hard to make generalizations.

Phil


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2007 5:49 pm 
[edited to fix apostrophes]

Thanks for sharing your own family experience, Phil.

I also have a sister who believes in delusions; a brother who never confronts my parents but is an extreme Catholic freak; a 47 year-old sister who still lives with my parents, and another brother who used to take Scientology courses (he's in Paris right now and I ignore if he continues to do so).

Yes: healing is possible. I don't have depressions or addictions; nor I abuse the people I am in close contact with. And I abandoned a cult and my belief in pseudosciences twelve years ago. Still I maintain is that, if our family goes on grotesquely unredeemed, we simply cannot enjoy life at its fullest. This is the tragic or absolute plane and one has no choice but to turn oneself into a philosopher in order to survive psychically.

The irony is that I was the most abused individual in my family --and I am the only truly sane (I consider religious going astray a form of insanity), albeit so infinitely sad that my friend Paulina says this is reflected in the expression of my eyes.


Last edited by Cesar Tort on Tue Dec 11, 2007 9:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2007 7:41 pm 
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Hi Cesar,

I had some more thoughts about S. Forward's therapy of healing childhood trauma by confronting the parents.

I think that it is possible that her therapy is cognitive therapy (or somewhat similar) posing as 'feeling therapy'. Doesn't some cognitive therapies involve having patients face their fears and confront their weaknesses as the remedy? We know that these therapies don't work because they don't deal with the cause. They only serve to prolong the patient's disorder by replacing their neurosis with one that is more culturally acceptable to then give them a false sense of recovery.

Is it possible that S. Forward is projecting her childhood abuse? Did her parents force her to confront her fears as a teaching method? Some parents throw fearful children into water to teach them how to swim. Thinking about this reminds me of a painful memory. I will summarize and leave out some details.

My father had me confront a 13-year-old bully when I was 9. I was petrified. He was huge. I was so tiny. The boy nearly killed me and my dad just stood watching. After the boy punched my head against the concrete I yelled a horrible scream that the boy thought he killed me. He then got off of me and left with his gang. My father was gone by the time I became conscious of my surroundings. I guess I didn't make him proud enough to stick around.

Facing past childhood trauma is bad enough on its own. No need to have therapists force you to confront it if you are not ready. I think that this is dangerous and destructive. This is a repeat of the abuse.

I would also think that this causes transference. Since the patient is unconsciously ready, willing and able to replicate their abuse unconsciously, I can see how they would follow a therapist's (Forward's) advice to confront their fears because the therapist (Forward) becomes the abusive parent. This is similar to religion; it confronts everyone with fear (face your sins). This is why everyone is so willing to join. These are their parent replacements waiting to mete out the abuse that their childhood parents gave them. The 3 Cults that I belonged to loved to confront me and then call it love.

Previously I wrote about labels and not taking them for granted. 'Confronting the parents' should not be overlooked I think.

I wrote:
Quote:
When one uses these cataleptic, over used, mind killing, banal labels, the discussion and ideas get 'killed'. This is poisonous pedagogy at its best, fitting 'things' into the stereotypes (left/right box) of cultural norm. This is killer ape, cultural conforming, and egomaniacal, dissociating and neurotic way of thinking. Only feelings can expose this 'lifeless' way of thinking.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2007 9:41 pm 
[edited to fix apostrophes]

cc:

What your father did was horrendous. You were only 9. Incredible abuse! Is he still among us? I am reluctant to ask more questions since this must be something really huge for you...

I am really impressed again about your grasp of what therapies really are. I think I read somewhere that Forward was sexually abused. And yes, Jeffrey Masson is right: beware of therapies! Let me illustrate this with a personal story.

In 1994-95 I had an almost psycho relationship with a Lacanian psychoanalyst called Jenny Pavisic. This was before my healing process. Like many Latin-American university people of her generation, Jenny was a leftie and she extremely loved countries like El Salvador and Nicaragua (Jenny visited Nicaragua when the Sandinistas were on charge). You know that analysts are taught that they should never say anything about themselves. I never was a client of Jenny. But let's suppose --another Gedankenexperiment!-- that I was.

I would have informed her that I despise those countries, El Salvador and Nicaragua, which are full of Neanderthals that ought to be sterilized by my ultra-powerful, ultra-enlightened ruler Karellen. I would have added in session that commies are psychotic and that, had I been in John F. Kennedy's office, I would have probably nuked some parts in Cuba during the 1962 missile crisis to prevent Fidel Castro from firing atomic missiles at the US. I would have ended my little speech by stating that I was a hawk and that Kennedy behaved cowardly toward Cuba.

Here we have two ideological enemies engaging in a farce called psychoanalysis. Since I would have not known Jenny's ideology, I simply would have said in session what I believed. But after that there would have been little chances that Jenny liked me, as a person, or properly empathize with my family problems.

Let's do another Gedankenexperiment! Since I didn't know that our good friend Daniel respects male gays, what would have happened if, ignorant about that, I found myself in his office as a client? Sooner or later I would have talked about Arthur C. Clarke's social engineering fantasies, such as those in his sci-fi novel The City and the Stars. I would have talked passionately about making males as beautiful as nymphs and that "only androgynous ephebes have the right to homosexuality" (i.e., rejecting the masculine phenotype in my little Utopia).

Daniel would have gotten mad as hell! even though, as a competent therapist, he would probably hide his feelings toward me.

What I am trying to say is that psychotherapy itself is a myth. Maybe there's some value in Forward's therapy for neurotic people, or in Colin Ross' therapies for psycho people. But at the same time there are things that I utterly disagree with both of them.

Ross believes that suicide is always wrong and he once talked about Christian morals (don't take your own life). Conversely, I believe that there should be thousands upon thousands of Euthanasia Local Centers in the world as the one we saw in the film Soylent Green with Charlton Heston, where people could go for free to a most beautiful assisted suicide.

Something similar can be said of Forward's therapy. She is imposing a rigid scheme. True healing, I believe, only comes from solitude and from grieving inside cold walls, like the solitary confinement fantasy I want for my parents. Psychotherapies, on the other hand, are for dissociated humans, CC. We are closer to demons that to humans in the original Greek sense of the word daimon, like Socrates' inner daimon: the voice of his own self. Mere humans repeat in therapies the dynamics of a wise parent and an unwise child.

Fuck with the therapies. Our inner Karellen is more that enough.


Last edited by Cesar Tort on Tue Dec 11, 2007 9:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2007 9:58 pm 
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Quote:
True healing, I believe, only comes from solitude and from grieving inside cold walls
I know you wrote this to Phil in another thread and I forgot to tell you how much I liked your description.

Solitude, grieving inside cold walls! Beautiful!!!!

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2007 10:37 pm 
CC:
I joined a cult many years ago because when I first met them they treated me as a beloved family member. After I became involved, that was replaced with mind-f*cking. Then I found out they'd changed the name of the organization because of a big scandal and subsequent lawsuits in the 1980s -- yet they're still in business. It's an episode in my life I'd prefer to forget. My parents were the ones who turned me into a sucker for bogus philosophies.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 12:04 am 
[edited to fix apostrophes]

If you liked the above, cc, you will love this:

Solzhenitsyn wrote:

Prison causes the profound rebirth of a human being... profound pondering over his own "I"... Here all the trivia and fuss have decreased. I have experienced a turning point. Here you harken to that voice deep inside you, which amid the surfeit and vanity used to be stifled by the roar from outside... Your soul, which formerly was dry, now ripens from suffering...

Remember everything you did that was bad and shameful and take thought. Can you possible correct it now? Yes, you have been imprisoned for nothing.

And the only solution to this would be that the meaning of earthly existence lies not, as we have grown used to thinking, in prospering, but in the development of the soul...

In the surfeit of power I was a murderer, and an oppressor. I was convinced that I was doing good. And it was only when I lay there on rotting prison straw that I sensed within myself the first stirrings of good...

"Know thyself!" There is nothing that so aids and assists the awakening of omniscience within us as insistent thoughts about one's own transgressions, errors, mistakes. After the difficult cycles of such ponderings over many years, whenever I mentioned the heartlessness of our highest-ranking bureaucrats, the cruelty of our executioners, I remember myself in my captain's shoulders boards and the forward march of my battery through East Prussia, enshrouded in fire, and I say: "So were we any better?"

And that is why I turn back to the years of my imprisonment and say, sometimes to the astonishment of those about me: "Bless you, prison!"

Lev Tolstoi was right when he dreamed of being put in prison. At certain moment the giant began to dry up. He actually needed prison as a drought needs a shower of rain... And I say without hesitation: "Bless you, prison, for having been in my life!"...

In prison, both in solitary confinement and outside solitary too, a human being confronts his grief face to face. This grief is a mountain, but he has to find space inside himself for it, to familiarize himself with it, to digest it, and it him. This is the highest form of moral effort, which has always ennobled every human being. A duel with years and with walls constitutes moral work and a path upward (if you can climb it).


click here to see picture


Last edited by Cesar Tort on Tue Dec 11, 2007 9:50 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 4:24 am 
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Hi Cesar,

Thanks for sharing Solzhenitsyn's writing. I really enjoyed it. This brings to mind some prose I like. It's very well known. You probably have read it before. I have substituted Love with Repressed Childhood Memories in some places.

Khalil Gibran:
Then said Almitra, "Speak to us of Childhood Memories."
And he raised his head and looked upon the people, and there fell a stillness upon them.
And with a great voice he said:
When Repressed Childhood Memories beckons to you follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden.
For even as Childhood Memories crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.
Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.
He threshes you to make you naked.
He sifts you to free you from your husks.
He grinds you to whiteness.
He kneads you until you are pliant;
And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God's sacred feast.
All these things shall Repressed Childhood Memories do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life's heart.
But if in your fear you would seek only love's peace and love's pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of Repressed Childhood Memories? threshing-floor,
Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.
Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself.
Love possesses not nor would it be possessed;
For love is sufficient unto love.
When you love you should not say, "God is in my heart," but rather, I am in the heart of God."
And think not you can direct the course of Repressed Childhood Memories, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.
Love has no other desire but to fulfil itself.
But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of Repressed Childhood Memories;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate Childhood Memories? ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.

Hi D.R.B.

I relate to what you said a lot.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 2:04 pm 
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CC wrote:
My father had me confront a 13-year-old bully when I was 9. I was petrified. He was huge. I was so tiny. The boy nearly killed me and my dad just stood watching. After the boy punched my head against the concrete I yelled a horrible scream that the boy thought he killed me. He then got off of me and left with his gang. My father was gone by the time I became conscious of my surroundings. I guess I didn?t make him proud enough to stick around.


What a horrible experience. First the fear of being beaten and killed, then the actual beatings then the abandonment by your father when you needed him the most. Nine-year-old children... Do you see how small they are?

Dennis

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Everything I write here is my opinion, not absolute truths but I don't want to start every sentence with in my opinion...


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 5:19 pm 
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cc that is horrendous what your father did to you when you were nine. Having done that, it just makes me wonder what he was like and what other things were done.

Cesar, I know that you are not favorably inclined towards therapies but, at least for me, I don't neccesarily dislike people because of their ideas, although that may play a part.
A good therapist, having done healing, won't take those ideas personally, they will be able to see through to the person underneath.
Is it our ideas which define us and make us the people who we are?
Not really, there are deeper things.

Phil


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 9:47 pm 
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Phil wrote:
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Having done that, it just makes me wonder what he was like and what other things were done.
I don't have the words to describe some of the other things you wonder about. It has been an excruciating journey for me. It's on ongoing hell. All I can do is cry until I have no strength. It's all a horror and when I realize that I have always just had myself to count on, just me to survive, causes deep sorrow in me. It's so surreal sometimes. I am still amazed that I have survived childhood and have managed to remain connected to 'reality'.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2007 2:05 am 
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cc,

You wrote:
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It has been an excruciating journey for me. Its an ongoing hell


I have been thinking about what you said, it was sad to hear. I hope that you have things that help.

Phil


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