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Man or Monster?

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Lily Rose, Dec 30, 2013.

  1. Lily Rose

    Lily Rose Beloved Grand Eagle

    The summer I turned 13, my mom pulled into the drive and told my brother and I to pack whatever we wanted most into the car. Everything else would be left behind. We had to hurry. Her urgency became our urgency. Already deep within my dark-place, I sank a little further. The bulk of my comforts, the tangible items I treasured, receded into the distance as we sped away. My dear collection of stuffed animals, my childish turn-table that played music for me, my small jewelry box with the dancing ballerina ... we owned so little already, and now we had even less.

    She left us with her sister. Two more kids under my Aunt who had three of her own. I began 8th grade. This was my 6th school move. We would remain here for 3 months.

    My cousins, the oldest boy, middle girl and youngest girl, had endured much. Their coping methods led them to drugs. My aunt always forced her youngest daughter, who was 9 months my senior, to take her 'younger cousin' out with her when she roamed. My aunt knew nothing about the parties and drugs.

    My other girl cousin had a boyfriend who drove a gorgeous orange Corvette (the Corvettes in the 70's still looked like real Corvettes!). He was always very kind to me. My craving for a male father figure fell to him. He was older than my cousin, and even I recognized his movie-star good looks.

    My hero-worship was cinched one eve when my aunt had gone away for the night, and the teens threw a massive party. Kegs and drugs and sex. I tried to hide, finding corners, crawling behind furniture. The party just spilled everywhere, and the fumes finally got to me. Dizzy, I collapsed at the end of the hall and just curled up. Later, I woke up and He was there, swearing under his breath. He picked me up and carried me into the back bedroom, talked to me for a little bit, then left me. I could hear him clearing out the party.

    He made me feel safe in a way that I had not felt safe for as long as I could remember.

    Years later, my cousin told me why she broke up with him.

    He was abusive, and had physically struck her several times.

    I remember shutting this information off ... literally closing my mind to it. I could not ... could not ... lose my safe-memories of him.

    In this last month, because of this forum, I have begun to examine this.

    It created several shifts in perspective. I have always wondered ... how could my mom love a monster? Her third husband nearly destroyed me. It baffled me so terribly. How? How could she? How could she let my brother be so abused, and then send him away to a private school to 'save his life' rather than give up this man she had married?

    While the answers cannot be simple, I am having my first real glimpse of another Truth. My hero-worship of that long ago young man who treated me so gently was one facet. The angry young man who struck my cousin was another facet.

    Is the man a monster, or is the monster a man?
    Or is he a person with great inner torment?

    Some people strike outwards and cause damage.
    Those of us here ... we have struck inwards, and the damage has been to ourselves.

    I have tendency to demonize those who have caused me pain. My internal imagery captures them and flattens them into two dimensions.

    By un-flattening them ... by lifting them back into the true complexity of their human selves, this is what begins to allow forgiveness. When we can see a little bit of ourselves ... in them, it changes everything.

    I treasure the memory of being carried gently to safety. And I grieve for the knowledge of the pain his actions caused my cousin.

    One day I hope to find more of these kinds of Truths in all those who caused me pain. This will be one of many paths to the healing.

    with grace and gratitude,
    Stella, Msunn, Karen and 1 other person like this.
  2. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Lily Rose, that's quite a story. I was glad to learn that the man you trusted didn't abuse you at that party,
    although he had abused others.

    It's hard to know who is man or monster. Some may only be monsters part of the time,
    and maybe because they haven't dealt with their own TMS.
    Whenever possible, I try to put myself in the shoes of those who give us TMS.
    Sometimes we can understand them better. I think that often we're not really the person
    they strike out at. They may really be striking out at themselves.

    You were sure put through an emotional ringer when you were 13.
    Princess Diana had a similar experience when her mother left the house and
    never returned.

    My parents divorced when I was about six. It left a hole in me, even though they
    got back together a year later. Now when friends divorce it acts as a trigger
    so I relive the feelings of loss and abandonment from long ago. But then
    I count the number of friends and relatives who stayed married and feel better.

    Hope you have a very Happy New Year, and everyone else today.
    G.R., Msunn, Karen and 1 other person like this.
  3. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    Lily Rose,

    Your story immediately made me think of the yin/yang symbol:


    That image says it all to me. It's when we refuse to accept that things are never entirely one way or the other that we suffer.

    Wishing you peace and well being in the New Year,

    Steve Ozanich, Msunn and Lily Rose like this.
  4. Anne Walker

    Anne Walker Beloved Grand Eagle

    Lily Rose, you are such a good writer! I have been reading many of your posts and they always inspire me to reflect more deeply on my own crazy childhood experiences. I have rarely met anyone with a childhood as complex as mine and I have become so accustomed over the years to only make vague references to how I was brought up. I certainly can entertain and impress with all the exotic stories, but in the end it leaves me feeling more empty and separate than before I had shared. I truly admire your openness. My father was a criminal defense attorney and I am a child of the 60's. I was born in Orange County in a beautiful home that my grandmother built in the middle of a three acre orange grove. My father was an only child and my grandmother passed a year before I was born. I have three brothers, two older and one younger. My mother was a perpetual student, a philosopher. My parents had a caustic, adversarial relationship but my father adored my mother. I don't have a rational explanation, but we started moving when I was about four years old. My parents were together, separated, together and separate, they had relationships, they lived with others... we moved every few months or so for no rhyme or reason. Sometimes I would come home from school and we would be gone that afternoon without any notice. My father was a very talented trial attorney so we were never exactly destitute. One week we might be hitchhiking around and living on welfare rations and the next in an expansive ranch with our Arabian horses, without any sheets for the beds. And we always had lots of animals, at least five, six, eight dogs(Belgian Shepherds) and a bunch of cats. Sometimes we lived in camp grounds. Once we lived in a cabin without running water or electricity and took our baths in an old tub in a stream. My oldest brother was controlling and abusive. My parents had no idea they were so distracted with themselves. My father was an alcoholic. He was loving and sentimental. I still have not met anyone like him. When he passed suddenly of a heart attack four days before my fourteen year old son was born, he had a ranch with 26 wild Arabian horses. My mother suffers from manic depression. I started college when I was fourteen years old and supported myself and lived on my own since I was fifteen years old. I truly believed then that my past and childhood had no baring on who I could decide to be. I loved being able to choose rational stability. Little did I know that we cannot truly escape our past through denial and avoidance. That's about all the energy I can muster to share at the moment. Thanks Lily Rose.
    G.R., Stella and Lily Rose like this.
  5. Lily Rose

    Lily Rose Beloved Grand Eagle

    In the Toltec Wisdom, nothing is personal. So the idea that they are not striking out at us personally very much makes sense to me. It feels personal, especially when personal knowledge and information is the weapon, but I am believing that we are merely convenient targets. They are striking out to make themselves feel better.

    *smiles* My husband would be amused at you making reference to British Royalty. I have a strange affinity for the British, and I've had many dreams of historical scenes that are British. It also runs in my blood. My biological father has ancestors with royal blood, in a Duke/Duchess category. I didn't know this till about 8 years ago. I've always said I had blue blood ;)

    Blessing to us all in this New Year.

    with grace and gratitude,
  6. Lily Rose

    Lily Rose Beloved Grand Eagle

    This is absolutely the perfect imagery. The duality of our natures. Darkness and Light. Thank you!

    with grace and gratitude,
  7. Lily Rose

    Lily Rose Beloved Grand Eagle

    First, thank you for the kind words of my writing. It is how I view the world. I cannot speak this well. Only when I write, and see the words forming, can I fully express my thoughts.

    There are so many similarities that it is rather eerie ...

    I was born in Burbank in 1964.

    My biological father (the one I spoke of in another post), was also a Criminal Defense Attorney. This gave him relentless knowledge on pursuing the legal battles against my mother. He was also an alcoholic. He had several mental disorders, including PTSD.

    While we never had money, we did move often. I also had another 'sibling' in the form of a Polish Arabian horse. My mom got him when I was in grade school. Throughout the years, we had various other horses that were often rescued. But that Arabian, he was a constant. He lived only for her. We always had dogs and cats.

    With my mom's 3rd husband, we once lived in a cabin. We thankfully had plumbing, unlike you!

    I didn't live on my own early, like you, but I graduated early. I began working when I was 11 years old to help our financial situation.

    Rational stability has always always been my primary goal. I am learning I haven't 'mastered' my past by all my rationality. I have simply stuffed it deep inside, and it has manifested into the 'diagnosis' of Fibromyalgia.

    Now I am here, learning, sharing, and I believe I am growing in many new ways.

    Thank you so much for sharing in detail your history. I understand not sharing often, as most people cannot understand. It can simply overwhelm them. This is one place I feel I can so fully share, thus my openness. I am safe here.

    with grace and gratitude,
    Stella, Msunn and Anne Walker like this.
  8. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Lily Rose, another thing about writing a book of your experiences...
    you don't have to use your own name on it. You could use a pen name.

    Or develop it all as "biographical fiction." Mostly true, but make up some stuff if you want to.
  9. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    Lily Rose,

    Have you ever read the Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls? She turned her abusive, traumatic childhood into a beautifully written memoir. You have the talent to do the same.
    Msunn and Anne Walker like this.
  10. Lily Rose

    Lily Rose Beloved Grand Eagle

    I have not read Jeanette Wall's Glass Castle, but I have read her Half Broke Horses. It was a powerful story. Can I really reach that high? In consideration, I don't have anything to lose in the attempt, do I? Simply the exercise of the project would be of value. Thank you.

    with grace and gratitude,
    Anne Walker likes this.
  11. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Writing a book about our lives can be very therapeutic.
    It's like a long journaling that helps us to better understand ourselves and
    others in our lives. Looking at childhood traumas through adult eyes
    can give us new perspective, especially if we put ourselves into other's shoes
    at the time the early traumas came to us.
    Anne Walker likes this.
  12. Anne Walker

    Anne Walker Beloved Grand Eagle

    I agree, Lily Rose, you seem like a natural writer. And who knows what might come of it?
  13. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, Anne.
    I'm glad you agree that Lily Rose should think about writing a book about her TMS journey.
    What can come of it need only be to help her delve deeper into the tunnel of her
    repressed emotions so she comes out the other side. She needn't think of it for publication,
    unless she wants to. CreateSpace will publish it free and she can keep it for herself or
    give copies to whoever she wants to know more about her.
    Msunn likes this.
  14. Msunn

    Msunn Well known member

    Wow. Thanks for sharing that Lily and Anne. I agree Lily that are are a gifted writer. I don't think I could write my story with such clarity. The short form is my dad was an alcoholic and my mom was a rage-abolic. My dad died two weeks before my tenth birthday. Fill in the blanks from there! It wasn't fun. Thank you also for your story Anne. Both of you you share at a level of honesty that allows me to be more open and honest.

    I thought I'd share this for those of us with alcoholic parents.

    It's a list of traits shared by adult children of alcoholics. It provides a lot of journaling ideas for me!

    1. We are frightened of angry people and any personal criticism.

    2. We either become alcoholics, marry them or both, or find another compulsive personality such as a workaholic to fulfill our sick abandonment needs.

    3. We live life from the viewpoint of victims and we are attracted by that weakness in our love and friendship relationships.

    4. We have an overdeveloped sense of responsibility and it is easier for us to be concerned with others rather than ourselves; this enables us not to look too closely at our own faults, etc.

    5. We get guilt feelings when we stand up for ourselves instead of giving in to others.

    6. We became addicted to excitement.

    7. We confuse love and pity and tend to "love" people we can "pity" and "rescue."

    8. We have "stuffed" our feelings from our traumatic childhoods and have lost the ability to feel or express our feelings because it hurts so much (Denial).

    9. We judge ourselves harshly and have a very low sense of self-esteem.

    10. We are dependent personalities who are terrified of abandonment and will do anything to hold on to a relationship in order not to experience painful abandonment feelings, which we received from living with sick people who were never there emotionally for us.

    11. Alcoholism is a family disease; and we became para-alcoholics and took on the characteristics of that disease even though we did not pick up the drink.

    12. Para-alcoholics are reactors rather than actors.
  15. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Msunn, I especially relate to this one:

    10. We are dependent personalities who are terrified of abandonment and will do anything to hold on to a relationship in order not to experience painful abandonment feelings, which we received from living with sick people who were never there emotionally for us.

    Friendship has been the most important thing in my life. I even extend that to the friendship of the dogs in my life.

    My parents' divorce when I was about seven left me with serious feelings of abandonment and insecurity. It's a long story and a real emotional roller coaster ride. I decided long ago that marriage was not for me, so I stayed single and found security in friends and dogs.
    Lily Rose and G.R. like this.
  16. Msunn

    Msunn Well known member

    Thanks for sharing that Walt. I've gotten a lot great wisdom from your posts.

    When I first saw that list I thought they were following me around! I've made progress with many of those items, but I also know when I get stressed out I can revert to any of them.

    If feels strange at age 61 to still be working through childhood issues. But I guess it takes as long as it takes.

    I guess that's what I've been trying to practice with my TMS, not demand instant healing, but let it happen at its own pace.

    I really value knowing you here, Walt.
    All the best
  17. G.R.

    G.R. Well known member

    WOW!!! Everyone's family story so very much touched me deeply. I guess it striking some cord in me
    because I am getting intense pain in my sciatica. It is amazing how our emotions can remain dormant
    because we have stuffed them under the carpet. Your stories have so encouraged me about journaling
    about my growing up with an alcoholic father who had a very bad temper that I was so fearful of him.
    It takes courage to share these family stories. I think there is such healing in writing your family
    story and think just being able to write means you are further along in the healing process than you think.

    I am not sure I am quite ready to share my story. I think I need to process it myself first. But everyone's
    honesty gives me the courage to look at my own family history. Thank you so much everyone for sharing;
    it gives me courage.

    Msunn, I can so relate to the characteristics of adult children of alcoholics. I remember when I was in
    my 30's reading some books on adult children of alcoholics by Judith Woritz ( I believe that is her name).
    They really helped me. I believe one was called Adult Children of Alcoholics. I highly recommend it.

    I can't believe that as I am writing this, I am getting intense pain in both my buttocks. I am going to
    investigate my childhood because I know I repressed a lot of emotions from childhood. I agree with you Msunn to think
    those childhood issues are effecting me now and I have to process them in my 50's.

    When I was journaling today, I wasn't really getting to much to journal. I guess now I know what
    will really help me to journal about. Thank You everyone for your help.
    Lily Rose and Msunn like this.
  18. Anne Walker

    Anne Walker Beloved Grand Eagle

    Msunn, thanks for posting that about children of Alcoholics. I have read some things over the years and had several people mention that I should go to meetings for adult children and I am not sure why I never did. I am sure it is part of the denial and in some ways I am always so overwhelmed with the immediate struggles that I don't want to add something else. I see now it isn't an addition, it is an important area to face. But yes, I could check quite a few things on that list! And G.R. isn't it amazing when we start notice pain popping up just when we think of a particular topic! I find it strangely reassuring because it is such obvious, direct evidence of how real the TMS is. In my somatic experiencing sessions I have been able to get the pain to shift around as I am working with the therapist. I haven't quite mastered that on my own but it is exciting to actually physically experience the possibility of discovering some way to work with this pain energy.
    Lily Rose and Msunn like this.
  19. Steve Ozanich

    Steve Ozanich TMS Consultant

    Alcoholism and TMS are the same thing, in that, they're both based on obsession, and the goal of repression of emotional pain. Last year a guy with severe stomach pain contacted me for a consultation. When he started telling me he was a bad alcoholic, but had quit, I said to him, "and.... your stomach pain began right after you stopped drinking, right?" He was shocked, and said that his pain began the day after he stopped drinking. SI-shift as would be predicted by the good doctor.

    AA was formed by 2 doctors here in Akron Ohio. They based it on the work of Carl Jung. They were patients of his. He told them that he couldn't do anything for them until they sought out a spiritual outlook on life. So they formed AA, and that's why it's founded on "the first step of admittance." When I work with sufferers I have to see if they'll first admit they have an unconscious problem, or that they aren't happy. Superego can be highly controlling and people can "think" they are happy, but not really be---because happiness is a feeling, not a "thinkable" entity.

    So with TMS, like AA, people have to be open to admit something. All the people here were able to do that. That's the first step of healing, and also why Dr. Sarno would ask his patients right off, "would you be willing or open to the notion...." If someone can't admit this, they still need their health problem as a tool for coping. They're aren't weak or ignorant, they just aren't ready to heal yet. When the student is ready..the teacher will suddenly appear....

    Anne Walker and Msunn like this.
  20. Msunn

    Msunn Well known member

    GR I've also had that experience of symptoms starting when I get in situations where I'm uncomfortable. I think in a sense it's exciting because I'm hopeful that with a little more insight I'll be able to the opposite and stop symptoms as they are starting.

    Anne thanks for your post. If it feels like a fit for you the 12 steps can be life changing. They have been for me. I also really identify with the ACA traits.

    I think being in recovery on the other hand has probably fueled my goodism and TMS. I don't think that says anything bad about that process. I've been trying too hard to be a good person, maybe trying to do it perfectly. The TMS has made me aware I've been suppressing feelings, and my body's letting me know stuffing feelings doesn't work!
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2014
    Anne Walker likes this.

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