This is a post I wrote quite a while ago and did not have the courage to post. I dont know why…. but today I am going to share it.
I wake up nearly every day being shred to pieces by a force my therapist and I call Mr A. He is a kind of inner critic, blamer, accuser figure who I have read often materalises in the psychic structure of what therapist Sylvia Bretton Perrera calls ‘the scapegoat identified child’. I touched on this scapegoat issue in a post I posted the other day
about how the true self of a child can be negated or erased by a parent’s lack of mirroring or attunement as well as the split off from deep within their own psyche.
Anyway yesterday in session Kat my therapist spoke about the force of what she called ‘the annihilator’ and I reminded her how it was fitting then I named this inner force Mr A before as its what it tries to do to me, literally take out a big gun and blow the good me to pieces insisting I am the cause of all suffering in my family and the world, insisting I was and will never, ever be ‘good enough’. And when I look at things more realistically I see this just is not true. Truth is I got precious little in the way of time energy or needs met by either parent in the course of growing up and when tragedies hit from the age of 17 – 23 I was foundering in trying to find a way into the world and to express the authentic part of me that pretty much got obliterated with my descent into addiction as a coping stratgy from the age of 15 onwards.
I am actually in the midst of trying to write a more detailed autobiographical post about this at present but then I got a like on an older post on BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder) and reading some of that person’s posts got me back on track to this particular subject of how, as children we are made to carry the can for our abusers and then end up supporting, protecting and defending them or their behaviour even when deep in our gut we know it was hurtful, mean or selfish.
While our gut knows this and our heart too, our heads can doubt it due to the fact of the mixed messages or introjects abusers or emotionally disconnected, neglectful or unavailable parents lodged inside of us. They only hurt us because we were so ‘bad’, messy, difficult. selfish, demading blah, blah, blah or else we are being ‘overly sensitive’….. thus we internalise the message that there is something wrong with us for actually daring to point out ‘an inconvenient truth’, inconvenient to who exactly, well to our abuser who is lily white and can do no wrong?
We may fall for this gaslighting, reality twisting or psychological defence for some time if we don’t have a strong, solid objective emotional champion, what psychotherapist Alice Miller has called ‘an enlightened witness’ to help us make sense of both our suffering as well as the scewed reality we have been forced to live inside.
Over the past year or so it has been easier for me to get a sense of when Mr A is on the scene in my own life, but he still makes a lot of appearances dissing me for this or that aspect of my character which makes me ‘bad’ : being messy, calling a spade a spade, refusing to accept unacceptable/unloving behavior.
On this subject I would like to share in this post several distortions which we may be subjected to by inner introject voices or philosophies which keep us wedded to being too forgiving with and of our abusers that Andrea Mathews addresses in her book Letting Go of the Good : Dispel the Myth of Goodness to Find Your Genuine Self.
If we have gone through not only parental neglect or abuse but abuse at the hands of moralising forces in the early environment (religious or philosphical) we may have a hard time with these. Getting out from under then so we can enforce appropriate qualities of discernment, insight and self protection and self care will help to counter balance our ingrained tendency towards emotional self abandonment. They are as follows:
- Guilt is a good thing. This is widely believed lie in our culture. It advises us against both compassion and passion. Guilt often has less to do with authentic relating and more to do with acquired social and cultural sanctions. We don’t need to feel bad because we have been led to believe we are bad by another’s moral compass, it’s far better if we feel bad because we have genuinely hurt another person due to the force and understanding that compassion for them and their suffering would arm us with. And come to think of it what happens when we are made to feel guilty for following a genuine authentic impulse that just isnt approved of by moralistic others with their own agenda? What of the ‘bad’ child who ‘should be ashamed of herself’ merely for asserting their own legitimate will in a necessary situation?
- Innocence is sacred. While none of us would like an innocent child to be hurt or abused the truth is that we can hide behind the lie of sacred innoence rather than come to terms with the fact that genuine evil can exist in the world. “Good guys have bought the cultural mythology about innocence, defined as pure goodness, and they are killing themselves to accomplish it. What if that innocence in which we so delight in a child, puppy, or kitten is just a lot of cuteness mixed in with authenticity? What if the only real innocence is authenticity? What if being real is as close as we get to innocence?
- In addition if we are always struggling to be innocent and pure in our thoughts where does that leave us with real thinking which in response to difficulties and abuse can take us into darker spaces and places? This is an important point which psychologist Jordan Peterson made in a radio interview siting how the desire to set fire to the world or burn up others is often a result of feelings of despair and revenge which arose due to earlier abuse mistreatment or humiliation even punishment for so called ‘evil’ feeling which were rather authentic and real responses to injustice. Peterson made the important point in that interview that such feelings help to explain the occurence of many of the mass shootings that have taken place in past years in his own country.
The above are just two of the ways outlined in Mathews book that as Good Guys we can be in flight from a bad me that is really just human and very far from innocent or perfect; a me that is struggling to be and expess authentically in a world where we may be fighting against our own shadow day after day, most especially if in childhood we learned to internalise and go to war with the ‘bad’ me inside that is nothing less than our authentic valid self that never got to fully live, learn and grow due to shame.