Love and the longing to receive and give it seems to revealing itself in my life lately to be the greatest and most powerful of forces. In the TED talk I shared yesterday from American comedian Kelley Lynne, she addresses the powerful (often socially negated) truth about the eternal bonds of love we share that cannot even be eclipsed by death, even in face of head trip admonishments telling us to ‘move on!’ or ‘let it go already.’
In that talk she demonstrates through numerous examples how powerful healing love, genuine affirmative engagement and understanding are in the painful aftermath of loss, as well as what a strong and necessary force love can be and how intricately and implicitly love and longing and grief are intertwined.
For myself having endured the death of my Dad at 23, my beloved Godfather at 41, as well as the losses of both my older sister and Mum (not to mention all of the lost and broken relationships of earlier years) I know without a doubt love lives on as well as the powerful cost of trying to deny love, longing and grief as well as all the accompanying issues of childhood neglect and trauma carried down and passed on that enduring a new loss may evoke. After many years of struggling in recovery to express the ’emotional truth’ I know enough by now to value and not admonish myself for tears shed.. there is a bible passage that says that God actually collects each one of our tears and holds them as sacred.
It seems to me a person or culture who denies both love and grief is ice cold, an arrested human. Take these insights from Jungian therapist James Hillman that he shares about Adolf Hitler in the chapter on the bad seed in his book The Soul’s Code : In Search Of Character And Calling :
In one of his popular speeches Hitler said : ‘Come what may, my heart remains ice cold.’…
Hitler praised Goering because through his actions :“he proved himself to be ice cold.”
The very bottom of hell, according to the poet Dante, is a realm of ice.
According to Hillman, psychologically an icy heart : “is rigid, has an incapacity to yield, flow or let go.”
I think it an icy heart is also incapable of crying, That said we cannot dictate another’s grief process which is unique in every case and complex, related as grief is to the kinds of attachments as well as attachment wounding we have suffered.
Hillman seems to propose the idea that some souls are born ‘colder’ than others, that a propensity for darkness or iciness maybe a sign of some daimon already present in the soul, people like Alice Miller say the roots of his ability to be so violent and dissociated that he and his followers could not display even a shred of human feeling was down to being beaten and treated with contempt all throughout their childhoods. Joseph Stalin suffered similar wounds.
I have read that apparently Hitler’s mother tried to abort him before birth. Hitler seemed able to displace those feelings of abandonment and rage through a series of carefully architected forms of ‘black magic’ or hypnotic influence over large numbers of people. An astrological source that writes a lot on Pluto speaks of how he was able to channel this powerful forces towards destruction and displace the shadows of pain onto others : Jews, disabled people, and those emotionally or mentally damaged by trauma and life.
Hitler played on dark emotions of thwarting, defeat, humiliation and frustration that the entire German nation experienced in the critical aftermath of World War One and the ensuing depression and he and many of the top Nazi leaders engaged in occult and black magic practices..
One could see the entire Nazi movement as encompassing a mythology of destruction and ‘ice’. Their pre-occuation with the golden superman who was a blond haired heroic figure is actually the complete antithesis of the image of Hitler (who it is claimed by Alice Miller had hidden Jewish ancestry) and shows the creation of a mythologically idealised ‘victor’ which would enable him and his compatriots to finally triumph over all of their hidden abuse, shame, fear and darkness.
The experience of having our grief dismissed as well as our all too human vulnerability and longing looked down upon, ignored, demeaned or mocked with disparaging contempt is a key point to a form of malignant narcissism which Hitler and the entire movement of Nazism demonstrated through their actions of ice.
The following insights into the psychology of Adolf Hitler come from therapist Jim O’Shea’s site (links provided).
It is more than likely that Hitler suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of his childhood. Certainly he has some of the symptoms of PTSD, which is an intense anxiety reaction caused by adverse circumstances including childhood neglect. For example, the mistreatment by his father was beyond the norm of suffering, and Hitler became emotionally dissociated from others, apart from his terrifying dreams, he suffered from insomnia and was subjected to mood swings, he had poor concentration, he was devoid of emotions apart from rage and anger and he frequently relived the emotional trauma of childhood as he tried to sleep. Laurence Rees in his book, The Dark Charisma of Adolf Hitler, rightly states that his main characteristic was his ‘capacity to hate.’ Hitler’s description in Mein Kampf of a three year old child witnessing the brutal behaviour of the father against the mother undoubtedly refers to his own experience. A battered mother, filled with fear, cannot protect her child from a brutal father. Ultimately the massive childhood trauma, stored in his psyche as a child, eventually emerged and as Alice Miller puts it ‘the child who was once persecuted now becomes the persecutor.’ And millions died.
According to O’Shea Hitler also suffered from intense fears, including the fear of abandonment, although such fears were eclipsed and hidden by all of this toxic posturing and screaming.
In this paragraph O’Shea explores the connection between abandonment and insecure attachment.
From this section of the blog I hope you now understand fear of abandonment coming from insecure attachment. Equally important, if you are a parent, especially of young children, you will realise how you can ensure (or choose to ensure) their mental health and mental wellbeing by meeting their dependency needs of love, affection, attention and direction. I do not believe that there can be a more invaluable contribution to the mental health of your descendants than this. Further I would add that if you are the child of controlling parent(s) you may have inherited some controlling tendencies that accompany your fear of abandonment. Acknowledge this and take steps to heal it so that you will more easily be able to meet the dependency needs of your children.
The longing to be connected lies at the root of human experience… It is an inbuilt need. Hitler’s need to belong made him create an entire movement so he could escape and project his own pain, acting it out on others.
As you have seen, childhood can be lost in various ways. Sometimes a parent’s own feelings may be so frozen that the children are unused to seeing the expression of emotion, or they may be forbidden to express their own feelings. This is a tragedy. If they feel sad they must put on a ‘smiley face.’ Even crying can be forbidden and this is the greatest tragedy because our tears are inbuilt ways of releasing tension and expressing sadness and empathy. Children are often afraid to express their anger because they might make matters worse or because they feel that their parents might not understand. When children are emotionally muzzled in this way they suffer a deep loss, and anger may emerge in adolescence or early adulthood.
Anger and the right to protest are also related to grief and we may have a prolonged lifetime of grieving which may appear as a depression that eclipses completely our experience of lively energy if we could not mobilise in childhood the necessary unbridled energy and protest to say ‘NO!’ The right to shed tears is also something that is inherently evil (anti life energy) to disallow with the directive ‘put on a happy face!’ This is similar to what may be done to people in significant grief, as they experienced the embodied pain of physical attachments being ‘severed.’
So when someone dies or leaves you, it sparks the pain of being cut off the appropriate response is to grieve, because through crying we heal and acknowledge the inescapable truth and proof of the most fundamental of human needs : to attach, bond, care, and love. Grieving or working through your earliest and deepest losses and traumas all relates to longing and attachment and it takes embodied work, not just philosophical understanding.
So if any inner Nazi nay sayers are displaced around the borders of your consciousness or appear as emotion denying sentinels of stoicism in your outer life at critical points in your healing process, tell them calmly and authoritatively to go take a hike, or avoid them like the plague. Show them you have no interest in living inside a barren wasteland Kingdom devoid of the heat, warmth, vitality and life of flowing emotions. Let your being open to a fully awaken your human heart and let the feelings flow, or unthaw from the icy, arrested state.