Imagine you were offered a pill…

Imagine you were offered a pill. Upon swallowing that small, white, round thing, you would cease to feel any of the symptoms of depression or anxiety disorders.

No more insomnia, no more panic, no more suicidal thoughts, no more angst, no more awkwardness, no more feeling isolated, no more feeling like an alien, no more despair.

All of these things would vanish in a matter of minutes, and they would never return. The rate of relapse would be 0%, the pill was that perfect.

Would you take it?

If you have, then you may have just destroyed a large part of yourself in one fell swoop. Seeking a purely medical solution to a spiritual problem, you would have abnegated responsibility to discover yourself, betrayed your soul in a Faustian pact.

Imagine the power it would give the manufacturers of such pills, to dominate others in such a way. Surrendering to them, you would be free from one terrible affliction but, as the saying goes, out of the frying pan and into the fire.

Depression and anxiety can get in the way of ‘life’, but then, what is this life and why should we live it in this way? Insomnia can ruin a work routine, but why would the deepest part of yourself commit such self sabotage? Could it be that the routine itself is the problem, more so than the insomnia?

I see my mental health problems as a quest, an immense riddle, one that cannot be easily sidestepped or shut down. It is useful to sometimes be free from it, distracted or medicated in extreme situations, but only as a break from it, not a total transcendence. As much as I have been on my knees and begged Mephistopheles to take away the anxiety, the vulnerability, the despair, I don’t really mean it.

These dark feelings and deep shadows are there for a reason. If they were not, they would not be there. If you have any degree of sensitivity, you will look upon the world and feel as much of its despair as you do its joy. We are in a troubled time, politically, ecologically, economically, spiritually, you name it. Our systems are failing, and many of us are clinging on to them to the bitter end, for, to use another cliché, better the devil you know.

But there are those of us who, at the very core of our souls, feel absolute revulsion for these broken systems and the price they are exacting on humanity and the world of beasts and plants. This albatross around our necks (there he goes again!) is a necessary one, and is in fact the only real hope of change.

Imagine you were reading a novel, a fantastical one where a hero must overcome herself, confront her deepest demons and strive to discover what is truly inside herself. She may never fully triumph, never fully reach some ‘enlightenment’ or god of healing, but the journey she makes, the heroism of her character,  the artfulness of her life, all of these things are inseparable from her. If the hero of the tale simply popped a pill and lost all motivation or drive to self-discovery, then what a terrible tale that would make. It would be trumpeting complacency as the highest virtue.

Complacency is the curse of civilization, for all complacent civilizations are swift to collapse into decadence. The shadow that stalks us, forcing us to evolve, to get better – this is what drives change.

The pill of all-healing would return us to complacency, and thus to the destruction of our true selves. Such ‘light’ cannot exist in our grey world without doing immense harm to the chaotic, beautiful balance we live in. Already people hide from their emotions by wearing the masks of capitalism and individualism. The price the world is paying for this is immense.

I live in my own shadow, a much taller and more powerful version of myself, and I would not magick that looming power away for anything, or anyone.

There is no pill that can take away all of our problems. But there is a change of perception and paradigm we can all make – to see depression and darkness as a sign that something is wrong out there, and thus drive us, when our energy returns to us, to change it.

 

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From spirit to corpus

I am currently reforming, from pure spirit into semi-corporeality. I can feel with highly attuned senses this filling out. The point of wavering, the half-way mark, I have just passed.

It does not mean I will remain this way from now on, only that the cycle is completing itself. Esteem is returning, self-repair units, silent and invisible, are patching things back together in their gradual way; sleep is easy again and I don’t see any gaping holes when I look down.

Self-esteem collapse is something familiar to me. It is a volatile and dangerous state to be in. I feel destructive, drawn to annihilating things people have got for me. It triggers an infinite feedback loop: ‘you need someone, but you are not good enough for anyone’. The friction of these energies causes internal conflict, and drains the soul of its precious resources. In this state I reject others before they do me, and then feel further conflict and guilt for it (despite the fact that it feels right). Everyone is suspect – just because they haven’t abandoned yet, it does not mean they will not. There is a strong element of despair also, things seem inevitable and unchangeable. The only way is to destroy or get away.

I know what it is to be pure spirit, to feel like you have no corporeal form, invisible and insubstantial. To feel like nothing but emotions raging. This is the space where people develop addictions and destroy all that is good in their lives.

I do not understand it, nor how to resolve it. It does seem to go away, or at least recede into the distance. I have started reading on ressentiment, and thankful to the great scholars who have done work on this phenomena. Now that I am returning to the world whole, I can use this opportunity to learn how to break the cycle, or at least delay its return and have longer days of real life.

Gates of the Psyche

Most people spend most of their lives believing in most of the lies

Fed to them before they had the ability to challenge them.

 

When Pandora’s box first sprung open, around December last year, the feelings were horrifying. It felt like death (or worse, debilitation) was just around the corner. I had no way of understanding what the emotions flowing to the surface meant. I had no means to deal with sleepless nights of feelings of panic.

Slowly I learnt these things, until I was able to restore some kind of dignity and ‘normality’: a rhythm that made existing bearable, troubled though it was.

Now when the Gates of the Psyche open, I listen. I know what it is, and I know what to do. The screaming inside, the anguish, the flailing desperation, it is familiar to me. I can more or less estimate the effect of insomnia on the next day. I do not want to close the Gates as fast I can anymore.

There is such a thing as dealing with the symptom and not the disease. This is valid, to a degree. To constantly experience symptoms is horrible. Insomnia is the best example of this for me. I do everything I can to prevent a sleepless night (a symptom of anxiety and unresolved emotion).

But it is so easy to forget the disease, and obsess around the rituals to cure the symptom!

On balance, the extreme emotions and suffering have done more good for me than harm. Though it is extremely discomforting and disturbing, with a great risk of harming my relationships with others, without the great motivator of extreme emotion I would still be lying to myself, in exile and on the run.

It took until the age of 28 to find somewhere I was happy, useful, and accepted for myself. Yet even there, everything that was inside remained inside. The Gates of the Psyche opened, and I had to face what was within. Even to the death of my time in an anarchist utopia, the emotions inside forced themselves into priority.

But I was lying to myself, even in a place so true, I was in exile from my own emotions. I know what to do now, to shift into adult consciousness and break the chains of dependency holding me back. It is no longer the case that I believe depression to be arcane and beyond explanation, I know the causes and I know it to be psycho-logical. It is just a question of finding the right time and the safest way to step free.

A shadow will loom over most people for most of their lives. Without knowing it, this shadow will bring them ruin. They might never realize how life has short-changed them, or how they have worked against their own interests, because of this shadow. The shadow will be hidden behind morality and social pressure, two extreme sentinels hard for the best of us to overcome.

Some un/fortunates will be so overwhelmed by it that they will either turn to drink and drugs to keep it down until their self-annihilation, or somehow vindicate themselves against the seemingly impossible.

By not dealing with it, you are not freeing yourself from it. Only by facing it do you overcome it. But who wants to face it, when it is so hard and such a lonely path to walk?

To Anarchist Utopia, shadows followed

The price of lying to yourself

The price of lying to yourself is the seemingly arcane depression and insomnia. Red marks on the body, back pain, skin flaking off your hands. Anxiety and trembling, nightmares and endless dread.

The body is communicating to you, because the body remembers every pain and every injustice. It is screaming to be heard, to be acknowledged.

So many of us are writhing and suffering for nothing, serving a morality which does not serve us. Why are you protecting the honour of the honourless?

Seemingly innocent things like forgiveness, understanding and compassion for others, come right back round into uncontrollable hatred and spite, cruelty for others.

Why?

It is very simple and very psycho-logical. When you have to forgive the unrepentant, when you have to have compassion for those who treated you like an object, when you have to show trust to those who broke all trust and harmed you when you were helpless, your body will continue screaming in helplessness, and horrible emotions will continue manifesting (however much “Christian love” you think you have).

So long as traditional morality is obeyed, the emotions which run deep beneath the conscious mind will not be brought to the surface and experienced as feelings.

When morality tells us to forgive and forget, rather than to truly love ourselves by acknowledging our bodily wisdom and speaking the truth of what happened, we consign ourselves to suffering – not to mention those who face our “random, unexplainable wrath”. Anger which cannot be directed to the source will be misdirected upon others. The most hate-filled, spiteful and bitter of all will be those who think themselves ‘forgiving and compassionate souls’. It is impossible to be such when you hate those who hurt you, so deeply and absolutely.

It really is not that hard to grasp, and it really is not that arcane. Once you pull your head from morality’s arse that is.

One hurt and humiliated should seek reparation and acknowledgement for that pain. They should find a trusted person to help them rediscover their pain, so that it ceases to control their consciousness. They should listen to their bodies, not to the morality which goes completely against their own interests. They should seek vindication, cutting off whoever they need to from their lives if need be, and start to look for those who truly love and care for them.

Namely, those who do not expect them to lie to protect an abusive partner, or a father who was an absolute prick, or what have you.

This is the way to resolve the pains stored in the body, and to be free from depression caused by feelings of helplessness. Even more so, this is the way to prevent the demons inside turning you into one of them, repeating the cycle, inflicting pain and harm from the infinite source of inferiority and helplessness deep inside.

Fuck your compassion for them, what about compassion for yourself first? 

The false temple of ten thousand misguided years needs to be brought down to the ground, stone by stone. It is time to stop worshipping an illusory Father. A new monument needs to be raised to truth – an open palm facing up toward the sky.

There is nothing good in lying to ourselves, and nothing good in respecting or protecting those who do not deserve it. I speak of course of the irredeemable – abusive partners, bosses, parents, family.

I do not trust those who have suffered and yet speak of forgiveness and compassion for the worst of humanity. I trust people who first serve their own interests through honesty, who free themselves from dependence upon abusers (the wellspring of hatred and vileness), to stand in the true light of their own self interest.

Only such a soul as that can be free from the price, and thus able to choose to be truly loving and forgiving, to those who deserve it.

I shall not redeem you

I am not on this earth to redeem people. There may be a commandment which says I should honour and respect certain people, and forgive them their trespasses, and that my fate is closely entwined with theirs.

But something deep inside is not happy with this moral command.

Why should I invest energy in hopeless, ignorant people?

Why should I try to redeem entitled people who think little or nothing of me?

How do I have a responsibility to these people?

I shouldn’t, I won’t, and I don’t are the answers.

They ought to mean nothing, by any intelligent measure.

So long as I believe I can change them, or that I am dependent on them, I will be left with a legacy of dependence, leading to hatred, and a creaking, forever tired and maligned body.

In fact, it could kill me.

I am not on this earth to redeem people. It simply is not my role. Nor is it even within my power. One who thinks they can transform others through forgiveness and care are greatly misled at best, and utterly foolish at worst. People who want to change will do so whether you are there or not.

It is understandable that we might feel like we need to redeem the irredeemable who morality teaches us we should care about. Forgive their trespasses and try and find to the good in them. It is in the air that we breathe, this morality. And many explosive mines of guilt are planted in our heads from an early age by people repeating the same abusive patterns they themselves suffered. Much poison runs through our veins before we have a chance to learn of its toxicity.

Sadly it is a futile morality, if not extremely dangerous.

The damage done to our bodies by mistreatment is deeper than conscious awareness. The feelings of helplessness and humiliation forced upon us in early years will find some outlet, and a cursory look at history will show that such unresolved pain is an infinite well of cruelty. 

No excuses and no remorse can heal this.

If you want to be free from anxiety and your physical symptoms, it is time to turn within. Find and root out the deceptions planted in you to keep you in illusion and suffering. Destroy the obligations which keep you in dependence and a state of helpless childhood. And know that there is nothing to be gained by a lifelong quest to redeem the irredeemable. It is an unfortunate arrangement which even the greatest and most creative minds have sacrificed their bodies and lives to.

I am not on this earth to redeem so-called “loved ones”. Nor to carry their secrets and repressed shame. Nor am I here to suffer their violent and cowardly refusal to listen to their own inner pulse.

Free your self. Say ‘no more’! You have responsibility only to yourself and to those whose respect for you is mutual.

Anyone else is not worth your time.

The weight of soul and system

In a recent therapy session, my subconscious brought to light the crushing weight of soul and system.

The weight upon the soul: being a guardian for others, battling and grappling my demons and theirs (they are one and the same). There will never be any thanks, this is an invisible battle. One I am not willing to continue fighting. They know they can continue as is, whilst I am in the dark place. Perhaps if I pull away into the light they will have to take on the burden themselves. Or continue repressing their shit – fucked if I care.

After all of these years, fighting this soul-battle has left me a husk. If I continue like this, I fear it will destroy me. Already I have avoided addiction to drink and prescribed drugs through the bearing of immense psychological suffering and an anxious discipline. The price has been immense, and it doesn’t get much easier to bear with experience.

How much longer I can go on for, I do not know. Either things will eventually resolve themselves and I will escape annihilation, or I will surrender any hope of trying to understand whys or righting wrongs and somehow go on in a new direction.

This latter option sounds like repression and ignorance would be involved, but the weight of the soul is heavy and crushing. I have been sensitive and open for all of my adult life. It is painful and unstable, the last few days have been extremely hard and signify what is promised. This is no way to continue living, it is fruitless and enervating. Listening to the pain of the subconscious is important, but if that pain is caused by a hopeless quest then the pain itself has nothing to teach but let the fuck go.

It is hard to put this into words, it is as fragmented and centreless as I am.

There is a saying ‘you can take the mule to the river but you can’t force it to drink’ and it is very apt. This simple wisdom is the reason why some people are hopeless. Trying to change them is not my prerogative.

Trying to change myself is.

Seeking justice or retribution is the path littered with rages and extreme emotions. If this is valid to some I understand the sentiment, but I want to move on and not have this narrative continue to dominate my life. Fruitless as it is.

Hopeless people. Why should I care for their souls? I care for myself, in the deepest and truest sense. I need find a more hopeful narrative and pursue this, one creative and beautiful, not mired in an ugly past filled with emotionally, intellectually and spiritually retarded individuals.

The Weight of System

Any activist will be able to tell you what it feels like to have the weight of system upon their back. Even fighting for the good of all is an uphill struggle, and an exercise is misunderstanding and alienation. After the fact, when the matter is won, everyone goes ‘oh yeah, its so obvious now.’ or ‘I was on side all along’. But in truth it starts with a small and intelligent minority before reaching the mass-herd.

The two systems that put their weight upon me, one was vast, the other small and familial. That latter one is a system I could change, as my changing could necessitate it changing. Or not, I do not think they would notice or give a shit. I have again lost hope in the hopeless, which is strangely liberating.

Their strife is not mine, and their system is not mine. By giving up on them, I am opening myself to something new that I actually want. Releasing the burden from my back, that familiar weight, is liberation!

The void is frightening, but so is a slow, grinding death.

The capitalist system cannot be so easily ‘given up’, because it dominates so much of life and controls the means of survival. But the smaller system is actually not so dominating – it is a matter of emotion and familiarity alone, not material supremacy. It can be done.

If I have courage and trust I will found a new system or help an existing one evolve. I have done it before, I can do it again. I must do this or eventually collapse and break down, perhaps into alcoholism or Valium addiction, watched over by mocking shadows. This is really being made clear to me now, the imperative is frightening but at least strong. I should not pressure myself to change instantly, but certainly to take the steps now and plant the seeds to flower in Spring. Else, annihilation looms.

Greatness is thrust upon, and terrible is the drum-beat of nature! But this is the only way, as proved time and time again by my own complacency and that of Empires risen and fallen.

I am not afraid anymore, and I take this task with grim resolve. All my sensitivity will be to love myself and those others who deserve it. Whilst I wish to become more stoic and mindful, to lose the whisker-like sensitivity which gave me so much good and created so much beautiful song would be too high a price.

There is no one else in the entire world…

There is no one else in the entire world. Only myself.

This is what happens when you go down into the tunnel (as some may call it).

Isolation. Purgatory.

You can test the statement rationally: ‘Is there anyone else in the world?’ quite simply by looking and listening. Go to the grocers and you will see people and hear them. They will be quite real, with textures, souls, bodies, and all of it.

But they will not interact with you. They will notice you.

Perhaps then, when I feel like there is no one else in the entire world, what I really mean is there is no me in the world, because there is no one who truly recognises and knows me at this point in time.

The disturbing thing is that there seems little way to consciously understand or plan for this. I have had days of great social and artistic triumph followed by a harsh night and then deep sadness and misery. Downward spirals are hard to predict, vicious cycles tricky to break out of.

Sometimes you just need help.

The speed at which we can become isolated and vulnerable…it is only balanced by the speed at which we can turn back, rise out of it, be able to sleep again.

The most unnatural thing we can be is alone, and yet so many of us are alone. I am alone even when not really alone!

It is not so much of a paradox when you think about it, and move one premise behind: ‘I am alone’ is positing an ‘I’ which does not really exist in the way the ego thinks it does. Taking a step back from our identities we can see them for the façade they are. And as said many times, the more these identities try to secure themselves against the chaos of the world, the more they isolate, and thus the more they need to fortify in an endless spiral of impossibility.

My entering a state of high anxiety, isolation and depression can mean one, two or both things from here. Firstly that there is an element of post traumatic stress, which will keep on coming back until it is somehow dealt with. Or secondly, and I think more likely, the work that needs to be done has not been done. I need to relinquish this ‘western ego’ I do not even really believe in, and then I can be freed from depression and anxiety. To let go of all the pain and even the wish for personal justice, for healing and tranquillity.

Lets not beat ourselves about it internet people! This is the culture we are born into and all we knew for a large part of our lives. There is no way to truly transcend these indoctrinations – I honestly believe we will be poisoned until the day nature takes it’s course and we find true release in death. All we can do is heal and heal and heal, as much as the pain hurts and hurts and hurts. If the good days outweigh the bad (and they tend to), then life is worth living as much as it can be done so.

Winter Solstice

Winter Solstice
The bleak hope
Old Night still holds sway
Dominating the heavens
Clouds keep light at bay
And the coldest months await.
Yet the tide turns here
Not one more day
Does the darkness triumph
Its slow retreat assured.
Step by step
Day by day
Archangels of light
Push against dark forces
Who slowly yield
In Nature’s eternal,
Celestial,
Dance of balance.
The war for the heavens
Has ended not
Battle after battle
Awaits the forces of nature
And many of mankind
Will still tremble and cling
In the mists of Old Night.
But for those left standing
Spring’s sweet dawn awaits
Thrice in mirth
For the embattled and the worn,
And I will be at the van
Bright standard in one hand
And sword of sunfury in the other
Saying; ‘Darkness,
Though your place
Be not ever truly vanquished
In the balance of all-things
And my deep respect you have,
Your time has come this year
And you must take your place
In the depths of eternity!’
At last, the dark days
Are ending!
Come transcendent light
And do for our souls
What we may not ourselves do!

The day I thought I might die

Perhaps letting the subconscious scream out to the cosmos will help it keep silence. Now I am close to my wounds, they seem more vivid than ever. It is like being in a state of hurt, almost constantly.

I know that trauma is like being stuck in a timeless non-place, obsessive over moments and details. With enough time, those wounds recede deep inside, but they do not truly disappear. Time does not heal trauma.

Fortunately, I know I want them to close up and am willing to do the work necessary. This requires making a chronicle of what happened, piecing it together and salvaging myself back out of the wreckage. Putting it into a narrative, coming to understand it, this is now my task.

But this is just the trauma of last year. All of the deeper traumas, which made this one possible (and which, I believe, were represented in some way through this one) we will get to as I work back.

The day I thought I was going to die

I remember waking up to a misty Tuesday morning, about eight days after a light knock to the head. There was a strange feeling there, on the left side of my skull. I had felt my eyesight was a bit worse the last few days, and started worrying about that. I remember going to the first greenhouse and speaking to S and the two Js. They said I should check out the injury, because it could be serious. One of the Js recounted a tale of a knock to the head. I remember the other J giving me directions to the A&E, telling me to take a bus halfway to avoid some possibly dodgy estates.

I started walking, feeling a bit like Corum of the Silver Hand out of Michael Moorcock’s Swords trilogy. It was a misty, cold and harsh day. A strange sense was warning me of something, a sense I was not yet connected to. On the way I was worrying – about missing a workday on site, about my wellbeing, about my strength. Half way to the hospital, one of the J’s health warnings came into my head, and the next moment, at an unspectacular bus stop the world started to shift beneath my feet. It was a shock of dizziness caused by breathlessness (in hindsight I realize this is due to perfectly natural hyperventilation – taking in too much oxygen whilst in fight or flight mode!)

Thinking I might be in serious danger, I cursed myself for coming alone and went into a nearby charity shop. I asked if they could phone an ambulance. The grumbly lady tried to, but they would not send anyone. My condition was not serious enough. There was still 111. I remember asking to make the call, and the woman saying ‘its not going to cost anything is it?’ I had a quid in my pocket. Even thinking about the possibility of collapsing on the floor, or death, another part of me was still thinking about politeness and assuaging the woman’s fears of a 10p phone call.

But 111 were useless anyhow, so I would have to make it on my own.

Crossing a road has never been so hard. Nor has waiting at a bus stop for the U5 (or U3). Every moment was agony and worry. I literally had never had a panic attack before, and had no way of knowing how to deal with one. When the bus came, I got on and found a seat, and remember holding on to the railing.

What sort of thoughts go through the head of one who thinks they might be dying? I cannot quite remember. I think there was something about the journey ending here, begging for more time, being a total fuck up. There was a strong fear of sudden blackout, and wondering if people on the bus would get me safely to the hospital. I started to talk a bit with people as the bus wended through the lanes. An old man behind me reassured me. Still, I was extremely impatient and frustrated, although able to laugh a bit at the old ladies getting on and making small talk to ease their loneliness.

At last, about ten minutes after what could have been my last journey on the U3 (or was it the U5?) on earth, I walked the hundred or so yards into A&E. I felt a bit safer now; collapsing in a hospital is a good place to collapse. I spoke to the clerk and she asked a few questions about my health. Smoking, drinking, drugs and all that. I answered I was clean, but evidently not healthy enough to avoid smashing my head into things.

I think the fear of dying was wearing off. Waiting in the A&E alone, surrounded by people, I started to text people back at ‘home’, to let them know. I remember then having an extremely painful blood test, I was tense and taut, like an animal trapped in a cage. Where the needle entered, a soreness and redness persisted for many days.

Then I saw the doctor. He was reassuring. I felt safe in the authority of a medical professional (when extremely vulnerable, this tends to happen with me). No one really knows what was happening with my brain at the time, but the fact that I was articulate and sensate meant nothing serious (I had no idea at the time how much anxiety and stress could create such sensations and exacerbate fears. Even writing about this is bringing back those sensations). He gave me a small leaflet about head injuries (nothing about anxiety though), and told me to come back if symptoms persisted.

I didn’t have a doctor, and hadn’t had one for ages. Nor did I have a passport, and hadn’t had one for ages. I was in the wilderness, and the hospital is no place to find the care you need.

So I was discharged, and waited for Z to pick me up in the car park. I cannot remember much of the journey ‘home’, only my perspective, looking out at a drear town from behind the dashboard. And cookies, strange French cookies (I think they were on this journey anyway). Nor can I remember what happened when we got back, or how I managed to sleep that night. (Zeezee really helped me that day, I should be more grateful).

So began this saga. The coming days, which I will get onto soon, were the hardest I have ever lived through. The coming months would be shaken by the fall out of these early traumas, and open an emotional Pandora’s box that still has not closed.

 

 


 

Contradictions

So many contradictions have been unravelling in me recently. It has been an endeavour of two parts: one part an intellectual challenge of ‘Western thinking’ and one part delving into my deepest emotions and lived experience of subconscious wounding. The former I have some degree of direction over, the latter has largely happened to me.

The ‘Western Mind’ wants answers! The problem is, often life’s answers are contradictory. But it wants one anyway and this leads it in circles, or even, disastrously, to throw up its arms and say ‘this just doesn’t make sense!’ or ‘that is just the way it is!’ When it comes to abuse and psychology, this is dangerous. Such lack of understand perpetuates the vileness of abuse, and makes a mystery of something which is uncomfortable, but nowhere near as arcane as it may seem.

At any time there are two forces at work, conscious and unconscious. What the unconscious wounded self seeks, may not be what the conscious mind desires. Hence why you can get what you want without knowing why, or get what you want even if it acts against your own wellbeing. People who deal with only the conscious mind, who deny things such as the need to resolve wounds, who naively and arrogantly think they can just override the subconscious, are those most likely to continue destructive patterns. They are also the most likely to be confused, looking for black or white answers and motivations. But something can be black and white at the same time, and this must first be accepted to truly challenge and understand abusive relations.

Contradictions

There are so many contradictions inherent in us, in you, in me. The greatest in my view is the wounded self. As a child one is helpless, in the guardianship of two or more adults. The wounds of that early era go deep, and we all have them. But some people have more wounds than others. A painful childhood, helpless, hurt, wounded, leaves deep scars. There is a fundamental contradiction: no matter how cruel a parent, a child is small and vulnerable, they also need their guardians, who are large and in control.

So when a child is abused and hurt by their guardians, they have contradictory ideas at the core of their subconscious.  A child abused will learn whatever strategies they can to deal with a seemingly impossible, inescapable and traumatic experience. These strategies can be carried into adulthood. They evolved for a reason, they had their place, and they are a valid part of their being; when they are used effectively. Yet the love and  desire for attachment they feel for their guardians, from an age when they could know no better, also remains. They may want to please their guardians, or even heal their wounds with love. This duty to love is shored up by the values a parent can force into their young – and you don’t have to believe in them for them to work on your subconscious. Simultaneous to belief in obedience and parental authority (i.e. the seeds of abuse), you could believe in dignity and mutual respect. The result is a mangled contradiction.

I want to stand up to these abusive tyrants who caused so much damage, but my deepest core trembles at this great blasphemy. I want to be respected and treated as an equal, yet my deepest core wants to surrender and be cared for by my guardians.

One ultimately has to choose. Do you want to relate with abusers who will likely never change their ways, who will deceive and confuse, hurting themselves and others till the day they die? Or, do you want to learn strategies to cope, and find people who will help you live without that fundamental connection, to stand in truth and face the consequences of such a decision?

What else can I advocate for but that which I truly believe in, at the core of my being. To be free from contradiction, to stand for truth.

Without a font of expression, the contradictory feelings remain in the body, deep, deep at the core. They can make bad feeling seem inevitable and arcane, instigating depression. A child wounded will carry rage at their helplessness into adulthood, lashing out at others without truly knowing why. One of gentler aspect may hurt themselves, with no means of resolving the energies inside them. One who seeks not to understand themselves is the one who is capable of greatest evil. One who denies the power of the deeps, is hiding in cowardice from their own shadows.

Healing the wounded child

The shift away from wounded child to adult is harder than it may seem. Abuse contains the seeds of its replication. Abusers will hold onto whatever power they can, whether or not the outcomes are good. They do not care about wellbeing, they care about power; the domination of others that allows them to escape their inner-fears and feelings of helplessness as children.

Thus the abused and the deeply wounded, no matter how much they may consciously long for something better, have to make that an actuality – this journey always begins against the odds. In a society where it is increasingly more difficult just to meet basic needs, this makes escape even harder. Materially, freedom itself is a challenge.

But there is, I believe, a deeper contradiction and problem, which must precede material challenges. The abused child may have their sometimes-useful shell, but also a deep distrust of the world, and of others. Such distrust is useless. It is very easy to develop a paranoid mind-set, to generalize the world of adults as vile, abusive creatures, when this was your first experience of the world. Yet the distrust perpetuates the abuse, for not being able to love or open up to new people, good people, the abused has to settle for the ‘devil they know’. They also live in contradiction – wanting to be loved but being too distrustful to truly open up; wanting to heal, but daring not to look within.

As I grow older, I learn how important it is to be vulnerable in front of people, and to see it as a sign of strength, a demonstration of trust. The only way out of the abusive relation to the family is to practice this vulnerability with others; to found a new family. Open to the wounded self, we can heal ourselves and heal others at the same time. Trust is needed before healing can take place. Without trust, there is no healing. And without healing, constant healing, the wounds ache, and people continue doing screwed up things. Healing requires an acceptance of our vulnerability, and to turn our love and compassion in upon ourselves, as much as others.

An end to abuse

Abuse benefits no one. The tyrant gains nothing – their wounded selves remain, they paint a sad mark on the tapestry of history, they have not magnanimity of character, and they are essentially the worst of humanity. The abused are least benefited, but worse so if they also become abusers, carrying the attitudes of abuse and the scars of wounding to unfortunate conclusions. There should be no sympathy or respite for those who abuse – to do so is to negate their basic responsibility as sentient creatures. Nothing justifies abuse of another, and to say that being abused determines character is the deepest moral cowardice.

Building a new, mutual way to relate in truth, prepared to face and heal our deepest wounded selves is the only way forward. It is, I would venture, the prerequisite to a better society, and thus world. No ideology or set of attitudes can displace the depth of subconscious desire and motivation, and to live without understanding of this fundamental force is the ultimate folly, and cause of the repetition of so much that is wrong in the world.