Saturday, December 6, 2008

Internal Characters and Hurricanes

I've been engaged for some months in The Battle of the Incest Issue.

It's not pretty, and I wouldn't haul it out on the internet except that I've found so many women with similar backgrounds are blogging that the internet seems like the safest place in the world to discuss this stuff.

About five years ago, I had a flashback so disturbing that I could barely think about it. I turned it over in my head a few times and mentioned it to my shrink. She said that the mind protects itself and not to push for full recall. We talked about what I sensed was true but couldn't verify since I was very young at the time. It's no coincidence that I work with kids about the same age as I was then. A week or so later, my little family was out to dinner with Vagina Dentata and some of her friends when I was squashed by awareness of the incident. As it happened, the Rebbe Mohammed McCrory's apartment was just a few minutes walk from the restaurant so I rushed over there and collapsed sobbing onto her breast. As it also happens, the Rebbe went through an abusive situation herself, so I found compassion, understanding and comfort for the moment.

I didn't really think about The Incest Issue again until Gayle the Hillbilly Hustler landed in my living room with a vengeance last Thanksgiving. As it happened, Gayle's father pimped her out to his brother for a number of years. The brother had taken a fall for the father and gone to jail. When he got out, the father made it up to him by giving him Gayle. Horrific again. I'll tell Gayle's story because I've already said volumes about her drawers. The Rebbe's story remains her own but it's equally as horrific.

I suppose I think their stories are worse than mine because mine was an isolated incident. It fragmented my ego identity and left me floundering in the world with no idea of who to trust and a firm conviction that I was so bad I was undeserving of love - but it only happened once. Maybe being molested as a three year old is horrific, too.

Busy, busy, busy.

In any case, it's a difficult subject. When Gayle was living here, we both had the freedom to reference our histories. You don't get that often and by talking with her, I got used to the idea that something had happened to me. That was about a year ago, and it's taken this long for me to finally accept the fact of the event. I'm still working on the repercussions and there's a long way to go. That is simply a matter of behavior modification, however. Albert Ellis is great for that.

I could never have reached this place in my recovery, however, if it hadn't been for an internal character I'll call Teiwaz after the Warrior Rune.

The Teiwaz character is definitely a man who bears a striking resemblance to a former friend in my real life, but Teiwaz is a composite character who is much more harsh, judgemental, merciless, egocentric and cruel than any living person I know. The man who lives in my head is like a big, fat emperor sitting naked in a glass palace chucking rocks downhill at everyone else. At least, that's what he's like when he's mad. When he's satisfied that your spirit is pure, he's accepting, jolly and welcoming.

I suspect that Teiwaz is the consort of the Internal Mother - that nasty Medusa many of us also smother with food. Some people would rather barf or starve than feed her. Marion Woodman describes that archetypal character best in Addiction to Perfection: The Still Unravished Bride.

Teiwaz is the one who demands, "What have you got to say for yourself?" Then I explain and explain and explain. If Teiwaz can be made to understand, then I won't go to Hell. If this were a dream and we were taking a Freudian perspective, Teiwaz would be my Super Ego. A cross between Jehovah and Santa Claus.

The man on whom this character is based has suffered because of it. He's been the object of a frenzied obsession while I've been compulsively explaining to his internal counterpart. Worse, though, is that I have repeatedly spewed displaced anger on him like puss shooting from a giant zit.

Many people would have been quivering out on a ledge after the things I said when I was purging fury and despair as part of the catharsis necessary to reclaim my soul. A primary reason I was friends with this man in real life is that I could feel the shit storm gathering on my horizon, and he'd already withstood a shit storm from his ex-wife. His ego is fully strong enough to survive any hurricane of mine. Like some former residents of New Orleans, though, he may never want to go back there. But that may be as it was supposed to happen.

I'm trying to maintain a Bokonist perspective on this whole thing. That relationship may have been collateral damage in The Battle of the Incest Issue. Further, it's entirely possible that my impression of the real person is so colored by perceptual distortions that I don't really know him at all. Either way, he made a great model for Teiwaz. I always be grateful for that and for the fact that in real life he's been available enough to help me find a path as I journeyed into the underworld to tangle with the beast who stole my soul.

Teiwaz has changed now that I'm well on my way to healing since my mom said everything I ever needed to hear in Real Life. If the thoughts and feelings in your mind are like a soccer or hockey game with 100 balls/pucks speeding about the field at once, you need a seriously good defense person to protect your goal from being hit too hard or at a bad time. Teiwaz is playing defense these days. If a bad guy pops ups, Teiwaz bonks him on the head with his stick. I can reflect later, alone in the dark where it's safe and quiet.

My brother took this photo after Hurricane Ike. It shows how I feel today - still in trouble, but intact.

One day, the flood waters will recede. There will be flowers and tomatoes in the garden, and freshly baked bread. Maybe I'll have a friend.


Gail said...

Hi Trish - WOW!

I feel similar to you in so many, many ways. Your words were empowering, frightening and hopeful. My post today, although unique to me is not so unique at all.
I am inspired by your diligence and mystified by our connectedness, in regards to all that synergy and thoughts of fate and is all too much to even get. I just came in to some 'light' myself today, dark-light, but light all the same.

I appreciate your healing journey more than this writing can convey.


dissed said...

And grace, you'll have grace. It's always there. We carry it around inside. Sometimes we get to spread it around to others. That's the best part. See, you're already doing that.

PENolan said...

I was thinking about grace. Yesterday it seemed too much to hope for. We'll see what tomorrow brings.

Blog Archive