And If You Did Know?

In Memory of Sharon Michele McAvoy Nichols .:. December 24, 1949 – October 10, 2005

January 14, 2004

How The Right Wins

Filed under: her words,politics — mark @ 2:56 pm

I just watched a segment of Democracy Now from Democracy One of the issues presented was about the White House’s new plan to use peer review of all scientific data that is going to be presented to the public. The representative that was defending the White House was from the Chamber of Commerce. The person representing the other side was a former Department of Energy Offical. The DEO person kept saying the the White House was trying to keep any information that might cost big business money quite and this is why they want to start managing information. He said the review process we have now works. The COC guy said they wanted to make sure the review was presented to the public, and in saying that said they wanted “transparency”. I listened for a while and noticed that I was becoming very upset. The DEO guy kept trying to make a point and engage the COC guy to no avail. The COC guy just kept going back to his point that they wanted to have transparency. I finally stopped listening. I have had time to think about it now and I think I finally got a big piece of what was so hard to hear.

It has been my experience that when I am discussing something with another person that I become less interested when the other person does not listen. I see that when politicians are discussing something they just keep making their point and do not engage in discussion. I have a negative reaction to this type of manipulation. I know that the other person has an agenda and that they do not want something as dull as facts to interfere with their beliefs. I have seen this many times.

When I was a child I saw this type of manipulation often. My father would use it then my brother began to use it as a child. I would talk to them and never get answers or a direct response. They just kept making their point. If I continued to try to get a discussion started they would eventually turn to personal attacks. I see this is what the Right often does. I remember watching Phyllis Schaffly debate about the ERA (Equal Rights Admendmant) in the 1980’s. She never answered questions and would just go back to her orginal statements or comments. She always had a smug look on her face and I wondered why she always seemed to feel as though she won. I see now that it was again a case of never legitamizing the other person’s point of view by engaging it. In the case of the COC guy, he simply ignored both the DOE guy and the host, Amy Goodman by ignoring their points and talking about his agenda. It was a very interesting situation.

I like that I finally see this so clearly. I have always been sensitive to someone having a hidden agenda with me. I remember asking one of my college professors why Phyllis Schaffly was so opposed to the ERA. Her response was “Who knows”. I knew at the time that it was not so much what she was saying and that she had some hidden agenda. I do not know whether it was about wanting to hurt women, wanting to keep women in their place, wanting to promote her view of the way women should act, or what. I do know it was not about what she was saying. I believe that a part of it had to do with pleasing the people who backed her financially. I know that big business was opposed the the ERA because it would have required them to give equal pay. I also know that most reasonable people would be alright with that. So to oppose the passage of it based on that would not have been a problem with most people. So the ones who stood to lose the most looked for ways that would be alright. They played to the fears of people. I remember an aunt of mine saying she did not want it to pass because she did not want anyone telling her that she would have to being working construction. I remember thinking that the entire admendment was only 24 words and only referred to no governmental body being able to enact laws that adbriged the right of anyone based on gender. But the right (big business) managed to make people afraid by using people like Ms. Schaffly to scare people about it. Wow, they are quite something huh?

January 4, 2004

Another Piece

Filed under: her words — mark @ 7:54 am

It is 5:00 am and I just woke up after having a dream. In the dream I was a therapist seeing a little girl. I suddenly found myself sexually abusing her. Then I was having a conversation with her parents where she seemed very frightened of me. I told them that they needed to take her somewhere else because we just did not have the rapport to contine with therapy. Then I woke up. My training as a therapist says that I am all of the people in my dreams so now I am looking at what it means.

I was abused as a child by my father. This began when I was a toddler and perhaps before. There were other offenders as I grew up, but the one that did the most damage was the this one. I did not have words to talk about it and have it stop. I did not know how to stop it. I did not even understand what was happening. But I did not like it at some level. It continued until I was about 8 years old then it stopped. My father later told me he did not want to abuse me anymore so he pulled away in every way. I took this as evidence that I had done something wrong and that I was at fault. For years I have felt as though I was too needy and that I needed to not have any needs so that I would not be bad. So I know I am the little girl in my dream. I also know that I was the abuser. I turned the responsiblility of the abuse in on myself. I did not make it stop and I heard over and over that it would not happen if I were not so pretty. This is one of the reasons sexual abuse is so damaging. The recipent of the abuse turns it in on self and it warps the sense of self. I did not know what to do with the feelings it brought up. So the dream helps me see that I felt responsible not only for the abuse, but also for not taking making it stop, and not knowing how to defend myself.

Last night we spent time with my in-laws. My husband has a throat condition that causes him to throw up when eating at times. It has been diagnosed as a Shotsky’s ring. This is a condition where a portion of the throat closes down and over time it needs to be expanded by inserting a tube down his throat and blowing up a ballon type of thing which forces the ring to expand. When I met him he had been having this procedure done about every 5 months. He was taking a prescription medication to help with acid reflux, and he had indigestion often. He also had to throw up when eating often. The procedure would alleviate the symtoms for about one week to one month then he would throw up again. I suggested that perhaps the procedure was not working. He began to take an enzyme from a health food store to help him digest his food. He also began talking much more openly about what was going on with him. Over the course of about 2 years he stopped having reflux. I think his having it was the result of not having learned to talk through his emotions. So between talking more and taking the enzyme he did not have the reflux. Then he began to talk more about what was going on with him when he had to throw up. He began to see that when he had unexpressed emotions and issues he would have more incidents. He now knows that talking helps him not have the problem as often. As he gets more and more open it is less of a problem. But, it still happens. It is not as bad as if used to be, but it is still there. He has begun to understand that it is really a spasm that happens when he is stuffing problems or when he has not gotten to express them openly.

So last night as we were having dinner with his parents he had two incidents. I am left sitting there with them and thought I needed to explain that a weather front was moving in and this causes more sinus drainage than normal and that this causes the spasm to come on. His father became very angry and said: “He has a Shotsky’s ring, and he needs to go to the doctor and have it dialated.” I became very angry and I just got the key from my husband and went out and waited in the car.

I have been dealing with what all of this means and I am going to try to make sense of it here. One thing that comes up is that I felt as though I took care of my little girl part by not making her stay in a situation that felt scary, my father-in-law was angry. Another is that I did not want to say or do anything that would harm the existing relationship and I had too many things going on with me to sort out what was his stuff and what was mine. It is not easy to talk when I am all confused like that. So I took myself out of the situation. I see by the dream that I felt deep down that I put my feelings above my father-in-law’s in a way that helps me feel as though I will take care of me in a threatening situation as opposed to trying to take care of him as I had done with my father. This is a major piece for me.

A few years ago at Thanksgiving we came to share the holiday with my in-laws. I was pretty sick at the time. I now know that I have a condition that is truly about letting all of the toxins that built up from my childhood and subsequently. It has manifested as a condition called Dysfunctional Uterine Bleeding, with some mennoraghia. I am finally getting over this but it has taken 5 years. So when we came to visit them, 4 years ago I was having a difficult time. At any rate it there was a lot going on that year as my brother-in-law had found a wonderful woman to marry and she and here children were there for their first Thanksgiving with the family. My in-laws lost a child 30 years ago to lukemia. She got sick on Thanksgiving and died on Christmas day. So the house was full of tension and fear. My father-in-law seemed to think it was my fault (albeit that this is coming through my filters and colored by my fear that I am at fault for everything). I remember wanting to leave early. So we went back to the hotel rather abruptly. After that we went home to South Carolina. Then a year later we moved back here to Springfield so Mark could take a consulting position with the State. We went to visit my in-laws just after Thanksgiving, and I asked what the family was doing for Christmas. Nothing was said so I asked again. Then my mother-in-law said they would be having Christmas with my brother-in-law and my sister-in-law. I said it hurt my feelings that we were not being included. My father-in-law became very angry and began to say that we were not welcome to be a part of family celebrations. Further that because of my behavior the previous year we would not be welcome at anything for a time. He accused me of being prejudiced against my sister-in-law’s children because their biological father is African-American and so he did not want me to be around for family celebrations. I was stunned. I understand that people often project their stuff onto others, so I know he was actually talking about himself. But to have him accuse me of something this awful was a blind-side I was not expecting. This incident set the tone for my fear of him. When this happened I sat and listened to him be angry. He then said he was over it and it needed to be dropped. Just like that it was supposed to be over. He would not listen to anything I had to say. So I developed a heightened sense of protection around him. Just like I had done with my own father. (My father would often become very angry for no apparent reason then beat me saying it had been my fault). So I am wary of people who blame me. I have been struggling with this one my whole life. I have been told by peole who know me that I seem to be waiting for the other shoe to drop. I now understand that when I feel threatened I am not sure I will be able to take care of myself so I am afraid to be in threatening situations. One of the problems with this is that so much of the world can appear threatening.

Because of the DUB, Dysfunctional Uterine Bleeding, I have been unable to be out and about as much as I used to be. I have been out and had clots pass that ended up on the floor of where ever I was. This is very embarrasing. It is also physically taxing. If I have been having a lot of bleeding for a while this type of incident can cause me to become dizzy and disoriented. So I have been more house bound. Now that I am coming out of this condition I am feeling much better, but it has been tough. I have been home bound for much of the last 5 years. I have been able to listen to the small voice inside like I never have before. I have been able to discover more of the true me. I have begun to see the parts that I have been to afraid to discover. I know that what happened last night was another opportunity to discover what helps me feel cared for and what brings up the fear and false personality stuff.

As I have talked about in other entries I have a wonderful relationship with my husband, Mark. With his love and support I have been able to finally have a safe place to discover me. I know that one of the reasons we are together is to help each other heal the wounds from childhood. I know that I finally have a relationship that is based on trust and love. I know that when I am in situations where I do not feel cared about that I do not like it and the red flags go up. I am beginning to trust my instincts much more and to recognize when I feel threatened and out of control. I also see that this helps me to feel more in control and to trust that I will take care of me in these situations. This feels very good. I feel more accepting of myself. I like this.