WHERE HAVE I BEEN? WHERE AM I GOING?

WHERE HAVE WE BEEN? WHERE ARE WE GOING?

Hello dear readers …

I’ve been on a very different schedule with my blog posts lately.
It feels important that I don’t leave you wondering, but instead let you know why.

The last articles you received from me were
April 1st, June 15th, and June 21st.
Between April 1st and June 15th, I was leading my annual Sacred Circle 6-day residential intensive.
And . . . in the midst of the intensive, we experienced the tornado that hit my state, town, neighborhood, and my own home and grounds.
I felt I could offer you so much in a preview on trauma, as related to the tornado.
And then I sent you a more in depth article on trauma in our world today on the day of the summer solstice.

Since then . . . no blog post has come forth.
I have been witnessing, holding, and feeling what is going on in our country and our world.
I have been seeking within to find what is in truth and love to offer to you . . .
What would be most useful and valuable to you individually and to us nationally and internationally.

I have been consistently aware of the tale of the frog in the water.
If the frog were put in a pot of water that was boiling,
it would jump right out.
But the frog isn’t put in boiling water.
It is, instead, put in a pot of just warm water.
It stays there contentedly.
Gradually the water temperature is raised.
The frog is not aware of the impending danger…
until it is too late.

The tale of the frog is a mirror to us
to be aware of and to respond – from the deepest levels –
to the threats that have been coming gradually
in our lives, in our country, in our world.

As I’ve been attuned moment by moment to what is occurring …
my muse has helped me give birth to a book, deeply explaining how we really got where we are today
and what we need to do in response.
I’m in the midst of getting the book ready to make available to you and others all over the world.

Many blessings to you all until . . .
Judith

PS If you would like an inscribed copy of the book, I will let you know how you can make that happen
in my newsletter.  Sign up for it at:  https://judithbarr.com/judith-barr-newsletter/

 

 

 

SUMMER SOLSTICE: SHINING A LIGHT ON TRAUMA

It is not enough to respond to the trauma on the outer level.
It will not be enough until we respond to it and heal it deep within ourselves.

Today is the day of the Summer Solstice – the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere of the earth. The day that shines the most light on everything we need most to see and feel.  At this time in our world, we need to shine the light on trauma.

The United States is shining a light on trauma right now as a result of the heart-breaking, tragic, traumatic separation of children from their parents at the border … and the caging of children who have been taken away from their parents. Children, toddlers, babies, infants pulled away from their parents under a guise. Under the guise of bathing them. Under the guise of a law. Under the guise of an immigration policy. Under the guise of protecting our country. Under the guise of politics.

No guise at all can really hide the truth of what is causing this cruel travesty!  This is the out-picturing of the trauma experienced in childhood in the U.S. The trauma experienced in childhood that is still alive in people as they grow into “big people” … but not really adults … just big people defending against their childhood trauma, while acting it out in some way today.

This is the result of trauma: the trauma in those declaring, directing, supporting, justifying, and carrying out these excruciating, traumatizing acts. It is the result of trauma in those witnessing these monstrous things. It is the result of trauma in those who get pleasure out of watching it – up close and from afar via the media. It is the result of trauma in those who do nothing about it. It is the result of trauma in those who protest it, too.

Let’s go through these one by one.

What’s being done to the children and their parents at the border is traumatic to both.

*It is the result of trauma in those declaring, supporting, justifying, and carrying out these excruciating, traumatizing acts.

No one could declare and direct that children be taken from their parents and caged, unless they had themselves been traumatized as children. For example, taken from their parents’ arms; never able to truly bond with their parents; experienced some rupture to the attachment with their parents; or distorted efforts to achieve sought-after attachment with their parents that remained unsuccessful (like idealizing their parents or blaming themselves).  That kind of childhood trauma, unhealed, would very likely result in people acting out the trauma that they experienced on someone else – another child, a pet, or some one vulnerable and powerless at their hands once they became a “big person” (like they once were at someone else’s).

*It is the result of trauma in those declaring, supporting, justifying, and carrying out these excruciating, traumatizing acts.

No one could cage children (or cause them to be caged) unless they themselves had been literally or figuratively caged as children, or witnessed that happening to others.  Many people . . . more than most of us want to realize … grow up in homes where they experience abuse, neglect, some form of trauma, and as a result of how young and powerless they are, they feel caged, trapped, imprisoned.  They spend their young psyche’s energy trying to get out, trying to never get caged again, trying to trap someone else instead of their being trapped, or maybe even trying to help others get free from their own emotional cages.

*It is the result of trauma in those witnessing these excruciating, traumatizing things.

Many of those witnessing the trauma to children and parents at the border today also witnessed children in their families, extended families, and neighborhoods being traumatized long ago in their youth. That is traumatic to a child in its own way, different from experiencing the separation or caging directly themselves, but traumatic nevertheless. They may well respond the same ways today that they did as children long ago when they first witnessed the trauma.

*It is the result of trauma in those who get pleasure out of watching it – up close and also afar, via the media.

No one could get pleasure out of watching children being ripped from their parents’ arms or put in cages, unless they had experienced the same literally or figuratively when they were children.  And perhaps experienced the sadistic pleasure of the one who had done the ripping or caging with them.

The justification for the abuse: “if you didn’t cross the border into our country we wouldn’t have to take your children away.” This is the catch phrase of the abuser. “If you didn’t x, I wouldn’t have to y.” Or “if you did x, I wouldn’t have to do y.” And those giving these justifications are not only exposing their abusiveness, they are also revealing the abuse in their childhood by acting it out on others today.

*It is the result of trauma in those who do nothing about it.

No one could refuse to do anything at all about children being ripped from their parents’ arms or put in cages, unless they had somehow experienced abuse themselves as children, and were afraid to do anything from a child place within, or were numbed out by today’s mirror of what went on in their own young lives.

*It is the result of trauma in those who protest it, too.

Thank heavens there are people protesting the policy and actions today, in 2018. Thank heavens there are people who are in the process of working to stop these traumatizing practices at the border.

Perhaps those people are protesting today as they wish someone had protested for them when they were children being traumatized.  Perhaps those people are protesting today as someone did protest for them when they were abused as children.  And … perhaps those people are doing something in the outer world,  but are not doing the underlying inner work they need to do about their own experiences of childhood trauma.

In other words … whatever is occurring in the outer world today in 2018, even people trying to help these children and parents at the border, there is a dearth of people looking at, owning, taking responsibility for, working to heal and transform from their own early trauma. The result … the trauma that lies suppressed or repressed deep within haunts us forever till we do our own healing work. And the result … the trauma that lies within ends up – with or without our awareness – erupting and creating more trauma in the outer world.

Everybody has a stake in things staying this way. Everybody has a stake – hidden or out in the open – in the abuse continuing. The abuse in all halls of government. The abuse at the borders. The abuse in the home. The abuse in the family. There may be many variations of the stake, but they center around this:

* If the abuse continues today, people can continue to use the coping mechanisms and defenses they developed as children, in an effort to protect themselves when they were first abused.

*And if the abuse continues today, people can continue to hold at bay the feelings they experienced when they were going through the early trauma that was so much a part of their early development and their early lives.

If they hold the ancient trauma at bay, they can pretend they don’t feel it, even though they do, beneath their awareness.
If they hold the ancient trauma at bay, they can function as though it doesn’t haunt them every day.
If they hold the ancient trauma at bay, they can pretend – even to themselves – that they didn’t have any part at all in creating the traumas that are right here in our world today.
And they can continue creating and recreating the cycles for themselves and others to be traumatized today and tomorrow by the traumas each of them felt once upon a time long, long ago.

There is so much more I have to say, but for right now the essence is this . . .
The trauma we are increasingly experiencing in our country and our world today is not caused by some single leader or some handful of leaders – although they are certainly doing their part in creating the trauma today and tomorrow.
The trauma we are increasingly experiencing is caused by us . . .
you and you and you and you and you …
All of us, each of us.
And we all need to do our own inner work with healing the trauma we have experienced …
or know that we will continue to create more and more trauma in our country and our world.

Wake up.
Look in the mirror.
Look at the out-picturing we are being given of the children and parents at the border.
Find someone – a committed, integritous, depth psychotherapist – who does their own work healing their own trauma and engage them to help you with yours.

Wake up.
The time is now.
Do your own healing work.

© Judith Barr, 2018

Tornados: Trauma Experienced … A Preview

Tornados: Trauma Experienced, Witnessed, and Then What?
A Preview

A month ago, on a Tuesday late afternoon, much of Connecticut and parts of New York were hit by tornados and other storms. The physical damage was mind- and heart-boggling – to people, homes, businesses, property, trees, all utilities, and other physical damage I can’t name right now. The emotional trauma was also mind- and heart-boggling.

Everyone who was affected in any way experienced trauma … even people who had to drive home during or after and experience all the damage. Drives that were usually 10 minutes, took over 2 hours. Drives that normally took 20 – 30 minutes, took 5 ½ hours. The repair people experienced trauma, too. My heart has always been open to people who have experienced trauma – childhood, current, that caused by people, and that caused by nature … My heart opens even wider now.

I was in the middle of leading a 6-day intensive here when the tornado struck. Everyone is safe, thank goodness! I am in the process of working with the individuals and the group to help heal the current day impact of the tornado trauma, as well as the ancient traumas the tornado triggered in people. What a difference this is making – and will make – for these people. And what a difference this would make for our world … if we all worked with our ancient trauma.

Untended, unhealed, our ancient traumas create more trauma in our current day world. We can see and feel that in the world today.  Too many of us just try to get back to some illusory “normal,” try to get back to functioning, try to keep ourselves numbed and anesthetized … so as not to feel the pain of the trauma. But that is exactly what causes the trauma to haunt us. And that is precisely what causes our trauma to create more trauma in our world today.

It is up to us – the adults, the parents, the teachers, the healers, the leaders – to tend to and truly heal our own ancient traumas; to make sure we don’t cause trauma to our children (or anyone else) with our unhealed trauma; and to help our children truly heal from any trauma they experience at home with us, at school, or elsewhere in our world.

As you go into your summer months, take this call with you. Take this consciousness with you. And please … for your sake, for the sake of our children, and for the sake of our world … do your own inner healing work related to your trauma.

This is what I do with people every day … help them heal their trauma and its impact on their lives, other people, and our world.  I hope this article preview is at least one way I can help you as you heal your trauma.

Many blessings from my heart to yours …

Judith

WHO’S MINING YOUR UNCONSCIOUS?

And Who’s Mining Your Children’s Unconscious?

Recently it was revealed that President Trump’s campaign data firm has been mining the unconscious of millions of people in the U.S. (and elsewhere) through data on Facebook (and perhaps other places, too) to impact election results. People at the top of this company, Cambridge Analytica, have been exposed on film in Great Britain as having the purposeful intention to find and exploit people’s inner demons, their deep fears and hopes – both the ones that are merely unspoken and the ones that are unconscious. The top people at the company actually talked about psychological profiling of people deeper into the unconscious than anyone else.  “There is no good fighting an election campaign on the facts because actually it’s all about emotion,” said one of the executives of the company. This company – or any other – can say that about elections, or about anything else that is truly based not on facts, but on emotions.

Mining people’s unconscious is not new in our world. Scam artists, snake oil salesmen, false prophets and more have existed since the beginning of time. Many years ago, ironically in 1984, there was a movie, “Dreamscape,” in which a government project tasked with training psychics to enter people’s dreams, purportedly to help them, ends up with a goal of assassination through dreams.

Although others mining our unconscious is frightening in any age and any form – and of course, it is frightening – more frightening still today is the part we ourselves have played in others mining our unconscious selves. Some may think our part is the outer participation in our use of the internet, and particularly Facebook.  But that isn’t the part that is of the greatest concern … for all of us.

The crucial part we have played is by our neglecting to mine our own unconscious selves. As time has gone on and we have been seduced into reaching for band-aids, trying to get rid of symptoms, looking outside ourselves, rising above ourselves, and ignoring the real deep roots of our problems, our pains, our unfulfilled hopes, our fears, our distress … we have become more and more disconnected from our own deep selves alive within our very own unconscious. As a result, we have cut ourselves off from the possibility of healing this disconnection.  And from the true help, the art, the skill, and the journey that exists to help us reconnect.

If we, the adults – the parents, the teachers, the leaders – don’t mine our own unconscious …
how are we going to teach our children to mine theirs?

If we, the adults don’t discover, face, and use for healing and growth our deepest demons, our deepest fears, and our deepest hopes …
how are we going to teach our children to do the same?

And what a setup it is for our children’s unconscious selves to be mined by others,
if we don’t help them learn to mine their own.

Mining our own unconscious needs to be part of the fabric of truth and love at the foundation of our work with ourselves and our work with our children.
Mining our own unconscious needs to be part of the fabric of truth and love at the foundation of our work in our families, our communities, our countries, our world.

This is core to what I help people do with themselves – for themselves, for the sake of their children, and for the sake of our world.

© 2018 Judith Barr

 

Heartfelt Memories That Can Help Us Today – The Cuban Missile Crisis

As things have gotten scary in our country and our world in the recent past, and as the state of our safety has evermore become a conscious concern … a lot has come up for all of us.  As a person, I work to be in tune with my thoughts, feelings, and memories.  As a psychotherapist, I help others do the same.   And as both, I have, since I first heard it, been in tune with George Santayana’s famous quote: “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”  I see the truth of that in our individual lives.  It’s at the heart of the healing depth psychotherapy I do with people.  And I see the truth of Santayana’s wisdom in our communal lives.  It’s at the heart of the possibilities of healing in our country and our world.

So as things have heated up with terrorism, mass shootings, and more … I have worked even harder, and even deeper for myself, with my clients, and with those who read my blog and my website … to remember the past that is calling us to heal.

With the threats from North Korea, memories have surfaced for me from my senior year in high school.  Memories that I never really forgot. They just weren’t foreground.  I remember being sent home from school in the heat of the Cuban Missile Crisis – don’t know if that was during or at the end of the school day.  I know we were supposed to go right home, where it was supposedly going to be safe.  That was like ducking under our desks for an air raid drill.

But a few of my closest friends and I went to a nearby playground, sat on the ground, and talked.

I don’t remember our saying we were scared.  I don’t remember our saying we were scared because we lived right outside Washington, D.C., and were afraid we would be killed by a missile.  I know we were both … because I knew myself and I knew my friends.  And because of what we spoke about.  We talked about what we meant to each other.  We talked about what we loved about life.  We talked about what we didn’t want to lose.  We may have even spoken about what we wanted to do in the future – meaning if we were still okay after the crisis.

And then we went home.  I went home with my heart full.  I went home deeply thankful for my dear friends.

This memory keeps coming back as things continue developing in our country and our world today.  And each time it returns, my heart opens ever wider … I share with people I’m close to what they mean to me … I share with people what I love about life … I share with people what I want to do in the future to help us be okay. And by doing so, I invite them to share back with me.

I originally wrote a version of this post for my high school class newsletter.  One of my classmates shared back:  she “has been surprised to learn that her friends who grew up in other parts of the country have almost no memory of the Cuban Missile Crisis.  It was a news item to them, not a threat to their lives.”  For us, it was a definite threat to our lives.

I hope you will take this to heart …

When something is a threat to your life.
When something is a news item to you, but a threat to someone else’s life.
When something is not remembered, and as a result gets repeated in your personal history and your family, national, and global histories.
When it is time to do your part in the healing.
When you search for a way to do that healing in the deepest way possible.

I hope you will take this to heart and will feel my sharing this with you to be an invitation to you to share back with me.  It could help in the healing, and it could bring us closer in these challenging times.

© Judith Barr, 2018

HOW DID WE GET HERE? WE’RE LIVING THE MEDICINE – Part 2

PART TWO

So how does this connect to our living the medicine?
I’ll show you . . .
but before you read on …
Be sure you’ve read  How Did We Get Here? We’re Living the Medicine – Part 1

We are living the medicine of our not having used the poison we’ve created communally as the medicine to heal ourselves – both individually and communally.

You can see in Part One, that people wounded as children will re-enact the wounding again and again in their adult lives, escalating the re-enactment as time continues. Of course, this will impact others in their lives. And the ripples of the impact will spread out in wider and wider ripples as they continue:  the ripples will spread out into their schools, their workplaces, their places of worship, their families. Once they have children, the ripples will spread out to their children and then on to another generation. If they become leaders in any way, their wounding will impact communities, states, countries, and the world.
If they are citizens and voters, their wounding will impact as widely as the leaders’ impact, since the citizens vote for the leaders. The citizens can support the leaders or take actions to intervene. And what the citizens do will depend upon their wounding and their re-enactments.

In turn, not only do individuals wound each other,
but also the culture in the communities, states, countries, and the world wound the individuals.
This is part of the vicious cycle.

At the very beginning of Part One, I said,
“People have all sorts of explanations for how we got here – nationally and globally.
It’s financial. It’s political. It’s patriarchal. It’s prejudicial. It’s misogynistic. It’s abuse. And more.”

Let’s look at a few of these.

There are re-enactments occurring in the arena of “It’s financial.”

The major re-enactment is that people are trying to take care of their finances (individually) or their economies (communally) in the outer world. Budgeting or not budgeting. Saving or not saving. Investing or not investing. Working harder and harder or not working harder. Paying taxes or not paying taxes. And so on.

But most people have absolutely no idea what is at the root of their relationships with money. And most people aren’t investing in discovering those roots. The people who have worked with me individually or in workshops to find this root have been amazed. Amazed at the depth of the real roots. Amazed at how young, even primal the roots are. Amazed at the possibility of healing their relationship with money if they do the work – if they use the poison as the medicine. And fascinated by the truth and power of what they’ve found … both for themselves, and also for our world, as others discover what they have discovered.

If we don’t do the deep work of finding the roots of our relationships with money, we will keep re-enacting the wounding that is at the root. We will keep impacting our own relationships with money, and we will keep impacting the communal economy. We will not be using the poison as the medicine for healing.

There are re-enactments occurring in the arena of “It’s political.”

The television, radio, and internet are filled with people discussing, explaining, teaching, entertaining, and pontificating about how what’s going on, for example, in the United States is political.  They are only seeing the political aspect of what’s going on. Many of them specialize in politics. Often they are addicted to politics. You can experience the adrenaline rush they get when they are discussing politics.  It is their lens and they’re sticking to it.

But while they’ve been sticking to the political viewpoint, what’s going on in the US has been escalating in repeated vicious cycles.  If only they would understand that there is something beneath the political that is driving the politics. If only they would understand that the politics are driven by the wounding and the re-enacting:  of citizens – all citizens in one way or another – of candidates for leadership, and of leaders, again all leaders one way or another.  Then they could help teach and advocate for utilizing the poison we’ve created together as the medicine to heal.

There are re-enactments occurring in the arena of “It’s sexual abuse.”

In the recent past, sexual abuse and domestic violence have come more into the light of day in the US. It started before the 2016 presidential campaign, but the campaign brought them more into public view.  The sexual abuse tape on the bus, with Donald Trump and Billy Bush laughing at Trump’s admissions. Followed by the revelations about Harvey Weinstein’s sexual abuse of women. And then all the men after that … dominoes falling one by one.

What the men named have done to women (and men) is horrifying, painful, destructive, and more. The revelations that have followed are important, even vital, to bringing the reality of sexual abuse out into the open for everybody to see.  It is clear there is an attempt to utilize the poison as the medicine as the brave people who were sexually abused come out to tell about it, as others believe them, as movements like #MeToo and #Times Up emerge.  But this is only the beginning.

People are talking about the sexual harassment or abuse in industries – the entertainment industry, the sports industry, the corporate world, the media, religious institutions, and more.  Things got closer to the root when it was exposed that Roy Moore, former Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court who ran for Senator from Alabama, had “dated” children, and been sexual with them. The movement closer to the root came in the exposure of Dr. Larry Nasser and his sexually abusing hundreds, possibly even thousands of young girls, gymnasts, in his care. Finally people were talking about children being sexually abused.

But I have not heard anyone talking about how much sexual abuse of children occurs in their homes … by the people they should be able to trust.  And I have not heard anyone talking about how the laws of our country don’t really protect these children. I have not heard anyone talking about the devastating effect on children of sexual abuse in their lives. And I have not heard anyone talking about the need to help in the healing of those who were victimized by sexual abusers, and to help in the healing of those who are sexual abusers who likely were sexually abused themselves.

Until we are going to that root …
Until we are working to heal that root …
Until we are all looking into our hearts and souls to see if and how we have experienced any part of that root …

We will not have utilized the poison of the epidemic of sexual abuse exposures in the country today,
as the medicine to heal the epidemic of sexual abuse in our country … and our world.

There are re-enactments occurring in the arena of “It’s abuse in the form of domestic violence.”

Rob Porter, Donald Trump’s White House Staff Secretary, and his exposure as someone who was violent with his wives has brought into clear view in the light of day … domestic violence in the US and in the world. We can look at it through many lenses, but … they all fall short of the deepest root:

The amount and degree of abuse of partners, men and women alike, and children in their homes is greater than anyone knows. Greater than most people want to know. Greater than most people can imagine. Greater than there is any way to prove. Most people ignore or deny the amount and degree of abuse that goes on in homes all over the country and world … even those who are abused and believe they are all alone.

I have written about this again and again. The statistics are heartbreaking. The details are heartbreaking. For me personally, one of the most heartbreaking, painful moments was when I discovered that the United States has loopholes in its laws in every state … loopholes that allow partners to be abused and unprotected, loopholes that allow children to be abused, even physically abused, by their parents.  And not only that … I discovered at that same time that there is a list of countries that has legally banned the abuse of children completely, and that the US is not among them. I felt sickened.

Just as Rob Porter, Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, Charlie Rose, and others have worn a mask of civility for years … so also the US has worn a mask of civility for years, decades, centuries.  And now it has been exposed. The poison is coming out into view – the poison of domestic violence and sexual abuse right in the nation’s homes.

Once again, we have a chance to use the poison as the medicine to heal this scourge.  Will we do it this time?  Will we not only talk about it, bemoan it … and not only work to change our laws, but will we also heal at the root the places each of us has been exposed in some way to abuse and violence in our homes, our schools, our culture?  It’s all spilling out into view now, with Donald Trump as President.  Will we use it for healing?  Or will we sit passively by allowing it to go around the vicious cycle again and escalate more?

Will we use it for healing?  Or will we become active in the outer world, believing that will stop the cycle, while going around the vicious cycle again, letting it escalate further?

The poison is the medicine.
Will we use the poison of our finances and economy as the medicine for our healing?
Will we use the poison of our politics as the medicine for our healing?
Will we use the poison of our sexual abuse as the medicine for our healing?
Will we use the poison of our domestic violence as the medicine for our healing?
Will we use it for healing? From the inside out?
Will we use it for healing? To the root of our being?
It is a choice. It is our choice. It is your choice.
What will you choose?

© Judith Barr, 2018.

1 To read How Did We Get Here? Part One, go to www.JudithBarr.com  then to PoliPsych Blog on top navbar, and click on “Latest Post.”

Note: Although the examples in this article are from and about the US, the themes, the meaning, and the truth of the examples apply all over our world.

HOW DID WE GET HERE? WE’RE LIVING THE MEDICINE – Part 1

PART ONE

People have all sorts of explanations for how we got here – nationally and globally.
It’s financial. It’s political. It’s patriarchal. It’s prejudicial. It’s misogynistic. It’s abuse. And more.
Each viewpoint can be discussed and seem to explain the cause from a valid standpoint.
Yet … they all are accounts at or near the surface. No matter how longstanding they seem to apply … no matter how deep they appear to go … none of them reaches the roots of the way in which we got here. And none of them even alludes to the reality that the roots underlie each explanation.

So … how did we get here?
The poison is the medicine.
“What?” you ask.
The poison is the medicine and we’ve neglected to use the poison as medicine.
“What in the world are you talking about?” you question and exclaim at the same time … probably in a more colloquial manner, and understandably.

I’m glad you want to know.

There is a knowledge in many healing traditions – both spiritual and otherwise –
that “the poison is the medicine.” 1
It is the heartbeat of homeopathy.
It is the transformation in numerous natural healing traditions.
It is the healing crisis that brings us into and through a healing passageway,
with the potential of our coming out the other side.
It’s inherent in the depth psychotherapy I practice.
It’s the essence of why, in addition to calling myself a depth psychotherapist,
I identify myself as a midwife to the soul.

“The poison is the medicine” reaches to the root of the difficulty.
It works from the root.
It works from the inside out.

Stay with me as we go deeper.

“The poison is the medicine” means …
If we are wounded as children –
and we all are in one way or another –
we create ways to defend ourselves against the pain of that wound,
ways that take hold within us and in our lives way into and through adulthood.
Perhaps we shut down our feelings.
Perhaps we numb ourselves physically and emotionally.
Perhaps we are paralyzed by the trauma of the wound.
Maybe we build walls to keep others from getting close and hurting us again.
Maybe we hide from others and even from ourselves.
Maybe we go through life waiting to be hurt … in the same way we once were.
Or perhaps we do the hurting of others as a means of defense.
Possibly, the wounding was before we had words.
Even so, it is likely that once we’re old enough to have words, we attach an early decision to the wounding experience.
Decisions like:
“No one will ever hurt me again.”
“If anyone’s gonna do the hurting, it will be me.”
“I will always be hurt.”
“No matter how much I try to protect myself, they always get me.”
“When I grow up, I’ll be the one with all the power …
to do what I want …
to make people do what I want …”

Most often, people aren’t aware of these defenses, including the early decisions.
And if they’re aware, for example, of an early decision …
They don’t realize that the early decision drives their life beneath their consciousness.
So if someone has decided “No one will ever hurt me again,”
that person will very likely draw into his/her life experience
people who will be hurtful, people who will, perhaps,
re-enact the same wound s/he experienced as a child.

Here’s the vicious circle, or as I call it “The Maze”:
When the wound is re-enacted, the person proves to him/herself
that people are trying to hurt him/her …
and uses that proof to decide once again:
“No one will ever hurt me again.”
This becomes the justification to use the same defenses all over again,
maybe even doubling or tripling them in number and size.

If this person doesn’t utilize the re-enactment of the wounding as the poison …
and if this person doesn’t utilize the poison as the medicine to heal the original wound –
at its root …
the re-enactments will keep occurring,
over and over again,
at some point beginning to escalate.

The longer the person goes without utilizing the poison as the medicine to heal …
the more the re-enactment and cycle escalates,
until possibly the wounding  becomes really harmful, even dangerous.
Then the person is “living the medicine,”
instead of using the poison as the medicine for healing.

This is not a criticism.
This is not a punishment.
It is simply the consequence of not using the poison as the medicine.
It happens to all of us.
Even without our being conscious of it.

So how does this connect with our living the medicine communally,
in our country, in our world?
Stay tuned for Part Two coming very soon ………………

© Judith Barr, 2018.

1 I explained “the poison is the medicine” over 2 years ago, November 19, 2015. This article can be found on my website on the carousel, by clicking “Read More” under “Reflections on How Healing Ourselves Helps to Heal Our World” and then clicking on “Grief, Shock, Another Tragedy and … the Poison is the Medicine …” or by going to “PoliPsych Blog” at the top navbar, and then clicking on “Blog Spotlight: The Paris Trilogy.” It can also be accessed through this link: http://judithbarr.com/2015/11/19/grief-shock-another-tragedy-and-the-poison-is-the-medicine/

IT’S TIME FOR MIRACLES

In this time when the light shines through on the darkest day …
In this time when we celebrate miracles from times gone by …
It is time for miracles.
It is time for our consciousness to grow.

It is time for our consciousness to grow.
It is time for us to realize that sexual abuse doesn’t begin in the workplace;
it begins in the home.
It is time for us to be aware that sexual abuse doesn’t begin with
the abuse of adolescents and young women and men;
It begins with the abuse of children.

It is time for us to know that the supportive reactions to men like Roy Moore –
here in the United States and all over the world –
are the same kinds of reactions that families have to the men in incestuous families …
frank denial, support no matter what, lies by the mouthful, guises by the dozens;
not believing the one who has been sexually abused, blaming the victimized,
bullying, buying off or exiling anyone who dares to speak the truth;
staying aligned with the family’s sexual abuser in an attempt to accomplish one’s own agenda – to protect one’s own interests, the consequences be damned.

It is time for our consciousness to grow.
It is time for us to know …
This is not political. This is personal. This is familial.
This is personal wounding experienced in our families
that has silently, unconsciously crept into our culture
and is showing itself in many venues
including politics.

It is time for our consciousness to grow.
It is time for us to realize that what is occurring in our government –
here in the United States and in many other governments the world over –
is not political,
is not partisan,
is not about purported causes and agendas,
is not adult,
is not conscious.
It is time for us to know …
what is occurring in our government
is not the work of grown-ups;
It is the acting out of little children –
wounded in childhood.
Little children wounded in childhood –
who either don’t yet know they are wounded and acting out,
or who don’t know the child they once were is still alive inside them and acting out today,
or who don’t choose to know,
or who don’t choose to heal their childhood wounds.

Little children wounded in childhood –
who, in not choosing to heal …
are acting out their childhood wounds
in the halls of government,
on the stage of our country,
on the stage of our world and our earth.
Acting out their childhood wounds
on millions of innocent people
all over our country,
all over our world.
Acting out their childhood wounds
on Mother Earth.

It is time for our consciousness to grow.
It is time for us to know …
This is not political. This is personal. This is familial.
This is personal wounding experienced in our families
that has silently, unconsciously crept into our culture
and is showing itself in many venues
including politics.

It is time for our consciousness to grow.
It is time for us to wake up and see that each of us plays a part,
even if we didn’t realize it before now.
It’s time to wake ourselves up and acknowledge
that even “the best” of us plays a part.
Even “the best” of us is somehow re-enacting our painful childhood
experiences …
in the family of the country, in the human family.
Even those in the media who seem to be trying to offer the truth –
the real truth, not the fake truth –
are playing a part.
Their fascination with politics somehow mirrors the politics
in their family of origin.
Their roles in the media somehow reveal their roles in their
childhood families.
This is true of us all.

It isn’t obvious; we’ll have to dig.
It will take time; we’ll have to sustain.
It doesn’t just happen; we can’t just be passive.
It will be hard work; we’ll have to commit.
We’ll need to feel … safely and for healing.
We’ll need to let our defenses dissolve and open our hearts.
We’ll need to change; we’ll need to grow.
But we all need to wake up and become conscious
of our part in what is happening in our country and our world today.
Conscious of the escalated, painful, re-enactments
the unhealed children within us are together acting out on our world stage.

Conscious of the suffering we are causing
by “forgetting,” ignoring, trying to hold at bay
the suffering we experienced once upon a time long ago
in our childhoods.
And we all need to wake ourselves up and be accountable
for doing the healing we’re called to do.

It is time for our consciousness to grow.
It is time for us to know …
This is not political. This is personal. This is familial.
This is not political. This is not economic.
This is not religious. This is not racial.
This is personal. This is familial.
This is personal wounding experienced in our families
that has silently, unconsciously crept into our culture
and is showing itself in many venues
including politics.

It’s a time for miracles …
leaps in the growth of our consciousness …
leaps in the growth of our willingness …
leaps in the growth of our holding ourselves accountable …
leaps in the growth of our healing our childhood wounds …
leaps in the growth of taking responsibility for the personal
so we don’t contaminate the political, the religious, the business,
the cultural with the roots of our own wounding.

It’s a time for miracles …
I pray for these miracles …
I work every day for these miracles.

© Judith Barr, 2017

SEXUAL ABUSE: OUR COUNTRIES MIRROR OUR FAMILIES

Although it is starting to come out in the open in the U.S. …
This occurs not only in the U.S. but all over our world.

There is a growing list of men who are being exposed for having sexually abused women, men, and children … not only in the recent past but in years long ago. This ugly and painful aspect of the patriarchy has been known, yet kept secret, for far too long.  For too long there have been:  the one who perpetrated the sexual abuse, the one who was victimized by him, and those who colluded with the perpetrator – each for his or her own reasons. We recently got a very public glimpse into this dynamic when the accusations against Harvey Weinstein in the U.S. (and abroad) started coming out into the open in the public realm. An even more public view of the perpetrator-victim-colluder dynamic is being seen as Roy Moore, candidate for Senate from Alabama and former Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, denies his sexual abuse of young women and even worse … of children. Those in collusion with him, support his denials with all sorts of guises – from his “godliness,” to the guise of his “innocence,” to claims of dirty politics by the other side, to the insistence on voting for him even if he did these things … just to keep the other side from winning.

This plague of sexual abuse – isn’t only limited to male abusers. It also includes women.  But still it is part of the patriarchy – which includes men and women. And the women who stand by their abuser husbands are definitely part of the patriarchy.  Just like the women who stood by Clarence Thomas were part of the patriarchy, when Anita Hill was exposing to the world his sexual abuse.

The sexual abuse aspect of the patriarchy – and the destructive patriarchy itself – must end. How? Through healing to the root. When? Now.

***************************

When the sexual abuse is over…
The end has only just begun.
The end of sexual abuse in the church.
The end of sexual abuse on the couch – in the therapy room.
The end of sexual abuse in entertainment, by producer, director, agent, actor.
The end of sexual abuse in business – the board room, the CEO’s office, the supply room.
The end of sexual abuse in the doctor’s office, the hospital, the ambulance.
The end of sexual abuse in sports, by coaches.
The end of sexual abuse by national and world leaders, by government officials, and
candidates running for office.
These brave women and even men … they’re exposing the abusers, one by one by one.
The numbers grow and flood the news.
The exposure gives hope to millions of women and also to men.
Hope for the end of sexual abuse.

But alas, that will not come
until …
the exposure of sexual abuse in families
all across our nation,
all across our world,
has taken us closer to the roots of the painful experience …
closer to the source of the wound that causes the wound of sexual abuse.

Though committed by men and women alike,
sexual abuse is a scourge in our world.
In too many places, an accepted scourge,
a normalized scourge,
a way of life.
A wound that’s passed down,
generation to generation,
mostly by men.
Acted out upon women, and other men,
and innocent children.

Innocent children …
needing, trusting, loving freely,
hopeful, growing, expressing, being.
Innocent children
stopped in their tracks.
Frightened, frozen, running away,
frightened, angry, fighting against …
Stopped on the path to becoming their selves.

Innocent children …
Powerless in the face of the sexual abuse.
Powerless in the face of the grossly distorted sexuality.
Powerless in the face of the grossly distorted use of power over them.
By someone who …
once was an innocent child sexually abused himself.
Once was an innocent child powerless in the face of distorted sexuality.
Once was an innocent child powerless in the face of distorted use of power.
Once was an innocent child who so deeply wounded,
turned into someone else.

Those who have been sexually abused in their families,
alone in a patriarchal family culture,
are terrified of telling their experiences of being sexually abused.
They’re frightened of not being believed.
They’re frightened of being blamed and scape-goated.
They’re afraid of being humiliated, threatened, abused.
They’re terrified at the possibility of being cast out, abandoned.
If all those possible consequences of talking
are intolerable to an adult in the entertainment industry,
how can they be at all bearable to a child?

When the sexual abuse is over …
The end has only just begun.
The end won’t be completed until
we want to know.
But we don’t want to know.
Too few of us want to know.
Too few of us want to know the truth.
Too few of us are willing to go through the fear
and through the painful feelings
the truth will bring.
Too many of us want to defend ourselves against
the truth and all those feelings …
the consequences be damned.

And they are …
the consequences are damned by the willful defense
and denial of the painful truth.

So when you defend against the reality of sexual abuse –
somebody else’s or your own …
you fan the flames of sexual abuse at its roots.
And when you defend against the reality of sexual abuse –
the abuse you, yourself have committed …
you fan the flames of sexual abuse at its roots
in your family and in families all over our world.

But should you dare to end your denial …
you have begun to contribute to the end of this horrible wound.
And should you dare to dissolve your defenses against this painful wound …
you have begun to feed the end of this terrible wound.
You have begun to feed the end of the wound of sexual abuse
not only out in the world in public arenas,
but even more importantly …
right at its source …
right in the homes of families all over our world.

© Judith Barr, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

“WE’RE NOT AFRAID!” – That’s Not The Truth!

“Don’t be afraid.”  “Don’t live in fear.”  “Don’t feel terror.”
This isn’t just the American way. It isn’t just the way of the West.
It’s likely the way of the world.
And contrary to the perhaps well-meaning intent of those who say it,
teach it, encourage it … rather than helping us,
that philosophy and way of life cripples us, individually and communally.

After the attack …

After the recent terrorist attack in New York City, many people responded by saying things like Mayor Bill DeBlasio said on the “Morning Joe” television program:1

“And I talked to a lot of them Joe, I talked to a lot of them. I’ve got to tell you their attitude was one of resilience, strength, persistence. They’re not going to let terrorists change our way of life. It made me very proud of New York City.”

What if their attitude wasn’t one of resilience, strength, and persistence? What if it was one of defending against the fear they felt?  What if it was a coping mechanism to cope with their fear without feeling it, working with it, utilizing it to move toward real resilience and strength?

And what if our way of life does need to change? What if the very occurrence of a terrorist attack is a mirror to us of something we need to examine within ourselves, something within that we need to heal or resolve, something in our lives – inside or out – that does need to change? Perhaps even our attitudes about feeling our fear?

Mayor DeBlasio continued with:2

“But to the point you made – we made a decision last night to keep those schools open, to keep people on their everyday lives because, look, it’s so important to not give in, to not blink when we are affronted. And I got to tell you – I’m sorry those kids have to go by that site but I also think it says to them, we can overcome this, we are stronger than this, we’re better than this.”

What is so important about not giving in to feeling our feelings? What’s so important about not blinking when we are affronted? Why are we so afraid of feeling our feelings? That’s the important question to ask ourselves: How and why have we created a world in which we are more afraid of our feelings than anything else?

How and why does this fear of our feelings get passed on generation after generation after generation …
in families … and from there, into societies?
3

How has it become a part of the fabric of our culture?  Here’s a nutshell description of something that has a deep, destructive effect on all of us:

     As babies and small children, pain and even more, trauma, are unbearable.  When we’re that young, we will feel and express our feelings for a time, but our reflex is to shut them down, cut them off, bury them … even moreso if our parents don’t respond to our feelings and our expression of pain in a healthy, soothing, way. Even moreso if our parents don’t take our feelings seriously. Even moreso if our parents caused our painful feelings. Even moreso if our parents are triggered by our feelings. Even moreso if our parents can’t tolerate our feelings because they can’t tolerate their own. Even moreso if our parents’ parents were the same way with them when they were babies and young children. 

     This can take place without a word spoken. Just putting a crying baby in the crib and walking out, closing or perhaps slamming the door behind you. Standing over the child in a threatening way. Refusing to respond at all, and just going on about your business.

     Of course it can take place with words, too. Telling the baby to ‘shut up.’ Telling the child, “Don’t cry or I’ll give you something to cry about.” Calling a little one a “scaredy cat” or a “big baby” when the child is crying to express feelings.  Telling a crying child “you’re too sensitive.” Insisting, “boys don’t cry,” or “big girls don’t cry.”  Or even imposing, “People in our family don’t cry.”  All of these interfere with a child’s natural way of feeling and expressing feelings.  All of these rupture the connection to self and to knowing self, within a little person – and then the big person that child becomes.

     This happens to too many children in our world.  More than we know. More than we can even imagine … but need to imagine.

     And once a child’s natural flow of feelings and expression is cut off, that child will then impose the same on others. Peers, partners, and children in his/her life.  

     This gets passed onto others and also taken out into society.  And then all the children, now adults, in society make this the societal norm.  Just as our leaders have done in the face of terrorist attacks. And then the leaders are re-enacting what they experienced in their own childhoods … but this time with their citizens. And then the leaders are also re-enacting what the children-now-adults experienced in their young lives – not responding to the real feelings their citizens are having. And the citizenry responds in the re-enactment like automatons, not feeling, just functioning to please the authority figures in their lives. 

So what’s so good about not giving in? What’s so good about not blinking? What’s so good about not feeling?  It makes it possible for the authority figures to control us. It makes it possible for the authority figures to not be confronted with their own feelings, fears, and re-enactments from their childhoods. And it makes it possible for us not to be confronted with our own feelings, fears, and re-enactments from our childhoods.

Leaders saying “Don’t Be Afraid!”

Again after the recent New York City attack, Stephen Colbert said on his show:  “New Yorkers will never live in fear.” How many millions of people watch Stephen’s show? How many millions of people are affected by him every day?  How many millions of people take what he says to heart? And for how many of those millions is his statement a repeat of what they grew up with?

Our leaders can be people in every arena of life who impact us. Comedians, media people, spiritual leaders, doctors, business leaders, and more. And this isn’t only occurring in America … UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said on “Morning Joe” after the terrorist attack in London:4

 “The city is now getting on with its business.
All our transportation systems are running.
Parliament is continuing its work.
It is business as normal.
That is the way to defy these people.
The worst way to lose the war on terror is to be terrified for a second.
We are not terrified and we will go on.”

When I heard him speak, I could hear his parents teaching him this. I could hear him being told “don’t be terrified for a second.” I could hear him being told “You are not terrified and you will go on.”  I could hear him making decisions to not be terrified so he would win, not lose. I could hear him making childhood decisions to defy those who terrify him … and imposing those things from his childhood on his followers.

What is so good about defying?

In my experience as a depth psychotherapist, I have witnessed the damage caused by defiance. I have seen people who have used defiance as a defense in childhood when they needed it, but when they carried it into adulthood, it has undermined them, sabotaged their possibilities, and caused harm to them and others. Maybe it saved their lives as children. Maybe it helped them feel powerful to be able to be defiant – although in truth, it was pseudo-power. But as adults, there is a more truthful, integritous way to take care of ourselves than to defy.

A related example: Many years ago I worked with someone. I’ll call her Sharon. She was in a group of therapists I was leading. Over time, she shared that she had a successful practice, was close to her family of origin, had a family of her own, and numerous friends. She didn’t reveal many wounds from childhood. She seemed to the group members to be, as people would say, ‘together,’ and was respected by all of them. I saw all of this, but I was uncomfortable. Something wasn’t revealed yet that reflected itself in the angry set of Sharon’s jaw, the way she was in her body, and the invisible wall she put between herself and others, including me.

One day in group, a very long time after the group was formed, following another member’s deep feeling anger work, Sharon said to him, meaning to support him: “The best revenge is living a good life.”  There it was. The clue I needed to what wasn’t in alignment for Sharon. The clue for what was distorted and unhealed.  The “good life” she was living was her way of carrying out revenge. On whom?

Now I could offer her help I wasn’t able to offer before … so she could heal to the root the revenge she was taking and the wound(s) from which it originated.  As we worked deeply, her jaw softened over time. She held herself differently in her body – not like she was fighting all the time. The invisible wall thinned and thinned allowing people to be truly close with her, not just the guise of closeness. And the good life she was living was real, an act of truth and love, not a guise for revenge.

The impact of revenge and the impact of defiance are very similar… both often hidden under a guise of goodness and both harmful and destructive, each in its own way.

More Leaders And Citizens Saying, “Don’t Be Afraid!”

After the attacks in London, Theresa May said:5  “We are not afraid and our resolve will never waiver in the face of terrorism.”

After the terror attacks in Brussels, the Archbishop of Wales counseled, “Don’t be afraid.”6

Following the Charlie Hebdo and Hypercacher shootings in France, citizens of Paris were heard repeating,  “Meme pas peur,” the meaning of which is roughly, “Who, me, scared?”7

Michelle Obama, in her final speech as first lady insisted:  “So don’t be afraid —- you hear me, young people? Don’t be afraid.” 8

To top it all off … we have accepted Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s famous quote, from his first inaugural address, as almost an American motto:9

“This great Nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper. So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”

And my response, from decades of helping people do inner healing, from a lifetime of seeing the impact of an individual’s wounds on society …What if the only thing we have to fear is not fear itself, but our fear of our fear?  What if our fear of our fear keeps us disconnected from ourselves, from our feelings, from the life that flows within us, from the truth of who we are? And from the possibility of the healing that can help us move on in truth and integrity?

It is not fear that cripples us …

And what if Roosevelt’s fear of fear was his own personal fear, from his own young wounds? And what if he thought it was his fear that paralyzed him? What if he transferred his own experience onto our country and added his own personal injunction not to feel to the cultural injunction against feeling that already existed?

It is not fear that cripples us. It is the fear of our fear, our burying it beneath our awareness, and from that buried fear, our creating frightening things in our lives and our world – without even realizing it. It is not fear that cripples us. It is the fear of our fear and the resulting inability to safely feel it, process it, utilize it for healing, and to let that help us move on openly, naturally and organically, rather than hardened, defensively and forcibly.

We can utilize these times we are in to weave a new underlying fabric of our societies:

From one that cuts us off from our feelings and therefore from ourselves
to one that supports us to feel our feelings safely –
name them, know which are for just feeling and expressing safely,
which are to use as healing,
and which are to act on in safe and healthy ways.

From one that cuts us off from our feelings and therefore from ourselves
to one that helps us, through our feelings,
reconnect to ourselves, each other,
and the Earth we live on.

I can imagine our world with that new fabric of feeling.
Can you?
Will you create it with me?

© Judith Barr, 2017

NOTE:  If you are from the Middle East or the Far East and know examples of leaders who have told their people not to be afraid, please send the examples to me. It will help me to help people see that this occurs all over our world, and the effect it has on us.

NOTE 2: Feel the difference between what the leaders above have said to us and what German Chancellor Angela Merkel said after a terrorist attack in Berlin:  “”We do not want to allow ourselves to be paralysed by terror. It might be difficult in these hours, but we will find a strength to continue living life as we want to live it in Germany, in freedom and openness and together.”  She didn’t say, “Don’t be afraid.”  Instead she said, “Don’t be paralysed by terror.”  What a difference to have a leader who doesn’t banish our feeling our fear, who encourages us not to be paralyzed by our fear, who acknowledges it might be difficult, and who offers to us a way to accomplish this – find our strength.
(http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/angela-merkel-berlin-attack-terrorism-response-statement-germany-lorry-christmas-market-a7486246.html)

http://www1.nyc.gov/office-of-the-mayor/news/710-11/transcript-mayor-de-blasio-appears-live-msnbc

http://www1.nyc.gov/office-of-the-mayor/news/710-11/transcript-mayor-de-blasio-appears-live-msnbc

3 You can read more about this dynamic in other blog posts on Polipsych. And you can hear more about it on the mp3 or audio cassette, Feeling: A Form of Prayer, part of the series: The Spoken Word on Behalf of the Feminine, for men and women alike.  http://judithbarr.com/audio-tapes/feeling-a-form-of-prayer/

http://www.msnbc.com/morning-joe/watch/boris-johnson-attacker-s-values-will-not-prevail-904638531896

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C0rJrIcKvvg

http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/its-hard-not-afraid-leaders-11097237

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2015/11/paris-france-scared-reason-151116055018370.html

8 https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2017/01/06/michelle-obama-dont-be-afraid-you-hear-me-young-people-dont-be-afraid-text-of-her-final-speech/?utm_term=.d1b6874be106

http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/5057