Series Three: Blog Fifty-Eight
“Everybody is somebody—but on any given day there is somebody who feels like nobody. At the end of the day, the question is “does anybody care enough to walk alongside the one who feels like nobody long enough to help them feel that they are somebody again”—KW
You can’t change the way you grew up. Mary Main, professor at UCal-Berkeley suggests that people learn to engage a cohesive coherent narrative of their life. What I think this suggests is that if you are an addict it is important to not just look back and identify all the acting out you have ever done. But dig in and look at the relationships to people in your life that connect to why you do what you do and who you are. It’s sort of like making sense of the chaos and learning to connect with yourself in this endeavor.
Chaos makes this hard to do. People who grew up with crazy chaos often carry a little crazy with them their entire lives. Chaos puts you to sleep to the awareness of living life through healthy alternatives. The way you survived is what you replicate later in life. Your habits for survival are tattooed on your bones.
Therapy teaches you to talk about your chaos. You can learn a lot intellectually about what happened—the abandonment, the disorganized attachment and all the systemic dynamics about your dysfunctional past. But most of us who grew up in craziness will die with some of it still inside. Sometimes I wonder if this is why I will die an addict.
I, like many addicts, grew up in an environment that was so dysfunctionally complicated that it is exhausting just to talk about it, and I have been talking about it for years. Every abuse headline is connected to subheadings that guaranteed crazy living for mere survival. It’s been said that addicts learn to embrace the improbable and ignore the obvious. Is there any other way for an addict to survive a complicated abusive past? The web of instability is so complex that to endure required that you fall asleep to healthy behavioral options and live in a trance-like state to what is real.
For example, I grew up in a large family. The ubiquitous presence of sexual abuse impacted our family in every dimension. There was sexual abuse perpetrated by pastors and leaders at our church. There was sexual abuse that was pervasive in our family. The church I grew up in was a cult. There was patriarchal domination of men toward women in our home and church. In a cult, church life and home life environment become one. You must develop the capacity to fall asleep to the reality of what surrounds you just to survive. When I shared my sexual abuse of me by the pastor of our church to responsible leaders, they concluded that my parents who had attended the church for 40 years were troublemakers and shunned them for 3 months. You would have thought that victims treated in this way would sever relationships and find another church to attend. My parents didn’t. They went to sleep about the reality of what happened to their children and to themselves. Once, many years later I asked my mom about the church shunning her and my dad regarding the sexual abuse and she responded that it never happened. Of course, it never happened when you fall asleep to reality.
My parents fell asleep to the injustices that intruded their lives because they were overwhelmed with the history of abuses that took place in their own family of origin. If you don’t face and address injustice, the only way to survive is to fall asleep to the realities of abuse and domination that penetrate you and the people you love.
My parents ignored what was going on in their family by singing gospel songs like “When We All Get to Heaven” or “Victory In Jesus” in order to ignore the hell on earth that had pervaded every aspect of their lives. How is this so different than the way our society ignores the lies and deceit proffered by politicians, religious leaders and cultural icons about what is real? Rather than sifting, sorting and researching truth, most of us choose a media service to do our thinking and fall asleep to the incongruence of our own hypocrisy and those who lead us.
For those who choose to no longer ignore the emperor who wears no clothes, waking up takes commitment to truth and honesty. It also takes time. The effort to wake up requires that you stop doing what keeps you asleep. It’s no wonder you are sleepy if you keep taking sleeping pills.
You will need to stop your own crazy thinking like trying to do more to keep from being less. Slowing this locomotive down is no small task.
You will have to address your mistaken beliefs that exist and have created blocks to intimacy with yourself and others. Mistaken beliefs have been tattooed in your heart as a way of surviving the craziness of your childhood. When you do more and have more it is difficult to accept less and think you are more. Material gain is like booze. There’s nothing wrong with either one as long as you respect that both can make you drunk. Driving your life drunk is scary whether you are intoxicated with booze or the disease of more.
The only way to stop the chaos is to wake up from the big sleep. Nothing changes until it is real. When craziness is complex, waking up means to slow life to examine the inconsistencies, face your hypocrisy and address your incongruence.
People talk about making America great again. Yet, if everybody, who knew somebody who felt like a nobody, was willing to walk alongside to wake them up from the chaos and craziness, maybe that would hold promise to a great future for the first time. Together, we can be somebody once again.
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