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Wed Mar 05, 2014 at 05:00 PM PST

The Dark Night of the Soul

by Bill in MD

This is going to be a dark and depressing diary. It is a manifestation of one of the after effects of severe child abuse. I wrote this to get it off my chest. I can’t see that it would benefit anyone reading it, so I don’t recommend you do so. If you proceed, don’t say I didn't warn you.

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The following is what the beginning of recovery from childhood sexual abuse looked like for me. I'm writing this so that others in the process of recovery can see a little of what it might be like for them.  

This part of the story involves recovering repressed memories (I will call them "RM") of childhood sexual abuse, and as such it may be triggering for some. Some may not believe in RM. I'd like to speak to that.

Are RM real? I've struggled with the question of whether mine are. Sometimes I still do. The events I remembered are too extreme for even me to believe sometimes. I can tell you that what I remembered has never changed, or morphed into something else, or into involving someone else (with one exception noted below). I can also tell you that I didn't want them to be true. Who would? I had no intention of ever using them for any gain. I did send a letter to the Catholic Church, but I never asked for, nor received any money from them. I had no reason to lie about what I remembered. I never confronted anyone directly (not that that is a bad thing). I only wanted the pain to stop.

I can find no scientific evidence that explains RM. I have been to Psychotherapy Networker Symposia where evidence of brain scans showing that those with RM (and PTSD) have electrically isolated parts of the brain that can be reconnected to the rest of the brain using EMDR therapy (and less efficiently with traditional therapy), but I can find no papers online to verify that. Perhaps those journals don't post online. I just don't know.

There is, however, a great deal of empirical evidence that they exist, and therapists who assume their clients are telling the truth can make good progress with their clients.

Do you believe that RM exist? Before my experiences, I probably would have said no. After my experiences of the last twenty years, I know better now. Some people think that therapists plant RM in their patients. I don't know whether or not any therapists do, but I can tell you emphatically that mine did not. Quite the opposite. Colleen (more about here later) was very careful to make a safe place for me to do my work, but at no time did she suggest anything. In fact, almost NONE of these memories of events came back in any therapists office. They came back in lots of places (more on that later), but very few in the therapists office.

One other thing: there are two basic types of RM; memories of events, and memories of the emotions connected to those events. The two are quite distinct and don't usually surface at the same time. What usually came up for me in my therapists office were the latter.

The final issue is, why care whether or not other people's RM are real? I guess the crux of the matter is, to what do people with RM do with those memories when they remember? If it is strictly to heal, I see no reason there should be a controversy over them. If you have a broken leg, and waving a maple switch over the leg sets and heals the leg, and no one has any scientific evidence that proves this works, does that matter? The leg is healed. In that context, it only matters to the person with RM whether or not they are real. Your opinions are irrelevant.

If that person is using those memories to accuse others of deeds they remember, then it's dicier. While I've already diaried that I have direct physical evidence (letters and an eye witness account), and a lot of circumstantial evidence, that verify that at least two of my recovered RM are true, I won't be addressing this issue in this diary. I'm not a scientist, and I can't speak to that. I can only discuss my experiences. I will say, though, that If I find you trustworthy, I'll believe you.

And there is also the issue on whether or not you believe me when I say that those two memories were actually repressed. If you don't believe that, well there's nothing I can do about that, and you will be wasting your time (and possibly mine) if you continue to read. If you feel I have enough credibility to at least give me benefit of the doubt, then read on. You may find this diary instructive.

If you'd like to watch healing happen (as ugly as that can be), join me below fancy orange dream cloud.

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For years, I'd thought about going to see him, in much in the same way some people think about doing their taxes; they put it off until they have to do it. I didn't want to do it, but I felt I had to. Well, about a year ago, I decided that it was time; after 20 years of therapy, I was now strong enough to face him. However, I found out that I was too late; he died in 2009, five months after my dad. I found his obituary online.

This really threw me. I wanted to see him face to face, to look in his eyes, to have him look in mine, if he would. I wanted to talk to him, to ask him some questions that have been nagging me most of my life. Why did he do it? Did I mean anything to him at all? And most importantly, why did he leave me without saying goodbye? I'll never get those answers now, and I can't tell him what I wanted to say.

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This diary is essentially a short autobiography. I'm writing this for several reasons. First, I need to get this off my chest, and this semi-anonymous forum seems to be the best way. Second, I'm hoping that after you read this, you will learn something; not about me necessarily, but about human nature.

For those who have childhood trauma in their past, this diary contains

multiple instances of graphic sexual violence against children,

so please keep that in mind if you decide to read beyond the orange croissant. Also, I've changed all names, mostly to protect my baby sister.

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Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 04:48 PM PDT

Isms and privilege

by Bill in MD

I am, by nature, an observer. I notice how I react to people, how they react to me, and how they react with others.

In my 50+ years on this planet, I've noticed a few things. Like:

-  the physics professor who won't answer any question from a female student;
-  the woman who is driving along a city street, sees a black man on the sidewalk, and locks her car door;
-  the colleague who, when interviewing candidates for a position, always seems to hire the tallest one;
-  the boss who thinks he is being "forced" to accomodate someone with disabilities, or
-  the TV pundit who blames poor people for being poor.

The thing is, I'm white, male, upper middle class, fair-haired, not disabled, and tallish. And I've benefited from all of this. Not all the time, to be sure, but I have most certainly benefited. That is the point of this essay. There is, in this country (or in most of it anyway) such a thing as white privilege, male privilege, and lots of other privileges too.

It isn't always obvious. I get a better interest rate on my credit cards than is typical for the young or for the poor, and it is easy for me to not notice. I can walk into buildings without a second thought and not notice that it does not have handicap access. When my questions in physics class are answered, I may not notice that others aren't treated as well. Not very many people treat me as a threat to their safety when I walk by. And most people I meet professionally take me seriously. Shorter people often aren't so lucky. I see others doing the same thing. I believe that many of them are good people (as I believe I am), and I believe that they are not doing it consciously.

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Fri Jul 29, 2011 at 09:24 AM PDT

What I think will happen

by Bill in MD

Whether or not the House passes a plan is irrelevant. If it passes, it will die in the Senate. The Senate will then pass a bill, that will die in the house.

We are going into "default", boys and girls.

But not really.

To go into default, we'd have to stop paying the interest on the debt. I don't believe Obama will do that. On 3 August, Obama will announce that he will continue to service the debt, to prevent economic collapse world-wide, and fund Medicaid if we can afford to, because those on Medicaid are poor by definition, and will likely die without. I believe he will also say that social security checks won't be going out, at least not all at once. To keep from being blamed for that, He'll have to say that he didn't have a choice. The republicans in congress forced his hand.

I think that there would be a firestorm of protest. There are probably a lot people who voted for tea party congressmen who won't be getting their guvmt checks.

I've considered the 14th amendment, but I don't think Obama will invoke it. For one thing, it would refocus attention away from Congress to the President, and he would want the focus on the Congress. The other is, the 14th pretty clearly has to do with the Civil War, and I don't think the current SCOTUS will back Obama's interpretation.

So, on 3 August, we enter the next stage of this game of chicken: "default".


Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 10:44 AM PDT

A call for selfishness

by Bill in MD

I would like to see a lot more selfishness on this site. I see way too much name-calling, hatred, vitriol, and downright meanness being directed from one Kossack to another. I would really like to see it stop, or at least be significantly reduced.

What the hell am I talking about, you say? Can't one define meanness and the rest as selfishness? I suppose you could. But I don't. Just how do I define selfishness, you say? Follow me below the fold to find out.

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Countdown continues its coverage "of the humanitarian crisis on the ice storm and blizzard ravaged reservations of South Dakota."

Keith Olbermann thanked his viewers tonight for raising so much money and listed two more ways to donate online.  The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe's new online donation page.  Plus the link we recommended at the top of our diary today to the Native American Heritage Association (NAHA).

Please join us below for the transcript and the clip:

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With the disaster in Haiti in the news, and the terrible situation on the reservations in South Dakota, and efforts to bring relief to those stricken in those areas, I've been thinking a lot lately about how charity affects its recipients over the long term.

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