Abuse (ab, away, meaning in the wrong direction + to use) means anything contrary to societal good order--i.e. overuse; immoderate or improper use; the injurious, harmful, offensive; deceit; malalign; or a departure from reasonable use by word or act. Such includes threats, insults, humiliation, intimidation, isolation, bad name-calling, put-downs, yelling and screaming, being intentionally embarrassed in public, and projection (blaming scapegoats for ones own mental afflictions and bad behaviors). This is like hammering a pattern of thinking into victims to affect their physical, mental, social, financial, and spiritual Selfhood parts. From having evaluated tens of thousands of patients, it is my impression that the major cause of Off & On Thinking (OOT) is a given individual's reaction to perceived Abuse. As a boy, it always bothered me to see my peers being told by someone (e.g. parents or bullies) that they were a "stupid idiot" (or fat or ugly). I was vaguely aware that many of the victims actually started believing and "living down" to that false label. Youth's emotional fragility causes them to mentally spread these false labels outside reality and pass judgment on how they imagine others would think about the false self they have imagined themselves to be. For example: "nobody would ever want to be my friend." Believing "I'm not good enough" goes with not feeling safe, secure, self-confident, strong, or stable. One is unable to plan or even see a future for one is so heavily involved in the moment. One feels constantly pressured to do what the abuser feels appropriate. One is fearful to respond in normal fashions and the abuser dictates ones reality. One may rebel. There is an appetite change; nervous restlessness; loss of sense of humor; sleeplessness; increased concern for ones children and sorry for oneself.
Regardless of the reason one is in an abusive situation of which one cannot escape, a prominent way of dealing with this is to often "shut down" ones thinking. Each time one is abused, and particularly the first time, Level I is experiencing a state of being startled, horrified, and fearful. This is followed by Level II: disbelief, confusion, being hurt. Level III is being anxious, afraid, and insecure. Level IV is feeling small and inconsequential + a loss of Self-Trust and Self-Reliance. Level V is seeing oneself as invisible. Level VI is being defiant to the point of making a life-changing decision which, in turn, reshapes ones lifestyle. One may stop at any of these levels or embrace some without others. While in the abusive situation one initially thinks about it all the time. Eventually, one stops thinking about it whenever possible. One finds that doing work or escapes (e.g. gardening) will cause one to work it out and hopefully heal--or at least be diverted from all these bad thoughts about oneself. At work they handle their duties satisfactorily but even then begin to let others do the thinking when decisions are to be made. They use different personas for different groups. At home, they shut down their thinking and allow their emotions to have free reign. The Abused stay close to a few friends hoping to get clues from them that these bad things being thought are not true. Whenever possible, they simply follow what the friends decide because of having lost much of their inner fire driving them to want to go here and there. Now nothing seems to matter very much. What cannot be dismissed or worked out is handled by putting a mental barrier around the remainder. Then a mask is placed on ones Public Self so as to keep people from seeing that something is being hiddened deep inside ones Selfhood. A reason for choosing to be incognito is to avoid seeming weak to others and also not to seem weak to oneself, as in not being able to cope with daily living or in handling ordinary things. Abuse may cause one to become self-absorbed and apathetic; nurse ones self-protected Splintered Selfhood in self-pity; switch to using ones Omnibus Brain which is oriented to the "Here and Now"; engage in chronic juggling; and be driven to frequent "Escapes" from Reality.
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