dimanche, juin 05, 2005

the mind's protective techniques in hyperdrive

If you lose your freedom, because "friends" of yours have incarcerated you “for your own good,” and as a result, your trust in the world has been accordingly bartered for a bitterness, which translates into wanting desperately to protect yourself from everyone, so much so that you no longer invest yourself into learning about others and listening to them the way you used to... how do you rebuild your trust so you might recover?

When one is given special information regarding an assignment, and one figures the information was given in confidence and one should act accordingly, but one finds in the course of completing the assignment that one's cover is blown, the special information leads to a trap, in fact a deadly trap ... well, one learned not to trust anyone in training, but it is remarkably difficult to ever get to know another person and to trust another human. Such a betrayal affects one’s ability to have an intimate relationship with another human. Is there any way to rebuild the capacity for trust and for such intimate relationships?

A woman, with a remarkable budding career in politics and media, grows successful -- her speeches win prizes, her articles draw attention, her radio show gains a following, her acute analysis is touted at the forums. Men or boys, who are ostensibly her colleagues, yet nonetheless immature, grow jealous and have a perverse desire to "take her down." As a result, one evening, she is raped to "teach her a lesson." Her life changes in an instant. The walls that need to exist to keep going in life go up, simply to allow her to move from one day to the next, but that protective measure hides the broken shards of her former conception of how safe the world was and her former self-confidence. Her career takes an abrupt turn and she moves down a totally different path and a totally different life. Fear becomes the currency of her daily life. Can she learn to trust again? Is it possible for her to regain the self she was before the rape? And if she does regain that self, can she be happy as if it never happened?

A boy is molested by a family member from the age of five until the age of nine. Here no prior persona exists to which we could attempt to restore that child. In fact, that piece of mental judo necessary to interact with the world successfully and to build reasonable social relationships has been supplanted by the idea that no one is safe and no one can be relied upon to look out for the boy. He exhibits a refusal to talk that impedes creating the bonds necessary to establish his trust that others might be able to fulfill his needs and wants if he would ask. How do we cross even the first barrier and make it safe enough for him to be willing to try to communicate?

So, where do we start? First of all we acknowledge that there are many ways to approach these things and our way presented below is not the only way. That caveat, being said, we begin our discussion with the fear. Ultimately, combating the fear is what is the most important thing. People rarely ever know how to ask for what they want and get it. Persuasive argument is one thing, but simply wanting things to be simple, clear, and good is something totally different. It makes total sense why at the bottom of one's trauma lies a fear or multiple fears. What's important to us is that we put words into that fear. Identify it clearly, so that its power as some unknown thing lurking in the background is lessened.

Then where do we go? We get the person tired, sick, fed up with the fear and how it is holding him or her back. (This requires enough self-awareness to know howthe fear holds the person back.) Then through experiences that bolster an understanding that fear is not ever going to totally go away as long as one is living, but how one handles fear is up to that person. The suffering one endures from being afraid is often greater than the pain from being afraid itself.

A few truths about fear: 1) It's okay to be afraid, because I am not in control of the world. My job is to be proactive and try to do my best. 2) The only way to get rid of a fear of doing something is to go outthere and doit. 3) The action of trying and doing will inherently make me feel better, so I will be less and less afraid as I practice this effort. It's okay if I fail at what I am trying, because it is all part of the process to getting where i want to go. 4) Everyone is scared of something. 5) Pushing through the fear is the means of conquering it. Don't hide, don't avoid it, don't come up with excuses, because the point is the journey (life) and not the destination. One last tidbit irrelevant to this discussion, but useful to know for life: only the people who are not afraid to learn and grow become great and do their best. (Be willing to look stupid for now so that later on you can really contribute.)

Okay, once that goes over, then what? Then maybe this is where G-d comes in. You have to have faith... blind faith, that it will all be okay. I've found that religious people often have and easier time with this part.