Archives for Identification with the Agressor
It occurred to me the other day that I had not thought about myself in terms of excessive guilt, shame and disgust for many months. This coincided around about the time I started my new job working with self-actualised people in the mental health field and making long overdue decisions about what sort of people I surrounded myself with in my private life. I never seemed to have the discriminatory powers to know who was good for me, who was not good for me and who was perfectly evil in my life. I also put strict boundaries around certain family members. There are people in my life determined to make me feel shame and guilt because that is what they do best.
I was recently at a social function and eagerly went up to this woman I work with, touched her shoulder and said, “Hi, how are you?” She stared at me, looked very uncomfortable and frantically searched around for either someone more interesting to talk to or someone to rescue her from me. This is a woman I have found curt, abrupt, dismissive, snappy and abrasive in the past. I have never had an interaction with her where I have left feeling as though a warm breeze has blown through me, but rather a cold, icy wind that has left my whole being feeling fractured and discombobulated. I knew this and yet I still went up to talk to her because, as a chronic masochistic people-pleaser, I unfailingly seek approval and acceptance from totally wrong and inappropriate graceless women. I cannot bear the pain of rejection and abandonment from anyone even though I did not like her and essentially had split her into the “bad” part of the good and bad. I always had an intense negative emotional reaction to her, felt deflated, empty and questioned who I thought was, and after an interaction with her I wanted to throw myself off a cliff.
The second day of the three day Hakomi workshop was like coming home. I relaxed considerably once I realized that Vicki Emms was not in attendance. I had found my safe place. During high school my only safe place was the library. Among many others I read Gerald Durrell, James Herriot, the Silver Brumby series, Pennington’s Seventeenth Summer series and eventually discovered Stephen King. I sought refuge in books but not in schoolwork. I was the quintessential library refugee. Vicki Emms and her henchmen were not readers or deep thinkers. For these damaged girls, mindless violence equated to wholeness, self-satisfaction and soul-integration.