Anything that’s human is mentionable, and anything that is mentionable can be more manageable. When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary. The people we trust with that important talk can help us know that we are not alone.
We cannot have a world where everyone is a victim. I'm this way because my father made me this way. I'm this way because my husband made me this way. Yes, we are indeed formed by traumas that happen to us. But then you must take charge, you must take over, you are responsible.
The ruling classes use broken and smashed up childhoods as weaponised instruments of domination around the world. This is why the government has no incentive to end child abuse, because the government needs abuse victims as enforcers.
If you spend time with crazy and dangerous people, remember – their personalities are socially transmitted diseases; like water poured into a container, most of us eventually turn into – or remain – whoever we surround ourselves with. We can choose our tribe, but we cannot change that our tribe is our destiny.
The conflict between the will to deny horrible events and the will to proclaim them aloud is the central dialectic of psychological trauma.
Truth is in our blood. It is the essennce of our being. It is the best part of us, the core of what makes us human. It is our soul, our fundamental genetic beauty, and our spirit. We were created perfect, and despite the inevitability that we loose some of that perfection when we mature and develop in the midst of others who are wounded, we always retain the capacity to become perfect once again. The soul may be buried deeply, but as long as our hearts beat there remains hope.
Truth for anyone is a very complex thing. For a writer, what you leave out says as much as those things you include. What lies beyond the margin of the text? The photographer frames the shot; writers frame their world. Mrs Winterson objected to what I had put in, but it seemed to me that what I had left out was the story’s silent twin. There are so many things that we can’t say, because they are too painful. We hope that the things we can say will soothe the rest, or appease it in some way. Stories are compensatory. The world is unfair, unjust, unknowable, out of control. When we tell a story we exercise control, but in such a way as to leave a gap, an opening. It is a version, but never the final one. And perhaps we hope that the silences will be heard by someone else, and the story can continue, can be retold. When we write we offer the silence as much as the story. Words are the part of silence that can be spoken. Mrs Winterson would have preferred it if I had been silent.Do you remember the story of Philomel who is raped and then has her tongue ripped out by the rapist so that she can never tell? I believe in fiction and the power of stories because that way we speak in tongues. We are not silenced. All of us, when in deep trauma, find we hesitate, we stammer; there are long pauses in our speech. The thing is stuck. We get our language back through the language of others. We can turn to the poem. We can open the book. Somebody has been there for us and deep-dived the words. I needed words because unhappy families are conspiracies of silence. The one who breaks the silence is never forgiven. He or she has to learn to forgive him or herself.
Whether it’s an Iraqi widow mourning her dead loved ones standing helplessly in the rubble of her former home or a dying soldier in an Iraqi city street asking, “Why, God? Why is this happening? Where are you?” I can’t help but wonder the same. You realize that there is no justice, no karmic retribution swift enough, and that happy endings are a terrible, terrible lie. We are all subject to the same blind boot stomp and our luck is merely where we happen to be standing when death inevitably comes roaring down upon us.
No, Sky. You didn't tell her everything…you told you everything. Those things happened to you, not to someone else. They happened to Hope. They happened to Sky. They happened to the best friend that I loved all those years ago, and they happened to the best friend I love who’s looking back at me right now.
The traumatized person is often relieved simply to learn the true name of her condition. By ascertaining her diagnosis, she begins the process of mastery. No longer imprisoned in the wordlessness of the trauma, she discovers that there is a language for her experience. She discovers that she is not alone; others have suffered in similar ways. She discovers further that she is not crazy; the traumatic syndromes are normal human responses to extreme circumstances. And she discovers, finally, that she is not doomed to suffer this condition indefinitely; she can expect to recover, as others have recovered...
Some things cannot be fixed; they can only be carried. Grief like yours, love like yours, can only be carried.Survival in grief, even eventually building a new life alongside grief, comes with the willingness to bear witness, both to yourself and to the others who find themselves inside this life they didn’t see coming. Together, we create real hope for ourselves,and for one another. We need each other to survive.I wish this for you: to find the people you belong with, the ones who will see your pain, companion you, hold you close,even as the heavy lifting of grief is yours alone. As hard as they may seem to find at times, your community is out there. Lookfor them. Collect them. Knit them into a vast flotilla of light that can hold you.
The nutritionist said I should eat root vegetables.Said if I could get down thirteen turnips a dayI would be grounded, rooted.Said my head would not keep flying awayto where the darkness lives.The psychic told me my heart carries too much weight.Said for twenty dollars she’d tell me what to do.I handed her the twenty. She said, “Stop worrying, darling.You will find a good man soon.”The first psycho therapist told me to spendthree hours each day sitting in a dark closetwith my eyes closed and ears plugged.I tried it once but couldn’t stop thinkingabout how gay it was to be sitting in the closet.The yogi told me to stretch everything but the truth.Said to focus on the out breath. Said everyone finds happinesswhen they care more about what they givethan what they get.The pharmacist said, “Lexapro, Lamicatl, Lithium, Xanax.”The doctor said an anti-psychotic might help meforget what the trauma said.The trauma said, “Don’t write these poems.Nobody wants to hear you cryabout the grief inside your bones.”But my bones said, “Tyler Clementi jumpedfrom the George Washington Bridgeinto the Hudson River convincedhe was entirely alone.”My bones said, “Write the poems.
Parents who discipline their child by discussing the consequences of their actions produce children who have better moral development , compared to children whose parents use authoritarian methods and punishment.
Over time as most people fail the survivor's exacting test of trustworthiness, she tends to withdraw from relationships. The isolation of the survivor thus persists even after she is free.
If the sound of happy children is grating on your ears, I don't think it's the children who need to be adjusted.
There is tremendous trauma in the betrayal caused by a perpetual liar as they repeatedly commit psychological abuse.
Confusing being mortal with being threatened can occur in any realm. The fact that something could go wrong does not mean that we are in danger. It means we are alive. Mortality is the sign of life. In the most intimate and personal of arenas, many of us have love and trusted someone who violated that trust. So when someone else comes along who intrigues us, whose interests we share, who we enjoy being with, with whom there could b some mutual enrichment and understanding, that does not mean that we are being violated again. Experiencing anxiety does not mean that anyone is doing anything to us that is unjust.
Some memories never heal. Rather than fading with the passage of time, those memories become the only things that are left behind when all else is abraded. The world darkens, like electric bulbs going out one by one. I am aware that I am not a safe person.
PTSD is a whole-body tragedy, an integral human event of enormous proportions with massive repercussions.
After all, when a stone is dropped into a pond, the water continues quivering even after the stone has sunk to the bottom.
This book is a memoir - not of specific life events, but of the processes of dissociation, and of re-enlivening emotions that are shameful to admit or even to feel. It is an account of the altered states that trauma induces, which make it possible to survive a life-threatening event but impair the capacity to feel fear, and worse still, impair the ability to love. (292)
There’s an innocence to her still that amazes me. Sometimes I forget she’s older than me. Then, I remember that she hasn’t gone through what I’ve gone through.
There are people that damage you for life. The day they walked into your life will forever be a turning point you will use to label and count your years with... Your own BC and AD.
Some people are as angry as they seem to be only because it's the safest place to hide from more pain.
We are Craiglockhart's success stories. Look at us. We don't remember, we don't feel, we don't think - at least beyond the confines of what's needed to do the job. By any proper civilized standard (but what does that mean now?) we are objects of horror. But our nerves are completely steady. And we are still alive.
A wave of saudade swept over me as I realized home never existed at all. The concept of home felt far from my reach, and I felt sick with longing.
The most insidious of our country, the greediest and highest rung of our socioeconomic ladder, line their pockets with misappropriated funds as military personnel and hordes of civilians are maimed or killed. It’s not their children out there, blinded by manufactured patriotism or lured into the service with the promise of economic stability, all with the sanctimonious blessings of misguided public consent by way of corporate, state-sponsored media. It won’t be their children who are terrorized by Wahabbist insurgents tearing through city blocks and rural areas as only an ever-devouring plague could. It won’t be any of their loved ones watching thousands of years of civilization unraveling like an old sweater as each thread of wool is lit on fire or stolen to sell on the black market for greedy consumers with a fetish for hijacked Mesopotamian artifacts.
There are people who come home from war and want to talk about the pain, but no one wants to listen; there are others who want to keep silent and repress the memories, and all their family and friends want is to talk about it. I call this the war veteran reintegration paradox.
In movies, war only looks romantic. “Tell my gal I love her…” close-up shot, and fade out. It doesn’t work as beautifully and neat in real life. Flying chunks of human flesh and screaming orphans really put that Hollywood take into perspective and there is nothing clean or sterile about any of it. When people die, it’s fucking horrible.
Everyone around me was allowed, permitted to fall apart; yet I had to think twice. I couldn't bear to take another dip into an ocean of solitude for another taste of ostracization. I felt I would die.
Veterans being sent into unjust wars for corporate profit is a perversion of trust, at best. I found the emotional manipulation of both sides, the propaganda at play so incredibly revolting that I couldn't stand to idly wave a flag or flaunt yellow ribbons without asking serious questions regarding motive.
A woman in combat? Yes. Since when? Since Native American warrior Buffalo Calf Road Woman knocked that prick General George Custer off of his horse. Since Pantea Arteshbod propelled herself to become one of the greatest Persian commanders during the reign of Cyrus the Great. Since Hua Mulan disguised herself as a male to engage in combat and became one of China’s most respected heroines.