I have one question from a reader.
1. If I need to access my anger in order to heal, how do I do that if I don’t feel my anger?
This questions shows me that the reader has followed my line of thought and I am very happy about that. For the person who is chronically depressed, her anger is most likely repressed. In practical terms, she may not even recognize when she is angry. Instead of anger, there may be physical symptoms like stomachaches or headaches. Hence, the native makes a progression from unrecognized anger to a physical aliment. This is extremely common. If left untended, physical symptoms may escalate, resulting in unwanted dis-eases.
I speak from the vantage point of someone whose anger went into her stomach so you can be assured that I speak from personal experience, as I do in all of my articles. If I have not experienced it first hand, I will not write about it. I respect the reader too much to waste his time with inanities. Back to the subject, the native MUST unlock the repressed anger. There is no way to heal depression in a natural manner without unlocking and freeing anger, in my opinion.
The very first step is to find an Enlightened Witness, a term coined by the renowned child psychiatrist, Dr.Alice Miller. One cannot heal depression alone, in my opinion. I am not a fan of traditional counseling and therapy. I will tell you why. First of all, I have a Masters Degree in Counseling, so speak from a knowledgeable vantage point. The reason I do not favor traditional methods of counseling is that the counselor, by definition, is in the “authority” position. She is not a peer. She may be warm and kind but she cannot really share the depths of her own sorrows in the counseling milieu.
The role of the Enlightened Witness is to share her own struggles and her own pain as deeply as the native.That is how *I* see the function of the Enlightened Witness. Dr Miller may not view it in this way. I think she believes the Enlightened Witness can be a therapist. In my personal experience, therapy was very deleterious to me. I credit my losing my sense of self(as well as my common sense) with my foray into therapy. Therapy is, largely, an intellectual pursuit. At this point, I will, usually, get a chorus lauding the benefits of therapy. This is my opinion and my experience.
It is not an easy feat to find an Enlightened Witness. The goal is to show one’s true, unmasked self to this person and for the person to do likewise. The person must be a very special person in order to relate in this extremely intimate manner. Hence, finding the Enlightened Witness may not be an easy pursuit. However, if one prays for God to help, I believe God can provide the right person for each seeker.
After one has found one’s Enlightened Witness(EW), one must begin the daunting task of taking off one’s mask. One must learn to see that one is not “bad” due to his feelings. One must learn to see that he is “human”. People who are not abused do not carry a mantle of shame. The mantle of shame filters all experiences through the lens of our defectiveness. The mantle of shame filters all experience though the lens that we are worth little due to every imperfection. The mantle of shame abuses us in the very same manner as did our abusers. Hence, we carry our abusers inside us, as surely as breathe in and breathe out. The psychological term for this is the Introjected Parent. The layman’s version is that we beat ourselves in the same manner as did our parents, who were the abusers, in most cases. Hence, emotionally, we never leave our childhood home. We carry it with us, as does a snail his home on his back. *SIGH*
The actual process of removing one’s mask is incremental. This is due to the fact that the mask was life saving and, hence, it is very entrenched. By entrenched, I mean that one’s defenses are built in a block by block manner much as the foundation of a house. Just as an actual house is resistant to the elements, personal defenses are very resistant to disassembling. One’s trust in the EW is essential.
Little by little, one will feel safe to disrobe more, emotionally. As this happens, one breaks down one’s entrenched defenses. The upshot of this is that one can begin to see the truth of oneself and of life, as it is and not through the lens of the victim. One was forced to wear the robes of a victim. It was not one’s fault. It was one’s life saving mechanism. As one sees the truth of oneself, namely that was not “bad” but human, one will begin to form self love. Self love will take the place of false loyalty to the abuser.
To recap, the native needs to find an EW and then to show her true face. Her true face includes all her emotions.Let’s deal with a situation which would be a likely possibility. I will deal with myself, so it is an actual possibility lol I did not feel anger. I could not eat. I became very, very thin. I had life long depression and it was so chronic that I did not even know I had it. It was my “normal”. When I was anger, I transmute this to guilt. Guilt is a omnipresent emotion with those of us who have been abused. Often, we do not feel anger but do feel excessive guilt. Often, guilt is a means to push down our anger due to an inherent fear of it. An abused child cannot be angry. Anger is very dangerous in abusive homes. Direct expression of anger is limited, solely,to the abuser, who often wields it as a club of terror. The child, often, loses touch with many of her own feelings, of which anger is simply one.
Hence, the emotionally repressed( shut down) child becomes an emotionally repressed adult. Were it such that one could wave a magic wand and the emotions would come gushing forth like water from a spout. However, instead, the water has become stagnant and filled with debris and detritus. That is the painful state of the depressed native who comes to the EW, carrying only hope. However, hope is the first step in this process and so if one, only, has hope, one has more than if one only had depression.
The one caveat I will express is that the process of reducing one’s mask takes time. This can be extremely frustrating as one is very weary of carrying the burdens of an abusive childhood on one’s back. One will get discouraged. One will want to give up. However, one must persist because the life shrouded in depression is a very limited life. I think we all can agree on that.
One manner in which one can shed one’s mask( and one must employ in order to heal, in my opinion) is the process of crying each and every day for a half hour, if possible. U tube provides very heartfelt videos. The hardest heart will begin to shed tears if the native persists. The process of crying after a life of abuse and depression is VERY painful. However, it is God’s mechanism for healing. It is the most natural mechanism for healing and it works. One will not find it’s benefits in a jar of medication. One will not find it’s benefits in any other healing modality. It is simply God’s manner of healing pain.
I hope I have answered the readers question to her satisfaction and those of you whom I am honored take the time to read.
I will be back to edit