deprived heart


I have tried several times to tell the story of a particular aspect of my recent experience to various friends, family and counselors, but no one seems to really be able to understand my experience of humiliation. The response is that I am seeing it in a negative light and assuming what others are thinking and feeling — not even in the typically annoying and ignorant way that these statements are often delivered. People have been sincere in wanting to be helpful to me by helping me to re-frame the experience, and/or boil it down to the truth so it is not so big and scary. But what was needed in order to get to the truth of it was to validate the truth that people felt the need to keep their distance from me.

Illustration by Nĩno Jose G Heredia

Illustration by Nĩno Jose G Heredia

Metaphorically, I may as well have walked through the streets naked and talking to myself. The sense of humiliation was as intense as that. I lost face in my community, and there is a lot of grieving there, grieving the loss of face that was both the result of trauma and the cause of new trauma. The only way for me to trust myself and life again is to understand why this happened, what I did to cause it, so that I do not repeat it.

I’m understanding now that I lost face because i was overcompensating for the core belief that I am unworthy through my career endeavors. There was a sense of grandiose vision and status that attempted to hide or deny my neediness and insecurity. People see through that. It was like a bad smell around anything I did. The type of smell that is nearly impossible for others to put words to, not to mention even be aware of. The type of smell that people just want to avoid.

'Little Heart' by Viktoria Belak

'Little Heart' by Viktoria Belak

The key source of isolation here is being talented, intelligent and capable, but with a deprived heart. A deprived heart is an illness in itself, perhaps an overall, general criteria for any mental illness. A deprived heart is an illusive bleeding wound that is like a parasite, a precarious foundation that can crumble at any time, and inevitably will. This is my interpretation of what Allice Walker speaks about in her book, The Drama of the Gifted Child.  Vance R. Sherwood and Charles P. Cohen also speak of this, calling it ‘precocious ego development‘ in their book Psychotherapy of a Quiet Borderline.

Instead of acknowledging the unstable foundation, I felt more encouraged to hide it, being told that it wasn’t unstable — I was just choosing to see the negative in myself. The truth in that statement is painfully ironic. The reality of life is that anything and everything we try to hide is so clearly visible to others they are not even conscious of reacting to it. It is seen and avoided without even thinking.

The isolation of this predicament is supreme. The only way out for me was to jump, thinking I would die, allowing all to crumble in order to build from scratch. I hear people in my past telling me I am being overly dramatic and I am defending myself, validating my experience. It is the only way out. I am the only one who can do this, along with others who have experienced trauma. Few others can ever understand. I write this for those other kindred spirits who do, and in gratitude of the experiences you have endured to read this and relate.

It is my birthday this week, on Friday. I turn 33. I have no plans for celebration, other than to have another day of giving myself to the will of my higher power. I have tried to plan so many things in the past, and it has not turned out well. I communicate or invite, or put forward an idea, and no one responds, or everyone is too busy. That experience is so painful for me that I simply avoid initiating things these days. I’d love a celebration, I’d love to go dancing in a non-alcoholic environment of world music, and drumming and dancing and spiritual people; but until i can eliminate the smell of my brokenness, i see little point in attempting to initiate. I feel sad about this, but i have endured it before, so I will survive it again. Holidays and birthdays and such have been a good clarifying experience this year so far, illuminating my sense of isolation and unworthiness so I can acknowledge them, see their cause and try to find a new response.

For today, acknowledging the grief of a lost face and heart is the healing. I’m grateful to be on the path of healing, instead of hiding my pain. My heart and spirit are richer by the day for this.



'broken-heart' by Michelle Barlond Smith

'broken-heart' by Michelle Barlond Smith


Author: innerlight

A capricorn horse. Creative dreamer, over thinker. bpd, insecure attachment and any other labels for deep and chronic wounds and other gifts of brilliance that propel intense and eclectic lives and make for good art. We are high needs and high return, all the way, all the way. Surrender, integration, repair, rebuild, connect, create, evolve. Deeply.

8 thoughts on “deprived heart

  1. Happy birthday. I remember giving you a pair of winter underwear for your 24th birthday… (what a classy guy!). What could you have done to feel so badly… the loss of face thing. I guess that’s the point… you feel everything so strongly… like the emotional volume knob got stuck on high. I’m the opposite. Nothing moves me. That’s not so good either… I wouldn’t recommend it. Sometimes I think if I went off the meds I would experience years of delayed emotional reaction in a moment… I don’t think I would like that much.

  2. How nice to find you on here, Chris, and thanks for the birthday wishes. I survived. And hey, for the record, those long underwear were the best ones ever (totally classy) — wish they hadn’t warn out.

    Yes, you would probably become incapacitated and would need to focus on healing for some time; but, and this is just my humble opinion, that is the only way to come out the other side into the pastures of balanced, connected, and vibrant living. Some make it through; many don’t. I think that is the precariousness of life, and perhaps one of the greatest, most central existential questions of this age. To venture through the midlands or not … 🙂 Of course there is no right or wrong, better or worse. It is a matter of what the great mystery that brought you here has in store. As much as I have hated this saying and felt like giving it the bird, I always come back to the understanding that we are really and truly and always exactly where we need to be in the divine plan of the Greatest Love (/Universe / God / Whateveryouwannacallit/him/her).

    “I’m understanding now that I lost face because i was overcompensating for the core belief that I am unworthy through my career endeavors.”

    I think that’s as concrete an answer as I needed, and that maybe is possible. It was no one thing. Nothing blatent, or easy to understand. Just the smell of a wounded soul, which is not a problem if we understand and acknowledge it for ourselves — it can grow from there, if we are no longer trying to hide or deny it to ourselves. Where there are lies to ourselves, and if they are big enough, people will know. People will feel uncomfortable and stay away. And really, the original loss of face is even more important — the real heart of the matter — the one that happened before I can remember. The original wound, when I lost face to myself.

  3. As memory serves me, you have always been a complex person and a good writer… hence your ability to think everything through to a level that is far beyond me. With all this blogging, do you have time to dance? You are a beautiful dancer. I remember you telling me about muscle memory and watching your body return to its dancer self after just a few days in the studio. It was a miraculous transition… kind of like spider man.

    So… is all of this writing a process towards some kind of recovery, or is it a way of life? Do you go on digging until your time on the planet is done? Is there a point when you are healed and can let it all go?

    When my career ended, I read in the Tao that “you are not your job… you just do you best then let it go”. I found that to be good counsel at the time. I’m big on the whole letting go thing. I seem to do a lot of it. After all, not much point in holding onto stuff (physical, emotional or spiritual) if its done, or had its time, or isn’t good for you. What do ya’ think?


    • I think if you are feeling concerned that I am not doing well, you are misunderstanding me altogether. Maybe our inner realities are just too different. What I hope to expose on this blog is the wonder and hope of transformation, which for me comes from deepening awareness and the expression of inner truth, and which i find inspiring to witness in others. What is not here are the external manifestations of this process.

      I am still dancing, very much so, though not as a professional artist — just as a human being who loves to dance, and sing, and drum and design; work with words, images, sound, film, to communicate in any way I can.

  4. Pingback: identity confusion / unstable sense of self « underground

  5. Pingback: More on Dissociation & Identity Confusion « innerlight

  6. The first bookstore I saw in my life that looked like it was making a profit? The Elliot Bay bookstore in Seattle. It had a little restaurant doiratswns- high-priced Alfalfa sandwiches kind of place. Some people like books. A lot of people like the civilized amenity of having books around them as they eat, screw, etc.

  7. You’ve really impressed me with that answer!

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