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.
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.
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.
- Precocious Ego Development (heartjunky.wordpress.com)
- The Saboteur’s Moon – by Jon Waldrop (jhaines6.wordpress.com)
- What is Strong? (widowplusthree.com)
- Accepting that You will Never be Who You Once Were (faithallen.wordpress.com)
- Dedication to Truth & Lying to Oneself (theplacesthatscareyou.wordpress.com)
- total truth (nihilisticpoetry.com)
- Embarrassment, Humiliation and Pride (ourchangingviews.wordpress.com)
- ‘Humiliation’: Embarrassingly, It May Be What Connects Us All (Review) (popmatters.com)