Saturday, June 24, 2017

Rage's roots

There have been occurrences in my adult life where I have been “triggered” to a lightning flash of nihilistic, helpless, abandon-all-hope rage. It has (not surprisingly) always been my loved one who, without realizing it, had pushed some inner death-trap in me. One late evening, I forcefully threw a plate of food on the floor, stormed out of the house and ran to my office. Once I destroyed a good laptop.* Gone it was in a moment of ultimate powerful powerlessness.

Our feelings are not equal to the words we use to describe them. We say “anger,” though it’s not too difficult to feel the flowing identity of anger and frustration, frustration and hurt. But these are still just words. Our feelings are our life. Our feelings are our history. What if our history – our earliest infancy and childhood days – is so precarious, frightening, painful and wrong that there’s no capacity to absorb experience – the fusion of good and bad – or the nourishment to a sense of self? What if we remain the thinnest two-dimensional thread, or actually a two-dimensional plane that can blink out of existence when turned at a certain angle?

I believe these facts and images apply to many individuals (and not just men) when they are inwardly swept to rage. What is really happening is something that sparks that deepest fragility, which is where our birthright of need and promise was thwarted. Add many years upon this ground, through many probable struggles. We have become substitutes for self and self-esteem, upon this cosmic unfairness, this failure to be given love. We seem sturdy, but psychology says we are standing on miles deep of transparent ice. A trigger – “you must have taken the extension cord,” when I didn’t – denies my value, like at the beginning of my life, denies my sane grasp of reality, which is the entirety of my two-dimensional plane’s stability. There is no choice but to not die, and that takes an extreme, that takes an explosion.

There is really no choice in that moment. This is the other primal scream** – not the one of grief, loss and need, but the one that insists on living.

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Comments are welcome, but I'd suggest you first read "Feeling-centered therapy" and "Ocean and boat" for a basic introduction to my kind of theory and therapy.