Made in the U.S.A.By Sharon Pearson
October 07, 2015
Where is all the violence coming from? Oh No! Not again! One of the strategies of the wounded self is violence... and that "self" will always justify it! In fact, the wounded self cheers and gloats over violence, especially when it "serves" a "good" goal. Kids in our culture grow up exposed to extreme violence, even if it is only digital, every day of their lives. They now fear mortal danger at school. Violence is billion dollar sales, big business. And violence is contagious. The fear and pain of the wounded self is contagious.
Where is all the violence coming from?
Oh No! Not again! One of the strategies of the wounded self is violence… and that “self” will always justify it! In fact, the wounded self cheers and gloats over violence, especially when it “serves” a “good” goal. Kids in our culture grow up exposed to extreme violence, even if it is only digital, every day of their lives. They now fear mortal danger at school. Violence is billion dollar sales, big business. And violence is contagious. The fear and pain of the wounded self is contagious.
The U.S.A. is a culture of violence with more gun deaths than any other “advanced” nation. The myth of “the Colt” that “won the west” is cherished lore. My favorite western novelist is Louis L’Amour… where the good guy wins by fist or gun, and always at great risk, and heroic sacrifice for the cause of good. My 12-year old self, reared in the great state of Texas, loves that stuff! (She is also a sucker for a cowboy!)
But, how about some real adult perspective! More than 90% of those who commit violent crimes were abused as children. 90+% of the severely mentally ill were abused as children. Most of the imprisoned have been impacted by direct violence. Not only our society, but in every culture and nations, violence erupts all too often. In every act of violence lie the seeds for the next conflagration. The Germany of World War II came out of WWI. The Wall in Palestine comes out of the Berlin Wall. The strategies of the wounded self never end but are endlessly recycled-- despite the fact that they never work to achieve lasting good. They do grant the pleasure of the quick fix, the feeling of having done something!
In the Inner Bonding Village we talk about “good reasons.” By that we mean legitimate or valid reasons behind our own or other’s dysfunction or downward spiral. We are not excusing that which is destructive or depraved…but merely identifying that there is always a “backstory” that often explains how bad things can happen, how we can behave in hurtful ways -- even when we have no conscious intention to do harm.
Behaviors that seem unbelievably damaging to self and others are best understood as “symptoms” of hurt and fear. Much of what we identify as violent behaviors are “defensive” ploys, “survival strategies.” Most often the perpetrator of violence identifies himself or herself as a victim, and so is doing whatever it takes to assert “control” and create “safety” for “the victim.” Oftentimes, that perpetrator is reenacting a behavior that has been experienced and seen modeled as a child. The reason to identify “the backstory” is that it helps us to be compassionate when we are horrified, repulsed, and likely to respond in unloving ways. Much of the abuse of self and other is “traumatic reenactment” of childhood pain. And as the old saying goes, “ Hurt people hurt people.”
The Center for Disease Control and Kaiser Permanente conducted a study of 10,000 participants in 1998. The study identified seven categories of “adverse childhood experiences” (A.C.E. factors): physical, emotional, and sexual abuse; domestic violence; household members who are substance abusers, mentally ill, or who have been incarcerated). Persons who had four or more such adverse experiences in their histories were 4 to 10 times more likely to abuse substances, live with depression, and attempt suicide. Participants in the study were 2 to 4 times more likely to smoke and to engage in compulsive and unsafe sexual activity. Boys with 6 of the categories had a 4600 times greater chance of engaging in intravenous drug abuse. And, we in America, Land of the “free” are surprised at the fact that we have the highest percentage of imprisonment in the world? That our levels of domestic violence are catastrophic? That our sex industry, based upon the use and abuse of persons, is so wildly profitable??? That our jails are full of drug addicts, and mentally ill? That our children are so at risk?
Made in the U.S.A.! These statistics are products of unhealed intergenerational and systemic hurt and pain. They are the outgrowth of wounded-self strategies to survive. “In the words of Dr. Vincent Felitti, co-principal investigator of the ACE study, ‘adverse childhood experiences are the most important determinant of the health and well-being of our nation.’” So, what are you going to do about it?
Inner Bonding says start with yourself- and from the inside out. Heal the hurt. Treat the pain with respect and compassion. Address the fear with Truth and Love. Connect with the Source of Life and Light. Commit to learning new ways of relating and behaving. Act for your own highest good, and the good of all. Commit to being the best of your Soul.
And, what if a whole “society” even if it was only a small one, was committed to healing! Could we interrupt the long and convoluted legacy of pain and terror in this land of ours? Could we reclaim those who are “hurt” and learn from the pain? Could we address those who are reenacting their own trauma in abusing themselves and others?
Yes, “Hurt people hurt people”. But, it has also been said that “helped people help people.” Is Inner Bonding helping you? Are you helping others? What if we harness the power of the good, the justice, the truth, and multiply the healing that results on a societal level? What if we commit to do Love, nothing else and nothing less? And if we work on ourselves as the US A (Us Anonymous) first, then can we address also the same dynamics that “father” international violence and “mother” geo-physical conflagrations? Then and only then.
What about the socio-paths of the world, who act with no apparent conscience, who use and abuse others? The question is “can we act in ways that truly contain, restrain, and interrupt the legacy of hurt”? The power of any person or group to destroy is embedded in the weakness of the whole, the family, the tribe, the spiritual communities, the society, and yes, the nation! If we are guilty of complicity for not acting, for succumbing to our very human fear of pain/suffering, we will suffer all the more!
All humans suffer. What will you suffer for? All humans will die. What will you die for? If we fail to act out love and truth in the face of human hurt, fear, pain and evil, the damage is compounded and the consequences infect us all. When we do not challenge the abuse of persons and groups, whomever and wherever found, we have failed to be Love and do Love. And if we respond to abusers with the same intent, means and methods that they have acted out, we are simply the walking wounded! We cannot heal and we cannot help. We have no antidote for the contagion. What is your intent? What choice do you make? What will you do? From the inside out?
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Today, think about what you do that makes you feel invisible to others. Do you give in to others rather than stand in your truth? Do you avoid asking for what you want to avoid rejection? Do you act like everything is okay when it isn't? Do you agree with others to avoid conflict? Do you ignore your own feelings but attend to others' feelings? If you sometimes feel invisible, notice what you may be doing to create this.
By Dr. Margaret Paul