Bonds with Mayhem

Legally speaking, mayhem refers to the gruesome crime of deliberately causing an injury that permanently disfigures another.

Deliberately causing injury.

These are the people I grew up with. It’s no stretch of the imagination to understand why I then picked this same bred to create new bonds with. It’s all I knew.

Oh, I was bonded with my family but had a hard time believing that it was love. And, strangely, I didn’t seek out a different kind of bond. I sought the same thing I knew.

Why was that? Seems I’d want to run to anything that looked and felt different. But, I didn’t. I ran to the same old familiar bond. As a result, I received a lot more injury at the hands of other people.

In The Body Keeps the Score, they chat about this dichotomy a lot. In the Chapter, Putting the Pieces Together: Self-Leadership, it is explained in some detail. They use a metaphor for the abused person called the “internal family systems therapy (IFS). These separate internal parts that help the abused person survive.

The IFS model helped me realize that dissociation occurs on a continuum. In trauma the self-system breaks down, and parts of the self become polarized and go to war with one another. Self-loathing coexists (and fights) with grandiosity; loving care with hatred; numbing and passivity with rage and aggression. These extreme parts bear the burden of the trauma.

. . .

Each split-off part holds different memories, beliefs, and physical sensations; some hold the shame, others the rage, some the pleasure and excitement, another the intense loneliness or the abject compliance. These are all aspects of the abuse experience.

The critical insight is that all these parts have a function: to protect the self from feeling the full terror of annihilation.

The body keeps the score, page 281-282

It is all so very complicated. The very self-leadership I needed leaving my parents home was somewhere lost deep inside of me. Buried under my survivor skills and protecting myself from the full terror of being annihilated.

That terror was a very real threat. I don’t live with that terror today and my self-leadership is back in the driver’s seat. I continue on my journey and I don’t keep bonds with mayhem any longer.

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