Somewhere along the way, on our escapade up to the top of the Hogsback mountains, we got a nail in our tire and so we had to get down to East London to repair the flat tire, and get the car serviced. We stayed at Areena Backpacker and ventured into East London to do our dirty work, and to pick up some art supplies. While driving around looking for the art shop we came across Marlene Neumann’s fine arts photography gallery and since we were really getting into photography and videography, we decided to check it out, and we were pleasantly blown away to find such a rare gem, and treasure chest of wisdom about all things artistic, photographic and spiritual.
Marlene has a unique way of expressing her art and self through her lens and dark room. She captures the way something makes her feel, and then she takes it into the dark room where the artistic process continues to bring out the nuances, and numinous, that was not obvious in the mere capturing of light frequencies. It’s all heart with Marlene Neumann, and she kindly allowed us into her space, and world, and this has really deeply inspired and influenced our approach to our own artistic expression, and healing process. Marlene’s advice to us is to “Look Inside!” She says that “within you, you will find all the answers that you need.”
Are you loved… or are you feared?”
Surprisingly many people cannot tell the difference. They somehow mistake fear for love. So let me rather ask:
Do you want to be feared… or loved?”
Abusers have many methods and techniques of controlling the dependent people in their lives. They use ridicule, humiliation, and verbal, emotional and physical violence to get what they want, to have their way, or just to vent their frustrations, but they also enjoy the power, they get a kick out of it, a thrill, a high, and they crave that mixed feeling of superiority, control, being feared… basically power. They have no feeling sense for the other person, the victim of their assault or tirade, be it their child, or sibling, or parent, or colleague or whoever, and they have no conscience, or the inner guide which alerts them when they have transgressed someone’s rights or done something wrong. No outer guide either because everyone around them is so afraid of them… someone may speak out sometime, but they see this merely as a rebellion that needs to be squashed. Anyone who challenges them is inherently wrong, and needs to be broken down, that is the form of their moral code.
Because they have built up elaborate walls of fear and distrust between them and those who are closest to them, they have to maintain what looks like the very solid invincible persona of the infallible power, but actually it is frail and fragile, it is the essence of weakness masquerading as strength or power. Incapable of real, sincerity and empathy, they are incapable of the vulnerability that love requires, but they also want to be loved so they compensate by doing other things, buying things, helping people, and this gives them something like a feeling of being needed and appreciated, and… loved. They are happy that they can speak one of the love ‘languages’, even though it is the lowest and most selfish… giving to receive. Outwardly with other people in certain circles, outside the home, they appear to be very pleasant, friendly, fun, funny… they can be very highly respected and well thought of by friends, extended family and colleagues, but the people closest to them see a very different side to them.
Like all these dictators who rise to power by cunning and aggressive methods and techniques, the household abuser makes everyone afraid of them and no one rebels because the abuser/dictator has the power to punish, and the abuser will use whatever means necessary to maintain their position, their hegemony. How do they become this way? They observe and experience their own parent’s pathology, and they imbibe those energies and energetic complexes and then they continue to operate the installed program independently autonomously.
The parent’s abusive behavior may or may not have been directed at the individual, they may have been abused themselves or the experience may have consisted primarily of witnessing or observing the routine, ritual, chronic abuse of the other parent or sibling. The person internalized it and accepted the patterning into their own framework and identity, and continued playing out the same or similar kinds of abuses and patterns of abuse on the dependent people around them, the one’s lower down than them in the power hierarchy who they could control and manipulate and break down to be subordinate. Usually the very same parent and sibling, but also often the abusive parent as they grow older will get some of their own medicine back from the abuser they created. And the two will probably continue their patterning onto the next… the third generation, and so it goes, on and on and on and on… until a conscious one comes along and ends the cycle.
Saturday, 8th June 2012
My wife had another violent psychotic episode/eruption/outburst. There were signs for two days before that she was beginning to get irritable and angry. Then on Saturday some friends were coming over to record a new song at my home studio and because we have a small apartment and it’s difficult to record when Jasmine, who was seven months old, is in the house. So we arranged for the nanny to be there and take her to the park while I am working, and my wife could stay and listen, or go with them, or be wherever she wanted to be. My wife got upset about this and felt like it is an inconvenience for her. I calmly explained to her that she can decide what she wants to do, and it’s just for 3 hours and only once every two weeks. She doesn’t have to be angry about it, she must support me in what I do just like I support her. She got very angry, shouted at me swore at me and broke a shatterproof ruler. I was trying to calm her down but she kept telling me to shut up. I was telling her that it is not such a bad situation… she can actually be happy about the choir coming, because they are our friends and they are always full of life and fun, and they are coming to sing about love and spirituality and these are good things which we need in our lives. She got even more worked up and started slapping me. I didn’t defend myself I left her and she slapped me over and over with all her strength. The nanny came to take Jasmine away and they stood outside. She continued to shout and swear and hit. It got too painful and so I defended myself, by holding her wrists and keeping her down on the mattress. She started launching herself forward and bumping her head on the wall so I dragged her back slightly so she couldn’t do that. Then our friends arrived and I asked them to wait outside. She wailed and cried on the bed for a while and then eventually went up to shower.
She then left with the nanny and our daughter to the park. (Unbeknownst to me she dismissed the nanny and sat with my daughter there). The choir finished their recording and my wife returned and was still very upset. My sister had invited us to her place and I wanted to go, I needed space from her. I said that I would be going and I was not happy with her behavior and how she hit me, and that I didn’t want to be around her. This sent her into a rage… she threw my clothes and my daughter’s clothes out the door and told me to get out and when I was walking out the door started threatening to kill herself. So I blocked the door as she tried to bang it closed. I was carrying Jasmine and she was shouting and banging and she was scaring Jasmine and she started crying too. I tried to talk to her hoping that she would calm down and not hurt herself. She grabbed my hand and twisted my finger very painfully and managed to get the door shut and locked. She then stormed off into the kitchen, I could hear clearly cos the small frosted kitchen window is right next to the front door. She opened the draw and pulled out a knife and went to the lounge. I phoned the police and explained the situation and they sent two policeman. I explained to them what was happening they went up and knocked on the door. She didn’t answer. They knocked harder and shouted her name and then she came and opened. She went in and sat down. The policemen went in and tried to talk to her, she shouted at them and stormed out of the house angrily. The policemen advised me on what to do and said that since she has not hurt herself there is nothing they can do – it looks like she is just trying to scare me, so they took our details and left. I started walking with my daughter to the complex park to sit in nature for a while and recuperate and have some fun like we do on weekends, but when we were halfway there still walking through the complex, my wife catches up with us… still furious. She takes my cell phone from my pocket because she is afraid that I will phone her uncle or someone and tell him what’s going on. (Nobody is supposed to know about her behavior), I am supposed to silently endure. She puts my phone in her pocket. She starts slapping me again. There are some children and adults around, but she doesn’t care. She hits me many times, and uses vulgar and sexually explicit language. I am carrying our daughter in my arms and she continues hitting me in the face. I am asking her “What are you trying to achieve? What is your goal? By doing this do you think you are helping our relationship or hurting it?” that was all I said in a calm tone, I did not touch her or hurt her at all. There was dark madness in her eyes. She tried to take Jasmine from me and I refused because obviously she was not in a sound state of mind, and I was afraid that she might do something to compromise her well-being and safety. I was wearing my tracksuit pants so in order to get to me and humiliate me further she pulled down my pants and underwear. Because I was carrying the baby it was hard for me to stop her and she kept doing it over and over, exposing my private parts. It was out in the middle of the road in our complex and there were people and children around, I don’t know if anybody saw any of that, I hope not, but her mind seemed so completely twisted that she didn’t care at all, she was possessed, but she was looking around and timing her actions so that no one would see what she was doing. She wanted me to be compromised and humiliated but she had enough presence of mind to protect her self. She carried on doing this until a small group of people were coming towards us and so I was able to distance myself from her and she waited a while till they passed. I thought to return to our apartment but she continued doing it as we walked. I begged and pleaded for her to stop and that it was not appropriate for our daughter to experience, or anyone’s child, to see any of this, but she didn’t care, there was no feeling, no concern, nothing! A family were sitting close by on their balcony and so I went closer hoping she would stop… I appealed to them, asking if they saw what she was doing, but they were too embarrassed and just looked away. She thought it was very funny and laughed at my humiliation. Someone called on my phone so my wife took it out and answered in an angry rude tone… it was my mom asking if we’re coming for lunch: “No… I have his phone… No we’re not coming! No you won’t see me again, you will see him, but not me!” and she cuts the call.
Eventually we got back home and the abuse continued, she would bring up anything that she thinks can hurt me… my mother, my father, my sisters, my past relationships, one by one she rehearses these trying to hurt me, attack me, and provoke me, but I have long since become immune to those, I was even immune to her slapping and attempts to humiliate me and I had done very well not to react to her at all, the entire time, but to continue to talk to her, calmly. I wouldn’t even talk much because it is futile to talk to her when she is in that mode, but she would push and push, she is seeking some kind of response, she wants me to also get worked up… angry maybe… and join her in the drama yes I think she wants me to become violent… it’s like… she wants to be beaten… and the more I remain calm and do not engage her in her battle the more it bothers her even more and angers her even more. Eventually after all her methods broke down, she started crying and seemed to force herself into some kind of attempt to talk and break through the anger and express herself. But she cannot speak sincerely, still everything she says is full of sarcasm and attempts to blame me for everything bad that she perceives is going on.
Eventually she calmed down and she kind of acknowledged that her behavior was unacceptable BUT… there was always the big BUT trying to justify all that madness… after a while she relaxed and accepted a timeout and then I went to eat and feed Jasmine and she started with her work. There was silence for some time and then when it came time to sleep I went straight to bed, I was tired, hurt and sore and just wanted to sleep. She got upset that I did not say ‘goodnight’ to her. She started the verbal abuse again for about an hour of non-stop accusations, insults, etc. occasionally I would say something to clear up a misconception. But there was no possibility of getting through to her, she ignored everything and continued talking absolute twisted diarrheal bullshit, lies… but getting more and more frustrated becos I was not reacting. So she sat up and started pulling my face and arms, trying to turn me towards her… then she was unhappy that my eyes were closed and she dug her fingers into my eyelids. Then she started slapping me again, very hard. I took it for a while thinking she might get tired and see her madness, but then I realized that just sitting passively was not helping me or her so I pushed her off me and defended myself with my feet pushing her away. She got up and took her clothes off and fully naked started attacking me trying to scratch and bite me, she resembled a wild animal at that point. I tried to avoid her scratching and biting and took hold of her wrists and took her up to the kitchen bathroom area, away from bedroom and the baby so that she wouldn’t wake her up and infect her with all this negativity and violence. On the way to the bathroom we both fell. My head hit the wall and my knee hit the ground. She lay there crying and I lay there holding my head. The baby awoke and she got up suddenly very concerned and she said “Janoo let me go feed her!” and I was surprised that through all this she would use that name Janoo which means “My Love” and I said with utter surprise “Janoo?” She then slapped me hard across the face. I held her hands and put her down on the ground and called her a “Fucken Psychotic Lunatic!!!” and left her there and went to see to the baby. I tried to put her to sleep hoping that my wife wouldn’t come down and continue the assault. My wife remained on the kitchen floor crying and howling. I wanted to go see to her but I didn’t want her to get started again, especially since the baby was awake. I put a Barney DVD on to keep the baby entertained but my wife carried on howling and moaning loudly. I thought that she must be cold because she had no clothes on so I took the blanket and went and covered her. She still cried and moaned and then she called out to me to help her: “I can’t move my legs”. I put the baby down in her cot and carried my wife to the bed and covered her, and she cried herself to sleep and that was the end of Saturday.
During the night we both dreamed, in the morning she told me her dream, that there was some conference and I was giving a talk and she needed to help me and support me, and I was walking ahead and she was running to find me. I had a dream that there was a guru giving a talk to some people and three men were sitting before the guru, they had come to listen to his wisdom. The guru called me to sit next to him and then later sent me to talk to “the Mother”.
I felt that our dreams were complimentary and she also felt this and she felt bad about the day before and what she did. But as we got up and started talking about it she quickly fell back into justifying her actions and behavior and I continued to explain that she needs help, I can help her, we can find a psychologist who can help her, but she has to firstly admit that there is a problem and then open up and let someone help her, because all the things I suggest are positive things that can help the situation and can help her. She seemed to agree and calm down and I started to talk about what she needs to do and I explained that she needs to apologize to my mom, because she was rude to her the day before in her anger, and actually my mom is not a bad person that she cares and tries to help. This set her off again and she started accusing my mom (normally they have a good relationship and my mom is very nice to her there is none of the usual mother in law vs daughter in law stuff between them, none at all) and then she starts accusing me and justifying her behavior again. It takes some time to calm her down again but she is still angry and then my mom phones, probably still concerned after the previous days strange terse conversation. She speaks to my mom and then breaks down over the phone, she sobs and apologizes… my mom is trying to calm her down and sooth her and advise her about relationship ups and downs but she says to my mom: “No mom this time I really broke it, I broke the relationship…” After the call ended she was truly remorseful and sorry for the first time since the whole drama began. She really apologized and didn’t have any BUT or justifications, she was sincerely apologetic and my heart opened to her and I held her and soothed her and talked to her about the problem and the solution, that whatever behavior is coming out of her, it is not her, it is something that she saw and learned and is now repeating in her own life and that she needs to break that cycle and not pass it on to our daughter. She felt better when she could dis-identify from the other her who does all these horrible things, and that she herself was not the horrible person. I talked to her about love, and spirituality and meditation and about what can help us, what can help her, and at the end of it she really looked like she had come back to her ‘normal’ self, to her ‘senses’. I went out to buy lunch and in the car I listened to my favorite rock band Switchfoot and at some point I cried and cried, and I had not much time but I processed and dissolved what I could, but there was still a residue – there always is, but I would have to suppress that and leave it for later. I was ready to forgive and patch up what was broken… and move on without showing that I was deeply disturbed, hurt and upset, traumatized actually, and angry, and terribly saddened. I couldn’t allow these things to show because she would misinterpret it, and revert back to her defensive-aggressive mode. I had to forgive as best I could and I had to let go of the need to seek justice, but to accept that this storm was over, and be happy that she came to some awareness of the problem.
Who knows how this has affected Jasmine and what our daughter was absorbing out of it all, and what it is doing to her? This scares the hell out of me, more than anything else, it is what frightens and angers me the most. But expressing myself fully to her would not help the situation. She is still too volatile and her state too raw and volcanic. I can’t speak to family or friends about it either and so I endure in silence… I suppress… I repress… I take on her burden and carry it for her, so she can be lighter. I consider it my service. “If someone gives you bitter poison, give them sweet honey” is what I was taught, is what i believed.
We had a nice lunch, the rest of the day went ok she studied while I looked after Jasmine, and she seemed to be quite normal like nothing had happened and all that horrifying, hurtful, heart breaking words, actions and abuse, was just like a dark storm which passed on and now it was a bright sunny day and no need to dwell on the storm, cos it’s over, in the past, gone… forgotten. I have become accustomed to this phase of her pattern as well and there’s no point in bringing up the storm when she is in the calm so I also enter her ‘empty after-space’ the lightness that she is addicted to… the lightness after her pain body has released all its anger violence negativity and exhausted it, hurled it at me, at my heart like a dark, smoldering, shit missile. There’s not a trace of remorse or sorrow, but that’s ok… at least she’s not in the mode, not lost in the deep dark pit of despair! I think I can take all that she throws at me and hold it, process it, dissolve it, transform it, release it… well not completely, there’s always a lot that goes unexpressed and of course what remains is a broken relationship… Feels like she does not really love me, she doesn’t know what love is. I don’t like her anymore, she is not nice to me, she abuses me, she treats me badly, and I cannot just pretend that in between her dramatic violent outbursts that everything is ok, but it seems like that’s exactly what I have to do. She is really good at pretending like it never happened and everything is fine and back to normal again, and so we carried on… and on… and on… and on…