What do we do when relationships fail us? Our first stop in the road, in order to understand such things (of course) is to blame ourselves. We're not well, after all. We've learned how difficult it is to live with our troubled emotions, and for the others to accept the issues we struggle with. Our emotional issues, become their issues. Should they choose to leave, it's we who shoulder all the blame-for a time.
Try as we might to eradicate our suffering, healing trauma is a slow process with an agenda and timeline of it's own. This is the most difficult aspect of the condition for the others in our lives to understand. All they know is we somehow continue to hurt them, and with time they give up on us, as the rest of the world seems to need to do. This is often the outcome, when trauma remains unresolved in our sacred place.
It need not go this way. However the stories of survivors are cast with losses of the other individual players in our lives (who too, have lives and needs, sacred as their own).
Sometimes, the others in our lives, need to walk away.
This isn't the fault of the others. How could they know how to adapt to a life with trauma-eyes often staring out into the world, disconnected emotionally from all that life is meant to be for them? Our symptoms are difficult to wrap heads around. Because those with us are so frightened away from any willingness (often) to fully understand., they take our emotional life, personally.
We know the truth, of what the others go through in our lives. We know, they aren't responsible for any emotional disconnect in our lives. It's the nature of the condition-the mark of the beast.
We accept more responsibility for ourselves than the others are willing to give us credit. It's our illness. We've needed to learn what to do, now that our old patterns of living have failed us completely. Our significant others, do hurt the most and find themselves often settling into a life they didn't sign up for, and as it is with negative human issues (as it is for us) they don't know how to even begin to adapt.
Do they want to adapt? No. They don't want to accept such an illness as PTSD in their personal space. They will try, until all trial runs out. Some will make it through.
Are we to blame? No. Nor are the others to blame. To quote my own significant other, "It is, what it is." She's said that often, never once with any real sincerity of belief. What is real, proves too much for the others in our lives, sometimes. It's easier for some, to insist on living in a dream.
This is, the nature of the illness we live with. The symptoms go beyond ourselves, and include social dysfunction and relationship symptoms. Are these symptoms of social challenge treatable? Of course they are.
However in order to treat the symptoms of social dysfunction, we need all involved to be willing to face the truth of the illness, to abandon all fear. We need family therapy, with both parties willing to accept a need to perhaps learn (with objective help) how to communicate through the symptoms, if any relationship is to survive.
We who live with trauma as our excuse, forget that all significant relationships go through this (psychological injury in the home or otherwise). With the illness as the reason, it's easier to give up, and simply walk away.
For relationships to survive, we need objective professionals to explain what it all really means. Otherwise, the others in our life (those who truly want to remain in our life) will continually misinterpret our symptoms, and our symptoms will activate their own. When this happens, through very troubled emotions (emotions not trustworthy in the least to act as any sort of trusted guide) we will follow the lead of our thinking into making decisions of self-defense-fear driving us to take hold of a life that we feel we've somehow lost.
If honest, truthful, and if we are willing to look deeply enough, we discover a heart-wrenching truth. We haven't ever in our lives, lived a life that belonged only to ourselves.
We've all in this generation of adult, bought into a game of life as it was dictated to us. Up until injury entered our space, the old ways we'd learned to relate to a partner (taught to us through often dysfunctional childhoods) sufficed. What we learned, growing up, is totally inadequate to aid us through the ups-and-downs of a life with the injury of trauma in relationships.
This injury and resulting PTSD doesn't have room for dysfunctional ways. It forces us to fully grow-up, because we realize that only 'we' can work this through. Life, belongs only to us, individually and with each other. If we've learned that our partner is responsible for how we feel? We'll find ourselves disappointed, over and over again, as the symptoms in our partner continue to make us 'feel bad'. We suffer, often, so unnecessarily.
The brain is the most complex organ in the human body. It houses every bite of information we've ever sensed through every experience in our lives. Fear rests heavily in damaged hearts and minds, and that fear will drive the human brain in only one direction-towards finding answers for the suffering.
What we fail to accept, when relationships go wrong, is that it is the human brain itself spilling into our physical being all the chemistry of the emotional pain we feel. The brain seeks answers, and with trauma in the home and symptoms of disconnect, the injured party can so easily become the target of our own suffering, the reason we find for why it is we feel so bad.
It's very easy for a family to fall into a pattern of blaming the person with PTSD for any emotional upset in the home. We forget, through our joint struggle, that some of what we are living through is really quite normal in human life. Forgetting this, we can all fall victim to pathologizing any typical relationship issues inappropriately. The condition can't be the scapegoat for all of our relationship woes.
This is the drama of trauma in relationship, acting out it's own part in each and every act of the play.
We tell ourselves, "If I can get out of this relationship, get 'that' out of my space, I'll be whole again." We forget, however, we've never been whole and we don't understand that the story the brain is granting us as the answer for our pain, is a false-myth we're creating, an absolute lie.
Trauma, forces each partner in the family to grow up, to become a functioning adult. We run away, over and over again, from the threat that is really chasing after our being. The real and present danger is the threat to childhood, the threat of accepting life as a fully functioning, and in charge of ourselves adult.
The threat we perceive in the symptoms of trauma, that the brain has accused as the cause of all our pain, is simply asking us to abandon completely all our old and dysfunctional patterns and ways. Once we've run, after some time feeling the false emotions of a false resolution? We find ourselves alone, without another around us to hold accountable for the way we continue to still feel.
Unless, of course, we find the next relationship in line-the one true love that fairy-tales taught us about through all of their empty promises and outright lies.
Could it be different than this? Can family therapy assist us through a transition of acceptance? Can objective education help the significant others in our lives choose to continue to be a family?
Absolutely. But as it is in all relationships, the closest relationships in life, it takes everyone involved to be willing to make any sort of change. The one with the trauma inside, can't ever be expected to do all the work of change, solo.
Before moving on, I'd like to share a response to my previous post on Darwin and the confounding struggle we have as humans to reconcile positions of evolution with any sense of faith. The comment shared, was this:
"I was following your well written (piece) and agreeing strongly until you called atheism a religion. An atheist is a person, like myself, who is a non-believer in the existence of gods or other supernatural beings or forces. I don.t believe in her because there is no evidence for her existence. To refuse to have faith in something because there is no empirical data is not a religion, but science. As an atheist, I must admit that the evidence against her existence is not conclusive, however it can be shown that the probability is minuscule. To believe in a religion you must have faith (be certain) that some things are true without or against evidence. It.s true that some non-believers try to convince others of the need to base decisions, especially those that affect others empirically. If this could be done, we might be able to reduce unnecessary consumption. war, inequality, and possibly preserve this planet, which empirically is necessary for our existence. Regardless of its gender, this imaginary being will not save us. The beliefs of others are critically important to our well being and survival. This dialog is not trivial, but essential."
"What then, is Atheism, if not a faith? A better choice of words is 'movement'. Both sides in the debate, wish to validate belief in the position each side takes. And, yes, there remains no empirical evidence to support the existence of God, unless of course history one day (one day) delivers solid evidence that the words written and included in texts we refer to as scriptures, prove to hold water. Experience for me is the highest authority, as shared into my own life by Carl Rodgers. I won't try to explain or to defend what I've experienced. I have no proof to offer that God exists. I have experience of relationship (inner-relationship) with a power greater than myself-and it matters not to me, any longer in life, that this relationship has proof. What I've learned of God, can't be explained, because it belongs only to me. I'll only share this one sliver. I've suffered tremendous loss in life. Once a care-giver and paramedic, I witnessed far too much human suffering. My psyche, completely shattered. All I thought was 'truth' fractured under the tyranny that became my own mind. I no longer have faith, at all, in humans. Though hard-wired for both survival, and for compassion-our world is constructed by the powerful-and the information available to the tired, lazy masses, now void of ability to think for ourselves, is so contrived and controlled. I've lost all trusted friendships. All once trusted family. All faith in the system we live under. Even our history in North America, is written with little truth. Ask our Indigenous Peoples how much pride we should feel for our countries (Canada and the U.S.A.) knowing that the truth is one of genocide, theft, lies, cheats and (yes) a Christian Church, bent on beating the Indigenous out of human beings-and sanctifying every effort and every murder of every soul, with a bible in hand. I no longer hold any reverence for Government, or for Religion (in any form). With all the loss, with all the change of face of so many in my life towards me over now ten years, finding my way back to the world: the only face that did not change (my belief of a face) was God's. I've not found any reason to abandon knowing that I am a spirit, and fully understand, I am biological meat. Personally, just for me, no other man need seek this, find this, or care to support or argue against this position: Like another virtual mentor I've found along the way, Carl Jung shared with me in his left behind work-when asked if he believed in God-"I know God. Belief, is for children. I know God. I know." (paraphrased). Religion is a monster, like all human institutions have shown themselves to be, to me, through my suffering and healing. Thanks for chiming in on the article. I respect your position. I agree, no proof of God exists. For me, now in life-without the face and presence of God in my own being, there really wouldn't be anything left to live for. Be Well."
For the other in my life, I need to add this. It takes, objective, professional help to guide a family (or an individual) towards a new place, once trauma invades the sacred space. Of this, today I'm certain-there is no other way.
I love my other.
More than any empty words can say.
A love like this, comes only once in a lifetime.
Only once-at least in the fairy-tale I too longed to believe.
May your journey be filled with growth.
Be well and God bless.
A final quote, from Joseph Campbell:
“Furthermore, we have not even to risk the adventure alone, for the heroes of all time have gone before us. The labyrinth is thoroughly known. We have only to follow the thread of the hero path, and where we had thought to find an abomination, we shall find a god. And where we had thought to slay another, we shall slay ourselves. Where we had thought to travel outward, we will come to the center of our own existence. And where we had thought to be alone, we will be with all the world."
~ Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces
Charles Darwin in his work The Descent of Man (1871), used a phrase to voice his theory of human evolution: Descent With Modification. Darwin's theory established that human traits are passed down through generations, are modified over time, and that these changes are produced either through natural selection, or with mutations in DNA.
Natural selection 'is the gradual process by which heritable biological traits become either more or less common in a population as a function of the effect of inherited traits on the differential reproductive success of organisms interacting with their environment. It is a key mechanism of evolution'. ~ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_selection
Gene Mutation, 'is a permanent alteration in the DNA sequence that makes up a gene, such that the sequence differs from what is found in most people. Mutations range in size; they can affect anywhere from a single DNA building block (base pair) to a large segment of a chromosome that includes multiple genes'. ~ http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/handbook/mutationsanddisorders/genemutation
Darwin's theory was revolutionary in his time, and continues as a source of confrontation today against the views of science. Specifically, proponents of biblical accounts of creation in Judea-Christian traditions hold strong opinions against any principles of evolution. The debate remains active nearly 150 years since The Descent of Man was first published.
It's interesting to note that science doesn't pursue to debate against creationism. Rather, it is creationists that work to discredit principles of evolution, and who insist on attacking science in doing so. Creationists generally support a view of human development that comes from a historical interpretation of the Holy Bible, and argue vehemently against the views understood in science.
For Christians in particular, principles of evolution assault much of the literal interpretations of human history celebrated in the tradition. Although science does not seek to dismantle the creationist argument directly, some use arguments supporting evolution to dismantle creationist views out of a duty to represent their own proposed faith, the faith of Atheism. The debate against creationist views has strong support in the community, where disagreement is stressed as vehemently as from those supporting views of creationism in the religious camp.
It's evident that the disagreement that began in Darwin's day continues on in the world. A colorful debate in which to hear both an atheist and Christian worldview is shared in an exchange of insightful positions on political arguments (including evolution) is found in the YouTube video titled, Hitchens vs. Hitchens.
It is a debate between two brothers, One that reflects well the societal discussion still active between creationists and atheists today. The discussion is reminiscent of the sibling rivalry displayed between brothers Cain and Abel in biblical times.
With now nearly 150 years gone by since Charles Darwin first presented to us his seminal work, we continue as humans to be at odds in representing the truth of our origins. The debate lingers and divides us, as many other such issues tend to do.
Perhaps we can never find resolution among us. Perhaps such an argument can only be settled (if she proves in time to actually exist) by God, Herself. Personally, I think we're long overdue, in bringing a total end to such debate. As we struggle as humans with issues relative to our evolutionary transition towards globalization and rising risk of extinction, it would seem we have much more pressing things to discuss.
Issues of hunger plague humanity. Global warming is on our plate. Overpopulation stands to risk our very survival. The population is stricken with issues of psychological trauma, lying at the root of many of the social problems we currently share.
Should God exist, I'm certain God would be quite happy with us all, should we choose to end the creation/evolution debate. Choosing to do so, might well ultimately empower collective humanity, to get on with the resolution of all these far more pressing and current issues at hand.
Atheism, Wikipedia, 2015: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atheism
Charles Darwin, Biography, 2015: http://www.biography.com/people/charles-darwin-9266433
Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man & Selection in Relation to Sex, 1871: http://infidels.org/library/historical/charles_darwin/descent_of_man/
Gene Mutation, Genetics Home Reference: What is Gene Mutation & How do Mutations Occur, 2015: http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/handbook/mutationsanddisorders/genemutation
Heather Scoville, Descent with Modification, 2015: http://evolution.about.com/od/Evolution-Glossary/g/Descent-With-Modification.htm
Hitchens vs. Hitchens, YouTube Video, 2013: https://youtu.be/hjuS6gkkfp0
Holy Bible, Creation Story, The Bible Gateway, 2015: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+1&version=GNT
Holy Bible, Cain & Abel, The Bible Gateway, 2015: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+4
Natural Selection, Wikipedia, 2015: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_selection
Hitchens vs Hitchens
There are two things we're encouraged never to discuss: politics and religion. Though not one to shy away from either topic, many times I've wished I'd not battled with others over positions of governance, or faith. Let's hope in sharing this point-of-view, I don't find myself with my tongue nailed and body burned at the stake. Consider Giordano Bruno who met with such a fate back in 1600. This was the response from the Christian church in his day. Matters of such heresy (as some readers may suppose I'm up to in this piece) often meet with public displays of grotesque punishment.
What's at the root of religious discord in human life? We're left with little choice but to discuss such things today. With proclaimed connection to terrorism, for instance, the entire faith of Islam is increasingly under attack in many nations. Christianity too. The Jews, have suffered more than their share of abuse. In the case of Muslims, take a look at a workplace situation rising in the country of France.
A recent article in The Local reports that office-conflict due to religious differences is on the rise in the country. The article quotes information from a study published by the Observatory for Religion in the Workplace, stating that religious conflict has 'doubled in the past year'. What is the source of the religious disagreement?
Muslim women and religious dress. The scarf and veil covering the face of Muslim women, the niqab, is proving the source of much of this workplace religious strife. Nationally, France banned the wearing of the niqab in public places in 2010. Religious symbols of any kind have been banned in schools in France since 2004, a professed secular society (the article states).
Such conflict is no doubt in response still to the events of 9-11 and resulting escalation of Middle-East conflict. Entire nations defending from the 9-11 insult are steadfast in keeping Muslim religious attire out of the public space; it seems as some form of continued retribution. We've all sensed a rise in the debate of such issues since terrorism first struck the U.S. Centering out Muslims from within the boundaries of otherwise culturally diverse nations seems all the rage these days, whether individuals of the faith are part of a radical terrorist sect or otherwise.
In Canada, as well. Here, female Muslim immigrants to Canada insist on wearing the niqab during citizenship ceremony. The government will have none of that. The current Prime Minister, seeking re-election, insists that these women are offensively covering their identity. Obviously, Mr. Harper uses the issue as an opportunity to garner votes. There are private means to ensure the identity of an applicant for citizenship in Canada, when issues of faith and dress arise. Such means have previously been exercised in many such cases without conflict, according to an editorial in the Chronicle Herald.
Muslims argue the issue in both situations as discriminatory. In both the workplace issues discussed in the article relative to France, and in the citizenship stance of the Canadians, perhaps something deeper is going on. Something as humans, we are frankly not honest enough with ourselves to profess.
The position against the dawning of the niqab doesn't make sense in any democracy professing high-value on the importance of defending fundamental human rights. We insist in countries of democracy that all mankindholds individual right to religious faith. Any expression of faith comes with rites of attire and certain rituals. To stand against a Muslim woman practicing her faith, stands against the very freedom of religion most democratic nations proclaim. Insisting on a position against the wearing of the niqab (or, hijab) creates a serious contradiction in terms of the values professed in any democracy.
That French society would see such a rise in religious-based discrimination and alleged harassment (doubling in as short a span as a year, according to the article) is no surprise. The Charlie Hebdo incident in the country certainly hasn't brought any sympathy towards a Muslim cause. In response to alleged discrimination, Muslim woman, insisting on religious freedom, are standing in an already developed position of psychological self-defense related to the events of 9-11, the resulting war, and in France to the Charlie Hebdoshootings as well.
Why do humans do such things, as this? First of all, why would Muslim women insist on wearing the niqab in the workplace or citizenship ceremony? Why would the leader of a nation insist that it is offensive to Canadians she wear one, and thereby contradict the right to religious freedom exercised in a democracy? Why would humans choose to battle one-another on religious grounds, evoking terrorism and inciting retaliatory battles to do so, murdering others in God's Name is absolutely senseless.
To understand the root cause of why humans create issues over such things, consider the following proposal: It is the human need for structures of hierarchy, and power-assertion among primates that is the root cause of all such human disagreement & religious discord.
We are primates, human-animals, after-all. Like other animals we practice dominance and accept subservience across-the-board in human life. This is how human societies function, and this is the way it's always been. We live with few true leaders, and a multitude of followers. Some argue standing against our fellow man on religious grounds is simply part of our nature. Standing in favour of our own beliefs (over the beliefs of another) is a form of personal, psychological self-defense.
To support this position, I refer readers to the work of Dr. Robert Sapolsky of Stanford University, and the documentary Stress: Portrait of a Killer produced by National Geographic. Though far from a religious discourse, the film is enlightening in terms of understanding primate social behaviour and the similarities between the lives of humans (at work) and our primate cousins.
Social Identity Theory suggests we use religion to propose to ourselves (psychologically) how much better or stronger we may be over someone else. Having God on Our Side, how much stronger could we get, than this? Race, religion, gender, or any other such labelled affiliation-any ammunition we can find to ensure our place in the human-primate troop, we'll use psychologically to keep that place. Therefore, any such conflict as discussed in the French and Canadian articles has likely nothing to do with religion at all.
Religious conflict among humans is inevitable, given our need to find as dominant a position in the hierarchy of human-life as we can. Psychologically, we need to establish where we fit in the human pecking-order of things. It's by learning to do so (in a somewhat twisted sense) that we can survive and maintain acceptance (individually) in our day-to-day lives with others in the human-troop. Siding with others bent over issues of religious attire, keeps us in the good-book with our fellow workers and others within our nation. Siding with others who subscribe to our religious faith, offers us parallel acceptance. When the leader of a nation takes such a position against religious-attire as discussed in the referenced articles on our behalf, so much the better. He's made a decision for us to follow and we are therefore not required to make any such decision for ourselves. We simply choose to follow the leader to keep our own place.
I suspect, it's this same need that drives any human-affiliation with terrorist groups today, bringing such a bad-name to the Muslim faith.
Limiting the discussion to Christianity and Islam, each claims to be: The Religion. The One and only True Faith. We use this position (both consciously, and unconsciously) as psychological ammunition to view ourselves as higher-in-order, considering ourselves animals of course, pushing all references to spiritual humanity aside.
We all exercise these behaviours in family, community, state, nation and ultimately the world. To empathize with this position, all one need do is reflect upon our own experience living with trauma and stigmatization to appreciate how psychologically devastating it is when we find ourselves tossed out and rejected in human society.
Perhaps this oversimplifies human behaviour. But, I think we all can relate: If we can't be the dominant monkey in the crowd, we certainly want to ensure we aren't cast out?
The answer for what lies at the root of religious discord just may be, as simple as that.
Injustice Over the Hijab, The Chronicle Herald Editorial, Online: May 3, 2015. http://thechronicleherald.ca/editorials/1272427-editorial-injustice-over-a-hijab?from=most_read&most...
Religious Conflict On The Rise in French Workplaces, The Local, Online: April 24, 2015. http://www.thelocal.fr/20150424/religious-conflict-on-rise-in-french-workplace
Stress, Portrait of A Killer: National Geographic, 2008. (Background for position on human/primate hierarchy). http://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B001D7T460?adid=0BK4N6JT1JQNH0HBDQXC&camp=213385&creative=390985&cre...
Adam Waytz, The Psychology of Social Status, Scientific American: 2009. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-psychology-of-social/
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