The Man Who Forgot He Doesn’t Exist

Dissociative Identity Disorder is a childhood-onset trauma symptom induced by an overwhelming confrontation with human evil before the brain can create a functional mind.

When my psychiatrist diagnosed DID in 2009, I was already too symptomatic to work. I had no interest in social media, but I compulsively staged virtual photoshoots in Second Life and posted those photos to my Flickr stream.

‘The Man Who Forgot He Doesn’t Exist‘ is an example of the images I staged and posted.

I still feel like a man who doesn’t exist.

With therapy, I  eventually understood that I used my avatars the way a child uses dolls when asked to describe an assault for which there are no words.

Most people are unable to comprehend a person whose different emotional states and memories emerge as separate people with different names, genders, and world views.

It’s easy to dismiss these confusing and unsettling expressions of the mind as attention-seeking irresponsibility.

This short film, ‘Inside,’ is a weirdly accurate illustration of how it feels to be an ‘us’– minus the atmospheric asylum.

A primary goal of psychotherapy is getting everyone ‘inside’ to agree.

I’m not there yet.

M. Scott Peck, the psychiatrist who authored ‘The Road Less Traveled,’ described evil as “militant ignorance.”

I wonder if militant denial is a form of evil.

In “People of the Lie: The Hope for Healing Human Evil, ” Peck describes narcissism as a type of evil.

I see no difference between the individual narcissist and the cultist tribal communities that plague American culture.

The most horrific aspect of child abuse is that it often takes place in an institution or a community that doesn’t care or doesn’t want to bother. Hence, the adults blame the child if he reveals the abuse or the abuse becomes too apparent to ignore.

The best recent example of institutional abuse is Donald Trump’s detention camps, where children are separated from their families and treated like criminals.

How does a four-year-old escape the horror of a world that feels like a death trap?

A person with DID was a child whose mind shattered under the stress of life in an all-pervasive culture of evil from which there was no escape.

Recovery from DID and C-PTSD involves a never-ending cycle of accepting the damage, managing the symptoms, and healing what I can.

For me, healing means bearing witness to the evil, naming it, and working for change.

I want us to unite to make our world safe for children.  I want us to protect them from evil.

Children do not choose to live in hunger and pain.

Art by Rob Goldstein

 

According to Peck, an evil person lies to himself to prop up an image of perfection.

They also;

  • Deceive others as a consequence of their lies
  • Project his or her evils and sins onto particular targets (scapegoats) while being reasonable with everyone else.
  • Commonly hates with the pretense of love
  • Abuses political and (emotional) power (“the imposition of one’s will upon others by overt or covert coercion”)
  • Maintains respectability based on lies.
  • Is consistent in his or her sins. Evil persons are characterized not so much by the magnitude of their sins, but by their consistency (of destructiveness)
  • Is unable to think from the viewpoint of their victim (scapegoat)
  • Has a covert intolerance to criticism and other forms of narcissistic injury
  • According to Peck, evil people realize the wickedness deep within themselves, but are unable to tolerate the pain of introspection, or admit to themselves that they are evil.

Evil thrives on denial.

 

I’m revising some of my posts from 2015.

‘The Man Who Forgot He Doesn’t Exist’ was first posted in 2015,

I’ve kept the theme but completely revised the post.

I don’t know if I should make a new post but it seems practical to
keep the original.

What are your thoughts?

(c)Rob Goldstein 2015-revised 2020

 

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Trump’s Torture Monkeys

‘Torture Monkeys’ prey on pain.

The U.N. defines torture as follows:

“Torture is any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.”

Trump and his enablers torture us with corruption, disease and economic calamity.

Becoming numb to it is normal, but it prevents us from acting to defend ourselves.

The narcissist wants us to normalize abuse and suffering, to accept it as a
‘new normal’ but that only leads to more suffering and pain.

In cases of domestic violence, the first step in ending the torture of abuse is saying no.

The news clips below date to the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic starting with the news of today.

100 days in isolation because your President chose to let his people die is torture.

Watching a parent or a child die because our President is morally deranged is torture.

Watching your President ridicule the government’s best people because they are not corrupt is torture.

Yesterday,  Trump and his Republican Torture Monkeys succeeded in their weeks-long crusade to spread Covid-19 to kill more people and drive us into more calamity and isolation.

Friday saw the highest single-day total for coronavirus cases in the U.S., with more than 43,000 new infections. Those numbers are worse than the pandemic’s previous daily peaks. And that’s leading to fears that hospitals in Texas and Florida could soon resemble New York’s during the worst days of its outbreak.

The New York Times reports that U.S. intelligence told Donald Trump in March that Russia was paying bounties to Taliban fighters to kill coalition troops, including U.S. troops. Trump has done nothing about it and instead advocated for Russia’s return to the G8

 

This is what American carnage looks like.

President Trump’s reluctance to endorse wearing masks to prevent Covid spread has inspired a nation of maskless culture warriors who are putting everyone’s health at risk, including the President’s own Secret Service detail.

CNN’s Fareed Zakaria says the system of checks and balances in the US government is only effective if other leaders speak out and act when they see blatant abuses of power.

Chaos is Trump’s plan and chaos will worsen between now and the election. Expect Trump to cower in the chaos, delight in the discord and prey on your pain.

There is no real plan coming from the White House. Instead every night, carried on this network and others, there’s a two-hour pathological, narcissistic propaganda show in which the president feels some fleeting sense of satisfaction because people are watching.

“America is acting like a failed state”

“So supposing we hit the body with a tremendous, whether it’s ultraviolet or just very powerful light. And I think you said that hasn’t been checked but you’re going to test it. Then I said supposing you brought the light inside the body, which you could do, either through the skin or some other way and I think you said you were going to test that, too. Sounds interesting. Then I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in a minute, one minute. Is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside, or almost a cleaning because you see it gets on the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs. So it will be interesting to check that. That you’re gonna have to use medical doctors. But it sounds interesting to me.”

Former Health and Human Services secretary and Kansas governor Kathleen Sebelius discusses the White House’s “very troubling” suppression of the Center for Disease Control’s 68-page reopening guide.»

Donald Trump has lashed out at Democrats who have questioned his handling of the coronavirus threat, calling it their new “hoax”.

Donald Trump is the President of the United States.

His decision to politicize wearing a mask to prevent the spread of disease, and his sabotage of successful measures adopted by states like California and New York, wasted months of isolation and the expense of living in isolation and caused the deaths of over 128,089 Americans.

128,108 Americans dead from neglect.

Now we find out that Trump knew months ago that Russia is offering bounties to Taliban fighters to kill U.S. troops, and he did nothing to protect them.

The Trump Administration is torture.

 

Updated July 1, 2020, to add these two videos:

Charlie Savage joins Andrea Mitchell to discuss his new reporting in the New York Times that American officials intercepted data showing large financial transfers between Russian intelligence and Taliban-linked accounts.

It now appears that Trump received written intelligence about this in early 2019 – but did not act on it. The White House claims that Trump knew nothing about it until stories about the alleged Russian plot made the news.

Header image,  ‘Torture Monkeys’ (c) Rob Goldstein 2014-2020

This was originally posted in 2015 as an image only post, ‘Torture Monkeys’. I
was going to delete it but wrote this instead.

This relationship is killing us

When we elect a President, we expect him to treat his power with humility and respect.

We expect him to be an American President.

What we have is a selfish gaslighting narcissist whose only obsession is staying in power.

Perhaps Trump saw the demographic of who was dying and decided to use Covid19 to purge voter rolls.

April 7, 2020, According to new data about the scope of the Coronavirus pandemic in the U.S., COVID-19 is hitting Americans of color especially hard. The CDC has not published racial breakdowns of deaths, but some states are — and they show that patients dying of the disease are disproportionately Blacks and Latinos.

We know Trump got a heads up about a spreading pandemic in November 2019.

 

April 8, 2020, ABC reports the National Center for Medical Intelligence warned the military and White House about the spread of the virus in China in November 2019.

 

 

The dire warning about an out-of-control disease sweeping through China was detailed in November in a report by the National Center for Medical Intelligence.

 

The oddest sight of the Trump Pandemic was that of an American President inciting an armed rebellion against doctors and nurses and Governors who were doing their jobs.

April 17, 2020, U.S. President Donald Trump tells protestors to ‘liberate’ three Democratic-run states with stay-at-home orders.

The Death toll from Trump’s neglect was 34,614 on the day of this tweet:

Liberate Minnesota
Liberate Minnesota

The President had not only declined to use his power and resources to stop the spread of a lethal virus; he sabotaged the efforts of State and Local governments by politicizing a matter of science.

So here we are, Monday, June 22, 2020, day 90 or more of quarantine.

June 22, 2020, day 90 or more of quarantine.
On June 22, 2020, day 90 or more of quarantine.

Our President just told us he’s killing us on purpose.


“In a shocking admission during his Tulsa, Oklahoma, rally on Saturday night, President Donald Trump said he had told officials in his administration to slow down coronavirus testing because of the rising number of cases in America.” CNN

It’s not a joke.

The President of the United States intentionally slowed down testing to reduce the numbers to create a false argument to reopen the economy.

We still don’t know who or where the sick are or how many people have died.

The idea that the strong protect the weak is the defining moral premise of who we are as Americans.

If you have a gift, a power, and you can use it to save just one life, you have a moral obligation to use it.

It is a code of honor at the core of our identity as a people.

Photograph of a sign at the 2019 Women's March in San Francisco
The American Mission Statement

Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Emma Lazarus.

Or

“When you can do the things that I can, but you don’t, and then the bad things happen, they happen because of you.” Peter Parker

What does it mean to have an American President who has no sense of common decency?

If I were married to the guy, I’d leave and get a restraining order, but it’s worse: the guy is the President. So I’m more like a hostage of a sadistically abusive Father I didn’t choose and can’t leave. There is nowhere to go to; he’s here, every day, with his racist lies and his threats to incite violence, every day, day, after day, after day.

May 31, 2020

June 22, 2020

Update: from The Lincoln Project

 

Photo of “The American Mission Statement” (c) Rob Goldstein 2020
Photo of ‘You’re on my toe” by Eclaire Banderstatch (c) Rob Goldstein 2020

 

 

Trauma in a Culture of Abuse

In late November, I planned a short break from my blog to focus on Trump’s Impeachment.

I listened in shock as witnesses like Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch testified to crimes that included threats on her life.

Screenshot_2020-05-21 Marie Yovanovitch calls Trump's disparaging tweet 'intimidating'

After the House impeached Trump for extortion, I watched in horror as elected Republican officials used their positions, and media access to spread the smear Trump demanded of the President of Ukraine.

Republican Senator threatens to impeach Joe Biden
I felt personally betrayed when the Republican Senate voted to acquit Trump without hearing witnesses.

I went numb with fear and shut down.

When faced with life-threatening circumstances, most mammals shut down and play dead and hope the predator will go away.

I felt like a five-year-old trapped in a community of violent and corrupt adults. I shut down. Threatened children must not be seen or heard.

CPTSD  and Institutional Betrayal

C-PTSD is a cluster of symptoms caused by chronic childhood trauma such as physical assault, sexual assault, food deprivation, sleep deprivation, and threats of violence and death.  People with C-PTSD often suffer from feelings of betrayal, defeat, and shame.

“Instead of a single traumatic event leading to mental and emotional symptoms, complex PTSD is believed to be caused by chronic or prolonged exposure to traumatic experiences. “It’s the concentration camp, the person in a bomb shelter in Syria, the soldier in war or child suffering sexual or physical abuse. It’s happening to you, or you’re witnessing it,” says Dr. Robert Shulman, associate chair of psychiatry at Rush University Medical Center.” US News and World Report

As a child, I felt hopeless as the neighbors and social services that should have stopped my Mother’s abuse did nothing or became part of it.

‘Betrayal Trauma’ is the systematic abuse by a parent, a trusted leader, or an institutional authority figure, like the President and his government.

Institutional betrayal is potent because it represents a profound and fundamental violation of trust in a necessary dependency relationship. In that sense, it is similar to abuse in close relationships – it can be more harmful than abuse by a stranger. The breach of trust, unreciprocated loyalty, and exposure to retaliation are like a knife in the back. The Wiley Online Library

Recovery is finding the will to believe that life is more than a savage facade of well-mannered hypocrisy and hate.

The Shutdown

Stay Home
Photo by Polina Zimmerman on Pexels.com

I was in the aftermath of lingering flu when the pandemic and shutdowns began; my partner was away, taking care of his Mother.

I’ve spent the shutdown in isolation, triggered, and regressed to the darkest years of my childhood.

I’ve watched the President of the United States murder his citizens and gaslight us into accepting it.

A week in late November became an agony of months.

Writing this,  I found a recent essay at @CNN by

He writes about a world of people who are afraid to touch each other and how it feels to lose the lives we took for granted: life before the trauma of betrayal:

“Do you remember who you used to be? Before you were told that anyone could kill you? Before you were conditioned to avoid people the way you might avoid malignant obstacles in a video game? Before your brain rewired itself toward a continual search for the proper angle of evasion, the likely field of airborne dispersion, the space least contaminated by human touch?”

All this fear will have lasting consequences. We cannot know what they will be. Last Sunday, we had a visitor, a friend I’d known since childhood. Jessica knew and loved all our children, especially the youngest. Jessica got out of the car and sat on our front steps. We walked outside and stood at a safe distance. The 2-year-old ran toward her. Jessica told her to stay back.
“And she looked at me with the saddest eyes ever,” Jessica told me later. “And that broke my heart.”
It hurts to be treated like a monster.

How it feels to live in fear of each other

There isn’t a rape victim, an abused child, an unjustly imprisoned migrant, a hungry vet, or a homeless schizophrenic who doesn’t know how it hurts to be treated like a monster.

There isn’t an LGBTQ person on this planet who doesn’t know how badly it hurts.

There isn’t a parent who loses a child in a school shooting who doesn’t know
how badly it hurts.

We are a nation of traumatized survivors.

Can we stop the abuse, accept that it happened, and heal?

As I emerge from the ‘freeze,’ I can return to the blog.

Loyal Americans placed their lives and reputations on the line to warn us that we are under attack and on our own; we don’t have to be Agents of Shield to learn a few basic principles of psychological warfare.

People are hurting in different ways, and we’ve had a rough five months.

I hope everyone is coping and staying as healthy as possible.

I look forward to catching up with your blogs.

I also look forward to hearing about how you’re coping.

Update May 23: The focus of Art by Rob Goldstein for the next 164 days is pro-democracy essays and art and articles from advocacy groups like #DemCast.

Screenshot_2020-05-23 Flip The Senate 2020 - DemCast
Graphic by Cris Palomino

 

Screenshot_2020-05-23 Opinion America’s True Covid Toll Already Exceeds 100,000

You can also find this post on #DemCast

(c) Rob Goldstein, May 21, 2020

This post is dedicated to my friend Scott Bader, who reminded me of why I write.  Thanks, Scott

#WordlessWednesday: Soliloquy

I’m going to level up with my blogging buddies. First, thank you to the people who read Art by Rob Goldstein. You are my teachers and friends, and I am grateful to you.

I have lived alone and in quarantine for almost five months as our President weaponizes COVID19 and divides our nation. I’m stressed and afraid, and this feels like it is never going to end.

Our press and political leaders behave as if we are the powerless victims of a king over whom the law has no authority.

None of it makes sense. I don’t understand why we can’t arrest and remove a criminal president who threatens our nation and our lives.

It looks to me as if Trump and his Republicans are killing us on purpose. Am I right, or is this paranoia?

This confusion and anxiety are intolerable. I am continually dissociating and losing time.

For my health, I have to take another break.

I’m not fond of frequent breaks, but I can’t focus for more than a few minutes at a time.

I’ll be back shortly.

Comments on this post are disabled.

Rob Goldstein 2020

The Header photo is a from a series of Images from ‘Memories of Market Street.’

the silence

House of Heart

Wiping a tear from our eye
a sympathetic smile
no need to apologize
no time for  paperwork.
Scribbled notes mark the
time and day.
The dead are silent.
Mourners grieve behind closed doors.
It is not my demise nor yours.
We shake our heads and snuff our cigarettes
dig through our closets for the flag.

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