Trauma: A Confrontation with Human Evil

Art by Rob Goldstein
Black and Blue


Why am always so triggered by my environment and the politics
of my country?

Why do I care so deeply?

I never discuss my learning disabilities nor do I discuss where
I went to school or how.

I am dyslexic with numbers.

I don’t know my right hand from my left.

Some of it is the result of neurological damage.

I was beaten by my classmates as their parents
cheered them on when I tried to go to school.

My first memory of dissociating was when I was under a pile of boys.

I crawled into my mind and went numb.

There is nothing more painful or confusing to a child
than being hated for being born.

Art by Rob Goldstein
A child under arrest in the Warsaw Ghetto

The beatings began when I was six.

My neighbors and my teachers were anti-Semitic.

I was that little Jew boy.

That kike.

A protector emerged when I was in seventh grade.

My social studies teacher called me a little kike and the protector came out.

He stood and gathered my books.

He marched to the front of the class and threw my books
at the teacher.

With each book he threw he called her a name




I left school that day and didn’t go back.

Later I went to an experimental community college.

It was a federally funded Great Society program.

I got a GED.

I often wonder why I’m still alive.

Why am I still here?

I’m the Rob that thinks.

I’ve seen trauma described as an overwhelming confrontation
with human evil.

Is evil a construction of the mind?

My Mother was abusive but most of the damage was done
by the anti-Semitic hate crimes that I suffered when I went
to school.

The terror was systematic and daily.

Terror is designed to impose limits
on the mind.

It erodes your sense of safety and when the terror
is accepted as normal by the community it also erodes
your sense of reality.

People who incite terror commit murder without being
at the scene of the crime.

The school I went to in Charleston was named after a racist
who incited lynch mobs.

A good terrorist makes terror a part of everyday life.

You do this by convincing everyone else that the target isn’t human.

You make him a thing.

That kike.

That welfare queen.

That fag.

The beatings eventually worked.

I stopped going to school.

There is nothing more painful or confusing to a person than being hated
for being born.

Last June nine African-Americans are gunned down in their Church and this June 53 people are gunned down in a gay dance club.

I am sick with disgust over the killings in Orlando.

These don’t look like random hits to me.

These shooters think that what they are doing is brave and normal.

These shooters think that they are dying or going to prison for a cause.

These shooters are acting on orders.

These killings have a context and we won’t make them stop until we objectively see that context and stop enabling evil.

Or am I deceived my illness?




68 thoughts on “Trauma: A Confrontation with Human Evil

  1. “It erodes your sense of safety and when the terror
    is accepted as normal by the community it also erodes
    your sense of reality.”

    The one thing I hate the most about my life sometimes…that what I KNOW is/was my reality is often looked upon as normal when actually it is not…it is trauma, abuse, hate, selfishness, and wrong.

    A lot of truth in here. Thank you for sharing. I am so sorry for the hate and abuse you have endured as well. Horrible.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I sometimes wonder how I will be able to cope with the direction our land is heading. I hear you, your words were courageous and truthful. From one who suffered daily at home and at a private school who catered to my abusers Catholic importance, I know what you speak of. May you see the truth of your worth in the midst of surrounding lies.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I resonate with a lot of what you said. I also have a heightened sensitivity to hate crimes, politics and violence stemming I think from my abusive childhood. I’m pained to read about the horrible abuse you had to endure, particularly by the parents who looked on. You always deserved love and tender care and still do. Yours, A.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!

      I appreciate the kindness in your post and will admit that I’d live to have had a different childhood.

      But I’m OK. I think I may be one of the few abused kids from my childhood who survived. I know for a fact that some of them died on the streets.

      They died from their abuse in a culture of abuse.

      And this is why I write this kind of post.

      A culture that starves its children, abandons it’s elderly, cuts public education, and refuses to provide medical care as an essential resources is a culture of abuse.

      If we are going to change our political system we must change our hearts and minds.

      Tonight, somewhere in America, a potential genius will try to sleep in a homeless shelter.

      Tomorrow he will wake up and look for food in the gutter with his Mother.

      I want us to free that child.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. “There is nothing more painful or confusing to a child than being hated for being born.”

    Amen. This is a beautiful post, in an “ugly” way. I understand. I connect You are not alone. I may not have grown up with the issue over race/nationality – but the rest of it I recognize all too well. Just know – you are NOT alone.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You are completely right. While I was saved from anti-semitic attacks (at least until I was adult), I was likewise terrorized. I am coming from the same place, I see the same things. Until we stop the incitement…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Your story broke my heart. The brutality of humans against those they deem as something lesser than themselves is appalling. The hatred in their hearts is horrific. Thank you for having the courage to speak out. We each have to fight against it within our own hearts and those of our own children…

    Liked by 1 person

  7. You’re right on target! I am horrified by the abuse you endured, but I am also inspired on a daily basis by your empathy for others. Your continued voice is heard, and your thought provoking posts reach the rest of us. You are an educator, a light for those who may be trying to make their way out of the dark. G-uno

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!

      Let’s use the pain of my childhood to derail the bigots who abuse the children of today. Hunger is child abuse. Poverty is child abuse. Hatred for Muslims abuses the children of Muslims. Hatred for gays abuses children who sense that they are gay…(most gay people will tell you that they were gay as children)…When we can mitigate the pain of a child and choose not to we abuse that child. The United States has more than enough resources to feed and house every child in this country.

      You don’t make children strong by depriving them of their futures.

      Thank you for reading my blog…:)

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Hugh. I think the most frustrating thing about all of this violence is that it seems to be the result of self-imposed ignorance. In most developed countries factual information is available to anyone who is willing to look for it.

      Perhaps this self imposed ignorance is another example of what people call the narcissism of out times.

      Narcissists hate the truth and twist language to conceal it.


  8. You are the “Rob that thinks”…your words. But you are also the Rob that sees, feels and cares. Don’t ever give up your voice, it is so needed. Hugs to you for all the pain you endured, and survived. 💔

    Liked by 2 people

  9. This is absolutely beautiful! Yet so sad. I could relate very much to the pain in this text, even though I have never been in your particular unique situation.
    I am so sorry for the pain you have lived through.. 💜

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. It was terrible and the violence scarred me for life and caused me to repress many of my talents. But my mantra is this: let’s pull the children who suffer today out of the hunger and poverty and violence that we know in our hearts no child deserves.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You are so right, no child should have to suffer through such hardships. I work with troubled and abused children and it is a tragedy everytime, but it feels good when we can try and contribute something. I think your committment and caring about these issues really helps to spread awareness. I am glad to see someone so actively engaged in these matters. And that you speak from personal experience just affects people even more. That is wonderful. I just wish you hadn’t had to go through all that pain. Using our pain to help others can be healing in itself though, or at least that is my experience.
        Thanks for sharing your experiences. 💜

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I think it’s going to turn out that he was toxic with internalized homophobia…although our conservative media is desperate to make this a terrorist event there is also some suggestion that he had untreated bi-polar illness. Much of the violence and misery in the U.S. is self inflicted. I think the Isis connection may be nothing more than a wish. But it’s still hard to know for sure.


    1. Thank you my friend. It is sad that the people who populated my childhood were so ignorant and cruel. Even more sad is that so many people who are just as ignorant and cruel now take up space in Congress. They vote to deprive children of food and housing. They pass legislation that place children in harms way. How can we give power to people who place the possession of assault weapons above the basic needs of our nation’s children? I survived but many children don’t and won’t. My mantra is this: let’s pull the children who suffer today out of the hunger and poverty and violence that we know in our hearts that no child deserves.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. For the longest time I’ve felt as if the people who tortured me when I was a child followed me everywhere I went. I’ve come to realize that the evil isn’t confined to a region. Certainly there are some regions that are more willing to play host to racism and class oppression but this darkness is a part of all of us.

      Thanks Kitt!

      Liked by 1 person

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