The Political is Personal

Art by Rob Goldstein
Down The Memory Hole

I return to my blog today to find that I’ve been on a political tear.

I am the Matt part of Matthew.

I go to therapy and make sure we get help in a crisis.

I write about DID.

The best way to understand this blog is to think of it as a group effort.

It’s really a dozen blogs all mushed up into one.

The part of me that blogs politics freaked out so now I’m back
to try to make sense of why we’re still so switchy and losing so
much time.

I’ve mentioned that I am in EMDR therapy.

In my last session, I approached a memory hole.

A memory hole is a gap in time.

I know something horrible happened but I don’t know what it is.

My memory of the events that lead the gap is clear:

I am five and my Sister is almost two.

Mother takes us to an apartment building in a seedy part of town.

She has left my father.

A man sits on the porch: his testicles hang out of his shorts.

We go down a dark hallway and I see another man through
an open door.

He reads at a kitchen table.

He looks up and flashes a tooth-less grin.

We enter a furnished room.

There is a bed, a couch and a small kitchen with a table and two chairs.

Mother has purchased pots, pans, and other kitchen supplies.

She intends for us to live here.

The next memory is that of waking up on a king sized bed.

My Sister sleeps next to me.

The babysitter is on the couch having sex with her boyfriend.

I know who she is but I don’t know him. It looks like he’s
choking her.

Then, I hear a tap at the window behind the bed.

I look up and see a man’s face.

He has a gun—and nothing.

No memory.

The next morning a social worker from the Jewish Family Services
takes my sister and me to a foster home.

I don’t know why.

I hear a child’s voice in my head say the man killed the babysitter
but I don’t know if that’s true.

Psychotherapy affects every domain of functioning, even for people
who do it for simpler reasons.

Psychotherapy to treat a complex defense mechanism like Dissociative
Identity Disorder can make a person feel like he’s going crazy.

I sense an atmosphere of violence and implied threats in our
national politics and it’s triggering.

It feels like the South of my childhood.

This is part of why I’m so destabilized.

I feel as if I have to tell everyone that we’re in danger but I don’t
know if that’s true.

I do know this:

I’m haunted by the ghosts of armed white people
who flew confederate flags.

And I was in danger.

This is part of the reason I’m losing so much time.

RG 2016



49 thoughts on “The Political is Personal

  1. Dang. I can’t imagine what you were going through. Your words pulled me into what you saw and for that I am thankful. Thank you for sharing your personal with us.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you.

      Life gets difficult when the whole world feels like an angry and abusive community that uses threats of violence to frighten people into submission.

      In my case, there is so much about the Trump campaign that reminds me of the hate and religious hypocrisy that was a normal part of life when I was a child in the South.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. And you’re using your voice to speak out about it. That’s the important thing. His campaign is a joke and I’m wondering where the hell did this country go wrong when even allowing him to get this far. His tactics are horrible and I just can’t wait until November. We’ve got to vote.


    1. There is nothing quite as frightening as a judicial system packed with bigots who don’t prosecute the murders of the ‘other’ and who think nothing of sending innocent people of color to their deaths for crimes they didn’t commit. To Kill A Mockingbird best illustrates this.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I have a new understanding of DID and what happens when you switch. EMRD was suggested to me but something about it sounded weird and yet it brought out what is locked inside. I’m not sure I want to know, I’ve spent years feeling like I’m going crazy.
    Great post and love the graphics.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It creates communication between the two hemispheres of the brain – In DID this sometimes results in better communication between the alternates given that the are mini neuro-networks often located on different halves of the brain.


  3. Hi, Mathew and Rob ? Your memories are violent and horrific. What is happening in the world nd in the U.S.A is worrying. I think deep down a lot of people know just what a state the U.S.A is in. It is so uncertain and I guess to have these feelings are okay. I suppose writing about your opinions and voicing them are a good thing. What is awful is the kind of feelings that the politics are bringing up in you. I am no doctor but those feelings as you probably know are worth exploring int the context of what they mean to you personally and in the context of today and why these feelings feel so strong. Take care. We live in very uncertain times. That is what is scary about all of this for me. I worry about my future, my daughters future, the state of the planet but I can’t fix it by myself. We all need to work together. Work on what we can do one step at a time .Take care. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think my memories are scary for people to read as well.

      I discussed all this in therapy yesterday. Our National politics are so reminiscent of the political environment in which I was raised that some of my alternates think that the year is 1966 and
      they are back in Charleston.

      The most notable similarity is the existence of a news channel that blatantly lies.

      This was so common with the press in Charleston: endless news reports designed to illustrate the immorality of African-Americans, and the sneering descriptions of perverts that needed to be
      ‘swept’ off the streets.

      What bothers me is that when one left the South for other parts of the Country in the 1970’s one also left behind the uniquely Southern system of proud injustice.

      This doesn’t mean that other regions of the U.S. didn’t have problems; but they didn’t have a racist majority that lied in the press and rigged the judicial system to maintain power.

      Mitch McConnell’s strategic refusal to hold confirmation hearings on President Obama’s Supreme Court
      nomination so he can rig the Supreme Court was a political norm in the South of my Childhood.

      Everything about the South of my Childhood was designed to disenfranchise everyone who wasn’t white and Christian.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I understand as much as I can. I had a feeling that whatever you had been watching would trigger – Mathew in this cases personal feelings and reactions to a sitation you found yourselves in that felt similar. Im not scared to hear what you had to say or what any of your alternate personalities has to express. I think it is really important to express them. Doesn’t seem like the world views have changed much. Take care 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Your write so beautifully but more than that, the staggering loneliness of the experience is palpable. Observing these things when you are too young to process the terror and assign it words emanates pathos that later translates into the terror of political monsters that threaten our survival. I feel it.

    A nightmare of mine was generated by the imagery of a Twilight Zone episode in which a man seated in the window aisle saw a freakish monster opening the wing panel and messing with the motor. IN a panic he called the stewardess. Of course the phantom disappeared when she looked out the window He called again when it reappeared only to have the phantom come back and continue his monstrous work. He alone saw it, no one believed him, they try to restrain him as if he was crazy and then the plane crashed. I saw that as a child and the desperation it created in me remains

    That episode haunted my dreams for years. IN the dream I’m crying out to the public, watch out, watch out, and they are putting me in a straight jacket. As a young adult I tried to tell people when we were in a cult church that turned diabolical that something was wrong no one believed me until horrible things happened. That was a life long pattern of not being heard when my spiritual discernment is screaming in terror.

    The experience of sensing danger, of trying to warn people of trying to ask for help and not being believed is probably being very triggered by current politics for trauma survivors that weren’t believed I can’t even say what fears are triggered by Trump’s ascension or how genetic memories of genocides are triggered by the demonic furor he generates in those supposed good people.
    It is the stuff of nightmares and triggers and harrowing scenes of loss and death and trauma arising when I see that trump face everywhere Those “good” people won’t hear and so we must protect ourselves, shield ourselves, feed our spirits beauty and step back from the culture war raging right now. There is a time to be a soldier and a time to step back from the flying shrapnel. Those trump supporters are in a lockstep toward darkness by a meglomaniac and they cannot hear it. Nothing is wrong with you for being horrified you are just paying attention, but protect your beautiful self from harm and step back. I’m doing so.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I know that Twilight Zone episode.

      William Shatner brilliantly played the passenger. That episode really stuck with me.

      Part of any abusive dynamic is the reality that most people don’t want to see it.

      Whether it is a child being abused by a parent or community or the mentally ill that we send to die on the streets. How many of these disabled men and women weep in frustration because they would be well if they could be well. No one seems to have any mercy or even a rudimentary sense of right and wrong.
      We have normalized hate speech to the degree that it is possible for white supremacists to show up at an NAACP office with assault weapons. They unfurl a Confederate Flag, and claim they are not there to provoke hostility. Our press dutifully reports this without noting that this is the first time in over half a century that white racists have felt this empowered to express themselves

      How does it benefit out democracy to have a ‘news’ outlet that reports opinion as news and seems to
      promote an anti-democracy agenda.

      How do we benefit as a democratic people when we allow Fox to get away with the deception that it is
      a news outlet?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It is egregious wrong which is enabled by the silence of the masses. Silence whether born out of indifference, laziness or going on along with the status quo is simplicity. To quote: “We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” – Elie Wiesel

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Silence in the presence of evil is incomprehensible to a child.

        All of the adult persona’s built by my DID brain retain the emotional perceptions of the original child.

        That child is frozen in time.

        I can intellectually process objective reality but am unable to reconcile the cognitive dissonance between what I know and what I expect.

        I said in therapy yesterday, “I don’t understand why they can’t just say what they want! Why can’t they just say, “We want a race war and we will agitate until we get one!”

        My therapist smiled because that was the child speaking.

        The child expects adults to clearly state their intentions.

        The child doesn’t understand how the ‘adults’ on Fox news can let themselves lie..

        All four year olds know that lying is bad and one doesn’t purposely do things that are bad.

        To a four year old, it’s an absolute.

        To a four year old already tuned into the unpredictable violence of his environment, lying always precedes a beating.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. In my world of childhood abuse no one ever said what they meant, or meant what they said. Double speak, gaslighting all manner of lying, manipulation and ever changing minds turn the ground into quicksand. People that read between the lines because of experience know when a tone of voice is taken someone is going to get hurt. Its perception in my opinion, not necessarily being stuck in the mind of a child, but correctly perceiving things are going to be bad. The public that doesn’t hear echoes of Nazi’s in Trump hate speech is tuned out to the truth behind his words. We know too well when evil is afoot. Their eyes are closed, their ears dull of hearing, if they can’t see and hear the evil. (whether its said in words directly or not)

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I understand what you describe. They beat me for my own good, sent me to bed hungry for weeks on end for my own good, sent me to school in filthy clothes without lunch for my own good. Every cruel and unnecessary infliction of pain is always for someone’s own good.

        But the real reason these bastards do it is because it gives them a high to know they have the power to control and end the loves of others.

        The worst narcissists are always the psychopaths who gain power and use it to destroy others.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Yes, I do, I have no idea how that happens i’m new to wordpress so, I’m clueless what button I pushed and when that apparently made me not exist! sigh… I’m try to figure it out…Thanks for letting me know

        Liked by 1 person

      6. I check the help site out. maybe youtube has some instructions too as I’m a visual learner. Thanks for the suggestion!


      7. I meant duplicity not simplicity regarding the enabling of evil by silence of the so called good people But are they good? Is it a delusion to call those in a position to say something or do something that choose not to, “good:”

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve missed you Robert. Thank you for your bravery and realness. I went through EMDR as well and parts were very difficult and took a lot from me. Sending love and hellos to you

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This makes so much sense – thank you for posting. I have been having snippets of violent images, am trying to work through it with my therapist – never put it together with the events of the election.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Plenty of people with trauma histories who are having reactions to the political environment in the States. We know lies and coded hate speech when we hear it. We know that idle threats of violence are often a prelude to the real thing.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Dear Rob,

    For people who have suffered trauma like you have, a form of PTSD can ensue where you feel threatened, whenever you have a sense of being trapped with no control over your circumstances. That fight and flight response sets in to where you cannot relax because you don’t know when where or how that bad thing is going to happen..

    You may have to turn off the news, even blogging for awhile to get your mojo back. You do have control because you can walk away for awhile.

    Any one who has experienced abuse, neglect, trauma, shocking events etc,. requires competent therapy. This would be the same if you suffered a broken leg, then you would go to the doctor. This is taking charge, ownership and responsibility for your own well being, both mentally and physically.

    With warmest best wishes, Gronda

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. Fortunately I have an excellent therapist who specializes in the treatment of trauma and DID. The biggest problem with DID is the involuntary switching. But–it will continue to get better, even when it feels like it isn’t.


  8. My heart aches for the little boy you were, I appreciate the adult you are. You have strength, compassion and I very much hope you’ll find resolution and peace.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I understand your tigger in today’s atmosphere. It is a difficult time, and I hope it fades into an ugly chapter in a better history. May it end quickly so you can find more peace.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I applaud your openness and sharing of this. I too have “dangerous holes” in the past – events leading up to then nothing. I empathize strongly. My thoughts are with you during this. Honestly, I’ve been watching your political posts and wondering … now I have a clearer picture. I wish you peace. I wish you peace.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s interesting that you noticed and wondered, Marcus. There is a part of me that experiences the political climate as a direct threat to our survival. He may be right. I know that ever other project that we were working got dropped in the panic.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The posts sounded like someone worried a great deal – more than what I would expect from “you” – but lots of people are getting worked up with this one so …
        At any rate, I’m still glad just to see you post.


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