Trauma in a Culture of Abuse – Update

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 switched to an abusive ‘protector’ alternate that silences me by telling me I am a nothing, doing nothing, and hopelessly bad at it.

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.

For my next post, I am compiling a list of online resources for people who want to learn more about Information and Psychological Warfare.

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.

Step one is to let yourself see it.

People are hurting in different ways, 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

The Disinformation Warfare Resource List will become a series of posts in a separate category.

A note about comments:

I am not OK with over a hundred thousand dead Americans.

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

If you are a trump supporter, don’t follow or comment on my blog.

Thanks

(c) Rob Goldstein, May 21, 2020

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

Empty Space #Tanka Tuesday

Power poetry from D. Wallace Peach

Myths of the Mirror

Rail against despair

When deceit inters the truth

When corruption shrieks

And Narcissus chokes the void

With yowls from a vacant heart

For Colleen’s #Tanka Tuesday #Poetry Challenge. We had to use synonyms for empty (vacant) and space (void).

Sorry about the politics. I couldn’t help it with those prompts.

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Rob’s Weekly News Wrap-Up 3/15-3/22.

“I don’t need the Mueller report to know Trump is a traitor. I have a Television. ” , 3/22/2019

The week opened with a White Supremacist terrorist attack in New Zealand followed by a Trump’ twitter war with the ghost of John McCain and George Conway, husband of Kellyanne Conway.

Those of us unfortunate enough to be intimate with pathological narcissism recognize a classic triangulation.  This week Trump forced Kellyanne Conway to make a choice.

Kellyanne Conway chose Trump.

The Week ended with the release of Robert Mueller’s Report to Attorney General Barr.

I decided to add a few short informational videos: ‘Why do men have nipples
is especially intriguing.

On a personal note, I have relatives coming into town this week so I’m taking a few days off.  I’ve closed comments on this post.

Have a good weekend!

Let’s start with this informational short from Vox:

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Rob Goldstein 2019

Rob’s Weekly Wrap Up 3/8-3/15

This week opened with violence in Venezuela and more stories of wealth and corruption as we learned how wealthy people paid ‘consultants’ to scam their kids into ivy league schools. President Trump produced a budget that cuts Medicare and social security to pay for the wall Mexico will pay for and the courts sentenced Trump’s campaign manager, Paul Manafort, to seven years in prison in two separate trials.

Prosecutors in New York indicted Manafort on state crimes immediately after the second hearing: Trump can’t pardon state crimes. The House and Senate vetoed Trump’s emergency declaration and in New Zealand a white supremacist murdered 43 Muslims as they prayed in their Mosque: his manifesto touted America’s 45th president as inspiration. America’s white supremacists immediately denounced the horrific tragedy as a false flag operation.

As comic relief, old tapes exposed a racist homophobe on Fox as a racist homophobe. I’m still not sure why this is news:

Nancy Pelosi says it’s not worth impeaching trump if she can’t get a bipartisan consensus. I think she is right. Democrats can’t do this alone: the GOP  House and Senate will either do its job or go down for not doing it. What do you think?

The UK is in chaos after the vote on Brexit:

As a FYI, if you’ve heard about the Green New Deal but don’t think you understand what it does, this video offers a possible explanation.

On a personal note, spring arrived; it was a glorious week in San Francisco.

Yesterday a headache became a migraine. I’m still not at 100%, and I made the mistake of trying the new WordPress editor mid-post and it screwed everything up. I apologize for any mistakes in this post.  I’m going to close comments use the rest of the weekend to learn the new editor and fix the post.

I’ll catch up with folks on Monday. Or sooner

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