Sunday, January 6, 2019

More from Robert Bly - Dysfunctional Families

Continuing with Bly's Iron Man, he advises, 
When a boy grows up in a “dysfunctional” family (perhaps there is no other kind of family), his interior warriors will be killed off early. (Warriors, mythological, lift their swords to defend the king; the "king" being the one who stands for and stands up for the child’s mood (behavior, emotions, etc.).
He continues, 
But when we are children our mood gets easily overrun and swept over in the messed-up family by the more powerful, more dominant, more terrifying mood of the parent.
Can we say--or just accept that, 
We can say that when the warriors inside cannot protect our mood from being disintegrated, or defend our body from invasion, the warriors collapse, go into trance, or die. The inner warriors I speak of do not cross the boundary aggressively; they exist to defend the boundary. 
Grown-up that 
If a grown-up moves to hit a child, or stuff food into the child’s mouth, there is no defense—it happens. If the grown-up decides to shout, and penetrate the child’s auditory boundaries by sheer violence, it happens. Most parents invade the child’s territory whenever they wish, and the child, trying to maintain his mood by crying, is simply carried away, mood included.
Where children then live, 
Each child lives deep inside his or her own psychic house, or soul castle, and the child deserves the right of sovereignty inside that house. Whenever a parent ignores the child’s sovereignty, and invades, the child feels not only anger, but shame. The child concludes that if it has no sovereignty, it must be worthless.
Shame is the name, 
Shame is the name we give to the sense that we are unworthy and inadequate as human beings. When our parents do not respect our territory at all, their disrespect seems overwhelming proof of our inadequacy. A slap across the face pierces deeply, for the face is the actual boundary of our soul, and we have been penetrated. If a grown-up decides to cross our sexual boundaries and touch us, there is nothing that we as children can do about it. Our warriors die. The child, so full of expectation of blessing whenever he or she is around an adult, stiffens with shock, and falls into the timeless fossilized confusion of shame.
Shame used to bring positive, personal change (remorse, repentance and reconciliation) is a good thing, but when shame is used ignominiously to disgrace one while exalting another person-, then it is used for no redeeming purpose but to pen all blame on one, the scapegoat, exempting the others as flawless, even heroes. 

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