Did this phrase challenge you? Did it sound somewhat familiar? Well, it was stripped from the Wizard of Oz. A movie I would look forward to watching in early spring as a child, when it aired annually. It was a reminder for some of the living generations how bad life was during their own childhood or adulthood, but how imagination would help surpass the dismal memories.
A dog biting someone is the catalyst for this dreary time. While the dog, Toto, was set to be euthanized, Dorothy wanted to protect that which was valuable to her. Dorothy is widely accepted as an orphan in the story. Whether or not her parents died or abandoned her, there is a bit of abandonment issues. When one deals with that, they will clamor to keep anything in their life a constant.
Toto runs away from his captor, who seeks to kill him. Intuitively, Toto runs back home into the safe arms of Dorothy. When we reflect on this bond, we see there are two orphaned entities. A little girl, residing with her aunt and uncle, and the dog, which had to have been ripped from his family. Orphans have a keen ability to make lasting relationships and view them as necessary to put in the work to maintain.
Then on the opposite side of this spectrum are those that do not wish to rehash, trigger any sort of relational connections that may been seen early as ending prematurely. These people are used in Hollywood stories as the best in espionage. They have no lurking connections that a mastermind could leverage against them. The frailty of relationships developed with this type of orphan is tentative, at best.
Orphans are plagued with the whole host of attachment disorders. Future relationships look daunting, and arguably, trust is potentially the crux of it. Can I trust this person, will be here tomorrow, based on what I dealt with? Why did my parents leave me? An innocent question asked by young children who are orphaned, slapped in the face with a steel textured mallet by the keeper of the circle of life story.
This precise event on a child’s timeline flexes its ontogenetic muscle, altering their behavior forever. Losing parents at childhood is a powerful deterrent in building loving and trusting relationships. There seems to be this expectation of ‘another shoe to drop’ perpetually echoing these fears in our minds. This is not merely relegated to young children who lose parents. I will admit though, they do have a steep incline to traverse to move past all these mental behavioral concerns.
I came across a partial report online, from a Russian Doctor, who studied the ill-effects of being orphaned and the lack of trust present that carries itself ontogenetically. ( Aleksander I. Dontsov et al. / Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences 233 ( 2016 ) ) This article cites another Dr.’s observation within a different, yet complementary, study (Zinchenko Y.P., Zotova O.Yu. Security in the worldview of Russians // Psychology in Russia: State of the Art, 2014. Vol. 7. I. 1. P. 51.). “Radical changes in the world destroy an individual’s orientation toward social reality. People find themselves lost in a vortex of events, feel pressured by the surrounding world, and are unsure of their future and the safety of their lives”
I am not going to even proffer my interpretation of these two sentences, except to state that I identify with it. Reflecting on the trauma, I’ve had a hell of time accepting, and the foster homes I went to, all helped affirm how unsettling my own future would be. That particular sensation has never left my mind. I cannot trust that the world is going to work out.
The idea and direction of this specific blog post definitely took a left turn through a cornfield. I was not even remotely concerned about speaking to the orphaned experience. I am a later in life orphan. Never knew the biological father, but he ended up dying around 57 years of age, by his own hand. My mother died when I was 25, alone, many miles from home. That was torment getting that call to come home. I remember it well. I even wrote a prayer on her behalf, as she was not completely dead, but on life support.
I had to sit in on the ‘difficult conversation’ as the only son, to determine if we pull the plug based on what we all knew of her wishes. That is a horrendous place to be for anyone. It isn’t like this is your mortal enemy, and you can simply just ‘pull the plug.’ It is someone you grew up with, through some shitty times, a few good times, but its familiar. Something familiar makes unbiased easy decisions much more devastating. Familiar convolutes your life.
My mother had many visits to foster homes during her childhood. Many more times than I ever had. Foster homes became familiar. I am sure she was not thinking it was familiar when I was taken away at 11 years old. To her, it must have been challenging. To see her own progeny pulled from her, in the same fashion she was yanked from her parents. It almost seems that either she was, or I was picking up the mantle for the family. Carrying on a tradition.
Dysfunction leaves deep non-physical scars. While most family units deal with it, some of it is on the lighter scale, and can be modified later in life. For many, the modification is fairly irreversible. The triggers lurk like a whack-a-mole game. However, instead of a small finite number of holes of which a fake mole could pop out, you have a unique matrix of them. What is bewildering is when you walk down the paved and unpaved streets as part of your trek in life, and then these fucking moles pop up.
Unexpected actions that deter your forward progress. We jump back, being startled, and then cower ourselves. With as much impact has been wrought upon us, we are reduced to a pile of fearful bones, flesh, and mental synapses that fire more elaborately than a Washington D.C. 4th of July fireworks display (Independence Day for the USA for those of you reading outside of North America). We feel we have overcome much, yet the smallest tweak to our anticipated journey is derailed. Once we take note of what happened, we then fall into a cycle of self-doubt. Have I really made it out of the wilderness like I thought? Am I really as genteel as I believed? Why the hell did I let that affect me to my bloody core?
This world is a huge sand-blaster. Polishing off our rough edges, we like it or not. What we see in the mirror is the sum of our demons. Once in a while, we believe what our friends describe us as to them. We always circle back to the demons we possess. We protect those demons. We don’t want to share them with anyone. This is precisely why so many millennia have passed without real honest acceptance of our mental wills being broken, bruised, and sometimes forcibly banished from visibility.
Trust is a pivotal subject with those of us herding our demons into the dark. It’s like we are in an MMA ring fighting them, but we lose incessantly. We do not trust those who deserve to be trusted. We do not trust ourselves. We worry about ulterior motives. What’s in it for them? What’s in it for me? Who would miss me? When we receive real honest answers, from our dear friends or soul-searching ourselves, we argue that it cannot be true.
My mother tried so hard for me to accept a fucking compliment for what it was. A praiseworthy moment to be gracious and welcome. I would then, and still do, argue with people that I am not deserving of such praise. Why do I do that? I do not trust them. They do not know me like I know me. How are they able to assess what I am good at? My internal voice arguing with me interjects: They probably appreciate that you can do something far more effectively than they could, did you ever think of that, asshole?
Yes, the internal dialogues are real. In the midst of trauma, no siblings, what else was I supposed to do? Talking to myself aloud sounds like simpleton behavior. Internal dialogues! They have helped me pump myself up for expected confrontations. If I say this, they will more than likely say this. I will retort this, then chortle my way to the bank. But, oh shit, they will pick up on this flaw of mine and then use it as leverage to manipulate me. I am not going to take that. I am going to bite their head off.
90% of the time that I have ever internal dialogued a confrontation, I’ve never encountered the vitriol that I conjured up with myself. So, 90% of these times have actually mellowed me out, seeing that people cannot see through me like a cheap veneer. I still have this mental horsepower they cannot even perceive. My internal dialogue speaks to my lack of trust for everything in life. I even question when my grumpy as fuck dog loves me on rare occasion.
My therapist has suggested I question anything that seems off. With the very same critical thinking skills I use to deduce how to troubleshoot something, turn that inwards. What is the impetus of this self-flagellation, leaving no physical marks? Where did this thought spring from? Did I actually do something wrong for this to happen?
I am good at questioning myself. An unknown byproduct of being self-aware. Understanding my own biases, my own predilections, and my own motivations. As I stated in an earlier article, once you learn to stop lying to yourself, you will indubitably stop lying to others. This is a painstaking level of operation. Many times, it doesn’t seem sustainable, and yet I keep doing it.
I may have been orphaned later in life, but I am still one, regardless. I can identify with those who deliberate quietly if a relationship with a new person is even worth the time and space one would lose in the process. When I hear people whining about their lives, and they themselves are meaningless to me, it merely satisfies my judgment about this person. Trust in my domain is to be earned. If you complain about this miserable things happening in your life, that would be qualified as a luxury, I just can’t find space for you.
Many people have realized late in life that their childhood experiences stunted their growth potential. I am coming to terms with it. I am working hard to stop the past’s juggernautical path of destruction. It is hard. It is hard for anyone to choose to be better. To be like others takes the serious consideration of: do I want to be liked by others? Victor Hugo made an interesting comment a while ago, well, maybe a little more than a while ago. So, without further ado; “You have enemies? Why, it is the story of every man who has done a great deed or created a new idea. It is the cloud which thunders around everything that shines. Fame must have enemies, as light must have gnats. Do not bother yourself about it; disdain. Keep your mind serene as you keep your life clear.” — Villemain – An essay from 1845.
If you have come from a questionable past, you seek safety. You seek that which you were told was supposed to be provided to you. You pine for it. You desire it, you emulate it, based on your shoddy understanding of what it means. You will not find it in other people. You cant. Remember all those people before who let you down? That’s why you cannot find it in other people. That safety you seek, has to come from within. That honest assessment of yourself, again, has to come from within. Do not be a martyr and certainly do not allow yourself to be placed in the role as someone else’s scapegoat. Again, there are no excuses for bad behavior.
As always, I welcome any constructive criticism, or complementary theories, analogies, anecdotes. I would love to hear if you find these edicts of challenge useful or utter horseshit. Similar to the 90’s when the catchphrase, ‘Be Kind, Rewind’ was hailed as marketing genius. I need to come up with one that invites you to either subscribe, via WordPress or via email, like posts, or even comment on posts. The immediate feedback is useful for anyone. Thank you very much for reading through all of this drivel. Be well, stay safe, AND stay sane!