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To: K-list
Recieved: 1999/12/19 18:26
Subject: Re: [K-list] Re: Suffering as illusion?
From: Ckress

On 1999/12/19 18:26, Ckress posted thus to the K-list:

This may not relate to Zarko's situation at all, but I know it's not uncommon
when the psyche is subjected to inescapable horror and brutality for the
emotions to go numb. This can be an essential defense for both mental sanity
and physical survival of such ordeals. But this isn't the same as "no
suffering." The psyche registers and stores the suffering which eventually
erupts, sometimes years later, in emotional breakdown. A lot of sexual abuse
victims and Vietnam war vets have encountered this, which is officially known
as post-traumatic-shock-syndrome.

I personally have experienced the delayed eruption of some stored
unfinished-emotional-business when K dislodged a long forgotten horrible
childhood incident. The raw horror and grief was so painful that I was on
the verge of going suicidal again rather than surrendering to the full impact
of that ravaging release. Had it not been for my husband's loving support
and willingness to stand by me through this, I don't think I would have
gotten through it intact. The greater the magnitude of the stored
unexpressed emotions, the more harrowing it is to re-live the incident and
unleash the overwhelming feelings associated with it. I wouldn't recommend
that anyone go through this alone.

I witnessed a similar delayed-trauma release in my mother, who had lost both
her first fiance and one of her brothers in WWII. She had grieved her
brother's death but when news of the death of her fiance came shortly
thereafter, she emotionally closed down and told herself it was all for the
best -- that everything would work out as it was supposed to.

For 45 years, my mother carried unspilt grief like a time bomb within her,
never suspecting it was there. Then her parents died, and a relative sent
her a package of letters her mother had kept from the War era. These
included letters my uncle had written to my grandmother from the European
front (where he had later been killed) as well as letters my mother had
written about her engagement (to the man who was also later killed in the
war). My mother asked my sister and I if we'd like to read the letters as
mini-historical documents of the customs of that era, and also to get a sense
of who our uncle was (he died before either of us had been born). We both
said yes.

It was a heartbreaking eye-opener for us both to read my mother's letters, as
she'd never said much about her first fiance (except in passing mention that
she'd lost him in the war). Her letters were a picture of a happy, buoyant,
naively hopeful and dancing-on-air-in-love young woman: a side of my mother
neither of us had ever seen. Each letter spoke with glowing excitement of
more details of the planned wedding and of her and her fiance's dreams of a
future they envisioned sharing together. Of course, my sister and I read
each letter fully aware of what the tragic outcome would be: no wedding, no
beautiful shared future, just a young man who loved my mother dead before his
25th birthday.

My sister and I cried over the letters. Then the dam broke in my mother, who
collapsed in torrents of weeping-sobbing grief that lasted day and night for
two weeks solid and continued sporadically for another month or so. My
father was appalled and wanted her to stop it. My sister and I repeatedly
had to counsel him to let her go through it; that it wasn't about her lack of
love for HIM, but a need to complete her emotional good-by and release her
pain for that past loss.

My mother later profusely thanked my sister and me for our support in
"allowing" her to grieve. On top of the tidal-wave pain, she had felt very
guilty over "carrying on so" at her late age, but she'd experienced such a
cleansing and emotional closure that she realized it had been necessary.


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