Susan's Blog

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Wilst Thou Yield?

I can’t come back, I don’t know how it works!
–The hapless Wizard, in the untethered balloon (which, by the way, if you look closely, was purposefully untied by the Tin Man)

My longtime experience with various unstoppable rages and the resulting humiliation, and also with Nat’s inability to stop himself from aggression, has given me a bit of an understanding into Hilary Clinton’s issues. There is something about going down in flames that has a macabre, but perhaps human, appeal. I have witnessed Nat giving himself over to aggression, and I have seen awareness and remorse flash through his eyes, along with an understanding that he crossed a line. And yet, I have also seen him follow through with the violent act and in fact add to it. It is kind of a blood lust; once you start, it is hard to stop. Whether it is a pinching fit or attempt after attempt to “fix” a toxic relationship, or even to stop saying you won something that you have obviously lost.

Maybe the compulsion to go on and on is about the fear of losing face. (What an odd expression that is: to lose one’s face. Where does the face go? It kind of disappears behind this mask of ongoing terrible behavior. The mask is an awareness that you are wrong and you have to admit it. In doing so you will “lose” your face.)

What happens when we lose face? What happens after we yield? I think there is some kind of calm that follows the storm. The air has cleared. The act is complete. Even though there are residual feelings, It is over.

I have had lifelong struggles with letting certain things go, with ending something. Sometimes I will return again and again to that sore spot, even though it hurts, tears me apart, just because the prospect of the new, living without it, is somehow even worse than the horrible pain of continuing the self-destruction. It is hard to change.

I think it is psychologically and emotionally hard for Hilary to let go of this insane grip, even though all signs say she must. I’m not saying she is right, I’m only saying I think I understand. She doesn’t know how to save face; she doesn’t realize that by letting go she will find some peace, if not redemption. But at least Nat and I are beginning to understand that.


I enjoy your blog and this post was very thoughtful. Thought you’d also enjoy:

— added by Margaret on Thursday, June 5, 2008 at 12:16 pm

This should make you laugh, then:

— added by ASDmomNC on Friday, June 6, 2008 at 7:15 am

Your honesty and bravery are inspiring.

— added by Anonymous on Friday, June 6, 2008 at 2:37 pm

Susan, it took me years to stop feeling comfortable with the negative. I think subconciously I actually sought it out because it was familiar, and believe it or not, felt better. It took me a while to realize I deserved to be happy instead. Then after I had my son with autism I thought this may not be true, but realized I really needed to work hard again on thinking positive and fighting the desire to think “negative”. Always waiting for the other shoe to drop is a lonely and anxiety-ridden way to live. I think some of us have a perverse desire to be in turmoil. My son is getting some kind of reinforcement currently from aggression, and your post made me think that perhaps it’s easier and more comfortable to him than trying to retrieve the words to say “I’m angry right now”. The easy and familiar need to be reassessed in how they truly effect our “peace of mind”. The question is, how do we teach our kids with autism how to do this? Do they have any understanding of why they do stuff, or are they only able to react? I wish I new the answer to this. If you have an answer write a post about it and give us your thoughts.

— added by Candy on Friday, June 6, 2008 at 11:42 pm

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