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Love Canal* ~ An Analogy

(Thoughts engendered from too much reading and seeing.)
(If you do not remember “Love Canal,” see the note at * below.)

If 22,000 tons of buried toxic waste can poison an entire community and make it uninhabitable, what might 22,000 arrows of abuse do to a single soul? But can we even number the wounds if the victim’s mind replays and relives the trauma, ad infinitum, as even one horrific event becomes an endless conveyor of pain? And if one event can trigger endless pain, what will chronic abuse, bullying, and denigration do? What do abused children carry into adulthood? What happens if they find themselves in a relationship that incessantly affirms a severely damaged self-image? And what happens if an un-abused child grows up to live for decades thereafter with an abusing spouse or partner?

For far too long, science has ignored or minimized the consequences of trauma and bullying, as is outlined in a speech by Bessel van der Kolk, MD:

Childhood Trauma, Affect Regulation, and Borderline Personality Disorder [BPD]
(Yale University conference; Time: 1:09:06)
at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2NTADxDuhA

But everywhere we are seeing the “fall out,” not just of childhood traumas, but of psychopathic bullying1 in adult relationships.

If one lives for decades within a toxic, abusive dumping-ground, do we really think there is no corrosive, consuming, creeping, enduring poison? Why do we see increasing numbers of wounded souls acting-out and acting-in?

Why is there still so little recognition—so little help for emotional dysregulation?2—for those living along a continuum that stretches all the way to what some call Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), and beyond? Some manifest as classic-BPD (acting-out); others as quiet-BPD (acting-in). If you or a loved one (an estimated 18 million in America) are enduring many of following symptoms, can you recognize and/or admit the possibility of a toxic base that is NOT your fault,3 but somehow your legacy (and your challenge)?

Persistent feelings of Manifestations of
  deep sadness   extreme sensitivity to invalidation
  worthlessness   extreme sensitivity to rejection
  not deserving   mood-dependent memory
  emptiness   black and white thinking
  numbness   idealizing and judging
  distrust   paranoia
  loneliness   blaming others
  hopelessness   difficulty living “in the present”
  fear of abandonment   clinging or pushing away
  deep rage   impulsivity
  “no one loves me”   mood swings
  “no one can understand”     problems with attention, focus, concentration     
  “I don’t know who I am.”            thinking distortions
  chronic emotional pain   self-harm
  self-hatred or loathing   thoughts of suicide
  shame   amnesia
  guilt   overwhelming emotions

These are separate, incomplete lists and not correlated between feelings and manifestations.
Created with the HTML Table Generator

Despite all the above (and more), can you begin to believe there is help and healing—if you can be open to it?

Can you understand the unbearable tension of opposites (the dialectic) that oft “rules” your life?—a tension that can play out in several ways, including:

»  On the one hand, if you are in an abusive relationship, your soul cries out for love and affirmation, BUT your self-image of being worthless, unlovable, undeserving, etc., etc., etc. is being affirmed or validated—abuse upon abuse.

»  On the other hand, if you have found someone who truly loves you and treats you lovingly, your damaged self-image may find it almost impossible to trust that love. You begin to interpret expressions of love as phony, manipulative, agenda-driven, or you conjure, provoke, mis-remember, or forget things in order to ease the tension or “prove” your negative self-image. You idealize relationship and cannot bear the inevitable disappointments. If self-awareness is not forthcoming, that tension between accepting genuine love versus your self-image cannot be sustained. One of the polarities has to give, and too often it is NOT the self-image that you have lived with for decades. You split from the love (the contradiction) and for a time find relief from the tension, but it cannot endure for the human soul cannot fully live without the hope of love. And so you may try again. And again. And again—

Thus, in millions of damaged lives, the “Love Canal” that was designed to carry living water has become a waste dump covered over by a leaking subconscious. And so, without awareness, you keep breathing-in and ingesting the toxicity that permeates the air and ground water of your life; and you continue to rage at the pain, the poisoned relationships, the fear, and brokenness of your life.

If only you could see the dialectic. If only you could move off the toxic dump. If only you could acknowledge how you are letting the past poison your present; how it will forever poison your future unless you can forgive4 (however excruciating), and let the past go—the only way to healing. Your past or current abuser’s cruelty is either a choice or an illness (or a mix). Your choice can be to move forward toward healing and healthy love.

If only you could say to yourself:

No wonder I feel this way. No wonder I behave the way I do. No wonder I have the thoughts I do. No wonder I am so angry and reactive. No wonder my life has been such an expanse of recurring emptiness, pain, and misery5
BUT, in spite of all that, I do not have to self-abuse by believing abusers; by remembering or replaying their abuse; by self-harming, by allowing.
I don’t need or want to live this way. I don’t need or want to feel, think, and do the things I do. I want and need to trust in healing and healthy love. There are proven therapies. I will seek them out in wisdom.7 I have healthy options.
I am moving off the toxic dump, NOW & FOREVER.

Why not begin in this month of abuse awareness and prevention?—or any day you read this for every day is a good day to begin—a good day to continue moving forward.

——————————-/
* Love Canal was a neighborhood in Niagara Falls, New York, located in the LaSalle section of the city. It officially covers 36 square blocks in the far southeastern corner of the city. [Love Canal came from the last name of William T. Love, who in the early 1890s envisioned a canal connecting the Niagara River to Lake Ontario. … He envisioned a perfect urban area called “Model City” and prepared a plan with a community of parks and homes along Lake Ontario. His plan was never realized. He began digging the canal and built a few streets and homes when his funds were depleted. Only one mile (1.6 km) of the canal, about 50 feet (15 m) wide and 10 to 40 feet (3 m to 12 m) deep, stretching northward from the Niagara River, was dug. … With the project abandoned, the canal gradually filled with water. The local children swam there in the summer and skated in the winter. In the 1920s, the canal became a dump site for the City of Niagara Falls, with the city regularly unloading its municipal refuse into the pit.] By the 1940s, Hooker Electrochemical Company (later known as Hooker Chemical Company), founded by Elon Hooker, began searching for a place to dump the large quantity of chemical waste it was producing.”] … In the mid-1970s Love Canal became the subject of national and international attention after it was revealed in the press that the site had formerly been used to bury 22,000 tons of toxic waste by Hooker Chemical Company (now Occidental Petroleum Corporation). / Hooker Chemical sold the site to the Niagara Falls School Board in 1953 for $1, with a deed explicitly detailing the presence of the waste, and including a liability limitation clause about the contamination. The construction efforts of housing development, combined with particularly heavy rainstorms, released the chemical waste, leading to a public health emergency and an urban planning scandal. Hooker Chemical was found to be negligent in their disposal of waste, though not reckless in the sale of the land, in what became a test case for liability clauses. The dumpsite was discovered and investigated by the local newspaper, the Niagara Falls Gazette, from 1976 through the evacuation in 1978. / Ten years after the incident, New York State Health Department Commissioner David Axelrod stated that Love Canal would long be remembered as a “national symbol of a failure to exercise a sense of concern for future generations.” [Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Love_Canal ]
See also http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/windsor/toxic-love-canal-waste-no-longer-to-be-disposed-of-in-ontario-1.2874554

1. http://dejavu-timestwo.blogspot.ca/2013/08/bullying-family-affair.html
http://www.dejavu-times.blogspot.ca/2014/05/a-plague-of-psychopaths.html
http://www.dejavu-times.blogspot.ca/2014/01/a-plea-to-bully-pulpit.html
2. As one lecturer reported: In her last year of school, a successful, visiting psychiatrist told the class that a tip to having a successful practice was to “screen out the borderlines.” See, BPD-related cognitive-perceptual difficulties and challenges in their diagnosis and treatment (min. 25:30 to 26:17 at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_t_NqEP80GE ) (A note of great caution: This writer believes there are safer and far more effective therapies than the medication regimes this lecturer seems to recommend for there are great dangers, mostly unacknowledged, in psychoactive medications. Refer to http://www.dejavu-times.blogspot.ca/2015/01/a-plea-to-therapists-everywhere.html .)
3. An estimated “87% of subjects with BPD had histories of severe childhood abuse and/or neglect.” See location reference beginning at minute 14:03 ~ Childhood Trauma, Affect Regulation, and Borderline Personality Disorder [BPD] by Bessel van der Kolk, MD (Yale University conference) at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2NTADxDuhA
4. Forgiveness does not mean that justice and judgment should not be vigorously advocated to enforce accountability and to prevent further abuses. Lawful justice and judgment should be pursued, but forgiveness may mean you forego your interpretation of what is just and give it over to God. If you don’t believe in God, (which may be the case for many abused), try to leave justice and judgment to the law (however flawed) in order to free yourself from the poison.
5. Here are four brief expressions by sufferers:
   •  The quiet (inward acting) borderline (time: 5:37) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v23y1MNsBro
   •  The Quiet Borderline: The Forgotten Ones (time: 5:59) at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3R7VLKXKVPk
   •  Borderline Personality Disorder – Behind the Mask (time: 10:19) chttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2RRaC-99r0&list=WL&index=68
   •  Rethinking BPD: A Patient’s View (time: 8:14) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SDaHFnpsWzE
6. Read about and “YouTube” Marsha Linehan and her Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). Here are a few, informative pertinent sites:
   •   Rethinking BPD: A Clinician’s View [Marsha Linehan] (time. 25:03) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7KiihIE0d0c
   •   The Paradox of Love & Hate: Understanding Borderline Personality Disorder – BPD Relationship Expert (Ross Rosenberg; time: 13:19)); https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zD3XHUnrjyY
   •   The Outlook for Borderline Personality Disorder (time. 3:54) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PT2z49biG28
   •   Make use of scripture-based healing paradigms such as that taught by Joyce Meyer in these references and others: Receiving Emotional Healing, Part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QVDFTPIlaB4&index=76&list=WL ; and Receiving Emotional Healing, Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFdJHqRNWNA
7.  Wisdom: Again you are referred to videos found at the Déjà Vu post on “medication” titled, A Plea to Therapists, Everywhere at http://www.dejavu-times.blogspot.ca/2015/01/a-plea-to-therapists-everywhere.html .