So I was talking with a friend not too long ago. I was amazed at what she went through as a kid, the abuse and then later her rape, and I asked her how on Earth is she still a beautiful person. I felt humble being in her presence. All that she has been through and she still is an amazing person. It makes my problems seem insignificant.
This came up in my counseling session. We talked about it for a minute. I told my conselor that I told my friend that she should keep her ex away from me, for I wanted to hurt him. But then I said that I was also aware that he, too, suffered on some levels, and that he needed help and that I felt compelled to do this. I told her that if I was in a room with him, while I wanted to hit him, I’d hope that I would, and probably would, try to understand him. She said, as she says often and makes me uncomfortable, that this a sign of me being a complex person.
Now, on to something else.
In Houston I was reading some psychology… I forget what theorist, and I was lying awake one night thinking about the theory. It is no lie when I say that “this keeps me awake at night”. I like this stuff. I suddenly got up and started writing. I had followed some of Freud’s writing and was thinking as to how it related to child abuse, particularly with sexual abuse. I had the thought that this was such a stigmatized disorder that it wasn’t something that someone would find it easy to seek help for. Who is going to admit that they have thoughts of such a thing? And who is going to seek help? I don’t know the numbers… but I am guessing that it is pretty low. I thought that, as psychologists, our role should be to help people and prevention is definitely a route we should be taking. If we can help people before they commit these acts, we are helping more than one person.
Now… flash to the present. I’ve seen the NBC Dateline shows where they have a person posing as a 12 year old boy or girl that has explicit sexual conversations on the internet with men. These men then show up at the house, prepared for sex, only to be interviewed on camera and then arrrested. The first time I saw this I was disgusted and felt fear for my nephews. I’ve seen more and more of these shows and it appears to be an epidemic. The host of the show says that he felt that he could go to any town and there would be many guys caught. In a week in Riverside they caught over 50 guys. Men from all walks of life. This is only a small sample of the population. This is frightening.
But I noticed something tonight. I spent the day reading about complexes and archetypes and then I went to a guest lecturer… and then I came home and saw this. Instead of disgust and anger and a casual feeling of wanting the guys to be killed or put in prison for life… I felt terrible for them. I still felt that they should pay the price of responsibility… it is the price of being an adult in society. However I felt an odd empathy and wanted to understand them. I also felt sorry for them and felt an odd feeling of “if only he hadn’t done this”. Yes, I wanted them to go to jail… but I still felt bad.
What does this epidemic say about our society? This is definitely shadow activities here. How do we, as a societ, affect change? How does one talk with the shadow self, when parts of that shadow self are so blatantly evil, as sexual abuse of children is? In the book “Romancing the Shadow” I just got to a section that just started into the topics of incest and child abuse. In Jung’s writing I just got into the child archetype. Could I affect positive change in society to better understand, on a collective level, and for those individuals that need it… personal level, to better understand these shadow elements and to work through them?
I had expressed great fear at this in my counseling. For I had admitted sex with men as a means of easy to get sex that was symbolic of my desire to give up power (something I am strill trying to figure out). But as I told this to my counselor… it seemed to easy for this to be shadow… and I told her that I couldn’t imagine anything worse within me… but I was afraid. I told her if it turned out that I was a rapist or child molestor that I couldn’t deal with that and would end it now. She asked me several questions and then said that none of my responses matched anything for someone who had tendencies.
I have a cat licking the back of my head now. It is an odd feeling.
I am really getting into my readings of Jung. Perhaps this is a direction that will speak to me.