Log in

No account? Create an account
Montecristo Captain Quixote


The World Line of the Horizon Star

Some would say I was a lost man in a lost world

The Hanged Man Captain Caesura

It's love's illusions I recall

Way back in 1978 I understood that I believed I needed to find out things for myself, that it doesn't work to just accept what someone else tells you, unquestioningly. Interestingly enough, I realized how isolating this can be also, I think, because I wrote about this behavior as if it were a problem, a habit I needed to break. I was "too shy." Talk to other people. Find out what they know. Learn from the experience and perspectives of others. These are good things, but "shyness" was a misidentification of the fundamental problem. It was a failure to identify root cause. All the while I was struggling with "my shyness problem," my parents were teaching me, in how they lived, that other people make no damned sense, and moreover, that they will lie to themselves and lie to others, as well. That is isolating, too.

I am surprised to find the insights I am finding, in reading that old book. I saw my mother's attitudes, and her philosophy, even when I was a child. I didn't understand it. There were difficult identifications, beyond the reach of my experience. I understood that my mother's beliefs were problematical. For example, she treated our home as "her house." I noted that it discouraged my father and brother and I from pitching in and helping with the place quite often, because when she acted the way she did, it felt like we weren't working on something that was ours — it was hers.

Both of my parents operated, not on the principle of connection, but on the principle of manipulation and coercion, on the "I'm the boss of you" model. They found no problem with that. They would sometimes explain themselves when interacting with my brother and I. My mother, in particular, was apt to go that route, but in the end they gave the orders and lay down the law because they could, however much they figured that they were doing the right thing. Before I met Laurel I wasn't consciously aware that there was a distinction to be made here. Children are raised. Our parents' interactions, connections and disconnections, are the substance of what we learn. Their efforts to "raise" us constitute what was done to us. It's what we do to others in our turn. We are what we repeatedly do and experience, we live what we have lived. To the extent that we do not question it, the pattern becomes our destiny. What is beyond our inquiry is beyond our control. Apparently, very few want to stop to consider the idea that alternatively, if we look at life differently, if we see the act of "raising children" not as something adults do to children, but that we are instead, connecting, or not, with another growing developing human being who is gathering experiences of existence just as the adults are, it opens up a completely different paradigm. It is realizations like that one that keep making me think of Laurel, and miss her. It hurts; I persevere. There's no way out but through. I was fourteen years old, but I still saw the problem. I just couldn't identify its nature. The people in my family are so disconnected, from themselves and each other. I had no concept of connection, no understanding of any other way of being. It's almost funny, to read my old words. There I was, groping in the darkness, knowing something wasn't right with the picture but not able to understand what, exactly tied all of my observations together into a coherent, integrated, conceptual framework.

To my surprise, I actually had a plan to attack the problem. On July 23, 1978, I was writing about renting a post office box and using that address and a pseudonym to write to someone, like a psychiatrist, and ask for advice, on whether they thought that my parents were "off the reservation" or not, and needed some help. I wonder which is more surprising, the idea that I saw things as being wrong, even then, or that I still had any doubts. It's interesting that I looked at the situation as an either-or kind of proposition: either someone is "crazy" or they are not. I didn't realize that life is merely the set of all of our choices and experiences, including all of our problems and decisions. It's all a continuum. There are better, more effective ways to live, and then there are less effective ways to live. Our choices determine our destiny. As Pete Gerlach would have put it: my family was full of very wounded people, and they were metaphorically living with their wounds as people with physical wounds did before the insights of Joseph Lister. The thing is, philosophy has been around since antiquity. Isn't it amazing to consider how, of all the fields of human inquiry, that one seems to let us down so frequently? Stefan Molyneux thought the same thing. He had a podcast on the "failure" of six thousand years of moral philosophy. He was wondering if the problem was that we merely misunderstand the fundamental purpose of philosophy. His hypothesis was, that it appeared that the purpose of philosophy was just to rationalize the exceptions and make loopholes in what we otherwise understand to be moral and ethical behavior. After reading Lloyd de Mause, I'd say that such a plan is not a consciously understood one, even if Molyneux were correct. At any rate, I understood that there was a problem, and I definitely knew that it was putting all kinds of stresses on me. I had no inkling of how the effects of those stresses were going to play out in my life. I was looking at "fixing them," my parents, and not understanding the implications of what it was doing to me. I could have used more self confrontation. I never saw much of it in the adults around me.

I read in my journal of encountering Veronica and Susan, another of our classmates, at the county fair, and responding to their hello like a deer in the headlights. I didn't say anything to them. Veronica had said to me: "OK, Bob, don't say hello." How awkward. I'd been wanting to see her. I'd been dying to talk to her. I couldn't. There was opportunity all over the place, and desire. That's some hard dissociation for you. People would look at that situation and write it off as "shyness," as if there were some kind of magical explanatory power in that label. Mumbo-jumbo. A label is only a foundation. It's only a start. A conceptual framework must follow on top of it or the label is just as useless as a slab of concrete on the ground. Shyness is not an answer; it should be the start of a whole book of questions. No, there's nothing really wrong with that picture. There's nothing going on here. "Shyness" explains it all, except that it doesn't. Often times, a label is more an excuse to stop thinking, than to start. So, I'll grow out of it would have been the consensus, and I did, to a certain extent, but nobody would question what was going on there. Nobody seems to want to ask themselves if that phenomenon is just a case of "some people are like that," or if there is something systemic and cause-and-effect behind it. We stop being curious and turn away when we see something that reminds us of areas in our own experience which are painful. I was so entangled in shames and guilts and secrets and my own dysfunction that I couldn't even say hello, and socialize. Gee, I wonder how I got that way. That's just the way some people are? I can thank my parents for that lesson, if I had the balls to do so. How long was Tantalus in Hades, I wonder, before he just gave up trying to reach the grapes, or drink the water? I don't think they would understand what is wrong with that picture. It's the one principle upon which they seem to be united. There's a poison premise of which I could stand to be rid, and yet, it seems so hard to just pry it out. It's not a single, compact lump, is why. It is entangled and threaded throughout what I am. Our experience is holographic. More and more I am convinced that this theory is right: our experience is stored and referenced "holographically," by our brains. That would tend to make changing our habits somewhat more of a challenge than just locating a particular bad premise in our minds and striking the line through and substituting a correct one. It isn't a computer program; it's a hologram. Rand could have stood to learn a bit more from Aristotle, whom she praised so highly. What a terrible thing is wisdom, when it brings no profit to the one who is wise.

So often, the situation seems damned if you do, damned if you don't. I ask myself if I am sacrificing a friendship with Laurel because my disappointment and disillusionment hurt too much, and I'm tired of getting hurt. The thing is, it's not really disillusionment, is it? If it were dis-illusionment, I would shed my illusions. Interacting with her though, I keep falling into the idea that something more is possible with her. It's what I desire. How can we not love where we admire? Also, I keep getting the impression from her, sometimes quite explicitly, that it is something more between us that she desires, later protestations to the contrary notwithstanding. Cognitive dissonance hurts. Like the song says: "I keep forgetting we're not in love anymore." Damn, isn't that song apropos? Then she tells me that if I believe that there is a possibility of a romantic relationship between she and I then I am delusional. Oh, so today it's not: "Why don't you hurry up and come here to me, Robert?" Ha. If it's Tuesday, this must be Belgium. Oh, Monday, Monday, how could you leave, and not take me? Damn, that hurts. I hate that. I've spent enough of my life confused and running around in the fog of delusions, both my own and those of my parents. I hate trying to figure out what's real about a relationship and getting nowhere, going in circles. I see that pattern. Am I not courting this very thing in being in contact with her? Delusions are hard enough to divest without feeding them. We're not going in the same direction, with the same goals in mind. Our ships must follow their own course under their own power. It is advisable to cut the rope and cast off when we find ourselves in the situation where we are deluded, and our boats are not really on the same course and steaming toward the same goal. Pain may be unavoidable, but at least I can have and set clear boundaries. I can stop entertaining fantasies. I have my doubts about the woman she professes herself to be in dating site profile. She once told me that video games were only a substitute: the exploration and discovery of a fantasy world's landscape substituting symbolically for exploring a real woman's soul and body. At least when I'm playing video games I know I'm engaged in make believe. I'm not deluding myself exploring a land I will never be allowed to inhabit for real.

Lauralee asks me if I want the relationship with my parents. Hell, is my relationship with my parents really mine, to win or lose in the first place? What is the nature of that relationship? Is it profit or loss? What am I giving up to keep it? I know there are things about that relationship which have poisoned me. Am I continuing to be poisoned by clinging to it? What premises am I accepting to hold onto it? Am I feeding delusion there, as well? Stefan Molyneux would say yes, definitely. Daniel Mackler would say so. Laurel would say so. This I tell myself. Logically, the argument seems impeccable. I also tell myself that nobody knows the full context, nobody knows all the particulars, but me. Is it true? What do I get in maintaining that relationship, such as it is? In what am I invested? Hell, what do they, or Laurel, for that matter, really want from me? Why am I maintaining these relationships, if I am? Am I getting worthwhile trades here? Does it hurt to keep these? Yes. Does it hurt to contemplate cutting them off and walking away? Yes. This is how it works. This is how Gerlach's "wounds" are inflicted. Why are "reality distortion" and "over-trusting and under-trusting," two of Pete Gerlach's six fundamental wounds? This is how it works. Pain and fear are supposedly feedback signals which work to ensure survival. What if you can't trust those feelings? What if it is damned if you do and damned if you don't? What if both directions hurt? How reliable is a fire alarm that goes off all the time? It would seem to me that it's not the case that I won't trust what I am feeling; I've just learned that I can't do so. How do I change that?

Charlie Brown Captain Cyrano

Now, of my three score years and ten, Twenty will not come again

Sixteen Jens, ten Jennys, throwing shade at her

In the spring of 1978, when I first started keeping a journal, I was in love with a classmate named Veronica. At least, I thought I was in love with her. It's what I called it. What other name should we give to a feeling so powerful? In my very first entry, I wrote of the experience of standing next to her in a crowd of our classmates. It was at the Spring concert, and in the close quarters, her forearm brushed against the back of my hand, and I described what went through me, experiencing that contact. I wrote: "I felt as if a giant ocean wave had been poured into my head and had cascaded to my feet." I was swept up in a tide of hormones, a sailor so in love with the sea that even the prospect of drowning did not disturb me. I thought she was beautiful, and to be sure, she was a very pretty young lady. I loved the sound of her voice, and her laugh. I liked her name. It's not a common name. She was not one of "twenty-seven Jennifers." The name intrigued me. The name is from the Greek, and it means "true image." I looked it up, pursuing my fascination. It had a classical appeal, while not being common, and it's four syllables felt good in my mouth. It was my belief that she wore it well. It always seemed to me that she stood out, in many more ways than just her name: in how she acted, in how she spoke, in how she carried herself, how she looked at things. I think I was impressed with what I perceived to be her ability to have both a kind of quiet reserve coupled with a warm engaging style. She didn't seem flapable, and yet, she wasn't walled-off, either. I was fascinated. Actually, I was obsessed. What else should I call it? It seems to me that we fall in love with people who exhibit or exercise a certain set of virtues, in patterns of their actions and mannerisms that uniquely speak to something in our own souls, for better or worse. Veronica was the unwitting possessor of an unclaimed lease on my heart for at least three or four years. I never showed her the place, much less, offered her a key, and so it stood empty, and haunted only by my fantasies and daydreams. Even after she had transfered to the other high school in town, after her freshman year, and gone from my sight ever afterward, she was frequently on my mind for the next couple of years.

I had no idea what to do with my feelings. That's a recurring theme with me: what in the hell am I supposed to do with my feelings? Even today, that is a question that frequently bedevils me. I never regarded my emotions as reliable motivations to action. However powerful a motivator our emotions can be, merely having feelings gives one no insight into what specific actions one should take in response to their inspiration. I read in those old pages of mine a deep longing need to tell someone about what I was feeling. I never expressed it like that, explicitly, but eyes thirty nine years older have learned to perceive meaning in the whitespace. Why did I want to tell someone? I'm not exactly sure, even now. I noted that I couldn't, as if it were merely obvious that I wanted to do so, and I felt the need to spell out why I couldn't, in the pages of that now ratty notebook. I wanted so much to tell someone and I couldn't, and I felt the need to write that I couldn't on that page, to preserve it somewhere, to "get it out of me," in a sense. We are so powerfully moved to share our unique perspective on existence, and to experience the unique perspectives of others. This is the essence of loneliness. This need to trade from our unique vantage point in existence and to value and be valued, is at the core of what we are. It's entwined through everything else we are and do. I spent/spend, so much of my life thwarted in my pursuit of those "spiritual values."

I spelled out why I felt I couldn't share. I didn't want to be teased or ridiculed, no matter who did it, or how "gently" it was done. I guess I thought that if I couldn't tell anyone what I was feeling, and couldn't figure out what to do with my feelings, having hurt, embarrassment, and wounded pride would just be even more feelings with which to deal. Whether it was realistic or not, I felt very alone and isolated. That too, is a pattern with me. Although its details have gone through the sea change, the pattern is still recognizable. Reading my childhood gushings, I found some part of me thinking: "Idiot." Damn. What in the hell, Dude? Why does part of me feel embarrassed, that I was moved so? Why self-disdain? Why police myself so harshly? My parents would never have criticized me so bluntly, unless they were really angry, but there it is. In their usual condescension, and in the way that they acted towards me, that is the impression that they gave me. I didn't want to be "less" in their eyes, a second-class being, merely because of immaturity and having feelings. To me, being an adult came to mean, among other things, that one controls and suppresses the powerful desire to share one's feelings. Sharing feelings is the way that we can be manipulated, controlled, and somehow, regarded as less significant. We call this feeling that accompanies our efforts to share, "vulnerability," because to offer to share your unique perspective on existence is to run the risk that what you have shared will be disvalued by the person with whom you want to trade. This disvaluation is what David Schnarch describes as a perceived challenge to our identity or our integrity.

I was not valued for my feelings. I didn't want to be thought "cute," or "precious," or precocious. Sharing feelings of attraction for someone is, or was, a sure way to invite belittling from my peers. I realize that I got the same impression from my parents, although they didn't outright ridicule me, most of the time. They still seemed to be "looking down on me." They were no help, at least in that regard. I learned defenses against vulnerability. Even at the age of fourteen, I understood, and was writing about insulting people and "being silly" as cultivated defenses. It is notable that I didn't exactly understand against what it was I was supposedly defending. I had written that my mother believed me to be somewhat immature (for my age?) due to my defenses. How is that for irony? Who was it that was exacerbating my perceived need for defenses in the first place? That's all the better that she could offer though, the perception that I was somewhat immature. Telling my mother how I felt always seemed to be giving her tools and an invitation to be intrusive. I always felt as if I had to worry about what would come back to bite me. On top of that, my mother's actions only confused me. She supposedly loved/loves my father, but they fought, very often violently. I couldn't make any sense of that behavior. What did she hope to accomplish with how she behaved? Was I to be asking her about love? She was in love, supposedly, with a man she couldn't stop denigrating, one she couldn't stop trying to manipulate and change into someone else. I'm pretty sure that I intuited that discussing feelings of love and attraction with her, in anything but the most abstract senses, was a good way to end up more confused about my own feelings, rather than enlightened.

My father was no help. He was/is frequently dissociated from his emotions — at least, the ones that bother him or trigger him. When he feels awkward, he resorts to silliness and trite bromides. His TrueSelf is definitely not in charge of his conversation, then. He would say things to me like: "A stiff dick's got no conscience." Usually, I understood what his aphorism or bromide meant, but much of the time, I was at a loss to see what relevance the comment even had to the matter at hand. OK, so being aroused and attracted to someone was often an opportunity to slip one's conscience and do something one would later regret. I'm pretty sure he's talking more about himself than he was to me, in situations like that. Hell, my problem was in trying to figure out if even the most tentative of actions would produce any kind of valuable return at all, or end up hurting me. Foolhardiness is not a sin to which many would ascribe me. My father married my mother, and from what I saw, was faithful to her. He married a woman who took frequent opportunity to throw his past and his background in his face, and shame him, despite his best efforts to eschew and distance himself from the more dysfunctional behaviors in his family of origin. Talking to him about any kind of sanity in love and attraction seemed like digging up stuff in an onion field with the hope or expectation of finding an orange. There was no help there.

Weatherman Stan Captain Absurd

Weather: 'tis nobler in the mind

It's a cool gray day (44° F) here in Livermore, interspersed with bouts of sunshine this morning. I was sitting in the bedroom, drinking coffee, when a low, rumbling, peal of thunder sounded. It was only one, but it startled the cat, and set a few of the neighborhood dogs to whining. For thunderstorms, that's all you usually get in California, at least, these parts of it. I was intrigued and went to the window to check the developments in the natural world and see if the sky was going to offer an encore, once more, with feeling. I was treated to the sight of BB-sized hail bouncing in the grass.

The Hanged Man Captain Caesura

There is no half-way to curiosity. That's why it's dangerous.

Why does she call herself a "kept woman" if this flatly contradicts so much of what I know about her and who she really is? Was she making a questionable joke? Was she trying to tell me something about herself, or at least, the way she perceives herself? Was she trying to admit something without actually saying it? What in the hell did she mean? Why is it that I very much doubt that I'd get real illumination from asking her that question? Why in the hell would she describe her situation that way? Was she wanting me to do something with that knowledge?

What was being offered in "sharing" that? If she does believe what she said, that sounds pretty damned insecure for a woman whose spirit and courage I actually admire, and I am disappointed. If she doesn't believe it, then why did she say it? Was she being manipulative? If she wasn't being manipulative, was she sharing her insecurity with me? What am I supposed to do with this, or about it? Hell, everybody gets insecure. It sucks. I have plenty of insecurities to go around. Self-doubt is imprisoning. If she really feels that way...disappointing doesn't entirely cover what I would feel about that. It would make me feel sad, to think she experiences those kinds of self-doubts. It makes me feel...protective...but half the time I'm not even sure how to be that, with her. I keep thinking she would perceive that as somehow catering to her weaknesses, or something. It's kind of conflicting to feel protective if the person about whom you feel it is going to resent it. She seems so self-confident to me, most of the time. I know that she has courage, and I admire it, greatly. I damned well know that I am in no way delusional about that. I'm in possession of reason and plenty of evidence, on that. Well, yeah, OK, in most contexts, I admire her courage. She has it in places where I think I could stand a little more of it, in myself. It's inspiring. It's one of the things that make her beautiful, to me. In other contexts, not so much, perhaps. Maybe I'm wrong about that too. Who knows? Maybe she'll figure it out and actually marry the man she's with right now.

Does she really believe that I am trying to "punish her" by staying away or is she trying to make this all about her as a means of manipulating me and having control? After all, if it is about her then she has some input into things, some control. If it is about me, then it does exclude her, whether I am there or not there is entirely out of her hands. When I told her this is about me and not her, why would she not accept that?

Delusional? I'm delusional? If it is true, then I am hurt, and I want to get away from this mess. Who wants delusions? I've had far too many of those and they're just gross. If it's not true, then why did she say it? Was it manipulative? If it's not true and she said it anyway then I am more than a little angry about that. Did she say it to be hurtful? To what end? Did she say it to push me away? What other effect would any rational person expect such a statement to have? Hell, if she thinks it's true why in the hell would she even think to question what I am doing? If I'm really delusional about what is between she and I then I need to get away from whatever is feeding that delusion, but she doesn't or didn't seem to want that. Is she in effect saying that she is OK with my being delusional as long as my delusions serve her desires and ends and she can control things?

Why am I so entangled in this, anyway? What in the hell am I doing? It's not like I don't know the material facts, the situation on the ground. She hasn't lied about that. Am I being needy? It's not like it is her who keeps me hanging out in limbo. I can be angry with her all I want, but do I really have a reason? I can disapprove of her actions all I want, but I can't say that I have been unaware of them.

I went poking around on OKStupid with a catspaw account this morning. I'm not exactly sure why. I'm not looking to meet anyone. I damned sure don't feel like dating, and if I did date, I wouldn't feel honest. I'm not interested in investing my curiosity in someone new right now. At any rate, I was window-shopping or fiddling around distracting myself. Is it that I'm just missing her? I'm not sure what I was doing. Some woman wrote in her self-summary: "I enjoy alone time, and want to be with someone I want, not with someone I need." I was tempted to write to her and ask what she thinks the distinction is between those two concepts. I wonder if she actually knows what she was talking about or is she just parroting the common wisdom and is just saying it to sound deep? It made me wonder. If she is aware of a distinction, what is it that she perceives herself to "need"? What does it mean to her, to need someone? What does it mean to me? I tell myself that I don't need L. Is it true?

Montecristo Captain Quixote

...and if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out...

Contempt is poison. It is one of Gottman's "Four Horsemen." Hell, I don't want it. How can I feel it though, and consciously believe that the target of the contempt does not deserve it and that to feel contempt is indeed beneath me? I am aghast at my propensity for internal conflict. How can I get to the bottom of this? I can't even make sense of it...and it hurts.

She says: "I am direct," (while implying a contrast between her behavior and mine) and then says things like "L. (her parenting partner) says our dynamic (hers and mine) is abusive." Robert is not direct, being the unenlightened and un-de-FOO'ed one, but she is, always. I notice such contradictions. She tells me that she does not treat me with contempt, but she has, and moreover steadfastly refused to even acknowledge or discuss it...for over two years. So, I experience cognitive dissonance. I feel like I can't talk about things like this with her without being accused of attacking her. It's frustrating. Is it worthy of contempt? Why in the hell would I ever answer that question in the affirmative? Still...I feel it...and sometimes, I show it. It is on my face.

Is she awful? No. Is she evil? No, quite the contrary. I keep saying to myself that everyone has blind-spots. I accept that. She is a remarkable person. Then what is going on in me? I see the pattern: I don't want to be in my father's position. I perceived him to be, courtesy of my mother's numerous complaints, and his own questionable actions, her mistake, and I have come to see that kind of existence as appalling. I have resolved to never again end up in that position...and yet, I still often perceive myself to be in that position. Is it just me, or did I actually become enamored of someone who recapitulates that experience with me? How in the hell am I supposed to figure that one out? There's an example of Peter Gerlach's "trust wound." I suppose that it is also compounded by the "shame and guilt wound." It is more than just dismaying, how these traumas combine in wounds that produce a kind of fractal pattern of cognitive and interpersonal pathologies. When it's not painful, it is morbidly fascinating.

Pete says these things are ungrieved things or traumas in us, and that grieving them frees us from them. To Laurel, "de-FOO" fixes everything. She doesn't say that as much, lately, which is just OK with me, because it really rankled me when I heard it. De-FOO is not a process; it'a a result! It's neither a means nor an end; it is a realization to which one may come. So, what's to do? More parts work? I suppose I should dive back into Pete's site. I can't get anywhere right now. I just end up making things worse. Sometimes, I find myself so unmotivated in the mornings. I have to drag myself out of bed, or lie there, working up the initiative to do something. That was the state in which I found myself this morning. Hell, I would have found sadness to be a relief, but I felt "insulated" from that. I feel tired and frazzled and frustrated. Part(s) of me insist that I may as well be alone; my company is not that appetizing right now, anyway. I think I want solitude. I want to go home, and be alone right now. It is not a good day.

There is too much going on at once. Jackie's headaches are getting worse again. She wants some sort of medical cure. Her good doctor, the family practitioner she likes, asked her if maybe she thought she might get somewhere talking to a therapist. I heard my own former disdain in her voice. She's angry and doesn't want to be thought crazy. Nobody is denying that she is experiencing these physical problems but she definitely does not want to entertain the idea that they have a psychological/emotional component, at all, or that maybe, she might find some insights in coping with these things if she spoke with someone. I asked her if she thought that I am crazy, after all, I am now talking to someone in an effort to find some clarity. That question got dodged artfully. There are no lessons so bitter as the ones we long to un-teach. Why would they listen best when I was wrong? I suspect it is because that we learn that we are wrong through age and experience. We are wrong before we are right. We are wrong when we are younger, and our children are younger, and that is when they are most vulnerable and impressionable. It is difficult to talk to her and reach her...and I'm not talking to the person with the good ideas in this arena right now. Damn it. This is what I get for plucking out my right eye. Ha.

At least Jackie will say that something is wrong. Shannon is trickier. I spoke to her last night around nine, and then again around ten, when I got back from Oakland, where I was helping Tom. She was having a panic attack, I think. She found herself in a position of being unable to swallow, and was retching back up the water she kept trying to drink. She described it as feeling like her esophagus was blocked. I suggested that she might want to call the ER and talk to them, but apparently, she decided to wait it out. I asked if she would call me back last night, when she knew more, after talking to someone with a medical perspective. She didn't. Instead, she went to bed. I called her this morning to check up on her and found out that the distressing condition went away after about forty-five more minutes, and that she was still tired. Well, as maladies go, ones that disappear on their own are better than one's like Jackie's migraines, which hang on tenaciously. The thing is though, I don't know what is stressing Shannon right now. It's worrisome. I think I'll call her tonight again, and see if she will talk to me. I can be difficult to reach her, in more ways than one.

I wish it were five o'clock. I'm not feeling useful, right now.

Montecristo Captain Quixote

The turn of the tide

What did he do? I've now had three conversations with my parents where I have been moderately more honest, to the limit of my courage or ability, to be honest and open. The first was with my mother, on her birthday, and the second two were with my father, one yesterday night and the other earlier tonight. There is so much I don't understand about what's happening. I was so angry while Dad and I spoke, in both conversations. It's amazing, and disconcerting. In the first conversation, with my mother, on her birthday, I told my mother a little of what I felt about my parents violent fights in our home. She offered me an apology, which is to say that she acknowledged that she was wrong. She knows it. She cannot feel it. If she felt it, it would motivate her to some sort of action. A lamentation is not understanding.

The conversations with my father were amazing. In the first, I did not feel up to trying to square some kind of account with him, so I decided to be honest about my mother, who is actually in the hospital. Apparently, she collapsed yesterday with some sort of UTI infection. She was in intensive care for awhile, although Dad told me this evening that the hospital had moved Mom to a room.

What in the hell is happening? I was enthusiastic this afternoon, if a bit scared. Tonight, after the phone call with Dad, I feel a residual anger and a bunch of confusion. What did he do to me? Is this something I did to myself?

So much about which to wonder. I had to go bury my nose in internet stuff in order to collect myself after the call. What's up with that? What's with the anger? It feels "clean, in that it is not misplaced or misdirected. There is irony here. When I first started talking to Laurel about this process, and reading, I read about being angry while talking to one's parents. I thought that the person in the example in Molyneux's book must be making it up. Did they have a reason for the anger? I knew, consciously, about how awry things had been, growing up in that house. I wasn't angry about it. I didn't get what Molyneux was implying that the reader do. Was I supposed to call up my parents and pretend to be angry? That's crazy. Now, I am angry. It is a knot behind my forehead. Surprisingly, it is not showing up in my shoulders, back and neck. Why would it be different now?

King of Cups Captain Querent

I keep your picture on the wall; it hides a nasty stain that's lying there

Is there a set of necessary and sufficient conditions for deciding to engage in a sexual relationship? How do I know when that set of conditions is met?

I was rolling around the subject of my sexual ethics and I believe that I have obtained a better handle on identifying my moral premises on the topic:

Ethical statemeent: I will only engage in a sexual relationship with someone if I believe that I can trust them with my life, and moreover, the lives of my children, actual or potential, and if I believe that my partner believes the same with respect to me.

Does that sum things up for me? Does that work? It is possible that the statement, as it stands, represents a necessary set of conditions, but do these conditions constitute a sufficient set? I note that, as I understood this statement at the time, it would not have excluded the choice of Crystal at the time I chose her.


I believed that I trusted her with my life and with the lives of my children. The ethical premise is sound but in applying it to Crystal I made a mistake: as she was, and to many extents, still is, the decision to trust her with the lives of my children or potential children was not sound. Neither of us had the self-knowledge that would have enabled us to furnish and sustain the high-quality nurturing environment necessary to the ultimate well-being of our children, however much I did not understand this at the time.


Certain key areas of Crystal's integrity were, even in my estimation, even then, very much open to doubt. What was not factored in properly was an understanding that these limits logically implied that together we would be unable to provide such an environment as I desired, and for which I was morally obligated to provide consequent to taking Crystal as my mate and having and raising children with her. I could not trust her, both for limitations of my own and hers. Therefore, the decision to have sex with her was unwarranted, in retrospect.

So, why did I believe it at the time? Why did her prior infidelity and sexual and procreational risk-taking not matter to, or not weigh decisively in, my decision at the time?

I believe that the answer is that I grew up swimming in an ocean of lies. The perceptions of reality with which my immature brain formed the premises about the importance of honesty, and the consequences of dishonesty, were distorted by the environment provided by my parents. Before I was married, did I ever confront Crystal over what I perceived to be her infidelity? No. In fact, was I clear about my boundaries in this regard? No. In fact, I sometimes evaded the importance of my feelings with respect to her behavior. As a matter of fact, I sometimes evaded, to myself, the knowledge of the likelihood that she was cheating on me when in fact she was doing so. Is that true, or was I using the fact that we had no formal, or at least well-understood, agreement between the two of us, to absolve her of the moral responsibility to be "faithful?" I had a standard, but in the absence of communicating it to Crystal and having it clear to both of us, did that allow me to somehow have my cake and eat it too?

In what way? To what end?

Did I need to be able to pretend that she loved me and that she cared? It is possible that I thought so. If it is so, this would explain why I was frequently in doubt about what she felt for me. I need to ruminate on that. Perhaps this would be a good thing to look up in previous journaling.

Montecristo Captain Quixote

If you could only see how blue her eyes can be...

Observation: It is difficult to write about the things which are extremely important in a timely fashion. Also, I have to change some privacy settings on some entries I have made here. I promised Laurel that I would do this, because she wants me to do so, but I have not attended to this yet. I feel guilty about this, but I have not put the time and the thought together at the same time in order to accomplish this yet. I want to do it, but I am also reluctant to do it, because of feelings about my own honesty in "covering up," and I don't want to do this thoughtlessly, and yet alacrity is also of the essence. I will do it tonight, or no later than tomorrow morning. That is a promise to myself. I will keep it.

Laurel is speaking to me again. Our communications have been strained, at times, but I still find them pleasurable, and in several different ways, richly rewarding. If I am ever to have a life-partner with whom to share the intimacy, passion, and spiritual values Schnarch says are possible for two people to enjoy together, I am still of the opinion that she is the best candidate I know, or have known, with whom I am likely to accomplish that goal.

On the 17th, Mom's birthday, I had conversations, first with my brother, and then with my parents, which were much more open and honest than the communications I have previously had with them, possibly in years. The conversations still were not honest enough, in my estimation, to satisfy my conscience, but they are an improvement. I am still very much conflicted over, and wrestling with, making hard choices regarding whether I can and should terminate my association with them. Logically assessing the necessity of doing so is horriibly difficult, and emotionally assessing it is practically impossible, because my feelings keep shifting and fluctuating. I was on YouTube some minutes ago, listening to the song over which DJ has been obsessing the past couple of days and I was flooded with a feeling of sadness so powerful it made me weep, but the feeling faded. I am working on this.

Observation: My brother sees negotiations with his wife over differences in their values and intended actions (e.g. the aesthetic value of a wall-hanging on their wall) in terms of win-lose. They are still married.

My parents and my brother all seem to have no problems with the limits of their own moral curiosity. Can one honestly live and love without an active and continuously growing moral consciousness? I don't see how that question can be answered in the affirmative at all. Is it possible that my family members might also live in contradiction to what they have each told me, to one extent or another? My parents have been, and seem to be, reaping the natural consequences of attempting to live according to their own confessed beliefs. The jury is very much out on my brother. He seems more differentiated, in some ways, than I was expecting, when I spoke to him. On the other hand, some of his surface calm is possibly just dissociation. How can I be sure?

My mother is upset because Chris has appropriated some photographs of my mother's when my mother felt certain that she had not given Chris permission to take those, and she wants them back. Something to ponder: why can't Mom simply talk to Chris and ask for the photographs back? What kind of weirdness is at work here?

This morning's attempt at applying "Five-Why Analysis" to the problem of de-FOO.

I should de-FOO.


I can consistently operate on a moral standard only as high as the one to which I am willing to hold my parents.


Operating on a higher moral standard allows confrontation with internal sub-persona so that dysfunctional feelings and behaviors may be redirected and re-purposed to more functional ends. [Side note: Does this really answer the previous question well? Was the previous answer really true?]


The dysfunctional feelings and behaviors of un-lead (ill-managed) sub-persona create adverse consequences in my ability to relate to others in healthy, productive ways. They also interfere with my ability to perceive reality, focus on what is important in existence, and appreciate, identify, produce, acquire, trade, and share values.


The ability to process reality effectively, enabling me to appreciate, identify, produce, acquire, trade, and share values is required for me to exist and thrive.


Existence, the thriving of the individual, is the fundamental human end. It is the meaning of human consciousness.

Riff Benighted Hero Captain Earnest

I only hear what I want to? Wrestling with an angel, or devil, in my head.

I was tempted to write her again this morning and ask if we could talk. Why in the living blue blazes is it so ridiculously hard for me to just accept already that she doesn't want to talk to me and drop her out of my thoughts? I need to change my focus. I am focused on the non-existent. She's gone; there is no more point in thinking about her, missing her, wanting her, or even analyzing what happened. How could there possibly be, after nearly six months, anything else of value to squeeze out of consideration of my relationship with her and what happened? It wastes my precious leisure to remain in this frame of thought. Sheesh. I really need to issue an eviction notice to her simulacrum in my head...and I can't. It's tiring. I just need to accept that there is no more closure to be had and "move on." As much as I hate that phrase I must admit it is applicable here. Ugh. I can refrain from contacting her, and have, and I can accept rationally that these thoughts are a dead end, and do, but I cannot change how I feel. I still want to talk to her, at least once more; there are still things I want to understand, and don't. Damn it. I know that fighting it doesn't work, but for the love of sweet peace, why does it take so damned long just to ride this out? Grr...ah well, it takes as long as it takes. Hell, it took a year, with Crystal. It's just that, given the current expected human longevity, I don't have an abundance of those left. Damn it. Suck it up.

Montecristo Captain Quixote

Summer nights and street cars take me back, to the world gone away

When I told the therapist that I had been keeping a journal since 2 May 1978, she asked if I had re-read it. I told her that I had not looked at my old paper stuff, which encompasses everything from the start date, when I was in the eighth grade, to the time just before Crystal and I moved to California. She suggested that I try reading it. I felt apprehensive about doing that, when it came down to it. I can't exactly identify why. Nevertheless, I did manage to go get those old notebooks and start reading. I thought I'd make notes here, since things started occurring to me as I am reading.

I was writing to be read, even though I have tried to keep a conversational tone out of my journals. I wasn't as conscious of the effort or even the fact that there was a conversational tone to the writing style, at the time. Is it a symptom of the desire for external validation? In reading my childhood writings, the neediness was very clear. I wanted to be understood. I wanted the girl to whom I was attracted to desire me, to know me. It was very difficult for me to feel that desire and not act upon it and just speak up and talk to her. I was terribly insecure, and immature, and at great pains to deny both of these things. I was still building "forts and clubhouses" out of tree limbs in the woods with kids two or three years my junior, when I was fourteen. I was much moved to hyperbolic prose, or at least, romantically colorful prose. It is somewhat amusing to me to note that being shy, awkward, and naive, while at the same time being somewhat precociously adept with prose, produced some rather interesting text. I was very much more sentimental than I am now. Carl Jung tells us that, "Sentimentality is the superstructure erected upon brutality." All I can add to that is that apparently, we learn it young. All punning aside, it does cause me to wonder: do we learn the two concomitantly or does the inculcation of one naturally facilitate the inculcation of the other?

Side note: while looking up the quote to check the wording I stumbled upon an article, by a person named Antonio Dias, discussing Jung's observation. It looks interesting. I wonder what this guy makes or would make of the fact that Ayn Rand and Carl Jung appear to be in agreement over their dislike of Joyce, and do not appear to be that far apart in their justifications for their dislike. The author defends Joyce, I note. I am intrigued by this line:

Sentiment takes any criticism, real or inferred, and turns it into an excuse for a reaction. Anything to keep our focus where we demand it belongs.

Hmm. Perhaps I should drop that idea on some of my own sub-parts and see who squirms. Why anger, indeed. Of course, "an excuse for a reaction" is somewhat lacking in explanatory power. "Anything to keep our focus where we demand it belongs," instigates a better question: why. Is it fear, or something else? Do any of us actually entirely escape the charge of narcissism, if Miller, Gerlach, et al, are right about the ubiquity of childhood traumatization and consequent baggage? I note the author's use of the inclusive "we," in his article. It is not a question of pathology. Herds of "normal" people go mad and turn their times into orgies of bloodshed.

It is not as awkwardly painful, reading this, as I worried that it would be. I was terribly obsessed over Veronica. There was something about her that drew my attraction. It is hard to pick out. I was all over the map in documenting what I felt and this early in the chronology I see very little questioning of why. I'm wondering about how much of a clue I actually had, at the time. I knew that it was her, specifically that I wanted, and I didn't find quite so much interest in many other of the girls in my class. I am wondering if I managed to identify anything substantial in what I valued about her. Was it all physical, at that age? Was it all neediness and desire for external validation? I made a lot of notes in my journal about Veronica that would point to an attraction to her femininity. I was way too young to characterize this observation as such, at the time, but I see it, in the particulars I tended to note about her, and I understand it in light of what moves me today. I liked looking at her bare skin, her arms and legs fascinated me, when she would wear a dress. I wrote frequently of how she dressed and how she wore her hair. I recall that she wore makeup when almost all of the other girls in the class did not, and she was talented and subtle enough with it not to get noticed or rebuked by the nuns, as far as I knew. I haven't seen it, yet, at this point in my reading, but I am wondering if I duly noted my observation about her wearing makeup in some entry. I also see that I was clearly attracted to the sound of particular female voices and laughter. I noted both the sound and the kinesthetic grace of her movements when she laughed.

I was fascinated by the most silly coincidences, like the fact that we had worn sweaters of the same color one day. Oh, my poor brain. I do note, in favor of the child I was then, that I didn't attempt to ascribe such coincidences as the manifestations of some sort of supernatural will or destiny, despite the fact that I would have confessed a belief in God, in those days. I was still a server at Mass.

I note that, for all that I was chided and chastised for absent-mindedness and awkwardness as a boy, I was very observant, when my interest was piqued, having noted the warmth of Jenny's hands, for example when I had occasion to touch them during a classroom experiment with building a model thermometer.

It is interesting to understand, from my reading between the lines now, that my parents probably had a better grasp of my infatuations than I believed them to have at the time. I wanted advice, but I wanted my inner life a secret to them. They both, in their ways, managed to make me feel invaded (and sometimes, all too often, even rejected). Have I done any better than they when Shannon tells me, "I don't like to feel around you."