Psychology and Mental Health Forum

Author:  Johnny-Jack [ Tue Apr 07, 2015 3:09 am ]
Blog Subject:  Godwin, age 6. Alter #31

On December 30, 2014 I started musing again whether we might have a persecutor in our system. Alters who cause trouble deliberately for a host, other alters, or the entire system are surprisingly common. Their cause is usually an outside persecutor in a child's life, someone who deliberately, repeatedly hurts a child physically, sexually, emotionally, etc. A persecutor might tell a child they're evil and thus "make the persecutor" abuse them. Internalizing this persecution, being able to predict it and understand it, can at first be quite protective for a child.

We were noticing a pattern of limiting our own success, of deliberately stopping short of excellent results, and always, always dodging praise, tossing it back to the complimenter so they knew that praise was not welcome, not considered important. After a couple experiences of this, most people pick up that compliments are just not received. If all else failed, we would ignore the compliment, change the subject, downplay it as something anybody with similar knowledge in the same situation would have done.

Our reaction always felt off to me. It was obviously counter-productive and I learned to just say thanks sometimes and move on. A few people I knew were brazen enough with a comeback like, "you know, you really should just accept a compliment. Your reaction is kind of offputting." I already knew that but couldn't usually change my behavior. And I didn't have a clue why I did it.

That winter day, I started going into a head space that I knew meant something was coming up. I heard the single word "sour" deep inside, quietly. Then again and again, louder and louder until my mind was repeating the word fast and fiercely. This phenomenon had happened before and I knew To find the meaning. But what? Sour milk? Not quite, but close. Then sour grapes. Ah, yes, that fits. The mantra sour grapes continued a while but slowed because we had found it. But what was the association?

In Aesop's fable, a fox cries "sour grapes" because he wants to eat the juicy grapes high on the vine but can't jump high enough. He can't win so he claims the prize is worthless in order to save face. Our mother came into the mind next and we knew this was associated with her. And there was someone new in the body. He was young. Sphinx, as he does, confirms we have met a new alter because his "central nervous system" pattern is unique, unlike any known alter. Then the name Godwin floats up, the name of a great-great-grandparent. We sense this is a little boy, age 6.

Shortly we began getting images, flashes, of being punched, smacked, kicked in the crotch. It hurts. Our mother was often sick and cruel but this particular attack is different from the rest, it's a specific attack. She is angry and wants to generate pain, pain for a boy. She wants to bring us down. After a few minutes, we piece together that she is enraged from jealousy. Other people had praised us, some accomplisment had been recognized. It wasn't attributed to her or explained as the result of her "good mothering." The praise was for us, the little boy, leaving her out. The part of her who herself to be nothing flew into a rage. When we were alone with her next, she would beat us and, unlike other times, she went for the little boy Godwin's groin. She is a very sick woman.

To protect us in childhood, Godwin learned to stop us from doing excellent work that might generate any direct praise because to stand out led to a vicious, painful attack by the mother. Now he sometimes limits us because great success is dangerous and terrifying. Better to do well but not stand out. This kept us safe in childhood, but it's counter-productive in adulthood.

Godwin learned subtle distinctions. Good grades were okay because they're just letters and not direct praise. She could use our report card to suggest to others, who after a while didn't want to listen to this woman, how her early work with us on numbers, learning to read, whatever, was the cause of our good grades. She loved accomplishments that she could in any way conceivable co-opt as her own and she did so frequently. If we sought credit for something we did that we heard her bragging to people about, she would belittle our desire for credit.

Not surprisingly, Godwin likes hard steady work and chores that require physical exertion and focus. And he dislikes people who feel they don't have to work to get something. When you're a small child and a mother is determined never to let you win, you know you won't be allowed to. But you don't have to believe she'll win, even though she claims the prize for herself. God really knows what's happening, and in the end God wins, not her.

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