Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Tuesday, August 8: Getting Away with Murder

Let’s say an unfortunate child is born with cerebral palsy. Their distraught and loving and slightly guilty parents do everything they can for the child, everything and everything for so long that the child thinks this is the world. Anytime a need arises, squawking and whining and crying noises stimulate a parent to take care of any and all desires, be it food or comfort or entertainment or feeling safe.

And then a strange moment comes. The child is lucky enough to come to a Feldenkrais practitioner and starts to learn to function on her own. And this is nice to move, but the one who is supposed to be doing all the work is Mom or Dad. It’s not her job to get herself across the room, or pick up something for herself. That’s Dad and Mom’s job, and here we have the “murder” she’s getting away with: murdering her chances to live a full and independent life because she’s used to and demands with forceful and well perfected screams and whines and tears.

What is a parent to do? Let the little dear suffer so as she learns to do things for herself?


All learning requires frustration, and this frustration of the loss of the Big People who Jump at My Every Squawk is one that will lead to an expanding and learning and more full life.

ANOTHER PERSON, THIS TIME a wife in her fifties has come up with some interesting neurological ailment. She can barely walk. She is in great pain in many places. Food is hard. Life is hard. She is bedridden more or less, except for noble and valiant efforts out into the world of doctors and helpers.

Some doctors think it’s all in her head, others think it some sort of self-immune attack, other kinds of health workers more or less try to teach her to pray and take positive attitudes, her therapist is trained by her to think that she was so abused in younger days that this is her deep lot in life.

Husband is trained to take care of her. Daughter is trained to realize that her problems are small potatoes unless she gets in a car wreck or something to up the ante, which of course she does now and then. Most of her therapists ( she has many, juggling one after the other, making sure everyone’s work can have a diluted effect) fall for her manipulations. She needs to come late, it was so hard getting out of the house. She needs to stay into their lunch hour or into their next session, because she is such a wreck, poor dear.

One, very naughty person, a Feldenkrais practitioner, say: points out to her that she’s manipulating the world all to beat hell and is so mean as to charge her for the extra ten, twenty, thirty minutes she likes to drag out her sessions. So mean he is, and she dumps him. Oh, well. Life is more peaceful.

And who is she murdering? Herself, in her fury at her condition and at the world for not having enough compassion and at her “abuser,” if such a person really existed. By now that doesn’t matter. She has mastered abusing herself, and the rest of the world, cab drivers, therapists, family members, they will get their little taste of her anger, too, though of course it is never, ever “her fault.” Oh, no. She is full of love for the whole world, even in the midst of her almost unbearable suffering.

ANOTHER PERSON, A YOUNG BOY of some slightly undiagnosable autistic tendency, has his bad moments. He tells his Mom he wants to kill himself. This sounds serious and probably is, as the message this always is: I feel terrible and want it (this terrible feeling) to go away. Somebody’s job: to teach him how to undo bad feelings so he can let them come with a healthy interest in overcoming the down moments of life.

In the meantime, Mom is terrified to do anything that he doesn’t want to do.

So, here he’s murdering Mom’s freedom and his right to be a child, since he is now in charge of the whole two person family. No friends, because that is hard. Not going outside much, because he “doesn’t feel like it.” Bored and feeling bad, what a life. Who wouldn’t want to kill themselves with no one around but a trapped and controlled Mom who won’t take charge and be a Mom and risk him learning how to deal with a little more stress on the way to the park or the garden. Mom is murdered, his chances of change are murdered, what a weird state we can create with our dis-ease, using it as a club to murder our own freedom and ability to change and murdering the chances of others around us to act honestly and freely and just tell us every once in awhile: You are such a pain in the ass. Damn I get fed up with putting up with your nonsense. Go ahead and suffer, because today you are going to put on your own socks, or go to the park, or leave your appointment on time. Who knows what might come of that?

Frightened as you are, you’ll love the discovering once you get used to a world not totally in your control.


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