Posted by: Marie | September 17, 2012

(712) Reconciling dichotomies – Part 4 of 6

Post #712
[Private journal entry written on Wednesday, October 26, 2011 about a conversation between my therapist and me – continued from previous post]


Me: Well, actually, Dr. Drew was not the host of his show last night – he had a guest host. But, Dr. Drew did call in and ask some questions of the Pearls. He expressed his strong disapproval of corporal punishment – but he still let them have their say. Dr. Drew stated that you don’t have to hit children, that you can gain their cooperation by talking to them only – well, by talking and listening, too. He said that you gain their cooperation by giving them a voice and respecting their voice and their needs and preferences. The psychologist agreed with him.

At one point in the show, Michael Pearl said, “You must continue to escalate the pain until the child’s defiance is broken and his will is broken.” When I heard those words, I about fell over in shock because I had just included those very same words in that synopsis document I wrote and emailed to James. Those are the words my dad used to always say . . . he would say that it was his job to break my will – without breaking my spirit.

I’ve always thought my dad got those words from his brief experience as a horse trainer – he would say the same thing about horses. Now I’m thinking he got those words from religious fanatics – fanatics with the same heritage as the Pearls.

(I stopped talking . . . we sat silently again . . . he watched me . . . I looked anywhere but at him . . . )

Me: Anyway . . . it just irritated me to hear Michael Pearl say that . . . he had such an arrogant way about him . . . a sense of superiority . . . it just irritated me because I know he is dead wrong.

The Altitude by Martin Chen

Anyway, that’s all I have to say about that . . .

Edward: No . . no . . . please tell me more about that . . . what specifically irritated you?

Me: When I heard him talking like that, I just wanted to get on the phone . . . I just wanted to call into the show and tell these stupid people that . . .

(I tried to string together the words I wanted to say . . . I stumbled around trying to find any words that might give voice to what I was feeling . . . but, I couldn’t . . . I couldn’t find the words here with Edward just like I couldn’t find the words at my house while I was watching the show. Instead of answering Edward’s question, I just put my hands in the air and said . . . )

Me: Aaaaaarrrrrrrrgggggg!!!!!

I don’t know . . . I just don’t know what I wanted to say . . .

But, anyway . . . as I thought about calling in, I realized it would be a waste of time because those stupid people aren’t going to listen anyway. Their minds are set . . . their minds are closed . . . they aren’t going to listen. It would be a waste of time.

Edward: What if it wasn’t a waste of time?

Me: But, it would be. It doesn’t matter what I might say . . . it would be a waste of time and breath to say anything to them.

Edward: Just go along with me here . . . what would you say to them on the off-chance they might listen?

(As soon as he said that, I realized he was trying to get me to say what I might say to my dad without me having to address my dad directly. As soon as I made that connection in my mind, I froze up. I got very emotional and the tears swelled up. All I could do is sob. I wasn’t able to talk anymore . . . I just cried for a minute or two. Then, I caught my breath a little bit.)

Me: (whispering) I’ve lost my voice.

(Yet again, we sat silently for a few moments. I continued fighting off the frozen, paralyzed feeling . . . )

Me: I know you are trying to get me to say what I might say to my dad . . . you know . . . if I had the chance . . . so, because I know that, the idea of saying something to them is just as paralyzing as saying it to my dad . . .

(Edward didn’t say anything, he just watched me carefully . . . finally, I answered what seemed to me to be the unspoken question . . . )

Me: I still can’t say stuff to my dad . . . it is too difficult for me to speak directly to him . . . it is easier if I just talk to you about this stuff.

Edward: Okay . . . what would you like to say to me?

Me: I guess . . .

I don’t understand how they think beating on a child is okay.

Edward: Yes . . . how can those people beat on a child until they break the will of that child . . . ??

Me: I don’t understand how they think that is right . . .

(After a pause) I think I know what I would like to say to those people . . . I just figured it out . . .

Edward: What would you like to say to them?

Me: (Almost whispering) Don’t you know that, if you beat a child and break his will, you then end up with a child with a broken will and a broken spirit . . . ?? How can you not know that?

Edward: Of course! Of course you end up with a child that has a broken will and a broken spirit!

Me: I don’t think you can break someone’s will and not their spirit.

Edward: I agree! That is fantasy!

Me: I would ask them how they could not know that . . . I would try to talk some sense into them . . . if I thought they might listen . . .

Edward: (After a pause) Is it possible for you to be angry at your dad for doing that same thing to you . . . in the same way you are angry at those people for abusing their own children?

Me: Here is what I struggle with . . .

I just don’t understand the “why” . . . I don’t understand how my dad – who had such a big heart – I know he had a big heart because I knew him well – he had a tender heart, he was generous and loving – just not always with me.

I think he really did the best he knew to do.

I just have trouble reconciling the soft-hearted person I knew with the hard-hearted, arrogant guy who expressed to me that he knew everything, that he was right and I was wrong, that there was absolutely no room for discussion, that he would beat the crap out of me in order to break my will because it was the most loving thing he could do for me . . .

I have trouble understanding how he could be so close-minded around all of that.

I’m still trying to reconcile that dichotomy. I just don’t understand that . . .

I try to make sense of it . . . I just don’t understand . . . I try and try, but I don’t understand . . . I can’t reconcile it . . . (sigh) I just don’t know . . .

[Continued in the next post . . . ]


  1. Looking forward to seeing if you reconcile the dichotomy.

    • LOL . . . dichotomies, plural!!

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