A Layer of Protection

Part 5 of a continuing series, (see Part 1 here), documenting and reflecting on a set of states I mapped and moved in 2008. The set revolves around a deeply buried, internalized violence taken on in childhood and adolescence in response to experiences with my father.


Once Vicious Enforcer came to the foreground, other feelings became quickly apparent as defense states. The following two were key guardians ensuring that Vicious Enforcer never erupted into my waking life.

Confused Paralysis

“Like that insulation foam that comes in a can, but more beige colored, and pressurized, before it becomes hard. Soft but pressurized, pushing outward in all directions. This is what contains Vicious Enforcer, with the aid of Fear. Fear doesn’t have to do it all by itself.

“I can’t move. The pressure is enormous. The foam is stifling. I am a prisoner in my own body. The fire is completely put out. It’s fire-proof foam. Temp is neutral, more or less body temp. No movement except for some slight continuing expansion of the foam, ever-increasing pressure. Headache, bodyache, dullness. No sound. Muffled sound. Can’t hear myself think.

“This does not enter the head except when highly activated, during close confrontations with authority, when my own authority is called for, or when I’ve screwed up.

“I need to figure out what to do, but I can’t. Don’t know what’s what. I’m stuck. Immobile. Inactive. Passive. I don’t like this. Must avoid situations which make me feel it.”

So this was the first line of defense against Vicious Enforcer. As long as Confused Paralysis came up in situations where authority was present, I was safe. As you might expect, I avoided all possible situations like this. Employment, for example, was almost exclusively free lance. Having a boss was just not safe, unless that boss was a woman, in which case I could tolerate it.

Confused Paralysis

But Confused Paralysis wasn’t enough. In case Vicious Enforcer got too strong, there was a layer of Fear on top.

Fear

“Anxious about facing these parts of myself, especially the Vicious Enforcer. The sense of this is, I can’t make a mistake. For example, with the guy I recently had a confrontation with, I was careful not to say any judgments for fear they might be wrong or interpreted as insensitive. If I’m wrong, I’m automatically an asshole, both authoritarian and stupid. Constantly monitoring myself to make sure everything I say is a) justified, and b) reasonable, and even c) wise. Can’t have an unconsidered opinion.

“What I’m really afraid of is the Vicious Enforcer. Afraid if I make a mistake and somebody challenges me, that part will leap forth with all its irrational viciousness.

“A tension in my back and shoulders, holding shoulders and arms back and immobilized. It’s about immobility. It’s about containment. Can’t allow any part of judgment or authority out, or it could come out in force and the consequences could be bad. [Memories: situations as a kid of losing my temper, stomping on a crippled kid’s foot, the shame of that.] This is a fear of doing something shameful, that goes against who I feel myself to be, that is hurtful to someone else.

“Material is like brazil nut casing, very hard but not heavy; rigid. Upper back, shoulders, around to upper chest, upper arms. Like a kind of armor. About an inch or so thick, maybe less, at skin and just under it. Feels like my arms are kept immobile.

“Color of a brazil nut or a beetle, maybe slightly shiny, smooth, woody tough. Neutral temperature, not noticeable. No movement – resists movement. This stuff is fireproof and is able to contain the Vicious Enforcer, which can’t gain its power if it is unable to move. Sound = slight whispering, more like a quiet voice advising caution or good behavior to a child.

“I have to keep Vicious Enforcer contained. Can’t go there. It’s very important to keep it contained, because it could hurt someone, or myself. My whole purpose is to reinforce Confused Paralysis, to keep things contained. This is serious business.”

Fear

So that’s two lines of defense to make sure Vicious Enforcer never saw the light of day. Do you see how this works? This deep force was so powerful, though, it required even more of my energy to fully contain it. In the next post I’ll share two more parts that worked together to reinforce the first two.

Want to participate in conversations about the feeling mind? Over the coming year (2019), depending on interest, I’ll be I’ll be hosting live, group calls where we can go much deeper into the material and practice the skills. If you think you might be interested, please reach out to me.