Pressure, Nature, Love, Self-Harm
I am going to try to recreate
something that happened this morning.
I was laying in bed thinking. Laura was awake. I asked
her what she was thinking about. She said her family. To
me this means she is thinking about leaving me and going
back to Peru. This pains me to hear. It pains me so much
that I can't listen to her talk about it anymore. I can
listen to lots of people talk about lots of things. But
it just pains me too much to listen to her talk about her
family, missing her mother, going back to Peru etc.
My whole body reacts. But I don't know what to do with
My first thought was "What family?" To me, what
she calls a family, isn't a family. There is no father.
There is no sister. The sole brother physically and
emotionally abused her. They hardly speak when she is in
the house. The mother physically and emotionally abused
her. Contaminated her mind with negative,
self-destructive thoughts. Killed much of her beauty and
peacefulness. Laura is what we could call a flower child.
But the mother is something like weed killer.
Anyhow, I will try to remember what happened next. I took
some notes after the fact, but I am sure they are not
precise. Not as much as I would like them to be. I wish I
could have been filming the whole thing and recording all
my thoughts, every word we both spoke and every move we
both made. I want to learn and teach. I feel frustrated
when I can't remember things. But I don't want to beat
myself up about it. That won't help. I've done it too
much in the past and I have been beaten up
psychologically too many times by my brother, mother and
others. I think of Jen in the UK who beats herself up.
Punishes herself and things she deserves it. I know she
doesn't but I can't cleanse her mind from a thousand
miles away and with only a few minutes a day.
But to continue...
I was able to tell Laura a little about what I was
thinking and feeling. I told her it hurt me to hear her
talk about her family. I told her it was hard not to say
judgmental things about them and about Peru. I wanted to
tell her that I was thinking judgmental things about her
too, but I was afraid to.
Recently I have been more aware of the pressure which
builds up when I am not free to express myself. I started
feeling this pressure. My head started to hurt.
Especially in the back, just above my neck. I want to
reach inside and take out whatever is causing the
pressure. But I can't get in. This frustrates me. Lately
I have been wanting to open up my head to clean things up
and let things out. There have been a couple days this
week which I have felt tremendous pressure in my head.
Once I chatted with someone who was a good listener and
the pressure left. Another time I was hitting my head
with the palms of my hands to try to shake up the
concentration of the chemicals. Then I laid down and
I still feel the pressure. It's not intense. But it's
there. I wish we had meters to see the pressure level. We
have that for tires, but not for our brains. I wish other
people could also see what our pressure level was, or how
full our mind was of thoughts so they wouldn't interrupt
us with a question like "What time is it?" when
we can't handle one more input, request or demand.
Well, back to the story of this morning.
When I told Laura how I was feeling and a little of what
I was thinking, I didn't get much of a response from her.
I then realized I didn't feel understood. I didn't feel
reassured that she wasn't going to leave me. This added
to the pain and pressure. I had been hugging her but then
I pulled away from her. Then a few seconds later she
turned her back on me. This hurt even more.
The pressure and pain was building and building. I
started feeling violent and destructive. I thought of
strangling her, hitting her. Pounding on her to take out
my frustrations. But obviously I couldn't do that. So I
thought of hitting the wall with my fist. I wanted to
punch a hole in it. I thought of how I used to be free to
hit card board boxes. But now I am afraid of her
reaction. I don't want her to be afraid of me. She feels
afraid when I start to feel violent and destructive. I
don't think I would ever hit her. I have never been
violent in that way. But the feelings are so strong that
it scares other people who don't know that I won't hit
them. I threw a pillow at Laura the other day when she
told me to stop crying. And I was pounding on the bed.
That scared her. She even used that against me recently
when someone asked her if she was afraid of me and she
said yes sometimes. Then she exaggerated at least a bit
to try to get the person's sympathy so that person might
give her money to go back to Peru. She almost left a few
days ago. I don't think I wrote about those two days. One
day I took off running when the pain was too strong. I
ran and ran till I was exhausted. Then I laid down on the
grass in a park and cried. I just needed to get away from
her. She was the source of my pain, or so I interpreted
it. But really the pain is much deeper. It has its roots
in things which happened before I ever met her.
Running like this made me think of Jen who also runs to
get away from pain. Then she is controlled by people
around her. They invalidate her and cause her more pain.
I then thought about how in schools children can't run
away from the teachers who cause them pain. Neither can
they fight back. The two most natural reactions to pain
and fear are fight and flight. But a child can do
neither. So what happens over the years?
In a word, society happens. This what we get. What we
have is a result of what we do to children.
We twist them and contort them in all kinds of unnatural
Gonzalo was telling me about a group of aborigines here
in Argentina called the Wichis. He said the Spanish and
now the Argentines have stolen their land. Much as has
happened in other countries such as the USA and
Australia. And also in a similar way they built little
boxes in nicely organized rows for them to try to live
in, with little patios out back. All of the little boxes,
called houses by the people with the guns, are the same
of course. This is more efficient. Like the gas chambers
were efficient. We know that to many people this kind of
efficiency is highly valued. Much more highly valued than
Well, Gonzalo told me that the aborigines can't live in
the little boxes called houses. They put their tents up
outside on the patios. This tells us a lot about society.
I remember also that in Australia I was told that the
aborigines couldn't live inside jails. When they were
arrested and put in jails, they committed suicide at very
high rates. I have no doubt this is partly because they
weren't trained to spend thousands of hours inside boxes
More and more I realize that people tried to change my
nature, but they weren't completely successful. My inner
voice, my instincts, my animal nature was not completely
killed and replaced by beliefs about what I
"should" do. I was not totally corrupted by the
fear of disapproval and punishment.
More and more I believe there are those of us who simply
need more freedom. Who simply feel more intensely. Maybe
this is something like the popular term indigo children.
I'm not too sure. But I have read that the label
hyperactive is often connected with the term indigo. To
me these are people who feel and think more deeply. And
who need more freedom and more interesting things to do
than what is offered in typical classrooms and homes.
More and more I see how damaged I was and how serious the
consequences are. I know its not normal or healthy to
think of strangling your partner. Someone who I enjoy
being around most of the time and who I am so afraid of
losing. I hesitate to report some of these kinds of
things, because I know there are people who will use what
I write against me in any way they can, but I will keep
writing till I can't write anymore.
I think writing is more important to me than life. I
think I would literally end my life if I could not write.
And I think I would chose to starve to death rather than
stop writing if everyone rejected me and refused to do
business with me, refused to associate with me, refused
to support me in any way. I think of David Caruso and
Jack Mayer, who both have ostracized me, or shunned me or
rejected me or whatever you want to call it. I wanted
acceptance by them. I wanted admiration. But they cut me
out. I don't care much if the people at the EI Consortium
don't link to my site. For the most part, they aren't
people I want the admiration, acceptance or approval of
for the most part. But it hurts to be ostracized by Jack
and David. Yet I won't write to get their approval and I
won't change my site to win their approval either. I
don't feel as rebellious or resentful about it as I did a
year ago when I was writing so much about David, but I
still feel those things a bit. More than rebelliousness
or resentfulness I just feel a need for honesty.
Well, back to this morning.
After thinking about violence for a while and how it
isn't helpful in a relationship, I asked Laura for a hug.
She started to give me one but it wasn't the one I
needed. It was too half-hearted. I went limp. Now I can
laugh realizing that this didn't help her feel helpful or
appreciated, but at the time I was totally caught up in
I remained motionless for a while. She apologized for
talking about her family. She could see how much it
affected me. At the same time I felt bad for having such
strong reactions and I told her at some point that I felt
bad I couldn't be a better listener.
She kind of understands this but I wanted her to say
something like, "I know how much it hurts you
because the weeks before I left you and got pregnant I
was thinking about my family and not about you and our
future together. I wasn't doing anything to help our
relationship." I wish she really felt bad about
this. Maybe she does, but she has never said it so
clearly. I'd like to hear something like that because it
hurts me that she left me and even worse, got pregnant. I
am getting used to the idea of being a father figure so
to speak, not just to her and who knows how many teens,
but also to a crying little baby. grrrrrr. I really don't
want a baby around. Then again, maybe I will end up
loving having a kid around. Who knows. Maybe I will have
one or two with Laura someday. She'd like that a lot even
though she says she wants to go back to Peru. She is one
confused puppy, as they say.
This is getting long so I will try to wrap it up.
Along the way during my thoughts I thought of ways of
trying to stop my pain. I thought of how the
Scientologists teach distraction. But I don't think that
is very useful in the long run.
I also thought: "Why would we want to hurt or kill
our partners? How did evolution mess this up?" I
can't see how it would be helpful. Then I thought about
energy and how I have had to, at times, use physical
strength to keep Laura from leaving me. Actually I didn't
have to but my animal nature combined with my fear of
rejection being alone etc. reacted that way. So I thought
energy is good for keeping someone trapped who wants to
Then later I thought that love is more effective at
keeping someone with you. And the other person doesn't
So I need to keep trying to unlearn what I learned about
relationships. To unlearn that when you feel hurt, hurt
the other person back, maybe even more.
I need to teach myself that love is the way to keep
Laura, the sensitive, abused, flower child who for some
reason seems to own my heart.
I'm starting to cry a bit now but I'll keep going.
I was also thinking about my breathing. I was taking big
breaths, exhaling a lot. Thinking about how my breathing
is a reflection of my emotional state. I almost
completely stop exhaling for long periods of time when
stressed, then it all comes out at once. I am guessing
now the survival value of this is something like a
pressure cooker. Nature wants us to build up pressure to
be able to fight or run. But neither is helpful in an
Maybe intimate relationships are something which is more
highly evolved than just mating, frightening your partner
into staying with you. Maybe in another million years we
won't want to use the instinct to fight or run with our
Along the way of thinking I also thought of Sarah in the
UK who told me about a time she was in a councilor's
office and was in pain. She chose a spot on the floor and
just stared at it. Then she went in the bathroom and
I was trying to do something like this while I was laying
there with Laura before I realized I needed to keep her
with love. I didn't want to leave because I knew she
would feel abandoned. So I was forcing myself to stay
there, but I wasn't free to act or speak as I wanted to.
So I was concentrating on not leaving and not hurting
Laura, a bit like Sarah was concentrating on the spot on
the floor to distract herself.
Talking to teens like Laura and Jen have taught me a lot
about myself. They can often describe things better than
Well, thankfully, I am through with the notes I jotted
down. Thanks for reading, assuming you are not judging
One more thought. I just titled
this and decided to add "Self-harm". When I was
thinking of hitting the wall, I thought of Jen who also hits walls. But she does it more
because she wants to hurt herself. When I feel violent I
don't want to hurt myself. I might want to hurt someone
else, or destroy something, but self-harm has never been
one of my coping mechanisms. (Except perhaps when I was
very young and would hit my head against the wall.) I am
not sure why some people self-harm and others are
violent. I think Freud said depression is anger turned
inwards. So teens that self-harm have this
"anger" or all these feelings of pain, fear
etc. which have no outlet, so the only option is to turn
it inward. I wasn't suicidal as a teen. I wasn't
depressed. I had a lot of freedom, by modern day
standards. I skipped school when I wanted. They didn't
threaten to send me to jail as they do now in the USA in
some schools. I could take my bike and go riding for
hours. The teens who I talk to don't have these freedoms.
I could also get angry and have "temper
tantrums". These were pretty much accepted in my
family. I was judged when I had them, but I wasn't really
stopped from having them. I think I might have written
about the time I took out all the towels in the bathroom
and threw them around. And the time I broke the glass on
the TV set. Anger was pretty much accepted in the Hein
family. My dad could slam doors. That was perfectly
normal. So not surprisingly, I learned to slam doors too.
I broke a door frame once in my dorm at Indiana
University. And I put my fist about half way through a
cheap sliding closet door in Toledo. But again, non of
these things were what we would call
"self-harm." So I can't say I fully understand
self-harm. But I would say I understand it fairly well.
And it pains me to know how much pain my teen friends are
in, as well as all the teens who self-harm who I will
never know about.
I very, very sincerely hope my
writing on this site helps people understand emotional
pain and self-harm. And our emotional needs, and how
society fails to meet the emotional needs of intelligent,
sensitive people. Then I hope the people in power start
to listen to sensitive people or maybe it is better to
say that I hope sensitive people have more power and
influence in years to come.
March 11, 2006
Gonzalo is the son of the owner of
a hostel called the Parador.
schools in USA
Writing about efficiency and gas chambers
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