I decided that this story would not be complete without the transcript of the writings from the notebook that I carried with me. They may help the reader fill in any gaps or serve to answer any questions they may have.
Some of them make grim reading. Some I find rather embarrassing on reflection. However, they are as much part of the whole story as everything else I’ve written; so I feel they need to be included.
God help me! I can’t get a clear picture of this hell hole. I’m
like a lost child, running panic stricken from one door to
another. What happened that death seems a preferable alternative?
How could they do It, how could they hurt a child so badly as to
turn it into an emotional cripple? To break Its spirit so
Why is it that more than six months on, You’re still in my
system? I’ve gone through hell trying to get shut of you. I never
thought I could cry so many tears, feel so much anger and
I’ve never been closer to the edge of insanity. I even
planned my own suicide. At 40 I thought I’d pretty well got life
sussed. Maybe the same can happen at eighty, I don’t know.
Why did I bother, you were confusing, you gave out
contradictory messages, you became hostile and in the end
downright cruel. What did I see in you? Was It sex? Oh, yes! That
was a strong attraction. Though sex is an inadequate word to
describe it really. It was like making love with an angel and a
whore combined. All wrapped up in the sensuality of a cat. All I
wanted to do was bury myself inside you and feel you respond to
that. I’ve never known anyone get so lost in the total pleasure
of sex. It was as if I wasn’t there, you were so wrapped up in
But what else was there? Your arrogance was at the same
time, delightful and infuriating. Your sensitivity and sense of
what’s important in life. Watching you at the open window, taking
in the evening atmosphere and looking at the Moon. Listening to
you talk about art and music. Your irreverence and sense of fun.
I think if you had a religion it would be ‘Hedonism’. You seem to
be a pleasure seeker in the extreme.
That was probably part of the attraction. Most of my life
seems to be a struggle to break out of the negative. So someone
who seems to be totally focussed on pleasure, is going to be
quite an attraction. Maybe I hoped some of It would rub off on
There’s a degree of disbelief about the last six months. If the
truth be told the whole experience frightened me. It’s left me
with an incredible sense of tiredness. What have I got out of the
whole thing. My beliefs have been shattered. People I believed in
and even held in awe, I now realise are imperfect. Just as anyone
else. I looked for answers and found confusion. It was as if no
one could help. Thrown back on myself, I felt like an insect
trying to make sense of It’s existence. Praying to God. Looking
for someone or something bigger than myself to take over and look
after me and take away the hell I was going through. I’ve never
felt so incredibly alone and small. No one can know it unless
they’ve been there and I’m always at a loss for words to describe
Some disbelieve and see it as an incredible self
indulgence. Was I in control of it, did I choose it? Why would I
choose to feel such terror, why such crazy behaviour? Was there
some sort of status in it? Did I have such a low opinion of
myself, that I put myself through it, to gain some sort of
respect from other people? Some cultures do have a form of
reverence for the so called mentally Ill.
I still get glimpses of the desperation. The sense that
my very life depends on my understanding something that I can’t
understand. The tremendous fear of loss and isolation.
I gain more insight but the more I become aware of the
more difficult the task seems to be. The threads that hold the
web together begin to snap one by one to reveal the silk wrapped
carcases of half dead memories, that have to be dismembered and
sucked dry before I can move on.
Mother you failed me. Oh, you probably weren’t to blame, maybe
didn’t even know. But at crucial periods in my life you just
weren’t there. You let me down. I was helpless. All was chaos and
fear to me. Didn’t you know? Couldn’t you put yourself in the
position of someone just born? I didn’t know what I was let alone
who I was. I came from a world that was totally safe warm and
nurturing, into something alien cold and harsh. The experience
was devastating. I needed you more than anyone else at that time
and you let me down consistently not only then but throughout my
life. You were just never there. I needed you to hold me, to see
Instead I faced every experience, every trauma, totally
alone. The shock to my psyche was so great that I had to numb
myself emotionally. It was the only path left open to survive.
But I’ve decided I just can’t live with It any longer. It’s just
living life as death. No wonder I consider suicide. One doesn’t
seem much different from the other, so it’s an easy choice to
I keep hoping I can push through it and find life. It’s
amazing that something that so many people seem to find easy ie,
living and just feeling alive, seems such a difficult option to
Morning. The awful feelings again. All is chaos and confusion
mentally. Torturing thoughts and happenings. Babyhood again. Like
a mouse in a busy kitchen full of shouting and clatter. Please
God make the hurting stop. Just feel torn apart. No logical
thread. Just hurting terribly. All I want Is comfort and peace.*
*Need to nurture the baby within, because he just didn’t get
I love you mother. I sensed your struggle, but I was helpless to
do anything about It. I just ended up carrying your pain as well
as mine. I wanted to help you, to help me. I struggled to
communicate but we just didn’t understand each other. I don’t
think I was ready to leave you. Just not ready to separate. But
that decision was taken out of my hands. Somewhere though,
because it wasn’t my choice, I’ve been hanging on desperately,
for fear of imminent death if I should let go. Sometimes now
though, I get glimpses not of death but of life and freedom and
joy. A sort of relaxed, Delightful, excitement in letting go.
(relating to incest assault)
Did I want to be a part of what they were doing because at some
level it was pleasurable. But needed to understand and for them
to understand my needs. Part terror part pleasure. Is that why I
want to join in now. There is a Joy in it and love in it
somewhere but I just wasn’t ready.
So much damage gets done in the first couple of years of life.
I’m convinced now that everything that holds me down and cripples
me emotionally in the present was laid in place at that time. My
mothers absence when I needed her, the lack of attention, touch
and nurturing led to my tremendous insecurity carried through my
life. My confusion about who and what I am was part of the same
thing. If my mother left the room I felt like part of me had
gone. Death was always imminent. My fear of women, particularly
aggressive or authoritarian women, was laid in by the abuse
incident. My powerlessness and seeming inability to walk away
from situations I find intolerable were also laid in at this
time, since I couldn’t physically remove myself from the
situation at that time, it actually feels like that now. My
emotional discomfort about teasing or women laughing colusively
about me, also probably comes from the same incident. My
desperate need to understand, stems from my belief that if I
could understand the situation ie, get the information I needed
or find out what it was I had done wrong. Then I could put the
situation right and stop the person I so desperately needed, from
withdrawing and leaving me to die.
Morning. Dreadful again. I screamed, I actually screamed. And in
it were the sounds of anguish despair and terror. I was tortured.
awful things were done to me. I keep thinking of my brother. I’m
not fooling myself it did happen. He did things to me. He abused
me. I’m left with the physical and mental echoes of that assault.
Mental images of tearing apart and beating one of those rag doll
babies. Literally killing it. Is that what was done to me. It
certainly killed my spirit (almost). I need to forgive myself for
the feelings that I have. It really did happen!
Claws buried in a body no bigger than a new born lamb.
Crushing muscle and bone,
Compressing head into chest.
Twisting neck muscles not yet strong enough to shake the head in
A mind not yet formed enough to know what head shaking means.
A being composed of flesh and feelings and needs.
Thrown into space from it’s liquid sleeping place.
Where it had lain cushioned and supported in warmth and soft
The only sensations, safety and nurturence.
Every need catered for automatically by it’s miniature universe.
New sensations, suddenly not safe.
As universe collapses, crushing flesh, pressing down.
New inexplicable feelings and no knowledge or intellect to make
Sudden recognition of something other than current state.
Now becoming previous state.
Survive, go back, hang on!
First learnings of powerlessness, as crushing forces destroy the
trust of a safe place.
Now coldness and blinding white light, noise.
An alien void, huge, incomprehensible.
And a new sense of beings other than self.
As creature grips flesh with claws, tearing from safe place.
New learnings of powerlessness, terror and pain.
Why do we continue with lives composed mostly of empty space.
Continuously chasing dreams of dust. Hoping beyond hope that a
speck of that dust will hold a grain of truth. Count the hours
and days wasted, struggling with worthless problems. Like
scurrying ants, busy with a purpose but not knowing what that
purpose is. Somehow driven but not driving.
To stand still and step out for even an instant. To stand
back and watch the frenetic activity you’ve been a part of,
shocks you into realising just what you’ve been a part of. Some
sort of self organising chaos. Random messages and activities
that come together to make a whole. But a whole what!
Still a tremendous amount of rage in me. Still so hard to push it
out. The impulse to turn it in is still very strong. Feel like
I’m fighting for my integrity. Violence seems to be around
sexuality. Have fantasies about being a passive victim to people
just using me. Also fantasies about gay sex and aggressive sex.
Still the emptiness and desperation. Triggered by a group of
women talking about a man. Found myself wanting to know, to ask
questions, to understand how they relate to men. To understand
there culture. These somehow distant mysterious creatures that
seem to be so important to me. I ache to know ache to connect.
They seem to hold the power of life and death over me. Will I
ever know any woman that well. Will I ever connect as one. For an
all to brief period I was one with a woman. Up to the moment of
birth and cutting the cord, I was both male and female. From that
moment on I feel as though I’ve been forced away from the part of
myself that is female.
Like some sort of vessel, suddenly split in two and the
halves drifting apart but each knowing their dependency on the
other for life support. Frantically trying to reconnect while
powerful tides drag them further away from each other.
(about walking into “The Acorn”)
Still the dilemma. Is it me that’s choosing or the distress
that’s pushing? Always the conditions not quite right. Seem to be
frightened of people noticing but that’s unavoidable.
Embarrassment and humiliation still there. Would it make any
difference if I went in on my own, or with someone. I punish
myself still for avoiding the place. Seem to be waiting to get to
the point of knowing that I’m free and that I’m choosing but will
that ever arrive?
Do you know what child abuse does? do you know? Like a hypodermic
needle drawing blood, it sucks out your soul. Everything about
you that is light, blithe, happy, joyful, sensitive, it draws
Like a fly it vomits it’s gastric juices into the most
precious part of you in order to do the most efficient job of
digesting everything that is intrinsically you!
It leaves nothing behind and gives nothing in return. No
love, no tenderness, no compassion. Just an empty vessel. You no
longer exist. A husk abandoned in space and left to drift,
frantically searching for itself.
Left with feelings of being alien. Not part of humanity.
The most awful sense of isolation and loneliness even within a
room full of people. Feeling that there all normal, talking and
laughing with each other. Between each other some sort of
connection and rapport. If I should speak up, silence falls and
eyes swivel in my direction, but blank eyes that don’t connect
Desperate for attention all the time. Every little nuance of my
behaviour seems to be saying notice me. Comparing myself to
others all the time. So tired, so damn tired. Why do I hang on?
Hoping, or is it desperation? Touch me, please touch me. Space to
relax but unable to. Who is doing the torturing. Every muscle in
my neck, shoulders and arms, aches with tension.
I’m beginning to see the subtleties of this. My fight to continue
working is out of fear. I’ll be killed if I don’t. My desperation
around women stems from the need to be rescued and kept safe. I
need to face my fear of death. Then maybe I’ll see that I wont
Everything seems to say, must do, have to, keep going,
struggle, fight, survive, and all I want to do is stop! To yield
and give in and take time and space for me.
All the messages went in early. They made a thorough job
very early on. I was made to feel that I would be killed, if I
didn’t comply and fit in.
In the acorn at last. Predominent feelings, a bit of fear but
mostly anger. Betrayal, dishonesty, humiliation. Underlying
violence. Can reach for relaxation and the ordinaryness of the
place. The place itself is benign. It’s just the associations. In
reaching for past connections am I just denying the present. I
have a right to be downright angry about what happened with X It
hurts right now. Still want to pick up a baseball bat.
Why do I feel so agitated, restless. Is the baby fretting. Feel
like I’ve set something in motion I wont feel in control of. Soon
the money will stop but the bills will still have to be paid. It
was the right decision, to pack my job in, there’s no doubt in my
mind. But still not sure where I want to go. I think I’m hoping
that something will formulate as I go along. This is a success
story. I’ve thrown myself into the unknown, Wow!
Like a child who has suddenly realised that people behave in
hurtful ways. I feel I’ve lost some sort of innocence or
naievity. I put a lot of trust in women and suddenly I feel let
down. Things have changed. Everything seems tainted. I think I
was happy in my ignorence. Knowledge just confronts me with
something I don’t want to see.
Time and time again in this period I went through sensations and
experiences that I struggle to find words to describe. People
have tried in the past to describe the experience of what feels
like mental disintegration and the feelings of sheer terror that
accompanies that state.
One occasion that sticks in my mind. A train journey from
Hebden Bridge to Liverpool. One and a half hours of hell. Sitting
with tears in my eyes looking out of the window. The muscles in
my upper body Knotted in pain. Feelings of terror coursing
through my body. In one awful moment taking in the reality of the
devastated landscape outside. A grim flattened industrial mess
stretching into the distance. In a state of utter despair at what
we had done and were still doing. Looking round inside the train
wondering if people could see the fear in my eyes, and if they
could what was going on for them. Were they struggling through
their own embarrassment or fear. Perhaps wanting to help but
The terror, the absolute utter terror. Something inside
screaming help me! help me! And a sense of total isolation and
aloneness. On a train half full of people. Like drowning while
people watch dispassionately.
I’m terrified of absolutely everything. It’s as simple as that.
From the moment I was born everything moved along so rapidly, to
suit the adults around me, that I didn’t get the chance to come
to terms with life itself.
I’m frightened of being alone, I’m frightened of being
with people, of being indoors, of being outside, of madness, of
sanity, of life, of death. You name it I’m scared of it.
Scattered thoughts and images only serve to divert
attention from this fear.
I dream of compassion and the tears fill my eyes. Of a hand
reaching out not in rescue but just to touch. To prove once again
the existence of love in the face of bitterness cynicism and
pain. A hostile world suddenly calmed by one light touch and a
voice that gently says, “Hey, It’s alright, It’s ok,” and watches
and permits the tears to flow as frightened eyes tentatively gaze
into eyes that smile a caress of peace. If only for that moment.
23-11-91 (in the Blackie)
Why do I feel so clumsy, useless, helpless, hopeless? I know my
behaviour disconcerts people and I don’t want to be that way. I’m
just so damn tired. What is it about this place I’m so curious
about? It’s partly the people, what makes them tick? They seem to
be so passionate about the place. They all belong, I never have.
I’ve been part of similar projects in the past but feel I failed
miserably. They just keep going. Where does their energy come
from. How do they maintain their humanity in such difficult
Why can’t I forgive myself? I’ve gone through what most
people would see as complete mental and emotional collapse over a
12 month period and I seem to think I should be like other
people, up and out and on top, but maybe thats just not me. It
just seems that, that’s the way the world is structured and if
you’re not like that then you just get crushed.
I need to let go of this. For some reason I keep holding onto the
bitterness but It’s just destroying me – Some sort of self
righteousness. I remember seeing it in my father, he would never
back down. He would hold onto his hurt for days, he just couldn’t
forgive. It’s just meant to punish others. Like trying anything
to get at people and make them feel guilty, and the simple fact
is, they don’t.
Let go *****, let go. There’s no point in holding on to
your anger and grief any more It’s just going round and round and
only hurting yourself. You can punish people till the cows come
home but it won’t get you anywhere. There is no shame in giving
up the fight. It’s not powerlessness to admit that the odds are
stacked against you. I need to admit I’ve been wrong and that’s
the hardest thing in the world.
Why do I see it as someone winning over me? There are no
winners or losers. Only a world full of people in confusion and
pain trying to make some sense out of life and to be happy.
I’ve explored every avenue, I’ve seen the whole picture.
If I’m still hurting it has to be because I’m holding on to it. I
know I nurse and rehearse the same feelings over and over again.
Paradoxically it seems, team building is about individual
A team will function at its most effective level when
each individual is supported by the rest of the team or group in
their own personal development.
Each individual brings with them to the group and the
task in hand all their skills knowledge and potential. They also
bring any current limitations they may have. These limitations
are going to be different for each member of the team. The job of
the team is not to carry these limitations but to expect each
other to push back their limitations and to give each other the
individual support and encouragement necessary to achieve this.
I don’t think I’ve been this bad for a while. Since waking up
this morning I’ve been hit by wave after wave of terror. Just sat
or curled up on the sofa, hugging myself, sobbing, wailing,
moaning oh God, oh God.
Anyone who saw me, other than my counselors, would be
shocked I’m sure. They just couldn’t handle it. Outwardly most of
the time they see me as a capable adult male, seemingly very
together and someone they themselves could turn to for whatever
reason. For them to see me disintegrating in front of their eyes
would stun them. How could I begin to describe what I was going
through. How do I begin to explain that sometimes I find life so
overwhelming that I end up frozen in one spot with fear. Things
that many people seem to take in their stride, feel
insurmountable to me.
I eventually got round, in the early evening, to phoning
one of my counselors. It’s amazing how even after nearly two
years of working through this stuff, I’m still pushing away the
idea that some sort of trauma (or trauma’s) was inflicted on me
in my infancy. Something so big and overwhelming that I wanted to
die rather than continue with whatever was happening to me.
A flash thought went through my mind, that my mother
tried to kill me. I accept that this may not have been the
reality, but what’s important is that that was my experience of
it at the time.
Where I’ve got stuck is that when things seem to be
overwhelming in the present, I get tipped right back into that
early trauma where I quite literally didn’t have the knowledge or
the ability to handle whatever was happening. This in turn gets
mixed up with the present, so that I feel there is no way out of
the current situation.
Sitting on a bus. Opposite me there is a young couple probably in
their twenties with a little boy of about two years of age. He’s
just been passed from his mother’s lap to his father’s and he
seems to be upset about it. He reaches for his mother, she
brushes his hand away snaps at him and turns her back to him. He
starts to cry. Father slaps the boys thigh and hisses at him to
“shurrup!” More crying. Another smack on the thigh and an almost
imperceptible pinch, probably just hard enough to hurt without
leaving a bruise, and just to re-inforce the message another
hiss, “shurrup or I’ll give yer summat ta cry about!” (how many
times did I hear that in my childhood, have we progressed at all
in 40 years?).
Mother decides to chip in and sneers, “yer cryin like a
fukin geerrll!” (is this an example of a woman reinforcing
All this, it seems to me, is a perfect example in
microcosm of the socialisation of males. A male infant reaches
for reassurance from the first person he had any connection with
emotionally, his mother, and is rebuffed. Then instead of getting
that reassurance from his father he gets punished for expressing
his feelings of loss. To cap it all his mother then gives him the
message that there is something inferior about girls.
Thus he learns that women will ultimately reject him.
That men cannot give him what he needs emotionally. That men are
aggressive and inflict physical pain. That sensitive feelings are
something that only women have and that for this reason women are
somehow inferior to men.