The cycle of harm

What happens when the "done to" become "doers" themselves
ah now there is a topic that needs some consideration
and the picture you posted led me to all night thinking
for in my many attempts to heal I've thankfully never once
considered the possibility of becoming a "doer", and yet

From the outset I settled to never become a parent myself
unsure that the damage done wouldn't do more in turn
so this taking out of insurance against possible infliction
has had consequences not considered those many years ago
an enduring self doubt heightened at the advent of Charlotte

A girl who may have proved something but hadn't the chance
passing as she did straight from the womb to immortality
where whispers of what might have been become meaningless
and anyway what if these doubts were in fact with foundation
well then eternity is a safe place from any mortal harm

But back to the question of "done to's" becoming "doers"
never an inevitability and yet never without some risk
the instinct to inflict pain in order to heal is not new
but whilst some choose to do to others, most choose themselves
perhaps this part of the cycle of harm is an unseen outcome

Because some things are hard to say for just about everyone
and no more so than when describing these innermost aspects
these hallowed halls of our minds eye, our individual creations
where thoughts can play themselves out in indescribable ways
repeatedly defeating the constructs of our own poor defense

Leading in it's own turn to the quest to defeat that within us
and here the choices are skewed in a way not often appreciated
for people more complete cannot easily imagine the fragility
or the viewpoint towards this ever diminishing horizon
resulting from defeats endured during our internal warfare

But that is not to say that "doers" must therefore be excused
or that pain suffered can in any way be used as justification
I refuse to believe that there is no knowledge here of wrong
and I fully concede that some gain a kind of twisted satisfaction
from inflicting the darkness within, continuing the cycle of harm

So what is the answer here, how do we break through the cycle
I suppose we start as ever from both within and without
looking to heal both perpetrators of harm and their victims
accepting that those who do abhorrent things to others
are the flip side of those doing such harm to themselves

Can we turn our backs because of our own limited horizons
our inability to comprehend two sides of the same coin
do we pillory because it is simpler than striving for wisdom
despite knowing that such complex matters require more of us
that any solution discarding some involved is no solution at all

What if I were asked to sit face to face with my monster man
would I understand ... would he? Would any difference result
or would the cycle of harm thus continue into perpetuity
how would this in any way stop the goings on behind closed doors
does asking people to face their own monsters diminish them?

In the here and now we can only work to provide escape routes
and truly safe havens widely known of and available to all
guarding against those who would prey on these vulnerable ones
whilst at the same time building, diminishing the vulnerability
somehow though we must also address healing doers of harm too.

... and what of the picture that prompted this train of thought?

Well if you are interested, follow this link;

Circling My Head: Soundless Saturday No. 57

... and whilst you're there have a look at the rest of Renee's incredible blog, it is full of wisdom and the kind of reality that celebrates life's richness.

A loss of trust

So what then becomes of trust
in the face of self betrayal
is there a way of reconciling
more than one version of oneself
the person who once was
with this new not-so-nice one

Why has time not brought wisdom
or forgiveness, even awareness
having broken with trust
does trust permanently turn it’s face
is there no recompense
or some allowance for redemption

I will put this to one side for now
find a place, some dusty corner
to lay this mirror of introspection
not in denial but in sad defeat
that reconciliation is some way off
but life’s other matters beckon too

Is this it?

And so from a dream world
back to reality
and the reality is
that there is no drama here
only a troubled heart
bruised by my own stupidity

And so a feeling of confusion
this deep unease
I thought I'd resolved
or at least put to one side
treasured without regret
outside my life's usual pattern

I need to learn to listen
not just to hear
and then act anyway
putting you in an impossible position
with nothing to say
that I will willingly hear

And I now think you did try
perhaps too tenderly
to steer me clear
of the danger I myself caused
the damage is done now
and so I worry for your heart

Do you remember telling me once
that women don't break
our strength is like the willow
whose branches bend and sway
the wood is green within
not easily splintered apart

I remember thinking
about re-winding back
to just seconds before
I reacted to what I know believe
was just your attempt to heal
this impossible wound

I guess I mis-understood
in every possible way
in my total astonishment
and wonder at my own response
I lost sight of your intent
and created this interpretation

Thinking you wanted to explore
experience this newness
exhibiting your inherent bravery
which I mistook as your own desire
but here in retrospect
I suspect you were at a loss too

How to stop without causing hurt
trying words here and there
which I heard but didn't
lost as I was in these sensations
never before felt, not even close
but that is no real excuse

For I know better than most
how it feels to be used
to be bent towards anothers' will
so my heart fills with abhorrent shame
at the very possibility
that I could be guilty of such things

But if I don't consider this
as at least conceivable
then I am guilty in turn
of doing what I couldn't bear to do
and although it pains me incredibly
I wonder if this is in fact true.

More thoughts of you

I know why I was thinking about this
re-visiting forbidden thoughts I'd shut away
except they just didn't stay that way
and from forbidden I travelled to suppression
but that didn't work very well either
so I travelled further on towards denial

However adept I become at self delusion
I am still left with the knowledge of you
and however this plays out over time to come
I cannot, will not and don't want to deny this
that you impacted on me so unexpectedly
that I am left here breathless in wonderment

Do you remember me saying some time ago
that I can write words that I just can't say
bound as I am by this all consuming fear
that you ignore and thus help me to discount too
I wonder sometimes if you're playing games
using my inexperience as if I were a novelty toy

If I said such things aloud I would be bereft
because there's no response that you could give
in light of my distrust you'd feel duty bound
to re-assure and thus I somehow betray you too
I wish that I could do as it seems that you can
take it as it is, freely given, freely taken, just free

Does this kind of thing happen for a reason
so many mysteries and so my utter confusion
focuses not on the consequences but on the why
moving beyond repercussions to see if there is more
or less in which case the fallout must be contained
except ... except there's this, how can I describe it

I think of you and it just makes me smile inside
I feel with you in a way my normal life doesn't allow
and yet I must acknowledge some consequences
in living my life with such separateness from others
I am uniquely ill equipped to deal with all this
unable to weigh it's significance in your world

So it is that we're back to the question of games
asking of myself the answer to this uncertainty
at a loss to explain this new duality of desire
when desire itself was hard won in the first place
sullied as it was by the ever present monster
who stalks me even through the barrier of death

But that needn't concern you except I know it does
for in telling you of how it was to be stalked
I risked conferring on you some responsibility
to treat me more gently, and here's the crux
what if it is only me that wants, that desires
and you just haven't the heart to tell me so.


I know all about boundaries
truly I do
the lines between right and wrong
the rules that bleach our world
leaching the colour right out of it
I do know about boundaries
right and wrong are writ clear across my soul

I stepped over that line though
without hesitation
without a single second thought
in living so completely in the moment
I lost all sight of the consequences
there's a difference you know
between doing right and going with the flow

I remember something you said about this
that you don't regret it
but that you will if I do
that it was real even though it felt unreal
and still does even in my memory
it seems like a dream event
not something I could've been brave enough to do

Why am I thinking about all this now
many months down the track
I suppose I'm not good at smoothing over
at consigning memories to the archive
where they can sit undisturbed in the dust
I reach and take this one down
from it's high up shelf to look again at me

For this is a me that I don't recognise
who acts without thought
who always puts such store by promises made
and yet breaks one thought to be lifelong
it's like a puzzle and I've lost a piece
the part of me who'd have said no
and preserved the lines between dark and light

It's easier when things are simple I guess
but having done I can't undo
so somehow accommodation must be made
towards the me that breaks these rules
but if I do am I not condoning a repetition
making hidden deals within my soul
persuading myself that lines are just shades of grey

I am not brave, but I know right from wrong
and having done wrong
I can only preserve the illusion of the promise
protecting the status quo with ongoing faith
that even rule breakers can be redeemed
not by unburdening for that burden must be borne
but this new line between truth and not troubles me still


In that moment there was a sudden silence
senses heightened I listened to your breaths
the change was so rapid and then nothing
seeing you slump and being caught and then held
I am reaching for the phone in the next moment
as you are lowered to the floor, laid out flat

I send out for help even as I make my way to you
I do not remember the words I said from that moment
but I've been told that I appeared totally calm
that I instilled calm determination to act
to do the right things in those next moments
to save what could be salvaged, to at least try

And then more moments as men in green arrive
surrounding you in a huge flurry of activity
as we stand on the side-lines watching, hoping
in the next moment I am thinking of your mother
I am waiting to see what I will have to tell her
I am preparing sad and happy words in my head

I am trying to find a combination that will work
that will give hope without false promise
funny, in all my anticipation of this moment
I somehow completely forgot to envisage this part
where we move beyond helping you to helping yours
and in the next moment I am on the phone again

Talking to a woman I've never met yet feel I know
going through the facts of those few moments
asking if I can come and take her to be with you
finding her on the map but unable to navigate
thankfully you have more friends in this moment
as I am taken to in turn take your mother in

Meeting someone with your eyes but clouded
quelling her worry in a babbling stream of talk
telling me in those next hours the story of you
in those moments I learn of you as a baby
as a boy, as a man, and as a son. I learn you
knowing now what you wouldn't want me to know

I know how you value your dignity and privacy
I've kept my distance not from dislike but respect
knowing your discomfort is disguised with banter
laughing with you, trying to find some ease
and over the years we have found that haven't we?
I wonder if we'll have the chance to laugh again

Your sister arrives and so I take my leave
being taken again to be with your friends
where I explain the events of those moments
the calm crumbles and I am myself once more
how thankful I am that we thought about that moment
that we planned and acted to give you a chance

I heard this morning that you know where you are
this tells me all I need to know for now
hope surges, the delicious prospect of more
of laughs and some time perhaps even friendship
and when I next see you ... what will I say?
that your friends were with you in that moment.