The Repressed Past

Healing a Negative Self-Image

IJsland door Moyan Brenn | CC BY

While we can remember a night’s out most fun moments a whole life long, despite our special memory, we often lose the unhappiest memories of our childhood, because we learned to repress them. But if we can no longer remember the historical causes for emotional problems that we suffer as adults, such as for example a lack of self-confidence or a negative self-image, then we will unjustly think the problem is with ourselves.

Turning Gold into Lead

The Life-Long Effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences

Bunnik door Mathijs Koenraadt | CC BY-NC-ND

Victims of child maltreatment repress their memories out of shame, because of a social taboo, or out of respect for parents, but as long as we keep denying the link between adverse childhood experiences and problems later in life, no therapy or medication will help us solve those problems. By being emotionally honest to ourselves, we can break through the societal taboo on speaking out about the effects of child maltreatment. That starts by daring to ask what kind of effect traumatizing experiences have had on our lives.

The Meaning of Kafka's Metamorphosis

How an Army of Interpreters Buried Kafka's Suffering

The Meaning of Kafka's Metamorphosis

Franz Kafka’s Die Verwandlung (1915), i.e. The Metamorphosis, is a novella of around seventy printed pages. Kafka writes about the life of Gregor Samsa. The book opens with Gregor waking up one morning in his parents’ home. During his sleep, he has transformed into an “ungeheuren Ungeziefer”, a sort of giant dung beetle. Kafka avoids precisely naming the creature, except that it is some sort of insect. Whatever it is, it’s something unhuman.

Before his metamorphosis,...

Verbal Abuse and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Words that Cause War Trauma

By verbal abuse, scientists mean “scolding, cursing, yelling, blaming, insulting, threatening, ridiculing, humiliating and criticizing” others.1 In their own words, over sixty percent of all parents use verbal aggression towards their children.

Among verbal aggression, scientists also count symbolic aggression, such as, for example, slamming a door shut in...

The Message of Violence

A Conspiracy Against Children

The message violence sends is that we may use violence ourselves as a means to ‘correct’ others who don’t do what we want. Not without reason, from an early age, beaten children pass on the violence they experience to their own brothers and sisters. Hitting hurts, but later in life, the effects of emotional and verbal violence cause greatest psychological problems.

The Invention of Authoritarian Parenting

How the Fourth Commandment Puts Children at a Disadvantage

Newborn babies love their parents unconditionally, but they don’t always naturally receive back the love they give. Under normal conditions, that wouldn’t be much of a problem if society fulfilled its corrective function to call parents who abuse their children to order. Reality, however, proves otherwise.

The Effect of Emotional Abuse

The Blows that Damage One's Self-Image

More than physical abuse, emotional maltreatment damages a child’s self-image, because it communicates a stronger message of negative worth than a smack or a kick.1 Parents sabotage their child’s self-worth by “blaming it, belittling it, humiliating it, intimidating it, terrorizing it [and] secluding it.”2...

Unconditional Positive Regard

Being Loved for Who You Are

Conditional love promises the child love, but dangles it before its eyes like the carrot and stick before a donkey until it meets the right ‘conditions’. Conditional love threatens with “the withdrawal of love when [the child] does not obey”, a powerful weapon in the hands of parents to make the child exhibit desired behavior.1

As a consequence thereof,...

The Myth of Violence in the Media

The Only Way to Learn Violence Is by First Experiencing It Yourself as a Victim

The deadly assaults American teenagers committed against their classmates, such as Kip Kinkel at Thurston High School, and Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold at Columbine, shocked many in the Western world and outside. Each time after such tragedies, we lean in great detail about the shooters’ personal lives, but the true motives, as well as the true causes for those motives, often remain meticulously hidden from public view.

Return to Freedom (2015)

A Traveler's Thoughts on Life, Love and the Fate of the World

Return to Freedom

A collection of half-finished thoughts on the meaning of love, money and wealth, the self and other, the search for humanity, good versus evil, living in cities, and the fate of the world.

Life’s unfair. An innocent traffic victim that ended up in a wheelchair may wonder each night, “Why me?” But perhaps life deals each the blows we can take, because no one else could. Life chose us for a reason. At some point in their lives, those that took the biggest blows will learn they have become the...