revealing the lie #dissertating #academicabuse #familysystems #alcoholism

June 22, 2014 § Leave a comment

The conditions of childhood neglect, abandonment, betrayal and oppression have far reaching consequences across a lifetime. In my case, I have managed to reproduce these conditions in every significant relationship, even after I had been in numerous recovery support groups and one to one therapeutic relationships. For example, my ex-thesis supervisor turned out to be an academic narcissist. Although he would not give me proper direction to get me to write what was in his mind, he would reject everything I wrote because it did not articulate what was in his mind. He had conceived the research proposal, and he seemed to expect that I was going to be able to write a dissertation in his words.

After 4 years of excruciating stonewalling and re-writing, I finally quit the program and my relationship with this ex-supervisor. The university stepped in at this moment (last September) and appointed me a new supervisor and a(nother) extension to finish. I am getting near the end of the process, although I still have many hours of writing to complete.

What I am noticing is that, as I get closer to actually finishing this monstrosity, I am feeling a commensurate pressure to process my history with my family and process these relationships into a new framework. It is as if the narrative my family spun about me that turned me into the family emotional pressure relief valve, “Irrational Persistance is broken.” “Irrational Persistance is weak and frail.” “Don’t expect too much of Irrational Persistance, she is not as smart|strong|talented|good looking as the rest of the family.” As I get closer to finishing the dissertation, despite a profound lack of support or engagement in my work by my family, I also draw closer to revealing the lie that has been perpetrated against my character and my capacities for achievement. It is almost as if I also need to shrug these systems of belief and attitude from within, to allow myself to get this darn thing finished.

Screen Shot 2014-06-22 at 11.36.31 AM

Self portrait 2014 06 22


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