The Process of Recovery Begins (Again) #AlAnon #Recovery #AcademicAbuse #HigherEd
September 29, 2015 § Leave a comment
I am starting to feel better. I can feel the dark, grasping reach of my ex-supervisor gradually ebbing away. I am under no illusions about the damage that has been done. I worked for ten years under the influence of his sadistic compulsion to control every aspect of my academic career. That is, to control it to the point that I would not have one. I may never understand what motivated him to exercise such power in such a destructive way. What it was that seized him to ruin my career. I should probably seek professional help to recover from this abuse, but, after ten years of having my every resource drained to the breaking point, I don’t have the money to pay for therapy and I don’t have the will to fight the university for restitution. My response to this entire bad fortune is to use it as material for my own creative work.
Last weekend I sorted and organized all my art supplies. I set up a drawing table, complete with mirror for self-portraits. After all these years, my creative work drawing and painting are re-instated and I have ample material to process for my subject matter.
I have also started working my way through the Al-Anon fourth step, “Blueprint for Progress”. The combination of writing and drawing, later, painting, is my response to healing from the injury of psychological abuse.
In my thesis I developed an enactive theory for building imaginative capacity through discourse. When we talk to ourselves and each other, in productive ways, we can positively build our imaginative capacity. This is true of our ability to build negative imaginative capacity as well. Anyone who suffers from depression and anxiety is familiar with the power of using chanting or a mantra, or talking to someone and asking for help, to break the spell of negatively re-enforcing self-talk loops. I am applying this theory to my own recovery.
I am using the Al-Anon text to facilitate my thinking in productive lines of inquiry. I am forcing myself to face the painful memories of events where I gave way, one pressure point at a time, to submit to my ex-supervisor’s will. Until I had not will left of my own and reached the breaking point. It is very difficult to not let my negative imaginative capacity to run wild and shame myself for being so weak, so pliant, so willing to allow my ex-supervisor to take control of my academic career. However, in that way lies my own destruction through my own negative imaginings.
Instead, I am investigating my own condition with compassion and empathy for the vulnerable person who I was when I started out at the university. I am inquiring into my own state of mind, and the historical conditions that made me an attractive target for my ex-supervisors’ attachment. It is through this inquiry that I broaden my perspectives and deepen my understanding, which make it possible for me to imagine new futures for myself.
I am feeling better because I am enacting new practices of self-care, and new commitments to productively build a new life for myself.
Here is my drawing from last night: