Thursday, September 29, 2011 – Study of the meaning of evil
Any personal searching that I do regarding terms such as ‘satan’ and ‘the devil’ and even about ‘evil’ itself is connected deeply to my own origins upon this earth after I was born from my mother’s womb. Such was my mother’s mental illness as it included a special component of psychosis about my existence that I breathed my first air into my lungs under the burden of her hatred of me.
Because my mother was already mentally ill at the time of her beginning labor with me – most probably with severe Borderline Personality Disorder – her difficulties in bringing breech birth me into the world seemed to have been the final distress that broke her mind. Mother believed during her labor that ‘the devil’ had sent me to kill her. Because she and I both survived my birth, her so-sick mind thereafter believed that I was not human, that I was ‘the devil’s child’ sent ‘as a curse upon’ her life.
The last I heard Mother launch into her verbal litany description of this pattern was in a telephone conversation shortly before my 30th birthday. Looking back when this litany of words describing her beliefs about me appeared it was always as if her brain-mind-self ‘switched tracks’ and took a ‘detour’ that was as real to her as anything she knew in her lifetime. In this conversation, for the first time in my life, I had the ability FINALLY to hang up on her. I never again gave her the opportunity to recite that ‘devil child’ litany to me again.
By the time I was 17 and a senior in high school my memory of myself at that time confirms to me that by this age I absolutely and completely believed the lies Mother had always told me about myself. One day during lunch hour I found my way to the high school library to use a typewriter to write a letter to God.
In that letter I affirmed to God that I knew I was not human, that I had been born before this lifetime, had done something so terribly wrong that when I died I had been sent to hell without hope of redemption, and that God wanted nothing to do with me. I affirmed that I was indeed not a human being at all, but that the devil had sent me into this lifetime to be bad and to do bad things.
I clearly remember writing this letter. Although I knew nothing about alcoholism or even especially about ‘sin’ in this regard, I included myself as a ‘tool of the devil’ in this world right along with people who sold alcohol! I do not remember if I apologized to God, but I think I did say I was sorry for whatever it was I had done that was so bad.
I do not remember any thoughts that led me to that library typewriter on this day. Looking back, it was like I was being remotely controlled. Perhaps some part of my self had simply had ENOUGH and I knew no way to escape my situation. My only hopeless option was to affirm who and how I was to God.
I know I pulled the letter out of the typewriter and stuck it into my 3-ring binder and kept it. I have a vague sense that Mother found this letter and that there were repercussions – she of course believing I was ‘possessed by demons’. I had no privacy from Mother’s intrusions into my existence on any level, so it is perfectly likely that my letter was discovered. By this time (beginning in my 10th grade year) my parents had joined a Pentecostal Assembly of God church. It is an absolute breech between right and wrong that I so entirely accepted the wrong that had been done to me from the moment of my birth as being MINE at the same time my mother and my father were, in my reality, COMPLETELY absolved.
I have been tempted to use the term ‘brainwashing’ to describe what Mother did to me from the first I had ears to hear outside of her watery womb. I would like to find a more accurate term because I had no ‘brain’ of my own at the moment of my birth that she could have altered. The experiences I had with Mother formed my rapidly growing infant brain. ‘Brainmade’ would be far more accurate. She had that amount of power over me and my life – as mothers-early caregivers do.
I did not dwell consciously on my ‘devil child’ status. The few moments it took me to type that letter were, to my knowledge, the only ones in which the status of my reality as I knew it actually bubbled up into my mind in thought and words. I wrote them down. I kept them. I believed them. I knew my ‘place’. I did not question. I could not.
Nothing I have written her thus far addresses the fact that indeed God loved into being my soul at the instant I was conceived. As I continue to heal from the terrors and traumas of my 18-year abusive childhood I continue also to increase my recognition of my soul as it passed through these years alongside any tiny beginning sense I was able to form of my self as an entity in this world. It was a particular aspect of Mother’s mental illness that she could NOT allow me to become a self separate from her. Everything she did to me was designed to obliterate ME as a person of my own.
Mother came out of her childhood somehow with a buried and powerful belief that someone GAVE her that she was such an evil, bad child that the devil was coming to get her. I believe the origin of her primordial terror that this was all true was tied to some kind of childhood sexual abuse but I have no ‘proof’. During my birth my mother’s terror took form, and once I was born that form was me and I was that form.
During Mother’s labor with me the worst of the worst happened. She was completely overwhelmed as a human being by the consequences of all the traumas of her life. I was so far past being a simple scapegoat that I cannot even use that word to describe what happened to me as a result of Mother’s break with reality.
I cannot even use the psychologically-based terms ‘splitting’ or ‘projection’ to describe what Mother did to me, either. Mother CONSUMED me. She colonized me. She made me her own, meaning that she made ME a part of herself. This part of herself WAS the evil-bad child the devil was coming to get. Mother could no longer tolerate any inner association inside of herself with this evil-bad child she had been taught to believe was a part of her self.
Her self-beyond-redemption was just that: The evil-bad child the devil was coming to get was doomed. There was no hope.
In this macabre dance with the devil there was only one way out. ‘Make believe’ Linda is that child. Mother’s powers of twisted imagination turned this ‘make believe’ into reality. Her reality. My reality. The reality of my father. The reality of my siblings. Her powers of pretend, just as in the Twilight Zone TV episode (“It’s a Good Life” aired November 3, 1961, season 3, episode 8) of the boy with powers to change anyone and anything into what he imagined, Mother changed me at the same time she birthed me into all that was doomed-beyond-redemption inside of herself.
For many years I believed ‘a theory’ that could have explained all the horrors of the abuses Mother did to me as her attempt to punish me and change me into a ‘good girl’ that could be loved, thus somehow redeeming her evil-bad self. No, that is not what this pattern was about. What Mother did was about no hope at all, no possibility of hope, no hope for hope.
Which meant I was, in Mother’s universe, absolutely, fundamentally evil without any chance of positive transformation, salvation or escape. I was doomed. This was a certainty.
When a ‘scapegoat’, or the ‘pharmacos’ was sacrificed for the salvation of a people, all the bad was BELIEVED to be contained inside the victim. Destruction of the victim meant salvation for the people. Yes, what Mother did to me followed this track to a point. A scapegoat is killed. Game over. A true scapegoat does not suffer forever. I did. I lived.
Because Mother lived, I had to live. Because I was her stand-in for her devil-child self, and because Mother had to absolutely fool the devil into believing I was EXACTLY that, he would come for me and she would escape free at last.
So all her so-called ‘punishments’ were NEVER about ‘making me good’. That would have suggested there was hope. There was no hope for this evil-bad-devil child. Everything Mother did to me served only one continual purpose: To keep me from becoming a person in my own right BECAUSE I could ONLY exist as her trap-bait stand-in replacement self in hell. I could NOT escape!
That is what a scapegoat does. It escapes. True, its escape is through death, but escape it does. When the scapegoat escapes through death all the bad things people have stuck to that scapegoat die also – so that the people escape those bad effects JUST AS the scapegoat dies.
No, I did not die. I lived for 18 very long years being a non-human embodiment of Mother’s psychotic evil. The older I became and the more I developed naturally, the harder Mother had to work to make sure I did not suddenly one day appear as a separate human being in my own right. When I write about the isolation and confinements Mother enforced upon me in addition to all levels of ‘other’ abuses, I cannot imagine that another human being can begin to know what I am talking about.
I do, however, believe that God knows, and that is all that ultimately matters for any of us. God knows that my soul did not let my body die. My soul instructed me through every breath I took from my first one how to endure with a patience born of spirit. I never stopped TRYING to be a ‘good girl’. I never stopped trying to please my mother. I never stopped trying to do things ‘right’ and not make ‘mistakes’.
Had I known how absolutely doomed I was in Mother’s universe – as she kept me in a state and condition of doom every single instant of every moment of every day, month and year she kept me under her powers, I do not believe I would have lived through my childhood. My soul, however, has always known from the instant God made me that it will live forever. Because I was not free to choose to lose my way in my own body as I grew up, my soul kept its focus and did not forget its reality.
My soul innately knew that anything that happened to me during those 18 years of horror held no more value than a Cheerio dropped onto the floor, crushed under foot, carried off as miniscule crumbs to be consumed by ants.
Although I did not consciously know it as an infant-child, although I was all but deprived of human love, companionship and even contact (as much as Mother could control these relationships) I have never been alone. I have always been a part of such a great, great world that so far surpasses the world of material existence as to disappear entirely from consideration over the lifespan of my soul.
I find comfort in words such as the following, knowing that the Abha Kingdom, God’s Kingdom so full of light and love has always been and will forever be my soul’s true home. All the time my body, from birth, traveled along through my Mother’s violent, insane world I was entombed within at the center of the cosmos of her delusional psychosis, my soul was being held in perfect safe keeping.
|— From the Writings of ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ – From a Tablet addressed to the Greatest Holy Leaf. (See The Bahá’í World, vol. V, pp. 171–172)|
It took my soul exactly 22 months from the time my parents put me into the Navy October 3, 1969 to lead me to the day in Sacramento, California when I met a young man who answered all my questions as he introduced me to the Bahá’í Faith. My soul instantly knew and profoundly celebrated hearing that Christ had returned as promised as a ‘thief in the night’ and that He was now calling His followers, as promised, by a new name. I encountered the home of my soul, Bahá’u’lláh, in Whose presence I desire to spend eternity.
“O My servants! Sorrow not if, in these days and on this earthly plane, things contrary to your wishes have been ordained and manifested by God, for days of blissful joy, of heavenly delight, are assuredly in store for you. Worlds, holy and spiritually glorious, will be unveiled to your eyes. You are destined by Him, in this world and hereafter, to partake of their benefits, to share in their joys, and to obtain a portion of their sustaining grace. To each and every one of them you will, no doubt, attain.” — Gleanings From the Writings of Baha’u’llah, Pages 323-329: gr9
God is inscrutable to humans, as is His will. I can ponder all I want to what happened to me and why, but I do not ultimately question what I cannot understand, as Bahá’u’lláh’s son, `Abdu’l-Bahá, wrote:
“THE MYSTERY OF SUFFERING
As to the subject of babes and infants and weak ones who are afflicted by the hands of oppressors: This contains great wisdom and this subject is of paramount importance. In brief, for those souls there is a recompense in another world and many details are connected with this matter. For those souls that suffering is the greatest mercy of God. Verily that mercy of the Lord is far better and preferable to all the comfort of this world and the growth and development of this place of mortality. If it be the will of God, when thou shalt be present this will be explained in detail by word of mouth.” — Baha’i World Faith–Selected Writings of Baha’u’llah and `Abdu’l-Baha (`Abdu’l-Baha’s Section Only), Page 372: gr1
I believe that someday in the future once my body dies and my soul is freed from the cage of this mortal life I might be “present” to hear “explained in detail by word of mouth” what this kind of suffering I know from experience was REALLY all about. When I think that a million and a half babes and children were murdered by Nazis during the Holocaust, and millions more killed throughout time by human evil, I know that should I ever hear this explanation I will be joined in the most blessed company of babes and children who were also “afflicted by the hands of oppressors.”
“All the Prophets of God, including Jesus Christ, appeared in the world for the education of humanity, to develop immature souls into maturity, to transform the ignorant of mankind into the knowing, thereby establishing love and unity through divine education and training. The Prophets have not come to cause discord and enmity. For God has wished all good for His servants, and he who wishes the servants of God evil is against God; he has not obeyed the will and emulated the example of God; he has followed Satanic leadings and footprints. The attributes of God are love and mercy; the attribute of Satan is hate. Therefore, he who is merciful and kind to his fellowmen is manifesting the divine attribute, and he who is hating and hostile toward a fellow creature is satanic. God is absolute love, even as Jesus Christ has declared, and Satan is utter hatred. Wherever love is witnessed, know that there is a manifestation of God’s mercy; whenever you meet hatred and enmity, know that these are the evidences and attributes of Satan. The Prophets have appeared in this world with the mission that human souls may become the expressions of the Merciful, that they may be educated and developed, attain to love and amity and establish peace and agreement.” — The Promulgation of Universal Peace, Pages 39-42: gr3
— `Abdu’l-Bahá, — 21 April 1912
Talk at Universalist Church
Thirteenth and L Streets, Washington, D.C.
Notes by Joseph H. Hannen