Self Portrait

Self Portrait
My Wildish Womanly Self...

Monday, July 20, 2015

The following is a reprint of conversation I initiated on, a generally 'progressive' west Sonoma county bulletin board --to date, 7/20/2015. 

1.    THE COSBY THING…and then some

THE COSBY THING…and then some
By Marcia Singer
Sexual predation is generally held as an unforgivable act. The child molester, preying clergyman, subway flasher, date rapist or trafficker are wholly reprehensible to the American psyche. There’s little thought to decrying the acts, but not vilifying and condemning the actors…When we lose possibility for forgiveness, for understanding, we compound injury, losing chances for restitution, healing. I’m not naďve about how sexual predation can stain the hearts of those preyed upon for a lifetime. –And, I know that perpetrators are also marred by these acts. Not just by the wholesale shunning by society seeking revenge, retribution, segregation from the sinners, tracking sinners’ movements like animals wherever they go. We seem still to not know –or care –that most people who engage in despicable acts also suffer inside, are also victims of their own history or genes, which includes repressive or ignorant familial and cultural ‘norms.’ We forget to ask deeply, “What really is behind his or her misdeeds?” “What possible hidden service could those predatory acts be serving?” And, “Could there be more humane and effective responses all around?” What could we then learn.

Hypnosis therapy revealed that at the age of two, I was touched in my crib in highly inappropriate ways. A faceless man prompted by unnamed, unmet needs, indulged in guilty experimentation at my expense, infecting me with sinister shame about “down there.” While it was originally his embarrassing, guilty secret, it became mine, too. Was I myself a dirty secret? I wrestled with that early ‘gift’ of his for much of my life. As a young night club singer, I attracted other sexually wounded men as lovers or rescuers --until being nearly raped and strangled in the Hong Kong Hyatt’s presidential suite by a devious, desperate man. Subsequent introspection and therapy led me to develop compassion around sexual misdeeds, and to see and own my invisible part in hellish alliances. I discovered the ‘energetic matches’ that bring so-called victims and victimizers together. –Karmic matches? There is always a match. But you won’t find it if you don’t seek it.

Fortunately, I’ve come to realize that all relationships made in hell potentially invite heaven to enter in –with willingness to forgive, and be response-able. As a clinical social work master’s candidate (MSW) at U.C. Berkeley in the 70s, I was placed at Vacaville prison as a student therapist. Male homosexuals and child molesters were housed there. I was assigned both, as well as a “polymorphous perverse” case –the label repugnant to me even at age 21 as a dehumanizing way to throw away a human being. Another eye-opener was the murderous hatred other inmates had for my pederast patient --a poor, retarded Latino man, with little education or moral capability. My official job was to help these prisoners ‘go straight.’ Mostly, I just listened with fascinated and horrified ears. And there wasn’t a single man I listened to that I didn’t come to care about. And that caring helped imprisoned patients respect themselves, and find compassion for others.

While living in L.A., I had a private healing and counseling practice. I ‘attracted’ clients who were traumatized by childhood sensual and sexual abuse --men and women who’d been raped, beaten or incested. Some had never experienced safe, loving touch. There were also a couple of serial flashers, a CEO addicted to bondage, and a clergyman obsessing online with little boys. Each one was hurting. Each had bottled up rage which was scary for me at first. It was a steep learning curve to sidestep knee-jerk judgments about these deeply troubled, mortified, scared human beings --who often felt helpless about their own drives and choices. But each time therapeutic interventions succeeded, they revealed unconscious attempts to meet basic needs, e.g. for love and intimate connection, childhood redemption, empowerment, healthy sexual prowess. Each “aha” opened us to discover direct, healthier ways to actually meet their all-too-human human needs –ways less harmful to all concerned. .

So, in the wake of the Bill Cosby Thing raising its ugly head once again, might I ask if we could put aside our blaming judgments of the man, open our hearts, and wonder what unmet needs might have driven his behavior? Needs for sexual expression his purient public image and fame may’ve made inadmissible? To rescue prowess, manhood –were there embarrassed aging fears? And may I ask an equally outrageous and necessary question for healing: what might his ‘victims’ have been seeking that made them an ‘energetic match’ with Cosby, at his worst….? Acceptance or favor? Power? Rescue? Inquiry requires a paradigm shift away from blame, away from what seems ‘obvious,’ – to what’s there, if we take full responsibility.

Marcia Singer, Love Arts Foundation, Santa Rosa CA
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sharingwisdom's Avatar

Re: THE COSBY THING…and then some

“Sharing Wisdom” says:

I appreciate your courage to share your story and experience, to ask questions that support some deeper thought and heart processes. I feel there is a difference between blaming another and holding another accountable for their actions by speaking one's truth. There is also seeing the pattern of actions. What Cosby presented is such a common theme in the Entertainment business. There are so many that are speaking up in what is going on and has gone on for years and years in Hollywood, Broadway, and the gov't. Ask Roseanne Barr, Corey Feldman, Michael Egan III, Dylan Farrow and Jill Dando,

You think that Cosby had a need for sexual expression? Really? Personally, I think he is dissociative, which leads to being ungrounded, out of his body, seeing another as an object, the need to have power over another because there lacks access to his own power within, which comes from not being aware of his own repressed issues, is more at hand. So yes, he probably is a victim himself from childhood...hasn't touched his issues and is acting them out on others. Yes, I can have compassion for him, and he is still responsible for his actions.

I have worked with clients who have been abused by stars. I ask you, "What kind of virtues does it take to stand up to a big name figure and say what is true knowing what the press and public will do? What needs do these women have to fuel their courage to ask for accountability, to say enough is enough?" You and I both know what it takes to go public for survivors of sexual abuse. It's no small feat. And when the media protects those who continue to abuse, these women's actions are heroic.

I, too, have worked in the field of helping clients heal from abuse for almost 30 years. I'm actually writing my third book about it now. On a 'higher level', I agree that there is a 'play' that occurs between the victim and perpetrator...spiritually, and even to the level of poor boundaries and suppressed or repressed childhood abuse patterns, but to bring this up in early recovery without the understanding of patterns, the building of internal skills, the empowerment that needs to be present, is shifting blame onto the victim. Survivors blame themselves enough for what was done to them.... internalized shame. And they also continue patterns of abusive and dangerous situations, setting themselves up, being naive, victim trust...all due to their lack of healing and their own dissociation or PTSD issues. So yes, both have been abused but one projects into the world to harm others and the other internalizes and harms themselves...opposite ends of the same coin. And some do both.

And I'm sure you know that compassion and forgiveness come when the survivor has learned to accomplish this on the inner world towards all aspects of's a process that is different for each person in their own pace and journey. Forgiveness certainly isn't about forgetting nor allowing another to stand in impunity and keep doing it to others. Standing in one's truth, speaking up, breaking the silence, sharing the unspeakable, is a very courageous part of healing from trauma and sexual abuse. It takes self forgiveness to have the strength to do this. And some never make it that far. I've had 3 people close to me commit suicide due to the effects of unhealed abuse and many others who have diseases brought on by repressed symptoms. What abuse does to a child's brain, neuro-receptors, and immune system has been correlated by researchers for years.

I agree that the old paradigm of an 'eye for an eye' retributive mentality doesn't work. I agree that we all go around the drama triangle many times in this life and in other 'experiences.' We've all played many roles in this stage called life. Punishment doesn't open the heart for either parties concerned. In researching and watching about the S. Africa truth and reconciliation process, I feel there is a way to both address what occurred and allow for real healing of both the perpetrator and the victim. And I feel that some perpetrators need a place that is away from society, not the prison system, but centers for awakening, that are separate from hurting others.

Since we are a world emeshed in trauma, those of us who have journeyed through the darker terrain to come to a place of stripping away the layers of repressed material and opening to a deep soul awareness and purpose, can bring a new light to what has been so dark for eons on this planet. And it takes the ability to say what is true w/o feeling like this is a judgement

2.    The following 3 members have expressed gratitude to sharingwisdom for this post:
3.    07-15-2015 02:37 PMTopTop#3

Re: THE COSBY THING…and then some

I'm so glad both you and Sharing Wisdom posted these. It bothers me very much that when I see any reality cops or jail shows, all I see in the adults being arrested are very hurting children in great pain. I've literally been thinking about finding how to be a volunteer visitor to some friendless souls now in jail who grew up with nearly no parenting or role models and around alcoholic, drug addict, abusive in every way adults and in relentless physical and emotional pain and confusion.

They never had a chance, then committed impulsive, stupid acts and are now being treated like dirt every day in a system that isolates and demeans instead of rehabilitates. I know that probably any one of us with the same childhoods could have been them, and then also suddenly have the rest of any hope taken away with a 20-30 year sentence for one desperate choice, especially while high, drunk or just plain hungry. With stable, loving childhoods, education and love, they would have also had... but still have... the potential to lead a productive loving life.

There's no excuse for our current abusive, slave labor prison system, inconsistent excessive sentencing, victimless crime incarceration, the closing of the bulk of mental health facilities years ago turning prisons into torture pits for the mentally ill, and most of all the lack of effective rehab systems. If humans are humans, and some other countries have dignified time serving and wildly successful rehabilitation programs/low recidivism rates, why not us? It's disgusting that prisons are largely a heartless, deliberately created cog in the corporate profit making wheel in America.

But back to more the abuse topic... I'm becoming increasingly aware that what has been the biggest secret of child sexual abuse, sick perversions, incest and a long list of unethical and illegal obsessions is frighteningly more pervasive than people would think who have little interest in or awareness of it all. I wonder about the 'victims attracting predators' aspect, but if that's true it's all or nothing, and couldn't be true just sometimes, but I can't accept that even at some karmic/soul level when it comes to children. If that were the case, it says a lot more about the so called creator of this universe who decided to include the relentless cycling of such gruesome pain.

I don't know if I'm accomplishing anything, but when I remember daily, I stop and send millions of hugs for whoever needs one in the world and tell them how in awe I am of how incredibly strong and brave they're being this lifetime, and especially for the reasons in this thread.
Last edited by Alex; 07-15-2015 at 08:51 PM.
4.    07-16-2015 04:33 PMTopTop#4
anaturalwoman's Avatar

Re: THE COSBY THING…and then some

Dear Community,
That pesky piece I wrote a few days ago about “The Cosby Thing” has generated lengthy, impassioned replies, deserving some further response from me. I’ve boiled my own thoughts down into three arenas of inquiry: First, what is the true nature of violent behavior? What are its roots? Second, what is your system of organizing and understanding the phenomenal world? What is your cosmology? Does it include a thorough investigation of Duality? The connectedness of all things, and all sentient beings? And third, are you interested in, willing to do the inner work that personal forgiveness entails? When violence is involved, are you courageous enough to go to its hellish, dark, black hole of a heart, until the heavenly Light is also Found? This abysswork is deeply spiritual in nature --and necessary perhaps to ever end the violence all around us.

At age 14, I had a difficult argument with my father. We were a middle class, Midwestern Jewish family with holocaust history. Hitler was hated, Nazis feared in our community. Yet I argued with my dad that even Hitler had to have some good in him... My poor, frustrated parent was scared that his young daughter had no ability to decipher “evil.” –I did. But not unlike Anna Frank, I believed at heart, everyone was good….I hoped so, for all our sakes.

My life demands continual proof of that theory. To trade compassion and hope for hatred and fear.

Back to The Cosby Thing. I’ve long investigated 'violence,' and appreciate the definition of it I learned from the late Marshall B. Rosenberg (NVC) as acting against Life. I always find "fear” at the epicenter, and limiting, toxic beliefs. But this is a wide continuum: So where might Bill Cosby’s transgressions against women fall along it? Can we wonder what fears he might have –even hidden from himself? Could you imagine the violence committed against himself in the mix, against his own best, truest interests? Society’s violence against his kind --to sexual predation? Does your cosmology hold that a Mr. Clean and a Mr. Dirty co-exist as cosmic twins? Complimentary opposites? That one necessitates the other in a Dual Universe? That Victim and Victimizer are also on a cosmic teeter totter –or mobius strip, if you like? So we might bear witness to a karmic comeuppance that Mr. Cosby, king of prurient, clean comedy and family values is up against a dirty, sticky, not-funny web of deceit. But I find spider, fly, web intimately connected in a mysterious, Intelligent Design. What awakens in me as a result: Are spider and web violent? Inherently bad? Are flies just innocent victims? How do drives, needs, instincts play a role –especially in a creature as complex as a human being? Yes, I know we expect much more from ourselves as human creatures...Yet, guilt co-exists only with innocence... and perhaps we're all innocent victims of ignorance about our diviner design…. We are imperfectly here…. We deserve compassion and chances to reform our understandings of ourselves.

Before I get in over my head again in a posted response (!), I wanted to reply to two thoughts other posters put to me. One, that Cosby could not possibly have been seeking sexual expression –because surely he is a dissociative personality. I disagree. Why? First because sexual expression is a basic human drive, and often driven underground when repressed. It can include the urge to be close, to feel alive in your body (sometimes felt as ‘prowess’), connected to something greater, to redeem self esteem (tricky) –and as a way to temporarily relieve built up tension and stress (also tricky as an unconscious process). As a shamanic tantric yogi, I also remind that “sexuality” is esoterically about our creative life force energies –“kundalini.” To whatever degree that primal life force is blocked, stifled, distrusted, manipulated? ---something ‘violent’ –contrary to life –will happen instead. When natural drives, needs are desperately thwarted –which I found to always be the case with abusive sexual dysfunction –something demonic can happen instead. Violence happens ---and the perpetrator is not exempt from the suffering it always brings.

So, I ask again, who among us is courageous enough to look deeply at our own and each other’s failings, flailings, brutal mistakes, and instead of reactively passing judgment or condemning, move into the abyss, pass through the black hole of fear and heartbreak, and come out the white hole of Loving-Kindness? Especially in a society still unable to deliver healthy role models for either gender appreciation or sexual identity? In a society where few of us are wholly comfortable in our male and female, masculine or feminine skins? A culture that is still lacking in touch awareness or intimacy skills, that worships celebrity in and of itself, that demands perfection in our role models –and is increasingly violent all around?

Who casts the first stone? Who among us wants to cast our last one?
Marcia Singer
Director, Love Arts Foundation, Santa Rosa
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