Pretty hate machine

A song came to mind yesterday when I was thinking about a fellow bloggers post: Human Potential, Human Cruelty (Or: How Meditation and Behavioral Therapy Kept Me From A Killing Spree)

He wrote:

“As a punk kid coming up with seemingly no end of potentially violent critics, I used my anger and my lust as sources of emotional comfort.”

The song?

Head Like A Hole

Nine Inch Nails

God money I’ll do anything for you.
God money just tell me what you want me to.
God money nail me up against the wall.
God money don’t want everything he wants it all.[Bridge:]
no you can’t take it
no you can’t take it
no you can’t take that away from me
no you can’t take it
no you can’t take it
no you can’t take that away from mehead like a hole.
black as your soul.
I’d rather die than give you control.
head like a hole.
black as your soul.
I’d rather die than give you control.[Chorus:]
bow down before the one you serve.
you’re going to get what you deserve.
bow down before the one you serve.
you’re going to get what you deserve.God money’s not looking for the cure.
God money’s not concerned with the sick amongst the pure.
God money let’s go dancing on the backs of the bruised.
God money’s not one to choose…
you know who you are.


I’m moving towards Nonviolent Communication, but I have to describe why at the same time I have that as an ideal, it’s difficult for me when I think about where I’ve been.

Growing up, I was trying to be a ‘good girl’, despite the fear, obligation and guilt my well-to-do dysfunctional family operated by.

In high school, I was high-achieving.

Honor’s Student.  State Scholar.  National Science Olympiad medal winner.  Scholastic Bowl team member.

I put myself through college, writing essays to earn small scholarships, because despite my bright future and hard work, my mother refused to let me go away to university, explaining I’d probably party, drop out and get married.

I obtained my first laboratory job before I even finished college – in my junior and senior year, handling a full load of courses in biology, calculus, and chemistry.

During my senior year of college, the ugly duckling I was finally turned into swan.  It was a high time for me socially as well as intellectually.  I did party, a bit – as much as one can in a group of dorky science and engineering students.  The end of term parties were a great way to blow off steam.

The day I left home for good, when I was 24, my mother had her hand at my neck, with her other hand poised to hit me.  Long, painful, ugly story.

I moved in with my friend Greg, and slept on his couch with gratitude.  Between him and my then boyfriend (now husband), my ears and mind were filled with songs that articulated my rage.

On the outside, I was a model citizen.

On the inside, I was a pretty hate machine.

In the deepest recesses of my heart, I had an appetite for destruction.

Clearly I remember…they thought I seemed harmless…but they unleashed a lion.

I tried to rage against the machine, but I was just attacking windmills.

But I’m still alive.

After I moved 3 hours away from everyone I cared about during a forensic DNA training program, I discovered a warm and open Methodist church full of idealistic young people and I felt a deep sense of belonging I never felt before, nor since.  I tried so hard to be a Jesus Freak.  Had I stayed longer, I would have drunk the Kool-aid.  I never fell in love with a whole community of people before, but I did then.  And then I had to leave.  And it was painful.

And I could never replicate that feeling I belonged in any other house of God.  And I’ve tried.  I really honest to goodness tried.

And failed.

I saw only awfulness and harsh judgment among the church-going folk and among my Christian family members on my and my husband’s side up here.   I still expect awfulness and harsh treatment.

So much so that there’s whole experiences of my life I find it hard to even talk about but really need healing from.

Like my using sex and love relationships to get needs met, especially being married to someone who had his own dysfunctional behavior.  So much so I shock even myself.

Or the two abortions I’ve had – the one I had before my husband and I could afford to get married.  Or the one I had a year ago.

I do condemn myself for those, at times.

It’s hard not to.  There’s a lot of anti-abortion/right-to-life messages everywhere you go.

My younger sister, who I comforted as a child when our parents fought, once threw it back into my face, calling me a “baby killer”.

Or when my older sister, an evangelical Catholic, lectured me with all her ‘right to life’ talk about the sanctity of life.

I, having been through what I have, care deeply about the sanctity of life.  And I live with it as best I can, but it’s really difficult sometimes, because even when I don’t want to remember, something always dredges it up.

It was just recently brought up a few days ago when I started reading Eastern Body, Western Mind: Psychology and the Chakra System as a Path to the Self by Anodea Judith.

 On an emotional level, abortion constitutes a moral struggle. And no matter how liberal one’s views are, the decision is never easy.  It is nearly always accompanied by emotional turmoil, often by guilt and fear, and may entail a profound sense of grief and loss.  In addition, abortion halts the natural process of the body that is geared toward continuing the pregnancy.  Even with anesthesia, there is assault on the second chakra organs, and such a wound takes time to heal, time which is seldom acknowledged.

A woman who has just had an abortion needs to treat herself with the tenderness she would give to a rape victim, because in a sense, the womb gets raped in an abortion.

I could chalk up the first abortion to an impetuous, youthful mistake, and I promised God I’d never do it again, ever.  So it was much harder to come to terms with the second one – and not just because the twilight medications failed to work and I was aware of the whole thing and I remember it all.  There’s more to the story I can’t share.

And I believe that while that kind of experience can steal your innocence, it can not steal your substance.

I am trying to apply radical acceptance and self-forgiveness.

Have I mentioned, it’s hard?

Self-forgiveness is often not even possible, and certainly cannot be complete, until we have in some way made amends to those we’ve injured. Making amends is not for the sake of satisfying an external standard of morality. Rather, it is an expression of our belonging to the world and to our own hearts.

~ Tara Brach

I’ve injured someone all right.  In the quest for feeling like I’ve belonged, I’ve injured the one person that I needed to care for the most – me.

I even tried to go to a Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat.  I registered, paid my money, but they called me up and told me they had to cancel it.  I decided not to reschedule.

Especially after my older sister told me once, with wine in hand, that I needed an exorcism, when I had a fight with her after I told her I didn’t want to buy a fundraiser coupon book from her son when my three daughters had to sell the same books for their school.

I am a formerly A-student/ high-achieving/baby killing/pretty hate machine.

It’s exceptionally hard to get where I want to go with all the voices of the introjected judgers going viral in my head.

And I had no idea how to make amends and forgive myself.

Tara Brach tells me, in her cd of Meditations for Emotional Healing: Finding Freedom in the Face of Difficulty, starting won’t be as hard as I thought.

Anywhere it gets to be too painful, we can say,

“I’m sorry and I love you”

That’s all.

I’m sorry and I love you.

Right now, that’s all I have to go on.

Before I can heal the shame that binds me, and recover from the “I’d rather die, than give you control” kind of thinking,  I have to attend to these deep soul wounds I inflicted upon myself in an effort to belong.

About Casey

“the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes ‘Awww!’ ~ Jack Kerouac, On The Road Again
This entry was posted in Anger, Broke Down Spirit, Buddhism, Complex-PTSD, Connection, depression, Disconnection, Grief and Loss, Highly Sensitive Person, Mindfulness, Motherhood, Radical Acceptance, Radical forgiveness, Shame, Tara Brach and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Pretty hate machine

  1. I’m on my lunch break so my time to reply is very limited right now. Thank you for sharing this post. As I read of your inner struggle, I’m left questioning what your views are on forgiveness and how it relates to letting go.. I was encouraged by more than one therapist to forgive those whom have done me harm as part of the healing process. I argued that some things simply aren’t forgivable, at least not for me. A more enlightened soul would find the capacity to do so, but in the case of me to others, for some things I am unwilling to. My current therapist asked me about forgiveness as well and I am finally to a point where I can articulate it. I’ll spare you the long answer as I’m sure you’ll understand what I’m saying.

    Forgiveness when given is more for the one forgiving to give not only the one needing forgiveness permission to let go, but is more for the person giving to to give themselves permission to let go. The same holds true when asking for forgiveness. It’s to release the guilt and shame for something. The bigger the something, the harder it is to move forward without permission. In the absence of that, moving forward is so, so difficult. If you withhold it from the one asking, it would stand to reason that whatever it is still binds you in some way, not just emotionally, but to the one that’s done harm. A real paradox is when one of the parties is no longer living or isn’t able to be reached.

    I maintain that I can move on without forgiveness. I’ve done things that I deem unforgivable, regardless of the circumstances which can never, ever be taken back. The same holds true to those that hurt me. On an intellectual level I understand that there may have been moments of deep conflict for those who harmed me, or maybe they have that conflict now that years have gone by and time for reflection has passed. I can’t rationalize my pain and suffering, nor can I rationalize the pain and suffering I’ve caused. All I have is this moment. I can’t undo what I’ve done, but I can do my best to make sure it doesn’t happen again. I don’t know what the future holds either. I may be hit by a garbage truck in transit to somewhere. I do the best that I can in this moment.

    Where do you stand on forgiveness and living in the moment? I’m not saying I don’t have days that I struggle, but they are few and far between. I know exactly what’s triggering me into this line of thinking again right now. It’s a situation that I could technically change, but I’m walking that same path with someone much earlier in their journey. I’ve been there. Alone. I can’t sit by and let someone I love go through that alone. So, I deal with it as it comes up for me.

  2. For me, forgiveness has been a difficult area. I had believed I have forgiven everyone and moved on.

    I focused on the present moment up til the time I had kids. Because I had such a full experience going on – challenging work, interesting and intelligent friends, lots to do – I didn’t spend much time dwelling on the past as there was so much to keep my interest in the present.

    I became a mother, quit my job 2.5 years after that, and lost most of my friends. My present moments were filled with babies, diapers, cooking and housekeeping and looking for reasons why I couldn’t handle my middle daughter’s temper tantrums. I was drowning.

    My mind had nothing stable to anchor itself to. A major disintegrative process has ensued. I don’t think of this as a bad thing. I could just no longer lie to myself that I was okay and that my husband really did not have a problem. I wasn’t okay, he did have a problem. And we both acted badly.

    It started looking at why I was so miserable and feeling so defective as a mother. I became deeply, deeply despondent. I had to look to the past for answers to my present problems.

    Daniel Siegel’s Parenting from the Inside Out was one of the first books I’d read about how childhood stuff gets re-invoked when you become a parent.

    Becoming a parent can trigger people with PTSD acquired in childhood. I think it triggered by me and my husband. We both acted out a great deal more.

    I dug into my past even deeper – my self, my mother, my father and step-father and sisters.

    There have been times, particularly recalling my painful experiences, have re-triggered trauma in the recollection. Things I thought I forgave suddenly became unforgiven. I have had said horrible things in those moments where I felt fresh rage at the injustices I endured.

    One of my subpersonalities is so pissed off, still. She’s my angst-filled adolescent. If you have ever seen Girl, Interrupted, that personality is quite like Lisa Rowe. My inner sociopath, if you will (I learned some bad behaviors from my sadistic family).

    I’m also understanding I was living with tremendous adrenal fatigue. I already know I have hashimoto’s thyroiditis. I’ve acted extremely destructively and self-destructively in part because of the chemical imbalances.

    I wrote a new post today, that’s relevant to your comment.

    Do I forgive others? Absolutely. They knew not what they did.

    Do I forgive me, no. I know what I did. I know my dark side. I know I haven’t mastered the intense anger and fear that comes up. I am afraid that no matter how much I do my best to ‘do no harm’…I know what I’m capable of and it scares me.

    My whole reason for mindfulness practice is not so I can feel happy (though I hope that’s a side effect). It’s so that I don’t destroy stuff or hurt anyone or myself anymore.

    Enjoy the rest of your day, friend. Please watch out for garbage trucks.

    The tears are making it hard for me to see the screen. Going to go get some lunch myself.

Would you like to share your thoughts? I'd love to hear them.

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