Tess of the D’Urbervilles

Image courtesy of CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Published in 1891, Thomas Hardy’s novel Tess of the D’Urbervilles is now considered a masterpiece [1].  In its day, however, the book was seen as shocking.

Plot

An early examination of rape and domestic abuse, Tess of the D’Urbervilles is the story of Tess Derbeyfield, a simple country girl.

After a series of misfortunes, Tess is hired by the wealthy D’Urberville family but raped by their son Alec.  The following summer she delivers a sickly infant who dies shortly after.

Tess later finds employment as a milkmaid.  She falls in love with a farmer, Angel Clare, who is unaware of her past.

Since Angel confesses on their wedding night that he once had a brief affair, Tess tells him about the rape.  This does not go over well.  Angel views her as “impure”, and abandons her to try farming overseas. Continue reading

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“When Children Aren’t Allowed to Say No” by Cynthia Bailey-Rug

Narcissistic Personality Disorder - Causes, Symptoms, Complications, Diagnosis, Treatment

“Narcissistic parents are notorious for not allowing their children to have any boundaries. They have no problem going through their children’s personal belongings or even breaking or getting rid of things their child uses or loves. Children are allowed no privacy, & some narcissistic parents go as far as removing their bedroom doors. Possibly the worst thing narcissistic parents do is refusing to allow their children to say “no”.

Narcissistic parents are too self centered to realize or even care that by not allowing their children to say no, they are teaching their children some pretty terrible lessons. When children learn that saying no is bad & not allowed, this teaches them that others can treat them however they wish. This opens the door for other wicked people to abuse these children. It also sets these children up for a life of misery because they don’t believe they have the right to say no to anyone, no matter what. They also believe that they have to say yes to everyone & everything, & that obviously is a huge problem!…” [Continued at https://cynthiabaileyrug.wordpress.com/2022/05/26/when-children-arent-allowed-to-say-no/ ]

FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT: https://alawyersprayers.com

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Mea Culpa

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/cc/Southern_Baptist_Convention_logo.png

Guidepost Solutions has issued a scathing report accusing leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention, America’s largest Protestant denomination, of routinely stonewalling claims of clergy abuse for the past two decades [1].

Convicted child molesters were allowed to continue in ministry without warning to their current congregations across multiple states.

This revelation is akin to the Catholic Church sex scandal in severity.  It confirms that pride and sexual sin are not limited to a single denomination (or linked to a vow of chastity). Continue reading

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Psychedelics for Anxiety, Depression, and PTSD, Part 2

File:FerndalePoliceStop102415.jpg

Drug paraphernalia including marijuana/cannabis and a methamphetamine pipe, following a police stop in Ferndale, CA, Author Ferndale Police Dept., Source https://kymkemp.com
(PD per California Public Records Act)

We continue our discussion of the risks and benefits of a drug-based psychiatric approach utilizing psychedelics to treat anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Despite growing enthusiasm for the use of psychedelics, the evidence is far from in.

LSD

Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) – one of the most potent hallucinogens – was studied from the 1950s to 1970s in order to assess behavioral and personality changes, as well as relief from psychiatric symptoms [1][2A].

LSD was originally used in the treatment of anxiety, depression, addiction, and psychosomatic illness.  Readers may recall that the US Army and CIA, also, experimented with LSD as a truth serum.  But most early studies were not performed to today’s standards.

Across 11 randomized-controlled studies (involving a combined total of 567 patients) positive outcomes were observed, particularly with regard to alcoholism [2B].

In rare instances, however, psychedelics such as psilocybin and LSD can evoke a lasting psychotic reaction (more frequently in patients with a family history of psychosis) [3A].  Adequate screening of a patient’s vulnerability and prior psychotic episodes before the use of LSD is, therefore, emphasized. Continue reading

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Psychedelics for Anxiety, Depression, and PTSD, Part 1

File:Ecstasy monogram.jpg

Ecstacy a/k/a Molly, Author DEA, Source https://www.dea.gov, (PD as work product of federal govt.)

“I am more convinced than ever that psychiatric medications, over the long term, cause net harm.  I wish that weren’t the case, but the evidence just keeps mounting that these drugs, on the whole, worsen long-term outcomes…The inventor of frontal lobotomy…was awarded a Nobel Prize for inventing that surgery, which today we understand as a mutilation.”

-Award-winning science author and journalist, Robert Whitaker [1][2]

Recently, a number of drug trials have been conducted re-assessing the effectiveness of psychedelics for anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

While the results of these trials have been heralded as providing new treatment options for tenacious illnesses, there are serious dangers associated with psychedelics.

Serotonin

Psychedelics act on receptors in the brain for serotonin, a neurotransmitter that effects mood.

There is some thinking that psychedelics enhance the brain’s capacity to form and reorganize synaptic connections, especially following injury [3A].  But this hypothesis needs further research.

In the therapeutic setting, psychedelics cause a receptive, dream-like state during which memories are readily accessible [3B].  The theory is that this state opens the door to fresh ideas the therapist can introduce.

Unsupervised use is not recommended. Continue reading

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“A Mother’s Love” by Kelly Fratamico

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/68/Mary_Cassatt_-_Mother_and_Child_%28The_Goodnight_Hug%29.jpg

“Mother and Child (A Goodnight Hug)” (1880) by Mary Cassatt, Source https://www.wikiart.org/en/mary-cassatt/mother-and-child-1880 (PD)

Readers of my other blog A Lawyer’s Prayers will be familiar with Christian Legal Clinics of Philadelphia https://www.clcphila.org/, a non-profit whose predecessor I had the opportunity of co-founding.

Through the efforts of volunteer Christian attorneys and paralegals, CLCP provides the poor of Philadelphia with legal services at no charge.

This is one story [1]:

“In 2016 Maria, a native of the Dominican Republic, sent her two young sons, to live with their father in the US.  She could not afford to come with them, so stayed behind…Maria made this sacrifice so her sons could receive a better education and not be influenced by violence in their town.

Maria was finally able to join her sons and their father in the United States…in the summer of 2021.  However, their father became abusive with Maria and tried to keep the boys from her.  With the help of the police and her sister, she was able to retrieve her sons and move into a place of her own.  However, Maria…was scared that he would use the court system to take  her sons from her.” Continue reading

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Reliving Trauma, Part 2

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/fb/Spaghetti_%26_Meatballs_%284%29_%2838218925246%29.jpgSpaghetti and Meatballs, Author John Freeman
(CC Attribution-2.0 Generic)

The Weight-Loss Battle

Again and again, you resolve to lose weight.  At times, you make heroic efforts in this direction.  You try fad diets, and supervised weight loss programs.  You try home exercise equipment and gym memberships.  You fast, may occasionally purge.

And you do lose weight, sometimes substantial amounts.  But as soon as you have acquired an attractive wardrobe in a smaller size, your weight shoots up again.  It is as if you were fighting a force outside yourself.

The pain of this is excruciating.  Giving away – one after another – the pretty items of clothing that no longer fit, you feel as if the flesh were being ripped from your bones, piece by piece.

This happens time after time, over the years, stripping you of hope.

Self-Control and a Negative Inner Dialog

Disciplined in other areas of life, you revile yourself for a lack of self-control where food is concerned, further contributing to an inner dialog which is already wholly negative.

You do your best to live a life of integrity.  But nothing you accomplish has value in your eyes, so long as you continue to have weight issues.

Scalding encounters with those who make clear their disgust at your appearance only reinforce your sense of worthlessness.

Weight Issues/Eating Disorders as a Substitute

Weight problems and eating disorders (anorexia, bulimia, binge eating, etc.) can arise from other causes than abuse [1].  But when abuse of some kind has occurred, they frequently serve as substitutes – an alternate focus for our shame, safer places to put our pain.

We may agonize over the difficulty of losing weight.  But, chances are, that is preferable to agonizing over the incest to which we were subjected.  The difficulty of the struggle reflects the depth of the wound. Continue reading

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Reliving Trauma, Part 1

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e3/Sugar_in_Junk_Food_-_Doughnuts%2C_Biscuits%2C_Chocolate_and_Cake.jpgJunk Food, Author formulatehealth, Source https://www.flickr.com/photos/189590028@N07/50191150823/ (CC Attribution-2.0 Generic)

Food as Comfort

You endure a childhood of sexual abuse.  Food is a comfort, solace for this inexplicable violation you have repeatedly experienced but cannot understand.

The Roots of an Eating Disorder

By your teens, you develop a weight problem, along with an eating disorder.  Though you do not realize it, both these are related to the abuse.  You deal with all the usual adolescent turmoil and the pain you carry around inside by bingeing.

Shame and Lack of Support

You have no emotional support, no one to guide you toward adulthood.  And virtually no clothes, since there is little thought given by the adults around you to the needs of a growing child.

You try on your mother’s clothes – in part so that you will have something to wear, in part to see what it feels like to be a grown woman.  But your mother is shorter in stature than you, and the clothes are too small.

You feel ashamed, unworthy to be a woman at all. Continue reading

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The Link Between Domestic Abuse and Mass Shootings

File:05 22 21 Downtown Minneapolis Mass Shooting (51196885820).jpgMinneapolis Mass Shooting 5/22/21, Author Chad Davis, Source https://www.flickr.com/photos/146321178@N05/51196885820/
(CC Attribution 2.0 Generic)

  • 6 were killed and 12 injured in a recent mass shooting in Sacramento [1].  Three shooters were subsequently identified, and found to have domestic violence backgrounds [2A].
  • Last year, a man who murdered 9 coworkers at a railyard had earlier been accused of sexual assault and abusive behavior toward a girlfriend [2B].
  • The man who murdered 49 patrons of the Pulse nightclub in 2016 had beaten and strangled his former wife [2C].

The Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions reports that 7 of 10 mass shootings were committed by batterers [2D].

A study in the Journal of Injury Epidemiology confirms that violence against a partner and violence against a stranger are closely related [3][4].  Between 2014 and 2019, 75 of 110 mass shootings were either domestic abuse related or perpetrated by an individual with a domestic abuse background. Continue reading

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To Believe


TO BELIEVE
Lyrics by Matt Evancho

“Before I lay me down to rest
I ask the Lord one small request
I know I have all I could need
But this prayer is not for me

Too many people on this day
Don’t have a peaceful place to stay
Let all fighting cease that your children may see peace
Wipe their tears of sorrow away

To believe in a day
When hunger and war will pass away
To have the hope amidst despair
That every sparrow’s counted
That you hear each cry and listen to each prayer

Let me try always to believe
That we can hear the hearts that grieve
Please help us not ignore
The anguished cries of the poor
Or their pain will never leave

To believe in a day
When hunger and war will pass away
To have the hope amidst despair
That every sparrow’s counted
That you hear their cries and listen to each prayer

Father, as you see, I’m just a child
And there’s so much to understand
But if Your Grace should surround me
Then I’ll do the best I can
I promise, I’ll do the very best I can

To believe in a day
When hunger and war will pass away
To have the hope amidst despair
That every sparrow’s counted
That you hear each cry and listen to each prayer
(Hear each cry and listen to each prayer)

Help us do Your will our Father
In the name of all that’s true
And we’ll see in one another
The loving image of You”

Wishing you all a blessed Easter!

FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT: https://alawyersprayers.com

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