Not Alone 2013-10-22

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AmriloJim
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Re: Not Alone 2013-10-22

Post by AmriloJim » Tue Oct 22, 2013 10:18 am

KateKane, those are wonderful insights into the mindset of one who has been there. I rejoice that you have been able to survive, apparently in good order.

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DilyV
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Re: Not Alone 2013-10-22

Post by DilyV » Tue Oct 22, 2013 10:37 am

Fairportfan wrote:
jeffepp wrote:It's been hinted at, if not mentioned out right, that she has a doctorate. But, that seemed odd for someone as young as M. But with the wunderkind thing, the timing makes sense.
As i pointed out earlier: We know Monica is thirty-one, and that she was twenty-nine when they did the calendar machine bit.

So she was maybe twenty-five or twenty-seven when we met her.

That's not unreasonably young for someone who can afford to do full-time school and is smart to have a PhD, i'd say.

But knowing that she spent more than a year institutionalised did make me wonder how she'd managed it.

===================

Katherine is forty-one and has a PhD, but she spent X years in the Air Force before she began the academic thing, apparently.
Not necessarily... one can get a college education whilst still in the military. I've known people who got their associates and bachelor's degrees while in the military.
You know that light at the end of the tunnel?

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Re: Not Alone 2013-10-22

Post by Opus the Poet » Tue Oct 22, 2013 10:46 am

I never was a cutter, but I know/knew quite a few and those who would talk to me about it described it in such a way that I would label it as a counter-irritant to relieve pain. Just as a strong menthol or capsaicin cream will reduce muscle pain, cutting reduces emotional pain to the point the cutter's psychological defenses can deal with it. This is not true for every cutter of course, no more than any other single explanation is true for any other thing we silly humans do to ourselves and others.
I ride my bike to ride my bike, and sometimes it takes me where I need to go.

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DilyV
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Re: Not Alone 2013-10-22

Post by DilyV » Tue Oct 22, 2013 10:46 am

Julie wrote:Beautifully done. Am I the only one who wants to see today's page colored? :)

I don't know how M kept that from her friends for so long though (though that could be because I'm not an overly private person, so not sharing with people in my "circle of trust" seems odd). Obviously she talked to some people abaout it (as others have pointed out) since her parents knew enough to sue and she saw therapists...so maybe she felt like that was enough. I guess it's possible (and now that I think of it, probable) that she felt it was unnecessary to share that with her friends...either because it was "past history not relevant to current life" or because she was concerned about how that would change their behavior around her.
DilyV wrote:Control? I'd call it denial... one of those "if a bear shits in the woods and no one is there to smell it, does it stink?" kinds of things. It appears to me that she ignored and denied and buried it so deep that she rarely thought about it... until this. Jet's issues have convinced Monica that it's time to come to grips with that part of her past... and to gain some sort of resolution in the matter.
While denial may be possible (though I've already listed my theories on why she didn't share this with her friends..and I don't really think denial is one of them), I don't think it's fair to assume she never came to grips with her rape. I'd say that the counselor and therapists helped a bit with that...and I'd wager that her studies also went a long way to giving her healing and resolution. It seems to me that making something out of yourself...gaining control over your life (and in M's case these days, gaining control of her abilities)...those can be viewed as validating actions that could help deal with the emotional scars left by abuse. I think that it's much more likely that Jet's pain gave Monica a reason to share something that she felt didn't need to be shared before. Granted, I do think she'll find a level of healing through this that she didn't experience on her own...but I'd say she recovered well enough before this.
I got the distinct feeling that Monica was referring to this as being a "If I don't think about it, it didn't happen" kind of way of dealing with and controlling that particular part of her life. Granted, she's opened up enough that we knew until now that she'd been in an institution. How many of us have had something so horrible or so embarrassingly stupid happen to us that we bury it deep in an attempt to keep others from knowing? After a time, the memory of the incident gets muddied and even our own remembrance of the incident isn't what it used to be. That's denial... or related to it. It is only after seeing someone else struggling with a similar circumstance that the memories flood back clear as day and you realize the other person can benefit from your experience.
You know that light at the end of the tunnel?

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Re: Not Alone 2013-10-22

Post by kingklash » Tue Oct 22, 2013 11:34 am

"Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arows of Outrageous Fortune, or by taking stand against a sea of troubles, and by opposing, end them."

Standing at the side of a friend can be as powerful, if not more so.

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Re: Not Alone 2013-10-22

Post by zachariah » Tue Oct 22, 2013 11:54 am

DilyV wrote:
Julie wrote:Beautifully done. Am I the only one who wants to see today's page colored? :)

I don't know how M kept that from her friends for so long though (though that could be because I'm not an overly private person, so not sharing with people in my "circle of trust" seems odd). Obviously she talked to some people abaout it (as others have pointed out) since her parents knew enough to sue and she saw therapists...so maybe she felt like that was enough. I guess it's possible (and now that I think of it, probable) that she felt it was unnecessary to share that with her friends...either because it was "past history not relevant to current life" or because she was concerned about how that would change their behavior around her.
DilyV wrote:Control? I'd call it denial... one of those "if a bear shits in the woods and no one is there to smell it, does it stink?" kinds of things. It appears to me that she ignored and denied and buried it so deep that she rarely thought about it... until this. Jet's issues have convinced Monica that it's time to come to grips with that part of her past... and to gain some sort of resolution in the matter.
While denial may be possible (though I've already listed my theories on why she didn't share this with her friends..and I don't really think denial is one of them), I don't think it's fair to assume she never came to grips with her rape. I'd say that the counselor and therapists helped a bit with that...and I'd wager that her studies also went a long way to giving her healing and resolution. It seems to me that making something out of yourself...gaining control over your life (and in M's case these days, gaining control of her abilities)...those can be viewed as validating actions that could help deal with the emotional scars left by abuse. I think that it's much more likely that Jet's pain gave Monica a reason to share something that she felt didn't need to be shared before. Granted, I do think she'll find a level of healing through this that she didn't experience on her own...but I'd say she recovered well enough before this.
I got the distinct feeling that Monica was referring to this as being a "If I don't think about it, it didn't happen" kind of way of dealing with and controlling that particular part of her life. Granted, she's opened up enough that we knew until now that she'd been in an institution. How many of us have had something so horrible or so embarrassingly stupid happen to us that we bury it deep in an attempt to keep others from knowing? After a time, the memory of the incident gets muddied and even our own remembrance of the incident isn't what it used to be. That's denial... or related to it. It is only after seeing someone else struggling with a similar circumstance that the memories flood back clear as day and you realize the other person can benefit from your experience.
I agree she doesn't think about it but not because she wants to deny it. I think she was helped to face it and realize that IT WAS NOT HER FAULT and NOT EVERYONE IS LIKE THAT. Once she accepted those points she could grow past it and move forward. That is always the biggest key being able to move beyond the experience and not let it dominate your life.
I spent a year in Vietnam in 1971and saw some really bad things and took part in them. Once I got out alive I worked my way through the experience and what I learned from it. I accept what it was, I'm glad I survived, but I WILL NOT let it color the rest of my life. Sadly I've know to many vets who cannot move beyond it and have let it become the central experience of their lives. They are trapped in the past. The song 'Back in Saigon' by Charlie Daniels is one of the best for letting others see what being trapped in the past means.
Monica managed to grow beyond it. I suspect it was burying herself in the studies that helped her to. Then when Shelly and the others pushed their way into her life it helped complete the process. Now she just doesn't talk about it. I don't often tell people I was there and if I do I refuse to discuss what it was like. Not even my wife knows what I went through there. The only times I have was to help a few others who are having problems coping and needed to know that it is possible to move beyond it. The same reason as Monica is doing so with Jet.
Ambush questions are fun. Watching the mental impact of them as they distort, or crumble, opinions based on faulty logic.

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Re: Not Alone 2013-10-22

Post by KateKane » Tue Oct 22, 2013 11:56 am

AmriloJim wrote:KateKane, those are wonderful insights into the mindset of one who has been there. I rejoice that you have been able to survive, apparently in good order.

Thanks, Jim.

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Re: Not Alone 2013-10-22

Post by Catawampus » Tue Oct 22, 2013 12:49 pm

jwhouk wrote:The "cutting" part is a bit odd, though.
As others have pointed out, it's not really unusual for people who are having/have had severe emotional distress. The reasons for it and its purposes can vary considerably.

One of my ex-girlfriend's parents were killed when she was about five years old, and she was taken in by her uncle. Who immediately proceeded to rape her many times a day, every day. He kept her locked away in his house for her entire childhood and used her basically as his own personal sex toy (except for a few times when he invited over close friends to "borrow" her), and she grew up thinking that her sole purpose in life was to provide sexual pleasure to men. Her entire sense of self-worth was based on how well she could please a man. The police found out about the situation when she was about sixteen, and she was sent to the US to live with some other relatives. As you might imagine, she did not blend in seamlessly to the new lifestyle. She was completely torn out of her entire sense of place and purpose in life, and her sense of values was completely upset.

Her uncle had been very thorough in making her learn to take great care of her appearance, so she would never do something such as disfiguring her skin. Instead, she took to biting her tongue and the inside of her mouth. A few times it was so bad that she had to be taken to the hospital to get it patched up. As she explained it to me, the reasoning in her case was that because none of the men in her new adoptive family would sleep with her, she must have done something horribly wrong. And since they wouldn't punish her for whatever it was, she felt the need to punish herself. Maybe there were some other less clear motivations, too.

She underwent a lot of therapy, plus she was put on an ever-changing array of medications to help her cope with her depression and nymphomania and everything else. By the time that I met her years later, you wouldn't guess that there was anything like that in her past. I didn't know anything about it myself until after we had been dating for a goodly while; she only told me about it after she felt that her behaviour one day required a bit of explaining. On rare occasions she'd have sort of a relapse to her old behaviours, and when she did I'd have to be very careful about how I turned her down (if I did) and would have to sit with her and talk with her. Otherwise she might start biting again for a few hours until she got back in balance.
Wanna bet that the suit and settlement got approved because of the legal counsel of one J. Aedeobie?
For that matter, that could explain why a certain FBI agent happened to stop by that hospital for a snack.

Or it could be pure coincidence.

Or Dietzel is the hidden puppet-master behind everything, and he arranged it.

I dunno.

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Re: Not Alone 2013-10-22

Post by Catawampus » Tue Oct 22, 2013 1:23 pm

DilyV wrote:I'd call it denial... one of those "if a bear shits in the woods and no one is there to smell it, does it stink? kinds of things. It appears to me that she ignored and denied and buried it so deep that she rarely thought about it... until this.
It could be denial. Or sometimes people decide that the bad things in their past are part of their past, and don't dwell on or bring up the information because there's no need to.

Heck, half of what's happened in my life I haven't mentioned to my friends not because I'm in denial about it, but because it's just sort of awkward stuff to talk about. "Oh, hey, did I ever tell you about how when I was locked away in a mental hospital as a teenager, I was repeatedly tied up and raped until the rapist sort of mysteriously fell apart one day? No?" There's rarely an opportune moment to bring that sort of thing up in a conversation, and if you do bring it up it's pretty much certain to put your friend who is hearing about it in a rather uncomfortable situation. Simply keeping quiet about it makes things less awkward for everyone.
jwhouk wrote:Yeah, it does suddenly explain a lot, doesn't it?
I had been wondering how a twenty-something Pre-Columbian artefacts researcher in a museum could afford such things as buying fancy audio gear on a whim. I was thinking that perhaps she'd inherited the house and some money from her grandfather.
It still doesn't explain why there was a fermented banana in her bathroom that she mistook for toothpaste...
Hey, sometimes bananas just happen.
DilyV wrote:Not necessarily... one can get a college education whilst still in the military. I've known people who got their associates and bachelor's degrees while in the military.
I went into the army without any formal education, and not even all that complete a grasp on speaking the language (I could read and write better than most college kids, but I'd never had all that much occasion for talking). When I retired a dozen years later, it was with a number of college degrees. At the very least, the military is likely to give you a good technical training. There are many chances for studies of a more academic nature, too, since there isn't much place for the traditional mindless cannon-fodder in modern militaries. The education I received in the military also helped give me a bit of a head-start when I went for further college degrees later in life.

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Re: Not Alone 2013-10-22

Post by Boxilar » Tue Oct 22, 2013 2:37 pm

I don't think M is in denial, and think that she really has worked through the worst of the trauma associated with her rape. I'm not making light of it. But she has gone on to a relationship with Kevin and is outgoing and has a caring personality.

I think the reason she hasn't told her friends is twofold.

First, that was something that happened, but it's something she's dealt with and moved on from, just as much as Katherine has dealt with and moved on from the Dead Sea incident. It still hurts, and is still part of her, but she doesn't let it define who she is, anymore than Katherine, or Bud, or Brandi, or Jin let it define who they are.

Second, aside from dredging up the feelings of helplessness and pain reliving something like that can cause, Telling people about something like this can change how they see you, and how they treat you. Monica wanted to be seen for who she is now, not who she was then.

She doesn't tell anyone about her rape, and doesn't want to dwell on it, but she has dealt with it.

Contrast that to Jett, who has buried it and denied it till it became a literal poison in her soul (the Tar) that kept her from living her life they way she wanted to live it. She never dealt with what happened to her, so she's been trapped in that moment for most of her life, unable to move on and unable to grow, and blaming herself for things she had absolutely no control over.

So Monica is willing to open up and be vulnerable to help her. Which takes an awe inspiring amount of strength. As someone else pointed out, Monica is a Rock of Gibraltar that most of the people she knows lean on, and like most strong people she has no real concept of how strong she really is.

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Re: Not Alone 2013-10-22

Post by Dave » Tue Oct 22, 2013 2:41 pm

Julie wrote:Beautifully done. Am I the only one who wants to see today's page colored? :)
I had to look twice to realize that it wasn't! It's an incredibly powerful image just as it is.

And, I'll fess up to being an utter rat-bastard. I stalked Paul's eBay page repeatedly this morning, and the moment I saw he'd put this one up for sale, I used the "Buy it now" option. I wasn't about to give anyone else a sporting chance at winning the auction. This is absolutely one of the most beautiful and moving strips that Paul has ever done.
I don't know how M kept that from her friends for so long though (though that could be because I'm not an overly private person, so not sharing with people in my "circle of trust" seems odd). Obviously she talked to some people abaout it (as others have pointed out) since her parents knew enough to sue and she saw therapists...so maybe she felt like that was enough. I guess it's possible (and now that I think of it, probable) that she felt it was unnecessary to share that with her friends...either because it was "past history not relevant to current life" or because she was concerned about how that would change their behavior around her.
DilyV wrote:Control? I'd call it denial... one of those "if a bear shits in the woods and no one is there to smell it, does it stink?" kinds of things. It appears to me that she ignored and denied and buried it so deep that she rarely thought about it... until this. Jet's issues have convinced Monica that it's time to come to grips with that part of her past... and to gain some sort of resolution in the matter.
While denial may be possible (though I've already listed my theories on why she didn't share this with her friends..and I don't really think denial is one of them), I don't think it's fair to assume she never came to grips with her rape. I'd say that the counselor and therapists helped a bit with that...and I'd wager that her studies also went a long way to giving her healing and resolution. It seems to me that making something out of yourself...gaining control over your life (and in M's case these days, gaining control of her abilities)...those can be viewed as validating actions that could help deal with the emotional scars left by abuse. I think that it's much more likely that Jet's pain gave Monica a reason to share something that she felt didn't need to be shared before. Granted, I do think she'll find a level of healing through this that she didn't experience on her own...but I'd say she recovered well enough before this.
In the face of trauma like this, some people cope by bring it into the open. Some people process it, learn what they can from it, and let it fade into the past. Some people bury it entirely, encapsulating it away and avoiding it as much as they can... for some this works, for some it festers. Overall, I don't think there's solid agreement as to which of these approaches is "best" (results in the most long-term happiness and least stress and pain). It seems to depend a lot on the psychology of the people involved, and on their support systems.

I'm reminded a bit of the story of a man I met at Yad Vashem (the Holocaust Museum in Israel). He was a boy during World War II, taken by the Nazis from one of the Jewish ghettos and imprisoned (enslaved) at Auschwitz. Survived typhoid, starvation, and cruelty, was rescued by one of the American units which liberated the camp, and sponsored on an "orphan's boat" to what was then British Palestine. For years thereafter - through much of his adult life - he simply didn't talk about his experiences in the Holocaust at all. Many other survivors did the same - they just tried to survive and put it in the past.

Many years later, he learned through a visitor that some other people from his village had also survived, and had relocated to a town in the Ukraine (I think it was). He searched, and learned that his older brother had survived and was living there and had married. Upon contacting his brother's family, he was met with great surprise... his brother hadn't ever disclosed his Jewish roots or history and had said that he had been an only child... he had "buried" his entire past in order to survive the pain and loss.

Nowadays, this gentleman does talk about what happened to him. He was specifically asked to, by the people who run the Holocaust History Museum, so that those of us who are too young to remember World War II can learn directly from someone who was actually there, while such people still survive to tell the tale.

From what we've seen in the last couple of days, Monica's reaction to her torment was somewhere in the middle. She did have therapy (several times), seems to have reached the limit of what she could gain at the time by being in therapy, and chose to hold the story of what had happened as personal rather than an open subject of discussion. I suppose she felt that there was nothing to be gained by speaking out ...

... and now there is.

To revisit and disclose your own pain, in order to relieve the pain of another... in its way, this is a heroic superpower that can achieve things that mere immortality cannot. Well done, Monica!

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Re: Not Alone 2013-10-22

Post by waldosan » Tue Oct 22, 2013 2:47 pm

i find the trigger warning funny, i've been reading homestuck too and seeing that makes me think that it's an indirect reference intended to be serious, which it does nicely, but i still got a bit of a kick through it. (Porrim did you trigger that boy!?)

honestly though this whole arc has been kinda cheesy to me, i know i shouldn't downplay the sincerity and seriousness of the subject of rape but when Monica and Tina started sobbing and falling over each other it honestly seemed about as hammy as Brian Blessed himself. maybe this subject requires hamminess but it kinda drew me out of the narrative, course my connection to any narrative is tenuous at best.

i guess the best way to put it is that this reminds me of those terrible 80's movies that were purpose built for whenever a teacher messed up and the guidance counselor needed to remind everyone about good touch and bad touch. you know the ones that have not left the schools repository since they acquired them in like 1970, back when michael jackson was both alive and black.

basically i'm not questioning whether or not Paul is writing on this subject from experience, it's not my place to know and honestly i don't really want to, it just seems like it's a subject that's come up in his life recently and he's trying to express how he thinks about it through the comic (well done with the tar btw). or he's trying to use it to further the narrative and story of the comic and trying to deal with the fact that he's using a touchy subject like rape by keeping it just a little more dumbed down than needed in order to avoid any potential flack. in this case it probably doesn't matter and as always it's up to Paul the good man how he drives this narrative, the story doesn't suffer because of this it's just something unexpected from what i've known wapsi square to be.

i do not speak from experience on the subject of rape: my sister was date raped but this was when i was 2 years old. she says she's over it and i never knew until very recently that it had even happened, needless to say my views on the guy that did it have been colored a different light. everyone has their skeletons in the closet.

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Re: Not Alone 2013-10-22

Post by sheik » Tue Oct 22, 2013 3:14 pm

Thank you Paul.
Thanks for the courage, sensitivity, and intelligence you have dedicated to this subject.
And while I have no personal, or even tangential, experience regarding the subject (at least that I am aware of), I now have a much deeper insight into how people think and feel about themselves and others.
Not just from what you have portrayed, but from the reactions submitted to this board.
It had been like sitting in on a group therapy session, and has been a real eye opener to a socially isolated person like myself.
Maybe you've made me a little braver when it comes to reaching out to others.

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Re: Not Alone 2013-10-22

Post by DinkyInky » Tue Oct 22, 2013 3:21 pm

Thanks Paul for for posting the trigger warnings on the pages, it helps prepare my messed up brain to see how you tell this story.

Also, from one who has been there, Thank You.
Yanno how some people have Angels/Devils for a conscience? I have a Dark Elf ShadowKnight and a Half Elf Ranger for mine. The really bad part is when they agree on something.

Aphyon chu kissa whol l'jaed.
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Re: Not Alone 2013-10-22

Post by loxmyth » Tue Oct 22, 2013 3:44 pm

The blog needs a "hear, hear; you said it" button... normally I hate "like", but I'm torn between wanting to add to the applause and not wanting to just repeat what others have said.

I'll be first to admit I'm not competent to have an opinion on the specific issues... but this sequence rings very true to me, given who the characters have been and who they have become. The Monica of the early Waspi Square strips might not have had the strength to deal with this -- or might not have believed she had the strength, and might have not believed she ever would have the strength.

She's been on something of a Campbellian "Hero's Journey", and she's grown a lot in the process... as have her companions. I'm not going to try to guess where we go from here; I trust Pablo to make it something that is simultaneously almost inevitable and completely surprising. Again.

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Re: Not Alone 2013-10-22

Post by ActionKermit » Tue Oct 22, 2013 3:55 pm

DilyV wrote: Not necessarily... one can get a college education whilst still in the military. I've known people who got their associates and bachelor's degrees while in the military.
Agreed. I know a political science professor who got her doctorate from Oxford while she was still in the Air Force.

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Re: Not Alone 2013-10-22

Post by bmonk » Tue Oct 22, 2013 4:08 pm

Dave wrote:
jwhouk wrote:Yeah, it does suddenly explain a lot, doesn't it?

It still doesn't explain why there was a fermented banana in her bathroom that she mistook for toothpaste...
:lol: :lol: Well, we do have plenty of reason to believe that Dietzel is more than just a dog. Perhaps he is actually possessed by a trickster relative of Nudge's, who lightens up his "Keep an eye on this rather special mortal" duty with the occasional prank?
Helped by Mayahuel--aren't bananas used in pulque?

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

On a more serious note, I am amazed at the persons commenting here who have survived abuse and other forms of violence and come out healthy.

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Re: Not Alone 2013-10-22

Post by jwhouk » Tue Oct 22, 2013 9:55 pm

A clarification or two: I wasn't questioning the addition of cutting. I was just stating that it seemed out of left field, compared to the rape story.

I do have a cousin who was a cutter. She had scars all over her arms, some which he carries to this day. He's doing better now, holding a good job with a medical firm.*

As to the comment about "it explains a lot": you can go back to practically every major moment in the strip and say, "Oh, yeah." And yes, that even includes the "drunk uncle" comment that was posted in an earlier thread. She stopped herself, because she realized that she might say something.

Oh, and she was very, very careful with Bud in the wine cellar. She could have told her about the rape, but it might have ignited something in Acacia at the exact wrong time. (As in, "blow up the friggin' world" wrong.)

Also - who knows? Maybe the rape didn't happen in the other timelines. Perhaps it only happened in this timeline, because this was the only one where Monica survived the bus accident. (Aside thought - maybe in the one or more of the other timelines, Tina was the one who hit Monica?)

Anyways - I'm heartened to hear the stories of survivors. The best revenge for any situation like that is to live a normal life, so the bastard who raped you can't take it from you. And I suspect that is what has happened to Monica at this point.

* - No, the pronouns aren't wrong in that statement.
"Character is what you are in the dark." - D.L. Moody
"You should never run from the voices in your head. That's how you give them power." - Jin

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Re: Not Alone 2013-10-22

Post by Fairportfan » Tue Oct 22, 2013 10:19 pm

Well, she obviously survived in at least a couple of the other loops, since Brandi's book mentioned several of the cast as possibly Monica's best friend, implying that they had been in other loops.
Not even duct tape can fix stupid. But it can muffle the noise.
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Re: Not Alone 2013-10-22

Post by Julie » Wed Oct 23, 2013 9:03 am

Catawampus wrote:Heck, half of what's happened in my life I haven't mentioned to my friends not because I'm in denial about it, but because it's just sort of awkward stuff to talk about. "Oh, hey, did I ever tell you about how when I was locked away in a mental hospital as a teenager, I was repeatedly tied up and raped until the rapist sort of mysteriously fell apart one day? No?" There's rarely an opportune moment to bring that sort of thing up in a conversation, and if you do bring it up it's pretty much certain to put your friend who is hearing about it in a rather uncomfortable situation. Simply keeping quiet about it makes things less awkward for everyone.
That would definitely have been an awkward and uncomfortable conversation (which is why I figured M never talked about it...we already know she wasn't super comfortable talking about the fact that she was institutionalized)...but when I first read your post, I "heard" that line in a sitcom-esque voice...which made it awkward ridiculous instead of awkward uncomfortable...and then I felt like a bad person for giggling a little at the ridiculousness.

Just sayin'.
"Just open your eyes
And see that life is beautiful."

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