Sunday, July 25, 2010

"Walk the Line" for all those imprisoned in their minds, and in Fulsome Prison!

Johnny Cash
Watching the Johnnie Cash movie, "Walk the Line," on CBC for the last three hours was a heart-breaking experience, not only for Johnny and his family, but for all those in the audience who know, from first-hand experience what it is like to be brought up with a dominant parent who never said one single word of praise, tenderness or support from the time of birth to the day s/he left home "for good." Johnny Cash's father, a cotton farmer in Tennessee was poor, hard-working and unforgiving in his contempt for his son, John who was never good enough to suit his father, from childhood until adulthood.
And the silence of the "recessive" parent is complicit in the abuse heaped on the child by the dominant parent.
There is no lightening of the "you're no good" theme from the retiring and withdrawn and frightened parent because s/he is afraid of offending the abusive parent, who might just turn his/her venom on "me."
Johnny's mother would attempt, by quiet inobtrusive interjections, to neutralize the contempt of her husband, but, as the movie's narrative portrayed, it was June Carter, "his angel," who fought her own fears of this tempestuous and yet talented song-writer/co-performer, who finally had to listen to her mother's words, when she struggled with going down to where Johnny was fighting with both his demons and his stuck tractor, in a fit of rage against the relentless put-downs from his father, at a joint Thanksgiving dinner with the Carter family.
Whn June commented, "I'm not going down there with him!" her mother, full of the wisdom of intimate knowledge of the heart of her daughter, replied, "You are already there!"
Through the tragic contests with drugs and alcohol, and his on-again-off-again singing tours, June Carter continued to accompany him on-stage, while continuing to reject his bid for marriage, until the final time, on stage, in Ontario, when she finally said, "Yes!"
And for thirty-five years they sang together, raised their family and then died a bare four months apart in 2003.
When the self-loathing of a parent becomes the emotional diet for the child, there can only be tragic consequences, so traumatic that no one, least of all the abusive parent, could ever have contemplated.
And when that self-loathing is counterpoint to a spouse whose larynx and courage are both obstructed by the fear of unknown consequences, the outcome for the child is an even heightened case of self-contempt, even though it started as a unconcsious projection of the neurotic parent.

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