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Harold has been in Thomaston State Prison for 21 years. He had a near-death experience 6 years ago.  The following excerpt is taken from his “1976, Moving On In” chapter written in June 2000. for an independent course entitled Poetry and Autobiography that I mentor. He writes about a  woman he is having a relationship with, one that will have significant consequences for everyone:


Anita told me about her trip to the Bangor Mental Health Institution. After Anita had slashed her wrists Albert and Marnie carted her off to the “Nuthouse” for psychological evaluation. After a lengthy observation Anita claimed her doctors informed her and the Vincents that Anita’s problem lay mainly with her parents. Anita certainly toted about a heavy burden of perceived emotional problems and told anybody who would listen about her past abuses at the literal hands of her father and her mom’s tolerance of that same abuse. Anita, as many others with seemingly irresolvable grievous domestic burdens hardly ever stop blindly seeking help outside themselves where sympathy elicited from others can only soothe within the moment. Anita was not aware that she could only help herself through self-realization, which could promote a genuine awareness of her domestic situation. Anita, and many suffering similar serious domestic problems, tries to run from themselves even as they attempt to place physical distance between them and their abusers, which of course is impossible. New situations and partners can only cause a momentary forgetting before the same old nagging negative behaviors and attitudes crop back up to betray once more. Then it is probable to become one’s own worse enemy once again without understanding why. Anita, as she resided under the same roof as her abusers, was relying heavily upon denial, which can wear one down emotionally until utter defeat and complete submission to what she wanted worst took center stage in her life. The emotional peculiarities of sporadic denial and impotent cries for help which too often invited more abuse can be compared to a war zone where ones civil sensibilities are continually assaulted on all fronts. Sometimes, at the expense of self-realization with recognition of our personal realities as pertaining to our environment we entertain fear, which can then become a convenient excuse for personal non-action. Forgiveness may have contributed to Anita’s emotional healing, but actual bonding forgiveness exists as a reactive interaction between those involved which should inhibit recurrence of detrimental behaviors. Many times denial masquerades as forgiveness as the word is bandied about frivolously with neither party seriously dealing with either the situation in question or themselves. Such “forgiveness,” especially during domestic disputes, may function as a temporary truce, but cannot last since it is soon shunted aside by negative emotions that enable further abuse. Many times an emotional boomerang effect can cause an escalated more intense abuse. Forgiveness could not work for Anita because she never understood the basic essential of forgiveness is introspection. Forgiveness based in emotional reality relies not upon denial, but is an act of awareness. This is why genuine forgiveness can be a bittersweet pill to swallow in some cases.

            I was almost stunned one fresh morning by Anita as I trailed her up the stairs to her/our room. Anita suddenly asked if I would like to take some nude photos of her, and if I wanted to she owned an instant camera. I thought about the possibilities for less than a second and then decided against it. Anita was now offering me the same opportunity she had complained about her husband and father. I understood Anita only offered such to please me, but her offer did more to create consternation than please. I quickly and conveniently shoved thought of pictures out of my mind as I piled up my own continuous denial seeking intellectual and emotional congruousness. That I was now living at the Vincents house living with Anita under the same roof as her main emotional antagonist and accepting the situation showcased my own denial concerning Anita and her parents. I had originally wanted to help Anita, but now I was allowing her to lure me within her own world of domestic denial as she was currently being further exploited by Albert. Under this circumstance I could not help her and would only create another dimension to her and my own silent emotional suffering.                             

                                                                        [end chapter]



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