Part 4 of a continuing series, (see Part 1 here), documenting and reflecting on a set of states I mapped and moved in 2008. The set revolves around a deeply buried, internalized violence taken on in childhood and adolescence in response to experiences with my father.
This was the rage I uncovered that day, revealed in the dream as the prison guard. I called it “Vicious Enforcer.” Let me share unedited what I wrote about this state:
“‘Just get the fuck out of my way!’ Snarling, growling, prowling, predatory/cat, active muscles. Images of instantly disemboweling someone with a slash of a paw (not a knife). Vicious. This is scary and it NEVER gets out. This is the part that would out-vicious my father if it had the chance to go back in time – he would be pathetic in comparison to this. ‘You are WRONG!!’
“Whole body, muscles poised to act, acting is lightning-fast, ripping motion; image: long claws, long teeth. I would just as soon tear out your throat as look at you.
“A heightened energy around the eyes and face, scanning, piercing, looking for the smallest slight or challenge to my dominance. There’s no satisfaction in killing or threatening, just the sense of preserving the status quo, keeping things from getting out of line. ‘I am the enforcer. I know what’s right. You will toe the line or know what hit you.’
“My whole body responds to this physically, hormonally, neurologically. It wants to fight. There’s a slight trembling in readiness to strike. Directed at males only.
“Much larger than my body, rising 20-30 feet above me, an intensely powerful firestorm; fire that has incredibly dense substance, incredible power. It moves with lightning speed, swirls, consumes, and in its movement is the force of a train. Inferno is rising upward, a spiral getting larger as it goes up. Extremely hot. Reds, oranges, yellow, the colors of out-of-control flames. Very very dense, opaque, highly luminous, blindingly bright. The sound of an inferno combined with a deep, deep cat growl, which can peak into a raging roar. The sound is a driver of and rides on the power of the movement. Deafening. Looms, threatening, can strike downward at any time.
“This is hell personified. It has no conscience. It is all about asserting dominance, preserving the order. Doesn’t matter why, and doesn’t matter right/wrong, etc. Yet it seems to be serving something ‘right.’ It is its own justification. I used to feel this sometimes in my teens, hating my father, wanting to vanquish him and everything like him. ‘I am the enforcer. Cross me and my fury will know no bounds.’”
Here’s what I drew:
So this is me, remember. Not my father. I have no way of knowing whether my father had anything quite this intense inside of him. His anger had regular opportunity for expression, while mine had been completely suppressed for many years. (Mostly. There were moments when it had leaked out, moments which truly frightened me. I felt certain in those times that given the right conditions I was capable of horrible things.)
So let’s imagine I had a child and found myself in a job which made me very uncomfortable, a job where in particular I had to deal with incompetent authority above me. And let’s imagine my kid was willful and resistant to my own authority as his dad. Is it so difficult to imagine I might have become as bad as my father? In fact it is easy for me to imagine much worse — again, given the right conditions.
Fortunately I had a number of compensating states that held this in check. In fact, as you will see, the sole purpose of all of the other eight states in this set seems to have been to keep Vicious Enforcer well hidden.