I’m Getting Triggered by the Impeachment Trial and I Bet I’m Not Alone by Janet Maika’i Rudolph


This process is rattling my bones and aching my heart. How often have we seen angry men (and sometimes women) abusing women, abusing the earth, abusing the vulnerable, abusing immigrants, abusing power? And yet the pattern never seems to end. In many cases, they not only get away with it, it is actually celebrated.  

Some have been called to account – think Bill Cosby. But look how hard it is, how many years, how many accusers it takes for justice to be done. We even have two supreme court justices credibly accused of abuse. 

And look at the National Archives’ recent blunder in their exhibit titled “Rightfully Hers.” It was truly no accident that they put up an image of the 2017 Women’s March and blurred out the protest signs. Oh, the irony to blur out women’s voices in an exhibit named Rightfully Hers. Yes, they apologized. But they had to get caught first. 

We are now watching this grand human play with no promise of denouement or a finale to result in healing. 

We all know what happens when untethered abusers are allowed free reign. Although no future is set in stone, I can no longer listen to people talking about how our abuser-in-chief will inevitably be acquitted in the Senate. 

How do we carry on when human justice is denied as it so often is? 

The man who raped me was never caught. My father, who abused me, died before I really understood what abuse was. I never confronted him, nor did he pay any earthly justice price. My mother, who stood silently by, would never speak to me about it. She went to her grave never giving me details of things I knew had happened before I was of an age to remember. I know at least some of the tale from family stories and the scars left on and in my body. “This big secret” was the elephant in our room when it came to our relationship. We were never close. 

I must learn to live without human justice on this earth. My father was very much like Trump except he never had such a big platform. His response to anyone and anything he didn’t like was to sue. He was loud mouthed and judgmental. He would wake people up in the middle of the night to cater to some whim of his. But wow, if he liked you, he lavished you with his riches. And he was rich at one time. But he had made too many enemies and eventually his lawsuits started turning against him. He died from the effects of alcoholism. He was in debt. Near the end of his life he asked me for a loan. I knew I would never get it back. I figured out the price of my guilt (you know for not loving my father enough) and that’s how much I gave him. It wasn’t much. I was right, I never got it back.  

As I’ve written in this blog space before, it reinforces my belief that we each need to find our own healing path, our own pathway through human suffering. And when we come to moments of calm, we need to share our lessons. We need to spread love anyway we can, and we need to fight like hell for those still who can still get justice here on Earth. Everyone has their story of heartbreak whether it be abuse, illness, unimaginable loss, war, extreme poverty, institutional racism, miscarriages of justice, exploitation or any other number of offenses against a person. How can we face it all? How can we experience it all?

As I write this, it is Martin Luther King Day here in the United States. He was a font of wisdom and an exemplar of social action. One of his quotes resonates particularly deeply with me this year. He said, “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” Yes it is!

I have learned that letting go of pain and replacing it with love is the nature of forgiveness. It is not to forget but to change our own energy around the suffering. And in return for my forgiveness I don’t have to carry the too enormous burden of my history and my family shame. It is the words of MLK Jr that I want to permit to vibrate my bones and heal my heart, not the ugliness of the politics of the moment. And I think that this has global benefits as well. We are more effective when we fight social battles from a place of personal love and health than when we are vibrating the same suffering. 

Now that we have our abuser-in-chief here in the US at least brought up to face public charges, I would gladly substitute to him what I could never get from my father – for him to face true justice. By all accounts it won’t happen. The loudest shouter seems to win, and he is the loudest of all. 

Rumi wrote a poem called “Joy at Sudden Disappointment”

Someone once asked a great sheikh
what sufism was.

“The feeling of joy
when sudden disappointment comes.”

The eagle carries off Muhammed’s boot
and saves him from snakebite.

Don’t grieve for what doesn’t come.
Some things that don’t happen
keep disasters from happening.

If I may be so presumptuous, I wish he had stopped at his second line. What if that sudden disappointment doesn’t prevent disaster but is at the root of it? Can we still find a place of joy? That is the space where we need to truly heal ourselves and our world. I know I will need to find my own ending to this ugly drama in order to survive it. 

In the meantime, I really do hope that both my mother and father are resting in peace.

 

Janet Rudolph has written three books on the subject of ancient Biblical Teachings.  One Gods: The Mystic Pagan’s Guide to the Bible, When Eve Was a Goddess: A Shamanic Look at the Bible, and the just recently released book, When Moses Was a Shaman. For more information visit her website at /www.mysticpagan.com/



Categories: abuse, Abuse of Power, American History

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

20 replies

  1. And of course we will feel even worse when he starts to crow that he has been acquitted in a fair trial. We do not live in a just world, but as you say, we can still find joy and the courage to try to create change.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Very powerful. Thank you for sharing.

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  3. Janet, thank you for this powerful post. Indeed you are not alone! The Kavanaugh hearings also triggered many people as I am sure the Clarence Thomas hearings did, too. And we suspect that many of accusations of Trump’s sexual misconduct and violence have been made to go away. Victims of abuse are silenced with threats and when they find the courage to speak the truth, they are not believed and/or told that it was their fault in the first place. To see the same dynamic on a national scale is appalling–and yes, triggering. The impeachment trial is not specifically about sexual abuse, but it is about abuse of power and about so many people around the president conspiring to lie and/or minimize. And one thing I have noticed about abusers is that they claim to be the victims!

    My story with my father and mother has many parallels with yours. My father never asked for a loan but when he was suffering from full blown dementia and might not have known who I was, he asked for my blessing. Oh, sure, I said, you have my blessing. I didn’t say anything more elaborate than that. But the moment stays with me, and the meaning continues to evolve.

    Job is my favorite book in the bible. God makes a dirty deal with the devil who is sure that if sufficiently afflicted Job will curse his maker. The pious interpretations about Job’s faithfulness have always left me cold. What affects me is Job’s insistent witness to injustice in spite of his comforters telling him repeatedly, you must have done something wrong or you would not be suffering. Job never concedes the point, and in the end god says Job is correct. What i love best about the book is not the crooked, manipulative deity but the superb poem that points to the wonder and mystery of creation. Injustice exists; it is real, and we are also surrounded by magnificence–which does not make the injustice all right.

    Your encouragement to find the place of joy made me think of this story. And I agree with you. The poem would be better ended after the second line!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes to all your excellent points Elizabeth. I would say that sexual abuse and abuse of power are two sides of the same coin. Abuse is misusing the power you have over others for your own pleasure or purpose. Whatever form that takes, it is ugly and yet pervasive in the world we live in so lots of opportunities to be triggered.

      I am sad to hear more details of your family of origin. I love how you express that the meaning of your interactions continues to evolve. Perhaps that is what we get from these experiences???? A deepening wisdom?

      Ahhhh Job! Job has one of my favorite lines . . . “Ask now the beasts and they shall teach thee . . . ” But from a spiritual POV, I don’t buy two deities playing games with creation. . . although again the news came yesterday about Kobe Bryant, his daughter and the other people on that helicopter. Does makes one’s mind head to wonder about the vagaries of it all.

      I work in a Hawaiian spiritual tradition and the answer to Job from that tradition as I see it is “now is the moment of power.” Life is short, filled with uncertainty, pain and loss. But we do have the present and so Rumi’s joy!

      Thank you for sharing your always deep and interesting thoughts Elizabeth.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. When you mention justice I cringe – For so long I believed in justice, and in retrospect this belief trapped me – keeping me hooked to those who abused… Now, I am free. I no longer expect justice – and to expect it from a president who is a monster (who also carries shadow elements for each one of us) seems absurd to me. I mean no disrespect – but when a person behaves like he does and most in power protect him how can we expect anything but more of the same?

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  5. I can not even fathom what you had to go through in your live in all your sufferings, and I am honored that you have shared your story with all of us. Yet I do hope that you are in a better place by now, in pursuing your own life in a much more happy state of mind.

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  6. Oh, Janet, I am sorry you carry so much pain. And there is sooo much that stirs it up. In a patriarchal society it’s a great control mechanism.

    I also carry much pain from the sexual and other abuse in my family.

    So my way of dealing with this very hard time: I refuse to watch the impeachment hearings. I can’t take the hope and the rage that get stirred up. I’m pretty sure I know how it will end, and I have to focus on what I will do to bring healing and beauty into this world despite that.

    And I keep looking for the things, even tiny, or big, that are good, positive, hopeful, joyful. If I focus on those, without denying the craziness and horror of our world right now, I can find a way through and a reason to keep going.

    I used to think that if change didn’t happen immediately or in a year ot two, then it wouldn’t happen. Now I look more in terms of generational shifts. So much that is terrible has come to light recently, and more does and will, and at the same time there are good people doing good things. They don’t cancel each other out, and probably don’t even balance things, but it is how I see a world that I can live and hope in.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your support Iris. And sorry that you too have experienced the abuse. I love your solutions and how you are able to create your world such that you can live and hope in it.

      I have to laugh. At times I have been a news-junkie. Nothing like these hearings to cure me of that addiction.

      to “bring healing and beauty into the world” – Great focus. Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Years ago I wanted to be a therapist to help those who had also been through trauma. Fortunately for my potential clients and me, that was not the path I took. But the plants called me and now I bring healing to plants and people, and have gotten so much healing from my friends, the plants. I think they are one of the biggest reasons I see hope in the world. They have been a gift beyond compare.

        I used to listen to NPR news every evening. I gradually stopped and stopped reading the paper, and try to avoid tv news…I find the world is much brighter, and certainly any disasters I need to know about will find their way into my awareness. Now I have only to avoid too much news on FB. : D!

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        • Iris, thanks for this comment. I live like that too. I’m the only person I know who’s not on the edge all the time, and the only one I know who doesn’t take in a big daily dose of “news”. Living closely with plants and animals vastly reorients a human’s perspective.

          I wonder if reporting would include a reflective proportion of the good and wonderful things that people, even politicians, do every day — if women, being generally more inclined to cooperation than competition and combat, made most of the editing decisions. People shouldn’t have to watch fantasy television just to escape being overwhelmed to the point of shutting down by what’s presented as the only “real world”. Ratings might even increase if that happened.

          Yes, I am very aware of potential or impending climate collapse, and have been paying close attention to that since it was first talked about 40 years ago. When I look around at all the creative responses people are coming up with in that regard, and the will to respond adequately by most who are aware, I am full of hope and inspiration.

          Liked by 1 person

        • I love your story Iris. I love how you took the path that called to your soul and found your way. You are a wonderful beacon for me to follow.

          I also love your statement about how any disasters you need to know about will find their way into your awareness. That is true living in the present moment! Yea to that.

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  7. Thank you, Janet! Your words bring tears to my eyes. It’s so hard to see myself as worth something (though I’m getting better at it) and also lets me know that I am doing exactly what I feel I came here for and continue to work for. Yay!

    Liked by 1 person

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