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Peace with Demons

Posted on Mon, 26 November, 2018

Making peace with demons

When we have perpetual problems we can’t solve we can call them demons.  We all have them and those that pretend they don’t are lying. Seriously, I call bullshit. Some demons are small but tricky, kind of like Gremlins.  Others are nasty, chronic things like substance abuse or never-ending self-loathing.  How do you deal with these problems? How do you make peace with demons?

 

It’s a mainstay of therapy, really; people come in bearing dysfunction and negativity.  I’ll frame that as demons today.  I see this as a natural byproduct of the human condition; we are simultaneously hideous to one another as we are wonderful so dysfunction is part of life.  The Taoists have it right in the concept of ying-yang as a means to explain that very thing.  To have good, you have to have bad – the nature of things is to have complimentary opposites to provide balance – so to wish for nothing bad is folly.

 

There are bad things on a micro level like losing a job, Bipolar Disorder, death/grief, etc.  Since bad is a natural part of the necessary cycle of life, some of these things we have to accept and assimilate to.  But some are just so hard to deal with, take on a perpetual sense akin to feeling demonized.  The micro level problems are demons because we can take steps to address, correct and assimilate to them.  Unless we don’t, and then those demons take over. This reminds me of the monster in The Big Fat Enormous Lie by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat.

making peace with demons

On the macro level you have politics, natural disasters, war….and politics. At this level problems are not demons because they plague the majority.  I see the demons as the personal struggles we cannot shake.  A client in my practice who is the most sober he has been in 20 years, struggling to shed the well-earned addiction reputation while trying to make the last steps toward total sobriety – is struggling with the demon of substance abuse.  Another client who has been excommunicated from her family because she found out the secret of her paternity, and they don’t like her choice to reach out to the biological family – is struggling with the demon of acceptance/rejection. My daughter’s classmate who just doesn’t fit in for a variety of reasons is struggling with the demon of fitting in.

 

What’s the purpose of “the bad?”  Many great minds have attempted to answer that question.  Rabbi Kushner wrote a beautiful book Why Bad Things Happen to Good People, which goes beyond the age-old tenet that God gives us what we can handle.  Evolutionists believe bad things happen in the forms of viral plagues, natural disasters, etc. to control the population – a natural culling of the herd as it were. The propagandists of the modern age would describe that anything different than who holds the power is bad, as a means to keep the power.

 

If you believe in the balance of ying-yang like I do, you believe the bad allows growth and appreciation of the good.  If we didn’t skin our knees on the playground we wouldn’t be able to weigh the joys of the monkey bars or the slide to begin with. But making peace with demons is different, that is harder to assimilate to on your own. If you are struggling with demons, ask for help, someone else has brokered that peace before you and can show you the way.

 

 

Jodi Klugman-Rabb is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Marin County. She makes a habit of connecting with clients on a humorous and practical level, helpful when specializing in Parental Identity Discovery™, ADHD and trauma.  She uses EMDR to treat traumas and help people find their coping again. She is a wife of 19+ years and the mom of two funny and awesome kids. Connect with Jodi on this website, this one, her Psychology Today Blog, Podcast orFacebook.

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A blog written by a hip, sometimes irreverent shrink who’s been around the block and calls it like it is

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