Hungry Ghost

“Poisonous may be how I express myself. It may be all I have right now.” – speaker at AA meeting

She told me that she had been raped fifteen times and immediately convinced herself that I was blaming her for it – a tragedy, any way you look at it. She never tired of making it a point to let me and everybody else know that I was bad and wrong.

Michelle was a very beautiful, intelligent, and charming woman with outrageously long and thick brown Rapunzel fairy tale hair. She had the same spectacular violet-blue eyes as her “big daddy”, whom she loved more than anybody, and whom she bugged on a daily basis with incessant phone calls to complain. Her mother was a colorless, very skinny, scared and weak looking woman, a sober alcoholic, who called her precious, and would get instant nose bleeds in response to any stress. They didn’t seem related.

Michelle wrote lovely and moving poems about her pain and death wish. The effect she had on others was often difficult and hurtful, and tended to consume their attention and energy. She was tireless in her effort to dominate people’s minds by casting blame. Last week, when she died with a needle in her arm from a heroin overdose (a pain killer), she was twenty-one years old …

Labeling her with a personality disorder doesn’t seem appropriate at this point. She was like a colorful bird with broken wings. She couldn’t fly and she couldn’t stand the pain caused by her condition, so she tried to inflict it on others. Her anguish was the dominant presence within and she just didn’t know what else to do with it. So she didn’t like for others to feel confident or useful, either, and she spent her days interfering with their comfort level. It didn’t help.

Children hunger for love and affection. In order to thrive, they must be emotionally nurtured. If it doesn’t happen in such a way that it’s good enough, the sense of lack can turn into something like a frustrated hungry ghost within. No matter how the adult child tries to satisfy it with sex, love, food, or drugs… it remains an insatiable desire, because the hunger that once was, cannot be satisfied at a later point in time. The window closed. It’s like a wound that has not been attended to at the time and has not healed properly as a consequence. IF this can be understood as the illusion that it is, the person can finally begin to deal with it in reality – by owning it as a troubling condition, an affliction that requires proper treatment.

In trying to find the lesson she brought along when our paths crossed… I’m remembering that we cannot be happy and aggressive at the same time. This means that aggressive people do deserve our compassion, even though self-love dictates that we maintain self-care whenever necessary and do not invite abuse. If we must be exposed to it on a professional level… it’s helpful to keep in mind that this type of character typically behaves in this manner. Do not take things personally and set clear and polite boundaries. Keep in mind that we cannot change or fix this person.

I was reminded that there is much room for improvement, and to bring along ALL I got when I go out. I’m remembering that blaming means essentially that pain is being projected out. While it’s hurtful to others, it doesn’t really do any good.

I’m meant to keep my attention on understanding, compassion, and gratitude – on how I go about weaving my spirit into life. Sometimes it can be about showing some support to others who are also affected.

Rest in peace, Michelle. I’m releasing you with love.

“…there wasn’t much that I had done to deserve what happened to me when I was five, but I took this shit and punished OTHER people for it… and that’s my part in it” – speaker at AA meeting