It popped into my head earlier today; the concept of mutual assured destruction (also called MAD). After I finished my BA in English, I took a new direction and got an MSc in Politics. One of the modules on that course looked at nuclear weapons. The main discussion was around whether they keep the peace or pose a threat.
MAD is a doctrine of military strategy and national and international security policy. It’s the idea that any military scenario in which nuclear weapons are deployed would most likely result in the total annihilation of both the aggressor and the defender. That’s because if a nuclear missile were to be launched by one state, the enemy would launch a counter attack to preempt it and they’d basically wipe each other out.
The good thing is that MAD keeps the peace. The fear of this chain of events prevents us from engaging in a nuclear war. I know I’m off on a tangent now, but MAD seemed relevant to me today. Partly because I am mad; in the simplest sense, and partly because I feel as though I’ve got a war going on internally that’s impossible to win.
As a sufferer of dissociation, I frequently experience myself in distinct parts. Many of these are vulnerable, broken, sad, or angry. They are often young. The youngest part almost always feels exposed and ashamed. She emerged in therapy today, and stayed for the whole session. She can’t absorb reassurances or encouragement from J. She can only see herself as disgusting. She has nobody to protect her, and she really needs rescuing.
The other part that is very active lately is an angry one. She’s got the energy and spontaneity of a teenager, she craves physical pain to relieve the tension of the rage. She hates that younger, fragile part. And the younger part hates her.
That tiny lost child hates all the other parts of me that exist today. She hates them for failing. She worked so hard to keep it all together, to keep everyone happy, and now I’ve failed. I’ve let her down just like all the adults did. I’ve exposed her now, I’ve excavated her and she hates me for it.
So that’s why I was thinking of MAD. Because I’m at this impasse. The young part of me wants to destroy the adult me, she wants to be able to hide and I won’t let her. And the adult part hates her for what she was a part of. There’s so much shame and disgust thrown about between these identities, these sections of myself. None of them wants to help the others survive.
They all want to annihilate each other and I am left with nothing to hold on to. No comfort. No safety. Just a raging, exhausting war against myself.
Photo: Logan Hunt, Creative Commons.