Dealing with Inner Problems, and People with Inner Problems

I finished Stephen King’s Lisey’s Story.  I think that the end of the book would have moved me had I become more attached to the characters, but I don’t blame Stephen King for this, for reading is an interaction between a book and its reader, meaning that my reaction to the book is based (in part) on me and where I am.

In what I read last night, Lisey reads a letter from her late husband, Scott, about how he killed his father when he was a young boy.  The father was becoming dangerously crazy, and he told young Scott in one of his saner moments to run away and to look for a child welfare service, or to kill him and to bury him in the Boo’ya Moon (an alternative reality), where Scott buried his late brother, Paul, who had the same madness.  (Scott makes clear, however, that the madness that Paul and his father had were not the “long boy” that Scott endured, for the “long boy” was much worse.  See my post yesterday.)  Scott notes that, although his father was abusive to him, his father still loved him.

It’s sobering how one’s inner demons or problems can impact, not only oneself, but other people as well.  A person with inner problems may be able to take a step back and to evaluate the effect of his actions on others, and not like what he sees.  A part of him may be genuinely concerned about the people he is hurting.  But he does not feel that he’s in complete control of his inner demons.  How can he deal with his problems?  Getting help is one way—-whether that help be from a therapist or a supportive community, or both.  One may or may not fit into a support group (I know that I often don’t), but hopefully one can get tips from there (or elsewhere, such as books) on how to deal constructively with issues.

It’s also refreshing when the friends, family members, and peers of one who has problems treat that person as an equal.  That’s a point in this book that I greatly appreciated: Although Lisey’s sister, Amanda, had severe psychological problems, her sisters treated her as an equal—-as someone with whom they had a shared past (which was true)—-not as an inept object of pity.  I thought about this issue when I watched the Temple Grandin movie in September (see my write-up here).  Temple Grandin had autism, and so she needed family members (such as her aunt and her mother) to be with her to advocate on her behalf whenever she had problems with people, such as her professors or administrators at the college where she attended.  But I noticed that the people to whom Temple’s family members were advocating actually listened to Temple whenever she spoke, and I liked that.  Although Temple obviously needed help, her professors, the administrators, her family, etc., treated her as a person of value—-a person with insights (as she was, and as all of us are)—-by listening to her when she offered her two cents.  And, of course, it helped that Temple offered her two cents!

The next book on my night-stand is Stephen King’s Needful Things.  I enjoyed the movie (see my post here).  Maybe I’ll enjoy the book, too!

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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