Fictionalized autobiography of Irish Catholic Boy

Updated on Saturday 15th August 2020

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Front cover, Broken Chain, 1Childhood trauma and abuse: For the next 5 days, beginning on Sunday 16th August, this book will be available for FREE as a Kindle eBook. The author explores problems of attachment theory, affect regulation, personality adaptations, and childhood trauma – all in the context of a fictionalized autobiography which examines three different perspectives on the nature-nurture debate. Dr Jim Byrne has combined his experience of 22 years of dealing with clients with childhood abuse and neglect, and his hobby of reading psychological thrillers, to create a unique book… Get your copy for FREE… Here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08FRPSSGV

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Front cover, Broken Chain, 1Volume 1: Synopsis: A completely original book about the life of Daniel O’Beeve; born in the Irish Free State at the end of the Second World War; thrown into a loveless family; and torn between his rural parents (‘Culchies’) and his city peers (‘Jackeens’) .  He was insecurely attached to his mother (and father) – who frightened and beat him.

Rejected by his school peers (for being ‘an outsider) he struggles to make sense of the world; and to create a viable life for himself.

After puberty, he would have major problems learning how to relate to girls… to say the least! Without some kind of divine intervention, he seems to be royally screwed!

For more information, see below…

This book is available as a Kindle eBook and a paperback, from Amazon outlets around the world.

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The Broken Chain Conundrum:

A very peculiar life story

Volume 1 of the life of Daniel O’Beeve

By Jim Byrne

 Alchemy Books, Hebden Bridge, August 2020

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Copyright © 2020, by Jim Byrne

This book is a completely original presentation of the first one-third of the life of Daniel O’Beeve, which was first published in August 2020.

Published by Alchemy Books, Hebden Bridge. An imprint of E-CENT Institute Publications. 27 Wood End, Keighley Road, Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, UK. HX7 8HJ

Telephone 01422 843 629

Email: drjwbyrne@gmail.com

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Cover design by Will Sutton.

Copyright © 2020, by Jim Byrne

Our context

“We live our lives in the real world. To live them well it is necessary that we come to understand the reality of the world as best we can. But such understanding does not come easily – we can understand only through effort and suffering.”

M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Travelled…

 …

“I’ll make my report as if I told a story, for I was taught as a child on my homeworld that Truth is a matter of the imagination. … The story is not all mine, nor told by me alone…”

Ursula K. LeGuin, The Left Hand of Darkness

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Disclaimer

This book is a fictional story – it even contains blue and green aliens!  It contains non-human archetypes; and it contains some real people. No character in this book should be mistaken for a real person in the real world, no matter what the similarities may seem to be. None of the events described in this book happened exactly as they are described; but things like this happen all the time.  The fact is that this fictional book is much truer to real life than anything you will read in a history book or a newspaper.

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Acknowledgements

I owe an unrepayable debt of gratitude to the people who ran the second-hand bookshops on Aston Quay and Burgh Quay, in Dublin, in the period 1960-1964. I owe a great debt of gratitude to a large numbers of authors of books that changed elements of my consciousness at various points on the path through the trackless void upon which I have been travelling. Some were authors of fiction, and some authors of non-fiction. They are too numerous to mention. I also want to thank BM, JS and RTB for encouraging me to begin work on this current project.

JWB

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Foreword, by Jim Byrne

“…Each person

Has one big theory to explain the universe

But it doesn’t tell the whole story

And in the end it is what is inside (of us)

That matters”.

John Ashbery[i].

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Daniel O’Beeve wrote the story of his life, from birth to his thirty-ninth year, in the form of a fictionalized autobiography. He wanted the world to know about the way he was abused and neglected at home and in school; and how that affected his later struggles to establish a happy and secure adult relationship with a woman who loved him – and whom he could love.

Unlike James Joyce, who was satisfied to settle for the hard surface of empty, stylish art, and the raunchy sexuality of an unformed country girl, (plus geographical escape and personal isolation), Daniel was determined to hold out for something (love) – even though he didn’t know that word, or its related feelings, when his quest first began. He knew only this: He was holding out for something “more than this!”

He wanted to show the world that we should take better care of our children, because childhood determines our possibilities as adults. He wanted us to see just how difficult it is to get out of the shackles of an unhappy childhood.

He drew my attention to these two quotations:

“Children who are raised by angry and hateful parents either become angry and/or hateful, or they become anxious and fearful of everything in life; and this can mar the whole of their adult life experience”. (Michael Dunn, Psychiatrist, Dublin City Hospital).

And:

“Bowlby identified the problem of anxious, insecure attachment of the child to his mother. The insecure child loses their centre and their core, their autonomy and their joy in life; and they spend their life clinging to rejecting caregivers, or avoiding the caregivers because the ‘care’ is toxic and dangerous”. (Seamus Seery, The Tragedy of Childhood Abuse and Neglect…)

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Back cover, Broken Chain, 1My role in this enterprise is that of a mere messenger, relaying the thoughts and feelings of a deeper being than I have ever been: A being of great potential – who was crushed and hamstrung by the circumstances of his birth and early family experiences.

Daniel O’Beeve has struggled to make sense of his strange life, and in the process he has expressed the wish that his struggles might light the way for other individuals who have been broken by the process that is supposed to make them – their early family life.

In this book, I have collated nine of Daniel’s original ‘manuscripts’; his term for an individual document which he wrote at a particular point in time, even though the events in each manuscript cannot cohere like the elements of a chapter of a regular book.

I asked him if it was possible to restructure his manuscripts into traditional chapters.

“Because my life has been lived in a fog”, he wrote back to me, “I cannot achieve the precision of a draughtsman in delineating the elements of my story. My story is a picture of our time – to quote Otto-Peters[ii]A picture of our time, shut in with fog! I did not live my life ‘in chapters’.”

I then asked Daniel to reflect upon the nine manuscripts I have chosen for this volume, and to share with the reader his thoughts or insights about the contents being reviewed; which he did; and some of his insights are profound and entertaining at the same time.  These reflections have been added as after-thoughts or commentaries upon each preceding manuscript. The resultant volume has a balance and coherence that allows us to feel the life of Daniel O’Beeve in the context of a kind of meaningful journey, much like a secular form of the Stations of the Cross; or the journey of suffering undertaken by Shevek, the hero of The Dispossessed, in which Ursula LeGuin clarifies the unavoidable nature of human suffering; and the necessity of processing our pain in order to transcend it.

I hope the reader finds in these pages a salve to apply to their own unavoidable childhood wounds, so that they might rise above them.

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Jim Byrne, Hebden Bridge, 10th August 2020

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[i] Quoted on page 26 of Anthony Costello’s book of poems, entitled ‘Picture, Mirror, World’; published by Calder Valley Poetry, 2019.

[ii] Louise Otto-Peters, from her poem, ‘Fog’, in John Gallas, 2013, page 113.

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Introduction, by Daniel O’Beeve

“We each carry a baby inside of our heads and hearts, into our oldest age. This baby is the original baby that we were at the very earliest stage of our little, fragile lives. The baby is either happy or unhappy, depending upon how it was treated in the earliest months and years of life.  And the baby determines the level of happiness of the man or woman who carries it, right up to their grave!”

Malachi McEnnis, The Cry of the Unloved Child…

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I have nothing to offer this world, apart from this subjective account of my direct experience of the events and objects that I have encountered on my bizarre journey into a kind of life: A kind of becoming, which is still incomplete, and which was grossly constrained …

The most difficult objects for me were the people who were supposed to care for me…

But I am getting ahead of myself.

Given that I survived, and have done some significant repair work on myself, I have a conception of what it is to be born, and to be raised (after a fashion) by parents and teachers.

Front cover, Broken Chain, 1At birth we are pure potential, with little of it realized. Our potential may be almost limitless – but not much of it ever seems to be realized; and in some cases the lack of personal development is shocking: A tragic waste of possibilities.

At the very beginning of life, we have a capacity to be aware, but no capacity to make sense of what appears in our awareness. We have no idea what we might be, or what we might become; and we are unaware that our potential will be constrained by whatever mould we are poured into by our parents, or our main carers. And once we set in that mould, we are prone to think “This is who I am!”

But this is a serious error of judgement – a universally adopted and promoted error of judgement.

“This is who I have become, because of the circumstances of my life”. That is a little recognized truth.

Now, let us see who the hell I might really be! And what this tells us about you.

This is a universally overlooked possibility.

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By focusing on the inherent potential of an individual baby at birth, we overlook a very important reality.  Each baby is born with an urge to attach itself to a love object; a carer who will ensure their survival.  That urge is hardwired into the foundations of the human brain.  It is as if each new-born baby has a chain-link in its heart, and each new parent has a chain that runs down through the generations, and out of their chest, and awaits the arrival of a new life.  Each new born baby reaches for the chain, hooks its link to mother’s link, and hopes for the best.

A good enough mother will teach that baby that it has made a wise choice; that it is securely attached; and she will not let him or her fall.  When the baby reposes as a dead weight on the end of that timeless chain, it feels the integrity of the interconnected universe.

But if that mother is unskilful, then the chain breaks, and the baby tumbles through a terrifying universe of darkness and cold, filled with fear and confusion.

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Daniel O’Beeve, July 3rd 2020

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Extract from:

Manuscript 1: Dreaming and waking

By Daniel O’Beeve

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“If you evade suffering, you also evade the chance of joy”.

Shevek (In The Dispossessed, by Ursula LeGuin).

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“He sometimes heard the clinking of chain link on chain link, in his cot; and in his kindergarten. But he could not understand the message, for he had never been linked to anybody or any thing”.

Padraig McGill-Murtagh, The Quest for the Chain of Life…

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Preamble

Front cover, Broken Chain, 1Homing pigeons have a brain or body based system, which must be somewhat like radar.  Bats fly through the night without crashing into things, because of their sonar system. But what lights do humans have by which to fly safely?

There is an integrity to the body-brain-mind of each socialized individual. If we listen carefully, our integrity will guide us to an understanding of how to move forward.  I call this, “following the chain”.

There is a kind of chain of truth which runs through the universe, which, if found and followed, leads on to amazing possibilities. To find the first link in the chain, you have to follow the Golden Rule for at least one decade: then the first portal will open.

But the struggle is not easy, and most of us quit in the face of the difficulty of finding the next link in the chain.  And the journey is made more difficult if we are not supported by the chain that attaches us to our birth mother; and through her to our countless ancestors.

And our innate ‘chain locator’ can become rusted and concealed by abuse or neglect in our family of origin.  But it cannot be destroyed completely.  If we pay attention, we can find our way back from any and all forms of childhood abuse or neglect.

One of the major difficulties for me has been trying to get hold of the fragments of dreams that visit me each night; which I assume are messages from my subconscious mind; and to try to make sense of them.

For example:

A recent dream

Back cover, Broken Chain, 1I had a strange dream last night. I was in a TV studio, and I was feeling dreadful – with a kind of sick feeling in my heart, lungs and guts.  And dreadful ‘emotional sensations’ for which I had no names.  I had no words to describe or understand the entire experience.

Nearby, I was aware that Claudia Winkleman, a young, dark-haired, British TV presenter, was setting up a tray of cup-cakes to display to the camera, and, presumably, to a national TV audience. I was unclear as to whether the TV viewers could see me, standing there, like a lost child, shoulders drooping, and eyes downcast.  A man-child.

I was standing within yards of Claudia, but she felt totally remote from me – inaccessible.  I felt rejected and alone: like I used to feel as a teenager (when I longed for the company of a girl); and perhaps earlier, in the first years of my life (when I longed to cling to my mother, Neeve).

And now, tonight, Claudia is too busy, preparing food to display on TV, to even notice little me.

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When I awoke, I still felt sick in my stomach.

Now, I sit at this table and try to write about my dream, in my journal.  What the hell does it mean? 

I think it’s about my mother and me, when I was a little boy. …

…End of extract.

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Commentary No.1: Regarding Baby Tuckoo and Baby Boohoo-na

Adult reflection – 30th June 2020

“In the beginning was the wordsmith – but the wordsmith had no words. And the hostile audience of the wordsmith desired him not to speak!”

From the Book of Icquarez, ICQ-(XL)-I

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Preamble

Front cover, Broken Chain, 1Context is important, because everything, for a human, is seen as relative to some reference point or other – the context of the perception.

And here is a little context for the experiences of my baby-self.

In his first major work of fiction – reflecting on his own childhood – James Joyce opens the story with a reference back to his own babyhood, using baby-like language.  It seems he was called Baby Tuckoo by his parents, or perhaps just by his father, who read stories to him.

My father never read a bedtime story to me. Nor did my mother.

Indeed, when I was about seven years old, and my father allowed the radio to be on from teatime until about 6.30pm, when we children had to go to bed, there was a song that mystified me.  The song descries a father who comes home late one evening in July, after playing poker (which could only be a fire poker to my mind) to pass the time.  He gets into the house and takes off his shoes, and then prepares to sneak upstairs – which was a mysterious meekness (to my mind) for a big, strong father. Then a very strange, incomprehensible inversion of all that I knew occurs: “Along came Junior, swinging his little axe”, and demanding that his father “tell me a story, and then I’ll go to bed”.

To my mind – and that meant (in All Reality, in All the World!) this is a kind of impossible madness.  No such thing could ever occur.  Why not?

(a) Because Junior would be assaulted with such ferocity that nothing would be left of him except perhaps a pool of broken, slimy bones and flesh, on the lino floor.

(b) Because Junior would be too fearful to even let his drunken father know he was awake. Junior would be so busy trying to become invisible, he could not consider asking for a bedtime story.

(c) And, because Junior would not know what a ‘bedtime story’ was.  And, indeed, what exactly was this strange thing: this “bedtime story”?

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The songs and nursery rhymes of Baby Boohoo-na

Front cover, Broken Chain, 1After many years of trying to dig up memories of my childhood, I did retrieve three fragments which I am still trying to process.

Here they are:

(1) When I was about fifteen to eighteen months old, my mother sat me on her knee, and help both of my hands.  Then she rocked me back and forth, singing:

“Gee up, gee up, you little horse.

Gee up, gee up again, sir.

How many miles to Dublin?

Three score and ten, sir.

Will we be there by candle light?

Yes and back again, sir”.

The strange thing about this situation was the way she was looking at me.  It has taken me years to make sense of that look.  I now believe she was looking to me to acknowledge that she was doing something quite wonderful for me.  But I was looking at her to try to figure out which hand she would slap me with if I made a single ‘false move’. My dilemma was, of course, that I had no idea how she defined ‘false moves’. Almost anything I did could turn her into a raging banshee, whacking and smacking and yelling and threatening me with imminent death.

So her little song went uncelebrated, and I guess I must have been dropped to the floor, pretty quickly, as a great disappointment to her, my ‘doting mother’; who unfortunately was also my ‘worst nightmare’!

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Front cover, Broken Chain, 1(2) Throughout most of the first eighteen months of my life, Neeve did carry me around the house in her arms, singing mournful, Republican songs; which had the effect of depressing me.

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(3) One of the ‘encounters’ with my mother which came streaming back to me at a certain point was this: She would approach me and rivet me with her staring, unblinking eyes:

“Will I tell you a story?” she’d ask. (This use of the word ‘will’ is the Hiberno-English equivalent of the Standard English ‘Shall I tell you a story?’)

I guess I must have responded in the affirmative, even though I had no real idea what it meant to ‘be told a story’.  I had to infer that it must be something that somebody might like to be told.

So I guess I would nod my approval, or acceptance.

“About Johnny Magorey?” she’d add.

A story about a man, or a boy, called Johnny? I guess I could get my head around the general drift of her question.

So, perhaps I nodded again.

“Will I begin it?” she’d ask next.

I must assume I nodded again. (I never spoke to her.  I was – apparently – an elective mute! And besides it was ‘against the law’ for me to speak!)

“That’s all that’s in it!” she’d say then (meaning ‘that’s the entire story’) – and then she’d laugh.  Laugh at what?  My gullibility, or stupidity, in being taken in by a ruse? A false promise?

How many times did she pull this ruse on me? I do not know.

And how was I supposed to feel about it?  Did she think I would be entertained in some way?

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…More later.

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