Stories of human suffering: origins and relationships

NTS eBook No.2 – Healing the Heart and Mind: Two examples of writing therapy stories, plus reflective analysis

Copyright (c) by Jim Byrne

Updated on Sunday 7th July 2019:


This book incorporates, at its core, two papers that I wrote and published in 2009 – one on my story of origins as a poverty-stricken country boy  who was rejected by my school peers in Dublin, in 1950-60; and one on the story of my ‘relationship’ (for the want of a better term!) with my mother, which caused me so many problems over the years.

In addition, there is fresh analytical commentary; a new and original Foreword, and a new conclusion.

The contents page provides an insight into the richness of this book:

Table of Contents



PART ONE: Emotions, narrative emplotments, and the story of personal origins


  1. The challenge to positivism
  2. From drama to stories and narratives
  3. The E-CENT integration of the physical and the cultural
  4. Letting go of a “child’s romance”


  1. The setting of the scene
  2. From Humble Origins
  3. Freedom from School
  4. Back in the Soup
  5. A Dawning Peace
  6. The Worm Turns
  7. A New Life in Bangladesh
  8. Arriving in Hebden Bridge
  9. Provisional Conclusion

Key learning points for Part One



Part Two: The Story of Relationship – Or coming to terms with my mother (…)

  1. Preamble
  2. Introduction
  3. Earlier attempts to complete my relationship with my mother
  4. The psychological birth of the infant
  5. Echoes from the life of Bruce

Postscript to Section 5: The Brick Man and the Big Baby

  1. Recent writing therapy on my relationship with my mother

Postscript to Section 6

  1. Recent Gestalt chair work with my mother

Postscript No. 1: Section 7

Postscript No. 2: Section 7

  1. Repression of disturbed experiences
  2. The impact of my relationship with my mother on later relationships with women

Postscript to Section 9

  1. Applying the Six Window Model to my mother
  2. Conclusion

Key Learning Points from Part Two




Among the main themes of this book, I describe the weak connection, emotionally, that I had to my mother (and father), and the negative effects this had on all my later relationships, especially with girls and women (but also with my male peers).

Because of the intensity of my distress, I eventually had to seek help to make sense of my barren life.  This began the journey of therapy, including much writing therapy, which I describe in this book.  Here is an extract from the end of the book:

“Underneath the cumulative, interpretative experiences of this organism (or ‘person’), sitting here writing, there is the original, pure ‘capacity to be aware’ that existed before the first experience came in through my eyes, ears or skin.  And that capacity to be aware is universal, and can be experience every day through meditation. And that capacity to be aware is capable of reinterpreting everything that was once interpreted, and reformulating every one of its early conclusions (that can be made conscious), or overwriting them with a new orienting set of interpretations (when they cannot be made conscious).


“And now – after completing my therapy (much of it in writing) – my basic orientation in the world is turned on its head.  My orientation towards my fellow humans is turned upside down.  Now it is this:

“I feel a strong sense of love for the world: and especially those bits that have not yet experienced love.  For love can be found; created; regained; and exulted in.  This wish of mine that you should experience love is an expression of my relationship to you.  You are lovable; you are love; so long as you grow the Good Wolf side of your character, and shrink the Bad Wolf side.  To find love in the world, you have to first find love in yourself.  And to find love in yourself, you often have to go back and analyse what went wrong in your childhood.  Why should you go back and do this work?  Only if you don’t know how to love, and don’t know how to relate adequately to your partner or loved ones in the present moment.  Or if you are heavily ‘self-medicating’ with alcohol, prescription drugs, recreational drugs, or addictive sex, pornography, sugary food, and so on.  Here’s a clue from Alice Miller, a world-famous psycho-analyst and writer:

brick-man-head‘The former practice of physically maiming, exploiting and abusing children seems to have been gradually replaced in modern times by a form of mental cruelty that is masked by the honorific term child-rearing.  Since (child) training begins in many cultures in infancy during the initial symbiotic relationship between mother and child, this early conditioning makes it virtually impossible for the child to discover what is actually happening to him(self or herself).  The child’s dependence on his or her parents’ love also makes it impossible in later years to recognise these transformations, which often remain hidden behind the early idealisation of the parents for the rest of the child’s life’.  (Page 4).

“It was only the extreme nature of my childhood experiences, combined with an acute intelligence, and a dogged determination, plus some incredible good luck, and years of hard work, that I eventually was able to complete my analysis of what happened to me and my mother, and how that shaped me.  I hope you do not need to do this work, but if you do, then do it diligently, for the reward is that you get your life back!  You no longer feel the need to die – to achieve non-consciousness – in order to escape the pain of utter wretchedness and a sense of total isolation and worthlessness.  You step back into Paradise, from which you were so cruelly ejected all those years ago. “

And, as Robin Skynner says: ‘It’s never too late to have a happy childhood’. And that’s what I got, along with lots of other benefits, from my long journey through writing therapy.


brick-man-image2You’ve got to do your therapy – face to face or in writing – in order to reclaim your original potential as a wonderful, joyful, creative human being!


The therapy journey can take weeks, months or years.  In my case it took a full 61 years, from birth to ‘final liberation’! – or what I take to be my final liberation.  And in this book I deal with the value of this journey:

“Was this 61 year journey worth the effort?“Yes, it most definitely was.  I have got my life back.  I have a kind of freedom that I did not have before.  I have a sense of peace and happiness in everyday moments that is new.  I have a more open heart towards the world.  I have less fear of others.  I have more to give.  I am calmer.  I am joyful.  And I have got my ‘good childhood’ back!  I am a liberated man.  I am so very lucky!  (And, of course, I also don’t exist [in the way my mind thinks I exist!)  And thank you for sharing this journey with me (even though you, also, do not exist [in the way your mind thinks you exist!).”

If you want to learn how to write emotionally honest stories, for your own journey of writing therapy – or to gain some insights into psycho-therapeutic analysis – then this is the book for you.


This book has been withdrawn for rewriting.  Sorry!  If you desperately want to read it, I could let you have a PDF copy for a nominal fee! 🙂