From a Terrified Youth to a Wisdom-driven World Traveler
... the most deadly of all possible sins is the
mutilation of a child’s spirit
~ Psychoanalyst Erik Erikson
Handsomely equipped to fail, I went out into
~ John Fowles, from The Magus
In this world you will have trouble. But take
heart for I have overcome the world.
~ John 16:33
So did I ... and we have nothing to fear but ourselves.
Do you sometimes feel that you "cannot take it anymore?" If so, let the experienced, real-life role model, Herman Neuman, demonstrate that you do not have to feel or think that way. You can be healthier and emotionally much stronger than you might think. But it requires patience, discipline, curiosity and the right attitude. When you enjoy life, it is also easier to achieve your goals.
How does Herman know? From years of extremely brutal personal suffering and subsequent triumphs over unbelievable odds. He crawled out of his early-life hell, single-handedly and without one mentor. Because he did not buckle under, he learned many unusual lessons from his terrorized childhood and deepest poverty. Thereafter, he worked his way through college to become an independent world traveler and independent, intuitive thinker.
By the time he was only twenty years old, he had to endure the following episodes with unending, lonely patience, without anyone to mentor or console him.:
Diphtheria - Whooping cough - War - Years of near-starvation - Years of homelessness - Years of judicial injustice and bare-buttocks floggings - Years of chronic ear infection - School failure - Years of extreme culture shock, social isolation, hard labor and slavery* - and much more.
As you can imagine, Herman freaked out. Totally. He went berserk and planted trees and flowers.
Herman became a great paradox. Instead of suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) he is now enjoying Post-Traumatic Blessings Order (PTBO). He never became bitter or revengeful but received many blessings from his traumas. He did not become what is commonly accepted to be the most likely result of growing up in an exploded family and being tortured and exploited for so many years.
He became the exact opposite. Benjamin Franklin said: "To be thrown upon one's own resources is to be cast into the very lap of fortune...." This wisdom proved to be very true for Herman and that made him, as someone said, " an unusual man."
For example, after his new wife and he graduated from college together, they saved enough to travel around the world for six months. They have now been married over forty-five years.
Herman's satirical, blunt-truth memoir, Heroes from the Attic: A Gripping True Story of Triumph, reads like bizarre fiction and includes a chapter about their low-budget travel adventures.
Amazingly, a hard life is quite often preventable, because such is mostly man-made and often even self-inflicted. Episodes in your life that seem to be impossible to overcome can be dealt with through patient endurance and research.
After his almost terminal ear infection as a toddler, people thought that Herman had become an idiot, and he also had to learn to walk again. It also caused proud flesh, that is wild meat, to grow in his head during more than a dozen years thereafter. An Internet search for "proud flesh" indicates that he may be the only human being during recent Western history that has ever done so for such a long time.
And as if all of those problems were not enough, one of Herman's slave masters made him live in a shack, in which he had stored dynamite. Unbeknownst to anyone, this explosive became highly unstable and dangerous. A bomb disposal expert stated that Herman should have exploded.
In spite of his horrendous early life, he still does not want to go into denial about larger problems. On the contrary. He almost automatically seeks them out, wherever he may find them, in order to be able to avoid or help improve them, or help others to do the same.
Readers and audiences cannot believe that Herman is still sane or even alive. They continue to report that his story"...is one of the best books I've ever read," and that "this book should be in all schools."
As a child Herman virtually "turned the other cheek" thousands of times, so to speak. And literally all four of them too many times. However, do not be saddened by his beginnings because in spite of, or because of, his long sufferings, he has received many unusual blessings. Some of these are described in the book Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal, by psychotherapist Belleruth Naparstek, LISW, BCD. Its last chapter, “Surprise Blessings: Gifts in the Rubble,” describes them to be: Generosity, Joy, Compassion, Heightened Creativity, Survivor Power, and Spiritual Connection.
People frequently ask Herman questions like, "How were you able to deal with your stresses? How did you manage to survive?" After having thought about this for a long time, he had to conclude that it could only have been through divine intervention. It could not have been any other way. The odds of his survival, or remaining sane, had been so low that he now challenges anyone to demonstrate how it could have been otherwise. His conclusion seems to be affirmed by many people who have learned his story: "The human potential seems to be infinite!" and "God's plan for you is to inspire."
Herman earned a five-year engineering degree from Washington State University and an advanced degree in Soul-Crushing Suffering from which he acquired great wisdom. He is a spiritual care volunteer at regional medical center and a psychiatric and addiction services facility. He received nominations for the Jefferson Award for Public Service. He is a former member of The American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress, a past chapter president of Toastmasters International, a former member of a chamber of commerce, a planning and zoning commission and a long-time board member of a waterusers association. He also was the founder and president of a corporation and a homeowners association.
* One of the two of Herman's masters forced him to work in mud and manure and would not allow him to bathe or shower under the threat of physical punishment. Herman's brother testified before a District Court that they had been "slaves" to their relatives.