Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Learning From Lyrics III - Another Brick In The Wall Part III

The final part of the Another Brick In The Wall trilogy is perhaps the hardest for me to write about.
The lyrics show the result of years and years worth of bricks being piled one on top of another to form a brick wall, the scale and fortitude of which is not really even noticed whilst it is being built. In fact, it is only really recognised when the wall has become so inpenetratable that feelings can no longer be clearly identified.

In this last piece of Pink's building work, there is a change in tone, both musically with the addition of a previously unheard aggression, and more importantly (to me) lyrically.

Another Brick In The Wall, Part 3 (Roger Waters)

I don't need no arms around me
And I don't need no drugs to calm me.
I have seen the writing on the wall.
Don't think I need anything at all.
No! Don't think I'll need anything at all.
All in all it was all just bricks in the wall.
All in all you were all just bricks in the wall.

The first two parts of The Wall reveal how the foundational bricks have been early experiences of loss, grief and rejection. Later, during Pink's adolescence, the wall was cemented and fortified with his experience of shame. More than that, his sense of being shouted at rather than listened to; humiliated instead of nurtured; and made to stand still and look disgust in the face, rather than encouraged to grow as an individual with a voice.
How many of us lost our voices when we were talked at instead of listened to?

The third part is different. It's a part that I feel I could have written myself and it's a part that no matter how hard I try, I won't be able to fully convey it's meaning because it speaks to a broken part in my heart rather than a logical place in my head.

In my experience all our walls are built with bricks that revolve around one major theme and no matter what different names and experiences each brick has, the theme cements them together.

Unmet needs.

The need we had to be loved, accepted, heard, held, invested in, trusted, fed.

When we have enough unmet needs to cement all our bricks of loss, rejection, grief, abuse... When the walls are so high that we no longer have clear memories of the things that caused us pain... THEN... Then the wall has become our prison as well as our protection.
The wall doesn't just protect us, it prevents us.
We don't feel the bad but we don't feel the good either.

For me, this is where depression steps in.

And in depression, there is only the dull, interminable and indescribable pain of depression itself. You feel the dark shadows cast by the wall, and you feel the dreadful heaviness of the bricks, but you no longer recognise the shame, the loss, the rejection that built it.

Pink sings about no longer needing anything from anyone.
Because it is just too painful to need things and to never get them.
It's easier to kill the need than allow the desperation of having the need and the pain of never having it met.
We've all done it... We've all experienced the situation where, for example, we haven't recieved the invite we had expected.
"I didn't really want to go anyway".
I work with some fairly damaged young people (and yes, I do see the irony). They are masters of self protection. Their walls are spiked with broken glass and barbed wire.
Last year a tough lad agreed to take an exam. He expected to pass despite refusing to do any work for it.
When he failed he was so upset he turned a table upside down. I told him he could retake it and it was no big deal and all he could tell me was that he didn't want the qualification anyway. He hadn't wanted it in the first place.
We don't get our needs met so we stop needing. We DENY needing.

I feel just like the kid whose anger quickly turned into 'I didn't want it anyway'.
Pink doesn't "need no arms" around him.
I know that feeling.
It's the dead, dessicated pain of not being held when you most needed it.

It is almost too frightening to consider needing anything or anyone and I hear Pink singing about the deadness I feel in this last part of Another Brick In The Wall.


  1. This last verse of the song is so like my story. Thanks for sharing this with all your insight.

  2. this is so amazing. You put it all together in a away that speaks my truth. I never wanted to need anything. But God didn't build us that way. It hurt so much to need, to trust - to be real. Thank you so much for sharing this in the way you did. Sarah

  3. HI -

    As you know I am a survivor and have spent years running from my truth and for years now I have stopped running and I am one with all of it - each event, experience is part of me and part of my tapestry of design. If I may suggest or say one thing - every time I chose a behavior that reflected my having been a victim of abuse I was empowering my abuser - and when I began to honor my surviving being abused and acting out of that I empowered myself.

    Love and power and freedom

  4. Wanda - Thank you. I'm glad it made some sense for you. That last verse really gets me.

    Sarah - Thanks for saying that. I'm glad that it spoke to you.

    Gail - I have sent you a message about the choice theory.
    I'm glad that you learned to empower yourself rather than your abuser. I love th image of your tapestry.

  5. HI-
    I DID get your detailed and important reply. I will send you an email. I totally respect you asking for your comment to not be published. I will respond privately soon.

    Love Gail