When The Silence of Combat Speaks Or Doesn’t Speak

Karen Barna
6 min readJan 31, 2024

The literal cluster fuck of the human condition is the very strong and unchecked pleasure in exacting violent revenge on our perceived enemy. Some men and, some women, who go to war find they loved killing the enemy and because of it they became better soldiers at annihilating the other. This is one way governments exploit the psychopaths with in their populations. It is also another way, psychopathic salesmen like Jeffery Epstein, with their ponzi schemes, are so protected in male leadership. Men love the fruits of greedy, deceptive, manipulators. Men who beguile us with pomp, opium bread, and circus, and governments and businesses leaders alike embrace them for the rewards they offer us for our future survival and economic gains.

Donald Moss recounts his father’s war story , told to him 50, 60 times to him during his father’s lifetime, and categorized it under the heading “Enjoying It — The Harm Transfigured.” We see this tendency in men who go to war, in men who make up government militias like the FBI, CIA, and DEA as well as local police. And we see this in the underworld world of organized crime. We see these masculinities in acts of covert and overt defense. The masculine fault lines of hate and humiliation that attest to primal psychic loss in the power and control over Other.

Grizelda Blanco, a Queen Pin, who defied the male patriarchy in the predominant hegemonic leadership of underworld crime bosses of cocaine traffickers in the mid 1970s, and was thus dubbed “The Godmother” became she was an outlier in a leadership role, as women often are, in high profile business ventures. I’m not condoning her acts as heroic or even a proper marvel of female intuition. Rather, to connect the dots of abuse, with the abuse of women, she too endured a common story shared by many disadvantaged women. Prostitution, sexual assault, women used for sex to pay off a husband’s or brother’s debt, women sold on the black market as property and product. Women who are reduced to dealing in the underworld for “survival,” if it can even be considered a “survival option.” Silent stories never told because they sound like inverted fairy tales, or exculpatory fiction, or are too shameful to tell, or because the absolute horror in recounting them defies social standards of human conduct and decency. Donald Moss writes:

“One terrible part of this secret is that both of us would deny its truth had either of us tried to expose it. Therefore, now, when I write that it was a secret, I wonder whether I am writing exculpatory fiction and whether it may have been I alone for both the deeds and the tellings were a means to a treasured end — the treasure consisting of the discovery, the repetition, and the deep enjoyment of this inverted fairy tale — in which the worst that can happen does happen and that only because it happened can you enjoy the intimacy that all of civilization aims to forbid; the pleasures and excitements of telling it.”

Donald Moss’ recounting his father’s war story expresses the feeling and meaning in the retelling of stories that shouldn’t be re-told to a male child. Donald Moss writes:

“I’ve heard people speak this way about shooting up cocaine. They speak of an intensity of pleasure that they know the rest of the world will never provide. They speak then, of the harm done to them by pleasure. This is what I am trying to do now: speak of the harm done to me by pleasure. But the contradiction knocks me off my feet. I don’t feel on firm ground as I write this. I know there is harm. I know there is pleasure. But I am writing from a zone in which both are absent. I don’t think it would be possible to write from the zone in which either — meaning both — were present.”

Hearing the stories of when a group, through legalized sanctioned killing, derive pleasure in the telling and hearing of stories of war, is one of the gendered aspects of human sexuality, at its primitive core (e.g. masculinity). Donald Moss writes:

“ … reason actually [does] … not penetrate, [does] not disrupt the flow and impact of these stories. The stories take on an admirable glow themselves, precisely because they are so shameful, their telling such a sign of helplessness and neglect, such a refusal, such an overflow, of all the constraints and limits established by the mere demands of being descent. The babies are blown apart and so are the children who hear of it. The story is a grenade, thrown this time with secret knowledge. OK, you play the soldier, I’ll play the babies. Let’s do it again and again … But, let’s really be in on it together, each of us, the soldier, each of us, the babies….”

I am writing this the day after binge watching the Netflix limited series “Grizelda” which recounts the story of Grizelda Blanco, a female cartel boss. At first glance, after watching the first episode, I had to turn it off. The knowledge of, in the face of wireless electronic assault and torture, one’s self-entitled right to beat the shit out of, shoot multiple times, kill and decapitate another, sexually assault, and stage harassment campaigns to block the proliferation of another crime boss’ territory was disturbing and uncomfortable to watch. But I was drawn in, I wanted to know more of this story. And there is something a little exciting rooted in the primal sexuality of watching people do the prohibited, the deviant sexual proclivities of perversion. But I suppose the film makers help make this so, employing nudity, sex scenes, and pomp and excess. For without excitement and appeal, who would watch? Where would the ratings be?

Do my captors enjoy controlling me? Absolutely. You heard what Donald Moss’ father said about killing? And what is the ultimate form control takes but murder and total annihilation of another, eradication of identity.

I have been accused of being like my mother, who, “shuts down” and becomes “closed off” in dialogue after a confrontation/dispute. But this is an attempt to remain safe after being repeatedly abused by an abuser. This temporary alienation happens in the closed quarters of the family or in psychoanalytic space of recovery by an analyst. It can become the primary driver for the victim’s silence. Thus, the abused feels shame, and shame acts like a protective shell where in one retreats, like an “embryo” during embryonic growth and development. Yet, within the space of the malevolent relationship, manipulation and exploitation and victim blaming contribute to the captor’s successfully control. Feelings are manipulated and exploited by gaslighting and “driving the other person insane” or by setting up obstacles (e.g. cockblocking) with which the victim is expected to surrmount. Exhausted of options or made physically tired by the physical torture wireless electronic assault imposes, the person‘s cognitive ability become comprised and, thus, clarity of thought degrades. Thus, the person may resort to previous unsuccessful coping mechanisms because they have been blocked off from performing healthy ones (e.g. exercise). And in this theatrical stage of mind control, allegiance is guaranteed to the captor because he/she/they are perceived as saviors in the person’s attempt to survive, although they may very well be inglorious bastards. Substance abuse further obfuscates the victim’s narrative of being abused by wireless electronic assault torture and may thus be deemed “mentally ill” and “uncreditable” exposing the malevolent use of a dark mirror in mind control. This becomes the major gaslight in psychopathic manipulation. One of the tactics used by Jeffery Epstein, I’m sure, in his ponzi scheme for exponentially securing female sex workers.


First Do No Harm: The paradoxical encounters with psychoanalysis, warmaking, and resistance. Adrienne Harris and Steve Botticelli (editors). New York. Routledge. Chapter 12, War Stories by Donald Moss.



Karen Barna

I am a Targeted Individual suffering electronic harassment. I write about gender difference and object relations and feminism. I am Gen. X