On the issue of becoming emotionally self sustaining

I just read a very moving post on a fellow blogger’s struggle to win absent love from an emotionally unavailable family and so much of it resonated with me. After reading it I had the even deeper realisation that the love we never got as youngsters ultimately needs to come both from within and through a deeper relationships with a power of love acceptance and healing around and within and beyond us.

In 12 Step recovery circles it is understood that one of the key vulnerabilities of addicts and recovering alcoholics is our emotional dependency on others. We make frantic attempts of some kind to win love often coming out of a deeper core wound of feeling secretly unworthy or unlovable. And then we act out when our wound is not fulfilled. I just had a conflict go on a few hours ago over something that happened two years back on my blog. I don’t want to resurrect it now as the person is still blaming me for things and I don’t think all of what she has claimed is actually very fair, though some of her hurts are justified, never the less just before dinner it really did shatter me for quite a while, to the point I broke down for an hour and had to call my therapist which is something I used to have to do all the time but rarely need to do now. Kat congratulated me on ‘coming back to myself’ which I managed to do in a far far shorter time than would have been possible even a year or so ago.

But reading the post I just read reminded me of this fact, as adults we have to find a way to be emotionally self sustaining. That is not to say that we have no need of others, that we are not still vulnerable, that we can become ‘islands’, more so it means that we need to have a true and humble honest grounded sense of who we really are and of our true value.

I was discussing the issue of criticism with a good friend this afternoon. We were talking about how narcissists never believe they are at fault for anything and often they have a super hard time handling criticism. When we are emotionally healthy we can take on board criticism and work out whether it seems justified or unjustified. When we don’t feel very good inside other’s criticism tends to tear us to pieces almost like adding salt to a very raw wound. For myself building this sense of a good enough self has taken a hell of a lot of work in therapy. I have been open in sharing on my blog about my struggles with the inner and outer critic.

Projection too is not always an easy thing to get a handle on. As humans we are not singular, we all have a mix of different and similar attributes. Some of them we are conscious of and others tend to reside more in our shadow. Therapist Carl Jung used to say that if something annoys us about someone else we should try to be honest and have a good look at why. It may be a key to a past wound or a buried attribute in ourselves we need to develop a better relationship with.

Tonight it is nice to feel that my peace and calm has finally returned. The relationship wasn’t healed or resolved and I am the one at fault apparently. I accept that I have to let it go. We just cannot get on with everyone in the world, some times things we do are going to piss others off and vice versa. I find the happiest way for me though is something therapist Thomas Moore recommends as a powerful antidote to the heavy weighted down obsessive seriousness of the dark night experience. That is to maintain a sense of humour and irony in the face of life and its darker side.

Developing a capacity to laugh at ourselves and others (not in order to minimise but rather as a way of bearing witness to the arbitrary, dualistic and paradoxical ways of humanity) is a key to emotional, mental and spiritual health. I find such great refuge in humour and it always helps me feel better when I accept that I am human and stuff up and have blind spots and can laugh at things. Often this is after a hell of a lot of hurt has occurred. It is such a relief tonight to feel that sense of peace again. And I can even say I am grateful for that very painful experience which occurred around my birthday two years ago. My Mum ended up dying that year and I remember the pain of that day and the following week when all of the conflict went down. Luckily it is all in the past now.

Hurt

Somehow I got it wrong

When you thought

I was sad you did something to try and make me feel better

But the truth was I would have come good all on my own

Thanks for that.

Now I am the one who actively pursued and discredited you to ‘ruin your reputation’.

My friend you have over 20 times more likers than me.

So may be that is your victory.

The thing is I started to blog merely to express myself.

Not to impress anyone else

And I most certainly never meant to hurt you

But obviously I went about it the wrong way

Trying to sort out the mess in a blog

Getting your intentions wrong.

I tried to apologise and I cried and cried.

There is nothing now to do but let the entire thing go.

I need to laugh about it all and take myself less seriously.

I am human and I get it wrong

I am the first to say that I have wounds

And at times they confuse me about others intentions.

I do not always get it right

But never the less I do manage to sleep at night.

I stuff up and I can own it.

But in the end I need to let it all go

Because your reaction

Is way beyond me

And my ability to control it.

Fly

Fly to me across a galaxy of starlight

So that I can feel your beating heart

Close to me

Under the cover of the indigo night

While I am sleeping

Fill my dreams with the comfort of your presence

So that I rest contentedly in the silence

And upon awakening

Bid my spirit always remember the gift of life

And even though

Your body cannot be with me

Please always help me to remember always

The true peace of your presence

Goodbye to fear?

Sometimes its hard to know

What to believe

When I feel your soul calling to me

Across the seas

Saying how you ache to be with me

I know if your story is true

There is exhaustion

There

Hidden just under the surface of all you have been through

And if that is true then are we not just

Reflections of each other

Split of cells of the same atoms

That gave birth to stars?

But when my doubting mind steps in

And I seek the evidence for why

This may all be

A pile of lies

Then it seems my body cannot rest

From fear

And so out Jasper and I go

Into the glorious golden light

And here it is I sense another world

Laid out before me

As the words of Jesus come to me

The Kingdom of Heaven

Is within you and all around you

And I sense its majesty

In dappled autumn sunlight

Luminously shining in swathes of leaves

And then it is that I sense you

So far away

In that darker world

Where men are threatening everyone with terror

Is it the truth or just a lie

And how will I ever know

If I cannot find the inner strength

To say goodbye

To fear

the limits of my power : a prayer

God please help me to understand and accept the limits of my power over certain aspects of life and over other people. Friendship and love that come to me are gifts and they are to be appreciated. I can keep my heart open in love even when others are hurting. I can wish the world and myself and other people well. I can have trust in the goodness of life. But I do not have control over other people or their actions or emotions. I can be an influence for good in my life and the lives of others when I stay open to nurturing the good and keep good boundaries. I don’t have to be naïve but I can live with an attitude of trust.

God please open my heart today. Help me to understand where fear limits me and where a misplaced sense of control can cause me problems or confusion. Sometimes others may try to make me responsible for feelings that are actually their own. Let me recognise this and also not make others responsible for what they are not. Help me to be a force for love in the world today and in my own life.

Super emotional after seeing my sister

I am feeling bursts of a lot of emotion today. I finally managed to connect with my sister yesterday afternoon. It is a lesson to me that when someone we love suffers from anxiety and depression and misses calls or doesn’t reach out I need to be unselfish at times and keep reaching and trying to connect, that said when we finally do get to spend bodily time together I find that my gut is in a knot, and I am not sure if its due to my own anxiety at wanting to help so much when I see what a super fearful shut down state she is in or that I am picking up on her anxiety as well.

Anyway it turns out she totally missed my call last Saturday (again!!) and I was hoping to invite her for dinner that night. I told her this when we finally connected yesterday afternoon when she finally returned my call from yesterday. Her first words were : “I am at the hospital.” I immediately panicked but it turns out it was the pre radiation set up for her treatment for the next stage of her breast cancer which will begin on 26 June. Having been through this myself I understand how painful it is, you have to wait for a very long time and try to do certain breathing exercises. They do a mock set up of how you will have to lie with one arm raised over your head as the machines zone in to do their work. In chatting it all through I did ask her was she considering the prospect of foregoing radiotherapy. I know my treatment has damaged my skin and I don’t know if the breathlessless attacks I get several times a day are related or just due to my own panic condition. Sometimes with all I know now I wonder if I would have gone through mine back in May 2016 knowing what I know now. However one of the good things was at that time people who knew me from the dog park stepped in to help me and before this time I was very very isolated, living alone seeing few people but my Mum and two sisters and everyone was either sick with a mental or physical condition during those years 2011 to 2016.

Anyway I invited my sis round for a cup of tea and then offered to make her a simple dinner. She is finding that she has to force herself to eat and I know how it is living alone and having to make all your own meals and my sister’s anxiety makes it hard for her to eat. “I can eat the food if someone puts it down in front of me” she said to me. I also did say to her that there are times we do have to push ourselves too while I recognise its not natural for to be eating alone every single night, it can get lonely. But sometimes if we want things to improve or feel better we do need to take some positive action even if its just making the effort to make a nice meal for ourselves.

Still my sis seems so flat and hollow emptied out at present, it really really worries me. It also makes me feel sad and I didn’t want to say too much so we just sat in silence after eating our meal and I just prayed and sent love to her silently and cried a little inwardly. Earlier I just hugged her at one stage and it was with real love and affection. We watched tv for a few hours and then she went home but toward the time of leaving she spoke about how she had outstayed her welcome. I felt so sad about that. I wish my sister felt worthier. It hurts to see her so anxious and so emptied out, I cried a lot about some things from the past after she left last night as I got ready for bed.

But it also takes a kind of a toll on me. I broke down and prayed to Mum and Dad this morning asking for their help. I was also given guidance from my higher power to try to believe in the goodness of others and that the world is a safe place where people do care. There is a force of love out there that wants good things for us but anxiety and depression just seem to block this force from manifesting for us so often.

I know my sister’s soul is in pain. I did a reading on the soul and selfishness today which I was guided to in Tian Dayton’s book and it spoke of how we only meet soul when we quietly drop down inside to meet ourselves. If we are always actively out there pursuing things in life we don’t often get to touch this realer place deeper place of soulful wisdom and nurturing inside of us. Deep inside my soul is where I go to in prayer, its where I connect to love, it is the place that realisations come from, its like an ocean that at times swells and then washes everything clear and clean with tears. I was in that ocean this morning as I felt some of my own helplessness over my sister. But at the same time I was so so glad I could just do something nice for her last night by making her a meal. That felt good and is a long long way from the resentment I used to feel over things from the past that are long, long gone now.

Yours for the taking

When you first touched my hand

I silently hoped

That you would hold my heart forever

Wrap it up

And keep it safe

Somewhere

In a place

So far away from the agony

My soul has known before

But then in the dead of night

Old ghosts stole into my room

Under the cover of darkness

Filling my head with fears

Telling me it was not safe to believe

Yet when the monsters rose inside my chest

You answered everyone

With tenderness

So if I go quiet

For just a while

Tears are probably falling here

As my heart tears open

And I feel these barricades

Disappear

As a voice within

Whispers

Ever so quietly

Here is my heart

It is yours for the taking

Further away from connection? : finding my way back to inner connection

I was quite sad waking today and realising it was my grand niece’s birthday yesterday and that it had passed by without me acknowledging it. It made me realise the fractures in my family as a result of the trauma. I maintain perhaps the closest bond of any in my family with my nephew, her dad, the third son of my sister who died and I did call him on his birthday and he reminded me it was Lyra’s birthday on Thursday, somehow I lost track of the days. I had feelings of guilt too, I don’t really know why. All the trauma in my family is not my fault. Its just the way it is. I haven’t been able to make that trip north yet. Due to the injury I sustained after travelling overseas in 2005 and having a bad head trauma the thought of travel makes me feel unsafe but that belies the connection of longings I feel in my heart to we with my nephew and his daughter. I am actually crying writing this which is why I needed to vocalise it, even if it is just to the empty computer page.

I think of my sister’s torment in later years, confined as she was nearly all of the time to her bed at the care home. I would often take her out to the movies and when Mum’s health was better we used to take her out to lunch too. We had to order a maxi taxi for my sister’s wheelchair and then meet her at the venue. It was always so poignant at the end of these outings to turn and wave goodbye to her. She is gone from us now and out of her misery on the other side with Mum and Dad and Nana and Poppa and even Mum’s Dad who died when Mum was only 7 years old. I often wonder at times if they are watching me and its funny as I was just out for a walk and I stopped at the oval to sit down and check WordPress but the page on my phone would not load, instead my nephew’s icon started flashing so I just texted him apologising for not being in touch sooner and saying I would like to send up a gift. At least I tried. I will try to get my act together better next year I said in my text.

I know I can never put the fractured pieces of my family back together but I still want to honour the connection. I so rarely hear from anyone else these days. I just tried to call my sister again but no response I left it longer this week I contacted her three times last week but on Saturday she didn’t pick up, and neither did she today. Its all okay. Sometimes maybe I think its my destiny to move further away from family and do the inner healing work. I don’t seem to always relate in the same way, yet I know soul connections with family go deep.

I thought about going to an AA meeting this afternoon but I decided I may be better to just come home and connect inwardly with myself through writing yet another blog. I seem to be ‘got’ on WordPress in ways I am not in outer life. Scott always says to me when I express sadness over my lack of connection with my sister that we need to start our own family together. Maybe he is right. I just don’t know.

Out there in the world I often wonder how connected the majority really are. We can be in touch but not be connected with others then we can be surprised by connections that seemingly happen at random. I often have these brief encounters on my walks with Jasper, not so much this week. People I know who think in a spiritual way say no meeting is a coincidence, sometimes I find at the needed moment I just run into the right people. Its far better to follow this flow than keep lamenting when connections don’t happen as I want them to with whom I want them too. Today I am reminded that my will is not in charge but I still need to use it. Getting the balance right is not always easy, its a constant ongoing adjustment/fine tuning process.

There are many ways to connect. For me a walk in nature helps. Reading a great poem, sharing here, meeting a good soul friend, cuddling Jasper, reading, writing, dancing, listening to music. All these thing make me feel more connected inwardly than running around mindlessly out there trying to force or make connections happen that just don’t seem to.

The problem with anger : How do I mange my angry feelings?

Its hard to write that heading. I have done so much reading on the subject of anger and frustration and I have learned that for those of us who grew up in certain homes, especially those marked by alcoholism, co-dependency or emotional dysregulation/disconnection the experience of anger can be fraught with terrible feelings of fear. I had a mother who flew off the handle a fair bit and a father who just ignored it. He didn’t set boundaries with her in a firm way, he just laughed at her. There were times I really needed him in my corner. I grew into someone who silently acquiesced while a storm built up inside of me. I also grew into a person who could not vocalise her upset or distress or other feelings. I think then, when a lot of trauma began to hit, after I had been emotionally neglected or fell out of everyone’s mind I began to turn to the bottle for some relief.

Its hard to write that heading. I have done so much reading on the subject of anger and frustration and I have learned that for those of us who grew up in certain homes, especially those marked by alcoholism, co-dependency or emotional dysregulation/disconnection the experience of anger can be fraught with terrible feelings of fear. I had a mother who flew off the handle a fair bit and a father who just ignored it. He didn’t set boundaries with her in a firm way, he just laughed at her. There were times I really needed him in my corner. I grew into someone who silently acquiesced while a storm built up inside of me. I also grew into a person who could not vocalise her upset or distress or other feelings. I think then, when a lot of trauma began to hit, after I had been emotionally neglected or fell out of everyone’s mind I began to turn to the bottle for some relief.

I know in these later years there has been a pile of unexpressed life force and anger that I have sat on. At times is has exploded. In my last relationship the abandonment trauma I suffered was repeated in that I attracted a partner who told me I just had to wear being alone, that I could not hope for his understanding or empathy and that I would be abandoned when the frustration all got too much for me and I lashed out. I remember the long periods where he broke off contact and gave me the silent treatment if I was too angry or sad. I didn’t have the balls to walk away from it. I was very much on my own when I met him back in 2007 and I stuck the pain of that dilemma out for 5 years with him. I must also own my part and say I didn’t allow him to be angry and validate it when he was either. I just did not have the emotional literacy skills at that point.

I was thinking about how I lashed out at Scott yesterday today and seeing that it wasn’t totally unwarranted. I have been giving him financial assistance for some time and we have been facing challenges in terms of money being frozen and then having to go through channels of bureaucracy with the military and its been an enormous challenge in terms of patience and forebearance. At times I feel so frustrated that yet again it seems to be me who has been putting all of the effort to assist him and getting so little back. The money will be repaid when he finally gets free from there but its taking time and its breaking my heart at times, not to mention the fear. Its caused me to fall out with certain family members at times who were firmly convinced he was/is a scammer.

So as I look back I see that my anger yesterday was not unjustified but also what Scott is doing is not being done out of malicious intent, his motivation is care for me and wanting to be together, so why did I feel justified to go after his jugular and make accusations about why his ex wife decided to have an affair while he was on deployment? I then accused him of emotional unavailability when the truth is that when we do connect he is available emotionally and always validates me, he is also very strong and wise and soft and kind. As I look at it all more dispassionately today I see that I am yet again projecting my past experience onto him and that is not fair, but there is a very justified reason for why I felt so angry yesterday the point was I was not able to hold that feeling and work with it in a positive way instead of lashing out. I then turned it into an emotional storm by amping myself up into a bit of a negative frenzy/spiral at least until he connected with me and affirmed my feelings and calmed me down. I than said I was very sorry for what I said about his ex and that it all came out frustration. So there it is I am human and I have failings but they are not earth shattering

I am grateful for the book on dealing with anger I got out of the library yesterday. I am grateful I can begin to recognise some of my projections of the past onto an innocent party. I know anger is not a negative emotion, it often exists us to tell us something is not right in our world or with the way we are being treated. But anger can begin to get out of control and become a problem for those of us who in childhood never saw anger or conflict dealt with in helpful emotionally connected or healthily assertive way.

Anger is the thing that will help us to calmly step up for and support our rights, wishes and needs. But there will also be times we need to put boundaries around our anger and practice a form of self soothing and acceptance over the things we are powerless over and cannot change. This is the essence of how in addiction recovery we learn to manage our lives without the numbing effect of substances. We learn to accept what we cant change, change what we can and learn to discriminate between what is and is not open for change, or resolution.

I noticed yesterday in the bookshop that there is a good book on this subject too, that I am sure many may know about. Its by Sarah Knight and is called Calm the F@#* Down it gives techniques for not magnifying angry and out of control responses through excessive rumination or internal beat ups. Learning to feel safe with anger can take a lot of time for many of us, how well we manage to do this dictates how well or poorly we learn to tolerate and manage conflict. Recently I heard a therapist say that mental health rests primarily on how well we do manage to handle conflict. Not dealing with our anger and need for life and self assertion can lead us to depression, addiction and auto immune diseases. Getting a handle on our anger and self assertion in a healthy ways that honours both our own boundaries as well as those of others is very very important for those of us affected by these challenges coming out of emotionally neglectful or dysregulated families.

Bullet proof vest

 

Well you gotta know by now

I’ve been hurt a million times before

That its almost too hard

To let myself be the one who is aching for

The touch of your hand

The kiss of your lips

The ecstasy of feeling

The arising of passion

Beneath your finger tips

Caressing soft skin

In the most sensitive place

That I could ever let you in

And you know my love

We haven’t even met

But there are times

Your soul has taken me so high

That I could no longer feel solid ground underneath my feet

And longed to fly

At others you took me down so low

I could not imagine

There was any deeper place to go

But now when things get so painful

And all my defences are up

Its only later I see with a shock

All the blows you took

When the bullets of love you sent

Ricocheted off of my bullet proof vest

And as they rebound

And fall to the ground

I finally see the damage I caused

Because sadly it just got all too to hard

For my soul to keep trusting

In the love you promised me

Any more