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.