The cost of not being able to express ourselves.

In the post yesterday arrived a beautiful book of affirmations by Lisa A Romano called Loving the Self Affirmations.  We who are recovering need all kinds of help and tools on our healing journey.  An emotionally barren or neglectful childhood, one in which we were not free to express who we really were, or if we did could not have that valued or validated leaves us with deep wounds.    We often turn against the self unconsciously in an effort to win love. We learn to reject ourselves and lose a sense of ourselves as valuable no matter how others treat us and fail us.  However all is not lost.  We CAN learn to reclaim that self love and care and understand why and how we suffer.

Lisa has herself attended Al Anon, she is a daughter of two parents who were adult children of alcoholics, like many of us raised by emotional disabled parents she became codependent herself.  In the introduction to her small book, which brought tears to my eyes as I read it yesterday, she writes :

I was a young woman lost inside a tournado of others needs.

Wow, did I identify with that. In codependence we lose connection to who we truly are and what we truly need.  How does that happen?  This paragraph taken from the meditation on Day 17 explains it clearly.

Because somewhere in our programming we were not taught how to express ourselves without feeling like we were disappointing or making others angry, we don’t experience our inner selves as worthy.

Without knowing who what we truly feel, by being shamed, rejected or sidelined for expressing it we learn to give up those feelings or doubt them, to turn against them, to turn against our feelings and our gut.  We get literally scrambled, tied up in knots others have caused and when we try to unravel those knots if we don’t go to the right places to get support and help to be validated and undo the damage we end up with severe problems, emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually.

The denial of the true expression of who we are in our gut and soul is a form of spiritual murder.  It will cause us to feel deeply suicidal.  To not be connected to or emotionally known will leave us with feelings of deep emptiness.  If we are to recover we must stop blaming ourselves (and this is what we do if we came from an emotionally neglectful household where the emotional aspects of what we suffered can be deeply hidden as we may have been ably provided for in other ways), we need to reach for support groups, relationships, therapists and for the wisdom of others who have recovered in order to correct our faulty conditioning. We must come to know who we truly are and what we truly feel and find ways to express it.

Yesterday I had round two in the conflict with my mother which was kicked into action a week before (as an astrological note the Moon was opposite transiting Pluto that day and smack bang on my mother’s natal Pluto trine Sun Mercury Saturn in Sc0rpio).  At that meeting just over a week ago I tried to express some to my sister some of the pain her own breakdown had caused and how it had impacted on my life all associated to the time in which my mother forced me beyond my boundaries to purchase a property at an auction, at a time when I was sorely in need of emotional support.  My sister got up and said “I don’t need to listen to this, I’m leaving”.  My mother then shamed me and told me I needed to apologise to my sister for bringing up such painful feelings.

On the following morning I contacted my Mum to say I was sorry for the way things had turned out, she had called us together to share with us she was giving us an early inheritance.  This, itself was filled with pain for me for various reasons I wont go into here.  Only to say I have recently gone through breast cancer surgery and treatment and emotional care and concern would have helped me far more than money.  I had thought she would say she was also sorry for not really hearing me.  No, yet again I was told I was being difficult for bringing up painful emotions of the past at what was an incredibly stressful time for us all.

“I know you think I haven’t been a very good mother”, she said before hanging up.    True, I know she did the best she could with what she had, I didn’t meant to shame her, I was trying to express how hard it was and how we had suffered.

There was no contact until Sunday, she called to ask if I would meet her for a cup of coffee yesterday.  I was wary and reticent.  Last Monday’s episode had left me with severe headaches and twisting contortions of deeply suppressed grief and anger.  I spoke to an AA friend who was concerned for how it would end up.

“She is obviously seeking some kind of resolution”, he said.  “But just be wary as it is sure to be on her own terms”.

I went along yesterday and tried to reiterate how I had just been expressing my feelings.  I was then told that my feelings were wrong, they had caused every one too much distress.  “I know you think I only care about money and that I haven’t been a good mother.”  I most definitely do not remember telling my Mum she only cared about money as I know she is a caring person but the truth is that my parents pursuit of financial security definitely caused huge problems, it brought about my eldest sisters’ downfall and my Dad’s death.  They never really learned self care, they drove themselves and us too hard.  All this I was trying to point out gently on Monday. Did I really expect her to own it?

She then said to me “You were such a happy child and had such a wonderful childhood.”  Inner cringe!!!    I know I was full of happiness and light but that fire and light got submerged as loneliness and emotional neglect grew, and as my parents pursued work and success at the cost of togetherness and emotional connection I suffered deeply.

There was no fight yesterday but I stood for my truth.

“Please Mum, don’t try to tell me what my childhood was like, I am the one who lived it,” I said.  “I know you and Dad tried to do the best you could, but Mum the truth is your own childhood was very lonely and hard.”

“Well I always felt that I wasn’t very bright.” (the truth is my mother was not helped at all with her school work, was pulled out of classes by the nuns to clean the chapel and was shamed.)

“I was also very shy.” (She was left alone at night and in the mornings had to get herself up for school).

“But I overcame all of that and started my own business which was not easy, I was scared a lot of the time, but I pushed through the fear.”  And in running this business she was never home or emotionally available.  There were time I sustained serious injuries due to being left alone to fend for myself for hours. On some level I am glad my mother had that source of fulfilment in her life, but due to her business interests, I suffered a lot and it came at a cost.  Where was the thought for me and how I was feeling and what I needed?  I buried the loneliness with chocolate biscuits and later alcohol and drugs.

Mulling over all of this this morning and mulling over the astrological connections I was aware of her Chiron in Aries and her Mars in Pisces.  The wound she felt to her doing and being was deep due to the neglect and lack of emotional support and connection in her childhood (and due to collective factors of loss of men due to World War I when Chiron was in Pisces prior to her birth).  She fought to break free of it. That wound got passed down to me and became Chiron in Pisces in the seventh house.  I also was born with Uranus in the first house in Leo which is the independent go it alone lone wolf of the zodiac.

The cost of her pursuing her own life to break free resulted in a deep wound in relationships for me and meant that I too, at critical times of loss and stress had to go it alone (I also have Pluto in the first house in Virgo but this relates to my father’s childhood as well.)

Eventually I helped in the family business and my sister I have had  so many difficulties with was my boss(her Mars in Sagittarius squares my Chiron in Pisces and transiting Saturn is waxing on to this place over the next few weeks).  This sister was always quiet harsh and emotionally aloof with me (her Mars squares Venus in Pisces on top of my Chiron).  There was no soft, playful, comforting sister relationship between us. The older sister I was so close to left home when I was three and later had the cerebral bleed which meant she was lost to me for a time and my parents energy was consumed with helping her at a time I so needed their support and help myself.

Anyway yesterday, my mother tried to shut me down again, but at the same time she was seeking my understanding of her own journey (but where was the validation of mine? Do I really need it from her.  No, not now, that is my work.)  She then made her plea for freedom from conflict and niceness.   I tried to explain that freedom from conflict was more likely to come if empathy for others was shown,  (and being the one who often shows empathy but doesn’t receive it is deeply frustrating but maybe what I have to wear with my Saturn Mars Moon or is an expression of it all).

What became clear to me after yesterday is that validation of my lonely childhood will never come from Mum and the price of relationship will be a denial or putting aside of my truth, also that due to her inability to fully own and recognise the deep wounds of her own childhood she will never be able to validate mine.

I cried a lot towards the end of our meeting.  I took her frail hand in mine and walked her to her car.  I had a sense of that I was carrying all the pain she could not admit but holds deep within her anyway.

This morning when I awoke I had the following thoughts.  I feel so sorry (and sad) for her and I am also so angry with her.  But I am also aware today that under the anger is so much sadness for there is something I need that I will never get from her and I can feel and grieve that truth.  I don’t need to deny it any more.  And yet this morning I am also full of peace and feel a sense of freedom for I know now I CAN own my own truth, whether or not she hears it and I don’t have to put it aside. And I also know that the pain I have gone through has made me so very wise.  I am also lucky that I do have healthy others around me too who will hear my truth and validate it.

I sang a love song to myself this morning.  I had a sense that my inner child is a heroine, she has survived so much, she was always worthy of love,  she has known such terrible loneliness and hunger, suicidal anguish at times and she has carried generations of feminine pain. I held and loved my body as it remembered and spoke to me of all of the terrible traumas it has gone through terminations, accidents, cuts, beatings, lacerations, abuse and bruises.  My work now : to nourish this body, to love this self, to parent my inner child, to express this truth that I know will help others too who are struggling to recover their truth and their voice and own and express it too, dark as it is, harsh as it is, as much as it confronts others, in the words of Tears for Fears.  Shout, shout, let it all out for if it stays within you, if you deny it, it will keep you trapped and lost.

3 thoughts on “The cost of not being able to express ourselves.

  1. I’m glad you were able to get to that point where you know to give up on changing how your mum thinks or remembers and concentrate on how best to heal yourself.

  2. Good to read a post of yours after a long time. Hope you are well. I found this very useful and agree that we need to get the support we need after a childhood of neglect which leads to us turning against ourselves as it were and not even being sure of our own feelings.

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