I am awash in grief this morning. It wasn’t how the day started. I felt that same strange feeling of two energies or two worlds pulling my body this way and that. I had a bad accident a few weeks ago. My bed collapsed and I badly cut and bruised both legs. In a way it felt like the stored accident and PTSD trauma I have carried for years manifested now in some strange way.
Well other days, before today, the pain in my legs must have been dissociated because today the left leg which is really badly bruised is sore and burning. I feel sick in the stomach and aware of my responsibility to my dog to walk him first thing (which I can never do first thing due to my PTSD and lack of energy). Instead we went out and pottered around in the garden which is fresh from days of interspersed rain and sun.
So much is flooding my consciousness. I am beginning to see how deep unconscious defences and pain and urged me to keep the world at bay. I don’t think its been totally unreasonable that I have felt this way. At times in the past when my grief would break free, not everyone understood me, or was entirely validating. I seem to have been running around with all of this grief locked deep inside, but it seems today that locked deep down with it has also been my vital life energy and joy. The part of me that loves life and people and wants to open to and embrace them. The part that can also love and feel deeply. The part of me I did not feel was accepted. The part of me that has been barred from expressing by some deeply critical inner figure.
Last night at bedtime I picked up The Inner World of Trauma by Jungian therapist, Donald Kalsched which I had referred to in a post on the inner critic yesterday. I read the part that said that often if we have lacked a positive masculine figure to guide us and protect us in childhood, the masculine energy within us can turn back within the self to become a demonic and sadisitic inner figure that berates our True Self and feelings. In the face of this force or entity we crumble, become excessively self critical, destructive or split on some level. The inner critic/demon sets about berating us for our fears and our humanity. It sets up blocks against our vital life energy. It possibly also stops us feeling our true feelings, subverting them with things our mind tells us to keep our feelings safe. “Don’t risk being real. You will only be abandoned or left.” “It isn’t safe to trust your feelings.” We may become hyper rational and our feelings suffer as a result. I can most certainly identify with all of this.
I am also beginning to see where defensive voices have also told me lies about others at times to keep me safe. I see how I really feared to risk opening up my vulnerability due to fear and shame.
The cure for all of this is of course love. We only begin to heal from this inner sabotage once we learn to love ourselves and have compassion for our vulnerable, real, tender and True self. This may happen through finding a good therapist, or a friend that we can begin to trust opening up our true self to. It may become harder if we try again to open up our True Self to others and are then shamed or misjudged, or invalidated again. But once we have opened the door to the locked feelings of grief or pain or anger or sadness that the critic may have barred the way to a totally new sense of self begins to emerge from the wreckage. We feel a softening, an opening to deep wells of pain and tears. We shed, we release, we awaken. We begin to feel the soft, sore, tender spot in our hearts that speaks of our soul coming home. And we finally find compassion for our suffering and that of others. It is only this compassion that can keep the critic at bay and lead us forward in love.
What I am speaking of has, for me, been a very long process. I have only feel the defences inside me, the inner voices of my mind surrendering and giving way during the past few weeks. In some strange way this latest little accident has opened up something for me, for it happened on a night I was defending against closeness again. It seems to me that often when the risk of opening up occurs for me, I am vulnerable to accidents, if I don’t move forward. It is like something inside beats me up for not trusting, not reaching out, not connecting.
I guess in the end what I am learning is that my heart wants to reach and often it is only by opening myself up to the pain and grief of loss that I can come to hear how much my heart needs connection. And so, in some way, that pain comes to teach me essential lessons. Lessons I no longer want to run from.
I will be more aware of the critics voice over the next few weeks. My mother and I are planning a trip to see my nephews (the sons of my oldest sister who died 2 years ago). Part of me is scared, part of me longs to connect. For now I just need to stay with all the feelings evoked by this and the painful dichotomy I feel between the fear of reaching out and loving and the need to stay protected and safe in a place far from harm that can become a prison at times.