Our family doesn’t ‘do’ grief

I may be posting a torrent of posts over the next week or so.  The sun shifted into the depths of Scorpio a few days ago which relates to the emotional depths we feel and defend against passionately at times and the deep emotional feelings and pain we can carry over years.  In my own case it is where Neptune the planet of loss, dreams, illusions and unconditional love resides as it does for many of us born during the 1960s.  Other generations get other outer planets triggered at this time Pluto for the 1980s generation and Uranus for the 1970s generation.  (Anyway those astro facts just came to me while writing this and I could elaborate more on that which shows a transformation in the way different generations deal or don’t deal with feelings they have inherited or which have been passed down).

When Pluto passed over my Neptune in the mid 80s my father was diagnosed with cancer of the stomach around this time of year.  This came as the final trauma on the back of 5 major other traumas and was the watershed event that propelled me over seas and into the dark night of my addiction.  Its interesting that I got sober in early December 1993, 9 years almost to the day of my father’s operation (He died on the 8th of January).

So this time of year October to December is a very intense, highly charged period for myself and my mother and sister.  My brother keeps well away from us at this time of year, as he chose the flying response to my father’s illness and death.  He just never talks about it but goes overseas at this time of year.  He does try to make contact though.  Last year when we got together I cried silently in the corner making hot drinks for half an hour or so.  It wasn’t even really noticed.  The year before I could not even meet up with him for dinner and I posted a deep post that I will repost later today, more for my benefit than for anyone else’s really about my grief which at that point was not even fully conscious but present more as body pulls, panic attacks and other symptom I now feel are associated with complicated grief.

I am aware that I am apprehensive about traveling north with my Mother around the same time of year.  I am aware that our family doesn’t ‘do’ feelings.  Instead we ‘do’ addiction, mental illness or other disorders.  We ‘do’ illness, surgery, accidents.  WE ‘do’ loosing things, misplacing things.  We ‘do’ disorientation.

Recovery, I now see, for me, has been about learning to ‘do’, express and understand not only mine but everyone else’s feelings (or perhaps defences against feelings) more effectively.

I do feel grief at this time of year, but not as much as in years past.  I am lucky to have a good therapist to grieve with.  I don’t know if I had just stayed in AA if I would have been able to grieve as much.  Sometimes when I go to meetings (and this is rarer nowadays) I do cry when something others share triggers me.  The problem is that sometimes as an empath I am feeling their pain and then can get overwhelmed and get a bit lost.

Still I am sure it is good to cry.  There have been so many people in my past telling me that it isn’t good to cry that at times I have believed that crying too much wasn’t a good thing.  And that may be the case if I am sitting around crying instead of taking positive action I need to take.  There is a difference between crying over and over endlessly in self pity and having a good cleansing cry that releases old sadness and pain.  I always feel energised by the later where as the former tends to drain me.

Yesterday I picked my mother up to take her to the fruit and vegetable markets.  She told me a sad story of how the day before she went to the supermarket.  When she got home she realised she did not have her bag.  She was beside herself as it has a fistful of cash in it. (She only uses cash and only takes it out once a week.)  She was extremely distressed when a kindly nurse called to say she had Mum’s bag. At this point in telling the story my mother broke down and cried.  I knew it was her grief over the loss of so many things, not just the handbag and money both of which could be replaced.  But of course when I tried to say it might be grief I got pooh poohed!

I should have learned by now not to even say anything about grief at these kind of times.  It is really enough for me to know that this is what is going on, I don’t have to point it out. But this events cuts to the crux of why I find relationships so hard at times and why I turned to the bottle in the absence of deeper empathy and understanding.  Our family doesn’t ‘do’ feelings.  If I want to ‘do’ feelings its best to do then in private or with someone who understands and gets it, them, me and themselves.

P.S.  After posting this I had some quiet reflection.  A voice inside said to me “Deb this may be a bit narcissistic.  I am sure all of your family do their own grief in their own way, it is just difficult for them to share it.”  I guess this is the deeper insight I am coming to now in the light of turning this grief/family prism over and over, over many years.



Published by: emergingfromthedarknight

"The religious naturalist is provisioned with tales of natural emergence that are, to my mind, far more magical than traditional miracles. Emergence is inherent in everything that is alive, allowing our yearning for supernatural miracles to be subsumed by our joy in the countless miracles that surround us." Ursula Goodenough How to describe oneself? People are a mystery and there is so much more to us than just our particular experiences or occupations. I could write down a list of attributes and they still might not paint a complete picture pf Deborah Louise and in any case it would not be the full truth of me. I would say that my purpose here on Wordpress is to express some of my random experiences, thoughts and feelings, to share about my particular journey and explore some subjects dear to my heart, such as emotional recovery, healing and astrology while posting up some of the prose/poems which are an outgrowth of my labours with life, love and relationships. If anything I write touches you I would be so pleased to hear for the purpose of reaching out and expressung ourselves is hopefully to connect with each other and find where our souls meet.

Categories Cancer, Empathy, Expressing Feelings, Grief and Loss, Tears2 Comments

2 thoughts on “Our family doesn’t ‘do’ grief”

  1. I’m sorry this is such a hard time of year. And wow, your description of your family is so similar to my own. They do not do feelings either, and as the member who tries to work through things, it is difficult to have to somewhat hide my emotions in their presence. Best of luck as you continue navigating a challenging situation.

    Liked by 1 person

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