When I wrote my last post I actually had in mind to write a post on fathering as one aspect of self parenting. This absent or overly patriarchial father experience in our childhood leaves us with huge deficits. Dad is the one who should ideally help us to separate from Mum at the right time in our development. We need him both to see and admire us but also to set us healthy boundaries for self assertion and expression in the world. In modern times I am sure mothers can also do this for us but its the father who will give us the guidance to go out into the world and slay the dragons we might need to that block our way or hold us back and often he is the one that should help us in our separation from Mum, but what happens when he just isn’t there?
The overbearing or patriarchial father is one who may try to impose his will on us, and set too firm boundaries, blocking the expression of our true self in the world or forcing us to pursue a false agenda, if this happens its hard to find happiness, we may feel thwarted or cave under due to pressure from stronger wills, thinking we don’t have the right to say ‘no’ to what isn’t right for us, and squashing our ability to stay strong to deep soul impulses and find ways to honour them.
In my background I got a lot of the later at times, having other’s will imposed on me. My Dad may have seen me foundering after my accident and my sister’s trauma. I was. I had just graduated in the year I had my accident from school, but the final months were aborted due to being holed up in hospital, then I went into teaching as I wasn’t strong enough to travel and live in Sydney to do the social work degree I wanted to do. The following year I left to go North to Uni due to difficulties with all the trauma going down following my older sister’s cerebral bleed but I got overwhelmed without structure and support and then got involved with an addict and my own alcohol consumption was affecting my ability to study. Deep inside I was terrified of what was occurring, I wanted to go home to Mum and Dad and go back to my teaching but when I got back I was told there would be no argument, I would go into secretarial studies. Deep down I was SO ANGRY but that would not have been permitted. So I just went to the course and on weekends started to binge drink and use drugs.
The next 13 years played out with me stuck in secretarial or personal assistant jobs that I did well at but addiction was there in the wings as my soul was restless and deep down on an unconscious level I was not living the life I would have chosen to create for me.
When I suffered further trauma in 1990 with an ectopic pregnancy and a major relationship broke, I finally found the courage to quit my secretarial job and move in another direction but my addiction was firmly in place and I could not develop the good internal fatherly boundaries to develop the career in alternative health I was studying towards.
Eventually I got sober, I married, I found a good job in a bookshop but when my ex husband and I decided to move back to England I went back into secretarial. I had outside interests developing in sobriety into psychology and astrology but I was not sure of how to make a career of them. I started the psychological astrology course in 2001 and completed only 6 months when I felt the pull back to Australia. My older sister with all the trauma was being moved to a home and my Mum fell over and was in a lot of distress. I felt that if I stayed in the UK I would be abandoning them, so my husband and I came back but I was immediately depressed. I still could not break from the need I felt to fix my Mum and sister, so my marriage ended. I tried briefly to return to England and my course but had an accident again and so I came home and then I got stuck in another relationship in which I really did not develop my own interests outside.
All along as I review everything with the benefit of hindsight, I see how I have not had a very positive loving father inside to steer or guide me. I sought out therapy I am sure for this reason and Katina, my therapist and I were discussing yesterday how now therapy will not be so much about containing and holding my pain and grief, and mothering my lost child, but more about working to find healthy ways to develop and express and find meaningful purpose outside what has been a deeply enmeshed family situation over the past years. It is now up to me to be both loving mother and father to myself with the help from those who can be of assistance, its time to leave the past pain in the past to the degree that I don’t let it keep me stuck or mar either my present or future.
Its curious because today I fell into a big heap after a slow start and I began to get very strong images of my maternal great, great grandfather as he struggled with his own addiction after leaving his home of Cornwall in 1874. I thought of his pain and of how he in the end was of no help to his family. His wife left him with 16 children after they moved to New Zealand and those children all had to struggle to find their way in the world. Some remained in NZ but several migrated to Australia and my maternal great grandmother and my grandmother went to Victoria.
My grandmother met her husband in Victoria and he had at that stage served on the frontlines in various offensives in the First World War, including Lone Pine. He was only 16 when he joined up in 1916 and from what I know he developed his own addiction as a result and also was gassed so suffered in that way too. He died when my mother was only 7.
The theme of the absent father occurs like a repeat along my mother’s side of the family. On my father’s side it may have been similar in that my father’s dad died in 1932 when my father was only 12 and he may also have been a victim of war. I do believe these imprint themes of the lost, traumatised or emotionally wounded or absent father play down and show up in my chart in the Sun (ruling father) being squared by Neptune (planet of grief, loss, disappearance, vacancy or deep confusion and longing – the longing aspect stronger with Neptune in the sign that so much needs deep passion and attachment : Scorpio).
Having this kind of understanding for me highlights why I struggled so with my masculine, assertive and fatherly side. That part of me is not very strongly developed within, I have struggled with boundaries for most of my life and addiction as well both of which are Neptunian issues. I get a bit upset when I lose things, or think I have misplaced things, or when there is a mess or confusion around. I had a dream about this the other night where my ex had come into a house where I had left piles of mess lying around and tidied up and beautified the place. But mess at times can be creative too, its in the ability to bring some order to the chaos and confusion that so much art is born.
Fathering myself at the moment seems to be an emerging theme. I need to spend some time thinking about the skills I do have and how I can put them to good use. My astrology is important to me and I have always longed to teach it, its just at times I lack the trust in my own capacity to express. Fathering is the thing that will get me out of emotional overwhelm and unrequited longing at those times when such feelings are counter productive for me. It is the part that will get me to engage and go for what I want, rather than retreat or just throw up my hands and say it is all too hard.
The past years I have spent focused on my mother wound have born some good fruit, but endlessly focusing on what has been missing is not going to help me today. Today I have to work to put in and create from what seem like empty spaces. I need to sit with emptiness for as long as it takes for something to emerge and when it does I need to help it in its quest for life. To move forward, to grow, to attempt, to try, to express whatever goodness I can in my life. I feel so sad that I have not been able to sustain this kind of goodness at times but I do hope that this goodness will emerge if I can only keep a positive focus and find that lost father deep inside.