I just dropped Jasper off at the groomers and I took the way home that leads past where my family and I lived when all the tragedy began to befall us between 1979 and 1985 : the year when my father died. As usual when I drive along this long street we moved to when I was about 7 I start to feel a blackness and darkness all around me. I named my blog Emerging From the Dark Night because I guess I began to realise around 2001 about 8 years into my sobriety I had been living out that dark past unconsciously. Now that I have done the years of therapy and grieving, the long work of coming to terms with things and seeing how it was for the young me I feel a kind of distance from it. It is no longer affecting me as unconsciously.
I’ve made a friend over the past year who Jasper and I met first at the dog park then later on we both ended up walking our dogs in a big oval not far from where I live. My friend was in the middle of a thesis when we first met which she has now completed, and its only really in the past few months she has been opening up to me about her own childhood which was a lot like mine. She also became a family caretaker as her own needs were not met and she said she really struggles with the inner Persecutor too. We have a lot in common and its good to be able to share honestly with someone who understands how it is to come out of such a stoic emotionally repressive family where issues of perfectionism and emotional overcontrol were writ large.
I know we never totally escape the influences of our past but I do believe once we become aware of the darkness we can begin to live in the light but that means making new choices that are healthier for us and more conscious than the past ones and it does take some time.
I was also thinking today after listening to a radio interview on misfits how lonely it can be if we feel on the outside of society, peers or family. The point made on the programme was how misfits are able to see things in society that others do not see, due to the distance from involvements and their own, at times painful path, they see below the surface of things. It was an interesting interview too as the writer interviewed Mandy Sayer was speaking of how as a writer she cannot live with her husband who is a playright. They both live separately and get together in the evenings as both need the days for work. It struck me as a really good arrangement because one of the things I fear most about a relationship is being swallowed up and having no time to imagine, reflect, create and dream and so for those of us who are creative or introverted in this way it is important to find the right kind of relationship balance for us.
It felt a little strange to come back to my home just a short while ago. I felt that the trip I took down memory lane a moment ago has shown me how long it took me to be able to feel I could move back to my home town, just over 7 years ago and how important it has been for me to be here for these years. I got to have those final years with my older sister and my Mum and I feel fully reconciled to the way things were now. It is very sad because I see how much my older sister suffered and was trapped. I was thinking last night of how often she was denied things she wanted. The story line was that due to her ‘mania’ she was an who needed to be reined in. I do not think it was really true at all I just think Jude has such creative life energy and somehow she came undone before she could fully manifest it in the world and as a woman born into a patriarchal world in the 1940s she really struggled. She was so artistic and she didn’t have a nasty bone in her body. She always forgave her husband for abandoning her following her cerebral bleed in 1980 but sadly she was over medicated for most of her life and I am sure at times in the care home she lived, sometimes she was abused and her things got stolen.
I had a long chat with my other sis yesterday. I am glad now that a lot of the childish resentment I had towards her is healing. I am see her also as a product of her time, born in the 1950s she had her own struggle to try and find her way and sadly she married perhaps a little too young to someone who carried shadow qualities often denied in our stoic household, were ‘doing the right thing’, keeping up appearances and struggling to become upwardly mobile materially eclipsed to a large degree more underground energies and emotions. When he left her he was considered the bad guy and it is true he didn’t really treat her as well as he should have due to his own complex background as a adult child of an alcoholic but of course he married into our family which had its own history of addiction hidden in my Mum’s past.
It has been a battle for me to become separate, psychologically as the youngest in a far older family. There was 17 years between my older brother and I, 16 between Jude and I and 8 between Sue and I. With these large age gaps it was harder to relate and I often felt like an only child born to at that time (in the 1960s) far older parents whose focus was really not on raising a young daughter but more on the external focus. In my discussion with my friend yesterday she was talking of the mixed feelings she has around forgiveness with her own parents. On one hand she says she has empathy for them and knows they acted the way they did and treated her the way that did due to their background and past. At the same time she said she struggles a lot with issues of anger too. I could really relate to that.
I told her that my perspective is that in regards to the Inner Child we are still moving out of the medieval dark ages emotionally speaking. We are also trying to break apart patriarchal values which keep both men and woman as well as boys and girls trapped in limiting roles. I was listening to a programme on this today. I do feel for men at the moment as their behaviour towards woman is generating a lot of justified anger but I wonder too at the level of compassion that is really shown towards men who are also in many ways just victims of a repressive heroic dominance archetype of the supremacy of masculine (as opposed to male) power. Women and men both suffer in this climate and I hate to see men being blamed without a deeper insight being given into the causes that generate problematic behaviour towards women. In truth at a psychic level it is the inner feminine in both men and woman that suffered coming out of the patriarchal dark age. Men don’t need to be emasculated and boys need help to come to terms with softer emotions and vulnerabilities. My own family was dominated by excessive masculine values. Mum always worked and was never emotionally present. Feelings were not understood nor addressed. And then my Dad over worked and abused his own body with smoking, one of the reasons I do believe my older sister had her stroke was that she smoke and drank too much while overworking and taking birth control. It was a recipe for disaster really.
Anyway today I am sad for all of the past, but I am also grateful that in 1993 I finally bit the bullet and found sobriety. Along the pathway of recovery I have had to give up many things, jobs, relationships, houses and friendships. Lots had to go into the fire, but a lot has been transforming too. I feel many times like a witness who stood on the outside of a family watching at a critical time of soul evolution for us all. I feel blessed for all of the gifts given and I wont say I enjoyed all of the sadness and pain. At times I have felt like the weight of it would break me in two. But in the end I guess it was only my unhealthy ego defences that have dissolved or shattered along the way. My mistaken reactions of resistance and resentment had to go into the fire too so that I could understand the heart of innocence that underlay everything and feel the love and peace and happiness my parents and ancestors missed out on in their awesome and overpowering struggle for survival.