An enlightening conversation with my nephew

I am particularly close to my older sister’s four sons. They bore the brunt of a lot of the tragedy in our family which really related back to my great grandmother being the adult child of an alcoholic with a maternal grief history. I know a fair bit about my maternal Great Great Grandfather as a while after I got sober in the early 1990s it came to light his wife had left him after they immigrated to New Zealand in 1875 and that he struggled with his own addiction. Along the way I learned he had lost his own mother at 12 years of age and left Cornwall behind with his new wife and three children one of who died shortly after they arrived in New Zealand in March 1875. The first child lost bore the same name as my maternal great grandmother Eliza Jane and believe it or not one of my sister’s sons eventually ended up marrying an Eliza Jane who bore the same surname as the street my sister and her husband ended up lived in on their return to Australia from NZ after a few years of marriage.

The second baby Eliza Jane also died but our maternal great grandmother survived, I believe she was the 12th child of 18. She left N Z behind with her small daughter at some time in the early 1900s moving to Victoria and then my Nana moved to Canberra, so that is the songline of immigration travelled by my ancestors which has been woven back by other strands of our family trees branches.

Today my nephew and I were talking about compulsion and perfection. I was saying that recovery from addiction has taught me that these two as well as shame and unresolved grief or trauma or separation or loss are all part of addiction’s multi-generational legacy. My mother was a compulsive cleaner. I was actually injured really badly by her in the course of some of her ‘sprees’. I was sharing with my nephew today how once I hugged Mum in mid flight in one of these compulsion binges and she just broke down shaking and in tears. Any adult children or grandchildren of alcoholics or trauma survivors will identify that control plays a large part of how we defend against pain and out of controlness and trauma in the addictive family. And perfectionism can be a part of religious families, too.

I was sharing with my nephew today how I made the connection only a few weeks ago that perfectionism and doing a good job or being spot on the money with taking care of everything and trying to have things looking good was the way I though I could earn love. After talking we both realised that the love we received in childhood was very conditional upon being serious, working hard, never taking a break and struggling to always be upright. We drive ourselves hard because stopping means we have to feel things we don’t fully understand things that probably have long roots stretching back deep into the family history.

It was a special conversation today. I had to hang the phone up on this particular nephew on Monday evening. At the moment I am trying to help his brother in the aftermath of his marital breakdown and I think my older nephew was concerned it may be too much of a stress for me. So he was saying some things about his brother but they struck me as fairly harsh. I figured out in therapy why it triggered me so much yesterday, because my own inner critic is so powerful and corrosive when I sense the outer critic being turned against other family members who are struggling it really causes me enormous pain. I shared yesterday in my blog how I actually arrived at therapy yesterday in so much bodily distress due to all of the conflict between these two boys and my attempts to help one of them as well as Scott. I am beginning to see that the role I took on in my family was of the rescuer or ‘fixer’ and because I also have such a deep awareness of the roots of the family pain I do tend to carry or bear it or witness it for others. For example today as my nephew shared how he did not feel he could take a day off to grieve after his father died back in 2010 I really felt myself crying. This explained so much more to me about why he seems to be harder or a bit more defended against feelings even though I know all four boys are very very sensitive. I knew them as children as this particular nephew is only 7 years younger than me and that age gap is less than the ones I have with my own siblings.

I got a lot of resolution from our chat today. My body was shaking after I got off the phone. What I have been understanding over past days is how much in families we tend to judge our siblings. I think of how The Course In Miracles teachings say we are always trying to project guilt onto some one or something outside of us, we judge others by the outside rather than seeing the deeper roots that give rise to defensive behaviour. We see our brother or sister as guilty when maybe they are just unconscious or operate on a different wavelength to us.

I reached out to call my own brother yesterday too, I knew I would not hear from him unless something financial came up. I came across some of his old school photos from the early 1950s and I wanted to know if he would like to have them. It was good to see photos of my brother as a 10 or 12 year old and see his innocence. I understand more the trajectory his life has taken and why he so often just doesn’t seem to see me at all as a real person.

Anyway Jasper and I just got back from a beautiful autumnal walk in the park. The autumn colours are resplendent today and everything is zinging with energy after a much needed fall of rain. I sat on a bench then in the small park close to my Nana’s old house and communed with the ancestors for a while. I started to cry as memories came up of a drive I took with Mum in later years when she opened up to me about how Nana had her put into live in domestic service at the age of 13 which curiously is the age I started working part time in my family’s clothing retail business. Slowly I seem to be making some kind of peace with my family history. I want to drop the role of caretaker sometimes but with my Saturn Moon now being hit by the conjunction of the Sun with Uranus in Taurus maybe its all part of my complex multi-generational fate that I am struggling to come to terms with.

I wont lie Easter has been dreadfully solitary and a bit lonely at times. I finally connected with my sister yesterday on the phone and she is still in pain after her recent breast cancer op. I am glad she had the time with her family. Maybe it was better for this Easter I was in my own space. It still hurts. I long to be called up and thought about but the truth is I am not the centre of other’s universe. May be in the end that is just life.

Sometimes I feel like I don’t count, have not achieved much in my life but then I remember somehow over 25 years I have remained sober one day at a time. That is more than many carrying multigenerational trauma ever achieve and I have my blog and my poetry and growing connected relationships which are real and deep. So for all of that on this day, I must very much express gratitude and felt a lot more forgiveness towards my parents again today after that conversation recognising how hard they struggled in the aftermath of World War 2. Forgiveness for others often reflects our own level of self awareness, acceptance and compassion. So just possibly, maybe I am really ENOUGH!

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.

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