Being with the chaos : today’s reflections

I read a really good post yesterday on someone beginning to realise how much she struggles to control and fears a loss of control. I think it is something that can dog many of us who grow up with a lot of trauma or chaos that our little nervous systems, hearts and souls and minds tried to deal with and could not. I know it is a big issue with those of us from alcoholic or traumatic homes.

I feel my fear of chaos most around lunch time for some reason. I fear mess as I grew up with an OCD mother and in a house of emotional neglect, everything was tidy, clean and run to a strict schedule, there was no shirking duties even as a child. We learned to polish our own shoes and iron our school uniforms very young which kind of makes me smile when I know what my mother endured in a fatherless family. “I am never ironing sheets when I grow up,” she used to cry as she stood on a stool ironing sheets her mother made her iron.

Don’t get me wrong, I think discipline is good to some degree but combined with emotional neglect and a high degree of emotional illiteracy as well as the carried trauma on my Mum’s side of multigenerational trauma and addiction and unresolved grief it was a straight jacket to live inside for a young girl full of life born in 1962 to a Mum who was 36 but still inwardly a lost lost child.

Today at lunch as I surveyed the wreckage and detris of a lunch prep that included roasted carrots that had been preboiled, olives, half empty bottles of dressing, honey smeared cinnamon containers, a plate of discarded marinade that had been coating a small morsel of chicken I was roasting as well as pots of mozzarella and beetroot I started to hyperventilate and carton of hommus I had dropped and was now full of broken shards of plastic. I stood there in the trauma cascade of my OCD perfectionism and just let it wash over me and through me. I let my cells be alive in it. I then wrote this on a piece of paper :

I embrace chaos as the birthplace of the real and the new.

I remember a short time after we married my ex husband gave me a set of watercolours. I got panicked after using them because I didn’t want paint stains left on the combinined palette which was part of the set. He was bemused by this. I did manage to create several small pieces of art but I didn’t manage to get past the strangle hold of the inner critic in the long run to keep creating in chaos. And I had my foot badly burned on a caravanning holiday when I was painting as Mum was washing over the floors with a bucket of boiling water left on the stairs I didn’t see getting down from the table and stepped in and those were 3rd degree burns. I lost a lot of skin. This just one of a lot of injuries I sustained from Mum and Dad’s busyness and neglect. Not their ‘fault’ at all, never intended to hurt me but I WAS HURT A LOT!!

Unpacking all of the triggers around our fear of chaos or association with the out of control things that ended up wounding us takes some time. I am noticing when I call my sister a lot of this stuff gets triggered. I kept some space for her over the past 10 days but I got a call from my Mum’s best friend on Thursday and she hadn’t heard from my sis who is just recently out of hospital after a long period of treatment for anxiety and depression. So I then got worried and tried to phone and had to text. Turns our her battery on the phone was low and she may have been avoiding this ‘friend’ who often only contacts her on matters of the family estate (but not always!).

For me keeping distance is good but I still long for connection with my family. Her older son lives here but I never get invited to family events. I have called him 3 times in the past year and made overtures for connection but I do fear the reception I will receive should I take the risk to visit them. This son had my sister hospitalised and then she tried to take her life as short time after, I do not think he had a clue of what she was struggling with, that said she probably needed help but his fear of chaos kicked in too.

Today I see that my ‘chaos’ contains life energy. My vulnerability shows me where I have wounds or fears that are important to know about and come to terms with. I sidestep my own chaos at great loss. When I hold my own hand in the anxiety and make friends with my body that is often screaming loudly trying to get me attention I make real progress. Its just something I learning how to do and verbalise right now.

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