As children we were just open to wonder but sadly so much can happen in those early formative years to shut this down and if we had a depressed or anxious parent that would in some way be communicated to us.
As Thich Nhat Hanh reminds us in his book Fear many of our parents knew famines, wars and other kinds of trauma, struggles to survive, loss of parents and siblings and just a host of challenges all of which leave their imprints lodged within our DNA.
Gabor Mate a Canadian oncologist from Hungary who has worked a lot with addicts to stop the demonization of their survival responses shares in some of his talks about how, as a baby, he picked up with all the other babies the distress happening at that time in his world, a world on the brink of war. We absorb all of this as young ones but never give it a second thought.. If someone is diagnosed as BPD or bi polar how many psychiatrists do a family history, checking for the incident of addiction or other losses and treating from there before reaching for the meds? In one of the facilities where my sister was doing time over many months one of the psyche nurses was just as disordered as the patients in terms of early childhood trauma (I knew her from Al Anon but was supposed to keep that ‘a secret’) and it interests me that this nurse was not liked by my sister but really they had so much in common. How sad.
John Bradshaw was one of the first men in recovery to start addressing the impact of childhood, child rearing and toxic shame as well as shame bound emotions in those in recovery.. His many excellent books such as Healing The Shame That Binds You, Homecoming, and Creating Love address what happens to us at every stage of development and how our magical soul filled child is shut down in all kinds of ways.
Now when I get out in the mornings with Jasper, it is so lovely to connect to other adults not as shut down as both of my parents were.. My parents did not have much of a sense of fun when we grew up, I have shared in numerous posts before about the ‘runnning on empty’ syndrome in my family (link below to the work of Jonice Webb on this condition), it was all about work, work, work but in this way I am also beginning to understand the maybe my Dad felt alone living with Mum as she chose to work 9 to 5.30 four days a week, 9 to 9 on Fridays and 9 to 12 on Saturdays.. Maybe on some level Dad enjoyed this. He could get into the garden or play his music without Mum running around in a perfectionistic spin whipping things into a frenzy with her OCD panics all a legacy of being a neglected adult grandchild of an alcoholic.
My Mum’s best friend told me on Wednesday that Mum never visited Dad at the office and when she started showing up there after Dad died my sister in law got the shits she was so ‘needy’ making a comment about how now she needed to learn to stand on her own two feet.. This from a woman whose own mother died when she was only young and learned never to face the pain, but hate all of our family for who we were. I do understand why on some level, when she met my brother in around 1967 at the restaurant and came to live with us Mum was insulted that she kept herself separate from us reading up the back under the tree. I was too young to remember a lot of this and already traumatized by my beloved older sister marrying and then when Mum read her diaries and confronted her about an abortion she ended up making an enemy for life.
What a mixed up family of emotional turmoil deeply buried and submerged I was buried into.
My sister in law was nice to me when young though, she gave me a lot of books and later in life told me to get as far away from my Mum as I could after Jonathan left, the problem being Mum needed support and so did my older sister who by that stage was so damaged from her aneurysm and marriage detonating 3 years later when she tried to take her life.
Today I know all of that pain seeped into me as a child just as it did for Gabor Mate as a baby and that I NO LONGER NEED TO CARRY SADNESS THAT IS NOT MINE.. That said I need to give a voice in my poetry as it says something about the hidden legacy of my ancestors that I give voice to through Neptunian forms such as poetry.
Today I can be around people, slowly risk vulnerability and opening myself and gain joy from that. Earlier Jasper and I ran into a lovely couple in the park we go to whose little dog Harry jumped around and chased him as we conversed.. How super nice to be connected and to have my heart open.
Today I can see a magical universe and I am grateful.. I do not think I ‘chose’ this family, I think it’s just evolution really, this idea of us choosing things, it does not tie in with a lot of epigenetic research.. We are woven from fate and then have the choice to become more conscious but to do that we often have to find the way to negotiate what is hidden in the shadows.
On the brink of the Moon growing larger in reflected light from the Sun (at the moment it is sitting at about 4 degrees of Libra) as it moves towards fullness I can reflect (Moon opposing Sun) on my relationships (Venus and Libra) and how difficult it was for me to emerge as a separate individual (Mars and Sun, Aries and Leo) within them.. And slowly through my therapy, poetry and ancestral unwinding I am. For that I am so so so so so grateful as well as for my sobriety which happened when my planet of wounding and healing Chiron in Pisces as well as first house Pluto in the opposing sign of Virgo was transited.. Despite later injuries that occurred as I repeated the old family pattern of going back and forward to the land of my ancestors and despite any pain and anger I may feel around my family’s distance and disengagement emotionally on some level I can accept it.. The issue of Mum’s ashes did trigger me this week but then our family just choose to disconnect and its not conscious in them at all
And after all, there was a time I too, struggled to open up and so many times I needed a hug but was only told to go away.. So very far away, or else just took myself away due to feeling so very rejected misattunted to or never empathized with at all.. In the end my family are probably just not capable of that, it is up to me as an adult to embrace the inner child and also make sense of what may have happened to my ancestors to make their own beings filled with so much anxiety.. After all it was such a battle for them coming out of a past where so much was lost and where in they were fighting just as hard as they possibly could to survive.