Thinking about my sister : some reflections

It’s quiet painful at times not seeing my sister who is still in psychiatric care, but it would be just as challenging possibly seeing her.. I recall how when, in her darkest moments, she would cling to me like I was a life raft with a silent pleading to help her, to stop the pain but no matter how often I told the doctors or my nephews that something other than drugs was needed nobody seemed to be able to hear me. And that Christmas at the coast where they were laughing so callously at Robbie Williams newly sober and struggling with his weight, I got so triggered I stormed out only to later return collapsing crying as my brother in law looked on in some kind of regret.

It was not easy being the only sober one, but far better than being medicated. Even though I still struggle so much with feeling safe in my body and endure those cascades trying to manage alone at least I am not in care and yet it sometimes seems I cannot rest. It is an independent, free life, never the less, I can cook and clean and get out walking and engage in life if I choose, in a way my sister no longer can..

When I talk to our Mum’s closest friend who was there and tried to be there for my sister, but not possibly in the way she needed we both feel sad for the wasted life.. My sister had that brief spurt of being able to function from October 2019 to July 2020, she sold the place she was forced into by family after other hospitalisations and collapses and moved into Mum’s unit but that did not work well for her.. She was still so enmeshed and there must have been so many emotions she was finding it hard to deal with and then the issue of one son who tried to help but so often seemed to cause her a lot more problems…

My way was to run on or away independently. As the youngest I went off alone anyway after Dad died.. I had no one but a lot of brief affairs, often with wounded men.. the exception being a lovely man called Tony Cooper born on the same day as me I met in Greece the following summer who saw I was drinking too much and wanted to help me. In time I got involved with someone else from the land of my ancestors migration, New Zealand, Simon. We did grow close but between my alcoholic melt downs due to buried grief and his difficulty understanding and commitment issues I was then dumped again. It seems I just never knew how to make sensible choices around men, possibly because I had not yet begun to deal with Dad’s emotional distance and early death or yet began to arrest my addiction to drugs and alcohol..

There are things you can only learn about yourself by living through and making so many mistakes if you have attachment trauma.. I am often the one rejecting dependency and then getting involved on the unhealthy end.. I truly do not know either what it is to be supported or let others take their own burdens on.. I step in too impulsively and then it all derails.. Its such an enormous juggling act. And something else about co-dependency occurred to me during my last therapy session with Katina where I was crying and crying over feeling so defective and broken that so often I find it hard to own what is beautiful, good, true and ‘right’ in me.. According to Melanie Beattie that, apparently, is a very strong sign of having had emotional abandonment and neglect shown towards one’s true self. Taking my own needs and longings seriously instead of dissing them is taking me a lot of time.

Any way in my blog all I can show to the world is this mixed up self of mine. I know I have no answers… Having the chiropractic done has not made things better I ended up wetting and shitting myself in bed last night.. I was swallowing pineapple and brazil nuts and magnesium and tumeric with cardamon with lemon juice and ginger about 12 pm after waking from a brief sleep in which I could not get up to wee fast enough. Later I lost some of my bowel but had on some pads and it was not too bad..It is so hard trying to manage all of this trauma that relates back the gut brain link and so many emotional and ancestral issues around my head injury.

God knows the body is a mysterious thing.. I had a very powerful dream before waking at 7.30 am. I was back on a very long strip of deserted beach and it seemed to be a metaphor for how it was to be in that last relationship when I ended up all alone at the coast house after the second head injury derailed my attempt to move back overseas.. My ex husband was telling me to go home and I had no support at all. I went to an ashram in the end and then a B and B for a while but it all got a bit much.. I did make some lovely spiritual friends then some of whom I still keep in touch with.. and I did things my free spirit loved like dancing and chanting and being in nature at the beautiful Challis Wells gardens in Glastonbury where I had so many visions of Christ.. I also used to love going to the small Magdalene Church there where people would leave prayers and wishes scattered over a simple altar.. it was there my ex husband told me in October 2005 he had met someone else and so I went home ending up in complete isolation at the house Dad built 7 years before he died

It was there in March 2007 that I met Phil and he made me feel I was too much of everything he did not like and wounded in my capacity to support his dreams. But what of my own? Why were my feelings always such a nuisance?.. It hurt a lot he hurt me so much and I tried I kept trying each time he told me something was wrong I tried not to be that but in the end who can erase themselves for love. its a strange thing but in the dream last night around the deserted dunes so like the ones in the isolated surfing spots he used to take us both during the years 2007 to 2010 I thought I had lost the keys to my car but when I checked my jacket pocket they were in the one on the right side (masculine/action side).. That may be an indicator of what Kat said to me about my growth in therapy that the toxic inner critic/saboteur is not derailing me as much as Phil was the outward manifestation of that negating critical force in my life from 2007 to early 2011 when we finally broke up.

Scott often says to me that the person who does not love you as you are and wants to change you into someone else will leave you as soon as they find that person.. But the problem was not that Phil did not love me as I was, it was that I DID NOT LOVE MYSELF ENOUGH TO SAY A BIG FAT NO TO ABUSE.

I listened yesterday to a newly published talk by Eckhart Tolle on not nourishing grievances with ex partners.. I can truly say I now know why I was treated that way by someone who refused therapy but told me I needed it. In the end maybe it was better for him to blame me.. and I am sure, at times, I was not immune to blaming him either.. it was not meant to last and it was fated to be as the astrological signifactors of our meeting time showed in both our charts.. On this life journey by some kind of weird happenstance we seem to be drawn to just those souls we need to work out our issues. And there is comfort in that.

I feel better for writing this… I did manage to get up and out and then back… I had a very simple breakfast and early lunch and experienced a lot of storming and writing and panic and crying but its only a week until Mercury goes direct and anxiety does build towards the stationing periods both forward and back. 6 of June is the date I met Jonathan in 1993, it is the date of my great great grandmother’s birthday and it only took 6 months out of meeting Jonathan for me to get sober on 6 December 1993.

Tough as my life is and as much as I feel for a sister who never took the 12 step pathway I guess I also know the distance I began to take from September last year in endlessly visiting the hospital only to walk away crying each time has been necessary.. Before that I was running around doing so much for her to help that never seemed to address the deeper wounds only she could work though and who is to say she is not doing that in her own Piscean way.. This Mercury retrograde began squaring both my sister Sue’s and my father’s Mars at 5 degrees of Sagittarius as it co-joined her Sun Venus conjunction in Pisces and my Mum’s Mars in Pisces also at 4 degrees. My sister keep so much inside of her like my father.. who had the triple conjunction of Sun Saturn and Mercury in the deeply internalized gut sign of Virgo.. his cancer appeared there and it took him very suddenly in 1985. My sister has battled breast cancer twice.

All I can do is pray and send her love.. much as we struggle with those of our own blood who so deeply hurt us at times we also love them just because they are flesh of our flesh. As multi-generational trauma therapist Mark Wolynn notes : to turn our backs on that flow of love never led me anywhere good. In the end I am no longer a little child while still having a very deep part of me that is the inner child of both past and present.. The pain over the longing to be seen is something, that in the end only I, as an emotionally awakening adult can learn ways to effectively manage and come to terms with.

Jesus wept : Easter Saturday reflections

Jesus wept!

I think these are some of the most powerful words in the Bible. On the even of his crucifixion, Jesus was desperate, he was alone, he was praying to be saved from his ‘fate’ while on another level knowing he could not be.. We can draw a parallel her with how it is for us when we go through so much trauma, especially at the hands of those who should care for, protect, nurture and love us ; parents, siblings, teacher, partners even friends. Going through so much damage and pain or loss of potentials can often seem a burden too huge to bear but until we can we will never find liberation from that ‘fate’, nor be able to embrace the transformation or post traumatic growth that lies on the other side

Jesus could feel and wrestle with those ‘demons’ and that is what marked him out and his crucifixion also shows that he could bear death.. In an interesting synchronicity, today in Australia on breakfast radio, presenter Geraldine Doogue interviewed a woman who has written a book on death and principally about how shy we are in our culture at facing it.

Most often when someone dies we leap to get the funeral organized as quickly as we can.. We often do not see the dead body and here in Australia often caskets are closed.. I know that in Holland there is a ritual in which the body is actually put in one of the rooms in the house in an open casket and is able to be viewed.. This gives people time to visit and say goodbyes or even talk to the loved one in order to resolve the loss.

For me, losing my father at 23, and never getting to see him either before or after he died was a major thing contributing to the fact that I never began to work through or resolve that loss (along with so many others) until many years later.. In my family my brother stepped in to manage everything and took over it all, as he did when my mother died, but in the case of Mum I did get to see her dead body. And I had said all I needed to say over those final 5 or so nights leading to her death in December 2017.

Many years later after I finally got sober and my godfather died in 2003 at 10 years of sobriety, I asked to be able to go to see his body. On the day he died from an aneurysm I actually had a pain in my head and at his funeral I got to cry but was shamed by my sister who called me to task for ‘making an exhibition of myself’ by crying while hugging his oldest grandson. One of the reasons my husband left me in the end in 2004 was that he did not want me feeling anything of the sadness of my Dad’s loss which began to really open up from around 2001 onwards and only when I had lived through over 8 years of active abstinence from alcohol and drugs. As I look back unresolved griefs from generations played such a huge part in the addiction legacy of my mother’s side of the family.

The anniversary of my older sister dying is in 4 days time but she actually died on Easter Sunday morning at 3 am in 2014.. I was lucky to be able to spend a lot of time with her on the Easter Saturday from around 4 pm to 11 pm when her sons arrived, sons she had been removed from in around 1983. After her death two of them came to stay with me and we got to talk through a lot, there was a big argument on the night of the funeral because they came home drunk and I was upset my other living sister had been shunted away into the psyche ward and so prevented from attending her funeral.. But the next day when they sobered up and I calmed down we resolved all of that. I will always be so grateful for those 4 or so days we three got to spend together while all the arrangements for her funeral were made.

The point I am trying to make here and the point the author of that book makes it that in trying to rush hurry up and hide ourselves from the dead body and our grief we miss essential times of transformation and deepening that may, in the end help us to face more of life.. We lie to ourselves when we think hiding our pain and grief or feelings of sadness or loss or ‘protecting’ people from theirs is doing them a service. That said each person’s grief process is individual and complex and we all know a manifold number of griefs in our lives and may come into families already riven with hidden ones from generations back, at least this is what I have began to learn about my own family of 6 or 7 generations lately.

Christ rises on Easter Sunday and a great light dawns.. to me that seems to a powerful metaphor for the fact that if we allow a grief process to play out fully (symbolically represented in the time he spends in the tomb with the 3 Marys also grieving fully during that time,) we can emerge into the light again and become deepened in our appreciation of the preciousness of each and every small moment of living remaining.. That is most certainly what I am experiencing lately, especially at this Easter anniversary of Judith’s death 8 years later.

Jesus shows me a human face when he cries, he shows me that my tears mean something. It is said in another part of the Bible that each one of our tears ever shed is held in a sacred vial and is meaningful to God. I firmly believe that.. So lets stop shunning those who grieve and stop running from our own.. Grief does make us feel powerless but as we say in AA there is one who has all power and if we kneel in full surrender to our grief then we will all too easily be able to see that magical and mysterious face of God.

Linked post :

Bound

You bound me up inside the straight jacket

Of your own emotional neglect

And insecurities

So tightly that I could no longer

Feel my own lifeblood and breath

Moving through me

And if the spirit of us

All that is most pure, live and real

Resides inside the power of air

That we can ingest

Then in that way you locked me up

Within an airless tower

So far from human life intelligence

Understanding, empathy and love

So now as I walk trying to take back my power

Is it any wonder I cry

Mum I was there for you

By your side every time you were suffering

Holding the hands of you and my sisters

Crying for what was done to all of us

And yet you chose to give that power away

To your oldest son

Who was never there

Always ran

Always had to deny

True passion, depth and feeling

Is it any wonder I wised to die

A short time ago

When it became clear

He would cut me down and try to deny me

Anyway he could

Human warmth

Understanding love and connection

But he is not that strong

For even as his fear locks he and his family up

In a prison

Slowly and painfully I feel the stolen air

Returning to my lungs

With this flood of returning feeling

So powerful it will not longer be denied

This is why we suicide

Or throw our souls on a funeral pire

Just as these old age women

Venerated the cutting masculine force

That severed them from feeling

While weeping all alone in silence

What can we do to make an uprising?

Mothers you were left

Empty and vacant

Even incapable of understanding

The deep wounds your returning husbands bore

Under a heavy cloak of restriction and silence

And so the damage got enacted on us

You tried to cut me to shape

To fit your ideal of what

A ‘nice’ girl could be

But I was not born to the a domesticated servant

I am a woman

With the heart of a lion

And I will not longer consent to this silence

To this hopelessness

To this grief

Even as I and my spiritual siblings weep

Over what is being done to us

In this darkest age

Of growing inner despair

And emotional blindness

A powerful tide is rising

A wild fire is burning

That will not be refused

But this the returning power of

Light and feeling

Passion and fire

Must be used skillfully

To cut our bleeding heart

Of enslaved humanity

Free

Grief is not an opponent : some reflections

This post may not be well received and it may have taken me many many years to get to this point of view (years of unconsciously fighting and resisting my own grief) but seeing grief as an enemy or an opponent that needs to be fought or feared or run from only seems to end up getting us in trouble in the long run. That said, when loss or hurt comes it does knock us sideways, it changes our view of life and ‘reality’, if it happens at a very young age it may leave an enormous void (possibly at any stage of life really!) ..

I believe that they way we come to view grief, death and loss is often determined by a culture. Ernest Becker wrote a Purlitzer Prize winning book in 1974 called The Denial of Death, in it he explored the battle we have with death forces. As many of us know who have been through loss, often we do not find a lot of assistance, understanding or empathy from others and many of us may actively be blocked in our process by others.

Edward Whitmont, a Jungian analyst gave the name heroic egoic to this particular time of consciousness we are currently coming out of it.. In this culture which was very influenced by the massive loss of the Black Plague

The Black Death (1348-5O), during which as much as half the population of Europe died, was not under Neptune in Pisces, you will be glad to read. Neptune was in Aquarius at the time, another sign associated with universality. The disease spread through fleas jumping from one person to the next, not through drinking water. However, Saturn, the Grim Reaper, was in Pisces. In fact, Saturn was sweeping from Neptune in Aquarius to Pluto and Uranus in Aries during those plague years, connecting disease to death.

Becker (and other such as Marion Woodman and Edward Edinger) have argued that over time as the heroic ego took control and put the feminine in chains taking the great mother as a generative force of the life death rebirth cycle out of the equation, death began to be seen as the enemy as was nature since it followed natural cycles that involve periods of necessary decay, breakdown and passing away as precursors to the next stage. So it is that often grief over death or loss is seen as a nuisance, aberration or mistake…

On a personal level to grieve may make us seem messy, out of control and chaotic when others would rather we be more ‘held together’ to struggle through may not be understood or supported. But really this time of grief and letting go as well as working through all the complex entangled and deep emotions that came about in the aftermath may be a time we need most support, understanding and help to move through so that grief and sadness can move too and become generative for the next stage of resurrection. When this process is blocked what happens : entrapment, stagnation, illness, endless rumination and fixation and a lot of fear.

Really grief,loss, change and endings are just all part of a natural cycle of life and when you come to observe the patterns of nature you see what a relatively short period in the life of a plant the blossoming of flowers takes or lasts for.. At the moment I have a plant in a pot outside I planted possibly just under a year ago.. I have been keeping the water up to it which has been a challenge here over the hot, dry summer months but I began to notice last week that tiny buds were forming and have been some time in the forming, on Monday I noticed a tinge of raspberry appearing on one of the buds.. My point is that like plants we all bloom and fade out our blooming in life cycles and when we live we will just encounter loss or change or periods of being fallow as a natural part of things.

Today on Radio National here in Australia there was a program on assisted dying, it was a program where listeners were invited to phone in with their experiences of suffering a terminal illness or old age and wishing to be able to end their lives.. one of the most poignant stories came from a man who lost his life partner a few years ago, the man who died was a scientist and had had a near death experience. In the chat segment where his living partner shared he spoke of the love between them and the observation of the stages of his beloved’s passing, the things said, the moments of love shared. You could hear the tears in his voice and feel the deep emotion of it all, and I am sure the man relished being able to share his experience.. But what struck me most was that the man had fully opened his heart to the experience and allowed it in, he was not fighting or resisting his grief and loss of his Beloved soul mate, he was through some act of grace able to be touch with the process of shedding, loss and decay in a totally non judgmental way. Listening to this made me think how much calmer grieving could be if we just did not fight it as much.. if we could some how find ways to honor it as a passage and surrender our hearts to the experience fully to the process.

Viewing grief as an enemy means we fight too much and in that resistance make it harder on ourselves and often on others around us.. That said we are human and we struggle with letting go and loss and the ability to have our full range of emotions is part of the human experience. But perhaps there is another way one that allows the sadness to flow and one that also allows us to surrender that cloak of grief when the time is right so that we do not end up becoming trapped in a perpetual state of inertia and mourning.

When you left

The air left the room when you entered, the force of the charge making my breath catch in the way it only can when someone you loved and then became unable to reach through to re-enters the vicinity. There were really no words to say, no more attempts to explain or plead or appease as there were in those painful months after we separated as I felt myself falling again into a hole so so deep, so so painful and oh so familiar.

I read on relationship survival group today that the pain we feel when a relationship ends is actually the pain our inner child felt in the absence of the parent’s love.. I am not entirely sure, do not other hearts break and minds tend to go under when the object of your love decides they no longer want you? Maybe in that situation the loss is not as acute if it does not end up re-triggering a far earlier wound.

I only look back now to the desperate steps I took then (in the months after you left) which were about me not facing my feelings fully and strangely this came to mind today when reading in Clementine Ford’s book How We Love about how she struggled to face or found it so painful to face her mother’s impending death from cancer and how, in time she did surrender to the sadness she was finally comforted by her mother who held her head in her lap in the hospital chapel as Clementine cried. There would be no such comfort for me from any quarter after you left. And so I ran desperately as I had to go away in that painful month after Dad passed on 8th of January 1985.

Loss can take a lot of time to negotiate. I think of the final nights of my own mother’s life, we did get to hold hands and say a lot of things that needed to be said but there was never an admission by her that she understood the deep pain she had passed on, in fact when I read the birthday card she gave me on my 54th birthday just a few days after I was diagnosed with breast cancer it is coldly detached and seems to lack any kind of warmth. Sad now but more truthful to acknowledge this. Even as I still struggle with blaming myself for ending up at the coast house after Jonathan decided to leave me and being asked how long I intended to stay and having my sister ask my mother to choose her favorite! It is all water under the bridge now but by God it was hard to live with that lack of emotional connection and care for and about my feelings.

Funny how it took us not working out for me to finally find myself.. some times lately I take a little peek at your Facebook page to see the kinds of things you post.. I enjoy some of them but there does not seem to be any emotion there, after all my feelings to you never made sense at all. Despite this I still remember that day at the cafe when I looked over and saw the beautiful blue of your eyes become even more vibrant contrasted against the deep indigo of your jacket.. I thought it was love but was it? I still pray for you.. I do not know if you ever think of me, but its okay I am at peace now.. you were such a necessary part of my journey.. and always will remain so, your leaving me took me into the deepest of pain, but in the end facing and feeling that was the necessary work that could not be shirked on the path home to finding my self, embracing and finally learning a way to love and understand myself and my past through my inner wounding.

Is anger a spiritual energy? : Why I believe it is.

It seems to me lately that our collective tendency to demonize anger is an evil thing.. Re-reading John Lee’s book on anger he takes a stand against those of his critics or those coming to one of his workshops that get scared of the anger releasing work he does and and tell him what he is doing is ‘unspiritual’ by encouraging them or others to express it.. As John expresses it :

(they) don’t feel safe expressing their anger because they are too afraid of contaminating the world with their ‘negative’ feelings.. (saying he is) ‘unleashing negativity into the room’ or ‘that pillows have feelings too’ (lol) … I say I consider myself a spiritual person, and I’m worried about the pain and anger many of us carry around. I figure if I can help people to get it out the Universe can be improved.

He goes onto explain that many of these people want him to help them ‘get over their anger’ but the point is anger does serve a purpose and even if we express it as a parent and explain why and take responsibility for those times we do inappropriately down load it onto others that will often help others, since we all carry some form of past anger and it needs to be understood.. And I do think there is an issue here between justified and unjustified anger.. Still it is a thorny issue for many who may have valid reasons to be scared based on their shadow or past.

In that section of the chapter Expressing Anger in his book Lee tells the story of a minister Tony who came to one of his workshops on anger. it took Tony some time to touch base with his anger (much of which was with his father) he also began to get in touch with feelings of hate for his Dad.. this may seem wrong to some but as the expression of Tony’s feelings transformed he then touched base with all of the love and longing he felt towards his dad.. In Lee’s words ‘he was bellowing it out.. and fell onto the couch weeping. Lee asks

Now, when was Tony most spiritual? When he was in denial about his anger… when he was beating on the couch and shouting how much he hated him? Or after he was through beating the couch and was overcome by his love for him? The answer seems obvious to me: after he had gone through the process and come out his denial, felt his rage, released it, and got to his deep hurt and love. He was much closer then to what I call spirituality, and perhaps forgiveness, than he had been before he did the work,

I tell (my spiritual critics) that for many years I was prematurely spiritual, just as I tried to be prematurely nice with everybody, Now, I say, I just try to be human and not frightened of my feelings. And my spirituality feels to em much stronger and deeper. I know many of my spiritual critics aren’t persuaded.

My therapist always tells me that anger is a cry from our True Self, that it has value but sadly anger can cause people a lot of fear as can the expression of grief : some people in the words of brain researcher Dan Seigel have a very thin or narrow window of tolerance for both. It took me a while to understand how my own grief triggered fear in my family and my anger got me in trouble.. It was not possible for them to understand the complex tangle beneath but even as I write this and think of how much my sister who died in 2014 and was so badly physically incapacitated used to scream and cry and writhe only to have meds forced on her and that Mum made attempts to understand sometimes, while shutting down and shutting her out at others I see how complex is the understanding of emotions at times both in families and in the wider culture..

To clarify, in his anger work Lee is not an advocate on anger being acted out on others indiscriminately, let me make this clear.. He is just advocating that we find a way to ex press it rather than de press it, i.e. move it out of the body and use it to help us know our value and values so we can set boundaries when needed or take down walls that may prevent present love from entering.. In this context his advocacy of the deep spirituality of anger being faced and harnessed for growth (most especially in our degree of fully embodied emotional maturity and literacy) makes sense to me..

Knots of anger can form in the words of Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Nhan and then get lodged in our body and that is toxic but that is due to the anger not being released from the body. There is a point that I have experienced that comes after a powerful rage release where you know it has left, some of the seeds will also remain and Lee makes this point towards the end of his book.. We will never be able for one minute in this life to change or magic away the difficult, painful, traumatic and wounding experiences that happened to us, but we do have a choice over how we come to terms with this level of damage and whether or not, in the end, we keep re-enacting it, either continually upon ourselves my inward self denigration, shame and internalized blame or outwards upon others via criticism or put downs or outright agression, violence, or abuse..

But one this is for sure anger is real and is a valid embodied reaction to what our spirits know to be wrong and also against psychological invasion.. Sick families that over run a child and then demonize that child for protesting are a toxic ground that sow the seeds for mental and emotional illness in their victims. Anger show us that injuries and our wounds are real, damage is (and was) real, it really did happen and it hurt .. a lot.. the 24,000 dollar question is what the hell will we do about it? And how lovingly can we soothe that wound after we through expression of the energy seek to come to terms with so many things in the past that hurt, damaged, scared, shattered or broken our positive spiritual fire and will.

We fight to exist. Personally, I am not ashamed of fighting to exist. We are doing no very extraordinary thing to fight simply because we do not wish to be enslaved or exterminated.

Donald Winnicott

On love and anger : some thoughts

It seems love and anger can not only coexist but have a big effect on each other, for if we loved and longed for love we may feel hurt and angry when it is not returned, at least not in the way that made sense for us.

I have not read the book The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman but I know for some of us time is one of the important ones.. My parents didn’t have a lot of time for me, often their focus was elsewhere and maybe I should be ‘over’ it by now but my heart can only leap for joy when a family member or anyone else calls or wants to spend time with me as sometimes that wound of being alone does smart, or maybe it only began to make its true presents felt to my conscious mind through the work I have been doing in therapy over past years.

This morning for some reason after reading all of those chapters on anger in John Lees book (as he addresses how few therapists can actually help us work on this issue due to not having done their own anger work) I woke thinking of the six therapists I went through after returning to my home town and before connecting with Katina in January 2016,… I was sent to Kat as my then therapist Rae went on a break and it was long break, when Kat and I connected I just felt her to be more engaged and warm, so after Rae got back from holiday I told her I wanted to make a change.. Kat has never kept me waiting, was always there to open the door and then walk me out to the top of the stairs and smile and wave at me as went back down them to my car. To someone like me with that level of attachment wounding this did mean a lot and one of my first therapists Brian Hunt once told me “Deb when you look for a therapist it needs to be someone who is freely available most of the time” I thank God for that advice.. Attachment wounds can only really begin to heal or become less painful if we are connected to and shown enough understanding and empathy so that we can then internalize that and then begin to show it to ourselves as adults.

Thinking of my other therapist, Anna Karamuel was a lovely Dutch therapist i managed to connect to shortly after returning to Canberra in 2011 a good friend of my sister recommended her as she went to see Anna after her own difficult relationship ended, but Anna was not available for twice weekly sessions. In time I tried several other therapists. One, a somatic therapist and I came to loggerheads when she tried to come too close to me in a body work session I just got triggered and lashed out.. She gave me a very cold hard look and said to me “you can leave if you want” all I could do was cry in shock as I retreated back to the couch I would sit on during other sessions we did not do on the floor body work.. Things fell apart rapidly after that.

I then went to see a lady called Christine Wild, that went okay but when my sister Judy died she was so strict, she would not allow me time to go with my Mum to clean out my sister’s room in the care home where she had been resident since 2003 and this sadly ended our relationship.. When ever my Mum was ill or take into emergency hospital care, Kat would always understand my need to be there for her was, at that time, more important than my own therapy, at least for a short while.

I was listening to a radio program today on conflict and discord in relationships and also on the issue of repair, it involved two aboriginal actresses playing a part in a new drama on racial issues, one of them intelligently said that she felt sometimes important relationships need to fracture so they can come back together in a new and more deeply intimate way.. That made sense to me. It is understood in Al Anon that those of us affected by alcoholism so often will cut off from people when hurt, that is fair enough, as we may need to self protect for a time but there is also the issue that we are all different, that we all come to relationships with different styles and energies and pasts and that sometimes these may clash and that a good relationship allows us a place to have conflict and so learn more from and about each other.

When I think of my relationship with Scott lately I think of how we have had to negotiate a number of difficult issues of trust, dependency, suspicion, anger and also longing.. Somehow the friendship we have developed between us over past years has survived even as I have now had to set limits on over giving to him.

Hopefully anger can find a place in our relationships if we can find a healthy way to express it.. Taking the risk of expressing my anger over certain issues to family members earlier in the month does seem to have made things much better between us.. Much as my sister keeps her own anger under wraps she has really shown compassion to me in mine, lately.. For that I am grateful.

Gary Chapman has actually also written another book on anger.. In it he speaks about giving others the opportunity to express angry feeling with and to us and from us to them.. How well we are responded to will make or break the relationship. For me, with huge fears about anger, I have always been scared the expression of it would lead to an ultimate rupture.. but this is not always the case and come to think of it if anger and grief are deeply linked then so are anger and love, when what we long for is withheld me may rage and as John Lee pointed out in that writing I shared yesterday under that rage may be old feelings of emotional abandonment surrounding our younger longing to be loved..

The depth of the hole we feel (often spoken of in recovery circles as ‘the hole in the soul’) will be a massive indicator of where our longings and wounds lay.. And it will be hurt in this situation not to be responded to with empathy even at the same time as we come over time to know that (as an emotionally mature adult) we can not always expect this from another separate human being,

The power of apology

I don’t know if anyone born after the 1970’s knows of the movie Love Story but there is a saying in it “love means never having to say you are sorry!”. I do not think it is wise or good advice really. As long as we are human we will stuff up from time to time, we will do things to hurt others, (maybe even unintentionally). Being able to say you feel sorry shows you care about what the other person is feeling even if their response also comes more out of their past history.

It is common knowledge that some people can never admit to being wrong, or say they regret anything.. My Mum was a lot like this, you often got the blame for stuff she did and she told me once when she hurt my sister in front of a good family friend, “I didn’t want to ‘lose face’ with Betty.” That struck me as really lacking in empathy for my sister who always tried to be so good to Mum and when she struggled got labelled as ‘being on a high” something she often repeats to me now when she looks back to something she did out of character. That always confuses me because it seems to be associated with needing something that has life and energy in it and we have both so often been cut down, especially by past partners with narcissistic issues.

One of the things I deeply love and respect about Scott is his ability to apologize.. He always says to me “sorry shows you care more about the health of your relationship, than your own ego.” Wow typical triple Libran comment that…

These days I know how important the admission of wrong doing can be.. It is so important not to label people when we are upset or accept labels laid on us by others.. Some of these can stick deep inside of us for years if our self esteem is low and often they say more about a certain person’s reaction to us than about us per se.. Empathy is always going to trump scatter gun judgments every single time.. Mercy is very important as a soul expansion attribute.

Feeling my true feelings : not easy!

Sometimes it seems to me that feeling my true feelings is impossible without my mind arguing back. There is the running critical commentary in my mind that argues with me about the way I am feeling and telling me I ‘ought to feel another way or uses some kind of philosophy.. This is not always bad as expressing our true feelings with some people may get us in a lot of hot water.. We may be judged. Then it is always a surprise to me when my repressed feelings just burst out sideways like they tend to do every second Wednesday when my gardener David comes..

David gets very focused on the garden, he was a bit mean and abrupt with me last year and I nearly told him not to come back, instead he reduced me to tears as I pleaded with him for help…he took mercy on me then but today he nearly tore my jumper when he was trying to take a branch off me I had pruned and I just said to him “please can you be more gentle with me?” On reflection I do think David’s visit triggers my painful feeling around masculine Mars energy and about my Dad too.. The struggle I seem to have with my living sister who can also be short, sharp tongued and abrupt seems to correlate with her Mars in Sagittarius at 4 degrees and squaring my natal Chiron at 4 Pisces in the 7th house of relationships. However in her chart Mars also squares her own Sun and Venus conjunction in Pisces and often I see her softer feeling side buried.. Mum had Mars in Pisces at 4 degrees.. Dad was often wounding her with his disconnection when she got highly emotional or triggered.

I woke today all twisted around anyway.. I have been listening to videos going to sleep from Louise Hay but I wake up and the phone is on fire next to my body, I know we are told not to sleep with our phones but I love the soothing of Louise’s voice and her focus on loving ourselves and this one I listen too involves also taking the inner children of both parents into our own heart.. for so often our parents inner kids caused us problems growing up…

It also occurred to me in the middle of the night that my brother’s oldest son lost his Grandad (my Dad) at the exact same age that my Dad lost his father.. 12 years of age.. That was also the age his Mum was when her mother died.. and that death marked her for a long long time. I had taken a family friend out yesterday who worked for my father and brother for a long time and when I mentioned wanting to try to improve this distant relationship she just said to me “Deb, be careful, Anthony is very controlling and narcissistic and anything you say will find it back to your brother” Its so tough to fear I will be judged, but his perfectionism/control issue is something I saw one time when we visited my nephew’s place and he talked down to his wife in a bossy way. In a strange stroke of synchronicity when I came back to my home town this house I ended up buying was the one his wife grew up in and at a recent family event my niece in law’s mother asked me if they could come and see it… I have not been prepared to do that before now as I did not feel safe or secure enough but I long to do it as I just love connecting.

I am realising that I have had so much to grieve today as I shed all of those tears trying to cut through a tree branch without a lot of success. I thought of the terminations of pregnancy particularly.. How sad that was.. to never be able to bring a child to term and how hard it was for my husband.. I was not ready… but sometimes it feels I am just cursed to so much aloneness. The battle is going on with Scott too.. I have few doubts he is not genuine now but this money issue is hanging over my head.. Money is a horrible issue because I have not lacked for money but I have lacked for attention, togetherness and most of all TIME.. Scott only has brief windows of contact due to his heavy schedule with training and patrol. We have two hour or hour and a half windows 5 days a week but lately with the morning’s closing in and due to the fact sometimes I am awake for a couple of hours in the middle of the night I am not often awake to talk.. I pushed myself today then got the shits he had to go.. I am never like this usually but I got really really angry about it and later was shouting at people in traffic blocking my way and going at a snail’s pace. WHY DOES EVERYONE ELSE’S SCHEDULE DOMINATE MINE.. WHY IS MY TIMETABLE SO FUCKING UNIMPORTANT.. Could be another wounded ego issue? Or a valid anger.. just not sure at all????

I know enough by now to know that when I react like this its about me not anything happening around me.. I just went down by the lake then and sat under a tree and prayed.. the cursing coming out of me was pretty darn intense and dark…

Buried feelings of grief so often masquerade underneath anger.. That is something I am learning more and more lately… with my Saturn Mars I feel blocked and put upon by the Universe but such an attitude isn’t a good one for me to feel happy and free.. So I try to keep always examining my motives and where my blocked or heavy feelings may be causing current problems or outbursts with the life and people around me.

The intrinsic connection between grief and love

It seems to me our deepest impulse in terms of the need to be loved underlies so much of our grief.. not only over loving and losing but over never finding that love in the form we needed it when young… We all long to be seen and known, when this doesn’t happen there is a grief that sits under the surface of consciousness and may not be ‘known’ by us for some time.. This ‘hole in the soul’ runs deep and since we first seek that in our family of origin its here where the wounds happen and they need to be addressed in later life if we want to eventually come fully to life in order to live and love as our true selves.

I was thinking a moment ago of the four solutions we resort to that Mark Wolynn talks of when we seek to connect with a parent or source of love in childhood.. one is that we find that source in them and do connect, the second is the parent fails to provide and so we cut off that longing and flow and subvert it.. in another we seek it from a sibling.. this is what I did with my Mum and Dad being unavailable.. it was my older sister who saw me, but she left and then got sick and so that was a double grief for me. Over time I learned to turn within or to substances and in time I lost access to my true feelings over it, it has been these feelings I have had to work with in active sobriety.

I just went and sat down by the lake and finished off a wonderful novel I have been reading but at the end of it my thoughts turned to my sister.. Earlier I read Oscar Cainers daily horoscope for Aquarius that said in an uncertain world its hard to know what to believe or where to turn but that there are five qualities that can sustain us.. : Kindness, Friendship, Generosity, Compassion and Love.. I thought of the nasty inaccurate things my living sister said to me in the year after Jonathan left and how her brutality coming out of emotional ignorance drove me over to the UK where the unprocessed anger and hurt over it lead to a massive head injury.. maybe something about this time that is now erased for her due to all the meds and shock treatment is perculating down inside.. She tried to erase me from the coast house earlier in the year by packing up all of my books and boxes and storing them in the shed.. To her it was probably done out of a desire to help me as I said it was hard to go down there alone to the place I ended up forsaken and abandoned after my husband left. I was so hurt by that back in February but I sucked it up on our trip there.. I just called the removalists and they came to pack it all up. I didn’t have an angry outburst I just cried and cried and cried. I seem to do a lot of crying around my sister when I don’t have anxiety spin outs around her.

Despite all of this I feel for my sister.. lying in bed with the blankets pulled up all around her unable to communicate with visitors… I don’t know what it is going to take to bring her back from the dark side this time.. and despite this I do feel love… but its a confused kind of love.

In the movie 28 Days Sandra Bullock makes friends with her sister who appears to be the more high functioning sibling in the traumatised family.. she recognises that her sister was once a child too in the family system and sought her own role which involved looking down on the ’embarrasing’ active addict who is expressing so much of the family pain…In a similar way my mother always forgave her mother for hitting her as she knew that as an abandoned war widow with no government assistance left to support a young daughter all alone so far from family that her Mum was frustrated.. it was something her best friend’s daughter and I discussed the other day… that generation had to suck it up… and they had to bury so much… trauma and stress just get carried or passed on as epigenetic research by Bruce Lipton and Dr Yehuda demonstrates..

I am a bit off the track writing this right now. It is a processing post… I just thought on the way home of how much, as a young child I longed for my sister’s love but how our family was so geared around externals it was hard to find that… in the end it is something I have had to find for myself as an adult with the help of therapy and my higher power. That said I still grieve for those who left me and could not love me where I was at and this included my ex husband.. He gave me a great gift when he emailed me back in May when he said “I really understand your need for therapy now.” He actively tried to block it along with my Mum but in the end I trusted my path into the dark…

Through it along the way I found the love for myself and even for my wounded family.. how could they give me something they never had, or a sense that I am perfect as I am even with all of my idiosyncrasies? I now see I can only gain that in any authentic way from within and even after years of being almost crippled by a virulent inner critic who was almost demonic at times.. Slowly over time and through much agony I am coming to a deeper understanding of the inner forces that drove me towards addiction and self hatred…I also understand more deeply and have more compassion for the forces that drove that poor inner child of my Mum who had to struggle so hard to be seen and find her own path..

At 14 years of age Mum actively defied a mother who wanted her only to be a domestic servant and found a profession.. She fought to be seen in the fashion industry by top designers.. she was bloody trojan, she just had to be.. I am glad in so many ways for the gifts of strength she bequeathed me as well as the deep deep insecurity… in the end it was for me to make sense of it all and carve my own self out of that inheritance.. today I feel myself becoming stronger while at times more profoundly aware of inner vulnerabilities, fears, weak spots and insecurities…

I am also learning how intimately and intricately longing, grief and love are interconnected along with rage… in the end each of us must work to understand the emotions that drive us as we grapple to find which emotions to express and which are in need of alchemy, each of us has to find ways to contain our wounds and find the healing solution in bearing witness to them for long enough that self love and insight as well as self compassion can arise. Armed with these tools we are less likely to judge others and we become more able to define boundaries as well as see where the impulses to merge or belong create complex challenges for us.