Facing the truth we buried or locked away

Child 4

It takes courage

To face and feel the pain

To leave denial behind

The thoughts and wishes that protected us

From the full onslaught of the harm

We learned to run or take distance from

When there was no witness there

And if others turned the killer energy on us

And our emotional reality

If they tried to punish or silence us

For trying to express the truth

They may force all these feelings to go mute

Or be locked so deep inside the body

We turn upon ourselves

And try to kill off our inner child

Or silence her screams of hunger, pain and hurt

We may have locked the child away

Behind a closed door

Or sent her far away

Consigning her to the bottom of an abyss

From within which she cries

But somehow with help

We must find the courage to face the pain

To give a voice to the hurt

To name the traumas

To feel and honour what was suffered

We must turn back within

Or make the long descent

To reach that abandoned little one within us

Who so sorely needs our love, belief, witness and attention

We must bring her into our heart

Hold her close to our breast

And help her to know

That she is loved

Over taken : reflections on feeling powerless

I had a very intense experience today.  It made clear a really deep theme and imprint in my life and for the first time I really felt free to connect with the deep rage and grief at the bottom of it.  Being a fairly sensitive person who is open, I open myself up, it doesn’t always serve me well and there are times when I need to be more protective of boundaries.  I have had several experience since I have lived in my cottage of gardeners coming and doing thing to plants or trees in my garden that I didn’t ask for and the other problem was I trusted they were going to do what I had asked or wanted and got distracted or wasn’t there to oversea.  It happened to me again today. I had an arborist in to take out some small trees at the back of the garage that were interfering with power lines and then I asked the person to prune my plum tree.

I had a call with a friend and then when I went out the arborist had pruned away a significant part of another tree that I had not asked him to touch.  I had a stunned moment and when he asked if everything was okay I just went kind of numb and speechless.    I felt this slam to the gut like I had been violated.

At the time this was going on another voice inside me was telling me not to over-react, that it was just a tree and the limbs would grow back but they had been sawed off and were all torn away leaving a huge ugly space in a place where there was formely a protective canopy and may I re-iterate.  I didn’t ask for this to happen”.  It took about an hour after the arborist left for the full impact of what just happened to hit home.  I got so, so angry and was in the shower screaming out “I never asked you to cut into that tree”.  After my shower I was doubled over in grief and my inner child was just crying and crying and so angry with adult me.  Why didn’t you protect me? she was screaming and adult me was crying.

What was also going on was just this feeling of being back inside the car all smashed up with bits of the engine cutting into my legs and lacerations to my mouth, not able to breath with my lung collapsed.  I was crying over how powerless I felt, how I could not stop so many bad things happening to me that were outside of my control going way, way back to my childhood : when I would be tickled in an abusive way or given enemas when really I had a stomach ache from loneliness or after a fight with my Mum, of being alone after school and having serious accidents with no one there to help or protect me.

All of this just hit me in the deepest, deepest way which is so difficult to really express in blog space.  Anyway I stayed with little Debs and comforted her.  I listened deeply to all of her pain and anger.  I told her how sorry I was she had had to go through these things from the past.  I helped in the best way to say how sorry I was that a mistake had been made that I didn’t intend and that next time I will be more aware but I also reminded her that her pain over the tree was really about a lot of other incidents of feeling powerless.  There was a lot of very deep grief and pain there going way, way back.  I then asked her what I could do to make her feel better knowing that I could not take the pain of the past away.  What she wanted was a quiet lunch and a trip to the library and not to have to take Jasper to the park today because adult me was too tired.  We also needed to cancel some other plans just to be able to ‘be’.

Its hard to explain but what happened today with the trees was not a small thing for me.  It was a deeply significant thing with roots reaching far back.  I am always anxious to allow gardeners into my garden as so many times I have had a similar thing happen.  I now have a very part time gardener who never does anything I don’t ask because he respects my boundaries he just wasn’t equipped to remove my trees and prune them.  What the arborist did today wasn’t right.  He thought he was doing the right thing so my anger has passed now, but never the less it was extremely important for me to feel it and express it to myself today.

I had a panic attack just after the arborist left and the panic attack only ended after I really listened to my inner child and did what I needed to do today which was just take care of me.   This latest incident with Venus retrograde square to Saturn shows me where a lot of my wounds to boundaries have happened.  Trees are very, very important to my soul.  They provide me with shelter and healing, to have one just cut about when I didn’t ask for it really does affect me. Others may think I am being too precious or sensitive but deep down I know I am not.  I know my body connects to these kind of things and so does my soul.  If my soul is hurting so am I and I wont find peace until I really turn within and trust what I feel even if its anger and realise the associations.  All feelings have messages for me about my past.

Tonight I have been panic attack free for about the first time in a few weeks. I am so grateful that I could really listen to myself today.  The torn tree wont go away and it will still hurt a bit to look at it, but I don’t feel angry tonight, only a bit disappointed but at the same time happy and at peace, because today I really listened to me and took my feelings seriously.

The wounds in my heart

Wounded heart

I perhaps write about the wound in my heart in indirect ways, but yesterday I really encountered it in therapy in a deep and painful way.  We were exploring my difficulty with attaching and bonding to my Mum as a child, how I had to revolve myself around my parents in order to be seen, how I felt invisible a lot of the time and  how that original wound has dogged me.  I am beginning to realise it wont every fully go away, it makes up a large part of my experience and soul.  There are wounds that added to that wound and deepened it over years.

I still long to connect with my Mum and at times it is just impossible.  I tried to write a poem about it last night but I couldn’t post it.  Mum gets fixated on what is happening inside her own head.  She makes up what is best to do without really asking and forms all kinds of ideas that are just not related to the other person at all.  Trying to connect from this point of view becomes so impossible and leaves me so alone and if I try to point something out I am told I mustn’t speak and influence her train of thought or else she wont be able to hold onto her own mind and thoughts.   As my therapist pointed out it them becomes almost impossible for me to hold onto my own reality, to have my own thoughts or find a place to go when I am struggling with issues or dilemmas.  All I can say is thank God for therapy and blogging!  Here I try my best to pour things out but even here at times the critic endlessly critiques them!

I was crying with Katina over how strong my separation anxiety is and how it would manifest in my past relationship.  I actually googled it last night and there is a disorder called Adult Separation Anxiety Disorder.  Katina told me that separation anxiety is stronger if you never really got to fully bond or connect in the first place.   Then she said this to me “it is a tragedy”. (By this she meant the unrequited longing and needs not ever being fully met.) Wow!!! That really hit home.  I was able to actually grieve not only for the young me who went through so much other trauma due to my wounds but also for the fact of how judgemental I have been of myself and of how often I attracted that judgement from others with no possibility of help to get through it.

I said to Katina “presently it seems as though there is another part of me that witnesses all of this, and that feels like progress.  I am not judging myself as much and when the critic judges me I answer it back with compassion”.  I also asked her “do people get through or heal this”.  “You are doing that,” she said.  “You are working so hard!”

Today I am fully aware of how for so many years I have felt like an exile in the wilderness of life.  Cast out on my own with only a few belongings, carrying this unresolved pit of hunger and need.  I have also noticed that at 5 pm I start to get ravenously hungry.  I just eat and eat and eat and then I have a panic attack after dinner.  This time of day was the most lonely and painful for me growing up and particularly all through my teens when I was the only one at home after my sister left but even when she was home it was lonely.

I would come home to an empty house and try to fill in the emptiness with television and snacks.  Dad would come home and barely talk to me, just go immediately to his room, change and go out into the garden.  I would wait and wait for Mum to come home just before 6 pm and then I would revolve my evening around trying to help her so to get some of her attention but most of it was focused on Dad and the two scotches they had every night before meals.

It is interesting to me that after my marriage broke apart and I tried to go back overseas it was at this time of day I had my major head trauma after a body therapy session trying to deal with the trauma of my divorce and earlier accident at 17.  I came off my bike and split my head open and woke up sick and stunned in an ambulance all the way on the other side of the world with not one real friend or family member.   Apparently when my family heard about it they didn’t think the problem was serious enough for them to come and help.  The family I was lodging with saw it all as an inconvenience.  Why was I over the other side of the world after my marriage had ended?  Why wasn’t I with family?  If they only knew.  My family was NEVER emotionally supportive.

Within all of this emotional emptiness it was not easy for me to be the best partner, either.  To be an adult walking around with so much soreness is not easy as so many of us know.  Its a real journey to learn how to love yourself through the entire experience and not fall into the trap of blaming yourself when that is what often happens anyway if you are a child who comes out of a narcissistic or emotionally neglectful background.  You carry then deep inside you along with feelings that in some way you are the cause of it all, if only you had tried harder, not been so needy, got away sooner, seen the writing on the wall…. on and on and on goes the inner critic that forms inside the deep void space.  And then add to this the judgements that rain down on you from the outside world.

This morning when I woke with my usual anxiety I was reminding myself just to keep meeting my anxiety with tenderness and compassion.  I was reminding myself that the field of compassion which we can find within and with a good therapist is the one open loving containing space that enables us to feel all of the pain in such a way that we also shower it with tenderness and mercy, without making the wound worse.

Then there is the work to do with reaching out to others for relationships and to express ourselves which also becomes the path we just don’t want to have to walk down due to the wounds we have known in the past,  we see phantoms all around and its hard when our insecurity or fear is not met with tenderness and compassion by others.

I mentioned the astrologer Melanie Reinhardt in a recent post.  I went to see her in London a few months after my accident.  She was speaking about the painful spiritual journey of being wounded and almost killed.  She was explaining to me how a near death experience such as I had at 17 opens someone up to a spiritual aspect of life where we are removed from the ordinary, veils get stripped away and we enter a place where things are never secure or solid or certain again.  Come to think of it its a lot like what certain Buddhist teachers such as Pema Chodron talk of : the groundless space where we experience the falling way of solid ground and our ego falls through space.  When I think about it this kind of void experience is something that many of us who have known emotional abandonment, betrayal or neglect encounter and so I guess such experiences do, in some way open us up to harsher realities and we feel the need to find sources of spiritual support.

At that meeting Melanie said to me that many therapists are not fully able to help with this kind of injury.  She made two recommendations.  Nurture your inner life and find a spiritual practice.   She also recommended the work of trauma specialist Peter Levine to me that I have shared about in other posts.  Today I am aware that this wound in my heart that I carry needs to be tended lovingly.  I need to realise that so many others suffer from it to.  Its not just me all. alone in an alien universe although this is how it often feels for us as children when we had no enlightened witness or support.  The wounds I went through are real but they can be the doorway that leads me into a deeper life and experience.  Much of my blog has come out of this wound space too and for that I am so grateful.  Today I know that opening up about my wounds connects me.  I don’t have to live in them every day, but they are very real and can not just be cured with platitudes or quick fixes.  I need to remember that and keep speaking about those deeper truths.

Last night I watched a programme on sex addiction and there were so many arguments on it from different points of view, but sadly early attachment trauma was not even touched on.  I left a comment on the programmes comments page.  It saddens me at times we don’t look deeper in our society into the soul of things.  That is also a form of heartbreak.  For me I can only find my own answers to the wound, others may have their own answers.  But it was also encouraging to see others opening up about their wounds on this programme.  I do believe that is where we find our healing, through that kind of openness and vulnerability.

 

Integrating our child self

Child3

Last week I shared some content from Michael Brown’s book The Presence Process about how important rediscovering the original innocence of our inner child is.  Unfortunately as we grow and are subjected to upsets in the course of our development we learn that this innocence is not so, we may feel we are bad for expressing certain emotions or having certain needs.   When we have tried to express our pain or distress with our parents, often we were not responded to with unconditional support.  We may have learned to distract ourselves or deny what we feel, we may carry anger, hurt, sadness or fear in response to what has happened to us.

Unfortunately such feelings don’t go away but remain locked deep within us in what MB calls emotional charge located deep inside our body at a felt level though just below our conscious awareness. However these feelings can be accessed if we apply a process of being present when we experience our distress instead of seeking ways to distract, numb or run away.

This process involves being a caring adult to our inner child.  Michael has this to say :

If we haven’t consciously interacted with our child self before, then our current relationship with it is similar to that of a parent who has for many years abandoned their child.  At about the age of seven, our childhood experience is deliberately redirected in preparation to enter the adult world.  This requires a willingness to turn around and walk away from our childhood.

As the years unfold, it’s unlikely we will choose to look back and consider the state of the child we once were.  We lay a blanket of forgetfulness over this aspect of our experience and openly admit we can’t remember much of what happened to us when we were children  For this reason, we may no longer be aware of our child self even though it continually watches everything.  We seemingly no longer feel the unintegrated aspects of its condition, despite the fact our adult discomfort is a mirror of this unintegrated charge.

We are so out of touch with how our child self affects us in the present that we may ask “Why now go back and face the past?   Why not leave the past alone and carry on with our life?”

Often the wider society around us reinforces this view. How often is the childhood of celebrities who meet a harsh end through suicide or other trauma explored at a deeper level?  People shake their heads and say “he or she was so popular, why did this happen?”, when the truth is that despite the acclaim, attention or outer recognition that person received perhaps it was for a  false self they learned to adopt, a dark humour which covered up a far deeper wound to their self esteem and self belief that remained hidden or was carried alone deep inside that they found it difficult to share with anyone else and felt the need to mask.

Meeting the inner child’s pain is the most loving thing we can do for ourselves on the path of healing. Knowing and revisiting or original pain or wounds can bring a deeper understanding and liberation from the past, freeing us to be more present and less likely to attract repeated traumas that are old unconscious replays.  Being able to grieve and own the fact of our pain and wounds allow us to know that there is nothing wrong with us for feeling sad or depressed or less than and that really all of these deep feelings make great sense in the right context. As children we may have been shamed for them by adults who were wounded children themselves but if we can see and recognise this we can free ourselves from unnecessary shame.

Being present for our inner child as a loving inner mother and father to this child will allow us to integrate this deepest part of us that has so much to teach us about who we really are and how we feel and what we really, truly need inside.  It will show us a door into our secret heartache and then we will find the words to speak about it feel it, acknowledge it, accept it and free it.

The price of our liberation can be pain.  But it is far better in the long run to allow ourselves to feel this pain than to keep denying it and leaving it trapped inside.  For to do so is to shut the door on a most essential part of us that is so necessary to our healing. and can only be shut out and exiled at great cost.

Unconditional love and Complex PTSD

I really do believe the most powerful force in the universe is love.  This week I have had some powerful moments of feeling love break through to me, most especially when the defences around my heart have melted and I have felt such enormous grief.  At these times I have been hearing an inner voice that says:

Only love is real.

I am not meaning to imply here that the painful things that happen to us didn’t happen, that they are not real but that the real force that opens us to the truth of what happened to us is actually love.  For without it there are only defences, protections and minimisations all of which block the true flow of love.    And it is the absence of true unconditional love the ends up damaging us as children.

C-PTSD is a syndrome of the dearth of unconditional love or what the great therapist Carl Rogers, called “unconditional positive regard”.  C-PTSD can occur when unconditional love is shut off in an all-or-nothing way in early childhood.

Without the unconditional love of a parent (which includes the discipline to help the child set boundaries at the appropriate age related time) we simply cannot thrive emotionally and we are left with deficits.  These can be repaired later in life if we can find a source of unconditional love from at least one person.  Alice Miller has given the name “enlightened witness” to this source.  The presence of just one person who can be there to help the child know and mirror its true reality including painful responses to the trauma of loss of love will make all the difference for healing.

As Peter Walker points out and so many of us in recovery know we often carry this desire for unconditional love and positive regard into all of our relationships in later life.  In fact the sheer longing for it will bear testament to the lack we feel.  Healing and growing in awareness will confront us with the painful reality that very few people will be able to provide this for us later in life.  There is no one out there who can heal our childhood longing and hurt.  When we transfer it onto ordinary human relationships we ask too much and often we attract to us the vary partners who are most unsuited to give us this love.

Such a heavy demand can exact a huge toll on later relationships and part of healing requires understanding at a deeper level where our deep feelings of emptiness and longing come from and finding ways to meet them in different relationships and activities that nurture us and fill us with a feeling of peace. It also requires that we turn around and give to ourselves the unconditional love we longed for in childhood when we experience emotional distress and pain.

Although Michael Brown doesn’t ever use the term Complex PTSD in his book on presence, he does talk of unintegrated emotional charges which cause us pain that relate back to our childhood.  His method for working with them is outlined in his book.  Often we turn to others when we are distressed hoping they may give us this unconditional positive regard, some people will be able to do it but there will often be times they are not available.  In that case we need to turn back towards ourselves.   Sitting still with ourselves. Focusing on our breath. Speaking loving and soothing words towards our inner child, even opening up to ask him or her how she is feeling or what reminder from the past is being triggered for us will help.

Yesterday while sitting through a very long Catholic funeral service I started to feel distressed and agitated,  Part of me wanted to get the hell out of the room into the fresh air or far far away.  But for the moment I concentrated on my breath.  “What does this remind you of?” I asked my inner child.  She was telling me how much she hated having to sit through benediction services every Wednesday, how restricting and confining she found the space and the smell of the incense, how emotionally shut down and full of guilt and shame she found the service with its emphasis on the judgement of god for sins.  I was able to hear all of this and my distress soon ended.  I didn’t actually have to get away from the service, I could watch it as a witness and see how it and why it was affecting me more deeply inside.   There was some freedom in that. By simply being present with myself I learned something and not all things about the service were ‘bad’, I was able to see some of the good things without running away.  I shared about it later with my therapist.  Of how often I can get this urge to run and get away from heavy things but how lately I don’t have to react as quickly to do so if I check in.  It was a good observation to make.   I felt apart from but not lost somewhere deep inside.  The presence process had really helped me deepen my understanding.

Getting to know our inner child

Some people may not have learned to disconnect from their inner child as much as others. Some people may be much luckier in having developed a good relationship with their inner child.  Some people (like me) may have struggled with developing and connecting through a relationship with this inner part of us for a long time.

Working through the book Freedom From Your Inner Critic I am now at the point where I am being asked to reconnect with my inner child. Often we can be too blended with the inner critic to ever accept our inner little one as who she or he really is and to accept also how he or she really feels.

Just a moment ago when I had a conversation with my inner child this is what she said to me.

I am so angry with you, all you do is push me all the time to be better and have everything tidy.  I am not allowed to relax or have fun because you are trying so hard to keep everything together just like your mother did.  Well you know what I am so fed up with it, I am so tired, you never let me rest the only way I can make you know how I feel is causing you great pain in your body.  I don’t even really trust that you are going to take care of me.

Phew!!!  Up to this point from 8.30 am I had been on the go apart for a brief respite to have breakfast out with Jasper, along the way while gardening I  cut my finger and then cut my head on a branch sticking out of the climber I was pruning, I then sat down with a headache!!  Its very apparent to me that my inner child is right, I was back in compulsive cleaning and tidying up mode.

This is what Jay Earley and Bonnie Weiss say about an inner child who has not been connected to:

in response to the critics attacks… the Child often feels worthless, depressed, hopeless, hurt or ashamed.  ..The Child has been carrying pain that originated when you were young; the Critic is triggering that pain and making it worse.  In IFS an important step in the healing process involves uncovering the situations that caused you pain in the first place.

Ask the Child to show you a memory or image of what happened when you were young to cause it to feel so bad about itself.  It will show you situations….. witness those early memories, relationships, and situations from Self with caring an compassion for the pain of the Child…. it is usually not necessary for you to experience the pain of those situations, just witness them.  However your witnessing must be done from a place of empathy, not a removed or purely intellectual place.

(After witnessing the situations fully)… check to see if the Child feels that you understand how bad it was and, if necessary, have it show you more until it feels you understand it.

Working through this process with some of my memories has been very instructive.  Because I am also aware of how my mother’s inner child suffered in similar ways I have also been making the connection between us.   There was always an intense charge around cleaning in our home and it negated deeper needs for closeness and often the anger and rages that went along with these frenzies of cleaning made me feel very lonely and scared.  This intensity also explains a bit to me about my outburst with my dog Jasper last night when he was following me around.  The dependent self that often gets projected on him was being rejected by me as my mother used to reject me and her mother used to reject her, getting the child to do all the chores so as not to be a bother but leaving the Inner Child sadder and lonelier than before.

Separating out from our Inner Child is essential to the healing process as is witnessing and understanding where its present day pain comes from.  Often we can be blended with the Inner Child and in this situation there is not a separate adult self within us that can take care of the little one and witness feelings without being totally overwhelmed or to use John Lee’s description age regressed. 

The Inner Child within us needs the compassionate loving Adult part of our self to show up and re-parent it, providing an avenue of expression for the Child’s deepest feeling, thoughts and pain in response to deprivation, abandonment or shaming.    The loving adult is the one who in not being blended with the Inner Critic no longer damages the Inner Child over and over just as the Child was damaged in the past by wounding or emotionally unavailable others.  Working in this way also loosens the hold of the Inner Protector which functions to protect the child from harm but does not allow our Adult self to open to, or understand the roots of its pain from the past.

Since connecting with my inner Child’s anger much of the pain and tightness I was previously feeling has eased.

Anger is a valid feeling for an exile (that inner child part of us that has been split off or hidden).  It needs to be witnessed as much as more vulnerable feelings do.

Working with our exiled parts and feelings is essential to helping us overcome the inner criticism which often leads to low self esteem and feelings of depression.  Developing the inner witness and reparenting the exiled child is important inner work we can do to help ourselves heal and understand old injuries.

 

 

Lancing a boil, cleaning out the wound

We are currently in the midst of a conjunction or meeting together of the planet of communications, perceptions, early relationships and siblings (Mercury) with the planet that deals with subconscious intense experiences which lead us either to a negotiation with deeply buried pain. We can deal with this pain through ongoing resentment or find a transformation of perspective (Pluto) through facing the dark and painful reactions we meet through the experience most especially through accepting and grieving the wound.  I  touched on this subject in an earlier post.

When I read about this conjunction the other day it made sense of the deep pain I went through between Friday and Sunday.  Today I feel I have come out into a clearing where I can see the deep, deep resentment, pain and anger I have always carried at a deeply subconscious level as a result of repeated abandonments, many of which took place at this time of year.   The abandonments go way, way back to my earliest childhood and I see the repetitive theme as it has played out over at least 50 or more years.  The intensity of the pain on Friday and Saturday felt for me almost too powerful to contain. Certain avenues of support were pulled back due to the rage that came out of me and other avenues of support opening up (thankfully) as I am not sure I could have contained the experience on my own, without both validation and an awareness of others who could help me raise my own perspective.

I guess that our psyche in some strange way arranges for us, experiences in which we get to discover our wounds.  There are wound awakeners around us who catalyse old pain in intense ways.  Through this experience we get to learn more about ourselves and the unconscious impact of our past on us, through them we get set up for an encounter with our wounded self or inner child.

According to abandonment expert, Susan Anderson the way we deal with our abandonment which may be largely unconscious is to act out in outer child behaviours.  In this state we are age regressed, emotionally hijacked, no longer in our adult mind at all.  We are just overcome powerfully by an intense experience of pain, rage, discomfort, disappointment, anger, anxiety, emptiness or dread.

Susan uses the acronym of S.W.I.R.L. for how the abandonment depression affects.  First we feel Shattered, blown into a million pieces, dissociated or numb, secondly we Withdrawour energy into ourselves like a wounded animal with a painful splinter lodged in its paw, thirdly we Internalise the pain in our body and suffer from depression, loss of energy, heartache and interned helplessness and anger, fourthly we encounter Rage at the abandonment or loss, we rail against the injustice, we may go on binges of eating, drinking or sexing, and through our rage we can touch base with old pain and grief which we can then feel once we begin to let go of the powerful hold that rage can have on us.

Finally once we have negotiated all of the four stages we have the chance Lifting  out of the abandonment experience but only if we can get help and development of working through the initial stages.  I would refer readers to Susan’s book The Journey from Abandonment to Healing for a more detailed exploration of the stages of S.W.I.R.L.

Suffice to say for the purposes of this blog I know I have negotiated all stages since my marriage ended 12 years ago and then worked out more with the second relationship gone wrong 5 years ago.  Lately I have experienced times of lifting out of the abandonment depression but I was retriggered into it most intensely last week by a friend letting me down and then my therapist having trouble containing me on Friday.  Luckily for me I have another therapist I could turn to today.  I was able to be put back in my adult mind and self by talking through everything with her today.  We worked on some strategies to use when I felt over come.  I then talked it over with my mother and sister and they offered me empathy, validation and support but not the connection back to my childhood, that is and has been my work.

This afternoon I feel in a stronger place.  I know tomorrow when I meet my therapist I will be able to express my pain and disappointment not from the regressed outer child but from my adult and inner child.  I will be able to apologise but I also think that for now I have met the end of the road with Katina for a little while.  Mercury goes retrograde soon and that is a time to put the stops on too much outer activity and time to reflect deeply on past issues.  I want to spend some quiet time with myself and my inner child over the net few weeks.

Today I also bought Louise Hays’ book The Power is Within You.  I want to use her advice to get in touch with my best self and begin to make real efforts to demonstrate and practice self love and unconditional acceptance towards myself.  I no longer want the rage or negativity to dominate my life and relationships. I know facing my deep rage and anger has been necessary, now I need to put things in place to set good boundaries for my outer child.  I am at a critical phase of my healing and Mercury’s meeting with Pluto has lanced a boil that was simmering away inside me and needed to be purged, a wound that needed to burst open so that toxins could come out and healing energy could enter.  I know this most absolutely as a strong conviction within my inner self which I am learning is the true source of all love.

I want to be force for the love and light of this inner self in the world from now on so the wound no longer dominates by keeping me in withdrawal as it has in the past.  I know the withdrawal was a necessary stage, but now I want to re-engage with life and relationships, from a far clearer place than I have previously been able to occupy.

 

Certain ‘friends’ can retrigger you

I should have known enough by now to know that just when I was starting to travel really well and get more of a grip on self care and the roots of my abandonment trauma that I would be set up for yet another dose of being taken down by a retrigger incident and that was just what happened to me today.

One of the impacts of having abandonment trauma or emotionally unavailable parents is that we get set up for these kinds of relationships later in life.  We maybe aware on one level that something is not quite right or off the nose in some way.  It’s those little things that others can do which are actually big things to us that can set us back and make us nose dive down into that huge conglomerate of pain that sits inside us from all the times we were abandoned or betrayed in some way.

This happened to me today with someone that has proved to be fairly inconsistent in the past.  This is beyond one friend just disappointing another.  It is about a friend who made commitment to be there reneging on things due to her own inability to say no and set good boundaries with others and it burned me really bad.  I adapted my schedule around this person because certain times and days of meeting didn’t suit her. Never mind that it took her four days to return a call when I was so clearly in emotional distress.  Silly me went back for another dose of being let down today and I got stung really, really badly.   And the affect on my body and soul was so powerful, I literally felt like my insides had been scalded with burning liquid.

As a friend of mine said when I was sharing about it with him in order to come to clarity.  “There are some people that rob your time and energy.”  This person consistently turns up late.  She will then deny that she was actually late on so many occasions and maybe for others who don’t have the degree of abandonment trauma that I have this may be manageable but what I have found out today is that it costs me far too much to engage with someone who consistently demonstrates by her actions that my time and needs aren’t that important.

I took the risk today to express how it felt to be subject to this kind of treatment after being blown off with 5 minutes notice after spending the entire morning and yesterday executing a morning tea for her.  I didn’t receive any answer and my entire body and then digestive system went haywire for the entire afternoon, at least until I eventually found a way to express the anger and get myself back into a calm centred space with little Jasper.

What I learned today is that I have to be a lot stricter with third and fourth chances, especially in interpersonal relationships,  for if I don’t honour my own truth and needs my body soon enough makes the truth known.   Trusting someone inconsistent or emotionally unavailable does have really painful consequences for me. It can launch me back down into the spiral of emotional abandonment depression that is very, very powerful and deep.  This is the place I am working so hard to break free of.  It has dogged me for so much of my life and I absolutely don’t want it to rob my life energy anymore.  And so I must definitively shut the door on those people and those relationships that trigger me and take good steps to deal constructively with the pain that occurs when I am launched back again into deep abandonment depression.

(Later  :  I wish I was stronger.  I wish this didn’t affect me as deeply.  I am unclear as to whether my friend should have to carry the wrap for past pain stirred up.  I am so confused at times but I only know it hurt me very, very deeply today.  I can’t seem to rationalise my feelings any more.)

It hurts

Loneliness

I wrote this post quite some months ago.  Fear and the inner critic stopped me posting it.  Now I read it I know how raw and real it is.  I simply must post it.

It hurts to be sent to your room when you are upset as a child.  It hurts that your parents didn’t understand you needed a hug.  You were acting up because you were not getting the attention needed.  You were left alone a lot and so you got up to mischief and learned to eat when bored or lonely.  You really had no where to turn with your feelings when things got tough.

It hurts to have had your feelings so misunderstood or denied that they had to either turn to a tornado inside you or made you feel so numb and confused that you then got trapped in an analysis/paralysis slip replay inner dialogue that revolves and revolves on an endless repetitive negative feedback loop with no way out, like a serpent swallowing its tail :  “there is no real reason you should feel this way, your parents cared didn’t they?  They provided for you didn’t they? What is wrong with you? Other people cope. They just get on.  They don’t get stuck.  Why can’t you do, be, feel better?”  Urrrggggghahha..

But the truth was you were emotionally neglected and until you realise this the silent pain will continue to rattle around in your tissues and the feelings of emptiness and uselessness you have will continue to grow and your moods and depression won’t make much sense.

It hurts to be told that you are not really hurting when in fact you are.  It hurts when you get third degree burns on your foot because your Mum was compulsively cleaning the caravan on holiday close to where you were sitting and drawing and you put your foot in the bucket.  It’s your fault.  You are accident prone.  It hurts when it happens again with fish hook Dad left lying around that gets stuck in the webbing of your big and second toe and you cry a lot.  It hurts when you arm is pulled out of its socket while being swung around.  It hurts when you cut your wrist open trying to open a window because the latch key is not there when you come home. Its your fault, you should have remembered to put it back.  Get it together for God’s sake!

It hurts to be longing to spend time with your Mum cause you aren’t feeling well but she is going to work anyway, you get a stomach ache, they call the doctor, he ends up giving you an enema. You have a horrible icky feeling inside you it makes you feel so ashamed and even more sick, sore and sad and alone.  What hurts most is that no one can sense what you really need and you don’t realise this and that hurts more than anything, more probably than even being hit.

So you learn to turn away from yourself and you learn that its not a good idea to trust others.  You learn to turn away from your family.  And when the shit goes down you learn there is really no time for them to notice how it is for you.  So you silently go to the cask on top of the fridge and fill a mug with wine and drink that.  It is a way to ease the pain.

Later it hurts to go into the fellowship and be told you have defects of character that need to be healed.  You know that drinking is bad for you, it makes you feel sick.  Its good to know others go through the same but sometimes when you hear their stories you feel so sad and you wonder how you can get true help here and if everyone really knows what its all about.  You stay for as long as it takes to get sober but in end it doesn’t feel like its answering the deeper questions.  So again you go away.

You learned a long time ago, very harsh lessons.  In this life you are alone,  its hard to trust others, when you are hurting there really isn’t anywhere to turn, you can never be certain that what you feel or think is true,  you start to feel numb and like you do not fit in.  And in the end you learn it’s really all your fault.  Your mother tells you this later. “Of course, I do admire your sobriety but you know you are the only one in this family with a problem.”.

So you come to believe that if only you tried harder, were a better person, weren’t so sad and angry things would be better but the truth is until you know why you feel this way there is no way you can heal and until you can take your hurt seriously and find others who you can trust and do understand to show you empathy and support you are essentially stuffed.

You have to understand where the feelings of emptiness come from, you have to understand the longing that lies under the anger.  And most especially you need to understand that all your feelings make sense and in order to heal you have to start taking them seriously and contain them and learn what messages they are giving you and the action you need to take instead of acting them out, so that the hurting can end.

 

And after the flood : a clearing opens up

 1

I only slept four hours last night. I know that I had two huge days over the weekend.  I was feeling the depths of so many things and connecting the dots on so many more.   I had contact with an old friend with whom I had had a very traumatic experience just over 5 years ago.  I was hesitant to mention any of it in my blog, my friend knows I write a blog but guards her privacy.  In the heat of our difficulties she was upset with me that I had posted a comment on an astrology site about what happened between us back in 2010.  I was only trying to find some clarity in what was a deeply confusing situation in which so much was undifferentiated for me.  We had made a visit to a monastery in the country which she loved but I felt to be steeped in pain. From the moment we arrived there I could not stop crying and I was not the first person to respond in this way.  I know now, knowing the history of what took place there that my feelings had a reason based back in time and also as a resonance for our own emotional abandonment issues.  My friend responded to me in the way my mother would. With a sharp look and the words ‘what’s wrong’.   I saw red.  I left the room and I went into the chapel and screamed.  I did not have the words to express my frustration and anguish in any other way at the time.  I see my part.  But after we got back home my friend said some really nasty things to me and accused me of being off the recovery programme.  It really hurt, I sought clarity with a very talented therapist at the time in order to try and make sense of what was happening.

I think all of this came to a head on Saturday as we had contact.  My friend kindly made a very sincere apology to me and told me she thought she had been cruel to me.  I had brushed it off which is something I should not do. When things hurt me and are wrong even if its just emotional ignorance on the part of someone else I really do need to say how it hurt.  Apparently this is one of the major lessons for someone with a Leo North Node and South Node in Aquarius.  I also know with all the air in my chart square to deep feeling watery Neptune in Scorpio my intellect often runs all over my feelings.  I intellectualise instead of feeling.  Its not that I don’t feel but my capacity to articulate what I feel has in the past been very poor due to the fact my true feelings were not mirrored or contained in childhood, most especially neediness, self assertion, frustration and anger.  My response is my issue and I cannot really blame my friend for just triggering something deep for me.  At the same time as an empathic person who is also very sensitive to energies and environments I know I do pick up on things and those things may mirror some issues for me.  At the time I lacked certain awareness and emotional skills which   I would have now.  And there was a failure on her part to empathise.

In my home growing up my Mum expressed all the anger and frustration, while my father either ignored it or laughed it off, this included injuries and pain which we were told we were not feeling or had not happened.  It was a crazy making, emotionally confusing and invalidated environment that gave me absolutely no help in dealing with and understanding my feelings.  On the top of emotional neglect, being left alone a lot and other losses it contributed to me burying all my pain and need and feeling in addiction for 14 years.  Even in recovery lately I have recognised that I use milky food and sweets to swallow down my feelings and as a substitute for the emotional nurturing and nourishment I hunger for.

Last night I dreamed I was giving birth to a baby, but I did not have a name for her (she was a girl) and I did not feel I had the capacity to care for her.  This reflects that even now I don’t always know how to protect, care for and nourish the young self in me that is being born within and trying to mature and it speaks to the central issue that I had with my friend, neither of us had words for feelings and this was expressed in the conversation on Saturday.

I also recognised this morning when I woke after only four hours sleep that much of the feeling that poured out of me with Mum yesterday was about my emotional neglect, as well as that me carrying feelings of sadness around this time of year that have gone underground in our family and never been spoken about or shared.   I become the syphon or the sponge that soaks up all the feeling and then expresses it but in a very intense way that others cannot understand.  But I am slowly finding ways to articulate my feelings with loved ones.  It is the work of ongoing emotional sobriety.  I carry a lot of damage with in me that exists as tender, raw wounds.  I need to recognise these and apply my own salve, I can recognise when salt is being poured on my wounds now and take steps to step away, but lately, luckily that is happening less and less as I recover deep and complex emotions.

With the split in me between heart and head often my feelings just become bodily pain.  I was in extreme agony bodily all weekend.  It only abated yesterday after contacting my therapist and expressing real pain over not being able to have an extra session which I felt I needed today, her diary was too full.  I expressed the pain as knives all through me and she responded with a call which soothed me right away.  I know I was angry with her but she is so consistent with me and loving that anger could not last.  For today I could not get what I needed from her but I will survive and be able to carry it over to another day.

Today by a weird act of weather synchronicity I awoke to a deck made soft and shiny by rain.  We have been having 30 C degree days here over the weekend and the rain was a welcome relief.  I could not help but feel that on some level the weather was mirroring what occurred for me yesterday during and after the inner flood of grief.  Today the sun is out again metaphorically, or at least I am bathed in a soft light as awareness has come through the bearing with the pain of the dark days over the weekend and in reality as I type this at 7 am there is a soft grey sky outside my window.

I feel the approach of Christmas stealing in with its ghosts, shadows, pains, memories and echoes but I also feel a real sense of hope.  I have a sense in my family that some kind of communication is going to open up.  It may not come to pass but for me I will be in a far better position this year to have insight into my feelings and better placed to take care of myself in the midst of them.  I need to learn how to care properly for the child in me that is being born.   I need to be the loving disciplined adult that child needs to grow.  Sadly its only happening for me at age 54 but hopefully there are still years left, years in which to love, to learn, to reach out, to grow, years in which insight and growing emotional awareness and capacity to express and contain my feelings can evolve and lead me onto the next stage in my journey.  I want to grow and mature more deeply so I can be a real force for love and healing in my world and make the years that are left productive, healthy happy ones that allow a place for all emotions but in a balanced healthy way which has the power to connect and deepen intimacy between me and others rather than sever precious relationships.