On boundaries

I have been thinking a lot about boundaries today as its become apparent to me that healthy boundaries help me feel happy and protect my life energy from others who may want to lay claim to it.  I can also see how in the past, my own narcissistic wound made me a bit of a vampire or a puller on other’s energy, not in a totally negative way, what I am getting at is that because I did not feel a great sense of inner love or value or self esteem I could so easily feel that my source for these things needed to lie outside of me. I started to think more about it yesterday after watching two You Tube videos I provided links to.  Those of us whose needs were not met in childhood and learned to get attention by pleasing and adapting often suffer from a stunted or collapsed sense of self.  We crave that missing love from outside, the wound of which lay in childhood and can never be healed in adult life by another person, (well only by a person who respects our boundaries as unrecovered narcissist will not do.)

I remember reading in Robert Hand’s book Planets in Youth that those of us with Venus (planet of relationships and self value) square to Neptune often give out of a sense that we do not have value and can only acquire it by giving or doing or being what others demand of us.  When we give into these demands or requests and allow ourselves to be manipulated by conditional love from another unrecovered person we then grieve inwardly. I learned this lesson on Friday after saying No to a request from Scott and being pushed and then told I was not the true love of his life if I didn’t do it, getting scared then collapsing my boundary when after agreeing to do it, I found myself crying and feeling like I could not breathe.  Luckily something intervened which meant I did not end up doing it anyway and I immediately felt better but the feeling of grief I had after collapsing my boundary was a clear sign that what I had done was not healthy and it scared me as in my last relationship my ex was always demanding I do, or be, or feel differently and I would be threatened with the silent treatment often when I would not do it.  And this triggered something my parents would do, withdraw love when I wasn’t living up to their demands.

I am glad that I got the lesson again on Friday.  Scott had promised if I was not comfortable with doing something he would not push but then went on to push.  I stood up to him and was manipulated a bit but now he has apologised and backed down.   But the entire incident has made me do a double take on all the boundary events in my life from the past where I have been in hot water and do some inner reflection which is all spot on cue now that retrograde transiting Venus is moving towards the square with my natal Mars Saturn Moon in the sixth house.

The issue with Scott is complex because what he is asking for is just a temporary thing and in the end I will be repaid.  But there are other boundary issues with us too.  As an empath I am a person who needs a lot of quiet introspective time.   Being on my own allows me to return to my source and my True Self, I can be easily overwhelmed in crowds because my energy body picks things up.  I get exhausted by to much time in purely ‘human’ or man made environments.  I need a daily time of touching base with nature and I don’t know honestly if I will ever be able to live 24/7 with another human being. Scott on the other hand is different in this regard.   He says once we are together he wants to be with me 24/7 and just the idea of it makes me hyperventilate.  Yesterday the inner critic was giving me a serve after listening to a video on withholding and emotional unavailability.  I started to think I am the one who has problems with emotional availability due to the fact I need a lot of quiet time but really today in a clearer space I see it isn’t like that at all.  I really can be there emotionally for others I just have to be very careful with what I take on board when I am with others.

I can depend only to a degree on others in my life.  I know I must in the words of the 12 step fellowships be self supporting, it doesn’t mean that others cannot ever help me nor I them but it does mean that my source of connection is primarily with my own centre and spiritual source.  I know in a deep relationship this separateness is surrendered for moments at a time, say in intense sexual experiences and when we extend our hearts and bodies to feel the suffering of another human being, so at times I do get confused on where I begin and others end and vice versa.  Am I being too rigid in expecting my demands for ‘space’ to be understood.  I am grateful to have a person around me now who says they will accept this.  For so long I have felt I wont ever be able to live with another human being again due to my high sensitivity and empathic nature.  I would be interested to hear if and how others struggle with this issue, so if you feel like it, please leave me a comment in the section below.

A brilliant new resource for empaths.

As empaths we need all the resources and knowledge at our disposal to stay healthy and learn about the dynamics of emotions and energy exchange, that is why I was so pleased to come across the new book by medical doctor and empathic wise woman Christine Northrup : Dodging Energy Vampires : An Empath’s Guide to Evading Relationships that Drain You and Restoring Your Health and Power.  

Dodging

It is already confirming a lot of things I have experienced and explains well the biological changes in stress hormones that we produce in relationship to being in toxic or draining relationships with others when we are very open to love and care as empaths and most especially those of us who never got a lot of emotional needs met in a healthy way in our families of origin.

I am just going to share a bit of it in this post to help readers.  This extract concerns how empaths in believing they should always work to help, heal or show support to others often stay stuck in detrimental relationships which cause us not only psychic and psychological pain but also increasing ill health or susceptibility to auto immune difficulties, weight gain and/or loss and other diseases.

If you’re in a relationship with an energy vampire, the question is: Why don’t you get out?  Why don’t you speak up and protect yourself?

As I mentioned, many empaths do get out. They see the problems and ditch the vampire pronto.  But for those who don’t there are two main reasons.  First, you are naturally compassionate and caring, so you may simply miss the red flags.  That can happen if you’re not paying full attention to your intuition and the circumstances surrounding you.  And second, your wounds have created in you a powerful desire to be accepted and an overwhelming belief that you shouldn’t hurt other people’s feelings.  And for old soul empaths, there is a third things that keeps us stuck:  We truly believe that our love and caring can heal other people – in this case, the vampire.  And although we may see the red flags, we believe that things will be different with us – that those other people who hurt the vampire just didn’t have the skill and compassion that we have.

While our initial response to the inevitable ill treatment of us in anger, hurt, and disappointment , we quickly squelch these natural feelings and replace them with guilt – something we learned to do in the past, either way far back in another lifetime or in childhood.  Or, more likely, both.

We make the mistake of thinking that energy vampires are as sensitive as we are.  We don’t want to risk hurting their feelings, so in order to protect them and their feelings – and because we are so good at solving problems in all the other areas of our lives – we keep giving them our energy and draining ourselves rather than risk standing up to them, standing up for ourselves, and owning how angry, hurt, and disappointed we really feel.  And then ending the relationship.

….trying to convince them to get help and to change their ways…..is a dead end street.. because they don’t change.  What has to change in every single relationship with an energy vampire is you.

The lack of self worth and need to be accepted and need to be loved that many of us have makes us a perfect target for energy vampires and the darker parts of human nature.  (This what we most need to work to change in order to heal the toxic pattern.)

Christine goes on to explain also how the Buddhist concept of sending love to those who hurt, angered or betrayed us is also not useful for empaths, something that has bothered me in the past when I have read up on Buddism and also when I was in AA.  The appropriate response to these kind of feelings should not be to work harder to forgive those who upset, distress or abuse us or don’t want to change or seek a true spritual or psychological solution or healing.  Really who we should be loving and praying and caring for is ourselves and those other kind, supportive, emotionally healthy people in our life who actually give to us rather than drain our energy or suck away our life’s blood continually.

The fear of true feelings that underlies narcissism

Ive watched and read a lot on narcissism in my time of dealing with my own and other’s wounds but this video is the one that most clearly articulates the inherent scars that underlie the disorder and keeps us off the blame spectrum.   It also explains to me a lot of what I went through in struggling with repressed feelings and with those in relationships who did not want to deal with theirs.   Well worth a view.

Giving Back Responsibility to Others

For the good guy, taking responsibility for other’s emotions, well being, finances, etc., is a way of breathing.  This comes from a deep seated belief that he can only call himself a good guy if he is always being there, being present, being attendant to the needs, desires and happiness of others.  Changing this belief is vital.

Beliefs change slowly over time due to experimentation with an alternate belief.  Generally speaking, the belief that we are not, and indeed, cannot be responsible for others comes slowly due to the lifelong bargain with trying to take responsibility for others.  Eventually the body and mind begin to scream their exhaustion and the person begins to listen.  When that happens the person might be willing to begin to experiment by deliberately choosing to give responsibility for other’s lives back to them.

But if we implement a practice meant to lead to a process, perhaps we won’t have to wait to get to exhaustion before we can yield the floor of responsiblity for someone else’s life to them.  Therefore, the practice goes something like this.  Every time you find yourself worrying about someone else’s stuff, you say to yourself, “I’m giving that back to them for them to carry.  It does not belong to me.”  Every time you feel guilty for saying no, for thinking no, you say to yourself, “I’m giving that back to them to carry.  It does not belong to me.”  Every time you realize that you are carrying someone else’s stuff you say to yourself, “I’m giving that back to them to carry.  It does not belong to me.”  In this way you are training your mind to accept the belief that it is not possible for you to be responsible for someone else’s life.  You may also come to understand and therefore believe that when you take over someone else’s responsibility, you are actually robbing them of one of life’s most precious jewels – for it is in taking responsibility for our lives that we give ourselves permission to become whole.  As you practice this more and more over time, it begins to become a process in which you recognise immediately when you have taken on someone else’s stuff and you surrender it willingly to them as a precious gift of love.

Creating Boundaries

The practice of ceating boundaries starts internally.  First you recognise that you are doing something or engaging in something that is not authentic for you.  Then you can decide where to put the boundaries so that you can stop betraying yourself by violating your own boundaries.  So many times we think that we put up boundaries to keep others out. But actually, we put up boundaries to keep ourselves in – within our own bodies, our own authentic life structure, our own power to respond, and our own personal responsibility.

The practice of creating boundaries begins by checking our energy levels, desires, passions, and compassions against our patterns of behaviour.  When the thought of doing something for someone makes us feel a deep sense of exhaustion or tiredness, that is a signal from the Self to say no to doing that thing.  When being around a particular person trains our energy, that is a signal from the Self to stop being around that person.  When we are asked to do something but our compassion is not in it, that is a signal to say no to doing that thing.  When we are charged with a job that we have no passion or desire to do, that is time to delegate that task or to talk to our boss about reassigning it.

Making these kinds of decisions on a regular basis means that we develop a process of being led by the internal messaging system rather than by the shoulds, have-tos, ought-tos, obligations, and loyalties of the culture, family, or social agenda in which we hapen to lve.  This procss is genuine and it offers the potential of manifesting an authentic life.

Andrea Mathews : Letting Go of Good : Dispel the Myth of Goodness to Find Your Genuine Self.

Its not easy for me to take on board the advice above.  I read this out to my therapist today in session and she clapped her hands, she told me it is what she is hoping that we are working towards in therapy.  It seems in my family I have always placed myself in the position of emotional caretaker.  I did it with my older sister who died and then with my Mum and now at times it could also happen with my sister who is the only one remaining here in my home town following my mother’s death and is struggling with depression.  I just know as much as I love her I cannot take on board her suffering as mine.  I feel for her, I try to ring her every second day but more than that I cannot do and I have finally made the tough decision that I will no longer sacrifice my life in caring when that care goes down a drain of endless sadness.

Believe me I know how much suffering there can be in life.  I see how much we live as a culture divorced from deeper values of self care and care for the feminine as well as the natural environment, but I also know that its up to each of us at some point to make a strong choice for solid values to invest our energy and time in.   I cannot live for another person.  I can feel for their problems but often I am powerless to do more than just care and over caring when it drains me leaves me in an empty place.

Today I was thinking of the line from a poem of T S Eliot “teach us to care and not to care”.  I dont know if I can ever ‘not care’ but I can detach to a degree with love.   I can make an active choice to say that I am human and this is my limit over which I cannot cross.  It doesn’t mean I am abandoning you, I am here if you want help and will take the steps to help yourself but if not, there is no more I can do.  I watched my Mum overcaring at times and struggling to keep her boundaries and failing at times.  Often she was punished by my older sister for that care.   I dont want to travel down the same road so my new years resolution is to care for me, and my dog this year.   I know I am now an adult enough to do it.  And its not anyone else’s job.  If you care for me that is wonderful and I am so grateful but care is only a given and cannot in the end be demanded.   I am going this year to work to take the advice of Andrea Mathews which I quoted above.

Taking responsiblity for other people’s feelings is often learned in a childhood in which the parent’s needs came first and/or took priority.  We learned it wasnt okay to have needs and desires of our own.  We end up not knowing what we want and need or feeling guilty if we do want or need what runs counter to other’s wants and needs. We then suffer anxiety if we dont think of others all the time.  We then learn to chronically self abandon.  It may be a long road to learn to know, value and champion our own needs but if we want to regain our emotional help we must learn this, or else we will suffer much anxiety and depression in our lives.

Making myself wrong : taking on other’s burdens, some reflections.

I wrote this post late last night after working through some of the events of the past week.

think I tend to take on a lot of responsibility for situations I did not cause.  Someone pointed this out to me in a comment on another post.  That when we care and know pain and can feel it deeply there really is no insulation that we have from other’s pain. The best we can do is make a decision with our minds to detach from it and be realistic about the limits of our involvement.

In this current situation that I have been sharing about over past weeks there is a long history going back to 1980 when critical events took place in my family.   I make sense of a lot through astrological cycles and when I look to current transits I see what is being triggered at the moment but so much of it was way outside of my control, never the less the ricochet effects deeply affected me.   I was at that stage coming out of my own motor vehicle trauma when the trauma befell my sister and I was about to embark on studies that got aborted and then I got no counselling to help me and was very much on my own in the coming years after my father died.

When I got sober in 1993 I had all of this trauma still locked up inside me.  I tried my best to come to terms with it but I was not helped by my partner nor family and at that point I see I would have been best to make a complete break away, but I needed some kind of support.  Today I was clear with my sister that I could not go to the hospital with my Mum in the ambulance and that I could not go to the hospital tonight either.  My three hours there on Monday night set me back big time on Tuesday.   I don’t want to go under again and if I am going to continue to make progress it really is time to start setting some boundaries.

To be honest as much as I loved my nephew’s company, staying up late while he was drinking and smoking a lot was not something thats good for me.  I had a lot of cleaning up to do yesterday and we had torrential rain while they were here.  When he left he hadnt cleaned anything up.  There were his dirty dishes in the sink and outside a dish full to the brim of cigarette buts with rain water in them.  I cleaned it all up yesterday and finally feel that I have my space back.  I am glad to be able to have my sanctuary here back, as its where I recharge myself.   Now I just need to work to keep at bay critical thoughts and keep practicing self care.

On that note I went to the library this afternoon and a book was waiting I ordered in called Finding True Refuge,  I don’t know if any of you have read the author Tara Brach’s earlier book Radical Acceptance, I  read it quite a few years ago and got a lot out of it, in it she talks a lot about shame and how she came face to face with her own on her spiritual path.  In this one she speaks about cultivating a loving kindness meditation practice where we seek refuge within, in the silent interior spaces of our heart.   I already got a lot out of the first 30 pages I read this afternoon.

The idea of seeking and finding a refuge within appeals to me.  It is what I feel in that nourishing, nurturing, alone time of solitude when I touch base with a source of peace that lives beyond all the traumatic events others seem to keep bringing into my life.  I am aware that on an astrological level Saturn and healthy mature adult boundaries and protections are an antidote to all my strong Neptunian tendency to be overly empathic and compassionate.  With Jupiter magnifying Neptune in Scorpio’s influence lately (by transit) I was also warned in another reading/interpretation by astrologer Leah Whitehorse that what people are saying or projecting may not be totally true or based on reality.   I need to keep a mindful watch over my own energy frequency now.   I was starting to feel happiness and contentment and experiencing solid sleep before my nephew’s visit last week.

I got a lot out of the visit but it also made me aware that as an empath I can and do take on other people’ s struggle and suffering at times.  My therapist suggested this week that when I get full to the brim with it, I try to discharge that energy by grounding, putting my feet on the earth and letting it flow down out and away from me.  Last week after each afternoon walk I was taking off first one shoe and then the other to place each bare feet on the ground to earth myself and settle my energy.

Its interesting to me that I got breast cancer just a few months after my older sister was diagnosed.  When I think of the amount of trauma we both went through from 2005 – 2015 when we were both diagnosed it doesnt surprise me.  Tbere is an element of strong enmeshment in our stories.

Anyway I will keep working to have better boundaries and become more aware when I feel the saviour archetype is overpowering me.   I should not make myself responsible for what others have to bear.  At the same time I need to be aware of their boundaries as well.   I notice that so often what I give is not so often reciprocated.   I dont give to get but when you do have a giving heart its so important to keep a balance.  If we give more than we get back it can tend to make us ill or drained.   This is something I need to keep a really close watch on in myself.

Understanding self absorbed behaviors

Lack of clear perception into our selves often comes from our early environment and deficits in mirroring.  If we consider generational and collective impacts too many of our parents and their parents and parents parents were engaged in a process of survival.  Attention was tied up with outer, rather than inner concerns and losses may have made one parent less emotionally available to them, leaving psychic and emotional deficits and burdens.  The research and work I have quoted from in previous posts from Mark Wolynn on multi generational trauma(It Didn’t Start With You)  addresses these issues in some way and shows how people tend to disconnect from parents in this situation, feeling hurt, betrayed abandoned or let down, often rightly so.  However there may be so much more to their story we never get to know.

Once we become more aware that our emotionally unavailable parents laboured under very real deficits, deficits that they passed down to us we can begin to take steps to address what we carry and hopefully become more aware of when and how we may have become self absorbed ourselves.

According to Nina Brown, author of Children of the Self Absorbed, the first step to reduce self absorbed behaviors is to accept that we may have absorbed some of them from our parents.  She outlines ten key behaviors associated with self absorption we may need to address or work upon as follows :

  • An attitude of entitlement.   Feeling that you deserve preferential treatment. That you can do or say whatever you like to others and that they shoud not be upset.  The idea you deserve special consideration or treatment.  Insensitivity to others.
  • Attention seeking.  Behaviors such as talking loudly when it will disturb others.  Dressing just for attention.  Trying to distract or upstage others.  Starting fights.  Interrupting ongoing conversations.  Dropping hints and teasers.  (All with the intent to gain outside validation that you are significant, important, different to or better than others, or to reassure yourself that you are worthwhile, or to ease chronic self doubt.)
  • Admiration seeking.   Yearning for reassurance you are valued through different means including the attainment of material or ‘status’ symbols.
  • Grandiosity.  Taking over in situations where it is not called for.  Feeling you are inherently superior to others.  Arrogance.  Displaying contempt. Failure to value the opinions of others.  Acting big as a defence against feeling small or shameful inside.
  • An impoverished self.  This is the self that feels deprived, ignored, abandoned or unnurtured or treated unfairly.  And this is all a matter of perception for as Brown points out me may not have a lot of support but still feel we are supported by the Universe.   Focusing on weaknesses or what you do not have instead of what you do.  Lack of ability to take constructive action to fix or address what you can.
  • Lack of Empathy.  Restricted or limited ability to sense what another person is experiencing inwardly in a specific situation without becoming enmeshed in their feeling or experience or reactions or overwhelmed by them.  Being able to hear and sense what lies behind words and actions… the real message behind the words.  (Brown notes we cannot be empathic with everyone all of the time and at times being too open to negative or toxic feelings can be inappropriate.  Brown says “Many adults who were not subject to a parent with a Destructive Narcissistic Pattern.. are able to be empahic with many people some of the time. “)
  • Seeing Others As Extensions of Self.  According to Brown “the self absorbed person is only dimly aware of other people in the world as separate and distinct from her (or him), and at the unconscious level thinks others exist to serve her (or him).  The self absorbed person sees everything in terms of self, as if they were the only real person in the world.”  This leads to : lack of respect for other’s possessions and boundaries, making decisons that affect others without consultation, making choices and decisions for others who are able to decide for themselves, touching things that belong to others without permission.  Asking overly personal questions.
  • Needing to be  percieved as unique and special by others. Everyone needs to know they are unique, special and worthy but when self absorbed this is taken to an extreme, or acted upon in a demanding way.  This relates to having an extra high opinion of oneself that is not based in fact.  It can lead to a lack of respect for others needs and rights.  It can result in criticism of others faults and flaws.  Making comparisons that put them up and the other person down.  Blaming others for getting in the way.  Needing to be complimented or praised first.
  • Exploitation of Others  This involves using other to gain benefit, coupled with the conviction that others are not as worthy.  Taking advantage of another person’s kind, generous or caring nature, desire to please or need for approval just to serve the self.  Expecting favours without reciprocation.  Lying, cheating, misleading.  Using “if you loved me or cared about me” to manipulate others
  • Shallow Emotions.  Adults with healthy narcissism can experience and express a wide and deep variety of emotions.  In contrast, self absorbed adults are extremely limited in experiencing and expressing their feelings.  Experiencing for them seems to be mainly limited to fear and anger and while they have the words when expressing other feelings, they don’t have the accompanying emotions.  These people are not genuine in their expression of feelings, except for the variations of fear and anger.   To get an idea of your range and level for experiencing emotions Nina recommends an exercise in which you make a list of each hour in the day and beside each time portion list all the feelings you remember experiencing.  Beside the list of feelings list the names of people you expressed the feelings to.  Review how open you were in either expressing or not expressing them.  Did you have much variablity in what you felt?  Did you primarily express negative feelings?  Did you have an expansive or limited vocabulary for your emotions?
  • Emptiness at the Core of Self.  Arises when children become isolated and lack meaningful connection to others.   When we are not received as kids we don’t develop a strong connection to and faith in the Universe.   The capacity for experiencing and understanding our feelings may be severely limited as a result. If we were not shown compassion we cannot feel it for ourselves.  If we are focused on our emptiness and hurt we are robbed of seeing the beauty and wonder around us.  We feel separate and disconnected and so emptiness grows.   Experiencing ‘holes’ and then reaching to substances or unfulfilling activities to feel ‘full’.

Bear in mind when reading this list that there is a difference between being self absorbed and self reflective.  It’s only natural that when we didnt get want we needed we would dig in and come to mistrust or not understand where others are coming from.  I have written another post to follow this one soon on the distinction between self absorption and self reflection.  People with destructive or malignant narcissism cannot self reflect or introspect, they tend to attack or blame often out of the narrow range of feeling, Brown speaks about in her book.  We are, in healing and becoming more self aware learning to strike a balance, its painstaking work.

 

Healing from co-dependency and covert abuse

Healing from co-dependency is possible, but it is not easy. Many awarenesses need to be had before someone can actually begin reprogramming the subconscious mind with new healthy data. What children observe in childhood through repetition, observation and consistency becomes the framework for all future relationships, which includes the relationship with the self. Co-dependents have been conditioned out of any relationship with the self, because they have been programmed to worry more about what others think about them than what they think about themselves.

Lisa A Romano

https://www.lisaaromano.com/blog/codependency-and-covert-abuse

My life was on the verge of collapse when I walked into my therapist’s office for the first time looking for help. My mind had become a knotted ball, and my life was a matted mess. With every fibre of my being I hoped that this man could help me make some sense out of what my life had become. By the end of that first therapy session I had learned that I was clinically depressed, but that my depression was caused by co-dependency.

Being raised by two unrecovered adult children of alcoholics, was akin to being raised by alcoholics. At the time all these ideas were new to me, and I had no frame of reference to fit them into. I was simply a young, mother of three small children who hated her children’s father, who believed she had no right to feel what she felt.

For years I had stuffed my feelings, and learned to deny my reality for the sake of others. I had spent the better part of thirteen years trying to get my first husband to talk to me, so we could get on the same page….  As odd as it was to be diagnosed with a disease I did not understand, it was just as exciting to discover there was actually a name for what I had. What I had was a people pleasing disorder that prevented me from being able to honor or even connect to my self. Co-dependency, as it turns out is the product of emotional childhood neglect.

Although even the most well meaning parents can create co-dependent children, the main cause of co-dependency is childhood emotional trauma. Co=dependency begins to get rooted into a child’s psyche when they experience attachment traumas and grow up feeling emotionally, and psychologically invisible to those they love. When children are not mirrored back a positive sense of self, they are denied the safety of familial bonds that allow them to feel wanted, needed, loved and like they belong to those they love. When these crucial bonds to others are corrupted or denied, the brains of children go into survival mode.

Many children sadly are never able to move out of operating in survival mode, and instead get stuck in a state of fight or flight mode. Co-dependency is a disease of mind, body and soul. If you are co-dependent you may not actually understand that what is going on inside of you, is what is causing the hellish realities outside of you. …..many adult co-dependents have forgotten the wounds they were forced to deny so long ago. Healing requires us to awaken the dormant feelings we were forced to abandon, so we can integrate them psychologically and move from survival mode to thriving mode.

https://www.lisaaromano.com/blog/codependency-disease

C0-dependency is a result of being raised by self absorbed or emotionally wounded or unavailable parents.  We do not know this when we are wounded emotionally as co-dependents.  We have not been able to have our own reality.  We may have been told our emotional reality is wrong or distorted, as a child we cannot put the blame and shame back where it belongs but in adult hood we can once we have a name and label for what ails us.  We can then take steps to get informed, heal old patterns, undo negative self abusive programming and heal.  We can learn to set boundaries with our inner critic which is often an introject absorbed from the parent’s attacks that we internalise and use to beat our true self up.

Lisa herself has written several books available on Amazon.  I have her book of affirmations on Loving the Self.  Much of the self blame and shame we absorbed from dysfunctional parenting is not ours to own.  It was not our fault we were narcissistically abused.  We can take steps to heal  Self love, self care and information from positive sources and role models will help us heal, but first we have to break the programming and attachment trauma that tends us to bond with abusers or people like our parents.  We have to learn that the love we seek from outside in the end has to come from within by breaking down old programming and learning to love and value the precious child we always were underneath the damage, a child now an adult who needs all our love and support to thrive.

If my wounded heart was whole

heart-image

If my wounded heart was whole.  I would not need to please you so.  I would love to know that you are happy but I would know that as much as I care about your sadness there is not much I can do about it, except being a friend, for being a friend to your tender heart will allow it to speak its truth.

If my wounded heart was whole, I wouldn’t feel as divided and reactive, torn this way and that looking for a connection and knowing instead that I need to understand all the loss of connections and lack of connection and being connected to when young that has left me with this void at times that aches and pulls me here and there.   I would turn back within to the little child in me that is longing for connection and listen to what she has to say.  And when I met you who was barricaded and incapable of opening to my heart with your heart I would gently step away respecting that.

If my wounded heart was whole I would not have to make a comment on what you say when it disagrees with me, I would understand that your comments and your take on things comes out of your own character, feelings, thoughts, past and sensibilities.  I would just accept that that is the way you feel and that you have every right to feel as you do and I would care about it, if I really said I loved you.

If my wounded heart was whole when you said nasty things to me I would know that you are hurting or had a bad day or that something I did may have triggered you.  I wouldn’t spend too much time apologising beyond saying I was sorry if you were feeling hurt.

If my wounded heart was whole I would rest more, I would centre within quietly and silently listening to my heart beat, finding the courage to be brave and not react from the deep fear of abandonment that I have carried and projected for so long.

If my wounded heart was whole I would trust my feelings more but also know the part my past played in those feelings.  I would embrace what I love without guilt, fear or apology and I would leave you free to do the same even if that meant that our paths had to go our separate ways.

I am sorry I did not do that before.  I wish I knew then what I did now but I know having a healed heart means I accept I could not expect this of either me or you before the realisation and awakening came.

Care of the seeds of negativity that trauma leaves

I awoke this morning feeling the darkness of the trauma imprint that can grab hold of me, on the difficult days hovering there just beneath consciousness.  Asking me today which way will you turn?

Today being my birthday morning felt crystal clear and full of sunshine I was in the light but I could feel the seed of darkness, suffering, illness and pain just below the surface of consciousness.  On reflection I realised this is also an enmeshment seed in which I can get tangled up in other’s pain being an empath and also having suffered so much pain myself.

Yesterday I watched a brilliant video on the difficulties of being an empath.  In it Lisa A. Romano  spoke of how our own childhood emotional neglect and lack of validation can lead us as empaths to become co-dependent on things outside of us that mirror our own wounding and reflect our own unacknowledged or unmet needs.  We also have sensitive mirror neurons inside which scan environments we are in and are almost like osmotic sponges in which we absorb and are attuned to the pain, emptiness or distress of others.

Our childhood most likely set us up for this though our inherent sensitive sore spots and voids of emotional attunement also contribute to it.  The entire thing was so clearly explained by Lisa who is a Pisces herself and thus ruled by the emotionally absorbent  planet Neptune that it was no wonder with my strong Neptune and Chiron in Pisces the video spoke to me.  It put so much into perspective most especially the way I relate to family and how others with problems gravitate towards me and then open up from that place of deep suffering.  But maybe it is also that the pain in me finds a mirror in their pain which at times can feel overwhelming.  In the video which I will link to below Lisa gives tips for getting free of this.

Today I was also thinking about how our trauma implants within us a seed of suffering which can easily turn towards negativity and attract us to pain, making us suspicious or prone to a less positive view.  Most certainly it is not negative to be in pain as pain is part of life, it is what we make of our pain that can and does lead to negativity, feelings like we don’t belong, that others cannot be trusted, that life is not safe, that we do not deserve good things, that people are intentionally setting out to harm us.  At the same time we need to be savvy for there are times when if we are too open we can attract harm from others.

Its a fine line we tread in being careful not to water these negative seeds while and when our trauma imprints or triggers are provoked.  Uncoupling negativity from the pain happens when we face the old trauma with a hand to hold or meet a more positive experience like my Mum and I did the other day in the emergency ward while in the midst of trauma.  I keep thinking of the distressed child within us with every sensitive fibre of its being on high alert then being dumped with a shit load of negativity when what that child most needs is tenderness, support, empathy, understanding and soothing.

What we say to ourselves in the midst of pain or stress is so important, an attitude of trust and a sense that good things can happen will dictate often that we can and do see the positive side.  Learning that other’s trauma is not ours to take on board is also another way to prevent our own trauma imprints buried deep within being linked into and replayed over and over again.  Understanding that as empaths we are vulnerable to a high degree of emotional contagion is also important and this is where Lisa’s five tips can help us from getting enmeshed or trangled up inside another person’s pain or negativity.

Today I awoke feeling much more positive than yesterday when I was having old death thoughts most especially watching Lisa’s video really helped me.  I had a tough week and I realised later last night I was just probably tired.  This week I got drained by being latched onto by a woman at the dog park offloading about an abusive work situation as well as going through the stress of being with my Mum at the emergency ward for hours and then having to do shopping, come home, make a meal and then take care of Jasper.  The next day I was drained by my cousin’s problems.   I am beginning to see that self care and a negative or positive frame of mind are closely linked.  If I want to stay positive I need to make sure my own fuel tank is full, that I am nurturing myself and not getting too caught up in others or my own problems when the seeds of trauma and pain and suffering and negativity weave dramatic stories that would be best not engaged with.

Deep underneath the pain still lives but there are more effective ways to deal with it.  As Lisa reminded me we are each on a spiritual journey and each of us must ultimately learn how to care for and love ourselves.   This does not mean we cannot also care for and love others but we need boundaries around that caring.  And its not really our job to care for other’s pain if they won’t do it.

I will not stop caring but I do need boundaries so as not to be overwhelmed and drained because as an empath I can and do find that this happens to me a lot.  When it does it has a negative impact on my emotional, physical or mental health and I get a warning sign or message from my body to step back, take a rest or disengage.  Taking care of me means that I must listen and respond to these messages.

I took the risk

I took the risk this morning of speaking to my sister about the intense reaction I had to her going to the coast on her own and not including me today.  She didn’t have a clue as to how I was feeling, had made all of these assumptions, such as I would just go down sometime on my own despite the fact she knows all the trauma I went through down there at her hands and those of my ex and that I have told her several times next time I go down, I don’t want to go down alone.  Its also clear to me that she didn’t really want me going down with her as I may cramp her style and to be honest on reflection we are so different perhaps its for the best.  However after the conversation I ended up feeling even more alone.  What’s new?!  Its a wake up call and a reality check for me.

“It wasn’t maliciously intended.”  She said to me at one point.  Why use that word?   I didn’t think that at all, rather I just thought was a case of her not communicating and then assuming she could mind read me which is what she does all the time.  Also I find that because she is on medication rather than doing any emotional work she operates on a very cut and dried level of purely based physical activity and with little regard for the subtleties or consequences of her reactions.

I got off the phone feeling like a bit of a freak to be honest that I don’t operate in that way.  Anyway I spoke to my therapist and she told me I did very well.  That I expressed how I felt calmly, which I had.  The charge went out for me too and the nose bleeds have stopped.

I guess what is being driven home though is how lonely it really is in my family.  How its not going to be possible for me to have any more than limited contact at the moment.  I took the opportunity to express how I truly felt and I got the brush off.  She was obviously in a hurry to get everything done and dusted so she could just get on with her day which is the way she operates.  Maybe it would be better if I am more like that, providing a container for deeper feelings and only sharing them with people who are capable of meeting me on that level.

I’ve lost the really happy space I was in yesterday when things were going well, though before the phone call to my Mum.  I operate in a happier place when I am outside family relationships with both my Mum and my sister which have been the cause of so much pain and hurt in the past.  That much has been made clear to me over the past 15 hours.  For those of you who don’t know my major traumatic head injury came on the back of their emotional abuse and sidelining of me during my depression following the end of my marriage when I made the mistake of choosing to stay close to my family rather than make the break and get away and concentrate on my deep emotional healing.

I lost 10 years of my life in the wilderness trying to get back on track and the decision was my responsibility so I have to be an adult and wear it.  At the same time it was the way they treated me with such contempt and complete disregard of my feelings which drove me into such a painful and lonely place.    I was warned how they were by others who saw but my inner child kept clinging on in the hopes of getting unrequited needs met they could never, would never fulfil.  Some hard lesson is being driven home currently.  I am sure now that being empathetic to me and caring about what I need doesn’t really enter their radar,  perhaps is not even their job now that I am an adult.  Expecting anything better is part of my own mixed up co-dependency.  But there I go again second guessing and giving a way out for poor behaviour and selfishness.

I read a great post last night on which wolf we should feed, the wolf of anger or the wolf of love.  An interesting comment from someone said they have learned that they must steer clear of those who awaken the angry wolf within them. I think that the angry wolf isn’t bad at all.  It is the part of us that tells us what isn’t right for us when it gets angry and we should listen.  I personally watch in the dog park when dogs set their boundary snappishly.  The emotionally healthy owners don’t mind this if they realise their dog is just setting a boundary.  So should it be for us.

I awoke this morning after all the nose bleeds feeling like I would never get out of bed.  I am glad I made the risk of talking to my sister so I could get into a clearer space.  I am grateful I could talk to my therapist but I still came off the phone from her feeling nauseated and ill deep in my gut.  What has helped me become clearer and to release the sick feeling has been writing this blog.  Blogging helps me to get the feelings out there.

Yesterday I posted and then took down a post of a poem which expresses valid anger at my sister. Shame and fear made me take it down.  I am going to restore it this morning.  At times due to my Catholic education and due to a childhood where anger was expressed in a dangerous way I get so scared expressing anger.  I am scared I will lose followers cause I get more likes when I post about ‘love’ but still the genuine feelings of anger I have had are real and I need to honour them and express them.  I need to release them so they don’t poison me from within and expressing them makes it easier for me to let them go.

I am inspired by this comment from a fellow blogger appearing on the blog I referred to earlier:

….I struggle when freeing myself from that wolf of hate….. I accept my wolf of hate whenever it finds me because to not accept it would be a form of self-hatred. I don’t believe in that.

Source :  https://silentfall.me/2017/01/08/wolf-of-love-%f0%9f%92%96/#comment-1413

When I see its me who is suffering from an emotionally insensitive or unconscious person’s actions its best for me to let it go.  They don’t see what they are doing or even care or lose any sleep, so why should I?  I can’t go all bullet proof and say it doesn’t hurt.  The valid feelings of hurt will give me good information about actions I need to take around them in the future in order to steer clear and not be hurt so much next time.  It seems clearer and clearer to me lately how much better my body feels when I steer clear of toxic, triggering influences in my life.  My body shows me pretty quickly what’s what.