Angry with my family

Anger

I am not going to deny my anger any more.  I have legitimate reasons to be very angry at my family and my mother and sister in particular for what they put me through following the end of my marriage and even in the years before where I was just never treated with support, empathy and love.  I am sick to death of denying the truth to myself, rationalising it and minimising it.  I just spoke to my therapist and she said my anger needs to flow out and I need to find ways to do that today… write about it in your blog, draw it out or scream it out, do what ever you need to do to get it out of your system she said to me and so this blog is part of that process.  Internalised, invalidated anger has been kicking around inside my system for so long, it resulted in my accidents and in my alcoholism.  Part of my recovery is that I need to speak about it and value and validate my inner self and inner child.

I recognise what happened when I spoke to my mother yesterday when writing my blog A hollowed out shell was that by crying and becoming really vulnerable my Mum roped me into compassion.  Earlier on I had ended the conversation when she was once again telling me I needed to forget about things and put them behind me.   She called me back out of guilt to ask me to dinner and at first I said no and then wanted to relent when she showed me how much pain she was in and how insecure and unable to truly express herself she feels.  While I feel compassion for her I cannot let that over ride my own anger about what happened to me for it is anger that lets me know something hurt me deeply and wasn’t okay and that then helps me set some kind of boundary.  If I get told I shouldn’t have it or feel it that is invalidation abuse pure and simple and if the person is trying to guilt me out of it that is worse abuse.  Full stop! No argument, no debate!

I had a difficult day yesterday.  I noticed I got onto You Tube and posted some videos in two posts which although they had interesting insights don’t really help me to cut to the depth of dealing with the trauma and anger I am still carrying from the head injury that happened to me 12 years ago as the result of my sister and my mother’s meanness. At that stage I needed support and help to heal and grieve and know my truth, but I see how impossible this is to attain from anyone in my family they were just not that awake to the inner self or emotional realities.  My Mum is close to waking up but she seriously needs therapy.  I am sick of trying to be her therapist.  It isn’t my job really and she often told me that its not a good idea to go to others with your problems.  Her bottom line is that you need to work things out alone but that comes from a childhood where she was left alone and had to figure things out all alone.  Yesterday she was touching into deep realities and she told me how she feels so helpless and alone with no one much to talk to about all the things she goes through.  I want to say “well Mum get some therapy” but she never would.  So I end up being the font of all compassion but my compassion now is only prepared to extend so far when no recognition of past hurts or any apology has been forthcoming.

Second reason for anger and terribly acute body symptoms over the past few days has been unresolved issues with my living sister.  She was so awfully mean to me at the aforementioned time, telling me I was a selfish little girl and that I had had a shit of a life and she pitied me.  Oh and also going behind my back to my nephew (my older dead sister’s son) who I was really establishing a close relationship with and telling him how jealous I was of her.  Luckily at that time (just under 3 years ago now) he told me and I confronted her on the day we putting a party on for my mother.  I wish I had just walked out for at first she tried to deny it and then she said he had no right to tell me and then that she thought it was true.  But what I actually think is true is that the situation was the reverse and narcissists always believe they are so wonderful that the universe is jealous of them, why I do not know when the are such superiority junkies looking down their noses at all and sundry.  I have never been that person, as those who know me and have told me its just NOT ME.

Anyway she has softened somewhat in later years and actually did give me a grudging apology about what occurred in 2005 when I confronted her and Mum about it 2 years ago around this time of year.  But it was in no way an apology that came from her heart or truly recognised the damage done and the other day when she rang me about my tooth issue concerned to see how I was, it was I who ended up apologising to her for reacting to the horrible way she traated me.  Did I need to apologise  NO!  And my inner child is very upset with adult me about it and let me know as I woke up with shocking PTSD symptoms yesterday.  Whenever I see my sister my anxiety level goes through the roof and I was telling my therapist today that it was because I feel there is a lot of anger and hurt my body is carrying and the only way it has to come out is as anxiety.  But the mixed up irony is that as anxious as I feel I try even harder to bond with her and its a trauma bond and end up having an extra coffee with her even though its not really good for me to do it, because I feel she may be lonely.

I am aware as I write all this out it may seem like sour grapes to some.  I don’t really care as what you think isn’t my issue.  But what I need to know and see more clearly which is why I am putting it out there in black and white is how I can over ride my own impulses and intuitions. I often find my inner critic attacks my real attempts at feeling the truth of my feelings and most particularly that includes genuine expressions of anger.

Katina, my therapist was today reminding me that as much compassion as I feel I also need to remind myself that its okay to be angry.  So many of the messages around me growing up in family and Catholic school were based on anger being a ‘bad’ or negative emotion, when really anger is a signal of something from our deepest, truest inner self.  If we deny or over ride our own angry impulses we end up in such strife.  I have had so many accidents due to traumas from my past or pain replaying over in the present moment and this is one of the saddest facts about trauma,  it tends to attract more of the same to us but most particularly for those of us who were taught to value compassion, rationalisation and excuses over valid expression of anger.  So many times I have been told I better be careful as anger is dangerous, but this is only the case when it is not cleanly and clearly expressed, or if it is expressed aggressively.   We need to be so mindful of where our sore angry spots lie because when triggered they are signs of something from the past that needs to be dealt with or is calling for our awareness or attention, if we don’t pay attention we are in trouble  It won’t do us any good to act our anger out on those who really are just triggering a massive back log of past stuff but we still need to be aware that such people aren’t good to be around on a long term basis.  I am sad to say that goes for my family at present, much as I long for their love, when they are around it comes with huge reminders of pain from the past.  I have not ‘let it go’ yet, it hasn’t let go of me.

Its difficult writing this, as I was the television was just turned on by some automatic process.  I went over and Jasper my dog had his ear on the remote but what was most interesting was that it was a show called Compass and was on a priest’s life, and at that moment in time he was speaking of the ‘false ego’ that has to die if we want to fully embrace our humanity.  It made me question the wisdom of hanging onto my anger.  Maybe my sister had changed now and has soften, maybe she regrets what she did to me all of those years ago.  Maybe my mother wishes she hadn’t been so cruel to have chosen my sister over me when I was ‘too sad’ grieving at the end of my marriage.  I truly don’t know the answers to these questions.  Is my anger coming from ‘false ego’?  Is that why the television automatically came on?  I don’t know either but I am putting this in my blog as part of the mental process I go through on a day when I am trying to make sense of and deal with this anger from the past and the deep wound in me that gets triggered around this time of year.  I feel less angry now after writing this.  I have attempted to express my true reality, for what it is worth.   And I appreciate any feedback or any sharing from others about how you have dealt with your own anger.

And in the interest of openness the following are just a selection of anger quotes I came across on line :

 

 

Our true self, our living soul, our essence and the judge

Enthusiasm

We each come into this world as a precious spark of divine spirit, I believe we each come with our own energy imprint and its a big gamble as to how this unique part of us is received.  So much can happen in the interface between our spirit seeking to unfold its uniqueness and what occurs as we look to find a ‘home’ for who we are, a place of  grounding and seeding with particular parents within in a particular family and a particular society.

In the course of growing up all kinds of beliefs get imprinted in us.  We are told certain things, we either meet a mirror or a blank wall or a wall of anger, shame and fear.  Some of us may be fortunate enough to find loving arms that soothe and hold us and comfort us in our distress.  Those of us who aren’t so lucky may meet crossed arms and a sneer or a snub or a look of disgust or be teased or taunted when distressed.  Some of us will be held in mind, some of us will fall out of mind or barely register on a depressed or self involved parent’s radar.  Some of us may meet a void in many ways, an empty place where the inner feelings inside we have not yet found words for turn around and around inside us like shards or splinters. Some of us will hear soothing words, some of us will hear sharp words and all of these words will register on us in our consciousness to one day reappear as voices inside or within, voices we absorbed, voices that advise us, voices that limit us but underneath all of these voices there is one still small voice that speaks to us, not from a sense of contraction, fear, approval seeking and limitation but from purer place of love, openness, expansion and unconditional acceptance and this voice may know a lot about who we really are in essence as opposed to who we may have become in an attempt to fit in or not be hurt again.

Just following my bike accident in June 2005 I had a reading with astrologer Melanie Reinhardt in London.  At the reading she recommended a book to me Soul Without Shame  :  A Guide to Liberating Yourself from the Judge Within by Byron Brown.  Sadly for me I didn’t get the book until last year and it has sat on my bookshelf along with other books “I just haven’t got around to reading yet”.  But lately I have been becoming more and more aware of the voice of the judge within, which can also go by the name of the inner critic or superego that I really felt the need to open the book.  I am so glad I did, as it is not a book by an ‘expert’ but by a writer and spiritual seeker who on his own path has learned a lot about how the judge operates within his own life and consciousness through watching how his own inner judge works.

He also calls attention to the fact that underlying this part of our consciousness is that precious unique energy of our true nature which is less concerned with approval seeking and more concerned with pure self expression.  This is this part of us that is so often stymied or limited or undermined by conditioning factors in our upbringing which make the power of the judges voice become very, very strong, often working to over-ride some of our best creative impulses.

Any of you who are creative surely know this force well.  It is that part of us that wants to tell us all about how inept you are, how far you will fall short, how badly your creative efforts may be received and how you should just learn to play it safe, not dream too large, risk too much or express your heart, opening up to all the other critics out there who will certainly remind you of how what you are trying to express is rubbish.

And most certainly we do need some kind of discriminative sense to decide what we feel may be worthwhile or not, but the point that Brown makes about the judge is that he is never concerned with you expressing your true nature, only that what you express be well received and meet with the expectations and social accepted ideas and ideals of others.  The judge constantly evaluates you to see if you are ‘good enough’ according to others and to imposed standards, it gives you no awareness of the fact that being good enough is not important, what is most important is to be authentically you (and even if you cannot not even judging that!  Gets tough, doesn’t it?

Negative judgements stimulate feelings of rejection, guilt, doubt, shame and self hatred, while positive judgements tend to arouse feelings of self esteem, pride, excitement, self righteousness, and superiority.  Either way, these results are conditional, and you are left dependent on the judge to reject or approve of you…I am encouraging you to go beyond turning rejection into approval and to question the very assumptions underlying self judgement.

Byron Brown

I am sure there are some lucky souls out there who don’t let this side of them permanently stymie them or their creative efforts, in the face of the judge’s criticism they go ahead anyway and with courage take action to move through the wall of fear.  We all have to face the judge, and we all have to do our own battle with this force, but with awareness and attention we can find ways not to be so strangled by it, we can understand how fear of being rejected can underlie certain behaviour and then we can choose to embrace and love our true self or essence anyway, taking the risk to be ourselves and let out from inside of us the individual life juice that so wants to flow forward and builds its containers of valid self expression, acceptance and being.

Often when we get quiet enough we hear all kinds of voices inside.  We can do inner work with these voices and judgements in order to understand which come from our inner essence of soul, expansion, creativity and joy and which come from contraction, fear, separation, false beliefs and old pain.  We can open to all the voices and find which support us, which heal us and which cut us down causing us pain in our body and disconnecting our soul not only from ourselves but from others too.

The power and necessity of self expression in healing trauma

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I woke late this morning to hear the tail end of a very powerful interview with an aboriginal writer and artist. Rhonda Collard Spratt who has recently written a book on the trauma of being one of the stolen generation, those precious young children who were forceably removed from family and community ‘for their own good’ by white people who actually invaded their country and set up missions to educate them out of their indigenous ways and subjected them to all kinds of abuse.

She was sharing about her experience, about the power of story and the importance of grieving for those of her people who suffered abandonment and abuse on an emotional level due to be stolen and were subjected to harsh discipline.  One of the things she said which really struck me were the words :  “Many of my own people are drowning in their unshed tears”.  She then spoke of the essential need to grieve, of taking that little one on our knee, caring for him or her, loving him or her, listening to his or her pain, letting him or her shed tears.

She also went on to share about how many times when she has tried to share her pain or her story she has been ‘shut down’ by white people.   I hear it myself all the time on various media, white commentators saying how its been going on too long and that aboriginal people ‘need to put the past behind them’.  Little understanding is given to how that is actually done nor is their a recognition that is a process and that what was stolen in childhood left wounds, wounds and memories that will always be there no matter how much so called ‘healing’ happens.

It is really only since the formal apology to aboriginal people in this country which occurred in 2007 that attention is actually being given to the grief of the stolen generation together with the recognition that what was done all those years ago caused great hurt and trauma which has left a lasting legacy, especially of addiction for so many.

In another interview last week a woman who was subjected to years of sexual abuse by a priest was speaking about her experience about which the movie Don’t Tell has been made.   Her therapist was also interviewed and she was saying how important an apology or recognition of what was done to children is, and how healing is blocked when we cannot find this.  I know this is an issue I have struggled with all of my life, mine was not sexual abuse, it was emotional neglect, invalidation and teasing but I have been so often gaslighted or blamed in the past that I learned to turn my painful feelings inside and medicate them with booze and drugs.

In the interview the aboriginal woman was saying how many of her own people have died due to medicating pain in this way.  She was speaking of how essential it is for others not to judge, to show empathy and understanding.  She then spoke about going back to one of the communities with a fellow sufferer where she had been abused and of how the person wanted to hit one of the priests she saw there.  The person involved would hang aboriginal children on the clothes line when they wet their pants, leaving them hanging their for hours.  My immediate thought was that the priest deserved a smack!  I was thinking about that, what happens when we are not allowed to express the anger in some way and of how grief is so much a part of that anger and may only be felt once and after the angry outburst can be expressed.

Internalised anger is, I believe, behind so many auto immune diseases.  It relates to pain gone inwards or internalised, buried deep inside the tissues, healing involves externalisation and ex – pression that we press the pain outwards and let it exit the body.  We need places to pour in into too, places to contain it, and validation is so important in this regard, for from my experience and understanding when invalidation or blocking of our feelings happens we can de – press it and all the now toxic unexpressed feelings and pain gets sent back inside to kick around in our systems where it burns and lives a vibrational charge and other imprints dumped deep in the cells.

AB

At the moment in Australia there is a huge push by aboriginal people for recognition of what happened to them in the past.  Deeply painful as it is, what occurred for indigenous races all over the world at the hands of imperialist colonialism is part of the evolutionary story of mankind.   These primitive people are immersed in the unconscious and connected to the earth and to the deep soul in ways so many modern people are not, due to the evolution of ego centred consciousness where religion and materialism became so powerful as a way of defending against and finding meaning when humans were confronted with the power of destructive forces, namely the Black Plague which killed millions.  To be black or of a different colour to so many whiteys was to mean one’s value was diminished.  A lack of empathy and a rugged need for possession and survival was what pushed so many to overrun and steal and kill and disempower indigenous races.  It was a case of the heroic ego gone wild.  Such stealing and killing and disempowerment forces live on, these things happen not only on an outward physical level, but also as deeply powerful psychic forces both within and without form any of us who suffer abuse and neglect or shaming of our emotional selves and are now trying to recover while being left with a deeply painful legacy of years of trauma.

And that is why it is so essential for us to connect to the child within us, that part of us that like aboriginal people can feel him or herself to be connected to the earth and stars, that natural joyous spontaneous part of us which reaches out in love, does not take refuge from fear in separation, attack and killing off, that part of us that is open to all that we feel and all that we see and all that we know deep inside.  When this part is stolen or when it goes missing or is buried deep down inside, we lose so much of our essential connection to spirit, we lose our powerful rebel yell, we lose our joy, our hope, our strength, our power to say ‘No’ and we become immobilised and have difficulty moving with the feelings to flow forward in healing, instead blocking them or burying them.

What was being spoken of this morning in that interview really concerned that process.  The advice she gave was to find some way to be able to tell the story of what happened to us, to sing it, to write it, to paint it, even to dance it out.  These are all ways of ex – pressing of pressing the experience out and giving it some kind of shape and form outside the container of our body.

In true healing we open ourselves body, mind and soul to our story, to whatever pain arises, we welcome it in, we give it a place, we say to it “I see you, you are real”, but healing involves also the deep recognition that this pain is not ultimately stronger than the deeper spirit in us which can open to be its container and can become then too the releaser too of what ever pain, feeling or expression needs to be liberated in the singing, in the writing, in the telling, or in the dancing.  This to me is both the witnessing and the shedding which are such necessary parts of healing.

In another interview last night a video was aired of a young man who went through a very deep depression and recorded his raw pain one night alone on video on his computer in a Tennessee hotel room.  He felt the only way to go through that dark night was to express it, and to have no shame, but to be naked, raw and real.  The video was shown last night on the Australian Show The Project.  He has now started a movement called The Heart on Your Sleeve movement which is a kind of counterbalance movement towards the social media sharing of happy, shiney experiences.  It is a movement to encourage those who struggle to express the authenticity of their experience.

So many of are suffering not only due to ‘mental illness’ but more as a response to the trauma history of our collective which is now seeking understanding and expression.  As I see it there is a deeper movement going on.  Its beyond what I can express this morning in my blog and breakfast is calling, but I think it involves realising that we all suffer and feel vulnerable, that strength lies in sharing that vulnerability, in opening our hearts to the truth, in banding together to accept and love and show tolerance, compassion and understanding.  To begin to pay more attention to depth of our being than the mere superficiality of our at times empty  or pretence filled ‘over doing’.  And that perhaps this awakening happening on such a collective level shows that as a collective we are at an essential time of growth in recognition and understanding towards a necessary evolution of consciousness in which as we connect to truths in our own cells we also connect to the cells of mother earth and learn how the ways we seek to run, deny or numb our pain impact there in terms of mass consumption and overriding of those indigenous cultures who have so much to teach us about how we could reconnect to nature within and without.  Its just a thought I will leave you with as I go off to get breakfast.

Mars Chiron : awakening old wounds for healing and care

Chiron

Apologies to those who get sidelined by astrological symbolism, but when I read the monthly astrology on Lua Astrology’s website last night where astrologer Lea Whitehorse spoke of the Mars Chiron square to become exact on June 2, suddenly the deep pain I was in over the weekend made sense.  Prior to this we have  also  been experiencing Mars opposite Saturn which is not the easiest of transits.  Mars represents our self assertion or self expression, the soul desire for forward movement and action from heartfelt or imperative need and when it meets Saturn we experience deep frustrations, blocks or no go areas, alternatively we may have to slow down, mature and look for different options and so adjust our desires and need for movement or expression.  Its painful.

I have the aspect in my birth chart and I can tell you that since I have been young trying to express and go after what my soul and heart desires has been problematic to the degree that in childhood I began to subvert my true needs and desires.   I also have Moon with Mars and Saturn and we were raised in a very duty bound house when I was growing up.  Life was intensely serious, my mother was either elsewise engaged and trying to keep everything running perfectly or overworking and was then exhausted to the point any fun or mess or natural chaos caused an angry reaction or was a drain.  My parents fun times involved a lot of older adults and drinking or going out on the boat which I abhorred.  I was happiest on the beach with my surfboard growing up.

This authoritarian, dogged, do the right thing side of me often squashes the fun part.  My ‘fun’ later in life involved alcohol and drugs and these are not enriching pass times, they drain life and energy and leave one with a hangover and even more disconnected, or at least they did in my case.  So it is interesting that this aspect coincided with getting together with old drinking buddies from that time of my life and being faced with a huge brick wall of deep pain and hurt from the past.  I opened up my wound with them late on Friday night shortly before we were due to go home when they were already on about their 6th glass of champagne.

I know I am so lucky to be sober.  I was in deep pain over the weekend but I did my best to sit with it and feel it and affirm myself for feeling it.   The Chiron wounding part though is that it brought back to me the ways I have felt imprisoned or caged by a dark past I am trying my best to break free of.  In her commentary on this aspect currently Lea Whitehorse, UK based astrologer made the point that being opened to wounds at this time would draw our attention to the need for better self protective boundaries.  This rang true for me and dovetailed with what I wrote yesterday in one of my posts.

Chiron was a centaur in mythology who got wounded in the Achilles heel with by a poisoned arrow left lying around in the Hydra’s den after one of the Hydra’s battles, probably with the Gorgon.  The poison on the arrow going into Chiron in a vulnerable place (and heels or ankles ground our feet and contain tendons that help us to move forward or get away from damaging situations) relates on a psychological level to wounds we encounter by accident or just in the course of life that may leave a poison inside us or paralyse forward movement and faith in life and goodness.  We do not necessarily bring them on ourselves (though we often make them worse by the way we react).  In the myth Chiron’s wound is incurable and acts as a wisdom or insight builder into internal wounds, difficulties, challenges and psychology.  Chiron spends a lot of time helping others and birthing creative visions from the wounds but he never heals and if he did, come to think of it his purpose would be done.

So reflecting on it Chiron Mars times bring those times when we face deep wounds or watch them re-enacted and have to learn strategies to be with them in ways that don’t make the poison or pain inside worse.  Then yesterday when I wrote a little post about the pleasure of finding myself in a lovely present moment free of body and soul pain which I did not post but will today, I was thinking about Echardt Tolle’s concept  of the pain body and how that related to how I was feeling over the weekend.  The wound inside me from the past and due to 5 broken relationships could possibly be healed or eased in a new one, but the pain of aloneness on some of the dark days is hard when I don’t sit with my wounds and be my own best friend, finding ways to self soothe and come to think of it I really experience a paralysed ankle on those days when getting out can in fact be a necessary distraction that helps ease the pain for a time.

Today as yesterday the sun is streaming through windows on a very cold winter morning while my icy numb fingers type.  I find the Sun so healing and warming, it opens up and expands my being and my PTSD is very much about shock, removal, disconnection, dissociation and contract.  The warming power of the Sun counteracts this and lets me open myself more, it counters my Mars Saturn tendency to bite down hard on difficulties and pain.  Earlier today I found myself re-experiencing the anger towards this particular ‘friend’ who many years ago when I was really struggling kicked me out of her party as she had an issue with the guy I was dating at the time.  At that particular point I was in such grief over the loss of my father and was a long, long way from home.   I was very reticent about going to the dinner last week and my inner child was giving me curry over it this morning.

Talking about self protection and Chiron wounds also brings to mind the need we who are traumatised must learn to exercise around discriminating those who are and are not healthy to share our wounds with, when exactly do we open up?  How do we cope with some of the wounding things others who don’t have a clue about trauma and its deep impact say  to us?  How do we deal with the pain body when it becomes very active and preys upon us with its negative thoughts or chains of wounded logic?  How can we release and express our wounds in ways that are not retraumatising for ourselves or others, in way which makes them sources of creative insight?

This morning an idea came to me ‘the juice of the wound’.  In the myth the wounded arrow contains poison and that in itself is a kind of ‘juice’ with certain affects upon us.  That poison or ‘juice’ can and does lodge deep in our emotional bodies, it can immobilise or paralyse it.  Finding a way to ‘let’ it or dispel it seems essential as we don’t want to just stew in it always in a deeply painful way, and yet some kind of ‘stewing’ gives birth to art and poetry.  Juice and stewing images bring to mind the idea of alchemy or cooking our instinctual energies that run amuck or go awry.  It was something Carl Jung devoted a lot of time towards exploring with alchemical images such as those of Lion’s with their paws cut off being roasted in vessels over a fire which a kind of therapeutical or alchemical image for deep wounded healing processes.

Speaking of roasting Lions, last night I watched some of Madonna’s Rebel Heart concert on television.  I am not a huge Madonna fan but I was taken with the anger she was expressing and the hurt that formed the basis of two of her more recent songs Heartbreak City and Living in Love, as a Sun Sign Leo she expressed her angst and hurt in a very dramatic way.  The second song is full of positive lines about how as hurt as she has been she will not allow the hurt to poison her, it was an interesting case of synchronicity after just reading about the Chiron Mars Saturn transits of late.  We all go through pain, we all suffer and some of us do good work with the wounds.  We have our days when they consume us entirely.  The poison runs around our systems and we can feel paralysed or wired, on fire with anger and outrage or flooded and drowned in grief, these are all very human responses to what it is to be a soul that can suffer in the instinctual emotional part of us but we are then left with the outflow or outfall to deal with.  What we do with it I guess in the end speaks a lot about who we are and the attitude we take, after the flood or fire has passed or we have passed through it.  Many of us try to use our wounds to help others. By sharing our pain and suffering we connect to each other and are helped in some small way to feel less alone, in pouring out our experience or by sharing another’s we find the spot where we connect and through expressing and witnessing vulnerability become empowered.

Healer

 

A Band Around My Heart

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Today earlier after dropping my car off to be repaired and getting the bus to my Mum’s so I could borrow hers for a few days I started to feel this tight band around my heart.  We spoke of things others in the family share with her, they don’t share with me these kind of being cared for experiences by their siblings but when all this was being shared I was conscious of this tightness and then tears.  No words, no stories, just deep disappointment, sadness and a pain in my heart.

I never hear much from my sister who is living about what is really going on either and most especially after I tried to connect with her late last week.  It turns out my nephew’s wife’s father died sometime over the weekend.  I had spoken to my sister expressing my care and concern.  Mum only mentioned it remotely in passing.  I come from a FUCKING WIERD FAMILY!!!  Or MAYBE I DONT.  MAYBE THIS IS HOW FAMILIES ARE : Great emotional distances, little connection especially over the most important things.  Or I could be being very self centred and selfish because they are probably just caught up in so much grief, grief which mirrors older grief and is triggering such deep, deep grief for me around persistent disconnection which ends up making me feel lonelier than when I am really alone with either my dog or my higher power or others who are actually open hearted rather than shut down and stitched up.

Add to this I am still struggling to accept I have to have my tooth out. I am struggling with resentment toward my Mum, even though now she has offered to give me all the support in the world to help as I go through the procedure (when, I don’t know as I have to get a referral tomorrow!).

Perhaps I need to speak to Mum about what is going on in my heart. On Saturday when all my abandonment and trauma pain was going on I wanted to leave a message on her phone giving her a serve.  I thought better of it.  And I recall a quote that says I spoke my anger to a friend and my anger had an end.  In the past anger has just erupted out of me.  I haven’t spoken it cleanly and clearly. And it occurs to me that I can express anger with love and that my words would have more power and strength if that power of anger was harnessed in a more productive way that just scatter gun rage blowing at a target!

Truth is as a child and young teenager things my Mum and Dad and family did REALLY, REALLY HURT ME, deeply. I didn’t feel seen and I didn’t feel held in mind.  I feel the same things would not have happened in this day and age.  My opinion as a child may have been consulted.  It is very important to me now that I have a voice, that I am not ridden rough shod over by others, that others don’t force their will and agenda on to me.  However sometimes in my quest for power, protection and control I just go off and become silent and try to cope alone instead of unburdening what is in my heart because its too much to take risk.  It is then I feel the tight band around my heart, squashing all the pain down deep inside, not allowing me to cough it up and spit it out.

The best process for me currently though is for my inner child to speak to my adult self about the pain I went through all of those years ago, about how it was for her and how, when my adult self isn’t aware or present that old pattern can replay.  The adult me needs to hear it so we can look for a way to take care of the child in the midst of what is painful, so that she feels safe, held and cared for.  Others will not always give this to me.   They may have had to block their own pain, or they may have been feeling guilt or shame and so get defensive if I bring up mine.

One thing is for sure though.  The tight band reminds me all the time of the cost of not nurturing my heart or paying kind attention to what triggers.   I may need to feel and free the tears that need to fall but may not if my mind or stories are blocking those deeper feelings from being expressed.  Fact is that I had so many experiences of being overpowered on a bodily experience level when young that I felt I had lost all power.  This issue was highlighted last week when I chose a novel from the library about a teenage girl who was raped and had another’s will forced upon her.  She had to feel the painful consequences of that, of knowing that at times the world and others can disempower or overwhelm us.   How to take control in this situation, when all control has been stolen?  How to deal with the rage and anger that is left in a way that doesn’t destroy what precious connections remain?   This is just such a huge issue for those of us who suffer Post Traumatic Stress distress, it what I have been grappling with for years and now wish I could let go in some way, but it still hurts, the reality hurt a lot!

A voracious inner critic : some reflections on self judgement

I seem to have a very tenacious and resilient inner judge living deep inside my psyche.  When I personify this force it becomes a ‘he’ though I am sure the things that judge or Mr A as I used to like to call him says are actually an amalgam of things said to me in childhood more by the nuns at my Catholic school than my parents alone.  The nuns were actually female, but come to think of it most of them were squashed in their true deep vibrant sexually alive feminine, really.

I was discussing this in therapy with Katina yesterday.   Mr A runs an ongoing commentary on everything I do, casting his wet blanket on it.   For example, last night after a very emotional session with Katina where I read her a blog I wrote on Monday about memories and deep emotions that were coming up for me this week over the loss of my life in England many years ago I wrote a poem Goodbye to the Meadows.  Immediately after I published it the criticism from Mr A rained down.    “Do you think you are going to get any likes on that poem which is full of sentimental nostalgia for things long gone by, things lost that you can never have again?”  “And in any case don’t you think you are romanticising everything?” “For God’s sake the past is gone, you will never get it back!”  Thanks Mr A for your compassionate support and I am grateful for your healthy dash of realism, but!

Surprise, surprise.  After walking back to the shopping centre after dropping my car off for a service I opened my email to find 8 likes on my post which I read back and just seemed to be a very heartfelt expression of the sadness I felt yesterday and the tears of longing and love shed for our narrow long backyard with a Walnut tree at the end which looked over fields and was home to various wildlife, including squirrels and robins, all gorgeous little creatures we don’t see much in Australia.  Why did the inner critic have to give me such a hard time?

Come to think of it, though I am only one of the millions or others who probably suffer at the hands of these kind of inner voices.   I am not entirely sure but I feel that on some level this voracious inner critic tries to keep us safe in some sad or deeply confused way. If he can beat us up before others do maybe we won’t hurt so much if we get outside criticism.

One of his favourite things to say is this:  “Just you watch out that you don’t get too big for your boots, young missy.”   As a dramatic and open child who was very expressive and loving I didn’t really meet much support of those kind of qualities in my own family.  And at our dour Catholic school you were more than likely to get a harsh rap over the knuckles if you let yourself get carried away or showed too much initiative.  I remember once getting a bollocking from Sister Rita for daring to go to the cupboard and open a new box of tissues.  With a face red from hyperventilating she screamed at me.  “You are bold as brass, Miss Willemsen, bold as brass!”  As a youngster her reaction surely showed I was a sinner who must work hard to erase such behaviour.  She struck the fear of God into me and I learned to try to hide my initiative and motive pretty much from there on in.

A key dream that I had just before my ex husband and I decided to return to Australia from the UK in late 2001, after my older sister came to grief and my mother had a bad fall fracturing her wrist was one in which I found myself outside a classroom being asked to rescue a class of children who were being held in stocks by a huge old nun with a big bunch of keys hanging off the belt on her skirt.  In the dream my fear got the better of me and the dream ended before I could make the necessary rescue.  We went back to Oz, even though by then I was truly regretting my decision to return.  I am still in Australia after two attempts to get back to the UK, the last of which ended in a massive head injury.

Planet of communications Mercury is apparently currently in a long drawn out conjunction with the planet of individuation and liberation from repression Uranus at present and I have noticed a distinct elevation of my mood and thoughts over this past week.  I seem not to be as stuck in things.  It’s no wonder all of these issues are coming up at present for me.  My psyche is trying to break out of something and I am being shown the path of the past 16 years since (can it really be that long) where I was led on what seems often to me to be like a massive regression.

Carl Jung often talked of the regression which serves the needs of the deeper Self whose needs and agenda lie far beyond or beneath our conscious will and ego objectives.   And it appears to me that in some way I am being asked to rephrase things and find deeper meanings than the inner critic can provide.  The critic thinks its keeping us safe but really its perspective can be deeply limited at times.  At other times it may give us really valid and useful information.  However it is also so important that we allow a voice to the inner nurturer who can provide us with essential qualities of self compassion and acceptance and counter the destructive voice of the critic that wants to shame us and lay everything to waste, most especially joy!

For me I wish the critic would get off my back and l will continue to fight to free my self expressive voice.  The Moon’s nodes are moving back into Leo and Aquarius.  With the North Node in Leo we are being called to embrace and express our deep inner creative self outside restrictive more’s of societal convention.  We need our wild voice and our sad voice and our guilty voice and our triumphant voice.   We need to embrace all of our disparate parts and give birth to the witness who in standing firmly at the inner centre of our Self can embrace all, express all, contain all and transform all with a radiant love that allows our unique being to coalesce into a rich multifaceted prism : a kaleidoscopic lens through which we can transform and re-envision our lives and world.

 

Disconnection, perfectionism, reconnection

The feeling and imprints of being disconnected, of being in the words of AA “so far from human aid” are so deep and such repetitive themes for me I am realising lately , and that felt sense or inner experience gets triggered at certain times of the day and the two times accompany the times of my accidents : early morning and dusk/early evening which have deeper ancestral echoes of past times of loneliness and disconnection for my Mum.

In these space of disconnection/trauma my energy starts to spin around itself and this is like the trauma vortex Peter Levine shows in one of his books on trauma which cycles inwards and down with repetitive thoughts accompanying of all the ways in which I have fucked up.  What stops it is being able to connect to something or someone true for me outside of myself who hears me and I hear them.

This morning it was a very important post from one of my most valued fellow bloggers, Rayne, on facing her own feelings of suicide and death thoughts   In that post Rayne shared how her connection with her therapist bought her through to the other side.  Before reading this post I felt like I was literally drowning in my own phlegm and at the same time a huge rain shower came with a torrential down pour, I really was in a dark place and it did feel as if I was literally drowning.

I then had a lovely connection from someone new to me who is on a very similar path and reading her blog warmed my soul.

I am aware that this trauma imprint of separation/disconnection/drowning is something my own mother carried,  my dusk/dinner time trigger points were also times she was alone.  And I am learning Mum never helped me know how to nurture myself.  I put all my focus out on trying to engage with a mother who was revolving her energy around her and my father, not me.  Dad didn’t engage with me at this time of day, both engaged with Scotch Whiskey and I am coming to realise more and more how alone I felt and how I could not know how to attach and so in time I started to use alcohol and drugs too.

I am 23 years out of active addiction but I am only just getting a stronger hold on some of my other patterns now.  That is many years of recovery.   I also think my natural difficulty with attaching and engaging with healthy others has at time stymied my recovery.  But reaching out and really connecting is for me a healing balm, for my heart lives to be connected to others and that connection is stronger and healthier when I am connected to myself.

Yesterday I had a far better day due to the fact I connected with three positive people.  I met my cousin for a coffee and our friendship has grown over the past year.  Sadly a legacy of our familial disconnection is that my Dad was so distant with her Dad, my Dad’s younger brother.  We are healing that now and I can talk to her with great honesty about my past and she shares with me her own struggle to be a good parent and get help for her son who has needed assistance to work through some psychological issues.  My cousin is comfortable talking about death, grief and emotions in a way other members of my family are not and that helps me as I naturally express how I feel, it is so essential to me that I can be with others who can also express how they feel and not shy away from emotional matters in the way my family do.

I think one of the reasons I really struggled last week was that on the third anniversary of her death my oldest sister’s name was not mentioned once by any of my family.  I knew they were probably thinking of her, but in our family the deeper, painful issues are shied away from, all hidden under the surface.  We eat and drink over them.

In a way for me now it is okay on one level to recognise this, there is so much pain and trauma in my family that can never be healed.  I am also learning that its not my responsibility to heal it for anyone else.  I think one of the big delusions I carried in my sobriety was that I could and would in some way heal the legacy of mutigenerational alcoholism, trauma and emotional neglect legacy for my family.  I now see that is hubris, the most I can do is work to understand.

The truth is everyone in my family has been affected and few have wanted to acknowledge the roots of it.  I think my brother trying to bring attention to the way Mum treated Dad the other day was all part of him trying to make sense of things and wanting to open up a dialogue but Mum could only leap to a defensive position.  There are much deeper layers to the way my mother developed as a person and most especially developed striving defences of perfectionism and control as a result of the painful empty legacy of her past.  This has reverberated on all of our lives along the generational line, but most especially in the lives of her daughters.  I think my Dad just wanted to relax more, he never could as someone was always pushing him on, his defence was to go AWOL, he didn’t abuse alcohol but used it to take the edge off.

Much as I have had compassion for my Mum, what I do not have compassion for is her not being able at times to say a genuine, ‘sorry’! The amount of times she has allowed us to take the wrap for her bad behaviour and control mechanisms is huge.  My brother the other day was trying to lift the lid on something and Mum wasn’t going to go there.  Maybe she might at a later date.

For myself at the moment though I just need to keep remembering to focus on all of my recovery tools.  I need to start doing more to nurture and nourish the good connections I do have,  they are there, just at times I check the impulse to reach out due to fear.     I also need to stop reaching out to my Mum all the times in hopes of getting the empathy and attention that is so absent.  My Mum is a vey self centred person.  I think a lot of it has to do with having no siblings and zilch emotional attention and nurture.

Thinking about it today I realised fear was actually the underlying emotion that drove my mother.  Fear of not being able to survive materially, fear of not being good enough, this later fear fostered in climate where no one championed or fathered her.  In the absence of that she learned to ‘pull herself together’ and put on a shiny perfect face that hid far deeper insecurities inside.  She pushed and pushed and pushed in an effort to try and perfect us and the home environment but to a point where there was no place of being or rest.  I feel it finally killed my father to be honest.

And sadly my brother as the oldest also learned to push himself and my Dad too, later when they got into business.  My older sister was separate for a time but then tried to come back and push and compete and well and then had her cerebral bleed.  And in the face of all of this, as the youngest I was the observer and my other sister just became the lost child and learned to try and assist the oiling of the family machine.  Is it any wonder she broke down later in life when all of that familial conditioning was trying to dismantle itself?

I can see all of this now and know why my suffering was so strong.  I see why and how I became a substance abuser in my teens and I feel grateful that I could arrest that at age 31 and get sober.  But the real work of recovery began 6 years in and there was so much to feel, heal and work through.

There is so much grief in realising that what we needed and wanted as a child to grow and be nurtured was missing. Its difficult and painful to live with residues of trauma which were a result of emotional neglect that then drove us on to yet more trauma and abuse and neglect.  It is so much to take on board.  But what is most important is that on some level we can express and vocalise our pain, panic or distress, that we can reach for compassion and a deeper understanding, that we can turn around and embrace our wounded self and the wounded selves of others in love.  For if there is a Jesus figure or a Christ or God force in the Universe well isn’t that just about love?  Isn’t that force about understanding our wounds?  Isn’t it about the capacity to bear with suffering and trials in order to gain wisdom and to grow in love? And isn’t it also about learning that when we reach beyond and share our own and other’s truth and pain, connection and healing is born out of endless disconnection, suffering and fear?

And at the end of a lonely road when we find the missing father to be absent, just as Christ did, don’t we then have to grow that father inside?  Isn’t it now our responsibility to be the father we always needed? To find the strong boundaries for self care?  To find the strong voice to cry out or speak up for what is real and true? And to find the power to leave our victim self behind, knowing that past suffering was real but does not have to mean a totally disempowered, disconnected present?

 

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