I perhaps write about the wound in my heart in indirect ways, but yesterday I really encountered it in therapy in a deep and painful way. We were exploring my difficulty with attaching and bonding to my Mum as a child, how I had to revolve myself around my parents in order to be seen, how I felt invisible a lot of the time and how that original wound has dogged me. I am beginning to realise it wont every fully go away, it makes up a large part of my experience and soul. There are wounds that added to that wound and deepened it over years.
I still long to connect with my Mum and at times it is just impossible. I tried to write a poem about it last night but I couldn’t post it. Mum gets fixated on what is happening inside her own head. She makes up what is best to do without really asking and forms all kinds of ideas that are just not related to the other person at all. Trying to connect from this point of view becomes so impossible and leaves me so alone and if I try to point something out I am told I mustn’t speak and influence her train of thought or else she wont be able to hold onto her own mind and thoughts. As my therapist pointed out it them becomes almost impossible for me to hold onto my own reality, to have my own thoughts or find a place to go when I am struggling with issues or dilemmas. All I can say is thank God for therapy and blogging! Here I try my best to pour things out but even here at times the critic endlessly critiques them!
I was crying with Katina over how strong my separation anxiety is and how it would manifest in my past relationship. I actually googled it last night and there is a disorder called Adult Separation Anxiety Disorder. Katina told me that separation anxiety is stronger if you never really got to fully bond or connect in the first place. Then she said this to me “it is a tragedy”. (By this she meant the unrequited longing and needs not ever being fully met.) Wow!!! That really hit home. I was able to actually grieve not only for the young me who went through so much other trauma due to my wounds but also for the fact of how judgemental I have been of myself and of how often I attracted that judgement from others with no possibility of help to get through it.
I said to Katina “presently it seems as though there is another part of me that witnesses all of this, and that feels like progress. I am not judging myself as much and when the critic judges me I answer it back with compassion”. I also asked her “do people get through or heal this”. “You are doing that,” she said. “You are working so hard!”
Today I am fully aware of how for so many years I have felt like an exile in the wilderness of life. Cast out on my own with only a few belongings, carrying this unresolved pit of hunger and need. I have also noticed that at 5 pm I start to get ravenously hungry. I just eat and eat and eat and then I have a panic attack after dinner. This time of day was the most lonely and painful for me growing up and particularly all through my teens when I was the only one at home after my sister left but even when she was home it was lonely.
I would come home to an empty house and try to fill in the emptiness with television and snacks. Dad would come home and barely talk to me, just go immediately to his room, change and go out into the garden. I would wait and wait for Mum to come home just before 6 pm and then I would revolve my evening around trying to help her so to get some of her attention but most of it was focused on Dad and the two scotches they had every night before meals.
It is interesting to me that after my marriage broke apart and I tried to go back overseas it was at this time of day I had my major head trauma after a body therapy session trying to deal with the trauma of my divorce and earlier accident at 17. I came off my bike and split my head open and woke up sick and stunned in an ambulance all the way on the other side of the world with not one real friend or family member. Apparently when my family heard about it they didn’t think the problem was serious enough for them to come and help. The family I was lodging with saw it all as an inconvenience. Why was I over the other side of the world after my marriage had ended? Why wasn’t I with family? If they only knew. My family was NEVER emotionally supportive.
Within all of this emotional emptiness it was not easy for me to be the best partner, either. To be an adult walking around with so much soreness is not easy as so many of us know. Its a real journey to learn how to love yourself through the entire experience and not fall into the trap of blaming yourself when that is what often happens anyway if you are a child who comes out of a narcissistic or emotionally neglectful background. You carry then deep inside you along with feelings that in some way you are the cause of it all, if only you had tried harder, not been so needy, got away sooner, seen the writing on the wall…. on and on and on goes the inner critic that forms inside the deep void space. And then add to this the judgements that rain down on you from the outside world.
This morning when I woke with my usual anxiety I was reminding myself just to keep meeting my anxiety with tenderness and compassion. I was reminding myself that the field of compassion which we can find within and with a good therapist is the one open loving containing space that enables us to feel all of the pain in such a way that we also shower it with tenderness and mercy, without making the wound worse.
Then there is the work to do with reaching out to others for relationships and to express ourselves which also becomes the path we just don’t want to have to walk down due to the wounds we have known in the past, we see phantoms all around and its hard when our insecurity or fear is not met with tenderness and compassion by others.
I mentioned the astrologer Melanie Reinhardt in a recent post. I went to see her in London a few months after my accident. She was speaking about the painful spiritual journey of being wounded and almost killed. She was explaining to me how a near death experience such as I had at 17 opens someone up to a spiritual aspect of life where we are removed from the ordinary, veils get stripped away and we enter a place where things are never secure or solid or certain again. Come to think of it its a lot like what certain Buddhist teachers such as Pema Chodron talk of : the groundless space where we experience the falling way of solid ground and our ego falls through space. When I think about it this kind of void experience is something that many of us who have known emotional abandonment, betrayal or neglect encounter and so I guess such experiences do, in some way open us up to harsher realities and we feel the need to find sources of spiritual support.
At that meeting Melanie said to me that many therapists are not fully able to help with this kind of injury. She made two recommendations. Nurture your inner life and find a spiritual practice. She also recommended the work of trauma specialist Peter Levine to me that I have shared about in other posts. Today I am aware that this wound in my heart that I carry needs to be tended lovingly. I need to realise that so many others suffer from it to. Its not just me all. alone in an alien universe although this is how it often feels for us as children when we had no enlightened witness or support. The wounds I went through are real but they can be the doorway that leads me into a deeper life and experience. Much of my blog has come out of this wound space too and for that I am so grateful. Today I know that opening up about my wounds connects me. I don’t have to live in them every day, but they are very real and can not just be cured with platitudes or quick fixes. I need to remember that and keep speaking about those deeper truths.
Last night I watched a programme on sex addiction and there were so many arguments on it from different points of view, but sadly early attachment trauma was not even touched on. I left a comment on the programmes comments page. It saddens me at times we don’t look deeper in our society into the soul of things. That is also a form of heartbreak. For me I can only find my own answers to the wound, others may have their own answers. But it was also encouraging to see others opening up about their wounds on this programme. I do believe that is where we find our healing, through that kind of openness and vulnerability.