An agent of destruction

My godmother died yesterday.  Her death has provoked so many memories.  In the later years of her life we were estranged after years in which she and my godfather tried to support me at times when my emotionally unavailable parents failed to.  It was with her I lived for a short time after returning to Australia to live a few years after my father died.  As I look back to that time I see the deep, deep pain my young adult self was in and the wreckage she had already begun to live at that state at the age of 25 in the early stages of my alcoholism.  I was hungry and empty and longing for love and a present family and parents and my god parents gave me some of this.  However, emotionally it was my godfather, Piet who really saw into the depths of me and validated why I needed to turn to alcohol in the family I grew up in, he gave me the missing love and understanding I never got from my father.

Piet left Holland in 1938 with my father and they both went to the Dutch East Indies and he told me in later years of my father’s relentless dream to become a millionaire, in later years he did not see my father as much as Uncle Piet was only ever a ‘lowly’ mechanic and I loved him so much for that and use the word ‘lowly’ to describe how society might view a person who was more real than real and had a heart of gold and who I admire more than any millionaire in the world.

My godfather was the soft emotional one, my godmother was harder having had a very tough childhood and having lost a brother to suicide at a young age, she had to bury her pain under a lot of stoicism and philosophy.  In later years she turned to yoga to find peace but there was always a hardness in her and she shut down in later years and had my godfather diagnosed with Alzheimer’s when really it was just the pain of his own deep childhood abandonment having lost a mother very young that came to the surface and began to manifest in anger and clinging.

Anyway the story of my connection to them both would take many pages, and in the later years we were less connected especially after Piet died in 2003 and my marriage broke up the following year.

In the later years my quest for love took me into a very dysfunctional relationship and it was to my godmother that I turned in 2011 when that relationship finally hit the wall all around the anniversary of my father’s death.  My emotional wounds and inner child’s emotional abandonment was so close to the surface and I ran to Sydney and away from my home town after a fight with my Mum when she callously mocked me for grieving.  My godmother took me in but she didn’t understand any of the emotional side of what I was going through and so, at that time and I must say in a lot of pain, I turned to internet dating thinking that if only I could find another man to love me everything would be okay. I now see the fallacy of that, my real inner work had to begin with the ending of that relationship in 2010.  My godmother turned on me one day and said I had to leave her place the next day, as her grandson was coming and that was not true as she had a spare bed and room for both of us.  I was distraught and ended up moving to a boarding house and then into a share house with an abusive alcoholic before finally returning to my home town 6 months later.  It was hard to forgive my godmother for not supporting me at the time I most needed it but I don’t resent her for it as much any more, it was what she felt she needed to do and what she did put me in a deeply painful place .  For some time I turned towards more dysfunction as a result.  Now I see that then I was on the brink of my deepest wound and emotional work in recovery, emotionally I needed to take care of myself but that would take some time and a lot more realisation to happen.

Death of someone is very final but I guess it is not the end of the relationship we had with them that lives on in our inner life and soul.  I spoke to my godmother last night in my soul and shared with her the tears and pain of how hard it was to be abandoned emotionally again by the one person I hoped to trust, but while my tears fell I saw she did the best she could from her level of consciousness.  Speaking to her daughter a moment ago and hearing how she suffered at my godmother’ s hands from her harshness and emotional shut down confirmed so much for me.  It was that generation’s way of coping and my godmother shut down on so much, so of course she had to shut me out and send me away into the wilderness, that was all part of my journey.

My godmother and my mother were best friends. I feel so deeply for my Mum today.  She has lost her best friend after 70 years of friendship and today she has responsibilities due to the debacle with the property we bought at auction to deal with on the back of her grief.  I started this post with the heading An Agent of Destruction because sharing about all this with my therapist this morning that is how I feel.  I feel bad due to what happened with my godmother, even though I was only seeking a place to protected and cared for, I feel so bad about what happened with the property even though that all happened too because I didn’t really have adequate protection and care from outside or inside.  I am not a destroyer and I am not bad, but that is how it sometimes feels.

I was reading something about blame, struggle, grief and suffering in a book by Buddhist Teacher Londro Rinzler last night in which a student had gone to a Zen teacher crying over all of their heart break and saying to the Rishi “Why, why, why”, the teacher looked at him and just said “no reason”.  That really made me realise how much we make up about the reasons why something happened, how habituated and conditioned we are to look for someone to blame at times (most often ourselves) and how often we cause so much further suffering by not just sitting still and feeling what we need to feel and letting go into and learning, but insteaed thinking, thinking, thinking and questioning in such as way as we get tied up in knots and experience even more the suffering of suffering.

Do we need to create more suffering by the way we react to our suffering?  Is there a point where we can let others off the hook?  Can we also understand that at times there are reasons but the reasons we make up are off base and don’t have to focus on projections of badness and blame?  Are there ways we can show each other more tenderness, mercy and compassion.  These I feel are such important questions to ponder and amidst them they allow me to enter my heart and be with my own and other’s suffering in a way that doesn’t end up creating more suffering through judgement.

 

 

The wounds in my heart

Wounded heart

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Seeing through the eyes of love

some-days

Lately I am becoming aware that at times my perception can be distorted and I read things into situations that they may not contain at all.  This is not to say that at times I don’t see deeper truths and that I always get it wrong but I can tend to take a negative slant on things and then I am seeing not through the eyes of love or through a deeper understanding but rather I am seeing through the eyes of fear tinged with a lot of past pain and projections.

It is occurring to me lately that I can ask for divine help with this to correct my wrong perceptions or perceptions tinged with fears which actually end up limiting my life.  There is a saying somewhere, I think it comes from A Course in Miracles that goes “I am not a victim of the world I see”.  Sometimes I feel that I am.   I don’t live with the belief in abundance but with the belief in lack.  I don’t live with a sense of hope and possibility but with a sense of doom and impossibility and when I begin to think like this I become a victim of my own thinking.  I am made aware through steps 6 and 7 of the recovery steps that I can ask for help with having my perceptions and pain transformed.

I do think there comes a time when we have to begin to take responsibility for the thoughts we are thinking.  There comes a time when our old patterns of thinking can become painful for us and this is the time our souls are calling on us to make a change.   We are only a victim of the world we think we see if we are not prepared to take some responsibility for making changes that can bring some happiness towards us in the place of pain.   This is not to say that we need to always run from pain for sometimes pain, loss, betrayal, disappointments have to be felt through fully, hard as that is and then they transform once we show them the healing light of acceptance.

Part of being adult means we will encounter things we often don’t like or want in our life or world.  What we do with how we process the hurt, betrayal or disappointment will be essential to how we come out of that experience.   I am not saying that the deep pain of going through trauma, betrayal or abuse was just an illusion but maybe on some level it had some lesson for us.  A lesson about continuing to love and believe in love and hold fast to the idea that we can see through eyes of love once all the hatred, hurt and fear has passed through us.   I think forgiveness is a conclusion that comes at the end of this difficulty journey.  One that cannot be forced but will emerge once we have done the inner work to correct our inner vision and clear out and cleanse our inner hurt, fear, betrayal and pain all of which were valid responses but can if held onto for too long become hurtful to our ongoing life.