You weren’t there

Dark Spirit

I longed for someone to be there

On those lonely wide open afternoons

You were gone from home

In just the way your own mother was gone

I reached for the key

That hung on the hook in the shed

And on one of the days it wasn’t there

I broke the window

And cut my wrist

Thirty stiches

Neighbours took me to casualty

Do you know how much it hurt Mum

To know that dresses and other people

Were more important than me?

It wasn’t that you worked

It was that you left me alone

Why not get help?

But how could you know how it was

When you just repeated your own silent history?

Now I see

What I could not see then

I understand why panic attacks visit me at that time of day

When

One of the six horseman of the psychic apocalypse

Comes calling

Panic

Hidden deep inside panic are so many other emotions

That could neither be expressed nor contained

As well as a hungering heart

That needed to be held

And tended in love

Now I know why ravenous hunger visits me then

I eat and eat

But the hunger is for something else

My inner child

Help adult me

To remember and to understand

It all makes sense

That body will never lie

Show me how to be there for you

So that panic can end

And love attention and self care

Can fill up the empty spaces

Of a wound

Far larger than me

Anger with my therapist leads to deeper reflection

I found myself feeling a lot of anger towards my therapist, Kat yesterday.  The intensity of what my body goes through on any day and any night as a result of having recently had this tooth removed on the back of a traumatic head injury at occurred after a time I so needed family support and was once again denied it at the end of my marriage bites me hugely.  I feel like I have giant incisor like wounds from that bite lodged in my psychic flesh and over the past few nights of the eclipse I have been bang awake between 3 and 5 with all these powerful sensations coursing through my body as my mind has struggled to make sense of the tangled up jigsaw pieces of the past 17 years of struggle to find and make sense of my true feelings and find a centre of self in the messy conglomerate of energies within and without which like wild currents and eddies swirl this way and that, at times setting up huge surge like storms of ‘meness’ and then at other taking me down with the powerful centrifugal undertow of black inky sludge drowning me completely and making it hard to draw a free breath!!!

I am angry that Kat didn’t seem to even remember the piece of writing I actually read to her last Thursday, I had to read it all over again and I was feeling so tired,  she is my fucking therapist why can’t she remember, why doesn’t she take the time to read my blog before I go to a session so she can help me a bit, for fucks sake its only one hour and reading three or four blogs to catch up is exhausting because often when I write the feelings are there simmering away under the surface and only emerge when I read them in session which now that I write it just goes to show if she did read it then that wouldn’t happen so why am I getting so mad?  I still am because I have to work so fucking hard at times and there is so much to get through in session.

I do know why I am angry though.  This is old anger.  I have had fuck all help in my life in the way that really mattered.  I didn’t need money thrown at me, I needed a parent who got me, and was there emotionally not one who consistently abandoned me and then told me I was a late developer when I shared I got into sobriety.  Yeah Mum it was all my fault that I drank in a situation in which so many painful feelings were going down that I didn’t know how to deal with in the absence of support, after a major traumatic injury at 17 that I never got any help to deal with later only to be followed six months later by even less care available due to my sister’s aneurysm occuring with all the complications that followed all at a time I was trying to develop and mature.  Fuck That!!!

Yet even as I write this and consider my last post about the poor fit between a mother and child that leaves the child, lost, confused, split off from her body and feelings and lacking self containment and integrity of being I realise that I must accept my mother went through the same with her mother and so just passed down the wound. The anger is understandable that I feel but it wont help me unless I use it to drive a deeper understanding and also to set boundaries so that I don’t open up and share intimate emotional stuff she is likely to dismiss, deny or be confused about herself.

So its probably not really even my therapist I am really angry with but with the entire sad history of a child who came to not be able to understand, express, or even tolerate her own feelings and then became an addict, only to get sober and be told it was the result of ‘character defects’ which just reinforces the scapegoats idea fixee of being the ‘bad’, ‘wrong’ or damaged one, inherently flawed in some way.

I don’t actually remember in the rooms of AA being given any help to understand my own feelings.  I do remember sitting there in meetings and crying my eyes out as other’s shared from such a damaged split off place, full of self blame and self denigration.  It broke my heart in two.  And then in Al Anon meetings I got the askance looks from those trying to whip alcoholic loved ones into shape with their own self righteousness not getting for a moment the suffering or deeper dilemma the person concerned was going through.   I remember not being hugged after a meeting or reached out to after I shared from a deep well of pain.

I know it probably wasn’t their job but I do feel that once our buried feelings begin to open up in sobriety we need some form of encouragement and affirmation from others to assist us and yet even that hope or demand has hidden deep in the centre of it a hope or demand that is loaded with the sadness and longing of deep needs of long ago for the parent’s unconditional love, understanding, mirroring and acceptance of feelings; needs we never got to fully understand or contain.

In the end, as I was discussing with Kat yesterday, perhaps no one now can give us enough to make up for what we lost or never received in the first place.  Such an empty void or space in the place where we most needed to be met, filled up, affirmed, received  must be acknowledged, deeply understood and grieved.  And then we must meet the challenge of finding ways to fill our lives with the good energy of connection and love, learning how to understand, feel and tolerate all our feelings.   Being or becoming the good loving mother and father to ourselves so that ultimately we don’t end up re-enacting our emptiness, wound or anger on others or keep ourselves lost and trapped inside the deep dark desolate place of that emptiness.

I do wonder now, though, if we end up alone with no life partner and disconnected from so many friends due to the wounds we have carried driving so many away from us in misunderstanding how sweet can life be?  Can we really fill ourselves up from the life font or spring of spirit that was meant to flow within and through us and can that be enough?

Its obvious to me now that the hyper sensitivity that so many of us feel who were not met or received in the needed ways, grew larger in the absence of such love and care.  The burden of our so called ‘over sensitivity’  needs to be understood and we need to make sure that we don’t blame ourselves while at the same time learning to take responsibility for the wound we carry in terms of taking care of ourselves, learning to be open, vulnerable and honest to ask for what we need rather than demand it or get shitty when it doesn’t just come automatically.

We also need an awareness of the real failures of others which came from the limits of their own capacity to be fully embodied themselves, a wound that seems to plague so many in a technologically driven modern society that has grown increasingly removed from the natural and soulful elements in vibrant earthly life.   To begin to feel that love means that we open ourselves body and soul to the soft caress of the sun on skin, to the luxuriant feeling of sea water on flesh, to the sheer love that shines in our dog’s eyes as he runs to great us, to the joy of feeling our free spirit express its bounty through dance, movement and song.

It surely means we open up again to try to find the love and containment we missed from a loving mother’s arms in places and spaces where it does exist.  And it also means that we as ones who have been damaged and know the cause and consequences of such disconnection and damage make a stand in a world where sensitivity and depth is so often not championed.  For the pain our souls have suffered has perhaps highlighted for us how essential such an earthly connection to life, feeling and nature is and to the deeper realisation that the wound to the mother that leads to severing from body and deep feeling is one we end up enacting on the earth and ourselves over and over again if we don’t fully face, feel and speak for the painful and agonising consequences of its loss or absence.

The weaver

AB

I saw you running

From invisible ghosts

I was so young I could not know

The tortured by ways of your soul

You were just this being

And my ground

But that ground was not solid

Only a vast swirling sea of unfulfilled longing and angst

That swept me this way and that

Often casting me far adrift

High and dry on foreign soil

My longing for the you that got lost

The you that you passed onto me

Was so very deep and strong

I carried your child mother

The invisible magnet

Impossible to ignore

Cast its pull over my soul

Threaded its way

Into all my dreams

And returned me to

Absolute aloneness and despair

And hidden deep inside

A mystery I had to unravel

A Gordian knot of epic proportions

Now I sit in a room

A pile of unravelled thread

At my feet

And I have become the weaver

As we have all unravelled

Deeper mysteries and vast emptinesses

Have been revealed

So pregnant poignant and full of meaning

And so I see that this is not the end

And that yes

All that being swept this way and that

Had a purpose

And so I write and rest and dream

And dive deep

Into our ancestral mystery

With my waking heart become a loom

On which I weave

The ancestral story forward

A Lion’s Roar

We are human but we are instinctual animals.  We feel wounds in a heart that suffers and when injustice strikes us we can roar and rage and burn.   Mars planet of assertion and action has moved into Leo ruled by the element of fire over the past few days and today I have been really feeling it.  I have been feeling the impact of all the assaults on my animal body from a very young age and the deeper fury of now having no front teeth.  Eating with my denture is painful and the roof of my mouth is sore.  So today I have been raging at home and then at the oval Jasper and I made a new friend we were able to share about our challenges and difficulties. I told her how angry I was today and how Jasper looked a bit scared at first when I was screaming and roaring around at home but when I told him the anger had nothing to do with him and gave him pat he was fine and soon calmed down.  She then felt safe enough to open up about their own issues.  It was another of those special moments of grace.

My rage seems to have abated now.  I did visit Mum today at the hospital and she held my hand in hers while I cried about the pain of the denture.  She opened up to me about how she never felt her mother gave her a sense of being worthwhile.  In fact she never told Mum that she loved her once in her life.  She was crying as she said this.  I felt so sad for her and for my family that has suffered deep wounds of lack of nurture.  We spoke about the impact of the First World War that took her father from her and then we shared some sadness over the emotional distance in our family.  It was painful and sad but I also felt a deep sense of peace because we were really sharing openly from our hearts.

“All of my life I have tried to do the right thing by others.” she said.  “Now I am so tired I really don’t want to be here any more!”  Oh Mum, my heart ached and I saw how I also have been a compassionate caretaker at times in the absence of really knowing any other way to be.  It was half an hour of raw honesty between us, during which I fully accepted the painful karmic consequences of my maternal ancestral history.

Today I have no answers to the sadness of what we have lived in our family.  But perhaps accepting the truth will provide a kind of liberation.  Getting into a rage over what is passed will not help me for very long, in some way I need to find ways to live outside all of that lovelessness, disconnection and unhappiness to find happiness and connection again.  It is going to take me some time to get used to my new denture.

I am also glad I no longer feel the need to keep distance between me and my Mum, sadly she passed down very real wounds to me and over those I am powerless.  The only real power I have now is over the choices in my life and whether they are based in peace and serenity or anger and disturbance.  The later doesn’t really lead me to any place of calm and self soothing. I need to let go of what can cause hurt or pain so that I no longer live in a place of hurt and pain recycling over and over again.  Taking some time out on Sunday made me able to be there yesterday in a way which didn’t deplete me, but rather filled me up with peace.   And today I felt was a day of real healing.

Even more reflections on love, the mother wound and empathy

One of the problematics of being a deeply feeling empath is that we can take on the emotions of others and our own emotions may be triggered too by what someone else is going through.

Although it is a lovely quality to have, feeling empathy for others we also need to be able to bring insight to our empathy.  To know when it may not be best to take on from others, feelings they need to feel and deal with and when we may be projecting our own past pain onto a current situation with someone undergoing a similar issue that may be different in some ways too.

I read something the other day the mentioned how closely empathy and compassion are linked.  When we truly empathise we so naturally feel compassion and that feeing of co – passion, passion with, relating to the passions, distresses and pains makes us want to reach out and extend ourselves in love or help.  If we can help and if the other person wants us to we may both win, as long as the other person really wants to work through, own and take on board responsibility for their feelings.  In some cases though the other person does not want to do this.  They may be invested in sharing their distress but not being really willing to do something about the distress.  In this case over empathising will prove to be counter productive for us.

The other difficulty with this kind of situation can consist in projecting our own need onto others.  In this case if we are not recognising our own inner need for self care we extend that out or project it onto others not recognising that actually it is not them we are caring for at all, only projecting our own needs.  In this case what we are engaged in is not true empathy and it may take some insight to realise it.

Sometimes if we are caring it may seem callous to stand back when someone is struggling with a problem, but what if this is where the person needs to be?  What if only leaving them alone to cope and struggle will be the only way they find to build strong muscles and birth the necessary qualities in side?  What if helping in this case would prove to be disempowering?  That is when we need to step back and also when we need to recognise the care of ourselves is our task, when we need to resist the urge to make demands of others that are not really their responsibility.

I am sharing about this today as lately I see where my own mother has over protected me at times.  As many of you may know I have struggled in my relationship with my Mum to separate a lot.  I tend to take on a lot of her pain due to the loss of my father at a critical time.  Due to the fact she was emotionally absent in childhood I have been left with a gaping mother wound that has dogged me in all of my close relationships for most of my life.  I have compensated by trying to give her what I lacked when really it wasn’t my wound to fix and now that she is aging and I have my own health challenges there is really no way I can be there for her as much as I would like.

And at the same time as her body expresses deep abandonment wounds in her own soul I am feeling all of that along with the gaping hole left by her absence all those years ago, which then made me want to push her away in later years when she could and would have been emotionally present to help me along the maturation pathway.  Its has been so hard to have all this empathy for a mother who was in many ways so unmothered herself and then passed that wound down.

Lately I have begun to see how in my mother’s life due to having a mother who did not support her, she never found an inner resting place. As we grew up we all lived in a climate of endless business and tidiness, we could not ever really relax, let go, kick back, play, laugh and have fun.  Life growing up was a deathly serious business devoid of comfort, relaxation and joy and then trauma struck and we were in a deep grief, death, loss phase that leached all light out.   I have hit a road block here as to how to portray in words where it went to from there but suffice to say that it was about even more restlessness, being sent off, working hard, or playing so hard that it was abusive in the end, finding no resting place of calm, support, gentleness and fun.  So much so that now my soul is starving for that but also in some mysterious way after good therapy beginning to find it in myself and own it as my responsibility.

Today after speaking to my Mum and crying with distress to find she is being taken to the doctor yet again for symptoms which are really a result of disconnection with her feelings, body and self care I felt just so very sad.  I cried a lot when she was telling me that she thought the doctor would put her into hospital.  What I feel may be happening is that she feels she needs the love and support and care of others around her. In hospital she will have that but it wont be the loving home she always needed to have and a place of rest that so many years was absent.

I can’t even begin to put into words here all the deep schisms in our family that over years lead to this wilderness place but suffice to say that it all started to unravel when my oldest sister had her cerebral aneurysm.  In the years that followed my father became very ill with cancer and died.   And there was so much grief we never got to share, so much longing for the absent family that got fractured.  A gaping hole of isolation that at times is impossible to fill from any other source but the spiritual.

Where to from here?  For me into rest, into prayer, into validation of love but also into recognition of the limits of caring and empathy to change much, all they can do is alert us to the need for presence and acceptance at time of the most acutely painful things that can be so beyond the limits of our power to change.

The grief of the mother

AB.jpg

I wrote this post ages ago and I couldn’t post it.  In it I was coming to terms with the collective abandonment wound in my family.  I hope it speaks to someone.  I am not sure why I could not post it.

I had a thought today as I was reading a blog about someone’s grief for the mother they never had, that that person did indeed have a mother but she was a mother who could not mother because she, herself had never really been mothered.

I then thought of the earth as our mother, as the mother that gives to us out of her vast creative bounty of the things we need to nourish and live and of how we are now abusing that mother in so many ways.

I had a sense of the devastation of the First World War being the War which was a war against nature, against the mother, a war in which beautiful green fields were decimated and laid to waste by man made weapons that were an outcome of the industrial age whose roots lay in the iron age.

I had a sense of how the mothers suffered as their son’s were slaughtered and traumatised all due to one person’s quest for ownership of land which was only ever given to us as custodians.  I had a sense of the pain and loss that occurred to mothers and to children everywhere as a result of that War that then begot another that led to even more destruction of land, nurture, comfort and beauty, which saw the rise of a monstrous anger that fuelled genocide of massive proportions and more decimation of human endeavour.

When we are grieving and mourning for the mothering we never had do we ever get beyond our individual sad concern with that to see the bigger picture that perhaps our mothers and our fathers too knew some profound devastation that made it so much harder for them to mother or father or turned their interest towards other concerns that left so precious little left for nurturing us?    Do we think of the hunger and emptiness that might have then driven us in unconscious ways to possess more or to numb the pain that lay at the heart the ancestral gene pool of whose roots we are so unaware?

Yesterday I was having a conversation with a family friend about abandonment wounds and mothering.  She told me how even though she has been there for her daughter to the best of her ability her daughter still felt abandoned at times.  I spoke of my own feelings of abandonment around Mum and of how after working through all the anger I now know how unconsciously these were passed down.  I am also more aware now after letting go of some anger of how my father’s wounded desire to overcome the poverty of his own childhood and find for us a material security led to decisions which made relationship and togetherness difficult and led me towards a painful isolation, whose consequences I am only lately beginning to understand.

And I am beginning to see that perhaps all of this has been for the purposes of learning that reality is often harsh, that we and others are subjected to so many forces outside of our control and yet we have some choice in what we make of these, of the lessons they taught and of the resilience they called out of us.

Wisdom through suffering, love gained through our willingness to face and feel the pain and offer to ourselves and others the nurture that no longer perpetuates more damage, abuse or suffering seems to me the only way out of a deep wound to the mothering impulse in all of us that we so urgently need to heal so that our unconscious anger does not destroy the mother earth we live on or turn us against ourselves.  For the longed for lost, loving mother we yearn for, can in the deepest abandonment be found inside, if and when we choose to keep the focus on love, nurture, compassion and choose to embrace the wisdom of a longer range view that considers the impact of wider forces we may not fully have seen or understood.

Echoes of longing for the holding, soothing and connection we miss.

One of my favourite albums is Coldplay’s Ghost Stories.  So many tracks on it resonate with me and when I finally googled the birth chart of Chris Martin a year or so after it was released I found out that like me he has the Saturn Moon conjunction and if you don’t know the Moon is mother and Saturn Moon relates not only to mother hunger but to a deeper sense of disconnection and loss we feel around emotions and mothering and all human connection really.

With that in mind this afternoon as gun metal grey skies surround my wee home and the cold of night creeps in on icy feet I am listening to this track and really felt the need to share it.   I sometimes feel I can actually feel Chris Martin’s soul resonating with pain that merges with my own when I listen this track, and he made something so hauntingly  painful and beautiful when he wrote this song.  And when I listen to it I don’t hear the lyric ‘Another’s Arms” as much as the words ‘A Mother’s Arms’… possibly my projection but I am not so sure.