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

 

Accepting vulnerability : freeing strength

I am thinking a lot about vulnerability today.  I just watched a video on Avoidant Personality Disorder which spoke of the connection between childhood emotional neglect and avoidance.

https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/47895396/posts/1460625306

The subject of vulnerability and fear came up in therapy yesterday.  The chance meeting with the boy next door from my childhood on Saturday sparked memories of little things I did as a kid that showed me how scared I was and how I must have been shamed for things in childhood.  I know that as a youngster I developed this coping strategy –  I learned to hide my vulnerability, shame or fear from others and that indicates to me that on one level I was terrified.  I see how I have carried this fear on and how it has limited my life in so many ways.

I was lucky enough not to have a contraption connected to the mattress to give me an electric shock when I was wetting the bed, like my neighbour did.  But I still think I must have felt so alone and vulnerable in childhood and that it was not safe enough to turn to others for protection and care.   In both my mother and father’s childhood they had no one much to turn to either, so its a carried pattern.

I think of all the hiding I did later in life.  The sixth and most painful termination of pregnancy which happened late in my addiction was one that I went through all alone and hid from my flatmate at the time.  When it happened we were both studying Naturopathy and we had the beginnings of a very close relationship, but I feared so much opening up to her about what had happened that I lied and in the end she moved out of the place I owned and the darkest and most painfully alone year of my active addiction began.

When I think about it now I am so grateful that I finally found my sobriety one year later, but by that stage I was in so much pain over all that had happened that on one level I was trying to obliterate awareness of with my drinking that it would take me years to really come to terms with it.  And it has taken me a lot of work over the past 18 months to stop seeing myself as ‘the bad one’ when really I just had developed very dysfunctional behaviours and coping strategies in my life due to emotional neglect.

I get pretty angry when addicts or alcoholics get demonised by others.  I think the judgement often comes from ignorance.  I am a huge fan of Canadian doctor Gabor Mate who comes out in defence of addicts and tries to draw attention to the early trauma so many addicts suffer which leads them to become addicts in the first place.  If you are damaged in early life and your ability to trust and depend is broken where are you going to turn and what are you going to do with the pain if no one around you is mirroring the truth of the situation for you?   The self condemnation or lack of compassion and empathy is something we can suffer for long years even into sobriety most often turning deep inside, leading many to suicide.

I am so grateful that lately my self talk has been becoming that much more loving and supportive.  I am so happy that I am able now to recognise and champion the vulnerable self in me that lay hidden under so many of my dysfunctional coping behaviours.  I was sharing with Katina yesterday my growing realisation of how I use avoidance out of fear.  Once I can admit to myself the fear or vulnerability then I can step in with the loving supportive adult presence to talk to that little one in me who is so scared and help her to take more positive, healthy, nurturing steps in my life.

Sadly as I grew up I absorbed a self shaming voice that was taken in from my parents and the nuns at my school.  I never learned about self compassion.  I really feel so strongly that self compassion is something we should teach children from a very young age.  At that early stage we need help to deal with our feelings, vulnerabilities and fears.  We do not need to be shamed for self assertion or sticking up for ourselves either.  We should not be taught to fear our vulnerability but to embrace it and learn ways to encourage ourselves from within in the midst of it.  In the absence of this we look to others to do it for us and if we are unhealed or wounded in this area we often attract those who project the shadow of their own vulnerable self onto us and then reject or shame us for it.

Part of our healing in therapy and most particularly if we come out of a narcissistically wounded family involves recognising we are not to blame but that in adult hood we do have a responsibility to change patterns and often we can only do this with good help if our wounds are serious.

Yesterday Katina said to me kindly “you did the best you could at the time”. Lying in bed this morning and thinking about that I thought what a relaxing and accepting thing that is to say in many situations.  People who hurt us do the best they can.  It may be the very worst for us and only we can break away from that kind of hurt and we must not continue to lie to ourselves about the damage such ignorance caused, well meaning as they may claim it was.  Come to think of it just re-editing this now my mother often uses excuses when I try to bring up certain painful things with her, she cannot bear to admit her own vulnerability at times.

At the same time as accepting our vulnerability we need to keep reaching for the best we can at the time and accept when our worst is all we could have done at that point with all we knew at the time.  This to me is showing mercy, it relaxes our muscles and it lets ourselves off the hook so that we can search for healthier kinder and more positive ways to self nurture and grow beyond old formerly unrecognised vulnerabilities and fears.  It may be the most valuable tool we have in our arsenal for dealing with depression which often is created by the unloving things we tell ourselves over and over about our selves or wounded and wounding others.

To fearlessly communicate

imagesezi5aqfk

How amazing would it be to be able to embrace life and relationships with an open heart and mind, not blocked and clouded or defended against fear of being hurt or humiliated?

Certainly we can come unstuck if we are open and sensitive at times sharing with those who may shame us or try to put us down.  Criticism from others that is not given in kind and heartfelt way does injure us and makes us fear opening up again in any way.  If we are raised by or spend a lot of time around narcissists, those who are invested in not allowing us to actually fully express ourselves and our truth being open in this way becomes difficult and fraught with all kinds of fears and insecurities.  We may fear where the next defence or attack may come from if we are honest with others who are nothing like those people who blocked us before from expressing our feelings, wants and needs.

Learning to develop good boundaries, learning to gain a better sense of how and when it is appropriate to express ourselves, as well as when we need to be quiet and listen to others and make an attempt to step into their shoes is so important.

I was reading a chapter about compassionate communication in my book Love for No Reason : 7 Steps to Creating a Life of Unconditional Love last night after returning home from a dinner with friends I had not seen in a long time.  It was talking about keep the channel between our heart chakra and our throat centre open.

One of the things mentioned was how it is so important to our own wellbeing and the maintaining of healthy relationships to be able to be open, honest and authentic in our communications with others.   We need to find a way to speak from our own truth, but not in such a way that is harsh, critical and judgemental, nor in such a way that steps all over the boundaries of others.

Most certainly there are times in which we will try to express our truth and others will react badly, even if we are being sensitive to them.  That reaction most probably has a lot more to do with them and their own issues.  Often too we can be on the receiving end of criticism that has nothing to do with us.  Something we have done may have sparked the pain body of the other person, an area of old hurt, wounding or sensitivity and if that person is defended or lacks emotional insight and intelligence they will react in a difficult way, they may deflect, deny or blame.

I remember in my last relationship with a man who had intense narcissistic issues, I was slammed for turning up on time to collect him from a bus journey that was running early.   I got in trouble for not being there to meet him as he had sent a text while I was in the video shop dropping off a DVD to let me know it was going to be 5 minutes early.

When I arrived to pick him up an argument ensued (we are talking about 5 minutes here).  It had been raining and there was lightening around the bus stop.  “I could have been hurt or injured,” he said to me.  I tried to point out I was sorry, I was actually on time but had missed the text and had done my best, in fact I had spent most of the afternoon preparing a dinner for him which I then mentioned (this sort of thing happens with narcissists, we try to argue against the unfairness of what they are trying to lay on us that is associated with old pain).  I got a huge serve for changing the subject and we ended up breaking up for the third time after this incident.

In this situation there was no way to soothe what was actually a sore spot for him.  Maybe I could have helped the situation by acknowledging his fear (while recognising it was more about past issues than present ones), who knows.  As usual after we broke up I went over and over critical issues like this trying to figure out what had gone wrong and what was my part in it.  I would add this is a guy who would keep me waiting for hours at a time at critical times. In the end I think I may have been set up to fail in any case.   It was really impossible in the end to meet the list of his demands of me which centred around trying to make up for all the failures of a mother who had left him at age 4 to escape an abusive marriage.

On reflecting upon all of this recently I feel that part of recovering from narcissistic wounds or our vulnerability to narcissistic relationships (we are more liable to attract these when we have emotional wounds and difficulties with boundaries ourselves) means we struggle to become aware when fear is actually blocking the full and free expression of emotions that lie underneath the fear.  Fear of these emotions and how vulnerable we do feel when they are touched causes us to react or over react in painful ways.  It causes us to attack or defend.

What might it mean to stay open and non judgemental in this situation, even when our defences have been sparked, to be aware that there is a tender spot within all of us that lies beneath this fear?  One that needs our attention, care, understanding, insight and love.  It is something to contemplate.

The pain of loving a narcissist.

Suffering at the hands of some one who can never really love us hurts and so often we do not consciously  choose to fall in love.  At the outset of the relationship with a narcissist they will promise you the world, there is a long list of stories of how they loved others so much but were repaid by ingratitude and selfishness.  The truth is they were the selfish one whose demands came first, but you won’t know this for some time down the track in my experience.  There will be red flags but if you are basically a kind honest giving person who devotes yourself to others you may have been conditioned to accept their ways and you won’t have a radar for this kind of deception or little things they do will stun or shock you out of left field.  If you have known love before these things do grate but being a kind person you keep on giving them the benefit of the doubt, even as they begin to devalue and discard you along the way and endlessly find fault with you.

This morning I had a long conversation with a close friend who married my ex partner’s sister.  The entire family was shattered by their father’s addiction but none of them have sought recovery, they instead have taken out their pain on partners, keeping up walls of impenetrable defence against deeper vulnerabilities that true intimacy requires.

When I first met my ex he decided it would be bad to be in a relationship with me. You’re too vulnerable” he told me.  On some level he perhaps knew he could cause damage but I didn’t fully understand narcissism before this and so I debated as to how strong I was, although vulnerable too, knowing true deep strength rests on vulnerability. Now I know for a true relationship to have survived he would have had to own his part and face his own vulnerabilities and this was something he could not do.  When he dumped me 4 years later I got all the blame often for things I did out of healthy self protection and sadly  I then believed him, it has taken over 4 years of therapy to work through the part my own low self esteem played in sealing a fate where I tried to attach to someone who could never love all of me and tried so desperately to change me into someone I never could be.  My part in it was I didn’t have boundaries, I took his criticisms on board and began to try to win love and lose myself.

All of this is on my mind today as someone reblogged the first poem of mine ever published by a super kind blogger just over 3 years ago yesterday.  The poem was on the pain of that narcissistic relationship and has also been published in a book by someone else recovering from narcissistic abuse.  Having it reblogged showed me how far I have come 6 years out of that deeply painful dark night experience which launched my blog.

As I witness others struggle to break free of relationships with narc partners or parents I am reminded of the deep pain that comes from loving someone who cannot fully love us back.  It is a lot like looking in a one way mirror and in this situation we can become like the nymph Echo who in the tale of Narcissist who sought his love and attention in vain and nearly died from the emotional hole of starvation left deep inside.  We can also become the scapegoat or toxic dumping ground for all the narcissist cannot bear to face inside themselves or related to unhealed wounds of their own inner child of the past.

Pulling our energy back, learning to love and sooth ourselves is in the end the only answer. Looking for healthy others who understand is also so important.  In the end our healing comes from knowing we loved a wounded soul who couldn’t break free of the prison of their illusion and defences. We may still love them but we can no longer sacrifice our own physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health for them.  Its like pouring valuable longing and life energy down a drain when we so sorely need it for ourselves and to nurture healthier relationships.  To recover we must do a lot to build and strengthen and reclaim the true self the narcissist tried to decimate in us all the way along. I believe the relationship comes into our life to highlight our own narcissistic wounds and would encourage anyone in pain to launch on a path of healing.. the roots of why we accept such treatment lie buried in our past… we can heal and we can realise why we accepted a relationship that continued to cause us so much pain.

Why is feeling fully so problematic?

Why are feelings so problematic to us in this culture?   To feel means our body is in touch and connected to something, for example we feel the touch of our clothes on our skin or the touch of the breeze caress our face. The antithesis would be to be anaesthetised or numb which is what happens under the influence of a drug, for example during surgery or dental work or when as youngsters we learned from others or due to our fear to withdraw from feeling what we felt into a substance. in response to the way others responded to us feeling.

I know that emotion and feeling are not the same.  It seems to me that emotions have a mental component in response to what is done to us or how others respond to us feeling something.  For example, imagine a parent hugged you and it hurt and you went “Ow” and then your parent got angry with you or told you “don’t be silly, that didn’t hurt” how much more tangled and complex our emotions around that event would become.  We could begin to feel anger as a contraction or clenching in our body in response to unkind, unempathic, invalidating words and then we may feel fear and sadness and hurt as well, all as a response to others who responded to us in a certain way!   All sorts of things and sensations and responses would occur in our body as a result.

If we valued our parent’s perception we may begin to doubt ourselves.  “Was what I felt real if they said it was not?”  We may begin to believe that it is too difficult to feel as we did and so we must not feel that way.  But without knowing how we really felt we can’t really connect to the truth in our body and our cells. And if we tell ourselves we were wrong for having that feeling the result is the feeling gets blocked, it doesn’t move out and just work its way free, it gets stored inside, possibly with a lot of damaging thoughts.

How much better to say to ourselves.  Its okay, darling.  When they hugged you it hurt and then it hurt more to be told it didn’t hurt.  That doesn’t make what you felt wrong it means the other person didn’t show empathy and wasn’t sensitive to your feelings.

As children we cannot do this, but as adults who are beginning to heal from invalidation abuse we can.  We can learn to touch base with our inner child and no longer invalidate him or her or his or her feelings.  We can learn ways to recognise and self soothe.  We can learn when to withdraw from what is hurtful or damaging without making up a lot of stories about how we are wrong to do so.  Our body would feel heard which is where our inner child lives.

Our real feelings wont hurt us if we just recognise them.  One of my favourite quotes from Alice Miller an expert on narcissistic abuse of emotionally sensitive children speaks of how our true feelings never lie, they give us essential information.  Miller goes on to say that if you are with anyone a therapist or other person who invalidates your feelings you need to recognise this.  You need to limit involvement with these people until you can recover long enough to find out how you really feel  You can take your feelings seriously but without magnifying them.  You can let them be, let them breathe and set them free. They will not then possess you so much.

Validating your feelings is important.  If you are emotionally sensitive and were raised in an insensitive environment there is  going to be a lot of healing to do because you will, like me, have internalised many messages telling you to over ride, discount or doubt your own feelings.  Your feelings will then grow inside into a much larger force that gets attached to a lot of thinking and over-ruminating and your feelings will coagulate into a huge undifferentiated mass which if left til much later in life to unpack may threaten to overwhelm you.  It will be most important that you surround yourself with others who are able to validate you and not confuse you more.  In the end you will be the one who can then validate your own feelings and when you meet with emotional invalidation you will recognise it but learn not to take it too seriously.  You wont let the hurt lodge so deeply inside you.  At least that is my experience.

On not taking on board shadow projections of the narcissist

I have just been re-reading one of my favourite psychology books from years back Owning Your Own Shadow : Understanding the Dark Side of the Psyche.  It is a tiny book on a huge subject so beautifully articulated by this wonderfully wise man, Jungian therapist Robert Johnson.  After my recent posts on the twisted tangled relationship between narcissists and empaths it really spoke deeply to me and I want to share some of what he has written soon in other posts.

I read this great comment on You Tube yesterday by a lady Angela Coffey in response to a Video posted on narcissism and narcissists.

In a devaluation period, by implementing manipulations, narcissists gain fuel and neutralise their subconscious feelings of unworthiness, self- hatred and envy by projecting these heinous feelings on to their victims. Thus the victims end up feeling these very emotions the Narcissist is so hell bent on repressing. In other words the victim feels what the narcissist so desperately needs to avoid feeling.

What Angela addressed in this comment was the shadow of the narcissist which is the key reason they are attracted to sensitive empaths in the first place, they see in us their own shadow material left over from childhood which they have blocked and defended against for most of their lives.  To admit it to themselves or to others is a literally impossibility for the true narcissist.  They are never wrong it is always others, they are never weak, or stupid or ignorant, or dull, that is always others, they never feel vulnerable, lost or sad or scared but will dump and project these feelings which we as empaths catch like a bad case of the flu!

We empaths on the other hand may have often had this kind of shadow material dumped onto us at home if we came from homes where low emotional intelligence and awareness was displayed by our parents.  We are used to feeling vulnerable, small, weak and powerless.  Part of the reason the narcissist attracts us is that in some way they carry our own repressed shadow.   They are strong, have presence and are often dynamic and expressive.  They also use a technique called love bombing at the start of the relationship, calling and texting us all the time, opening up with declarations of love early on and so forth.   If we are emotionally starved or starved in our own healthy narcissism all of this feels like coming home to some kind of heaven.  Soon we find ourselves deep in the throws of a love addiction.

We think we have finally found the one who is going to fill all the empty spaces left in us from childhood and from our own lack of deep self love and self knowing.  We think we have found someone who will recognise and not damage us like our narcissistic or emotionally repressed families did.  Some of us may not be emotionally empty ourselves as some of us came from homes where at least some love may have been showered on us.  We could never imagine how it might be to come from a home where you met abuse and lack of unconditional acceptance all the time, suffering untold humiliations and shame.

In the case of my own ex narcissist he had been through the most horrendous abandonment in childhood.  He carried the deep scars.  When he first met me he told me I was ‘too vulnerable’ for him to be in a relationship with but now I know he was actually scared of his own deep vulnerability and his comments were projections.   And I think I expected him to be strong as that was the persona he showed.

A few months in his deep narcissistic injuries would ark up when I was met with rage for making a simple comment about some household thing.  It would also ark up whenever I showed empathy or compassion to his soft side.  It is clear to me all of these years later that this sparked his feelings of inferiority which he felt he had to deny at any cost.

Throughout the relationship I got in trouble for the following things; expressing deep sadness when we travelled to see his father who was dying of cancer (I had lost my own father to cancer at 23!), accepting financial support from my Mum to help with some dental work (he had literally no financial support throughout his life), deciding to not seek employment in order to concentrate on my psychotherapy (he had to work so why didn’t I?).  I got in trouble for reading books on narcissism and psychology as well and by about a year in I was desperately seeking information from so many sources in order to try to understand what was happening in the relationship.  I would be shamed for ‘reading all that psychobabble stuff’, for my interest in astrology (according to him it was ‘all bunkam!!’).  Then I got trashed for setting boundaries ar0und having him come to live with me (he wanted my emotional support while he was working), he broke up with me over that one.  According to him I was like all of his past partners who didn’t know how to share.  On some level I was holding myself back out of fear of being flooded and overwhelmed by his repressed pain.  I had got dizzy and collapsed the first night we slept together, something I did too quickly by the way.  I have to own my part in this dynamic!

I will admit that I became less willing to do such things after I saw that the more I gave, the more would be taken and the less he would give to me. He told me once “you need to know surfing will always come first for me, you will always be second”. Would a person with a solid sense of self have stood for that? Also “I can’t care about your needs, my needs come first!!”

When I cast my mind back to all of these things now it is clear to me that my ex narcissist was actually doing what I needed to do.  I needed to care less about whether he loved or accepted me and  care more about providing for my own needs.  Instead of getting upset by his long, long absences due to surfing I would have been better to have developed solid hobbies of my own.  Instead of pulling on him and asking him for his attention and care I needed to look to myself and to other sources.  However none of this was conscious for me at the time as my own deep wounds from childhood had not been addressed and I was suffering from intense PTSD from two injuries which had taken place on the first and second anniversary of my marriage breaking up which triggered much earlier loses that due to my active alcoholism I had neither grieved fully or addressed.

What is also clear to me many years later is that we were attracted to each other by our own wounds from childhood.  I was working on mine but my ex narcissist was not willing to work on his. At the end I got dumped and blamed. In the break up email he sent I was called flighty, screwy and insecure.  Discussing this with several therapists over the past few years it has become clear to me that a lot of what he said was actually projection of his own dark side and I took it on board for years.  As a good friend of ours said to me later, “Deb he used you like a bar of soap to wash his dirty soul clean.”.  Kapow!!!

I want to close this post with some paragraphs from Robert Johnson’s little book.  The book doesn’t address narcissism per see but healthy narcissism is something that can live in our shadows.  As Johnson points out a lot of us have a lot of gold and good in our shadow, strong qualities and characteristics that we don’t own or develop but need to. Healthy narcissism is about things like positive self esteem, good boundaries, knowing one’s intrinsic worth and self care.  These are the shadow qualities we as empaths need to develop in ourselves after we come out of the devalue and discard by the narcissist.

I am often asked if it is possible to refuse a shadow projection from another person.  But this works only if one has one’s own shadow reasonably well in hand.  Usually when you receive a shadow projection, your own shadow erupts and warfare is inevitable.  When your shadow is like a gasoline can waiting for a match to fall into it, you are fair game for anyone who wants to irritate you.  To refuse another’s shadow, you don’t fight back, but like a good matador, you just let the bull go by.  I remember a woman who consulted me long ago; her husband had made it his retirement sport to put his shadow on her.  She was reduced to tears sometime each day and neither seemed to be able to stop the destruction.  I trained the woman to refuse his shadow  – neither to fight nor to withdraw into icy solitude but simply to stay grounded in herself. Since she didn’t take the bait, the house shook with shadow power for many days.  Finally the man saw what he was doing and a conversation of fine quality was possible between them  The shadow returned to its original source and became highly constructive.

In this case I wonder if the husband in question was truly narcissistic as he was able to take shadow material on board.  Many narcissists will not.  We can still exercise the same discipline though, we can let the stormy angry bull go by.  We can refuse to take the projection on board.  We can own our own power to accept and love ourselves unconditionally by not rising to the narcissists bait by standing on the solid ground of our self.  But for many of us wounded in childhood with porous egos we have some work to do to develop this solid sense of self, so in many ways our relationship with the narcissist is god given.  It points out to us where our own shadow is rejected, were we need to gain solid ground and strength.  It is a wake up call, divinely designed to help us become whole.

 

 

When the child comes out of the shadows

1-1

It has become more and more apparent to me lately how childhood and the inner child up to about age 7 carries so many of our issues and deep feelings forward into so called ‘adulthood’.  These emotions, needs, longings, attachment patterns and so on rule us subconsciously from within, often without us really knowing how or why until we hit a big wall or loss in adulthood that triggers us into some kind of collapse, depression or breakdown.

Here is where our inner work starts to unpack the past that is still running us unconsciously from with and as my chiropractor pointed out to me yesterday we often fear the overwhelm at times or think to ourselves, “why is this rising up again, I thought I had dealt with it.”  But the truth is the past wont let us go until it is integrated, acknowledged and worked through by us.  The past and its influence needs to be known by us because otherwise it runs us.  Once we bring the inner child in us out of the shadows into the light of day we can begin to see more clearly how we have not ever really been adults at all, living consciously with inner awareness.

I got a bit of a shock looking at my dog this morning and thinking how much having him was about my own inner child issues.  I think I also needed to learn how to take care of another being and at times I have transferred so many of my childhood issues onto him.  For me it is so important that all of his needs are met because so few of my needs were met in childhood.  And an animal is also such a soothing presence to have around us when we are healing because they will stick with us in deep, lost, painful, angry, lonely places when often others cannot or will not.  But at times I also get frustrated having a dog when I feel the split between what I need to do in the moment and what I feel he might need.

Over the past few years I have really felt my lost, confused, lonely inner child from childhood come out of the shadows but also amongst those sadder inner characteristics I also see within her and within adult me spunk, intelligence, deep feeling, intuition, compassion and sensitivity emerge as well.  These are characteristics to nurture and support and they have emerged more once I have begun to see how the first feelings I mentioned above covered over the others.

I had some moments of great insight when I woke up this morning.  I saw how emotional uncovery and recovery work has made me quite self centred and self focused.  I think this kind of focus is necessary for a time when we are working deeply on our narcissistic issues and injuries from the past.  I was thinking this morning about something that is spoken about a lot in the AA fellowship, self centred fear.  The fear of not getting what we want and need, the fear of others running over us or blocking our expression in some way, the fear of never having enough or being enough.   These fears are very real and may come out of the shadow experiences deep in our childhood in which all of these things happened to us. But what I am also seeing lately is that when I stay more centred in a feeling of abundance, the feeling that not everything needs to centred around me and my needs in others lives I am freed up for a much happier and more purposeful life.

When I see that I can often meet my own needs from within then I am in a freer place to reach out and extend the love I feel inside for others to others, which is very different to walking around all the time with the feeling that I am empty inside and don’t have anything to give and must be filled up by other’s attention, validation, recognition or acceptance.

All of those feelings of wandering and looking outside, lost and alone are starting to recede a lot more now that I have acknowledged my deep grief around never getting what I really wanted and needed in my family.  Coming out of denial and peeling back the layers of the onion that formed around my deeper issues has been a very, very long slow and drawn our process. And I have learned increasingly that I can dwell within my aching heart until the pain transforms into something more bittersweet.

I went out on an outing with my Mum yesterday.  And for the first time I saw very clearly the inner child in her, the one who got no attention ever, was pushed behind the back door literally and then had to learn to survive on her own.  We had gone out with a family friend who has known my Mum for years and she said to me after we dropped her off.  “God she is so fiercely independent.”  “Yes, I said it comes out of her childhood.”  She passed a lot of it onto us, her children, the hidden dependency needs got thrust into the shadows and have dogged us .  I thought then of my Mum not as the mother who didn’t ever give me much of what I needed but of the mother who tried her best to the limits of her capacity.   I felt really sad but I also felt an inner acceptance.  I knew my pain was real and that in the end there was no cure for it but to feel it and acknowledge it so that I can go forward.  I no longer want to be an endlessly self obsessed person.  I know that my joy in life in future years will be based on what I can give rather than on what I receive because within me I receive everything when I know, love, understand, nurture and accept myself warts and all totally from within.

I will not exhaust myself with care giving but I will no longer just stand alone as I was conditioned to, because as a human I know now and my deep pain has taught me how much I need connection and long to give and connect from a whole hearted inwardly in touch place. I think this is always what I have wanted and seen as my life purpose.  Now I am just more in touch with it since the pain of my past is integrating.

 

Some insights into how emotional intensity triggers others.

I’m feeling very sick this morning from all the blood I have swallowed from the nosebleeds of the past week.  The past few days have been so painful I am sure my body is trying to drive the point home how impossible it is for me to be around those who are shut down and there is no way in to connect with them, or at least how that felt as a small child, almost like being invisible on some level.

I spoke to my mother last night as she had been trying to call all day and not getting through for some reason.  Late yesterday afternoon I had to call the doctor, I was having trouble breathing and the nose bleeds went on all day yesterday. I was so fed up of being at home I took myself out and had a bite to eat (it was so hard to eat yesterday) and a cup of coffee which I now know was the wrong thing to do.  After I had it I started to get a pain around my right shoulder blade and then back at home a full on panic, breathless attack captured me in its clutches.  It was only when I spoke to the receptionist at the doctor’s surgery and cried that the bleeding in my nose stopped, it had been on and off all day and I was exhausted!

“Is there someone you could call to be with you, a family member or neighbour?”  she asked?  I said no, my sister is away, my mother is sick and I could not ask that of my neighbours.  In the end she suggested I called the home doctor service which operates between 6 and 10.  By this point I was crying a lot and the receptionist was very concerned. Is there anything else I can do? she asked.  I cannot tell you what a balm it was to be shown that empathy.

After the call I started to make dinner and listen to some music and huge waves of grief began to wash over me.  I had to get down on the floor the sobs were so deep and the pain so deep too.  God bless my little dog Jasper, he came and sat by me while I wept flat on my back on the kitchen floor.  I was so grateful to him for that as sometimes he makes a beeline for the door when I am upset.

I am beginning to see that my anger with family masks so much grief and pain inwardly that I am carrying and have been denying.  I cannot quite compute or digest the hurts lodged in me like splinter shards,  my body seems to be trying all the time to cough them up.   My mother shows me more empathy than my sister but her emotions are so somatised and its has often been impossible to broach the subject of grief as it just gets batted back at you.

This was the cause of a huge fight we had five years ago at this time of year after refusal to acknowledge any grief after I split from my last partner and the grief was huge because she showed a form of contempt to me at the time and when I said the F word. She said “if you are going to swear then you can leave this house” and I had no other home as my ex had dumped me.

I took myself off 300 miles away driving all night until dawn and stayed away 6 months.  I sometimes think I should have stayed away permanently but as my therapist says its no use denying my longing to be connected to family, if I do I split off a large part of myself.

I seem to be subject to disappointments over and over and over and over and over and over and over again with them.  Maybe I just need to harden up where they are concerned, look for genuine connection elsewhere.  I don’t know the answer to be honest, frankly. Part of me just wants to break away totally.  But my therapist doesn’t think I should.  I am in a bit of a fucking quandary.

A little time later after eating breakfast and reflecting I had these insights :  Putting an  astrological slant on it which many may not understand, maybe not knowing or believing in astrology.  But it occurred to me that in this life there are Saturnian types contrasted and conflicting with Neptunian times.

Saturnian types may seem hard and defended.  In some way their past made them this way.  They may have had to shoulder older burdens when very young, they may have had to put aside their tender hearts, and deeply repress the intensity of their feelings in order to get on.  They may look askance at Neptunian types who are emotionally oceanic, wear their hearts on their sleeve, feel universal compassion for everyone but then get really deeply hurt when shown lack of empathy and climb into their shells.  If these Neptunians have a touch of other forces such as Pluto they may get angry and seethe or just bury all the pain inside.  Uranian types may just try to detach, split off or run away, both of those describe me.

It occurs to me that my mother and sister are defended Saturnian types.  They put up barricades.  They do their best.  Where I hit the wall with them is being so oceanically Neptunian but then splitting into hurt Plutonian defences and Uranian ones too at times too.  Maybe what is needed from me is a greater degree of consciousness and awareness to see where the splits are and just accept this is the way it is.

Much as I wish it did life doesn’t run to my agenda or cater to my whims or desires all of the time.  It doesn’t mean I should have the whims or desires but I need to be realistic, wised savvy and open hearted with dealing with where they get blocked and gain a deeper insight into how reacting can end up hurting me.  Maybe the world isn’t setting out to hurt me its just doing what it needs to do to get along.  In order for me to live well I have to be very aware of how I react and of the things I tell myself when I meet emotional repression and of the expectations I have of others.

After writing this I went to the Chiropractor who works with emotions and explained the event that had triggered me over the past week going back into the painful time when my sister made my mother choose who she wanted to be with more, her or me and my mother chose me due to the fact my marriage had ended and I was grieving.  It hurt so much at the time, but the way Rebecca explained it to me, people who feel things intensely often trigger other people’s emotional defences and most particularly in Australia with its ‘she’ll be right mate’, ‘no worries’ ethos.  She explained how here people can and do look at you askance if you have intense emotions which would probably be accepted better in other cultures.  Well Australia is a Sun Sign Capricorn country ruled by Saturn.. so go figure!!

Rebecca confirmed what I have been realising.  Its pointless getting upset with those who cant speak the language you do or admit or allow the intensity of their own emotions.   When we wise up to this we are freer to choose our responses wisely.  We can realise there is nothing really wrong with us when others try to scapegoat, diminish or exile us for our intensity.  Much as it hurts in time we can gain a more realistic approach to our own intensity.

 

 

 

Selfish shellfish!

1-1

Selfish shellfish

Lived in its shell

With a hard coating

To protect its squishy insides

Didn’t care who lived or died

On the emotional roller coaster

It rode

Into town

I wish I knew then

What I know now

If I get too close

I will be ground to pieces

Or suffer from the fall out

Your roller coaster dance

Is a spin out

Stay clear

Getting close

Will only end in ruin

Or spin you round

So hard and fast

You wont know which way is up!

So if you want to stand up straight

And live to walk away

And enjoy another day

Steer clear of the drama

And take a walk down a different street

Lest you end up

With shards of glass

All through your feet!

Or a dagger pierced

Through your heart

Bleeding and bleeding

From the invisible wound

They left in you

Which few will understand

When you have known pain : personal reflections on the wound of narcissism

When you have known great pain and trauma and loss there is no way you can unknow that knowing.  This is the thought that came to me this morning after writing a poem about where the so called negative thinking inside my head can take me at times and then reading another blog about how happiness is not necessarily a realistic goal for those of us who have undergone a lot of trauma.   What happened to us is real, it was painful and it hurt.  In bed last night when I was struggling with post traumatic pain the thought came to me that I needed to open my heart to the pain and let it in, instead of trying to block it, resist it, repress it or deny it. I am becoming aware that this is what I do not only with my own pain but with the pain of realities I see about other people who have damaged me in certain ways.

Yesterday after watching a video on the causes of narcissism in childhood I became aware of the wounding in my own relationships with my parents, certain expressions or emotions were not allowed or they were denied.  Often pain was denied.  If you had an injury it was often denied and you were told that it didn’t hurt or hadn’t happened.  Later in life when there was real sadness I needed to express I was not allowed to do so around certain people, especially my mother due to the fact it caused them or her discomfort.  In the video I watched yesterday and reblogged this kind of treatment was discussed and hearing about it yesterday really triggered me into a spiral of anger and sadness : anger that I was not allowed to be and express my true self and sadness not only that I was not allowed but that I then turned against myself and my own feelings and tried to turn the sadness off to be and become a person who would then be loved and accepted, but the price was that I was not loved and accepted as I really was.

In the video what was discussed by the therapist was how as children if we suffer these kind of narcissistic wounds and injuries we learn to disconnect from our true being, feelings, thoughts and self on some level.  The truth lives on in us but we turn away, disconnect and deny, often because we were either actively shamed, humiliated, dismissed or ignored when feeling that feeling.  What then came into my head was the concept of Inner Bonding which is discussed into books my Margaret Paul, the first called Healing Your Aloneness, the second Inner Bonding.   In both books a method of reconnecting to your disconnected feelings and thoughts is taught so that you no longer split off from or deny the truth.

The feeling I have most problem with connecting to or feeling and expressing is anger.  Getting angry with my Mum has landed me deep in hot water so many times.  Feeling my sadness with her is not really possible either and it wasn’t really until I listened to the video yesterday that I connected the anxiety my mother feels when I try to express anger or sadness with the kind of narcissistic injury he speaks of.  Prior to this I had some kind of idea but it was not fully formed.  I then had some deeper insights how over the past 5 years I have turned myself around to find ways to find my mother’s love, approval and attention.

As a young child I was left alone all the time.  My parents never played with me.  The family drill was that we did all our chores and then we may be allowed to play outside alone.  As I grew into an older child my mother always worked.  I remember waiting and waiting for both her and my father to come home.  When they did my father would ignore me and go into the garden.  When my mother came home I would orient myself around her to get her attention by following her around in the kitchen trying to help as much as possible. I made a contest of being able to do all the dishes before the meal was put on the table to be served.  In this way I hoped to win my mother’s love and attention. It’s only writing this now that I am connecting the anxiety and panic attacks I have had for several years now around this time of day when I prepare my dinner and do the washing up to this pattern of becoming a little satellite to my Mum at this time of day.  Last night I could not wash up for over 2 hours due to being stuck in a panic attack.   These kind of light bulb moments are essential for my recovery.

Last night I had a fitful night.  I woke up after a painful dream in which I was being attacked by a girl with a severe Asian hairstyle and in trying to protect myself I stabbed her in the shoulder with nail scissors very deeply and drew blood.  As a result I was then put before an intervention committee and told that I was being sent out into the wilderness by the committee for being so destructive.  I then knew the cost of my anger had been too much, but without it I would have been powerless so I can now see the dilemma I have been put in for all of my life.  Expressing anger means exile from connection, suppressing it means disconnection from and wounding to my true self.

I need my anger and my sadness to show me what is real for me, where my frustrations lie and how upset I am to know that a lot of the pain I suffered was due to the narcissism and self involvement of both my parents because I spend whole days sometimes being actively shamed and blamed inwardly by a remorseless inner critic.  I seem to keep moving into and out of denial around this issue for years.  Now I believe my psyche is trying to show me a painful truth and I need to open up to it and let it in rather than block or deny it as my parents would.  My body showed me last night I was on the right track for when I opened to the truth of the pain my body finally began to relax and the sharp hard thing I feel lodged inside me most nights then began to lose some of its intensity.  My own Mars vital force turned within and against myself, internalised rather than externalised causes me deep pain.  I need to liberate myself from this pain by feeling it, understanding it and releasing it.