Thinking about my sister : some reflections

It’s quiet painful at times not seeing my sister who is still in psychiatric care, but it would be just as challenging possibly seeing her.. I recall how when, in her darkest moments, she would cling to me like I was a life raft with a silent pleading to help her, to stop the pain but no matter how often I told the doctors or my nephews that something other than drugs was needed nobody seemed to be able to hear me. And that Christmas at the coast where they were laughing so callously at Robbie Williams newly sober and struggling with his weight, I got so triggered I stormed out only to later return collapsing crying as my brother in law looked on in some kind of regret.

It was not easy being the only sober one, but far better than being medicated. Even though I still struggle so much with feeling safe in my body and endure those cascades trying to manage alone at least I am not in care and yet it sometimes seems I cannot rest. It is an independent, free life, never the less, I can cook and clean and get out walking and engage in life if I choose, in a way my sister no longer can..

When I talk to our Mum’s closest friend who was there and tried to be there for my sister, but not possibly in the way she needed we both feel sad for the wasted life.. My sister had that brief spurt of being able to function from October 2019 to July 2020, she sold the place she was forced into by family after other hospitalisations and collapses and moved into Mum’s unit but that did not work well for her.. She was still so enmeshed and there must have been so many emotions she was finding it hard to deal with and then the issue of one son who tried to help but so often seemed to cause her a lot more problems…

My way was to run on or away independently. As the youngest I went off alone anyway after Dad died.. I had no one but a lot of brief affairs, often with wounded men.. the exception being a lovely man called Tony Cooper born on the same day as me I met in Greece the following summer who saw I was drinking too much and wanted to help me. In time I got involved with someone else from the land of my ancestors migration, New Zealand, Simon. We did grow close but between my alcoholic melt downs due to buried grief and his difficulty understanding and commitment issues I was then dumped again. It seems I just never knew how to make sensible choices around men, possibly because I had not yet begun to deal with Dad’s emotional distance and early death or yet began to arrest my addiction to drugs and alcohol..

There are things you can only learn about yourself by living through and making so many mistakes if you have attachment trauma.. I am often the one rejecting dependency and then getting involved on the unhealthy end.. I truly do not know either what it is to be supported or let others take their own burdens on.. I step in too impulsively and then it all derails.. Its such an enormous juggling act. And something else about co-dependency occurred to me during my last therapy session with Katina where I was crying and crying over feeling so defective and broken that so often I find it hard to own what is beautiful, good, true and ‘right’ in me.. According to Melanie Beattie that, apparently, is a very strong sign of having had emotional abandonment and neglect shown towards one’s true self. Taking my own needs and longings seriously instead of dissing them is taking me a lot of time.

Any way in my blog all I can show to the world is this mixed up self of mine. I know I have no answers… Having the chiropractic done has not made things better I ended up wetting and shitting myself in bed last night.. I was swallowing pineapple and brazil nuts and magnesium and tumeric with cardamon with lemon juice and ginger about 12 pm after waking from a brief sleep in which I could not get up to wee fast enough. Later I lost some of my bowel but had on some pads and it was not too bad..It is so hard trying to manage all of this trauma that relates back the gut brain link and so many emotional and ancestral issues around my head injury.

God knows the body is a mysterious thing.. I had a very powerful dream before waking at 7.30 am. I was back on a very long strip of deserted beach and it seemed to be a metaphor for how it was to be in that last relationship when I ended up all alone at the coast house after the second head injury derailed my attempt to move back overseas.. My ex husband was telling me to go home and I had no support at all. I went to an ashram in the end and then a B and B for a while but it all got a bit much.. I did make some lovely spiritual friends then some of whom I still keep in touch with.. and I did things my free spirit loved like dancing and chanting and being in nature at the beautiful Challis Wells gardens in Glastonbury where I had so many visions of Christ.. I also used to love going to the small Magdalene Church there where people would leave prayers and wishes scattered over a simple altar.. it was there my ex husband told me in October 2005 he had met someone else and so I went home ending up in complete isolation at the house Dad built 7 years before he died

It was there in March 2007 that I met Phil and he made me feel I was too much of everything he did not like and wounded in my capacity to support his dreams. But what of my own? Why were my feelings always such a nuisance?.. It hurt a lot he hurt me so much and I tried I kept trying each time he told me something was wrong I tried not to be that but in the end who can erase themselves for love. its a strange thing but in the dream last night around the deserted dunes so like the ones in the isolated surfing spots he used to take us both during the years 2007 to 2010 I thought I had lost the keys to my car but when I checked my jacket pocket they were in the one on the right side (masculine/action side).. That may be an indicator of what Kat said to me about my growth in therapy that the toxic inner critic/saboteur is not derailing me as much as Phil was the outward manifestation of that negating critical force in my life from 2007 to early 2011 when we finally broke up.

Scott often says to me that the person who does not love you as you are and wants to change you into someone else will leave you as soon as they find that person.. But the problem was not that Phil did not love me as I was, it was that I DID NOT LOVE MYSELF ENOUGH TO SAY A BIG FAT NO TO ABUSE.

I listened yesterday to a newly published talk by Eckhart Tolle on not nourishing grievances with ex partners.. I can truly say I now know why I was treated that way by someone who refused therapy but told me I needed it. In the end maybe it was better for him to blame me.. and I am sure, at times, I was not immune to blaming him either.. it was not meant to last and it was fated to be as the astrological signifactors of our meeting time showed in both our charts.. On this life journey by some kind of weird happenstance we seem to be drawn to just those souls we need to work out our issues. And there is comfort in that.

I feel better for writing this… I did manage to get up and out and then back… I had a very simple breakfast and early lunch and experienced a lot of storming and writing and panic and crying but its only a week until Mercury goes direct and anxiety does build towards the stationing periods both forward and back. 6 of June is the date I met Jonathan in 1993, it is the date of my great great grandmother’s birthday and it only took 6 months out of meeting Jonathan for me to get sober on 6 December 1993.

Tough as my life is and as much as I feel for a sister who never took the 12 step pathway I guess I also know the distance I began to take from September last year in endlessly visiting the hospital only to walk away crying each time has been necessary.. Before that I was running around doing so much for her to help that never seemed to address the deeper wounds only she could work though and who is to say she is not doing that in her own Piscean way.. This Mercury retrograde began squaring both my sister Sue’s and my father’s Mars at 5 degrees of Sagittarius as it co-joined her Sun Venus conjunction in Pisces and my Mum’s Mars in Pisces also at 4 degrees. My sister keep so much inside of her like my father.. who had the triple conjunction of Sun Saturn and Mercury in the deeply internalized gut sign of Virgo.. his cancer appeared there and it took him very suddenly in 1985. My sister has battled breast cancer twice.

All I can do is pray and send her love.. much as we struggle with those of our own blood who so deeply hurt us at times we also love them just because they are flesh of our flesh. As multi-generational trauma therapist Mark Wolynn notes : to turn our backs on that flow of love never led me anywhere good. In the end I am no longer a little child while still having a very deep part of me that is the inner child of both past and present.. The pain over the longing to be seen is something, that in the end only I, as an emotionally awakening adult can learn ways to effectively manage and come to terms with.

Trigger : Regret

What you do

Is only a trigger

For those things I have experienced from the past

That hurt

Or touched a deeper wound

So when that pain in me arises

I must take good care of my heart

Because sometimes

It is all too easy to blame

Either you or myself

For things we never caused

What a different world it would be

If we could see this

Looking more compassion upon

Both ourselves and our fellow human beings

Most especially our parents

Who tried their best

And made so many mistakes

I most certainly know from a larger

And more eternal all encompassing perspective

They now so strongly

Regret

We had nowhere to go with the pain and the wounds ran deep

Reading Marian Keyes latest novel Again, Rachel is quite triggering for me.. For those who do not know Irish writer, Marian struggled with addiction and got sober around a similar time to me, I came across the book at Target but did not buy it then and got home to hear her interviewed on our Radio National book program about 4 Mondays ago following therapy. T

The lead character Rachel must be based loosely on Marian’s own life and family and in it Rachel is an addiction counseller working in a facility with a smaller amount of sobriety to Marian.. In the piece I just read a client begins to tap into and unload some of her abandonment trauma in group therapy and in the novel Rachel has to shut that down to continue the deeper feeling work one to one.. It moved me a lot as it had to do with a young pregnancy and abuse and abandonment. This same thing happened to me (with the exception my Dad was not abusive but emotionally disengaged) but when Mum found out I was sleeping with that boyfriend I fell pregnant too at the age of 21 a month or so before, she would not talk to me for days so when I found out I was having his baby I could not go to her, she screamed and yelled at me that day and told me she was ashamed of me.

I fell pregnant twice to him and he abandoned me miles from home with the first pregnancy only I did not know I was pregnant at the time, but Dad was very upset he and Mum had to wire me money for a train ticket home as this guy, Jim drove off leaving me with nothing at all. When we got back together Dad must have been really worried as he ended up getting sick the next year having already gone through all of the trauma of me and my older sister nearly dying in 1979 and 1980. Interesting this is all coming up as the Full Moon at 23 degrees in Libra opposing the Sun in Aries had set off my father’s painful Venus in Libra opposite Chiron in Aries square to Pluto in Cancer (Dad was born in 1920.) I just read the following about Chiron in Aries and both Mum and Dad had it and it has to do with wounds of feeling worthless.

If you have Chiron in Aries, it means the core of your pain comes from a feeling of worthlessness. Very often you carry the pressure of being the best you can be.

(People with this placement :

They tend to avoid talking about their pain at all costs, which is why it is quite hard to tap into the healing gifts of Chiron in Aries.

Source : TF20S

Reading this makes me realize that for addicts, just as Gabor Mate says there is no tough love, the abandonments we go through are real and our younger life of trauma often may remain hidden, out acting out behavior becomes problematic for others who end up labelling us as crazy.. but then as Alain de Botton points out, who does not suffer from some kind of wounding or craziness in the emotionally ignorant world.

For me I never got into treatment, I did it all alone apart from attending AA for over 8 years almost daily at first and then three or so times a week, before Jonathan and I went overseas and I started one to one therapy.

I am glad now that my pain and tears are not as great.. I have unpacked a lot of it over the past 23 years since then, but at times I can still get the spins, lately its about someone pulling me in to try and help him and his daughter who is sick.. I cannot afford it and he chose to be away from her after her mother died but I cannot help but think its all magnetic attraction, after all I was sent away so many times and after Dad died I had no one to speak to of anything, it got acted out in drinking and often lashing out with boyfriends which they could never understand and so left me.

Even in sobriety marriage was difficult trying to feel my feelings, which were not seen as acceptable. I have a post to share after this one prompted by Cherie White about how bullies shut down, shame, smear and gaslight targets but in an alexythymic culture its the ones who are sensitive and feel that so often get disparaged.

All I know today is that the abandonment i lived through in my life was intense.. I have not made it up.. I saw the heavy cost in my family too of two sisters being medicated rather than addressing feelings.. Yes, its sad at Easter to have no contact with anyone but in a way it feels safer and better. At least on my own I am free to be a mess and to feel if I need to, but today there have been no tears only a lot of anxiety dancing. Still I am alive even as it draws closer the anniversary of losing Judith my sixteen year older sister. The tears have gone now, what just lives on is the unadulterated recognition of how hard it was for all of us girls to be feeling, vulnerable woman in a deeply feminine wounded world.

Seeing a magical world

As children we were just open to wonder but sadly so much can happen in those early formative years to shut this down and if we had a depressed or anxious parent that would in some way be communicated to us.

As Thich Nhat Hanh reminds us in his book Fear many of our parents knew famines, wars and other kinds of trauma, struggles to survive, loss of parents and siblings and just a host of challenges all of which leave their imprints lodged within our DNA.

Gabor Mate a Canadian oncologist from Hungary who has worked a lot with addicts to stop the demonization of their survival responses shares in some of his talks about how, as a baby, he picked up with all the other babies the distress happening at that time in his world, a world on the brink of war. We absorb all of this as young ones but never give it a second thought.. If someone is diagnosed as BPD or bi polar how many psychiatrists do a family history, checking for the incident of addiction or other losses and treating from there before reaching for the meds? In one of the facilities where my sister was doing time over many months one of the psyche nurses was just as disordered as the patients in terms of early childhood trauma (I knew her from Al Anon but was supposed to keep that ‘a secret’) and it interests me that this nurse was not liked by my sister but really they had so much in common. How sad.

John Bradshaw was one of the first men in recovery to start addressing the impact of childhood, child rearing and toxic shame as well as shame bound emotions in those in recovery.. His many excellent books such as Healing The Shame That Binds You, Homecoming, and Creating Love address what happens to us at every stage of development and how our magical soul filled child is shut down in all kinds of ways.

Now when I get out in the mornings with Jasper, it is so lovely to connect to other adults not as shut down as both of my parents were.. My parents did not have much of a sense of fun when we grew up, I have shared in numerous posts before about the ‘runnning on empty’ syndrome in my family (link below to the work of Jonice Webb on this condition), it was all about work, work, work but in this way I am also beginning to understand the maybe my Dad felt alone living with Mum as she chose to work 9 to 5.30 four days a week, 9 to 9 on Fridays and 9 to 12 on Saturdays.. Maybe on some level Dad enjoyed this. He could get into the garden or play his music without Mum running around in a perfectionistic spin whipping things into a frenzy with her OCD panics all a legacy of being a neglected adult grandchild of an alcoholic.

My Mum’s best friend told me on Wednesday that Mum never visited Dad at the office and when she started showing up there after Dad died my sister in law got the shits she was so ‘needy’ making a comment about how now she needed to learn to stand on her own two feet.. This from a woman whose own mother died when she was only young and learned never to face the pain, but hate all of our family for who we were. I do understand why on some level, when she met my brother in around 1967 at the restaurant and came to live with us Mum was insulted that she kept herself separate from us reading up the back under the tree. I was too young to remember a lot of this and already traumatized by my beloved older sister marrying and then when Mum read her diaries and confronted her about an abortion she ended up making an enemy for life.

What a mixed up family of emotional turmoil deeply buried and submerged I was buried into.

My sister in law was nice to me when young though, she gave me a lot of books and later in life told me to get as far away from my Mum as I could after Jonathan left, the problem being Mum needed support and so did my older sister who by that stage was so damaged from her aneurysm and marriage detonating 3 years later when she tried to take her life.

Today I know all of that pain seeped into me as a child just as it did for Gabor Mate as a baby and that I NO LONGER NEED TO CARRY SADNESS THAT IS NOT MINE.. That said I need to give a voice in my poetry as it says something about the hidden legacy of my ancestors that I give voice to through Neptunian forms such as poetry.

Today I can be around people, slowly risk vulnerability and opening myself and gain joy from that. Earlier Jasper and I ran into a lovely couple in the park we go to whose little dog Harry jumped around and chased him as we conversed.. How super nice to be connected and to have my heart open.

Today I can see a magical universe and I am grateful.. I do not think I ‘chose’ this family, I think it’s just evolution really, this idea of us choosing things, it does not tie in with a lot of epigenetic research.. We are woven from fate and then have the choice to become more conscious but to do that we often have to find the way to negotiate what is hidden in the shadows.

On the brink of the Moon growing larger in reflected light from the Sun (at the moment it is sitting at about 4 degrees of Libra) as it moves towards fullness I can reflect (Moon opposing Sun) on my relationships (Venus and Libra) and how difficult it was for me to emerge as a separate individual (Mars and Sun, Aries and Leo) within them.. And slowly through my therapy, poetry and ancestral unwinding I am. For that I am so so so so so grateful as well as for my sobriety which happened when my planet of wounding and healing Chiron in Pisces as well as first house Pluto in the opposing sign of Virgo was transited.. Despite later injuries that occurred as I repeated the old family pattern of going back and forward to the land of my ancestors and despite any pain and anger I may feel around my family’s distance and disengagement emotionally on some level I can accept it.. The issue of Mum’s ashes did trigger me this week but then our family just choose to disconnect and its not conscious in them at all

And after all, there was a time I too, struggled to open up and so many times I needed a hug but was only told to go away.. So very far away, or else just took myself away due to feeling so very rejected misattunted to or never empathized with at all.. In the end my family are probably just not capable of that, it is up to me as an adult to embrace the inner child and also make sense of what may have happened to my ancestors to make their own beings filled with so much anxiety.. After all it was such a battle for them coming out of a past where so much was lost and where in they were fighting just as hard as they possibly could to survive.

We do not talk about it

All around me as a child

This swirling ocean of buried feelings

No where to turn to find a face

To mirror me or help me find a solid place

To stand

And so I lost my way

And found myself drowning

At times I still do

You talked today of the heavy price you paid

In trying to be good

You lost yourself

And you lost your own way

To live in peace inside the cavern of your heart

And body

Then it is the mind runs riot

Because we can find no way to understand

And all we learn to do then

Is stay silent

Or use a thousand reasons why

Its hard to relate to others

A hundred other ways too

To distract ourselves

Or even make any attempt try

To do this difficult job

Of being human

Today I will not loose my voice

But I will not shout either

Most important is that I hear

My own buried truth

For far too often I allowed yours

To drown me out

And these days

I cannot allow that to happen to me

Anymore

Separating past from present

Past abandonment trauma has a way of poisoning our life from the inside.. When others reach out to us,at times we can be triggered, not feeling seen or validated we may react from deep within that tender and aching wound.. Before we know it the other party has pulled back startled, perhaps gone silent (hopefully has not tried to attack us more but that can sadly happen too.) I had a touch of this yesterday with someone I have connected to over past weeks via Instagram.. He tried to fix me with his comments and then used a word that I actually abhor ‘should’ in a sentence, never mind that that word ignored the validity of what I was feeling and my windows of tolerance and capacity to cope. I did not know how to reply at first so I simply said, I am human and I have read that Joseph Campbell once said if any word would be best to be erased from our human vocabulary it is the word ‘should’ the person replied back that I seemed to be hurt and so I listed for him some of the traumas I witnessed or was subject to since 2004.. that shut him up… and of course I would be lying if I said my fear of abandonment was not triggered but it could not unsettle me enough to say anything more.. I feel proud of this today.. I managed to hold onto myself.

Holding onto our trauma reality and not diminishing or discounting it is not easy with some people who can never have clue about how it feels. That said there is a time to separate past trauma from the present moment in which it can often bleed through for those of us with high level abandonment, emotional neglect or abuse trauma.

By divine happenstance after praying this morning I opened my Tian Dayton reader to this page and meditation.. I hope it resonates for you.

Separating Past from Present

Today I can take care of myself in the present. I can identify feelings as they come up and separate them – those that belong to the past and those that belong to the present. If they belong to the past I will not make them about my life today but will instead understand that something current has triggered them. The enormity of my response it probably not about what is going on right now. If I make it about my present, my life will quickly feel overwhelming and unmanageable. I will seek help from people and situations that are designed to assist me and I will separate what about today from what is about yesterday.

I do not make my present about my past

Deliver thyself as a roe from the hand of the hunter, and as bird from the hand of the fowler.

Proverbs 6:5

When you left

The air left the room when you entered, the force of the charge making my breath catch in the way it only can when someone you loved and then became unable to reach through to re-enters the vicinity. There were really no words to say, no more attempts to explain or plead or appease as there were in those painful months after we separated as I felt myself falling again into a hole so so deep, so so painful and oh so familiar.

I read on relationship survival group today that the pain we feel when a relationship ends is actually the pain our inner child felt in the absence of the parent’s love.. I am not entirely sure, do not other hearts break and minds tend to go under when the object of your love decides they no longer want you? Maybe in that situation the loss is not as acute if it does not end up re-triggering a far earlier wound.

I only look back now to the desperate steps I took then (in the months after you left) which were about me not facing my feelings fully and strangely this came to mind today when reading in Clementine Ford’s book How We Love about how she struggled to face or found it so painful to face her mother’s impending death from cancer and how, in time she did surrender to the sadness she was finally comforted by her mother who held her head in her lap in the hospital chapel as Clementine cried. There would be no such comfort for me from any quarter after you left. And so I ran desperately as I had to go away in that painful month after Dad passed on 8th of January 1985.

Loss can take a lot of time to negotiate. I think of the final nights of my own mother’s life, we did get to hold hands and say a lot of things that needed to be said but there was never an admission by her that she understood the deep pain she had passed on, in fact when I read the birthday card she gave me on my 54th birthday just a few days after I was diagnosed with breast cancer it is coldly detached and seems to lack any kind of warmth. Sad now but more truthful to acknowledge this. Even as I still struggle with blaming myself for ending up at the coast house after Jonathan decided to leave me and being asked how long I intended to stay and having my sister ask my mother to choose her favorite! It is all water under the bridge now but by God it was hard to live with that lack of emotional connection and care for and about my feelings.

Funny how it took us not working out for me to finally find myself.. some times lately I take a little peek at your Facebook page to see the kinds of things you post.. I enjoy some of them but there does not seem to be any emotion there, after all my feelings to you never made sense at all. Despite this I still remember that day at the cafe when I looked over and saw the beautiful blue of your eyes become even more vibrant contrasted against the deep indigo of your jacket.. I thought it was love but was it? I still pray for you.. I do not know if you ever think of me, but its okay I am at peace now.. you were such a necessary part of my journey.. and always will remain so, your leaving me took me into the deepest of pain, but in the end facing and feeling that was the necessary work that could not be shirked on the path home to finding my self, embracing and finally learning a way to love and understand myself and my past through my inner wounding.

Grateful to be alive

Even though some days living can feel crushing I am still grateful to be alive, especially on Saturdays.. In the letter Mum sent to me in 2001 that I found and read in therapy this week, she mentioned how painful the effect of my accident was on her and Dad but she said she could not have ever imagined how hard it was for me.. I think it also must have had an effect on my sister who has gone through so much, especially considering the fact that our other sister almost died, less than 6 months later and hovered for a long time in a state of suspension in a coma.. So the period of September to late February is fraught with a lot of past resonances that in terms of the spiral vortex of hidden inner life can still manage to have an impact.

There has been no word at all from my nephew about my sister.. I have not called either. I have just pulled back.. I know this may not be good but I just don’t want to do or say the ‘wrong’ thing and it is so hard to know what the ‘right’ thing is anyway and even writing those two words is pretty dualistic and black and white which is the way it can go when I get caught up on the mental level.. Maybe the truer statement is that, at this time I need all my own love and care to keep my own mental and physical health on an even keep. That is why lately just getting into my body and out of my head and negative or worrying thoughts seems essential and when trauma imprints call I just have to notice and anchor into the ‘Now’. Success with that today… I managed to stay upright after both breakfast and lunch today when the head neck lower back trauma cascade hit.. I am doing some of the vagal nerve exercises too that I found on line and that is helping me too…

My therapist thinks part of me.. a huge part did dissociate after that 1979 trauma and in 1981 I took myself away but got emotionally overwhelmed and in a difficult relationship. That is why, in 1982, when I pleaded with Dad to let me go back to my teaching degree it hit extra hard when he blocked that avenue alienating me from a lot of my good friends I had at the Canberra College of Education.. Possibly this kind of severing was a huge part of the reason why I later in life found it hard to feel like I ‘belonged’ and often took myself away or kept up a great distance from old connections. Luckily since coming back to my home town in 2011 I have been able to restores some of these..

As I see it any way so much goes silent in trauma and then gets displaced onto relationships or projections or appears as myriad mysterious bodily symptoms as well as profound push pull dynamics in attachment.. Lately I see how, as soon as I long to attach, I can fear and pull back and not being ‘got’ or seen can be a big trigger. What I began to realize only very recently is that it is not how the other person is reacting so much that is the problem but what that echoes for me of a past in terms of a flashback., when I can get a handle on that I can bring myself into present time and feel more grounded and ‘safe.’

Today maybe I felt safer in my body.. I was more self supportive and self loving when the shit hit the fan with Scott last night and this next demand for money.. I did not get that huge abandonment cascade of anxiety, I held myself and told myself I am safe.. I can cope alone and that I do not have to give away myself to be related to anyone.. I used to do that a lot. (give my self away or bury my painful feelings just to stay related). Then you get those who shame dump you or try to say you are being selfish for not doing things they need, that also can be a difficult issue to figure out for some of us with high levels of emotional confusion, alexithymia or poor ego boundaries..

Being able to manage these things does make it easier too, to want to live and feel gratitude for a life that comes with a deeper inner intuitive connection to our authentic self not so grounded or fed on toxic shame…. When we know somewhere deep down inside we are not getting what we need and are settling in order to keep the peace that can be damaging for both parties especially if we use various philosophies to deny the truth.. there seems to be a lot of that in our society.. platitudes people spout calling on some text or other that actually can derail us. What really is needed instead is for us to become even stronger in our own inner knowing as well as our connection to what others have called the higher self or loving inner parents, when those are no longer attacking us from within as much it becomes far more likely we will begin to feel more of the positive feelings in life that come with knowing our own heart, mind body and soul well and trusting that we really can and do have the answers to what helps and hurts us more under conscious control or encompassed by conscious present time awareness.

Is anger a spiritual energy? : Why I believe it is.

It seems to me lately that our collective tendency to demonize anger is an evil thing.. Re-reading John Lee’s book on anger he takes a stand against those of his critics or those coming to one of his workshops that get scared of the anger releasing work he does and and tell him what he is doing is ‘unspiritual’ by encouraging them or others to express it.. As John expresses it :

(they) don’t feel safe expressing their anger because they are too afraid of contaminating the world with their ‘negative’ feelings.. (saying he is) ‘unleashing negativity into the room’ or ‘that pillows have feelings too’ (lol) … I say I consider myself a spiritual person, and I’m worried about the pain and anger many of us carry around. I figure if I can help people to get it out the Universe can be improved.

He goes onto explain that many of these people want him to help them ‘get over their anger’ but the point is anger does serve a purpose and even if we express it as a parent and explain why and take responsibility for those times we do inappropriately down load it onto others that will often help others, since we all carry some form of past anger and it needs to be understood.. And I do think there is an issue here between justified and unjustified anger.. Still it is a thorny issue for many who may have valid reasons to be scared based on their shadow or past.

In that section of the chapter Expressing Anger in his book Lee tells the story of a minister Tony who came to one of his workshops on anger. it took Tony some time to touch base with his anger (much of which was with his father) he also began to get in touch with feelings of hate for his Dad.. this may seem wrong to some but as the expression of Tony’s feelings transformed he then touched base with all of the love and longing he felt towards his dad.. In Lee’s words ‘he was bellowing it out.. and fell onto the couch weeping. Lee asks

Now, when was Tony most spiritual? When he was in denial about his anger… when he was beating on the couch and shouting how much he hated him? Or after he was through beating the couch and was overcome by his love for him? The answer seems obvious to me: after he had gone through the process and come out his denial, felt his rage, released it, and got to his deep hurt and love. He was much closer then to what I call spirituality, and perhaps forgiveness, than he had been before he did the work,

I tell (my spiritual critics) that for many years I was prematurely spiritual, just as I tried to be prematurely nice with everybody, Now, I say, I just try to be human and not frightened of my feelings. And my spirituality feels to em much stronger and deeper. I know many of my spiritual critics aren’t persuaded.

My therapist always tells me that anger is a cry from our True Self, that it has value but sadly anger can cause people a lot of fear as can the expression of grief : some people in the words of brain researcher Dan Seigel have a very thin or narrow window of tolerance for both. It took me a while to understand how my own grief triggered fear in my family and my anger got me in trouble.. It was not possible for them to understand the complex tangle beneath but even as I write this and think of how much my sister who died in 2014 and was so badly physically incapacitated used to scream and cry and writhe only to have meds forced on her and that Mum made attempts to understand sometimes, while shutting down and shutting her out at others I see how complex is the understanding of emotions at times both in families and in the wider culture..

To clarify, in his anger work Lee is not an advocate on anger being acted out on others indiscriminately, let me make this clear.. He is just advocating that we find a way to ex press it rather than de press it, i.e. move it out of the body and use it to help us know our value and values so we can set boundaries when needed or take down walls that may prevent present love from entering.. In this context his advocacy of the deep spirituality of anger being faced and harnessed for growth (most especially in our degree of fully embodied emotional maturity and literacy) makes sense to me..

Knots of anger can form in the words of Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Nhan and then get lodged in our body and that is toxic but that is due to the anger not being released from the body. There is a point that I have experienced that comes after a powerful rage release where you know it has left, some of the seeds will also remain and Lee makes this point towards the end of his book.. We will never be able for one minute in this life to change or magic away the difficult, painful, traumatic and wounding experiences that happened to us, but we do have a choice over how we come to terms with this level of damage and whether or not, in the end, we keep re-enacting it, either continually upon ourselves my inward self denigration, shame and internalized blame or outwards upon others via criticism or put downs or outright agression, violence, or abuse..

But one this is for sure anger is real and is a valid embodied reaction to what our spirits know to be wrong and also against psychological invasion.. Sick families that over run a child and then demonize that child for protesting are a toxic ground that sow the seeds for mental and emotional illness in their victims. Anger show us that injuries and our wounds are real, damage is (and was) real, it really did happen and it hurt .. a lot.. the 24,000 dollar question is what the hell will we do about it? And how lovingly can we soothe that wound after we through expression of the energy seek to come to terms with so many things in the past that hurt, damaged, scared, shattered or broken our positive spiritual fire and will.

We fight to exist. Personally, I am not ashamed of fighting to exist. We are doing no very extraordinary thing to fight simply because we do not wish to be enslaved or exterminated.

Donald Winnicott

The link between fear and anger and boundaries

Reading about how overwhelming an experience fear can be for our Inner Child when no loving adult shows up within us is making me think a lot today.. Apparently when we disconnect from that fear or anxiety and have trouble managing it by staying grounded in the now, having good boundaries and taking care of any distress our Inner Child feels by not projecting it or turning it into anger then our reactions can become extremely problematic. Also, reading up about the neurobiology of trauma and faulty attunement a lot of my reactions and difficulties both connecting and making sense of my emotions now make sense to me. I am beginning to understand why my own feelings of fear became too large to manage and that at times I did abandon my Inner Child in very unhealthy ways. And I do think when I spun out overseas in 2001 prior to giving my first presentation on my course about psychological astrology multiple fears were playing a huge part, that said I had a lot more to learn about my inner life, I may not have learned on that course or by coming back home..

In addition, a balanced sense of what is and is not within our power or control can be difficult at times, especially if as kids we got made responsible or had to assume responsibilities which, at that stage of development, were beyond us. In fact in discussing Sun Saturn aspects in one lecture on that course astrologer Lynn Bell stated that many with these aspects do go through that experience due to traumas, often due to outside collective traumas as well such as war, famine, illness, or loss of a parent.. Also in larger families the burden of sibling care may fall to older siblings if the parents are not physically and emotionally available or are dead or sick or addicted to something, that also sets up complications around boundaries..

At the moment it sometimes feels I am stepping into a parenting role with my sister.. Spending time with her last night has made me realise how confused she feels about what she needs and I am also finding I had bursts and rushes of anger around her coming up half way through the night.. I did all I could to make it a good night.. After the meal I lit a fire and I put on music she could watch on You Tube but when I asked her what she would like to watch she did not know, so I just put on some concert performances from various artists like Sade, George Michael, Lionel Richie, Smoky Robinson, Daryl Hall and Fleetwood Mac.. my sister absorbed all of this and was grateful. I noticed I had a fear of things not being up to her standards and that she told Jasper that he smelled when I do not think he did.. As it was he didn’t want to be near to her when she tried to pat him he barked at her and jumped away. I just watched this as I know animals will only come to you if they feel comfortable and it is so important not to overwhelm them, maybe he was carrying a bit of anger at her for me I just do not know but he did jump up on the lounge to be near her later on when we were both more relaxed.

The link between fear and anger is an interesting one to me.. that is why I have to do work on not getting angry about things I cannot control while listening deep within to when part of me feels angry at taking on the burdens of others and what may be the underlying fears driving it : not feeling good enough fear of rejection, fear for the other person’s healthy or life.. I also read something very good about being accused of selfishness written by Margaret Paul. Often a crazy making partner will accuse us of this if we do not do something they want us to do, we may take that as a sign of rejection of our Inner Child but its up to us to give our child the messages that she or he is okay and allowed to do what she wants and needs (without any intent to harm) even if others do not like it or get angry at us for not doing want they want us to do and vice versa..

The point is this : are we caring about how they feel (or vice versa) or is it all about our needs? This can be a difficult boundary to navigate at times….but if we keep doing inner attunement work and connect with our child if at times he or she feels overwhelmed, fearful or unnecessarily rejected to soothe and comfort him or her we may also find the strength to stand strong in our boundaries and not collapse them in the face of unfair anger or other means of control used upon us by someone not taking care of their own inner needs. We may also learn not to use those weapons unconsciously upon other innocent people in our life.