Bigger than words

I just read a blog about a person’s struggle with therapy and with the pain they deal with on a daily basis that needs to be worked through in that context of therapy and with their frustration over the use of certain words and terms.   I understand exactly how they feel.  I get frustrated at times with concepts, intellecualisations, formulas, and descriptions or pidgeon holes of psychic suffering, the map is not the terrritory and what we suffer cannot always and easily be placed in these boxes.   And yet in a world where we have to communicate and interconnect such terms or words or diagnoses are used to make sense of suffering….the problem comes when we identify with them too much and loose that natural spaciousness that is part of our deeper being, soul and who we are in experientia….

I feel the most comfort when I can float within my own ocean and on the days when the seas are not made too choppy by to many mental winds sending up storms of criticism and judgement within then I can, on a day like today just sit quietly feeling myself in the room while being gazed at lovingly by my dog Jasper and feel myself surrounded by peace and love.   But only half an hour prior to this my inner critic or ego was on the rampage and I was crying about how I am not a very good mother to this dog, which is not true, what is truer is at times I abandon our world of love and peace for a world and relationships which are often fractured or jarring to me.

I used to think that the problem was in my being ‘too sensitive’ and needing to adapt, to try harder, to be more pleasing but what I am seeing is that when I try to adapt outside of my natural pace then I get lost and because I am highly empathic and intuitive I do absorb energies in the ether which are non physical, such as emotions.

Anway I have had experiences and times when I have turned up at my own therapist feeling frustrated when I was deeply feeling something and being asked to explain what it was.  Just how do you find a word for deeper feelings and exactly how can you fully communicate the abject terror, despair, sadness or elation and joy that you feel in response to certain events?  Feelings can have such layers and are even not the same as emotions which are never only pure and simple when we try to make sense of them for such an emotion as grief may have sadness in it but also anger and despair.  When we start telling ourselves stories about those feelings then we have moved from the deeper felt sense of ‘my heart feels like its in a vice and I cannot breath’ (which is an experience in which tears are being held so deep inside) to thoughts such as : ‘this should not have happened, would not have happened if I had not done x y or z!’ which just ends up making us feel much much worse and may end in depression or even suicide.

Sometimes I feel its best just to sit with ourselves and try to touch base with our inner world quietly, tuning in.  In my experience all of our restless seeking out there for the critical support or emotional connection which may be lacking can a lot of the time, detract us from the source of inner peace inside.  That is not to say we should isolate and never connect with other humans, at times when we do it works and we feel connected but of course at others it does not and then we may need just to withdraw and return within in order to befriend our own aching heart.

Being our own best friend, may sound like a truism to some but if we don’t have our own love and ability to be present to what is arising inwardly even in abject pain (which I KNOW is very hard at times) we won’t ever really find true healing, comfort, and peace.

On the thorny issue of ‘being alone.’

Alone

I picked up an interesting book at the library on Sunday, as my close followers will know I often do.  The title is How To Be Alone and its on the issue of how so often in modern society we are told that it’s not good to be alone or to spend too much time in solitude, that it is more natural for us as human beings to socialise or be sociable.  If you think about it a lot of how we feel about spending time alone does relate to how we were related to when young, but we might not also have come in with a bias to be more introverted, or is that just something that happens to us when significant early relationships fail?  The book has really got me thinking.

I don’t know how many of you have been in relationships where you were told it wasn’t natural for you to be introspective or need your alone time.  I went through one significant relationship like this and it was also something I was told a lot by family members.  They did not seem to realise that when certain traumas and separations hit me both in early childhood and later adolescence/early adulthood I was left to cope alone.  So I can just naturally get on with my life in solitude, I do spend a lot of time in that solitude though thinking about others, its not just all self obsessive thinking I engage with when alone.

The author of the book Sara Maitland makes convincing arguments for the healthy and soul nurturing aspects of solitude or being alone.  Of course solitude is a choice for some of us and one we use both to nurture ourselves and make an inner relationship and so its a different kind of alone time to that which may be imposed on us if we are exiled or find ourself isolated emotionally or physically in some relationships, families or groups, which can happen we are not like the other’s temperamentally or have suffered abandonment or abuse.  Then being alone can be deeply painful but also set us on a quest to know and love ourselves more and to understand the forces that shaped us.  We can get all kinds of messages about how there is something wrong with us for being alone or liking solitude, and those messages are bound to make us feel worse about ourselves if we swallow them wholesale.

In my last major relationship, my partner accused me of being agoraphobic simply because at that stage I was choosing solitude, that said there may have been a degree of social anxiety in my unsociability.  I had been abandoned and hurt and misunderstood very much in the years leading up to that introversion.   Yet still as a person I know I do gain benefits from alone time.  I am highly empathic and I find when I am around certain people I do absorb and tend to gravitate toward them at a feeling level.

I had this experience yesterday when I was driving to my first therapy appointment of 2018 of being reduced to tears at the intersection where a homeless man was offering windscreen cleaning and being refused by nearly every driver.  He said the ‘F’ word sotto of voice without a hint of outer aggression, and as he did I felt his exhaustion and pain and something about him being rejected really triggered me.   I just found myself sobbing.  I am aware that a lot of what I was feeling may have been banked up grief as I had seen my therapist only once since my mother’s death on 12 December and holding in the feelings I noticed they were bubbling up as I drove toward the appointment.  I thought of how hard Mum tried to give or do things for us and of how much she needed emotionally and was refused by certain family members, yet introversion and solitude helped me to process all of this and become more aware.

I noticed too that on the last two days I took myself out for a morning coffee when I ran into friends part of me was pleased to see them, but part of me wanted just to have a solitary moment enjoying my cuppa.  I find I am less conscious of the taste and mindfully experiencing it, drinking my coffee while distracted in conversation.  Conversation can be either interesting and engaging or a bit detached and that all depends on what is being shared.  Being pulled out of ourselves when we need that alone time to recharge can be a bit disturbing to our energy and I don’t always find it easy in that situation to say ‘listen I would just like to sit quietly on my own for a while.’

The danger I think in all of this, though, is pertinently pointed out by Sara in her book.  It’s not just pathology to want to be alone.  In one chapter she reminds us that it’s when we are alone in nature that so many of us have peak experiences of connection : physical, emotional, spiritual and transcendent.   It is in silence we can hear the still small voice of creativity that is often drowned out by too much excessive stimulation or ‘noise’, its in solitude that we can touch with the base of our soul through the use of imagination or reverie.   However, it is also lovely to have those moments when we touch or are touched by other humans, times of connection that fill us up and add to us, rather than drain our life energy away.  Sorting out what we need in terms of connection or solitude and alone time or in relationship is an ongoing balance of polarities.  What is right for one person may not serve someone else and what we need on one day may change on another.

Despite all this I know my own soul would be far poorer were it not for the creative alone time I have experienced in my own life.   So I will not be ever demonising anyone for loving their solitude.

There is no evidence whatsoever that even prolonged periods of being alone are detrimental to physical or mental health, so long as that solitude is freely chosen…. (according to Anthony Storr – author of the book Solitude) “the fact that isolation can be therapeutic is seldom mentioned in textbooks of psychiatry.  The emphasis is on group participation….(I) regret that the average mental hospital can make little provision for those patients who want to be alone and would benefit from being so.”

Maitland makes the point consistently throughout her book that often people who chose alone time or solitude can be demonised as sad, mad or bad.   But not all evidence supports this, for those who are able to endure and navigate the alone space can bring back treasures both for the self and for others which just would never have been discovered or birthed in the absence of solitude.

 

 

 

Making myself wrong : taking on other’s burdens, some reflections.

I wrote this post late last night after working through some of the events of the past week.

think I tend to take on a lot of responsibility for situations I did not cause.  Someone pointed this out to me in a comment on another post.  That when we care and know pain and can feel it deeply there really is no insulation that we have from other’s pain. The best we can do is make a decision with our minds to detach from it and be realistic about the limits of our involvement.

In this current situation that I have been sharing about over past weeks there is a long history going back to 1980 when critical events took place in my family.   I make sense of a lot through astrological cycles and when I look to current transits I see what is being triggered at the moment but so much of it was way outside of my control, never the less the ricochet effects deeply affected me.   I was at that stage coming out of my own motor vehicle trauma when the trauma befell my sister and I was about to embark on studies that got aborted and then I got no counselling to help me and was very much on my own in the coming years after my father died.

When I got sober in 1993 I had all of this trauma still locked up inside me.  I tried my best to come to terms with it but I was not helped by my partner nor family and at that point I see I would have been best to make a complete break away, but I needed some kind of support.  Today I was clear with my sister that I could not go to the hospital with my Mum in the ambulance and that I could not go to the hospital tonight either.  My three hours there on Monday night set me back big time on Tuesday.   I don’t want to go under again and if I am going to continue to make progress it really is time to start setting some boundaries.

To be honest as much as I loved my nephew’s company, staying up late while he was drinking and smoking a lot was not something thats good for me.  I had a lot of cleaning up to do yesterday and we had torrential rain while they were here.  When he left he hadnt cleaned anything up.  There were his dirty dishes in the sink and outside a dish full to the brim of cigarette buts with rain water in them.  I cleaned it all up yesterday and finally feel that I have my space back.  I am glad to be able to have my sanctuary here back, as its where I recharge myself.   Now I just need to work to keep at bay critical thoughts and keep practicing self care.

On that note I went to the library this afternoon and a book was waiting I ordered in called Finding True Refuge,  I don’t know if any of you have read the author Tara Brach’s earlier book Radical Acceptance, I  read it quite a few years ago and got a lot out of it, in it she talks a lot about shame and how she came face to face with her own on her spiritual path.  In this one she speaks about cultivating a loving kindness meditation practice where we seek refuge within, in the silent interior spaces of our heart.   I already got a lot out of the first 30 pages I read this afternoon.

The idea of seeking and finding a refuge within appeals to me.  It is what I feel in that nourishing, nurturing, alone time of solitude when I touch base with a source of peace that lives beyond all the traumatic events others seem to keep bringing into my life.  I am aware that on an astrological level Saturn and healthy mature adult boundaries and protections are an antidote to all my strong Neptunian tendency to be overly empathic and compassionate.  With Jupiter magnifying Neptune in Scorpio’s influence lately (by transit) I was also warned in another reading/interpretation by astrologer Leah Whitehorse that what people are saying or projecting may not be totally true or based on reality.   I need to keep a mindful watch over my own energy frequency now.   I was starting to feel happiness and contentment and experiencing solid sleep before my nephew’s visit last week.

I got a lot out of the visit but it also made me aware that as an empath I can and do take on other people’ s struggle and suffering at times.  My therapist suggested this week that when I get full to the brim with it, I try to discharge that energy by grounding, putting my feet on the earth and letting it flow down out and away from me.  Last week after each afternoon walk I was taking off first one shoe and then the other to place each bare feet on the ground to earth myself and settle my energy.

Its interesting to me that I got breast cancer just a few months after my older sister was diagnosed.  When I think of the amount of trauma we both went through from 2005 – 2015 when we were both diagnosed it doesnt surprise me.  Tbere is an element of strong enmeshment in our stories.

Anyway I will keep working to have better boundaries and become more aware when I feel the saviour archetype is overpowering me.   I should not make myself responsible for what others have to bear.  At the same time I need to be aware of their boundaries as well.   I notice that so often what I give is not so often reciprocated.   I dont give to get but when you do have a giving heart its so important to keep a balance.  If we give more than we get back it can tend to make us ill or drained.   This is something I need to keep a really close watch on in myself.

Some thoughts on disconnection and connection.

Connection

Well back here we are my sister, Mum and me, alone again after all the trauma with little Lyra hit, worrying and wondering and feeling how it is to have no loving family apart from each other close.  I called my nephew this morning he only texted back everyone is excited and elated, Lyra is now smiling and out of sedation, call you later the text said.  I breathed such a huge sigh of relief but today all three of us are feeling the trauma and the void more deeply than ever.  I am sure he has a lot going on as his wife’s extended family were flying in to join them all this morning.  I am glad Lyra and Gerrard have all of that loving support.  But it does drive home how isolated we can be at times.

I do believe separations are a part of life.  With Mercury planet of communications very close the astrological heavy weight Saturn (planet of being alone and separate) now with Mercury moving backwards its driving home to me how deeply Saturnian our family is.  Those who managed to break away have close bonds, my nephews all have loving partners and families.  My brother has a very close bonded family.   The rest of us, well our relationships dissolved for one reason and another.

As I look back I see how hard it was for me to understand emotional connection and closeness growing up.  Trauma has the affect of fragmenting us anyway and relational trauma is the worst.  If you have a trauma and those around you pull close to you and surround you with love you do a lot better.  The loved ones may not understand the deeply traumatised person but they may try.   In the case of my older sister and I (and my dead sister, too) when trauma hit us and emotions were challenging there was not one partner who stayed around.   I hate to say I am a little envious of Lyra being surrounded by all of that love, but I am.    With my Saturn Moon I have to carry that burden of solitude and aloneness and realise I will only connect for a time to anyone.  Trauma from my own past made my hypervigilant and gun shy, very fearful of being betrayed and abandoned again in any relationship.  I see how I have held back due to fear and then became a lone wolf but hungering for love never the less.  All the love I give to my own inner child and inner self is important but it doesnt always make up for a hug from others.

Today I am worried for my mother who is alone now after witnessing that trauma with Lyra the other day.  Having people close who then go through trauma or leave has been a constant in our family which seems to have been dogged by separations, leavings, emotional absence and loss.   I need to find a way to bear all of this with good grace.

I don’t feel disconnected from myself today and I am thankfully not inside that trauma space.  I am so very grateful to the caring souls on WordPress who yesterday reached out to me with so much love, thank you Laina, Grizzly Man, 1 Wise Woman, Alexis, and Twinkle Toes.  You made getting through yesterday just the little bit easier for me.  I am so lucky to have a connection with you and value your support a lot.  I was telling my sister today how much being able to write about what is going on and be connected to here and through my blog helps me.  I hope to do the same with others, for there are all times we need a hand to hold in the midst of difficulites.

Relational trauma interrupts the bonds that connect us to others, to our heart and to our feelings as well as to ourselves.   Trauma creates a schism that can keep us so alone.   Trauma fractures our identity and if we are not held it feels as though we are falling through space.

Last night I googled ‘Trauma Vortex’ as its something Peter Levine talks about in his book Waking The Tiger .   I found an excellent article by someone who works with the body in trauma.  I will post the link to it below.

http://owenmarcus.com/deep-change/insights-on-healing-the-trauma-body/

If we never experience being held in love or connected to when we are in trauma it’s enough to tear our hearts so deeply apart that we may not even survive.   I was also thinking today that those of us who are born with fine radar and are highly sensitive are far more likely to struggle in this life.   We become more vulnerable to energies around us, we pick up a lot and we may struggle or suffer if we do not recognise this.  I could not help but think a lot about this a lot last night as it affected my grand niece.  I think it was far too big a trip for her for four days, she was not eating the same as she may have at home.   We were at cafes for lunch on several days.  Her tummy was a little sore on Sunday night due to this.   Little children need us to stay connected to and in tune with them.  On Friday I was careful to take her away and spend some time playing and exploring when it got all a bit too boring with the adults sitting around and discussing adult things.  I noticed the frown on her face when she didnt like some of the food and was told to eat it up.  At that age its so important that our tastes are respected and I know kids need boundaries but they need to be fair ones.  I remember being taken out to dinners with Mum and Dad a being fed alcohol when I was only still very young and then wishing I could go home and go to bed but having to wait around.  We learn a lot about about how to care for our bodies and souls in childhood by the way others treat us and knowing that we have a right to what we like and need is so important.

Today I am in a much better place than I was yesterday, the sadness at feeling disconnected is very strong anyway as we head towards Christmas, I know its a very common sadness for so many of us.  At this time if we don’t come from a happy family its hard to watch those who do, having times together and being connected, however at this time of year no matter how disconnected we do feel we can always reach out to others for connection, to know that someone cares and is there for us is so important.  We are relational beings.  Even if we are empathic introverts we still have a need to be connected in ways that are not compromising or overpowering for us.   Feeling invaded in the past may make us feel gun shy, but there are those out there who will love and respect who we are.   Pain of the past can make us self absorbed, especially if we feel others would not understand us.   But in the end, at times we have to let it begin with us, when it comes to reaching out.   Those of us who can end up faring better than those who can’t.

Taking Care of Myself in my Grief

I awoke with a very intense stomache ache this morning.  I really was in a lot of pain.  The only thing that helped was doing the self compassion practice I read about yesterday in Christine Neff`s book on self compassion.   I then found the twisting pain that went right up inside my gut began to abate and turn into deep sobs, sadness and tears.

I realised yesterday that I was ‘running’ a fair bit.  I had a lot to get through and had two cups of coffee (which I really didn’t need).  After going to the Jimmy Barnes talk I felt sad and then a little out of place in the gathering afterwards.  People talk at such a detached level about deep soul suffering that sometimes its hard to be a part of it knowing all I know.  I was also really worried about my Mum who I rang yesterday.  She told me she had blood in her faeces but after a very stressful day when I she had a problem with her car battery and not a lot of support, so I went around to see her after the talk and that broke my heart.  There is so much grief there under the surface at this time of year.

Add to this I contacted a friend who lost her Mum in September and she sent a brief mesage back saying she has had a lot of support and is doing fine.  That triggered a lot of pain for me.   I felt how alone I have been as I grieved with no support after my father died and so many other losses.  It hurts a lot.  My family are so selfish and so self involved none of them pick up the phone and my sister who I called twice last week to support prior to a trip away has returned, visted my Mum twice and not called me once.  I feel so isolated at times.

I see that in that isolation and support I reach out to support others when really it is I that needs the support.  It hurts that I have been so alone.  Even last night in at the talk I was crying because partners never recognised my deeper wounds and gave me the emotional suport that others in recovery get.  It really really hurts at times to be so alone.  There I have said it and not stepped in with inner critic voice/thought to shut that gut truth down.  I don`t care if it sounds like whinging. At the same time I do acknowledge that our ego cannot make demands of the world and in the end as adults we do need to find the love and support inside.

In the midst of writing this Mum called to explain that due to the bleeding she is going for tests.  I just cried the whole way through what she said and I said Mum I really feel in my gut this is all about grief and the pain and distance we have gone through.  I know you need to get it checked out but I wish we could deal with all of these grief feelings that are around at this time of year.  Mum really listened and we had the best talk.  We both cried together.  She explained how much of a front my sister keeps up because she is scared of unmasking her deeper vulnerability.  I felt so sad about this as this defence mechanism of hers keeps us so distant and I long for a loving sister who would openly unburden and share.  But then I realise that its not realistic for where she really is. Saturn in Scorpio in her chart shows she fears being hurt if she opens up or shows vulnerablity and this is what happened when she had her breakdown so its no wonder she self protects.  I need to have more compassion.

I was very lucky to get into AA in 1993 and be able to be with those who were being open and honest about pain. insecurity, abandonment and fear.   My sister never had the critical emotional support either after her husband left and she had a breakdown her sons organised for her to be committed to a psychiatric facility.  Mum and I had to watch it all unfold and see my sister go through shock treatment all because she was labelled mentally ill when really she was in abandoment depression.  It was so very painful and then she tried to take her life.

I realise that taking care of myself in my grief, being real, is the only solution I have when I find myself or my body in pain.  When I take care of myself in my own grief I find a gift and the gift of that care is that I can recognise and give care to others who are grieving too.  We all need help with this grief because as a society we have a lot of it.   I believe as Marianne Williamson does that anxiety, grief and depression are not illnesses as such but valid reactions to life and trauma.  We need self compassion as we navigate this tough terrain.  We need to psychically enfold ourselves in a compassionate hug as we do the work to feel what our souls are crying out have noticed, validated and felt.

We don`t need to give ourselves or others a hard time.  We do have the inner resources to deal with our pain, we just need the help to find them deep inside from those who in practicing and living with self love and self compassion are able to give us this guidance and in helping us understand grief, loss or abandonment feelings will help us learn how to better take care of ourselves in the midst of them.

 

Difficulty accepting criticism : how and why borderline anger can be triggered

Reading my current book on men who suffer from borderline personality disorder Hard To Love I am being reminded of how early attachment or abandonment wounds leave us with a thin skin covering over a sore raw spot that can often be triggered by perceived threat of abandonment.  At these times if we suffer from borderline wounds we may fly into a reactive rage rather than feel the soft,  vulnerable spot that is being triggered deep inside.

Acting out rage is a reaction to the hurt, pain and fear that lives inside.  We may not be fully conscious that we fear rejection because someone around us saw a part of us that may not be well formed or is a source of shame, youngness, pain, or fear for us.  Often such reactive anger or rage is a response to having early abandonment experiences triggered or feeling we are not being valued or validated.  When others only see the angry or raging response and don’t dig deeper to realise the wounds that led to it, true understanding, connection and repair is not possible.  When we have been triggered in this way it takes some age regression work to become aware of the wounds and earlier incidents of abandonment we carry and experience that are being triggered by such criticism in the present moment.

I am posting this today as a bit of a response to an earlier post on the negative side of the inner critic.  Criticism from others when it triggers our own inner critic can tend to make us defended or angry if we have these kind of wounds and most especially if we have a powerful inner critic inside and lots of earlier hurt.  If we want relationships to survive we need to find ways to express our vulnerability with others.  We need the capacity to take the little one inside us onto our knee and get at the root of what is going on.  For the abandonment actually happens when outer criticism triggers our feeling of not being good enough inside and as much as we needed someone in childhood to let us know we are good enough, as adults we really do not need this approval of our selves.   Later on we may then be able to have an honest conversation with the person in question and say  “when you did X I started to feel scared and abandoned and criticised.”   We may be able to communicate needs that we have that were never fully met growing up.

It is very painful to have these unresolved and often unrecognised needs inside of us.  In my post on the antidote to the inner critic yesterday I brought attention to the issue of childhood emotional neglect, and pointed out how suffering from such neglect which is not fully even conscious for many of us leads to certain deficiencies within and in the way we relate to our selves in terms of empathy and feeling a sense of inner value.  Educating ourselves about the areas of neglect is an important step forward, for how can we get needs met or change behaviours we don’t fully accept or even understand?

In my past relationship often my ex partner would feel triggered by a little criticism comments like :  “the griller door needs to be open when you grilling”.  He took that as some kind of slight on his intelligence.  And my abandonment wound could be similarly triggered at times when I started to feel left out or ignored.  It was then hard to find the words to express how I was really feeling because I lacked the necessary insight and language.   When I was finally able to speak up for my needs I was told that they did not matter has his needs came first, always.  At that stage self care would have seen me make a re-evaluation of the relationship if I had been in a healthier place.

That said not all criticism is valid and some people use put downs or other subtle or not so subtle means to put us down.  In this case we can stand up for ourselves against the criticism in a firm and loving way.

Borderline wounds are very real, they come from key experiences in the past of feeling alone and abandoned which are so often deeply hidden from view and even conscious memory.  They make us vulnerable in the present.  They put the locus of control and reaction outside of ourselves, at least before we begin to get a handle on them.  Understanding how and why we react as we do is important, just as important as others around us taking the time and caring enough to want to know why it is happening rather than blame or shame.

In my last relationship neither of us had sufficient insight to cope with the self soothing and other centred understanding that was needed for a healthier relationship to survive when we both carried our own version of abandonment wounding.   So many things can happen to us is childhood that we are powerless over and end up leaving deep scars.   There scars can mark our relationships but they are also signs, pointers or signals of a damage that when understood and worked with consciously can help us to move through to more committed, honest and understanding relationships with others.

An inner strength : reflections on fear and faith by Wayne Muller

Poppies

Although you may fear you are small weak and powerless, facing all the trials you have done actually proves that you do have an enormous inner strength.  I was prompted to write this after reading the chapter Fear and Faith in Wayne Muller’s excellent book Legacy of the Heart : The Spiritual Advantages of a Painful Childhood.  In it he addressed the resources we had to develop to survive which we may come to see as a source of illness or shame but were actually necessary.  For example hypervigilance due to family abuse or trauma leads to an uncanny ability to intuit when there may be danger (although it may also lead us to fear danger where there is none, too) and an ability to keep ourselves safe by finding a safe place deep inside or in nature.

So often we don’t validate all the ways in which our trauma or suffering has empowered us as well as some of the gifts it has given to us.  Loss reminds us that nothing is permanent as it also shows us the value of what was taken through our grief.  In choosing to open up to this realisation we grow in awareness and appreciation for what we did have or we continue to hurt from its absence which still shows us how lucky we were to have something of such great value even though it was ultimately taken, perhaps too soon.  Our deepest suffering opens us up often to empathy and compassion for others and makes us more fully human.

I don’t have the time to write out all I would like to from the chapter but I will share just this one little excerpt with you now in hopes it speaks to your heart and journey :

as we wholeheartedly approach what frightens us, a parallel reservoir of strength arises to met it, and we are no longer eclipsed by our fear.  It is not fear alone that makes us seek this place so much as a willingness to confront our fears directly, thereby opening up within to the full potential of a courageous heart.

Throughout our lives, our jobs will change, our bodies will grow old, people will come and go, and we will have success and failure, health and disease.  Nothing will (really) belong to us, nothing will stay, nothing will remain the same.  And yet in the midst of it all, still we breathe, our hearts beat, our days go from morning to night, and we remain present and alive.  With the equanimity of the mountain, the courageous heart feels it all, yet remains faithful and assured within ourselves that all will be well.

Faith is not a fortress against danger, faith unfolds like a lotus flower, resting deep within us, a quiet place of deep trust.  It is not a magic formula that prevents suffering; it is a place of strength where we feel most vitally present in heart and spirit.  As children of family pain, we learned to withstand the changing events and circumstances that punctuated our lives.  As adults, we may rediscover this inner strength and use it to cultivate faith in our spirit, our true nature, our deep, inner wisdom.

Finding connection through disconnection after trauma

Some people just get us.  Some people are an energy of love that you can just feel.   When you are with them your heart opens and you feel your energy lift.  They don’t subtly or so unsubtly invalidate you or put you down.  When you have not known this kind of pure love and open heartedness it can be so easy to distrust.  And we sensitive ones do need to be careful at times who we open up to as a lot of people may blame or shame us.  But still I do think there are also those out there who recognise our high sensitivity.

I often wonder how much less sensitive we may have been in a better or more self protective way if this side of us was seen, acknowledged or valued earlier on.  Traumatic things hit us hard and Peter Levine, the trauma expert makes the point that how we are treated immediately after trauma affects how well we recover.  In my own case I was on the other side of the world so far from family support when my second trauma hit and I escaped there as to be around their energy felt violent emotionally to me.  After the accident I struggled to find a safe space then freaked out and came back home.  It was a night mare.

I retreated alone and then got into a relationship with someone who brutalised me when I showed grief.  I justified how he treated me and kept going back because I did not know I needed more.  I was not kind to myself and had never learned really to value who I was and my capacity to feel.  I put down alcohol and smoking at 31 as I really wanted to live in a kinder way but that was just the beginning of understanding how the energies of others around me affected me and how I was responding.  As I look back over the past six years of being back near family I see I have struggled to maintain my own boundaries and self care with all the other traumas that followed especially the attempted suicide of my other sister.

Not one family member has chose to do any emotional work at all.  I try to point things out but it is often like trying to lead a horse to water.  And I am beginning to see that by myself I suffer in a family at times where feelings and sensitivities have to be so hidden and that is physically so repressed and non demonstrative.  I see how my living sister uses exercise herself to connect in the absence of the love and holding that is really needed.  These days I only see one or two friends who I can really connect with and often I think my body is suffering and crying out for holding care and love.  Maybe it is time for me to start to seek out some kind of touch therapy and holding, I have been considering Reiki.

I have often come to grief with holding therapies.  I had the accident after a session of cranio sacral.  The second time I tried it I freaked out with the therapist and she shamed and invalidated me so much I left, letting someone into your body when you have suffered traumas to it and violations of it is fraught with peril and such big feelings but at the moment I think it may help to release some of what my tissues have had to hold so deep inside over past years.

I am sharing about this today and the synchronicity with astrology is that today Mercury is in the body ruled sign of Virgo which relates to earth mother and is coming up to oppose natal Chiron in the seventh which is all my wounds in relationships from the past and maybe that is healing now as on WordPress I now seem to have made so many good connections with people who truly validate and understand.   It helps me to write about all of this and what others post really prompts and awakens my own healing.  In this way I make connections in all kinds of ways and that is the work of Mercury who travels and links us.  Today I as I was walking I was imagining the entire world as a web of interconnected energies.  Who we meet with and connect with on any day has such a powerful impact on us for good or ill and surely there people out there who we could really gel with but just never get to meet.  In any case here is where I get to share and pour out the way I feel and I am so grateful for that.

Alone in the pain

I just reblogged a post on the impact of the silent treatment in abuse.  I was on the receiving end of the silent treatment a lot in my past relationship.  When something triggered my ex partner’s pain or nastiness or when he felt the need to disempower me or control my valid responses and needs he would just walk out and refuse to speak to me for days.  At the same time I would be slammed with judgement about how wrong, or bad I was, simply for expressing my self and being me.

At the time I met that person I was isolated and alone in a very out of the way place.  I was suffering from the impact of a head injury and a nasty fall.   When this person offered me titbits of attention I became quickly ‘hooked’, I was like a starving animal being fed scraps after a time in solitary confinement, admittedly one I chose myself due to the other abuses that had gone before.

As I look back I don’t know how I didn’t take my own life at that stage.  The only thing that saved me was writing and writing everyday in my journal on the computer and going to weekly Al Anon meetings.  Even there though I was sidelined a lot because I was a ‘dual member’, someone who participated in both AA and Al Anon and those affected by other’s alcoholism did not take well to knowing I was in recovery for addiction myself at times and I was told I needed to stay silent about that too.   I was not in therapy at that times and I was all alone with, (by that time) over 40 years of pain locked up inside me.

I look back now with the benefit of hindsight and many years of researching and reading about narcissistic abuse behind me.  When I read the post shared by Pascale’s Healing Journey and the poem it broke my heart.  It made me realise how important empathy is and how profoundly damaging it is to abuse a child with deed or words and then leave them all alone to stew in their own juices in silence with no comfort or validation or understanding.  If we are very young when this happens our little bodies cannot really cope with all of those powerful feelings of hurt and hatred at unjustified abuse, we literally have nowhere to go with them, so they stay locked or trapped inside and in later life when they are triggered and we have no rational way to articulate or release them in a healthier way, others may judge us as ‘crazy’ or ‘mad’.  Welcome to the genesis of so called ‘borderline personality disorder!’

If we later find no way to solve the dilemma we were left with, we get attracted to the same ‘type’,  narcissists tend to be attracted to the highly emotionally charged or intensely sensitive ‘borderline’ like moths to a flame!  But in some strange way such a painful outcome may hold the genesis of our healing too.  For the pain being retriggered  in the present may show us where old wounds and injuries lay.  However, that said, if we can’t find the right help to understand how such things as the silent treatment work to evoke and block access to our deeper feelings and reactions we may struggle for years.  When my ex used to cut me off at those times, I would frantically try to re-engage with him to prove how he was so wrong, but later I was advised that a narcissist would have had to trigger me and then paint me black due to the dynamic.  As one friend who knew us both said to me a few years after my ex and I separated.  “He used you like a bar of soap to wipe his dirty hands on!”

If you are on the receiving end of this kind of abuse, please do all you can to get some help.  No one deserves the silent treatment as punishment.   Being left all alone with unbearable feelings which prevent and stymie our capacity to self soothe is dangerous on so many levels, physically, emotionally and spiritually.  No one deserves this abuse and if you have suffered in this way it is so important you have someone there who can help you to understand, contain, unpack and work through your feelings which are too much to cope with alone.

 

 

Staying with myself : feeling my pain

BBB

I did not realise I was so sad and in emotional pain this morning.  Instead for two hours I was tussling with my body.  I got to bed far after the usual time and my eating schedule was thrown out by going to friends for dinner and eating too much too late for my body to fully digest it but really it was only when I broke down in tears this morning that i realised that what has happened was that old pain of my past was retriggered of those painful black years that were filled with so much emptiness and sadness, wandering and trauma that I did not know or could not fully feel at the time.  Last night the evening got later and later and the conversation going on about politics wasn’t really that interesting but moreso I think what I really struggled with was what came up was about all that had gone on for me before those friends got to know me overseas in the 1980s.  Once they found out last night all I had been through in the four years previous they understood why my behaviour was the way it was.

When I finally got home at quarter to midnight I just sat and cuddled Jasper and cried.  Then I had a very disrupted sleep while so much arose in my mind and the darkness fell around me in slumber after I got into my cosy warm bed.  What occurred to me is that in these past years I have been trying hard to process and digest a past full of trauma that often sticks in my gut or my throat.  There were no tears last night as my friends still drink a fair bit and there were questions being fired at me such as “what do you do with yourself all day” and when I told them “and is that working for you?”  Its a fair enough question but what can I say I am where I am at and sometimes I wish it was different and my life had been different but I cannot ever have that and so now I must sit with the reality and the pain of what young me went through over those very dark dark years.

The gift today in just being able to be with myself and allow the tears was that there was no punishing inner voice telling me I should be feeling differently.  Instead I felt that wises inner loving mother comforting me and telling me I needed to stay with it, allow the grief and let it move through me.  The inner voice told me how much I suffered and how lonely my childhood was as when I told my friends last night that each day after school I came home to an empty house they could not believe it.  One friend told me how her mother made her snacks and always asked about her day and encouraged her to do her homework, the other had four siblings and wished she could have more space!  It felt so sad to know how I didn’t have that and it did have a profound affect.  I think sometimes my attacks at that time of day are about body memory of being so alone in childhood and as a teenager and then the bike accident happened at that time of day when I took myself so far way overseas repeating the old pattern.

I have known profound loneliness.  There are times when my inner loneliness has been so painful I have contemplated taking my life.  These are the facts of my life.  I cannot pretty them up or deny them, I cannot put a ‘positive’ slant on them, they were part of my painful reality.  And I repeated that lonely pattern as it was all I really knew and I formed complex defences to tell me I needed to stay alone so as never to be hurt or misunderstood again.

At least last night I could speak about the reality.   At least last night I could be heard.  It was hard to be asked what I did all day as I felt in a way I may have been being judged.  But maybe I wasn’t, who knows.  And at times its better to be alone and feel free to feel your real feelings than have to be with those who wouldn’t let you be yourself.

The greater realisation for me today is that all of this suffering and aloneness somehow got buried in me at a bodily level.  At times my body pain is about my body and soul and inner child saying to me she needs not to be left as alone as she was in the past.  I no longer need to stay alone, but I can also accept and nurture my solitude when it is necessary,  And I am realising too that as a highly sensitive person alone time feeds my soul. loving boundaries and self care support me and go alone with the recognition towards my self and consciousness of the true nature of my deeper self as well as wounds of the past that I have carried which have scarred me into the present.  But that I also need connection with loving others at times, never to fill the hole within that must be met with my own loving presence as well as my spiritual connection, but as a way of remembering that as a humans being I do need connection for loving connection with others from a real place of truth is what most binds souls of humans and makes moments precious.

My past is my past.  It cannot be changed.  It will always be with me.  I am still exploring its affect and that is a lot of work.  I may move on from the past one day to a new life and new expression, I just don’t know, but before I can what has been needs to be fully honoured and recognised, the losses have to be grieved. And this is an act of self love, allowing myself to be with it is showing the love for the deeper part of me that was so often shamed and dismissed, first by others but later and more sadly and destructively by my self.  For I am now seeing more and more true healing and self acceptance must most surely come from within.