Angry with my family

Anger

I am not going to deny my anger any more.  I have legitimate reasons to be very angry at my family and my mother and sister in particular for what they put me through following the end of my marriage and even in the years before where I was just never treated with support, empathy and love.  I am sick to death of denying the truth to myself, rationalising it and minimising it.  I just spoke to my therapist and she said my anger needs to flow out and I need to find ways to do that today… write about it in your blog, draw it out or scream it out, do what ever you need to do to get it out of your system she said to me and so this blog is part of that process.  Internalised, invalidated anger has been kicking around inside my system for so long, it resulted in my accidents and in my alcoholism.  Part of my recovery is that I need to speak about it and value and validate my inner self and inner child.

I recognise what happened when I spoke to my mother yesterday when writing my blog A hollowed out shell was that by crying and becoming really vulnerable my Mum roped me into compassion.  Earlier on I had ended the conversation when she was once again telling me I needed to forget about things and put them behind me.   She called me back out of guilt to ask me to dinner and at first I said no and then wanted to relent when she showed me how much pain she was in and how insecure and unable to truly express herself she feels.  While I feel compassion for her I cannot let that over ride my own anger about what happened to me for it is anger that lets me know something hurt me deeply and wasn’t okay and that then helps me set some kind of boundary.  If I get told I shouldn’t have it or feel it that is invalidation abuse pure and simple and if the person is trying to guilt me out of it that is worse abuse.  Full stop! No argument, no debate!

I had a difficult day yesterday.  I noticed I got onto You Tube and posted some videos in two posts which although they had interesting insights don’t really help me to cut to the depth of dealing with the trauma and anger I am still carrying from the head injury that happened to me 12 years ago as the result of my sister and my mother’s meanness. At that stage I needed support and help to heal and grieve and know my truth, but I see how impossible this is to attain from anyone in my family they were just not that awake to the inner self or emotional realities.  My Mum is close to waking up but she seriously needs therapy.  I am sick of trying to be her therapist.  It isn’t my job really and she often told me that its not a good idea to go to others with your problems.  Her bottom line is that you need to work things out alone but that comes from a childhood where she was left alone and had to figure things out all alone.  Yesterday she was touching into deep realities and she told me how she feels so helpless and alone with no one much to talk to about all the things she goes through.  I want to say “well Mum get some therapy” but she never would.  So I end up being the font of all compassion but my compassion now is only prepared to extend so far when no recognition of past hurts or any apology has been forthcoming.

Second reason for anger and terribly acute body symptoms over the past few days has been unresolved issues with my living sister.  She was so awfully mean to me at the aforementioned time, telling me I was a selfish little girl and that I had had a shit of a life and she pitied me.  Oh and also going behind my back to my nephew (my older dead sister’s son) who I was really establishing a close relationship with and telling him how jealous I was of her.  Luckily at that time (just under 3 years ago now) he told me and I confronted her on the day we putting a party on for my mother.  I wish I had just walked out for at first she tried to deny it and then she said he had no right to tell me and then that she thought it was true.  But what I actually think is true is that the situation was the reverse and narcissists always believe they are so wonderful that the universe is jealous of them, why I do not know when the are such superiority junkies looking down their noses at all and sundry.  I have never been that person, as those who know me and have told me its just NOT ME.

Anyway she has softened somewhat in later years and actually did give me a grudging apology about what occurred in 2005 when I confronted her and Mum about it 2 years ago around this time of year.  But it was in no way an apology that came from her heart or truly recognised the damage done and the other day when she rang me about my tooth issue concerned to see how I was, it was I who ended up apologising to her for reacting to the horrible way she traated me.  Did I need to apologise  NO!  And my inner child is very upset with adult me about it and let me know as I woke up with shocking PTSD symptoms yesterday.  Whenever I see my sister my anxiety level goes through the roof and I was telling my therapist today that it was because I feel there is a lot of anger and hurt my body is carrying and the only way it has to come out is as anxiety.  But the mixed up irony is that as anxious as I feel I try even harder to bond with her and its a trauma bond and end up having an extra coffee with her even though its not really good for me to do it, because I feel she may be lonely.

I am aware as I write all this out it may seem like sour grapes to some.  I don’t really care as what you think isn’t my issue.  But what I need to know and see more clearly which is why I am putting it out there in black and white is how I can over ride my own impulses and intuitions. I often find my inner critic attacks my real attempts at feeling the truth of my feelings and most particularly that includes genuine expressions of anger.

Katina, my therapist was today reminding me that as much compassion as I feel I also need to remind myself that its okay to be angry.  So many of the messages around me growing up in family and Catholic school were based on anger being a ‘bad’ or negative emotion, when really anger is a signal of something from our deepest, truest inner self.  If we deny or over ride our own angry impulses we end up in such strife.  I have had so many accidents due to traumas from my past or pain replaying over in the present moment and this is one of the saddest facts about trauma,  it tends to attract more of the same to us but most particularly for those of us who were taught to value compassion, rationalisation and excuses over valid expression of anger.  So many times I have been told I better be careful as anger is dangerous, but this is only the case when it is not cleanly and clearly expressed, or if it is expressed aggressively.   We need to be so mindful of where our sore angry spots lie because when triggered they are signs of something from the past that needs to be dealt with or is calling for our awareness or attention, if we don’t pay attention we are in trouble  It won’t do us any good to act our anger out on those who really are just triggering a massive back log of past stuff but we still need to be aware that such people aren’t good to be around on a long term basis.  I am sad to say that goes for my family at present, much as I long for their love, when they are around it comes with huge reminders of pain from the past.  I have not ‘let it go’ yet, it hasn’t let go of me.

Its difficult writing this, as I was the television was just turned on by some automatic process.  I went over and Jasper my dog had his ear on the remote but what was most interesting was that it was a show called Compass and was on a priest’s life, and at that moment in time he was speaking of the ‘false ego’ that has to die if we want to fully embrace our humanity.  It made me question the wisdom of hanging onto my anger.  Maybe my sister had changed now and has soften, maybe she regrets what she did to me all of those years ago.  Maybe my mother wishes she hadn’t been so cruel to have chosen my sister over me when I was ‘too sad’ grieving at the end of my marriage.  I truly don’t know the answers to these questions.  Is my anger coming from ‘false ego’?  Is that why the television automatically came on?  I don’t know either but I am putting this in my blog as part of the mental process I go through on a day when I am trying to make sense of and deal with this anger from the past and the deep wound in me that gets triggered around this time of year.  I feel less angry now after writing this.  I have attempted to express my true reality, for what it is worth.   And I appreciate any feedback or any sharing from others about how you have dealt with your own anger.

And in the interest of openness the following are just a selection of anger quotes I came across on line :

 

 

A Band Around My Heart

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Today earlier after dropping my car off to be repaired and getting the bus to my Mum’s so I could borrow hers for a few days I started to feel this tight band around my heart.  We spoke of things others in the family share with her, they don’t share with me these kind of being cared for experiences by their siblings but when all this was being shared I was conscious of this tightness and then tears.  No words, no stories, just deep disappointment, sadness and a pain in my heart.

I never hear much from my sister who is living about what is really going on either and most especially after I tried to connect with her late last week.  It turns out my nephew’s wife’s father died sometime over the weekend.  I had spoken to my sister expressing my care and concern.  Mum only mentioned it remotely in passing.  I come from a FUCKING WIERD FAMILY!!!  Or MAYBE I DONT.  MAYBE THIS IS HOW FAMILIES ARE : Great emotional distances, little connection especially over the most important things.  Or I could be being very self centred and selfish because they are probably just caught up in so much grief, grief which mirrors older grief and is triggering such deep, deep grief for me around persistent disconnection which ends up making me feel lonelier than when I am really alone with either my dog or my higher power or others who are actually open hearted rather than shut down and stitched up.

Add to this I am still struggling to accept I have to have my tooth out. I am struggling with resentment toward my Mum, even though now she has offered to give me all the support in the world to help as I go through the procedure (when, I don’t know as I have to get a referral tomorrow!).

Perhaps I need to speak to Mum about what is going on in my heart. On Saturday when all my abandonment and trauma pain was going on I wanted to leave a message on her phone giving her a serve.  I thought better of it.  And I recall a quote that says I spoke my anger to a friend and my anger had an end.  In the past anger has just erupted out of me.  I haven’t spoken it cleanly and clearly. And it occurs to me that I can express anger with love and that my words would have more power and strength if that power of anger was harnessed in a more productive way that just scatter gun rage blowing at a target!

Truth is as a child and young teenager things my Mum and Dad and family did REALLY, REALLY HURT ME, deeply. I didn’t feel seen and I didn’t feel held in mind.  I feel the same things would not have happened in this day and age.  My opinion as a child may have been consulted.  It is very important to me now that I have a voice, that I am not ridden rough shod over by others, that others don’t force their will and agenda on to me.  However sometimes in my quest for power, protection and control I just go off and become silent and try to cope alone instead of unburdening what is in my heart because its too much to take risk.  It is then I feel the tight band around my heart, squashing all the pain down deep inside, not allowing me to cough it up and spit it out.

The best process for me currently though is for my inner child to speak to my adult self about the pain I went through all of those years ago, about how it was for her and how, when my adult self isn’t aware or present that old pattern can replay.  The adult me needs to hear it so we can look for a way to take care of the child in the midst of what is painful, so that she feels safe, held and cared for.  Others will not always give this to me.   They may have had to block their own pain, or they may have been feeling guilt or shame and so get defensive if I bring up mine.

One thing is for sure though.  The tight band reminds me all the time of the cost of not nurturing my heart or paying kind attention to what triggers.   I may need to feel and free the tears that need to fall but may not if my mind or stories are blocking those deeper feelings from being expressed.  Fact is that I had so many experiences of being overpowered on a bodily experience level when young that I felt I had lost all power.  This issue was highlighted last week when I chose a novel from the library about a teenage girl who was raped and had another’s will forced upon her.  She had to feel the painful consequences of that, of knowing that at times the world and others can disempower or overwhelm us.   How to take control in this situation, when all control has been stolen?  How to deal with the rage and anger that is left in a way that doesn’t destroy what precious connections remain?   This is just such a huge issue for those of us who suffer Post Traumatic Stress distress, it what I have been grappling with for years and now wish I could let go in some way, but it still hurts, the reality hurt a lot!

Disconnection, perfectionism, reconnection

The feeling and imprints of being disconnected, of being in the words of AA “so far from human aid” are so deep and such repetitive themes for me I am realising lately , and that felt sense or inner experience gets triggered at certain times of the day and the two times accompany the times of my accidents : early morning and dusk/early evening which have deeper ancestral echoes of past times of loneliness and disconnection for my Mum.

In these space of disconnection/trauma my energy starts to spin around itself and this is like the trauma vortex Peter Levine shows in one of his books on trauma which cycles inwards and down with repetitive thoughts accompanying of all the ways in which I have fucked up.  What stops it is being able to connect to something or someone true for me outside of myself who hears me and I hear them.

This morning it was a very important post from one of my most valued fellow bloggers, Rayne, on facing her own feelings of suicide and death thoughts   In that post Rayne shared how her connection with her therapist bought her through to the other side.  Before reading this post I felt like I was literally drowning in my own phlegm and at the same time a huge rain shower came with a torrential down pour, I really was in a dark place and it did feel as if I was literally drowning.

I then had a lovely connection from someone new to me who is on a very similar path and reading her blog warmed my soul.

I am aware that this trauma imprint of separation/disconnection/drowning is something my own mother carried,  my dusk/dinner time trigger points were also times she was alone.  And I am learning Mum never helped me know how to nurture myself.  I put all my focus out on trying to engage with a mother who was revolving her energy around her and my father, not me.  Dad didn’t engage with me at this time of day, both engaged with Scotch Whiskey and I am coming to realise more and more how alone I felt and how I could not know how to attach and so in time I started to use alcohol and drugs too.

I am 23 years out of active addiction but I am only just getting a stronger hold on some of my other patterns now.  That is many years of recovery.   I also think my natural difficulty with attaching and engaging with healthy others has at time stymied my recovery.  But reaching out and really connecting is for me a healing balm, for my heart lives to be connected to others and that connection is stronger and healthier when I am connected to myself.

Yesterday I had a far better day due to the fact I connected with three positive people.  I met my cousin for a coffee and our friendship has grown over the past year.  Sadly a legacy of our familial disconnection is that my Dad was so distant with her Dad, my Dad’s younger brother.  We are healing that now and I can talk to her with great honesty about my past and she shares with me her own struggle to be a good parent and get help for her son who has needed assistance to work through some psychological issues.  My cousin is comfortable talking about death, grief and emotions in a way other members of my family are not and that helps me as I naturally express how I feel, it is so essential to me that I can be with others who can also express how they feel and not shy away from emotional matters in the way my family do.

I think one of the reasons I really struggled last week was that on the third anniversary of her death my oldest sister’s name was not mentioned once by any of my family.  I knew they were probably thinking of her, but in our family the deeper, painful issues are shied away from, all hidden under the surface.  We eat and drink over them.

In a way for me now it is okay on one level to recognise this, there is so much pain and trauma in my family that can never be healed.  I am also learning that its not my responsibility to heal it for anyone else.  I think one of the big delusions I carried in my sobriety was that I could and would in some way heal the legacy of mutigenerational alcoholism, trauma and emotional neglect legacy for my family.  I now see that is hubris, the most I can do is work to understand.

The truth is everyone in my family has been affected and few have wanted to acknowledge the roots of it.  I think my brother trying to bring attention to the way Mum treated Dad the other day was all part of him trying to make sense of things and wanting to open up a dialogue but Mum could only leap to a defensive position.  There are much deeper layers to the way my mother developed as a person and most especially developed striving defences of perfectionism and control as a result of the painful empty legacy of her past.  This has reverberated on all of our lives along the generational line, but most especially in the lives of her daughters.  I think my Dad just wanted to relax more, he never could as someone was always pushing him on, his defence was to go AWOL, he didn’t abuse alcohol but used it to take the edge off.

Much as I have had compassion for my Mum, what I do not have compassion for is her not being able at times to say a genuine, ‘sorry’! The amount of times she has allowed us to take the wrap for her bad behaviour and control mechanisms is huge.  My brother the other day was trying to lift the lid on something and Mum wasn’t going to go there.  Maybe she might at a later date.

For myself at the moment though I just need to keep remembering to focus on all of my recovery tools.  I need to start doing more to nurture and nourish the good connections I do have,  they are there, just at times I check the impulse to reach out due to fear.     I also need to stop reaching out to my Mum all the times in hopes of getting the empathy and attention that is so absent.  My Mum is a vey self centred person.  I think a lot of it has to do with having no siblings and zilch emotional attention and nurture.

Thinking about it today I realised fear was actually the underlying emotion that drove my mother.  Fear of not being able to survive materially, fear of not being good enough, this later fear fostered in climate where no one championed or fathered her.  In the absence of that she learned to ‘pull herself together’ and put on a shiny perfect face that hid far deeper insecurities inside.  She pushed and pushed and pushed in an effort to try and perfect us and the home environment but to a point where there was no place of being or rest.  I feel it finally killed my father to be honest.

And sadly my brother as the oldest also learned to push himself and my Dad too, later when they got into business.  My older sister was separate for a time but then tried to come back and push and compete and well and then had her cerebral bleed.  And in the face of all of this, as the youngest I was the observer and my other sister just became the lost child and learned to try and assist the oiling of the family machine.  Is it any wonder she broke down later in life when all of that familial conditioning was trying to dismantle itself?

I can see all of this now and know why my suffering was so strong.  I see why and how I became a substance abuser in my teens and I feel grateful that I could arrest that at age 31 and get sober.  But the real work of recovery began 6 years in and there was so much to feel, heal and work through.

There is so much grief in realising that what we needed and wanted as a child to grow and be nurtured was missing. Its difficult and painful to live with residues of trauma which were a result of emotional neglect that then drove us on to yet more trauma and abuse and neglect.  It is so much to take on board.  But what is most important is that on some level we can express and vocalise our pain, panic or distress, that we can reach for compassion and a deeper understanding, that we can turn around and embrace our wounded self and the wounded selves of others in love.  For if there is a Jesus figure or a Christ or God force in the Universe well isn’t that just about love?  Isn’t that force about understanding our wounds?  Isn’t it about the capacity to bear with suffering and trials in order to gain wisdom and to grow in love? And isn’t it also about learning that when we reach beyond and share our own and other’s truth and pain, connection and healing is born out of endless disconnection, suffering and fear?

And at the end of a lonely road when we find the missing father to be absent, just as Christ did, don’t we then have to grow that father inside?  Isn’t it now our responsibility to be the father we always needed? To find the strong boundaries for self care?  To find the strong voice to cry out or speak up for what is real and true? And to find the power to leave our victim self behind, knowing that past suffering was real but does not have to mean a totally disempowered, disconnected present?

 

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The healing power of witness consciousness

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How often have you had the powerful realisation of a witness consciousness within you that removes you enough to help you look upon your past self or inner baby, child, adolescent or adult self that struggled with so much over your life with healing love and compassion?

I had a very powerful experience of this today in therapy with Katina when I was sharing about and feeling the burning energy in my chest around my heart, I had the sudden insight that it was exactly this time last year I started my radiotherapy for breast cancer very close to the second anniversary of my sister’s death and I was talking to her about body memory and the post I wrote prior to this one, and realised my body was remembering how it felt to be burned over that month of treatment last year, all around the first anniversary of radiotherapy, my body remembered.

I then had a two visions, one of me having to move myself onto the operating table just prior to the operation with no sedation and of the many times 30 in all I had to put myself on the table for radiation therapy.  Katina said to me, “Perhaps a year on you have enough time and distance to begin to grieve for all that you went through” and that is how it felt, I saw so deeply into my soul and felt that oceanic swell of grief, love and compassion.  On some level I was conscious of this most beneficent loving presence that was there witnessing the emotional truth with me.

It is not a new experience for me.  I had many visitations from a goddess kind of figure in the darkest days following the ending of my marriage and the accident I had that saw me living in almost complete isolation subject to ongoing panic attacks, along with experiences of being savaged emotionally by negative voices and demon like figures that on some level wanted me dead.  As I look back on that time I am full of sadness for myself but also acceptance.  That was where I was taken in my recovery journey before the Pandora’s box of my past suffering opened up and I had to experience much of it on a somatised (body) level before I finally found good therapy quiet some years later.

That is why when I write about the fact that I believe our soul has the inner power to contain and witness all we have suffered in our lives, it’s not supposition or just an intellectual or philosophical insight,  I just KNOW it with every fibre of our being, and I see how little we speak of soul in modern times and how often we forget it is present in every dark symptom we undergo, trying to make its voice heard.

I felt so much lighter after leaving my therapist this afternoon.  I was speaking to her of how my past grief is now like a dead animal on the side of the road I want to leave behind, but prior to this we were speaking of how my past pain and trauma will always be a part of me, but now it is no longer the whole of me, possessing me entirely from within,  I am no fool in that I know there will probably be lots of other painful dark days but my experience is that the more this loving witness presence is present in me the more I recover and the more light I retrieve from the darkness.  I am a firm believer that we don’t leave the darkness behind, by facing it we illuminate it and in time it is dispelled, like clouds it can come back and obscure the sun again but we know on some level it is not the whole of us, just a huge part of what it was to struggle so much darkness and trauma alone, at a time we were so ill equipped to deal with it.

The one powerful thing I heard the goddess/witness say to me in those dark days mentioned above was this “in time you will emerge from the dark night victorious”.  I often remember y dead sister saying to me in the final years of her life,  “Deb, you know in the end everything is going to be okay”.  Yes, she died but that death bought my nephews back into my life and grief made us all aware of the power of love to unite souls forever.  Witness consciousness fills my heart and soul with so much compassion and love, which I struggle to express here.  And want to bear testament to it, for a I am sure so many of you may also have had this experience and if you have not, perhaps this will give you some hope, some light.

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Our soul in our body never forgets

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Our soul lives in our body and our soul never forgets the deepest things.  Our mind might fool us into thinking we ‘know’ what is going on, but the story of the soul within the body is far deeper and it won’t be fooled or allow us to forget the truth entirely.

I am conscious today of pain around my heart.  Yesterday was an acute day of body symptoms coming up to the anniversary of my sister’s death.  I lost my godmother last week too and by some strange case of soul synchronicity she will be cremated tomorrow a day after my sister’s anniversary.  I was so conscious of this when I spoke to my Mum this morning.  She had a lot of body pain herself and I know the entire trajectory of my Mums’ trauma history interconnected as it is with her three daughter’s trauma history and of the complex tendrils of interlaced connection to her first ever daughter and  best friend who was the longed for sibling my mother never had in real life.  And interconnected to this is my own pain over the loss of a sister who was more like mother to me and the huge hole I feel around struggling in my own life to make heart to heart connections of trust with other women. I came away from the conversation with my heart feeling like it would burn my chest to ashes and I am never entirely sure after these connections how much of the pain is mine and how much my own soul is reading my mothers’ soul energetically.   Then there are the voices in my head in which I struggle to think of things I could ‘do’ to make it better but that can be problematic for her pain is her pain, my pain is my pain.  As adults we each have to carry our own.

I came down with a severe cold which I picked up from my Mum, yesterday and I have felt my immune system struggling to throw it off.   I remember that shortly after my sister’s death in 2014 I came down with a bad flu and had a deep rasping cough that settled on my chest.  I am sure it was all related to loss and grief and its now being triggered again, my soul in my body is aware of these anniversary imprints as I sweep up the fallen autumn leaves that are associated with my sister’s death and funeral three years ago. Imprints of other traumas are associated too, the two babies I gave up, one the result of an ectopic pregnancy in 1990.

Admist all of this I am struggling with how to connect with my Mum at this time. Do I mark both events by offering to take my Mum to the crematorium garden where my sister’s ashes are interned tomorrow, to mark in some way the anniversary and give my Mum a place to share some tears?  Otherwise I am aware of only a huge gaping hole or empty space between all of us that is most intuited by the soul, especially for me and of my own grief which comes in like a wave at the moment but doesn’t really have any place of containment or witness apart from in therapy?

Alternatively do I just sit silently in mindfulness and take care of my own life, knowing that at a deep interconnected level this is enough.  And is the way that brings soothing and peace?  I don’t have any answers at the moment.  I just need to keep listening to my heart and choosing nourishment.

Its a tender hearted situaion and I am never quite sure what to ‘do’.  A little while ago I posted a post on just ‘being’ in response to reading how much others struggle with punishing voices and judgementsin their own heads which I was reading earlier.  But I am also aware that a deeply spiritual embodied life, calls for action too.  Action that will move with spirit and in deep alignment with it in order to express care, commitment and love in the world.

These are the values my own pain has shown me are most valuable to live for and to express.  Hurt and anguish and pain and loss and illness and grief and shame and soul pain are all best met with love and it seems at times this is the thing we most struggle to express and ground ourselves in.  And love comes from a beating heart that pumps its life and love blood through our body which is nothing less than soul in substance to other hearts and souls with whom our earthly journey here has chosen to connect us.

Reading a book on panic attacks this morning I learned how much avoidance becomes part of anxiety.  The thing that hurt us makes us contract or pull back and we get trapped in that state of inward pulled contraction as a fear and control response to things that hurt.  But to live in a state of contraction is not the natural way and ends up limiting life our heart and our soul.

In the law of expression expansion should follow contraction.  If you tense your muscles they will relax because you are working them.  We were born to open our hearts if we really want to live, breathe, experience and over come.  Not that we really overcome entirely but we do have a certain choice as to whether we make the effort to open and expand, to listen to the heart and move with its connection trajectory, or contract and make the body carry the burden of what it had to close off to knowing, accepting and expressing because of fear.  Then it seems to me our soul suffers in some way and our body carries the burden as trauma specialist Bessel van der Kolk has pointed out.

Today I am striving for a balance between doing and being.  I am aware that although there are some pains I can never heal there are things I can do to give the pain a place to speaks its voice and be responded to in love without blocking off from, but opening to being and feeling.  If I listen to my body I can hear the signals my soul may be sending out and respond from a place of openness and love.   I can also accept that in this present moment I can choose to be in a place and attitude of peace.   A place where I just allow myself some rest from all the thinking that can rob me of connecting more deeply in the present moment.  This is what my soul craves most of all.  A place of deep connection and rest far away from all the separation and conflict my mind can so often create.

 

Love makes you ache at times

I am feeling for my nephew and his partner and family at the moment.  The place they are living has been becoming a harder and harder situation for them over the past year or so.  The gallery my nephew put so much love into had to be closed due to the owners selling to those who put the rent up far too much for it to be sustainable any more and then last week they were told their rental property is being sold as well.  After a lot of thinking it through (and I should image agony and heartache as well), they have decided to pack up and move a long way south to Tasmania.

In one way it may be a good move for them, to be able to live more sustainably in a cooler climate with perhaps more artistic possibilities, never the less last night I woke up feeling very distressed for them.  They will be moving away from his two brothers and their children won’t see their cousins all the time, Tasmania is a long way away.   I felt so sad for them last night and it’s probably a case of projection on my part of my old pain around moves.   But it’s also a concern around old ancestral pattern repeating, having to move due to financial constrictions rather than purely to heart felt considerations and making another separation all around the anniversary of my sister (and my nephew’s mother’s) death.

And it calls to mind the painful migration that occurred for my nephew after his mother’s aneurysm in the 1980s when he was about the same age as his young son.  Knowing all of this history makes my heart ache for them but at the same time I have to put some of the emotional considerations aside (or do I?) to recognise that much of life and growth and forward movement does involve at times painful separations.  Birth or change is painful and involves death of certain things too.   I still feel for my nephew.

I’ve noticed that night mind for me can be full of these kinds of agonies and connections.  And then this morning I awoke feeling very sad because of all the separations and knowing how my sister’s death anniversary brings up essential themes of this kind of movement and disconnection.  Its a strong reminder of my painful family history where a lot of connections suffered.  At the same time I see the ancestral history playing out with it themes all of which are somehow so much bigger than one finite human consciousness.

There is a theme here for me of noticing the sadness and realising how ‘big’ life and certain issues are.  A knowing of this has almost paralysed me at times that its been hard to make any move forward and I am called to remember while writing this how on Friday I had a big ah ha moment of realisation when I saw how much I associated forward movement with death or danger or accident.  Its a deep imprint and one I need to be mindful of as the unconscious is very powerful whether we choose to realise it or not. It cannot just be glossed over.

Last night I was thinking of all the things I could do to try and help my nephew so he did not have to go through this kind of separation again.  Maybe they could move into my house as a family and I could go and rent something else and then we could all live in my home town as a happy family, but I know this dream is probably an illusion or deeply impractical and I am reminded of the Al Anon three Cs :  I didn’t cause what is happening for them, I can’t control it and I cannot cure it either.  Those kinds of ideas are I guess all a part of my co-dependent feelings at times (all around what may be a good move for them in the end) but reading this back I know they come out of my own deep wish and longing for closer physical and emotional connections which has been so thwarted at times and caused me a lot of grief.

The deep love I have for my nephew is real.  I feel sad that I haven’t felt up to visiting him prior to this but I have been putting the focus on my own life and staying in my centre while I choose to do the inner work of understanding the part of my painful unconscious history.  But I also realise that that there is a degree of fear of being close and then threatened with the sadness of loss when I have to go away again.  Maybe I have been protecting my heart from all the love inside that can get so big at times and feels so overpowering to me.   I recognise that this is deeply true for my life and it is something I want to change a bit.  I now feel there is perhaps a way to be close while not losing myself and being totally overwhelmed by my feelings.  In the end I live inside my own skin and that is the only thing that I have some control over at all in this life, dealing with all the things in life that affect us is big work, especially if we have known pain in the past.  It helps me to sit down and write about the feelings and all the thoughts my mind goes through so that I can achieve clarity.  I see more of myself and have to act fewer things out.

In the end for me I guess its about containment, knowing that however painful or sad I do have the ability to deal with my feelings, knowing that its okay to love and hope and long even if at time that longing isn’t returned or always easy.  Knowing that I have the capacity to survive and reach out for connection, well that’s a big step for me. And each day is full of little deaths, changes and endings but new beginnings too.   For my nephew I pray this move doesn’t bring isolation for him and his family, I pray it is the start of a new beginning and hope that I can make some trips to visit in years to come when I feel even stronger within myself and capable of being together with him and his family.

Lessons in Empathy : Reflections on Neptune and Saturn

Whale

Another post from a few years back.  I use a lot of astrology in this one as a way of grappling with certain experiences around empathy.  My sister is now in a stronger space,  her struggle with mental illness and emotional pain mirrored my own and at this time we were both in deep water which is how I would see a strong Neptune influence around us both : deep feelings gone unconscious:

Maybe one of the gifts of having suffered loss and depression is that you come to know the territory very well.  There is more to be learned through the actual suffering of and living through certain states of being because its only then that you can know how it feels for you to be in a place where you feel you have been pressed down by a huge weight or are drowning under a wall of water that rolls you round and round in a deep swell, then tosses you over and over and over in such a way that you no longer have control.

People who haven’t been through it just don’t seem to get it, you can use words to try describe the experience but they are always going to fall short.  Images or sounds, including music or dance would be more evocative mediums, I guess.  Still my form of expression is, for the time writing so I will struggle on with this.

We cannot explain or make sense of the inexplicable, but never the less we try.  A great wall can separate us from others when we are suffering in this way and their agenda may come out of the difficulty they are having in being powerless in a situation watching someone they love suffering and knowing much as they love them, there is so little they can do to change what is going on.

I’m finding myself in this situation with my sister at the moment after undergoing a similar theme with my older sister for over 20 years.   Neptune is natally positioned in my third house of siblings and transiting Neptune is, at present, transiting over my Chiron and in opposition to natal Pluto at the moment.  At the same time it is hitting my sister’s Sun and Venus square to Mars.

In short, my Chiron is smack bang on her natal Sun Venus and squared by her Mars.  I feel a sadness and pain, knowing she is in pain, then also a kind of powerlessness and wordlessness surrounding how to be with her and in it.  I can recognise it but when I try to make any kind of contact I am hitting a brick wall and then the words run short and there is nothing I can do but hang up the phone or leave and then the avalanche of grief breaks open.

The way I am dealing with this at the moment is in reaching out to my recovering friends.  For me these are just the one’s who will allow my feelings to flow and recognise the place I am in without trying to change it.   They don’t give me any advice but allow me to feel my way through it and process until it has shifted   For me that is what is needed for it to pass.

I am deep in Neptune territory at the moment and there are three planetary stations at the moment which means there is a psychic shift.   Saturn is one of the astrological heavy weights which will be driving home its essential message over the next 4 and a half months,  as it back tracks over the zone 23-16 degrees Scorpio it will square my seventh house Aquarian stellium and oppose the North Node in Leo while moving back into a wide conjunction with natal Neptune in the third.

Saturn speaks to me of boundaries, limits and discipline, it also is associated to gravitas, depression, a falling back to the earth of reality and a pruning or limiting of ego ideals and plans to deal with the oceanic theme of that 3rd house Neptune which must in some way relate back to my Mum’s sadness and longing around having no other siblings and a father who died when she was very young.

Synchronistically, I recently re read a dream I had many years ago  My sister and I were walking by the ocean and as we did we came across a whale that had beached itself.  My sister looked me in the eyes and said “the whales are such sad creatures”.  I felt the deepest most unescapable karmic sadness in the dream.

Metaphorical associations :  to me whales inhabit the ancestral deep, that they are beached means that some deep ancestral issue has emerged and become stranded and the deep pain around it is recognised by my sister and by myself.  There is a profound element around Piscean placements to me and it relates to our ancestral connection we both have been abandoned by our partners and our maternal great, great, grandfather too, was left and ended his days in an asylum.

Maybe our planets give us this innate sensitivity in a soul to the totality of collective suffering and experience, most especially on an emotional level.  This degree of psychic sensitivity gives a load of empathy but also a difficulty with differentiating boundaries.  Chaos is one’s nature state, rationality and logic are experienced as straight jackets, there is a longing too for dissolution that will melt the walls of division which keep us separate but the problem may be that the sought dissolution ends up destroying the essence of the sensitive.

Too much Neptune, not enough Saturn we become a psychic sponge absorbing pain of others that we relate to but is not ours.  We need a secure space where we can retreat in order to return to us, if we are too strongly drawn in by others who have powerful psychic defences we can become a garbage dump for their projected and rejected psychic “stuff”.

A year on re-editing this post and reflecting on the image of the beached whale more deeply and seeing the journey my only living sister has undergone I see the emergence of this Piscean part of herself, how it has affected me.  Together on the beach we recognise the whale and it cant be spoken of : the suffering we both know is a soul level experience.

Sometimes it appears to me a conundrum to have both strong Saturnian and Neptunian emphasis in my psyche but I am beginning to see that both are essential states of being.   The deep solitude of my Saturn Moon helps me when I get into Venus square Sun/Venus/Mercury/Jupiter/South Node overload.  It returns me home often with a sharp slap.

Solitude gives me an alembic,  a soul container for the tears both of myself and of others, of the collective culture.  It gives me nurture for in the solitude of Saturn I find the understanding of my strong Neptune which is often subjected to misinterpretation by more pragmatic, less mystical folk.

Its taken me many years to understand this.  My empathetic Neptunian self feels others pain but Saturn teaches me I have to respect their journey and right to choose different ways of dealing with and understanding it.  My Chiron in the Seventh which is ruled by Neptune (placed as it is in the sign of Pisces) can be a dumping ground for the projections of others and needs the backbone of Saturnian recognition to deal with it and sort out what is projected and what I own.

Today I read an excellent blog about Empathetic muscle.  It described the difficulty empaths have with absorbing and becoming a psychic sponge for others.  Ideally empathy should give us the ability to feel others pain and yet not get lost in it.  It seems to me that this has been the deep Saturnian work of the past few years for me.  This blog was written last year and it has taken this time to complete.  Its being released as Saturn trines the Sun prior to its forward movement soon.