How to help?

How can you help someone who seems to be in such grief and loneliness and also almost shutting down in that pain.  It occurs to me at such times as these we so often feel powerless.  There may be nothing we can do with this person.  They may not recognise what they are feeling and their feelings, confusing at they may be are their feelings.  They are not our feelings.  We can feel for them but we cannot go further than that and then we can hit a brick wall in knowing what else to do.

Its a feeling and issue I have had so much in my own family.  When my older sister was alive and I watched her suffering it was so hard.  There was little more that could be done in the home she was living in everything was under their control.  I struggled at times with helplessness knowing how much she was being drugged at times.  I could feel her sadness when I went to visit and then I would start to cry, after one of these visits when I took my ex partner he got really, really angry with me.  “You better watch out that you don’t end up like that,” he said to me after we left the home.  I was deeply hurt by this comment, in what universe was it wrong to feel for my sister, to be there, to listen?   Did he fear such sorrow or see it as contagious?  It is now recognised that the presence of mirror neurons in our being actually does resonate with pain as well as with other emotions or energies in others.  Such feeling is empathy and is a sign of something most human, normal and natural.

But to someone who is blocked in feelings, feeling such empathy may be met with fear, at least that is the only solution I can come to about the way my ex partner’s defences would so often kick into action around me at times.  My attendance at Al Anon helped me to work through what was and what was not within my power to change for my sister.  I still made the choice to stay close which at times was not always the best choice for me, but I made it out of love.  My need to be connected and to make up for the dearth of connection following her separation from her husband and four boys was a natural one for me.  I see that I have beat myself up at times for making it, in just the way my ex partner wanted to beat me up with those kind of comments.

Recognising the limits of my own power to change another’s suffering is important work. I need not be consumed totally with the sadness of others.  I may feel sorry when I do not see them reaching out for help or to express what is in their hearts, as I know the release and comfort and strength that comes from doing so.  But just because that is my choice, it doesn’t mean it is theirs.  I need to respect that because everyone does the best they can and people all have different lines of defence.   Its part of the complex tapestry of personality and life.

Don’t be so scared : a garland necklace

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What my inner child needs to hear today (from witness self).

Don’t be scared little one.  I am here.  You are not alone.   As a child you were alone And later lots of really painful traumatic things happened to those you loved.  It was painful, frightening and scary and you didn’t know how to cope, so you reached to substances. There was no way could you have known about the hunger in your soul then When you needed help it wasn’t there And so often you were pushed away or told you knew how to cope or should when you didn’t.

This anxiety that you so often feel also isn’t all bad or dysfunctional.  Its about trapped life energy, the soul of you, the true self that never got to fully live and express in the world due to fear and being told you were ‘too much’.  The reality wasn’t that you were too much, the reality was that it was too much for a mother who was wanting not to be a parent any more but rather to find a way to express in the world.  While you can resent that you can also see why she desired that so much when so often her own mother tried to put her to death.  If you go on resenting that you may not find your own path into the world for you will see individuating or self assertion as a kind of attack rather than a strong life urge that you learned to both hate and fear and see as a kind of wounding.

Little one, despite the fact Dad didn’t communicate you know there was love there, he didn’t know how to express it in hugs or love, as a youngster maybe he felt the impending threat in Holland and so he escaped, he was always a bit prophetic your Dad, you are a lot like him.   You felt the longing for what he left behind, all that he didn’t talk of. After he died and you finally found your way to Holland you felt like you had come home when you shed those tears after the visit to Aunty Leis’s place.  The dark affair with Dutch Mirko on Ios in Greece was all about unresolved grief.  You carried the unresolved longing and grief over your Dad throughout all those ‘lost’ years and into each affair.  There was the termination you had on the first anniversary of his death.  There was the sad call from your Mum asking you to come home, you only answered with a drug fuelled resentment and anger.  There was the precious gift of that relationship on the second anniversary of it all, in which you acted out all the unresolved grief and pain and longing.  Simon abandoned you as you knew he would.   He could not see what lay beneath the wounds.  It wasn’t really his job, was it?  He came looking for you all those years later but by then it was too late.

Dear Debs don’t feel ashamed for those lost years that followed in Sydney.  By then you had lost your way but it wasn’t really your fault.  You tried hard to find a way.  This waking up to deeper truth is something that happens much later for some.  Remember always that it is recognizing your lostness that you are found and who you truly are in the deepest part of you can never be lost.  You have been brave, you have been strong, even when you were weak, for there is so much strength in owning your weakness.  All alone you were trying to heal a wound so much deeper than you that needed to be understood.  You know it didn’t begin with you but you also know that you want it to end here, at least the dysfunctional unconscious replaying of it out, over and over and over again.  You don’t want to be a helpless victim any more.  There is great strength to be found in owning ones wounds and taking action for self care.

Deep amongst the pile of wreckage are jewels and pearls so precious, wisdom, empathy, compassion, mercy, forebearance and love. Take these and fashion them into a necklace, a garland of beauty that will dazzle you and provide a doorway into deeper mysteries than you could ever fully know.

 

A sense of urgency : panic and abandonment depression

Over the past few months I have become more and more aware of a sense of urgency I carry deep down inside.  Some, I guess, would call it anxiety.  That feeling that is not fully known but lives in zinging of cells that pulse and almost seem to burst with a precarious electricity that tells of life times that encompassed both desire and threat, the sense that at any moment one could not quite bear the pulsing of life energy so longed damned or dammed that wanted to live but was also on some level terrified to do so.

I wonder a lot about body memory because it happens for me around 5 to 7 in the evening and my birth took place at 7:10 pm.  Mum held off going to the hospital as she was in the middle of bottling plum jam to the point that when she arrived I arrived with a rush but at the same time a powerful imprint that is always there for me and accompanies any forward thrust or new beginning is that I question and then try to kill it off.  And Mum was trying to hold me back inside.  When I told my therapist about this a while back she just raised her eyes and laughed knowing how much Mum can’t be there for me when I so often need her to be.

I try to contain myself at this time of evening.  Tonight I haven’t had a spiral attack as I do most days.  I had several of them today and they seem to be related to me trying to balance my life energy between activity/creativity and self expression and letting go/rest.

My own mother was left alone as a child at this same time of day.  Her mother had to do a cleaning job and so my mother was left alone to get her own dinner.  She ached with loneliness.    That deep soul loneliness in my Mum is very present lately.  I felt it today on the phone when we spoke.  I think of her own Mars in Pisces and see how her own desire energy got a bit flooded or dissolved by the influences around her that offered her next to no containment.  As a result growing up we lived with her restless intense energy and often outbursts of rage that Dad would just laugh off.. It was a state of high anxiety/hyper alert and how I tried to deal with it was by anticipating her every need so as to defuse any tension while obviously simmering with unconscious resentment not only at her but at Dad who was emotionally absent.

This week reading on borderline psychology in James Masterton’s book on the search for the real self he pointed out that often borderline children have this kind of high intensity mother who has difficulty recognising the true self of the child and allowing him or her to separate together with a father who abdicates responsibility to the mother.  He is either often physically or emotionally absent and so cannot help the child with the necessary steps of separation/individuation.    In my own life this was the case.  My Dad wasn’t ever really there even though he was there.  I couldn’t rely on him and when he died on the back of so much earlier trauma I was left alone and then sent away alone.

I never really learned what it was to be in a safe, kind, emotionally supportive relationship and as I have shared I learned to try to manage my anxiety or damaged sense of self by reverting to substances and addictions, not even knowing of my true plight for so many years into sobriety.  All of that turning to substances in the absence of human relationship is addressed in James Masterton’s book.

I just wrote prose piece continuing on from this post which I started several nights ago. About how, at this time of day, a ravenous hunger can also descend on me.  I am hungry for my own presence and loving attention at that time of day, When I am in my compulsion I reach for food, swallowing down the abandonment depression I feel then.  Now I know that the abandonment depression lies at the heart of my reactions at this time of day I am going to go back to Pete Walker’s book on Complex PTSD and read the strategies he talks of to manage it.  My inner child needs me to be present with her at this time of day in a loving way to self soothe in more effective ways.  I am also aware its a multi-generational imprint I am carrying.  My mother was also left alone.  I see the times Dad dismissed her frenzies which were signals of her own abandonment depression.  He didn’t know what was going on or how to cope so he checked out and laughed it all off.  The absent father is a huge part of borderline rage.  We also need a healthy available loving inner masculine to set boundaries so we can use self care rather than be sucked into mother hunger playing out unconsciously, this is Mars or Solar energy that can say to the Moon here is a space or place for you to be contained.  We need this containment rather than an acting out which just means we replay an earlier wound over and over again unconsciously.

With fire in her eyes

Fire Eyes

With fire in her eyes

She said to the unbelievers

: See

But too dark a vision

Is one that threatens to call

The cutter from the shadows

Wild dogs would be kinder

To a soul who has burned so deeply

And known seared flesh

That clings now in tatters

To the skeletal remains left

After the latest haunting

Fire that burned so powerfully and so bright

Can now never be gone from her

Fire will burn with an authenticity

That destroys all that is false

Driving the philistines from the room

Jesus said

Whoever is close to me

Is close to the fire

So cleave to the searing truth

Until all that remains is a pile of ash

That in time

Your soul will use

To fashion

Instruments of gold

When the darkness wants to eat you

I had as serious terror dream the other night.  I don’t get them often and when they happened the darkness of the malevolent force I feel is truly terrifying.  It happens just after I have fallen off to sleep,  I feel this cold blackness enter the room and pull off the blanket or duvet covering me leaving me seriously exposed.  I then wake up with a fright.

I have been writing a fair bit about dark and painful things in my history this week with Mercury on natal Pluto.  I am aware that these things that occurred around me were not about me in any way.  As a child, adolescent and young adult I was left unprotected.  My Dad unwittingly at times put me in dark situations with dark characters one of whom was a boss.  There was also a very dark energy around my sister’s ex husband and one night I woke with him sitting on the end of my bed.  I was only about 13 at the time.  This was the man who eventually ended up abandoning my sister after her stroke and took her a long way away even though he already had a new woman shacked up overseas.  He then sent my sister home with a one way ticket.  He also ended up bankrupting his parents.

In my addiction as a result of a lot of this I was drawn towards dark places and dark characters, while a part of my soul rebelled when I felt the coldness in the hearts and eyes of some of these people. Addiction numbed me out and I went through horrific things, waking up out of blackouts and being filled with such shame.  In sobriety I was able to share about these things and release the shame and my secrets but it is interesting that this black energy returned the other night after a time in which I was confronting in therapy the very darkest years of my early addiction when I felt so alone.

I am becoming more aware lately when the darkness wants to eat me up.  It may be that I am resentful that someone has not shown me the empathy or love or care or concern I would hope for.  I know that it has been useless to make any protest with my family, most especially Mum who sees this kind of honesty as a burden reminding her of a failure.  My father was an invisible force for most of my life due to his emotional absence.  He didn’t seem to fully see me and make a relationship with me and so that left an imprint that left me attracted to men who did not see me and wanted to dump their rejected shadow onto me.  Its taken me the past 5 years and all my resources to recognise and release myself from the projection that I was somehow flawed or ‘to blame’.  I had a need for a partner who could accept that my dark past would never be totally gone but that also I did not want to live there.  Not having it affirmed or understood meant the darkness grew inside from that ongoing rejection.

Today I can own my darkness and recognise the darkness and loneliness that surrounded me growing up.  I see how hard I worked to try and get away from it but until I could become fully conscious of it there was no escape but only an ongoing replaying of the same.  I am finally beginning to feel free for the first time in my life.  Affirmation from a consistent therapist has been essential for me as I internalised from a young age an internal rejector.  I can now see when the rejector is about and put up a stop sign.  I will no longer allow that darkness to eat me anymore!

Tell me your truth

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Tell me your truth

Let me know please

Don’t allow yourself to be confused

Or shut down

By those who have

An investment in you

Remaining silent

This grief,

This rage,

This pain,

This betrayal

Must be spoken

And poured into a steadfast container

That can hold it and allow it to be

In the Gnostic Gospels Jesus said

That what is held inside

Must be poured out

Or it will destroy the holder

So those who do not hear

Or will not allow you to speak

Those who

Speak platitudes

Or disbelieve

Are not on the side of

Truth Love Presence

They are killers of your soul

And who knows what painful truths

Or evil deeds

These killers have locked inside

Barring the gate into hell

They bar the way to heaven

Because even God Has a dark side

And wants us to reveal

So that we can finally be

The creatures of light

We were born to be

Untangling what entangles

I noticed after the weekend how I allowed myself to get entangled with my abandonment feelings in association to thwarted longing and need in the frustrating and complex relationship with my mother and sister.  I wondered after speaking up about how much it hurt whether I really did the right thing or took the best approach.  I think what I am now realising is how much pain we can cause ourselves by arguing with realities.  I just read a post about how someone self harmed when someone left  and then tried to take their life.  The person was hurting so much she hurt herself.   I have never self harmed in that way (cutting and suicide attempts) but through addiction I self harmed.  I have had hurt from others leaving which triggered deep frustration or abandonment wounds make a lot of deep pain lodge or go around deep down inside of me.  In arguing with the reality I don’t fully want to feel or accept or allow the pain of into my heart, I make things worse.     That said, the struggle and experience of negative consequences is all a part of the learning.

On Sunday when I initially felt let down, the best thing I did was connect with young me and be there for her.  I listened to her pain. I remembered the imprints of this kind of longing for connection gone awry along the maternal ancestral line and it all made sense, at least the power of my feelings made sense.  When I finally opened up about it later to Mum and she initially got upset I got to see that she carries similar wounds and that in many ways all three of us are trying to make up for wounds in disconnection but being so involved in our own that we don’t have as much to give to more than one other person.

As the youngest I was always at the end of the line.  There was limited empathy or attention to my needs and now I cannot find it there.  I need to find and meet my needs in some other way or try to meet them myself.  Sometimes its not ideal but I do manage.  I have therapy to go to.  Sadly I don’t have a lot of friends because I have isolated a lot in last years while trying to get help to work through all of my issues.

The last experience with my Mum showed me clearly how I can get entangled or enmeshed by my longing.  I also get triggered a lot by my mother and sister so I have to be careful.   I don’t need to cut off the longing but I do need to find ways to find my own happiness.  I see how from a young age I got forced into a loner pattern that really doesn’t suit a person who from a young age was full of life, loved life and wanted so much to be simply and innocently connected to others.  Sadly I was born into a super serious home with a bunch of adults hell bent on their own agendas.  I was so lonely and had no where to go after we moved away from by best friends, the next door neighbours.  In later life I repeated the pattern of taking myself away because it was all I knew.  In some ways the taking myself away was good, if it meant I could go in search of what I wanted and needed, but not when it held inside it a defence against relationship due to the fact I was carrying so much unconscious hurt and thwarted self expression.

Reading James Masteron’s book on the search for the real self is helping me so much to understand my own psychology.  I started to write a post on it last night but had a lot of others things I needed to do so didn’t finish it, but what I wrote in that post was how he shares in the book how important the father is in helping a young child to find life and a self outside of the constricting relationship with a mother who often due to her own wounds or psychology keeps thwarting her own child’s separation or individuation task.  In my case I think it was more complex in that I am carrying feelings, needs and issues my mother never fully resolved herself and the death of my father at a critical stage and on the back of so much other trauma meant separating became even more complicated.  Add to that the fact that my older sister was suffering and I was highly sensitive and still had very complex bonding issues tied up in that relationship and it makes sense to me that even at age 40 I felt I could not move forward with my own life.  Did Dad’s death mean in some way that I tried to compensate and therefore am carrying a burden for both my mother and my father?

Saturn transiting the fourth house apparently is associated with personal reckoning with family karma.  I have that transit at present and it makes sense to me.  Sagittarius on my fourth house shows there was a lot of migration tied up with home and family.  Ancestors migrated on the back of losses never fully felt and sought distance, I see that pattern playing out on both my mother and father’s ancestral side.  I see how it has played out in my life and my older sister’s life as well as in the lives of some of her children.

Dad left his home in Holland in 1938 and never looked back.  We never got to know our Dutch relatives until after he died and I am the only one in the family who has made any attempt to connect with them, a fact which really saddens me.  My older brother keeps up a similar distance with his sisters though its changing a bit lately.

In my own life it was my husband who migrated.  I felt so sad when he would return from visits to the UK crying that in 1998 we made the decision to move back there, but complex factors intervened that put that migration to death and maybe for a reason as we were again playing out a pattern or theme.

I hope in time to get back to the UK.  I am not sure that I feel as strong a pull as I have done in years past, now that I am becoming aware of what I am carrying unconsciously.  I think the need I had to come back to Australia from the UK in 2002 was tied up with something my father never resolved.  He left his entire family behind and put his goals up as success and financial comfort, he turned a blind eye to the emotional side, he was hard on me when I needed understanding, support and empathy. Then he died.  My last memory is that we argued on the night before he was taken back into hospital only to die a few weeks later.

On the back of that I went overseas and deep into addiction.  I sought the lost father in all my relationships but I had an unconscious fund of anger towards him that would come out at my partners when I drank.  I also chose partners who were emotionally distant or struggled emotionally to value their own and my feelings.  Even in my 20s and 30s and 40s I could not make truly conscious choices in relationship due to hidden needs and feelings I have been able to connect to and process in therapy over past years.

Phew!  The eclipse on my houses of self and relationship a few weeks ago that activated my natal Neptune Sun square has been powerful and has shed light on so much.  Neptune Sun is the absent father, the lost sense of self that that learns to live and give in sacrifice to others, the person who carries the devalued self due to intense sensitivity.  It has a strong artistic, creative aspect too, as I remember astrologer Liz Greene saying to me when she read my chart in a CPA lecture that art or creativity of some kind would provide a vessel that I could channel all of this through, and of course astrology has helped me to make more sense of it all.

The eclipse in a few days on my natal Uranus should be interesting.  Uranus is that part of us that must find a way to dance to its own unique tune but in such a way as not to totally split off from others and relationship.  Still there us is also a time when we have to say “this is me, trying too hard to win your love, hurts me and wastes my time.. the love I seek must be found within truly before it can be given from without”.   I have tried to give love so many times to those who have pushed me away.  At times I have pushed away love that I felt may tie me down or constrict me.

Ideally in a relationship we accept the power and limits of someone to give as well as our own, we don’t deliberately withhold to hurt others but neither do we give more than we can, we know we have value, we know we can survive alone if we must, but we also know the sweetness that comes when others give to us and we give to others from a place that feels tender, uncomplicated, direct, real and honest with no hidden agenda.  If  we know we have value equal to others we don’t over try, we don’t over compensate, instead we stay grounded in reality and acceptance, even of those things that hurt and that we know we cannot really ever have the power to change.