I will carry this

Grace

I will carry this deep pain

But I will carry it lightly

When I think of the vast span of experiences and memories we shared

Its impossible to fully express

The extent of it

But I will carry it forever in my heart

I will carry the painful times when we had conflict

When I needed something from you

But could not find words

When I needed something from you and you gave

When I needed something more from you and you failed

We are only human

I will carry the memory of

All the times you offered your support

Of all I put you through as a mother

It was a lot and you had no partner

Mum you carried a lot I see that now

But so did I

Both struggling to love and do our best

You had your very real limitations and defences

But you also had a giving heart

I will carry the knowing of the loneliness you felt at times

In an estranged family

An estrangement that in trying to heal

Bought us a little undone

I will carry those final memories of you in so much pain

Trying to stand or get away

From your earthly shackles

As you heard the ancestors

Calling you home

I will carry the memory of you yesterday

Labouring to breathe

And to let go

I will carry the memory of the shell of your body

Left behind after your spirit flew away

To those you loved

And most of all

I will carry always in my heart

The memory of beautiful times we shared

When our souls met and recognised each other

And we found a hidden grace beyond words

Ordeal

Those who follow my blog will know what an ordeal the past 8 days have been, commencing with my grand niece’s convulsions and visit to emergency and followed by my mother’s fall just under a week ago.  I feel as thought I am living in a nightmare reality, as my Mum is now laying dying in hospital (according to my brother and the doctor).  When I visited her last night she was conscious and in a lot of pain, I sat with her from 20 minutes then she told me to go (more out of concern for me).  I just could not leave her after so short a time and this is what Mum always did, never asking much.  I stayed and then she started getting agitated and fidgetty.  “I need to get moving,” she said to me.  I called the nurse and struggled with the side handrail on the bed that kept her prisoner.  We had her up and standing several times and then back she was on the bed doubled in pain and crying.  I was stroking her back near where her hospital nappy was on, trying not to take the pain on but to be with her in the pain.   Eventually they gave her a pill and she seemed to settle, I feel selfish but I was so tired I finally left at 9.30 pm.  At 2 pm I awoke to the sound of knocking, I was deep in dream scape and getting up was so hard, I literally felt like I was going to fall down.  It was my brother, they had tried to call me and then my sister and not raised me.   He told me he didnt think she had long, but I just could not go to the hospital, I was so exhausted so he promised to ring me.  I got back into the safety of bed and after 2 or so hours managed to fall asleep, when I awoke at 7 am my body was uncoiling and coiling (its hard to describe here)  I remembered that 12 of December is the date my ancestors set sail from Cornwall to New Zealand 145 years ago.  I thought of my Mum saying to me last night “I’ve got to get moving.”  It may be all active imagination on my part but after reading about core sentences and core trauma in Mark Wolynns book on inter-generational healing I could not help but feel something was going on.  By the time I got to the hospital Mum was labouring to breathe and was no longer conscious, the woman of last night who could say those words had just disappeared.  It took every ounce of my strength to stay in that room for one and a half hours.   Both my sister and brother were there but no one was saying much.  My brother looked kind of happy that it would all soon be over (did I imagine that?).  One of my nephews who is really fond of Mum had rung wanting to come down and my brother had told him “it wasnt a good idea”.  I felt my chest burning and wanted to scream.   I didnt but I did ask my brother who had the right to decide that?  Any way between deep tears at seeing the conditon my Mum was in and brief sojourns out of the room I finally left a few hours later crying all the way to the foyer.  I felt I was in outer space, no one seemed to see me until I nearly got to the front doors of the hospital then two women appeared out of left field and embraced me, they let me verbalise and cry, the affirmed me, they got the pastoral care person who through some form of grace turned out to be from my year at school.  She was amazing to me.  She spent about 20 minutes with me in the chapel and I was able to get my pain and grief out with her.  Thanks be to God or higher power or Goddess.  She offered when I go back to sit with my Mum with me, I dont feel comfortable sitting in the room with my brother and sister. I know its my issue.   I know they are grieving too and cant see me.  At one point my brother called me Debbie and I picked him up on it, I havent been called that since I was 12.   I realised I was getting punchy with it and realised that was probably my own grief talking and I needed to pull it back.

Death is hard.  I have been talking to a good friend who lost both parents in her 30s.  When my father died when I was 23 I didnt get to grieve at all.  I never saw his body.  He died under an emergency procedure alone.   Now I am not finding it easy to be there with my Mum in the state she is in, I have to be honest.  I know there is no wrong or right.  I will go back up later for an hour or so but its all I can manage.  I would rather be here in the peace and stillness of my little cottage drawing close to her and to nature.  I found I was getting triggere……. the call came my Mum passed away today at 4.06 pm.

On compulsive repetition in the life of Rimbaud : Alice Miller

The following quote is taken from Alice Miller’s book The Body Never Lies :  The Lingering Affects of Childhood Trauma in which she addressed the subject of repressed childhood trauma.   Miller has written many books and they include biographical details from the lives of famous adults abused in childhood who then either re-enacted that abuse whole sale (Hilter and Sadam Hussein for example) becoming perpetrators in later life or decended into addiction or repression, many taking their own lives in the process (Virginina Woolf).   In the following extract which I found on Goodreads she addresses the life of the poet Rimbaud whose entire journey was a quest to seek the lost sustenance of a loving emotionally available mother.

“To salvage the genuine love he was deprived of in childhood, Rimbaud turned to the idea of love embodied in Christian charity and in understanding and compassion for others. He set out to give others what he himself had never received. He tried to understand his friend and to help Verlaine understand himself, but the repressed emotions from his childhood repeatedly interfered with this attempt. He sought redemption in Christian charity, but his implacably perspicacious intelligence would allow him no self-deception. Thus he spent his whole life searching for his own truth, but it remained hidden to him because he had learned at a very early age to hate himself for what his mother had done to him. He experienced himself as a monster, his homosexuality as a vice (this was easy to do given Victorian attitudes toward homosexuality), his despair as a sin. But not once did he allow himself to direct his endless, justified rage at the true culprit, the woman who had kept him locked up in her prison for as long as she could. All his life he attempted to free himself of that prison, with the help of drugs, travel, illusions, and above all poetry. But in all these desperate efforts to open the doors that would have led to liberation, one of them remained obstinately shut, the most important one: the door to the emotional reality of his childhood, to the feelings of the little child who was forced to grow up with a severely disturbed, malevolent woman, with no father to protect him from her. Rimbaud’s biography is a telling instance of how the body cannot but seek desperately for the early nourishment it has been denied. Rimbaud was driven to assuage a deficiency, a hunger that could never be stilled. His drug addiction, his compulsive travels, and his friendship with Verlaine can be interpreted not merely as attempts to flee from his mother, but also as a quest for the nourishment she had withheld from him. As his internal reality inevitably remained unconscious, Rimbaud’s life was marked by compulsive repetition.”

The following quote also expresses how we may try to compensate for the love and emotional availability we never attained.   Miller explains that it is only when our body knows the emotional truth has been understood that we can find release from what she calls the lingering effects of cruel parenting or emotional neglect.

“In his famous novel Fateless, the Hungarian writer and Nobel laureate Imre Kertész describes his arrival at the Auschwitz concentration camp. He was fifteen years old at the time, and he tells us in great detail how he attempted to interpret the many grotesque and appalling things he encountered on his arrival there as something positive and favorable for him. Otherwise he would not have survived his own mortal fear. Probably every child who has suffered abuse must assume an attitude like this in order to survive. These children reinterpret their perceptions in a desperate attempt to see as good and beneficial things that outside observers would immediately classify as crimes. Children have no choice. They must repress their true feelings if they have no “helping witness” to turn to and are helplessly exposed to their persecutors. Later, as adults lucky enough to encounter “enlightened witnesses,” they do have a choice. Then they can admit the truth, their truth; they can stop pitying and “understanding” their persecutors, stop trying to feel their unsustainable, disassociated emotions, and roundly denounce the things that have been done to them. This step brings immense relief for the body. It no longer has to forcibly remind the adult self of the tragic history it went through as a child. Once the adult self has decided to find out the whole truth about itself, the body feels understood, respected, and protected. ”

“But it is one thing to complain about one’s parents deeds and quite another to take the facts of the matter fully and completely seriously. The latter course arouses the infant’s fear of punishment. Accordingly, many prefer to leave their earliest perceptions in a state of repression, to avoid looking the truth in the face, to extenuate their parents’ deeds, and to reconcile themselves with the idea of forgiveness. But this attitude merely serves to perpetuate the futile expectations we have entertained since our childhood. ”

The following extract pertains to the life of Virginia Wolfe who took her life on 28 March, 1941.  Miller addresses in her book the repressed trauma and abuse she suffered and that Miller beleives contributed to her suicide.

“Can we say that she had no courage? No, we can’t; she showed more courage than most people in denouncing lies, but her family could not come to terms with such honesty. This is not surprising. The little girl continued to live in an adult woman’s body, fearing her molesting half-brothers and her beloved parents, who remained silent. Had she been able to listen to her body, the true Virginia would certainly have spoken up. In order to do so, however, she needed someone to say to her: “Open your eyes! They didn’t protect you when you were in danger of losing your health and your mind, and now they refuse to see what has been done to you. How can you love them so much after all that?” No one offered that kind of support. Nor can anyone stand up to that kind of abuse alone, not even Virginia Woolf. ”

Miller consistently makes the point of how essential validation of early abuse is for survivors to get free of suffering and their symptoms.   We need someone who can support us and believes what bodies and souls knew most deeply was true,  without this support and belief so many lose the fight or remain endlessly trapped on the hamster wheel of repetition compulsion.

It was hard!

As much as I love you Mum, it was so hard when you tried to deny my pain was real.  There were times I came to you with things I needed comfort and support in the midst of.  I was told that I ‘just needed to go on.’ But without the trust and foundation of my true self accessible how could anything I build out of that place and space be real.

I know how much you had to deny you own pain.  When things go wrong sometimes it can be easier to look for someone to blame when really the door is trying to open on something deeper in your soul.  The soul is a living thing, it feels, it knows, it lives so deep within the body.  It will not be permanently forgotten, exiled or betrayed.  It will always try to send its message up to us through some channel.  And so we must be willing to hear it.  Emotional distress that is buried, later may manifest in disease of some kind.  It may come to us in dreams, it may occur in depression or thoughts of suicide, we may feel it through those inner voices we hear when we are not too busy.   Part of us always longs to awaken.

In the end if our mother’s or parents cannot hear us, we should still never have to sacrifice our emotional truth.  Yes it will hurt for a while and yes we may be very angry about it for a time, but the time comes too when we need to accept a hard and bitter reality we can never ‘like’.  So often our parents had to deny their own own pain, they were not allowed to answer back, so often they were not allowed to fight, and then that pain is passed on.

My therapist often says to me that anger is the final cry of the true self. If we continue to repress or deny it we may end up with body symptoms, we will be split and divided.  We need a place most of all to say “this hurt me a lot”, “it really affected me”, “I didnt deserve it”, “I deserve more.” And in the end it is we who must care for our own emotional truth and find a safe person with whom we can share our true self’s story as part of the critical healing journey of emotional recovery.

“FREQUENTLY, PHYSICAL ILLNESSES are the body’s response to permanent disregard of its vital functions. One of our most vital functions is an ability to listen to the true story of our own lives.”

“the effects the denial of our true and strong emotions have on our bodies. Such denial is demanded of us not least by morality and religion. On the basis of what I know about psychotherapy, both from personal experience and from accounts I have been given by very many people, I have come to the conclusion that individuals abused in childhood can attempt to obey the Fourth Commandment* only by recourse to a massive repression and detachment of their true emotions. They cannot love and honor their parents because unconsciously they still fear them. However much they may want to, they cannot build up a relaxed and trusting relationship. Instead, what usually materializes is a pathological attachment, a mixture of fear and dutiful obedience that hardly deserves the name of love in the genuine sense of the word. I call this a sham, a façade. In addition, people abused in childhood frequently hope all their lives that someday they will experience the love they have been denied. These expectations reinforce their attachment to their parents, an attachment that religious creeds refer to as love and praise as a virtue. Unfortunately, the same thing happens in most therapies, as most people are still dominated by traditional morality. There is a price to be paid for this morality, a price paid by the body. Individuals who believe that they feel what they ought to feel and constantly do their best not to feel what they forbid themselves to feel will ultimately fall ill—unless, that is, they leave it to their children to pick up the check by projecting onto them the emotions they cannot admit to themselves. ”

Alice Miller : The Body Never Lies : The Lingering Affects of Cruel Parenting

Can love pass through a closed door?

Can we give love to those who’s hearts have closed to us?  Do we have the energy?   It’s hard to keep radiating love towards the wounded or defended places in others all of the time.  Some of us get fed up if rebound defences and projections send that pain back to us and we feel misunderstood.  This is where we have to do a lot of work to hold onto our own emotional reality when what we experienced or felt has been denied by others.

That said, others too have a right to their reality.  Not all of us are capable of deep empathy ourselves.  When you are an intuitive empath energy IS so often sensed.   You just have a feeling when you are around others or pick up emotions you know you most definately were not feeling before you came into that situation.  And as empaths we have to accept and understand that psychological defences agaisnt feeling and wounds can be strong.   If we are particularly in tune with our emotions and are expressing them around others who are not, we may often be judged.   The intensity of what we are feeling may make no sense to others and if we have wounds from the past that are emotional in nature then in later life we are going to be more sensitive as we grow more aware over time in our emotional recovery and work to clear out and integrate the old, buried or backlogged emotions, bringing them into relationship.

I came across an excellent reading in my daily reader The Soul’s Companion this morning which speaks about how true intimacy with another is only possible if strong emotions can be accepted and lovingly contained.   It helped me to understand why I have struggled in a family that has a hard time accepting and expressing anger and grief.  I hope it may help some readers :

Hatred

Pretending that negative or painful feelings do not exist doesn’t keep relationships more intimate.  It can even create inner distane when I act as if the intimate relationship is not strong enough to hold pain, anger or hate.  Powerful feelings can be frightening, but denying their presence keeps me from deeper layers of self.  When my intimate relationships are able to hold the powerful, paradoxical feelings of love and hate, anger and forgiveness, something deep within me can relax and let go.  If they are not able to do this, I need to withdraw from the relationship in order to be myself.

I can hold angst

In this era of self understanding and conscious efforts at parenting, we learn we should not come down to our children’s level.  That is, we should not be as hateful toward them as they are to us.  Yet, if we seal ourselves off they are cheated and burdened by the illusion that anger and hatred are personally inappropriate.  Therapists are like parents.  When therapists come down to their level, both grow from it when the generation gap is re-established.

David V. Keith

The capacity to contain and accept strong feelings in order to touch base with inner depths is important to our growth as humans, but we may not be able to expect everyone to meet us fully in this place.

Reach within

Does not.jpg

Reach within

To a place deep inside

Find shelter there

This movement within

Will take you to deeper connection

I promise you

Unless you know yourself

Love yourself

Accept yourself

Even in all your flawed reality

You will never truly know

Love of another

Which is an essential condition

For love to grow

I have learned this the hard way

I fought the truth for so many years

Now I know it

My peace will never again be stolen

I will never be empty

And all my reaching out

Will now be done

Out of love

Not out of hunger