Don’t say a word
But just come over and lie here with me
Cause I’m just about to
Set fire to everything I see
I want you so bad
I go back on the things I believe
There I just said it
I’m scared you’ll forget about me.
I fall in love with songs, not just the words but the entire soundscape wave melody undulating inward gripping soul engaging power of another’s emotional territory put into words which echoes my own experience, past or present.
I am deeply enthralled at the moment with this lyric and the soul of John Mayer’s song Edge of Desire, most especially the line “I want you so bad I go back on the things I believe”…..echoing a strong theme my tangled Venus square Neptune ruling Pisces in the 7th house of relationships.
Born into a much older family already well established when I arrived, by accident in the early 60s I learned to observe and orient myself around others but also felt a deep disconnect. There were not many safe places to go, to be seen, to be heard, to be understood, to be nurtured, everyone was so busy working and my sister and I got left alone. She took her frustrations out on me at times, probably feeling frustrated at having to look after her younger sister who was full of energy and fire. I had a wild, expressive streak.
Anyway this theme of confusion and pain in relationships, of trying to connect and yet not quiet being able to manage it, of bringing to relationships a powerful backlog of unexpressed needs, difficulties and issues was highlighted yesterday when I caught up with a very old friend.
Quite a long time ago the man she loved chose not to follow her when she decided to return to her home town. They had both been living and working away and the relationship had hit problems, he was shutting down, not communicating and the tensions between their two very different ways of being introverted (him) and extroverted (her) were beginning to develop a void too dark to cross. I think also from what I can gather her partner had suffered, was suffering depression, or was it just a deep introversion?
Initially he said he wouldn’t make the move but later he changed his mind, just after she got used to the idea that she would be facing a move and a new life alone. Turns out a few months later he changed his mind and said he would be taking a job in a far away town instead of moving to be with her, but could he keep calling her every Tuesday? Needless to say she drew a boundary saying it was over, angry at being messed around and deeply confused by his behaviour.
Whenever she would relate this story to me in the past, I empathised with her but I also empathised with her partner and his need for introversion, whilst feeling how frustrating it was for her. Her needs were obviously different and she did not know how to meet him in his dark spaces. I have had a similar experience in being depressed (deeply introverted) with a partner who did not want to understand, called me agoraphobic and was hostile towards sadness, confusion and pain.
Fast forward to 12 years later after much confusion and heartbreak a mutual friend who introduced them had a stroke and my friend knew her past lover may be unlikely to find out in any other way. Through another mutual friend she got in touch to let him know. He asked to meet her for a coffee. What followed was a dramatic outpouring of grief and regret on his behalf as well as declarations of all the plans he had lately been making (unbeknownst to her) centred around being with her. Although they had been apart for over 12 years she had been constantly in his mind. This was confusing to her. How could he now profess all this, her idea of what was reality for him, was not hers? Although I know she had been secretly hoping for this for many years.
Additionally he revealed that over the past few years he had been prospecting and he laid out before her some jewels to select he wanted to get made into jewellery for her. At this point I started crying. It all struck me as so very human and deeply sad, the tangled vagaries of the human heart. All the fears, tears, confusion and defences dismantling. Tangled hopes, dreams, disappointment, frustration and thwarted desire thrown into the mix.
The telling of the entire story went for well over 40 minutes and I while it was going on I felt like I was on an emotional roller coaster. It was not only the emergence of the buried emotion that he had not allowed to express before that resonated for me but also the deep confusion she was experiencing in the face of long ago given up hopes being re-awakened and questions around his state of emotional health.
My friend is currently in a really secure and relatively happy position, but the return of this person to her life has now upset the apple cart. Which way should she turn? Should she hold out hope? Could he be trusted? So many questions and underneath it all a tender heart.
Her dilemma really got me to thinking about my own push pull dynamics in relationships in the past, push pulls dynamics evoked by extreme outbursts of emotion on both sides and in response too to lack of empathy shown at critical times by past partners.
In my own life the prospect of hoping to be loved again has at times opened up deep, powerful and complex emotions, emotions that would flood the landscape often triggered by some perceived abandonment or lack of attention or misunderstanding, emotions that were difficult to regulate and articulate. These would cause confusion for others and sometimes the severing of ties. I have also been on the receiving end of the same.
At many times in my life I have been exiled or made to feel bad for expressing very real, raw human emotion. As a person who developed addictions as a way of coping with a lack of emotional understanding and support, it took a long time in sobriety to sort out all that had been suppressed and so lay unmatured deep within my psyche. Only relationship could bring those wounds to the surface in order to feel, to heal, to become aware and to grow.
Over the past few years I have begun to realise how difficult and confusing my own emotions and those of others in response have been especially where there is minimal awareness of the history of past pain carried. I carried a huge backlog of emotions and then 7 years ago I entered into a relationship with someone who was carrying a huge backlog of their own. Sadly they were invested in not exploring any pain, only projecting it, so I was made to carry the burden of being the one “with the problem”. The realisation of all of this has made me very wary of relationships. The fact is I have opened my heart and been bruised again, but the bruising had a gift and lesson within it. It was the fuel for understanding.
After having lunch with my friend today and contemplating the echoes and synchronicities I went to visit my Mum. Despite all challenges we have had over years I am still in a process of trying to meet, engage with my Mum and find some understanding. Over the past few months it seems Mum has had an interest in reaching out and exploring the hurts between us. I have been taking the risk of opening up about hurts and we have been talking about past issues : anger, frustration, thwarted need, miscommunication and difficulty with empathy.
Today she opened up to me about the impact my addiction had upon her in the years following my father’s death when I was 23. At this stage I was yet to find sobriety and I had a back ground of much emotional hurt, betrayal and abandonment.
Some of the background which I have shared about here online in the past was that at 23 I was already struggling in a pretty dysfunctional relationship in which I had fallen pregnant twice, two pregnancies which I had decided to terminate due to the fact that my then partner had addiction issues and I was aware the ground that I was standing on was precarious, unstable and could easily give way, no where enough support to bring in another life dependent on us.
As more background my then partner had been in love deeply before meeting me and his past girlfriend left him as her parents did not think he was good enough….according to them he came from the wrong side of the tracks. (And he was a fairly frequent dope smoker.)
Throughout the relationship I was aware things were off but I didn’t have the strong sense of self that would allow me to leave, the emotional vacancy of my own childhood had left me vulnerable, emotionally illiterate and oh so hungry.
My ex ended up abandoning me twice. We had made plans to travel overseas. I had been working two jobs for a year to save the money. He left before me. I was to meet him. Around this time my father was diagnosed with operable stomach cancer. He died within two months. I had to delay my departure. A few days after his death I received a 4 am phone call. It was my boyfriend. “I don’t love you, please don’t come,” he said, “I’ve met someone else”.
I was devastated. Part of me broken. I did not feel prepared to make a trip which now had to be altered. I would be alone. I faltered as I packed my bags crying. “You must go”, Mum said. “Dad would not have wanted you to change your plans.” And so I went and found comfort in a bottle of Johnnie Walker.
I spent some months in London, living and working. Later in 1985 in Greece while changing money at the American Express office I saw my ex again. He drew me in (or my fear of being alone did?). I allowed the hope of being together again. I opened up the door to my heart and slept with him turning my back on the truth of past patterns that showed so clearly he did not love me. My own lack of self love and understanding hooked me in again.. Only a few weeks later after meeting with the friend I met today by accident in Greece we both went out to dinner, he did not come. Later that night when I returned to our room I found him fucking a girl he had met that night (or was it the woman he had thrown me over for who suddenly reappeared out of nowhere that night? I was so traumatised I don’t remember).
I only remember the pain of him calling me a crazy bitch for having an angry emotional reaction to his callous treatment of me. But I was the fool, hungry and lonely enough to be with him, burying the knowledge of his treatment of me over years and all the hurts.
Following this for the next 6 months I was spinning all around over there in Europe, no stable base, travelling, drinking, working. I found a job in Switzerland in 1986 and while there I fell pregnant to a man I adored on the first anniversary of my father’s death, but he was also in love with someone else. I had the termination I spoke of in an earlier blog.
I remember Mum calling me in the midst of this and telling me to come home. We have been discussing this today. She sensed something was up but I could not open up to my Mum, just buried it all for the next eight years. She had confronted me and shamed me following my father’s death when after reading my journal she found out about the two earlier terminations, so why would I have trusted her with this information.
All these memories are so strong at present as the Sun is passing through the deep emotional territory of Cancer, inching close to my Mum’s Pluto in Cancere which trines my Neptune in Scorpio (as transiting Neptune has turned retrograde in exact opposition to my own natal Pluto in the first).
At times I have felt that my mother did not care. I have been so angry at having no place to go and angrier still that the angry outbursts were misunderstood. Today I know she cared but it was not expressed in a way I could make sense of. While she was trying to draw me close, I was pushing her away with anger and rage at not being responded to in the way that I needed.
According to her, my anger scared the living daylights out of her. She could not feel through it to the deep longing for love that underlay those fits of passionate anger the hurt, wounded, tend, vulnerable underbelly of my Saturn Mars Moon. So many times I needed the loving arms of my Mum wrapped around me, but all the trauma in our family that went down from the age of 18 meant that attention energy and care was directed elsewhere.
I witnessed my eldest sister being discarded by her own husband and then trying to take her life. Lots of drugs and alcohol to try and numb the pain and then a few years later my father’s shock diagnosis with terminal cancer and his death six weeks later. So much trauma, no time to process it, to feel it through.
After my father died my Mum’s grief over her own loss was so all consuming it blinded her to the pain her youngest daughter was going through. Yes I turned up hung over reeking of alcohol after an all night bender after returning from overseas in 1987. I spent 6 more agony years in the wilderness of addiction before finding enough self love to reach for sobriety.
Mum said today she felt she could not reach me, she did not know what to do. I understand : we struggled to reach each other in the way we both needed and wanted. I had withdrawn from her in self protection due to times of hurt when her concern was felt as an invasion, taking place in secret behind my back, reading my personal journals and poems and making hurtful comments or at least comments that showed a lack of understanding.
All this hurt that I have held deep inside is like a tangled knot of Gordian proportions and my pain expressed evokes not only my mother’s own pain but also her own wound her deep feelings of inadequacy in knowing deep down the way she handled things was ineffective, left me bleeding more, vulnerable to more toxic relationships but could not be better due to her own history. Tears and hugs between us today signal a melting of old defences, a reaching across a deep chasm filled with pain, loss and trauma.
When my friend was telling me today about her lover’s tears and al the precious jewels laid out I found myself crying. I felt the pain he must have experienced somewhere that made him withdraw or to hold back and sabotage his chance of connection as well as the pain of loving but not being able to express it in a way it could be understood due to being held prisioner by depression which can create huge barriers and walls between people.
I thought of the times I hurt my past love by not being there to be supportive due to the fact that things he was going through evoked my own pain from past things that had never been fully processed, pain which then expressed by me brought anger and misjudgement and even the silent treatment from him. Emotional cut off for days.
I question my own narcissism and self involvement due to the fact of having carried pain and I recognise the pain of my friend as the pain of past partners who felt alone when I was captured by deep pain of past hurts I was trying to feel, understand and heal..
Today I have a sense of the healing balm of Neptune being poured on the deep soul searing pain of that Pluto in the first of mine that forms and opposition to Chiron in the seventh house (so much early wounding in relationships) carried on and held deep inside as both touch that sore spot Mars Saturn Moon.
Such is my legacy of Mars Saturn Moon : the deep dark pain that is a bitter fruit that has healing hidden only in the recognition deep within my soul of what was its genesis : this being my ancestral karma/dharma: a life path not chosen (or was it?) that administers to my soul the necessary medicine that in hurting grows consciousness and wisdom through pain.
I think of the words of astrologer Liz Greene for Saturn Pluto(my Mars/Saturn/Moon aspects Pluto)
Wisdom through suffering…..Purification through the ordeal by fire.
I have burned, awake at 4 am with seering nerve burn pain of post traumatic stress due to accidents I had while running to find healing. And it seems to me that the fire that John Mayer wants to set alight in his song is the fire that he must know inwardly burns when we long for that which in hurting us most at the same time heals. It seems to be that true soul knowing burns and in so doing reminds us of love, of what is most true, most essential to our soul. For there is love at the heart of the flames and it takes love to suffer the burning, the burning that transforms ash to tarnished gold and purifies our spirit through anger, through longing, through frustration and even through despair. To keep our heart open in midst of the flames that is the task so wisdom and love can grow through the pain, through the burning.
And yet the burning must also one day surely end and then is our initiation done? We will have garnered the necessary wisdom to step aside from that which in burning hurts us. It seems so much self knowledge is necessary for this to happen for those of us who have been raised in Neptunian confusion, where what hurts us is portrayed as something else, maybe even something we brought upon ourselves. Until we are conscious we will not see our part in it, since it was due to earlier patterns laid down that only suffering could make us aware of, that suffering births within us compassion not only for our own pain but for the deeply unconscious pain of others, pain they did not have the strength and courage to face.