A vial containing our tears : reflections on grief and grieving

There is a beautiful psalm or bible passage that I cannot remember the reference to which says that God counts and collects each one of our tears.  In a culture which so often denigrates grief it is important for us to know that our sorrow is not unimportant or in vain.  The implication is so often that we need to ‘be over it’, not carry it forward or just make sure we don’t make others too uncomfortable around us, because it can be hard for those who have not dealt with or are familiar to a grieving process to understand how essential the shedding of tears is.

I watched a movie a few weeks ago about a painful loss called The Shack and in it Sam Worthington plays an adult child of an alcoholic and abusive Dad who ends up losing his youngest daughter to a violent crime.   The movie is about his quest to come to terms with the anger, pain, sadness and resentment he holds towards a God who he feels ‘has forsaken him’ in allowing such a terrible thing to happen.  He ends up being transported to a cottage where he lives for a time with God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit and in one scene the Asian singer/actress who plays the later part holds up a vial that is full of his tears.   

This image speaks to me of ‘holding’ and containment which are two things we can really struggle with if we are not surrounded by those who assist us and support us to grieve.   I know in my own life that after my father died and my partner abandoned me I went overseas with much unresolved grief.  I acted it out over the next 8 years of my active addiction and my recovery was a journey to find my way back to it in order to understand, feel and release it.  (I am not going to say to ‘heal’ it because in a sense I think its a central mistake of our culture that grief is an illness that need to be cured or fixed somehow.)  Its a sad indictment of our modern society that in past years there has been a move to have grief included as a mental illness in the bible of psychiatry The DSM.   

Grief that is unresolved can indeed make us mentally and emotionally unwell.  To my mind it can be the huge unspoken ‘monster’ that lives at the basis of addictions and anger and the rage of acting out of terrorism and other means of reclaiming a sense of power and control within situations where we are actually overpowered.  Grief itself is feared by many because it is like a tidal wave in a way.  We can try to run from it or defend against it, but in my experience it always then finds some kind of way to knock us over sideways.  Far better not to see it as a monster but as a rejected energy that wants us to turn towards, surrender and acknowledge it.  

Being able to accept that grief is there and that we are powerless to a degree is the first step.  We can use different forms of containment.  For me dancing and writing and walking help to move the grief through my body, the freeze state of some traumas and traumatic injuries can be all about frozen grief that brings a critical event to us which externalises its intense charge in some form and then leaves us knocked over, frozen paralysed or powerless. 

And if we look to the ancestral epigenetic component we can see how this stored charge of grief and anxiety can be passed on from generation to generation.  When I start to get into compulsive cleaning I am aware of how much grief and a sense of powerlessness fuelled my Mum’s own manic cleaning binges.  And I got badly injured myself when she was in the midst of some of them.   I have injured myself so many times or broken things either gardening or cleaning that these days I am much more mindful in the midst of such activities, stopping and breathing and centring myself as much as I can.

I do believe that like most emotions grief is a kind of visitor to us, as in the poem by Rumi.  If we welcome the visitation of grief and take some steps to give it a place, then just possibly we will not be as compulsively ‘run’ over by it (or over run by it) and in time we as we integrate it, it will deepen and enrich us in the process.  

And what is most important is to know that grief has a purpose and its presence in our lives or heart is a sign that something had great value to and was cherished deeply by us or longed for.  It has come time to understand that value or experience or let that something or someone go and so there will be a shedding if we are to move forward.  Such losses and griefs will always be with us and remain forever a vital part of our soul on our ongoing journey through life.

How trauma and PTSD disrupts relationships

I happened upon an excellent blog for trauma survivors today. I have linked to a post from it in my previous blog post, but the following with resonate for trauma survivors like me who have struggle in their relationships. I identified with most of this comprehensive post.

http://www.new-synapse.com/aps/wordpress/?p=741

The electric inbetween

I had a tumultuous night last night..its been a tumultuous life really, as I look back.  Trauma took me down at 17 smashed up on the side of the road with a blue car crushed around me, flung forward on to the dash my legs cut, bones broken, lung punctured bleeding phlegm into my chest, paramedics behind me trying to give me oxygen as I struggled to breath with searing pain all through me.  Pluto pushed a hand up into the common day and pulled me down to the Underworld…love was around me but the busy world went on and I was no longer a part of it, my innocence and sense of safety ruptured.

More to follow, the shock later of my sister’s cerebral bleed as she went under too. How my parents must have struggled, not three months gone out from nightly vigils to see me they were at her bedside constantly as she lay in a coma from which they were told she would never emerge.  This wasnt what was meant to be in the dream of an immigrant Dad struggling to rise above the hardship and emotional loss of his past.  But was, in some way, a reality breaking through trying to get his attention.

My sister saw it in a so called ‘psychosis’ in the aftermath of abandonment that followed for her and tried to call it, but no one saw she wasnt crazy but a prophet, gone down hard her illusiomary conditioning pierced in a deep way, trauma and undoing made her see differently.  And the world could not see as she did, but I did.  The freight train moved on…. more wreckage and then the stomach rot within my Father appeared…and with his death the golden world and years of happy affluence turned grey..each of us lost in the fog but me most especially.

Today I feel the electric buzz of this all around and within me, the sizzling valency of PTSD hum burning through my tissues and energy body like wildfire screaming gently….stay awake now and hold yourself gently and skillfully between the worlds of consciousness and unconscious… stay open to emerging insights … keep you safe boundary from those who don’t really understand your own process, let alone their deeper one.  Recognise how deeply you struggled to grieve, to contain, to build and love within a wreckage unnavigated..see clearly how those who bullied you had only such a superficial understanding of the task bequeathed to you and how big it was and is to contain and live with, with emotional honesty.

Dont reach for simplistic answers and formulas, a quick way to pack away something that came to undo and refashion you in this alchemy of healing.  Stay true to your path, but reach out too, in a world that is forever trying to cut you down to shapes and sizes that don’t fit and project its own hidden image or conflicts onto you. Be you, be true, and stay present in the at times painful and creative electric inbetween where infinity and the finite, past and present meet, bridging Under and over worlds, deepening into soul and grounding and fashioning that emerging pearl of self within the ocean of today as grit of this transformative trauma and new insight emerging reveals new truths and does its work with you.

The need to express

When we share what is emotionally important to us, we learn to connect with others in a meaningful and healing way.  This applies to sharing concerns that excite and please us as well as those that frighten or depress us.  Perhaps there was no more detrimental consequence of our childhood abandonment than being forced to habitually hide our authentic selves. Many of us come out of childhood believing that what we have to say is as uninteresting to others as it was to our parents.

Authentic sharing can be triggered and sometimes flashes the survivor back to being punished or rejected for being vulnerable. 

As deep and meaningful connection with another becomes more available and frequent, the survivor increasingly experiences the shrinking of his abandonment trauma.

Pete Walker

How important it is for us to speak the truth about what happened to us.  How difficult this can be for so many of us who perhaps were not allowed to know, or had to develop defences of dissociation or repression to deal with childhood trauma.

Dissociation from trauma is very common and is a result of having had no one to really connect to at the time, no one who could be emotionally present.  In addition it comes as a result of what happens when our authentic feelings of anger, sadness or fear where shamed and invalidated by those around us.  The result of this is that later when we need to feel these feelings we cannot as our expression of feelings are blocked by shame.  We may hear voices of the inner or outer critic telling us there is something wrong with us for feeling this way, we are being too sensitive, over dramatic or worse even making it all up.

In his book on Complex PTSD from which the above quote is taken Pete Walker discusses the essential healing work of grieving which involves the feeling the blocked or shamed feelings of anger, sadness and fear that accompanied our traumas.

When legitimate feelings of anger over violations or hurts were blocked we cannot feel our valid sense of outrage, and if we were shamed for being angry or sad those feelings can be walled off. We develop an internalised punishing or critical shaming voice when we feel or even try to express these feelings.  This is why in recovery it is important to find those who will help us to confront and overcome this shame, those who will hear us, validate us and encourage us to experience and express our legitimate emotions.

So often what happens instead is that as we begin to recover we actually attract others who may seek to shame us in ways we were shamed in the past.  For our own recovery it is necessary to develop enough strength and wisdom to notice when this is happening and to allow ourselves a legitimate feeling of outrage which would prevent this from occurring in order to have good internal and external boundaries.

Self negation is not uncommon for those of us who in childhood were unseen or unheard, left alone in our distress and with painful feelings that were too much to cope with at the time all alone.  These feelings then get driven inside us, deep into our bodies.

This week in therapy I have been reliving the distress of my dental trauma which took place over two years in my teens.  Last Saturday in the process of trying to contain powerful emotions of anger and distress that were emerging as part of my chiropractic treatment I bit down hard on a piece of plastic with the result that I tore part of the veneer off my bridge.  At the age of 17 I lost two of my front teeth as the result of a car accident just a few months after the braces had been removed from my teeth.

Part of the painful orthodontic trauma of the previous two years involved the removal of four teeth, bracing of my teeth and then the wearing of a bridle like head apparatus that strapped around my head and pushed into metal inserts in my teeth pushing my teeth back against my skull.  I had to wear it over night (f0r how long I now cannot remember), I just remember the pain and ache of having to wear it and the sense of deep natural outrage that I was not allowed to express.

Yesterday as I was crying over this after coming into therapy quite dissociated and being brought back in touch with myself by my therapist I cried out “I was just like a wild horse that they tried to bridle”,  “the feeling I had was that I had to pull my head back in”.  Interestingly that week in chiropractic the chiropractor had said that in observing my posture my head was pulled in to my shoulders like a turtle’s head pulled back into a shell (this association has just come to me while blogging).

The therapist and I had both made the connection that the huge smash up only a short while after having my braces removed was some kind of eruption of psychic energy trying to unleash, and the irony of busting the veneer off one tooth this week was not lost on me as in the session on Friday the chiropractor was encouraging me to kick out against being diminished, invalidated while hearing the internal voice “go to your room”.

It felt such a relief yesterday to be able to express all of this in therapy, to be instinctively understood and “got”, to be able to ventilate it and to be returned to a feeling of great tiredness that spoke of facing a fundamental truth I had lost touch with for some time, at least on an authentic bodily level.

I am facing the prospect of surgery in just over one week.  There is much fear abut this.  Part of me wonders if the breast cancer is a result of my tissues having to absorb so much pain and trauma and if I work in therapy the surgery may not be necessary.  I long NOT to have to go through the cutting and yet on some level too I am willing to face it, to move through it despite my fear so I can find the love on the other side.  Part of me sees the surgery as yet more abuse.  I feel angry that this beautiful wild horse inside me that had to be reigned in could not just have been seen and loved for who and want it was, bucked uneven teeth and all.  Why did I have to be beautified, changed?

Another part of me feels my mother did what she thought was best, and yet why couldn’t I just have been loved, bucked teeth and all?  Why did I have to go through all of this pain simply just to look more acceptable?

Following the first reconstruction work on my teeth after my accident in 1980 I have had to undergo two further painful bridge reconstructions over the past 30 years.  Yesterday I was informed my bridge cannot be repaired in any long term effective way, that the opinion of the dentist is now that I need to have yet another tooth removed and the bridge constructed onto the next tooth which will involve implants which I do not feel strong enough to undergo at this stage. I was really angry with the dentist yesterday (not so much for having to deliver the bad news) but for  saying “presentation is SO important”.  I want to get a second opinion and a more sensitive fucking dentist!!!

Despite all the pain of this today I feel more relaxed, more at home in my body.   The reason is that yesterday in therapy I was able to speak about it and feel the truth of it all through with my therapist.  Painful as that was, tired as I felt, to day there is around me a sense of far greater relaxation and peace.

Still my spirit longs to be unbridled.  I love setting my dog free without his leash to run and this is why.  When I hold him and cuddle him I feel my own pain of that younger self who had to be hurt, who was vulnerable and innocent and subject to so many forces around her over which she was powerless. I grieve for her and yet I know her spirit lives on.  The task for the rest of my life is to love her, to nourish her and to make up to her for all that was taken, to give her a place to run free, to dance, to sing and most importantly to express without shame the deep truth of what happened and what really hurt.

 

 

The loving gaze

I wrote this post earlier in the week.

As a child we need the loving eyes of the mother to connect with, to mirror us. I had a powerful experience in today’s body work session as my therapist was working with my spine.  I was standing upright and she was touching me gently around the heart, one hand on the front and the other behind.

As usually happens, she was reminding me to breathe. At that moment I had trouble breathing and then I was pulled deeply into a past traumatic time/memory  :  I am in the car with my lungs crushed by the steering wheel and my teeth broken, legs cut with car pieces inside them, searing pain although me, struggling to breathe as my lung is pierced by a rip and fluid flows inward, paramedics behind me with a mask trying to put it over my face which I wanted to fight and twist to push off.

My therapist kept her gaze on mine and I felt anxious at connecting to her gaze being so powerfully drawn in by the trauma and in the session, her gaze became for me an anchor to connect me with present time. My tendency is to dissociate back into the trauma which obviously still lives for me on a body level.

As she was looking into my eyes with love and telling me I was safe a huge well of emotion rose up. Trauma takes you into a lonely place where it seems no one else can accompany you. It is about a split or a removal from a place of connectedness and love where you are flooded with pain and no one can help you or reach you. You feel yourself to be so alone.

On the day of my accident all those years ago I was conscious enough to be able to give the paramedics my mother and father’s telephone number. Mum came to the site of the accident and rode with me in the ambulance. I was lucky to be found. At the time I was so caught up in my own experience I had not consciousness of its impact on others.

I have relived this event in another cranio-sacral session many years ago after which I had a bike accident and the pattern was repeated, except this time I was on the other side of the world with no support, only my ex husband and his mother who didn’t want to have to really be bothered with me. It was a dark and lonely time.

Glimpses of light came. The beautiful girl from my Dad’s home down in Holland who came to help me with my shopping and be a companion when I needed it. I don’t know how I would have survived without her.

And yet then again the family I was with were unable to cope and I made the decision to take myself to Glastonbury and an ashram away from the support of my friend.  This is a pattern for me.  Uranus and Pluto in the first house.

There are imprints and echoes for me at this time of year which represents the time I was in hospital in 1979 in the final term of school unable to attend my graduation and of that journey to the underworld over in England later in 2005.

It takes time to integrate the overwhelming nature of trauma. I am still deep in process. I seem to be making progress.

Last week was hard. I had four days where the trauma pulled me in, what pulls me out each time is talking to someone, my best friend, my Mum or the Lifeline counsellor on the days no one else is answering the phone call.

Without love and connection there is nothing to form  a link into the traumatised reality and the fact it scares others, since we are undergoing enormous fear means we can be abandoned again. As a trauma sufferer who has often lashed out I am grateful for those who understand and don’t abandon me. I think of the times I was alone as a child and there was no set of eyes to see me. To hold me in a loving gaze.

It is something my recently deceased sister used to give me, in the absence of my Mum’s care she was there, until she married and went overseas. In later life in the care home she would often gaze on me with love. She too was traumatised, she was stuck, it’s a family pattern.

I am not entirely sure where this blog has gone. I just came home from the dog park where I have not been able to connect with the group I usually connect to. They are caught up in an easy banter and joking that on some days I just cannot participate in.

I need to just play with my dog and have some simple time together where we are not frozen in place by conversation but are free to move about the park. I am aware today how important movement is for me.

The longing for the loving gaze from the wrong quartes is not as strong now I have the therapeutic support. Being seen, held and understood makes it easier to do this for myself.

For now I want to write about the experience as it so important that those living within a traumatised reality are understood and attempts made to connect with them.

You do not know what even a kindly smile can do for a person who may not have seen or been able to connect with anyone else all day. In the end its love that heals, its non judgemental awareness and presence which makes trauma bearable for us.  Even if you cannot understand, even it scares you, please try.  And if you cannot, please try to be kind.  Do not devastate us more with your misunderstanding, fear and judgement.

The importance of validation

Do you have a really good friend who sets your world back to rights when you get a little mixed up, uncertain, filled with confusion?

I am blessed to say that I do. This friend is a lot like me, he never judges me, he shows me understanding, when I am confused and stuck in self judgement as a result of my invalidating past, he sets me straight in the nicest way by valuing, validating and putting out a sane and balanced point of view.

This happened to me today. I was feeling like there was something wrong with me. In a body work session some deeply buried anger and grief at not being supported or loved when I was grieving by a few rigidly defended members in my support group 7 or so years ago came up. I had an outburst about it in the therapy as I was tapping into the feelings in my body work session.

At the time, all those years ago I had stuffed the distress and upset in my body. When I came home I put on loud music and danced around the room in a frenzy and as a result I ended up falling backwards and hitting my shoulder very painfully against a lounge chair arm with a steel casing. This is quite funny as I read it back and it not sound like a very traumatic injury but it really hurt me and it came one year following a major head trauma I suffered overseas, on the first anniversary of my husband making the decision to end my marriage.

I now see how stuck I was at the time, still very bonded to a family with lots of unresolved trauma in both my family and myself. When the second injury occurred I was isolated and living alone in a coastal town without any support or daily contact with anyone but my support group on one day a week. I didn’t have a therapist which I now know is essential to healing and I could not move forward to make a new start. I was too traumatised. The bridge of trust to the outside world and others was broken due to past invalidation and lack of emotional support.

My family suffered from a difficulty in showing empathy, unconditional love and I now see it was a mistake to look to them. I needed to build a sense of support within myself from knowing who I truly was, what I had suffered and the extent to which my grief over past difficulties including the loss of my father had impacted on me. I only realise all of this now though, with the gift of hindsight.

It is only lately that I am able to feel the true pain of the things I carried and struggled with, without self judgement. I didn’t really have a place to go to fully express my aching soul.

I am so grateful to have come across a wonderful blog online here : The Invisible Scar through following a post, reblogged on yet another site by Robert Goldstein yesterday. This blog is related to informing people about the impact of emotional abuse in childhood, abuse which is not as obvious as overt physical abuse but never the less leaves deep scars on the psyche and soul which are invisible.

This invisible wound or scar aches, throbs and burns. In my own case I have felt this wound to self like a piece of schrapnel which is lodged deep within me, which moves around, is sometimes soothed and receeds into the back ground from a time, and then comes to consciousness in pain especially at night when the unconscious makes itself more conscious on a somatic level. I am working with a body work therapist now to understand and help with the total immobilisation I suffer on some days.

I am not sure if in today’s bodywork session my anger was fully validated by the therapist. She looked a little taken a back. My anger wasn’t directed at her it was at the old situation. She said to me “you know it is okay to be angry”. Part of me doesn’t truly believe this to be so. She questioned me as to whether I was in the present or past when I was feeling it. I have always been able to keep a check on my anger in that I won’t lash out at others and am very much aware it is of the past. At times I have projected and transferred it but it doesn’t take me long to get a handle on it. It first began to emerge over seven years ago after Chiron passed over my natal Mars Saturn Moon, I would allow myself to scream and shout or hit something after removing myself to a safe space.  I would also express it in my journal often tearing up the page through about seven layers with the pen after laying down an angry scrawl. Then after many years the grief under the anger began to make itself felt.

I know at times I have scared others and even when I have not hurt them they have tried to make me feel my anger has hurt them and I am bad or wrong for feeling it.  Today I know that feelings just are, emotional invalidation is to judge someone’s feeling as wrong if it challenges you and the to try and manipulate them to change.  I have suffered this at the hands of my family many times.

This kind of invalidation has had to happen several times for me to see it wasn’t my problem, but theirs especially if they tried to demonise me for it.   At the time these reaction made me feel that it was NOT okay to be angry. But I beginning to trust that when I feel angry some kind of boundary has been violated or I have been abused subtly. I now have a good therapist who can help me in this.  As my  awareness has grown, I don’t have to vocalise as much and can take steps to deal with it. When I do I can ask myself how I have been triggered.

My catholic education led me to believe anger was wrong and yet justified anger is what is needed most to protect our spirits from violation. In the temple Jesus showed real anger with the sanctity of the space was violated by the money lenders.

My being, soul and body is my own temple. It’s a temple that has often been invaded, in childhood by having procedures forced on me like painful orthodontic treatment to improve my bucked teeth, a haircut of long hair off I didn’t want or need, through to injuries from parental neglect or lack of care and attention. Once I  got third degree burns to my foot after my Mum placed a boiling hot bucket of water on a step near to where I was drawing which I stepped into. My arm was pulled out of socket by her pulling me back. Once I cut open my wrist and nearly severed the tendons after being locked outside the house. The key to the house had not been put back on the hook and when I came home I was locked out and ended up breaking a window which cut my wrist open. I ran down to the neighbours and they took me to hospital but when the cut happened I felt so scared and alone.

In addition as a child I learned to orient myself around my mother’s needs, it was the only way to get her attention which was focused almost solely on her business and keeping the house and us perfectly clean, tidy and controlled. She was never there after school to care, cherish, nourish and support. I found myself in tears yesterday after seeing the support being offered to someone who was being mentored for singing.

Reading about similar issues on the blog of The Invisible Scar has made me realise where the emptiness, loneliness and sadness of my late childhood and early adolescence came from. I sought relief from it through addictions from my late teens on and caused myself even more damage through picking people who could not support or validate me.

I feel a certain anxiety even writing all of this, a fear of judgement, inner voices telling me I am being narcissistic and self obsessed. Whose voices are these?. That is part of not feeling very strong in my own sense of self.

Those of us recovering from this kind of history know how long it takes, how painful the road and how necessary it is to have those who can validate us along the way. My friend that I mentioned earlier does that for me. There was a period a few years ago when I had to let go of some friends who seemed determined to blame me and shame me. It was a painful lesson but in the end I was better off alone, hard as that was. They had no idea of how trauma had trapped me, how jangled my nervous systems was.

Now I am lucky enough to have my best friend as well as others online and a very good therapist who support the part of me that is truly me and trying to emerge, that unconsciously carries all the body memory of violation and is working hard to integrate these into awareness.

Without them I don’t know if I could have made sense of my twisted world or of the body symptoms I have suffered from repressed feelings. I am beginning to attain clarity into my past by listening to what has been buried in my body. In releasing it, in acknowledging it, I heal.

For this to happen I need first external validation and help in understanding how I can be confused when those threatened or unaware or unconsciously triggered in their own defences seek to invalidate me.

Blogging gives me a voice, a place to share, and reading others blogs helps me to recognise we are all in this together and have much to teach and learn from each other along the journey of healing. Through hearing your story I can heal and I hope by hearing mine you can too. xo

Trying to figure out, what is right for me.

I wrote this over a month ago when I made a connection with a body work therapist.  I am seeing that around this time of year which coincides with a major trauma in my late teens the issue of looking for help with bearing the burden and legacy left emerges.  So for what its worth, I am taking it out of drafts, dusting it off, turning it this way and that to extract some meaning for me now.

Filled with doubts. Lots of questions. How can I know? I went to see a new body work therapist today at the advice of someone who has been urging me down this pathway for some time. I go to these therapists wary and with my BS detector sticking up. Relationship is a mine field for me anyway. Was for some time, especially therapeutic relationships, several of which have come to grief when things done or said just did not gel with me, or I felt someone trying to project things on me that felt wrong. Or with those who could not contain the rage that is part of the Post Traumatic State and only emerges when invalidation occurs or when I have been overloaded by a repeat trauma that has triggered earlier ones.

I was reading today in James Masterton’s book The Search For the Real Self, how not having a good relationship with our true self and feelings sets us up to be very vulnerable to the opinions of others. We look to them as a child to an adult when our relationship to our own sense of self and purpose is not strong. With all my Neptune squares to personal planets I can say I identify.

There is a long period when we are growing and developing what psychologists would call the ego (a mediating construct which helps sort between aspects of our inner self as differentiated from the inner selves of others), when our capacity for emotional intelligence is supposedly very limited.

Children can be sensitive to the energy of emotions, but at a certain point in their development they don’t really have names for them. Children need help with their emotions from caregivers in order to develop a relationship to them, regulate them, name them and express them effectively. Of course the later depends too upon how open to hearing us others really are.

The problem of lack of attunement and our parents own defences can leave us with a mixed up relationship to some of our feelings and emotions. Something I have noticed with several of the body workers I have dealt with has been an attempt to shut down emotions that may have been being expressed, which at times made me feel constricted and boxed in.

Supposedly too by questioning you about why you are angry or crying they can get to the bottom of it and figure it out. It is good to ask these kinds of questions but there will be those who just get it and you come away feeling validated and heard, that your expression flowed and your body felt expanded not contracted.

One of the legacies of undergoing traumatic experiences especially on the body is that the entire system, including our musculature and tendons constrict and contract.   We get scrambled, our central nervous system goes into overdrive, pumping out  cortisol when it needs to relax.  At present I am taking tissue salts to help with this, as during trauma our cells become depleted of certain minerals as cortisol levels spike.

Another question I had today was this.  What happens when a therapist lays the line on you that this is just a storyline, one you need to let go? It’s good to recognise when a pure emotion becomes amped up by our reaction to it.  Instead of letting it flow we chomp down on it like a dog with a bone and won’t let go, it intensifies or converts to another emotion (say anger when we are feeling grief, or grief when we are feeling anger),  then it blows out of proportion and become very reactive, but maybe even this reaction has lesson for us and is not the final world.

Truth is, I guess, we can have an emotion, but then we can have a reaction to that emotion or others have a reaction to our emotion which then interferes with the need of the emotion just to get out and be released so we can move on. Why the problem with questioning it? Validation says I see you are having such and such an emotion. Not that it is right or wrong. Once the person is validated for how they are feeling rather than the other person’s reaction to it there is often peace and an open channel of communication. I would call this non defensive communication.

The other thing I have been questioning what happens when we try to express something which a therapist misinterprets or just doesn’t get. Example. Today, once again I had to go in to my history and most especially my accident history as at night and during the day my body is still expressing this trauma in all kinds of strange symptoms. I was speaking of the experience of being trapped in the car and not being able to move, struggling for breath, being in pain and the ambulance men coming in behind to put an oxygen mask on me that I was trying to fend off. I needed that mask on, so fighting was dangerous. But then the tears came and most especially when I remembered the upset of the impact for my father who died a few years later.

The person I was seeing made the assumption that I in some way blamed myself on some level for that and was stuck in a story line. The truth is that I did not, it was out of my control, but I could feel the sadness and pain my father suffered over it, how the accident had impacted on him (he died several years later after further traumas involving my oldest sister’s illness, abandonment and breakdown).  It was after reliving this in an earlier body work session that I had a second major accident which mirrored the earlier one and left me with further Post Traumatic Stress which I am still working to resolve.

Its best not to assume or project, but I guess we can all do it. The important thing for me  To understand my own reaction and reality.  These days I find it is pointless to try and enter into any argument over my tears or the working of my own emotional inner world.  I am lucky enough after many years of failures in having found a therapist who empathises and really gets it, who does not reach for answers or try to project.

As far as other’s are concerned, I ask this. Why should other people get it that at times I feel really sad when they have not suffered in the same way or spend time denying emotions? Is it that I am too enmeshed in my suffering? (This is how they often make me feel.) That can hardly be true because I have lots of good and happy days, but there are days when sorrow can and does inundate me.

Today we worked with the sensations in my body, the traumatic imprints lodged in the tissues and I began to feel the unwinding and shifting of sensations as blockages dissolved and more sensation came in. At times I was pulled away by thought and I get that thinking came sometimes follow a story line and carry us away from the reality of just being present today. I have written a blog about that before.  When this happens and I am in flight from the sensations I remind myself to return to the breath and just notice body sensation.

I still came away from this first session questioning and running a doubting story line. Truth is I am not going to know how this particular treatment pans out until I front up for it and see if it has any beneficial effect on my symptoms. Until then the jury is out.

Deep down I wish the therapist would just keep the story line comments to herself and let me have my feelings. It’s true I might be caught up in a pattern. I am aware there are times I am holding my breath due to old traumatic imprints arising. At the time I am not always aware, but I am catching myself doing this more. It is one of the things I guess we tend to do when we are hit with something very overwhelming. Never the less it is important to learn to let go with the breath and encourage the new breath a space, because breath = movement = life.

We also need to let our emotions breathe in order to release them. They are like waves that arise and fall if we don’t clamp down on them. E Motion. Energy in motion.   I think many of my problems have come from holding in emotions and not having them validated. A saying of yes would allow the release and not cause further frustration.

This is what happens to emotionally sensitive children when they are not validated and it leads to all kinds of long term problems. There is nothing to be gained from denying sensitivity. It has a purpose and the sensitive child who feels things intensely needs help to validate and understand so they can self soothe and don’t have to reach for numbing substances or behaviours due to having been traumatised by parents who hurt them due to their own ignorance and fear.

I know it irritates a lot of people this sensitivity. The truth is that often I will keep what I feel inside, I won’t express or explode as I am considering your feelings, but it that last few years I have let myself explode in order to separate out validators from invalidators. Sometimes exploding is really essential so I can know how distressed I am and come to make sense of if something has angered me, because often when that happens (but not always) there has been an assault or violation of a kind. It wont be received well by the abuser or invalidator and their response has lessons for me.

The last thing I need now when I am making such progress with my psychotherapist is for this is for this body work therapist now to make me doubt myself when another therapist has said how important it was for me not to stuff this anger any more, so that eventually I can find ways to assert my needs more without the need to explode.

The most important thing for me now, I believe, is to trust my gut, to not have anyone on a pedestal and not to accept that which I find a bit hard to swallow. Well meaning as a person can be they have their own limitations. I am learning that if I have a doubt there is probably something not quite right. My true insights are often dismissed by my family something I have blogged about recently and so I naturally doubt myself when really I should just trust my gut. When I don’t, I get into problems.

What is important on this journey of healing is that I can validate myself and trust myself, something it has not always been easy to do. Something I want to explore more in my blogs. A lot of sorting out and separating is going on for me at present. It feels good.

I am looking forward to Saturn moving forward soon as I will be getting the waning sextile transit to Mars Saturn Moon when it does. This bodes well for me. I will be much more aware of my own Mars Saturn Moon than I was when I underwent the squares.

The major astrological lesson I have learned is that with a weak or damaged Mars I am emotionally Fucked. Mars serves the Sun. We need a healthy sense of self assertion to help us navigate through life with power and authority, not a power and authority over others but a power and authority that comes from knowing our self and our boundaries. What is and is not acceptable to us. This can be argued with by others but nevertheless as emotional adults we have authority over our own life and inner world.

There are some lovely world from a song from Dido which express this well:

This land is mine, I’ll let you in, I’ll let you navigate and demand, just as long as you know this land is mine.

What I ask for, I also have to give. That sometimes you won’t get it or understand and that you may even misunderstand me too, the most important thing being, that I no longer misunderstand myself.

As a post script I continued to see the body work therapist over the next eight weeks and I had a major blow up with her.  We managed to work through the anger and fear at the heart of it.  I shared with her about how I had been invalidated by two other body work therapists over four years and she said to me “I really get how scary and difficult it must have been for you to trust me.”  Immediately I could relax and feel that she really got what living inside the traumatised reality is like, when you reach out and trust only to be misunderstood and violated again.  I still struggle with my symptoms but they are lessening.  Mars in now in my first house and more available to me than it was when buried deep in the twelfth bringing up all my unresolved issues, but even all that questioning and indecision, the self questioning and self doubt was part of the process in trying to figure out what was going on and what was right for me.

Coping with the really tough days.

Today is one of them, the really tough days when my legs and stomach ache from the struggle I go through with my PTSD symptoms and when I sit quietly with my hands on my body in the painful places, grief like an ocean rises up.  My symptoms seem to have flared up after a treatment yesterday with a body worker, it has taken me five hours to get out of bed, have a shower (huge panic attack while in the shower which seems to trigger all my pain), make breakfast, feed the dog, clear up dishes and get dressed.  Its now nearly 2 pm and I woke at 7.15 am.

On these days life seems too hard.  Yesterday I touched base with the feelings of profound sadness, fear, desperation and powerlessness I experienced following the bike accident in 2005 when I went over the handlebars and hit my head open on the iron foundry on a busy Cambridge street.  I didn’t remember the impact, just awoke some hour later with an ambulance officer looming over me and most horrible pain in my head and nausea running all through me.  For the astrologically minded of you it happened when transiting Chiron was conjunct my natal Mars, Saturn, Moon in the 6th house on the first anniversary of my husbands decision to walk away from our marriage.

I had gone back to Cambridge hoping to start a new life there, where we had tried to settle three years before.  I was boarding with a family who would only allow me access to the kitchen and bathroom, not the living areas of their home.  I don’t know why I settled for this arrangement and later when I started to express some of the grief I was undergoing they made it clear such feelings were not acceptable in their home.  Their daughter had lost a best friend to addiction a few years before and they didn’t want her faced with any additional sadness.  It was an old familiar dynamic.  Anyway I ended up having this crash and it was plain to me they were not prepared to offer any support so I took myself off to a retreat in Glastonbury.

Its a far longer story.  I spent a lot of my time in severe disorientation due to my PTSD and I spent a lot of time crying.  I did make some supportive friends and I joined a Five Rhythms dance group where I could express my feelings in free form dance.  I look back at that time and see the pain was precursor to a potentially new life, but I felt too far flung out into space with no safety net, so about 6 months after my accident I made the decision to return to Australia.

What came up for me yesterday were all the feelings of powerlessness, compassion for myself at having been treated with lack of compassion by that family and the compassion of the therapist who shared with me how much she feels for people who suffer a traumatic accident which ruptures the fabric of a person’s physical integrity and leaves huge psychological scars.  I know that if you have not been through trauma its impossible to understand how it affects you.  The loss of continuity, the difficulty feeling real, the sense of profound displacement and the strange impact on the body where the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems get forced into full flung hyper arousal that cant be quietened over time.

This week I have been reading about the neurobiology of trauma in Babette Rothschild’s book The Body Remembers : The Psychophysiology of Trauma and Trauma Treatment.  What strikes me is the nightmarish quality of it all and the powerlessness we sufferers experience as the body takes over launching us into a world of painful symptoms which are difficult to understand and manage.  Then the double wound which hurts even more deeply when we as sufferers are faced with the lack of empathy and understanding we meet when others don’t want to be bothered by our pain which is seen as a hindrance and the lack of proper emotional support which leaves us so very isolated and alone.

Profound feelings of rage can be one consequence and I know these led me to abort two previous attempts at body work and trauma healing.  I am now with a body therapist who is able to contain this rage and see that it is a symptoms of powerlessness, not a cause to punish me further.  I have compassion for the pain that underlies it.

Writing this is, I now understand, a way for me to manage the pain I feel on the really tough days.  Speaking about it, even just to a blank page helps.  I long to connect with other sufferers as I know they would understand me and I would understand them.  I feel isolated at times.  I have few friends who are willing to understand.  I have a house to cope with and manage while trying to manage all my symptoms.  Some days I cope but on others like today I find it really hard.

One interesting thing that I have read in Babette’s book is that trauma affects the ability of the hippocampus, the part of the brain that helps us to make sense of events, in an adverse way.  It can shut the hippocampus down when it is severe while it amps up the limbic system, that part of the brain that has profound control over body function, enervation of nerves and muscles and over emotional reactions.  Healing involves engaging the hippocampus through story telling, therapy, writing and other methods which help us to make sense of the trauma and its impact on our lives.

I am only a short way into the book and will share about it more later as I learn more.  For today I need to go gently on myself, to have compassion for the traumatised self who sometimes judges herself by standards that relate to the non traumatised.  I didn’t choose this and at times it feels like a curse, but I have to live with it.  As the Sun and Mercury have passed in opposition to my natal Chiron in the seventh house which aspects Mars, Saturn and Moon, while conjunct natal Pluto in my first I am reminded that this is part of my destiny.  Chiron was wounded in the ankle by a poison arrow left lying around by Hercules after he had fought the nine headed Hydra in one of his major labours.  The pain of the loss of my husband drove me on a quest and I got injured as a result.  Chiron never healed his wound but he did become a teacher and healer himself with profound insight into the nature of the wound and how to tend it, lovingly.  I take this insight to heart today as I consider the loving thing to do on one of the really tough days.

Also I am questioning today whether it might be advisable to give the body work a break for a time.  After my accident I went to an astrology consultation with the astrologer Melanie Reinhardt who explores the mythology and psychology of Chiron in the lives and stories of people and places.  She advised me at that time that I would gain most by living a quiet, interior and centred life in which I developed compassion and understanding into the nature of my wound.  Melanie also came close to death following an accident (as I did in an early accident at 17) and she explained to me that such a trauma leaves and imprint few, even many therapists fully understand.  She mentioned that one of the dangers of reliving the trauma over was in being stuck there.  Being stuck is such a big part of PTSD anyway, especially as the freeze or immobility state is one of the response to life threatening trauma.

How to come out of freeze?  Firstly to know when we are in that state, feeling trapped, holding our breath, making poor decisions due to trauma.  Going for a walk, even if we don’t feel like it.  Choosing to engage even if may feel dangerous, loving ourselves even when frozen and feeling compassion, may all be ways.  Writing about it, talking about it, understanding it.  Not as something to be ashamed of that makes us less than but something that even in being painful is a form of education of the soul..

Today we laid her to rest

It is now just over fifteen months since my eldest sister died in the early hours of Easter Sunday morning, 2014.  A call came suddenly as I was pulling up in the car close to the park where I walk my dog, Jasper on Good Friday last year.  It was my brother and I hear from him so rarely.  The news was a shock, my eldest sister who had been living out her final 12 years in a care home for those living with acquired brain injury was in hospital on life support following a bout of pneumonia.

“Deb, we need to make a decision as a family whether to take her off life support, I think it is what Judy would have wanted.”

Shock, disbelief, then I bristled at this inwardly.  Old pain surfaced as I thought “how the fuck would you know?  You so rarely visited her.”  On reflection this was my reaction at having to face painful news.  Later that day I made the journey to the hospital to find my sister unconscious and having difficulty breathing.

My sisters four sons live away from here.  The eldest was af that time living overseas in Singapore.  The younger three live up north with their partners, an hour’s plane ride away.  “We’ve called the boys”, my brother said.  Huge heart leap, excitement at seeing them, when I see them so rarely mixed with such painful sadness to know the reason they would have to visit.

When my father died a month before my 23rd birthday I did not get to visit or say goodbye.  I had had vaccinations the day before for an overseas trip and was feeling unwell after the injection.  I received a call at work the next day to say he had passed earlier that morning following the performing of a tracheoctomy to help him breath.  He had recently been operated on for stomach cancer and had experienced complications following the surgery.  A few weeks later he was dead.  No chance to say goodbye as he had been unconscious for a few days due to a reaction to a drug given to calm him down.  I did not see his body.  My brother handled all the details.  That time is blur to me as it was such a shock and his death came hot upon the back of six years of trauma we had endured as a family.

Jude’s passing was different, an opportunity to be with her  (even though she was unconscious), many hours alone sitting holding her hand knowing that soon the decision would be made and it would be time for the final good bye.

I was able to say how much I loved her, to ask her please not to leave, but also say “if it is your time Jude,  its time to let go”..  time to cry (for the first time, to share the grief with my much loved nephews) two of whom stayed for a further week, time to talk over the traumatic years in which she was separated from them while her ex husband conducted an affair, to learn details of her psychosis, to share memories, pain and feelings.

Its a paradox to say this was a special time for me, it was a chance to finally share some grief.  After my father died I left to go overseas and drank over a lot of the pain. I did not begin to truly process my father’s death until I was well in to sobriety and recovery some 12 years later.  Some losses are just too huge to process at the time and we need support to grieve.  This is something I have had to learn over many years of my body holding complicated, unresolved grief.   A new loss triggers the old ones.  My marriage ending also brought a revisitation of the pain felt once the protective masculine influence is gone.

I remember just following my father’s death how a little mouse came to visit and I was the one who had to take the steps to get rid of it.  The same thing happened in the weeks after I had been informed my husband would be leaving me after returning from an overseas trip.  I buried a little mouse body in the rose garden and remembered the weeks after my father’s death.

Luckily today was also an opportunity to share grief.  My mother, my sister and I made our trip to the crematorium and the beautiful memorial garden there.  My sister’s ashes had been sitting in the office for some time.  My other sister was taken into hospital with depression on the day of my older sister’s funeral.  A decision made by her sons (one that upset me deeply but that I now understand).  A second hospitalisation took place this year between January and June, on the anniversaries of both my father’s death and Judith’s cerebral bleed.   As a family the time was not right to lay my sister to rest yet.  And it would be the women in the family doing it, in the absence of the masculine, an echo of both the death of my mother and father’s fathers at a very young age, an association made by all three of us today.

A lovely gentle man met us at the office of the crematorium.  He walked with us to the garden where the plaque was laid for my sister, very close to the plaque for my Nana who died when I was overseas in 1987 two years following my father.  How hard for my Mum.  Three major losses.

I was the one chosen to place the box with Judith’s ashes in the earth.  It felt so heavy and as usual I was the one in the active masculine role, I was the one who drove there, I was the one who thought to bring flowers, I was the one crying all the tears. But I was not necessarily the one grieving most.  I just always seem to be the one expressing the feelings most externally.

Birds sang as I placed the box in the ground, we then placed a handful of earth and some rose petals in the hole which was then filled.  My sister had finally been laid to rest.

As an astrologically minded person I always look at the transits.  Today the transiting Moon was opposite my own Mars Saturn Moon and conjunct my sister’s Pluto in Leo at the time of our ceremony.  It was squaring Mum’s Sun Mercury Saturn conjunction and my sister’s Saturn in Scorpio.  Transiting Venus was conjunct to my second sister’s Pluto in Leo. As I wrote in an earlier blog at present the transiting Sun is close to both Saturn and Mars in my dead sister’s chart.  And most appropriately today Venus is exactly smack bang on my Uranus in Leo in the first house as Saturn in Scorpio squares it.  I am aware of the many powerful eruptive Uranian events that have littered my life and splintered things apart.

Following our little ceremony we drove to our favourite café and had lunch.  We then spoke of many things.  I was asking questions about what occurred all those years ago following my sister’s cerebral bleed.  I was 18 at the time, then 20 when she was sent back with a one way ticket by her husband.  I learned at the time of her death from my nephews of what occurred in New Zealand in 1982 when she was in a psychosis.  Her husband had been carrying on a affair. He had planned to meet the woman he was having an affair with over there and my sister had to be a party to this.  Later, as I shared before, he had her committed to an asylum.

I wont ever know what my sister suffered.  She would not speak of what happened at this time. I do know that my sister was not an easy person.  She had addiction issues, in fact, as an adolescent she encouraged me to drink at a time when it had a bad effect on me.  I have had such a struggle to make sense of it all, being the youngest, I was bonded for many years to my sister due to unresolved trauma.  I understand that now.  At some level I felt responsible for her, especially when I found out more about the multi-generational legacy of addiction in our family on Mum’s side many years after I got sober in 1993.

My sister’s ex husband died a few years ago.  In all that time he never talked to his sons of what occurred in his marriage but I learned today that on his death bed he admitted to his oldest son that he had really betrayed my sister and regretted his actions.

It was good to be able to talk about this with my sister and mother today.  I am so grateful for the softening in my remaining sister who put her arm around me as we laid my other sister to rest.  My sister who died was like a mother to me growing up.  She was 16 when I was born and she would wheel me in the pram around the neighbourhood and received funny looks when it was assumed it was a teenage pregnancy.  With her wicked sense of humour she drew great delight from this.

It is now close to dinner time. I sit typing with the soft glow of lamps around me and the buzzing of a silence that is always present at deeply spiritual times.  I have danced out some of the complex emotions that today has evoked.  Exhausted when I left my family, I am now refreshed by time alone.

Its a great mystery to me, the family we choose.  The question, do we choose?  How fated it it?  What are the common themes that wend their way tendril like throughout the generations?  I see patterns, creating patterns. I see that sometimes we choose, sometimes we are compelled, sometimes magnetised and then we live to reap results we could never had imagined.  Much as we try to control things at times, greater forces work their way out. It seems at times we make fatal choices and mistakes which then we learn from, even though the learning is gut wrenchingly painful at times. If we can bear the consequences we live on.  And sometimes fate forces upon us a hand we wish to lay down or escape.

Today the issue of my father’s grave came up.  Unlike Nana and my sister Dad is exiled to another part of the cemetery, buried in a coffin.  At the time he died the Catholic church did not accept cremation.  Mum cried today as she hates to think of Dad being alone.  We spoke of Dad’s belief that when you are gone you are gone, and yet you are not wholely gone when others remember.  I guess we project our own feelings on the dead.  The memorial is probably mostly for us who remain and need a place to remember.  But the exile of my Dad’s grave, so rarely visited does reflect something of how, in the past our family has not fully dealt with our grief.

It is interesting to me to note that in the week that astrologers have gained their first sighting of Pluto, so recently demoted from the planetary pantheon, that we as a family have begun to bring our own grief out of the shadows.  I like to think this is a collective indication that our society is becoming more prepared to deal with the so called “dark” side of life.  Death has lessons for us and emotions, sometimes very hard to express and resolve.  It takes us into a place of healing, of recognising what was loved and what was of most value to us.  In feeling it through we have a chance to engage with our hearts and with the complexity of our attachments and interconnections.  Important work for our soul.

There attachments and interconnections are deep as our soul is deep.  Even when we seek to avoid or deny them the affect us in many ways.  We are not separate but inter connected.  Death, loss, separation does not end this interconnection just moves it to another plane.  That is my belief.

Healing the pain of Borderline Personality

Trauma creates separation, a tear in the fabric of the continuity of our life, of the cosy sewn togetherness of being. Until you have experienced this you cannot really know what it is like to live within a reality which trauma has thrown shadows over. You can never go back to the state of innocence.

On the positive side there is a deepening of understanding into more painful realities beyond the mundane and there can be gifts there. But pain also remains, the knowledge that you as a trauma sufferer will be marked in some way by the experience and limited on some level too.

At the moment I am coming to terms with the knowledge that I have “borderline” traits, a  mild form of Borderline Personality Disorder. I had not had an official confirmation of this before this week although I had identified some of these traits in me especially in my behaviour prior to recovering from alcoholism.

I have struggled with a sense of shame, with feelings of being deeply flawed on some level and yet there are gifts within the borderline condition too most especially depth of feeling, strong intuition and sensitivity.  Traits that need to be understood and contained as we heal.

To the extent that we can be aware of the traumas which left us with a wound or scar that at times throbs painfully and take steps to treat ourselves with empathy, love, compassion and understanding, to that degree do we save ourselves and protect the loved ones around us, who in reaching out and sometimes triggering us in that deeply painful place unknowingly suffer when we express intense sadness or anger.

Being on the borderline side of the narcissistic spectrum means that in the course of developing we grew up with wounds, with lack of validation, emotional support, empathy and understanding and without the attention needed to help us learn to moderate our emotions and deal with pain.  To survive we learned to split off our deepest feelings from our awareness and healing requires we mend this split that we suffer from deep within.

A.J. Mahari explains it this way:

In Borderline Personality Disorder, (BPD) we see evidenced through common behaviour associated with this personality disorder much of the inner child coming through the adult. There is often a painful dissociation between the two. Those with BPD also have a very difficult time even contemplating being vulnerable and the result is that they end up denying their inner child over and over again to the point where they actually take on the role of their past abusers or a caretaker who could not meet their developmental needs and continually re-abuse themselves. Much of this self-abuse is aimed at avoidance of the actual pain that sits under (often subconsciously) their experienced symptomology or pathology, the BPD itself. Continuing to ignore this little aspect of you and all the pain and terror that sits inside of him/her will make change and healing virtually impossible.

http://www.mjtacc.com/frameset2.html?dinner.html~mainFrame

The core of our borderline trauma is emotional abandonment about which we may feel deeply ashamed, despite the fact we were not to blame for what happened to us.

When our earliest relationships were tinged with the pain of being held at a distance or misunderstood and treated with lack of empathy when we were suffering, our later relationships suffer. If we have had to carry hurts and wounds that we were not allowed to know about, we carry this deep trauma pain inside.

Often it takes a relationship in present time to awaken that pain, so that we can deal with it and heal. And the painful truth is that now we must learn to deal with this trauma, buried feeling of sadness, anger  and pain in a positive way, one that helps us grow and enhances our lives and helps us deal with developmental trauma helping us to understand how what happened to us so long ago is affecting our behaviour. Armed with this understanding we can mature and take responsibility. We do not have the right to dump our pain on others, unconscious as this pain may be.

This afternoon with my therapist I tapped into some very deeply painful feelings around old relationship traumas and I suddenly was aware of the belief : “there must be something wrong with me”. My therapist couldn’t agree and was challenging me on this belief.

The feeling of something wrong with me, as I explore it now, having released those earlier feelings in a safe space, speaks to me of having been met over many long years with a lack of understanding and being told I had it wrong, that there was something wrong with me for feeling so deeply, for being who I was and for reacting as I did. Some reactions were just legitmate responses to pain that was not always conscious and they did not serve me well, but they were the best I was capable of at that time.

Earlier today I had been speaking to someone who affirmed to me what a deeply feeling person they believed me to be. “This deep feeling and sensitivity within you is a gift”, he said. Sad to say these are not words that I have heard before, but I felt the truth in them.

Much of my life seems, as I look back, to have been a struggle for understanding from sources that were not always able to give it. Over the past year I have come to see that the deep flaw wasn’t only in me, it was in the limitations of others, who are only human to understand.

This understanding has been freeing and its beginning to bring me a lot of peace. It has been a great comfort to me to have finally formed a therapeutic alliance with someone who will help me to grow.

I’ve had a lot of wounding and retraumatisation in therapy. In early attempts I often quit due to the fear of abandonment I carried so deeply buried inside. Today I know that I cannot be abandoned as I was in the past, the emptiness which is one of a host of borderline symptoms is no longer there, the deep dark void of loneliness and misunderstanding, at least not when I am centred in my true self and protecting and caring for that self.

Today I have a compassionate, kindly inner self within me that can be with me in the pain on the bad days, there are no longer so many of the vicious inner self attacks which were just internalised voices taken on from wounding others in the past. Today I can hold my own hand or reach out to those kindly people who are willing to love and accept me as I am, flawed past history and all and in helping me to understand the wounds they help me to accept and love everything, even all the deep hate, pain and rage of the unhealed borderline condition.

Today as I was crying with my therapist. I said to her “I wish that people with BPD did not have to be demonised. I know at times they act in painful ways, but underneath all the pain and rage is a wounded heart crying out for love.” The truth is that only the BPD sufferer can take responsibility for healing this wounded self, for loving it and understanding it.

Acceptance and peace comes at the end of a painful journey during which all of these painful traumas and feelings are re-experienced and understood. In having the courage to feel them through we are releasing ourselves from prison. Along the road we need those who are willing to understand and walk with us on the journey to reclaim our true selves.  For without this love and understanding we are lost.

If you suffer from BPD there are some marvellous online resources at the following sites.  You do not need to suffer alone.

Randi Kreger writes on BPD and you can find some of her posts by following this link:

http://psychcentral.com/lib/the-emotional-vulnerability-of-borderline-personality-disorder/0009521

A J Mahari has recovered from BPD and has some excellent ebooks and articles on the following site:

http://borderlinepersonality.ca/borderoutwardrage.htm

Robert Friedel is a psychologist who specialises in treating BPD.  His site has resources for those understanding and dealing with BPD in your self or a loved one

http://www.bpddemystified.com/resources/for-loved-ones/

Other useful links:

https://www.bpdcentral.com/support-groups