Archive for April, 2008

Abuse and Relationships

I’ve been reading Christiane Northrup‘s Mother-Daughter Wisdom, and I wanted to share some sections that in part confirmed what I already knew, and in part helped me become more aware of myself.  It was hard, though, because reading parts of this were like reading a fictionalized version of my life.. and the unpleasant bits that I don’t like to think about.

From Chapter 10, “Love Maps: How We Encode Mood, Sex and Relationships”

“The vast majority of children are born with an innate sense of joy and happiness… The mother who participates in her duaghter’s joyful emotions is actually helping to develop and reinforce the brain circuits that support healthy mood.  However, the reverse is also true. …

When a child feels something, she naturally looks around to see if others mirror her feeling.  If they don’t, she feels ridiculous and ashamed of herself for feeling joyful.  The inference the child makes is that her mood must be wrong.  After all, her mother is bigger, more powerful, and in charge – she must be right!  So the child starts to belive that something is wrong with her, and that joy is bad and must be hidden.

“As a result of repeated experiences when her joy isn’t reflected back to her, a child learns how to blunt her excitement and put a ceiling on her joy.  After a while, she no longer gets excited and may feel that life is hopeless and that she is helpless to do anything about it.  A feeling of futility and resignation gets wired into her body.  This is then transmitted to her posture.  Her head and eyes start to lower, and her exploration of both herself and her world becomes truncated.  In short, the child becomes depressed.”

Certainly goes a ways in explaining to me why I was so suicidal by the age of 8.  I used to wake up at night, sneak into the kitchen and hold up the butcher’s knife to my chest, hoping that I’d get up the nerve to shove it in eventually.

Also, I knew that one of the 3 main messages my parents translated to me was that joy was bad and would always be met with harshness from others, but I associated learning that lesson with being beaten up when my sisters and I were laughing to loudly & having fun when my dad was trying to read.  I didn’t realize how much deeper in my bones and psyche it had gotten.  But it certainly explains why I have such difficulty getting their messages out of my head.

The other 2 main messages they told me, for those who want to know, were 1. being female makes you worth/less and 2. it is impossible to protect yourself from those who want to hurt you.  This next excerpt addresses issues growing out of the first of these.

From Chapter 11, “The Age of Reason: Developing a Moral Compass”

“Believing that she’s responsible for the happiness of others often puts a girl (and later, an adult woman) in the impossible situation of having to betray her true self.  In the words of the famous physician Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, she is encouraged to become “a little prostitute.”  She learns not to trust her own moral compass – because her own passions and purposes are not deemed nearly as important as keeping “Daddy” happy.

“This double bind inevitably leads to unjustified guilt and shame.  And these two emotions, if not relieved by changing one’s thinking and behavior, eventually cause a great deal of wear and tear on the physical body…

“Feeling that she’s not good enough without a man puts a girl – and later a woman – at risk for all kinds of unskillful behavior in order to prove that she is desirable and worhty.  This ranges from unprotected sex to getting into and staying in abusive relationships, or, at the very least, unfilfilling, deadening relationships.”

Check, check and check.

But thanks to the support of my boyfriend and what I affectionatly refer to as “getting my head on straight” (a process I’ve been undergoing for YEARS) I’m getting a lot better.  I finally processed at least most of that incredible guilt and shame after I separated from my husband.  On top of dealing with feeling like I’d been an archetypal prostitute for years and years and years, I had to deal with my parents’ judgment for it, which was kind of like having to deal with all these issues all balled up at once.  Obviously, I’m still dealing with them somewhat, but not like I was July of last year through January of this year.  I felt so weighed down my guilt and shame and anguish and knew I just had to let myself feel it or else it would never go away.

Now the bulk of the raw emotions have been processed and I am just trying to deal with the life patterns it’s left on me.

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April 29, 2008 at 4:36 pm 1 comment

Roots

An unexpected bonus of working this event on Saturday was running into my Aunt Marilyn (dad’s sister), who is the Pagan of the family, and whom I haven’t seen for… I don’t even know how many years.  We made plans to get together soon and talk through a bunch of stuff, which makes me feel encouraged and supported.

Then, on Sunday, my “little” brother (age 21) who’s temporarily staying with me, woke up and told me about a dream he had.  He was in our parents’ basement (i.e. our childhood home) and he found a spell book that he needed to hide to find later.  He went into what we called “the back” but what was just our storage area in the basement, and discovered a stairway down ending at an open door.  He knew the door would only be there for a short time, but didn’t feel able to open it.

So I decided to lead him through some guided meditation to see what he could discover about himself and our family.  I asked him to pick a guide from the masculine major arcana & court Tarot cards, and he picked the Hermit.  I had been expecting him to pick a defender or a warrior, so I gave him a stone I store energy in to hold and my Ganesha talisman (partly because it’s a tiny book, partly because Ganesha is the god of overcoming obstacles and I had a feeling my brother would need that).

He laid down, holding rock and the book, with the Hermit card beside him.  I led him through some warm-up visualization/chakra cleansing, then he entered back into the dream state and returned to the mysterious doorway.  It was marked with symbols, one of which he identified as signaling an emotional trap waiting for whomever opened the door.  He wedged the door with a screwdriver and the trap hit the wall harmlessly.  He described it as some of the needless fear/worry that plagues our family.

Next, he entered a large stone room with a pool of murky water that led through the opened door to a castle turret where the Hermit was waiting for him.  They left together and went through the locked door (after finding a key) that opened into a room full of moldy old books.  The books turned out to be our family’s history and genealogies and one very toxic bible that was leaking radioactive gunk all over the 6 stones placed around it.

My brother identified this as being linked to the baby dedications our parents had over us kids, where they offered our lives to their fucked up idea of god.  The Hermit advised him to destroy the stones, so he packed them and the bible up into a metal briefcase and they teleported to a Hawaiian volcano.

When he threw in the briefcase, the volcano erupted with green gook, firework-like explosions and lots of lava.  Then, it threw back out the 6 stones (I would describe their appearance, etc. to you, but since you don’t know my siblings, it wouldn’t make much difference).  The Hermit told my brother to return the stones to our parents dreamland home, to be discovered as needed by his siblings.

I’m not really sure what to make of all this, but then they’re not my metaphors.

April 21, 2008 at 6:37 pm Leave a comment

What Did You Do?

Poem by Drew Dillinger:

It’s 3:23 in the morning
And I’m awake
Because my great great grandchildren
Won’t let me sleep
My great great grandchildren
Ask me in dreams
What did you do while the planet was plundered?
What did you do when the earth was unraveling?

Surely you did something
When the seasons started failing?
As the mammals, reptiles, birds were all dying?

Did you fill the streets with protest
When democracy was stolen?

What did you do
Once
You
Knew?

How will you answer?

April 9, 2008 at 9:29 pm 1 comment

When the Student Is Ready, The Teacher Appears

I was really pissy yesterday because I had to work for almost 11 hours straight: my usual 8 hours plus 3 for the volunteer training I was helping with from 5-8 PM. It was the second day of my period, which is the heaviest flow and the most emotionally vulnerable for me, so I was not happy and had been crying off and on all day. I was seriously pouting on the inside when the training started.

But by the time it was over, the positive energy of the volunteers and the passion that I always feel for my cause revived me. Which left me very receptive to an older woman who approached me afterwards. We started talking about Seattle, because I mentioned I’d lived there in my introduction and her daughter lives there now. Then, as she was about to leave, she mentioned casually that she was an energy healer.

My eyeballs almost leaped out of my head. I told her how I’d recently gotten in touch with my color energy & she asked if I’d ever had an energy healing. I haven’t, but I want to and as it turns out, she is a teacher at Core Star Energy Healing – where they offer 2 energy healings a month PLUS seminars/workshops and a 3 year training course on energy healing.

Do you have any idea how excited I am? I’ve been longing for a mentor to teach me and now, not only did I meet an incredible woman, but I also have a new and deliciously exciting goal to go through the 3 year training. Of course, this plan is all in it’s absolute germination phase, but I think it’s going to end up being something fabulous (as long as I can somehow get rides to Shawnee Mission to actually attend stuff).

My first plan of action is to take my friend Sara with me to an energy healing. I think we could both us it. I get paid next on the 15th and there is a session on the 22, so I’m hoping to make that one. I will let you know how it goes.

P.S. SQUEEEEEEEEEEEE!

April 4, 2008 at 4:14 pm Leave a comment


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