Betrayal of self: Who do you trust?

Discussion in 'Family of Origin' started by Copabanana, Dec 7, 2015.

  1. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I want to delve a bit into a dynamic that is understandable but potentially quite damaging. The identification of danger, if and when we are in danger and by who.

    We presume, at least I do, that there will be an alarm, a signal that reliably signals risk. Either I will feel fear or anxiety or the two, in response to danger. That is what I have presumed, that I will act accordingly by identifying the situation, leaving it and changing course.

    It is interesting as I re-read this, that I have omitted an important element in response to danger: uncovering it, announcing it and trying to find remedy. This omission I will address below.

    I have become aware that my Geiger counter can be off in certain situations. I see danger and feel it. But I do not get the emotional trigger, the signal. When danger comes in a specific package, I do not want to believe it.

    In these situations I believe I fear I am doing something wrong if I allow myself to see ill motive, let alone speak of it. So I silence myself. But I stay away. I do not sound an alarm to myself or to others. I do not take responsibility to name the danger or deception or to do my very best to counteract or to clarify it.

    My family for me was a dangerous place. I could not feel afraid in all the circumstances and times I was in danger, or I would have lived in perpetual fear. I could not see or hear the alarm of danger, because it came from those that I loved and loved me. I learned to see and feel myself being harmed...and to blind myself to the intent of the perpetrator. They did it by accident, my mistake or through ignorance, I would tell myself. Or because I was bad or I deserved to be harmed or punished or diminished. And I covered it up, covered up in myself the awareness of intent and of responsibility of others. And took it on myself. I acted against myself.

    They did not know better. They did not know it would hurt me. They did not mean it. They needed it more. I was a bad or undeserving girl. All untruths.

    I would nurse my wounds. And go on.

    It is very sad for children such as I was.

    I see now that there was intent to hurt. Very much so. Intent to rob. Intent to dominate. Intent to hoard anything good. Intent to take credit for what was my own. Intent to take every bit of everything. At the very least there was a willful and convenient blindness, and a disavowal of responsibility for acts.

    Pretending to be vulnerable. Pretending to be the victim. Casting blame and responsibility to others. Which I accepted.

    And if there was nothing left for me. So be it. I would want less.

    I am dedicating myself to changing this. To recognizing intent that is hurtful. The intent to subvert. To hoard. To rob. To silence. To deprecate. To shame. To marginalize and to shun.

    I believe as I reread this that I have refused to feel the effects of these hurtful actions because I would be angry. Too angry to remain a good little girl.

    I am vowing to recognize it when I see it in myself and in others and to name it. Kindly. Appropriately. To clarify when needed. I cannot call myself responsible and not do this.

    Because I realize that it is a question of integrity. My own. That every cloudy or concealed statement left unchallenged calls into question my integrity. And I will not be a woman without integrity. Now that I know.

    This vow goes both ways. Because I can sometimes see threat where it does not exist. This is also a lacking of integrity. I will work on that, too.

    I am seeing that the person who I cannot trust fully, is myself. I vow to change that.

    I alluded a bit to this: the feeling of danger which we project, I project, onto others, without clarification if indeed it is a true and real thing, this danger. Based upon my own fears and internalized hurts. This is the other side of the coin, to deprive myself of a trust in others. Blinded be my own fear. So much harder, this. When the foe is an internal one.

    Last edited: Dec 8, 2015
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Oh, I think I still project either vulnerability or aloofness when in a crowd of new people; probably not so much with just one or two people or people I already know. I don't really trust anyone outside of my chosen family and a few select friends, one that I've known since my 20s and lives far away, sadly, in Illinois.

    I don't know if it's bad to be cautious.
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  3. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    It does become a question of integrity. I feel that too, Copa.

    That every cloudy or concealed statement left unchallenged calls into question my integrity.

    This is a valuable post, Copa. Those cloudy or concealed times when we interpreted things positively and that pattern continued into shunning or other kinds of victimization.

    I wonder how self trust evolves. I think it has to do with the Benedictine (or Buddhist) concept of work; of not deserting ourselves: When chopping onions....

    Maybe that is why this part feels so lonely. It could be that I have stopped selling myself out for companionship or agreement. If that is the case, then I will begin to savor these feelings, instead of doing all I know to hold myself together until they pass and I am myself, again.

    Maybe, I will never be myself, again.

    Based upon my own fears and internalized hurts. This is the other side of the coin....

    Blinded by my own fear.

    So, we have earned a coin to spend, then.

    This is what changed for me, as I read: Maybe, it is true that I am not a small thing, trying to survive, gritting my teeth to stand in place without running or defending or hiding away from energies that overwhelm me. Maybe, those energies, those dark winds, are warm; enfolding. There was a period of time when I envisioned myself breathing easily under water. One the one hand, I know I cannot. On the other hand, I was doing it.

    Maybe this is like that, too.

    So, where is the fear coming from, and the lonely feeling that work and attention balance so beautifully.

    The coin imagery, Copa. I really like that way of seeing more clearly.

  4. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I am not advertising a product here. I am sharing this photo of Mrs. Apfel on the left who is the face of Kate Spade and now of Alexis Bittar the jewelry designer. Mrs. Apfel is 93.

    I love her style. I was looking up photos of jewelry styling. I am worrying that I will look dated with all of the 70's and 80's brooches and necklaces I am buying. Less worrisome are the earrings. I do not know why.

    Well these flower power brooches are the thing now for young women and Mrs. Apfel looks great.

    Yesterday I was looking at Madonna who was so beautiful in the 80's and now? Looks a wreck.

    So, I had a dream last night (more a nightmare) where my face had aged into that tight stretched look, all hard lines (poor Madonna and the woman who just got divorced from Banderas. This memory thing scares me. And who is it, that ingenue who was in Sleepless in Seattle. All 3 have gotten these hard, stretched faces.)

    And there I was in my dream, with the same face. And I was stunned. How could it happen? Because my face has always had soft curves, not harsh lines. But there I was. Just as hard edged as the rest. In my nightmare. My Mother never got that way.

    Thank Goodness I woke up.

    So I am talking surgery here. Madonna should have aged like my mother. Her face was full and soft. Until it was not.

    If my mother had lived she would be 91. And a more beautiful version of the lady below. I am missing her so much the past few days.

    But I am not as sad as I was. You were right Cedar. 3 days it lasted.


    Doesn't Mrs. Apfel look marvelous?

    alexis bittar.jpg
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2015
  5. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Being the age we are is an extraordinary thing.

    The lady on the left has dressed masterfully first to draw attention and set a tone, and then, to focus attention on her eyes.

    On the real person alive beneath the aging face.

    I have read that if we receive massage or pedicures and manicures as we age ~ anything that helps us know ourselves to be cherished and touched kindly ~ we will blossom and reach out and enjoy laughter. We do not touch our elderly; we do not appreciate them, or admire their wisdom, especially in today's culture. When I worked, I truly loved touching my patients, or sitting with them and listening to the trauma of what was happening to them. Not the medications or the procedures, but how scary it was sometimes, to be the one it was all happening to. None of that is covered by insurance or Medicare, and I think that is very sad for all of us, nurses and patients alike.

    When I decided to become a nurse, an older, retired nurse warned me that the system had changed, and that the things that made it human were hardly allowed and certainly, were not encouraged or rewarded anymore.

    Isn't that something.

    That is why we are lonely as we age, maybe. Without the promise of babies to make and birth, we cannot understand our own purposes. Male and female both, we are at loose ends because we think firm young bodies are the value.

    Nonetheless Copa, I am still thinking about that face lift.

    But here is the thing: I would have to have other things lifted once I had the face lift. It would be a never ending process, head to toe, head to toe. I would always be recovering from something, and something new would be forever slipping out of place.

    At least right now, everything matches.


    And on that one day when everything was put back where it should be and I was not recovering from the latest hair would begin to thin to the point of baldness and then what.

    Here is an interesting thing: A woman plastic surgeon said that all breast implants will eventually develop mold.

    And cause sickness.

    And on the show I was watching, they took the implants out and they were nasty.


    I was going to tell the joke about having nothing left of our breasts after a certain age but the bags they came in.

    But I decided not to.


    She does not have her nails done in bright colors. There is nothing that screams look at me and yet, each piece of clothing has been chosen perfectly. Not to scream for attention, not too severe (as all black, which is my go to color scheme, can be). See how the flowers on her jacket, so distinctly and beautifully shaped, bring us to her eyes?

    I think you are right about plastic surgery, Copa.

    Still, it is hard to lose beautiful and strong.


    This morning, I am coming more and more to conclude that it is ourselves we must cultivate and come to trust. We cultivate ourselves through behaving with kindness and integrity (or whatever our primary values are) when that is possible. I think trust would be when we do not behave with kindness or integrity and understand why and believe ourselves to have behaved correctly though we have not been "perfect".

    I think that would be trust.

    It would be trusting intuition and waiting for proof.

    Having seen so many terrible things, we operate the other way around. However ugly the thing is, we are sure it can be better or be made better or that it really wants to be better and just needs a little polishing.

    Or we think they didn't mean it, when of course, they did.

    How sad for us, and how many times we must have been so bitterly disappointed.

    I don't know what to make of that, but I think it is true.

    It is a difficult thing to choose vulnerability or faith and have it cheapened.

    A sad thing, when that happens to us.

    I think that makes the predator a weak thing then, doesn't it? That they would not have been able to have taken the advantage they did were it not for our believing they were better than they are in the first place?

    And then, that they did what they did, anyway.

    Lonely, again.

    Not so willing to take it on faith, anymore.

    As we heal then, we will begin holding faith with ourselves, and looking quite ugly to everyone who wishes we were still injured and innocent and betting our lives on the mercy of others.

    Predators do seem to zero in on that.

    That is why we must learn to have mercy for ourselves.


    Over time, we believe that we are who we are, that we are who we have proven ourselves to be through our actions and interests and words and through the nature of our prayers.

    There are many things that are real that are ugly. Or, that we don't understand.

    That does not mean they are not real.

    We need to stop pretending we can make those things hurt less. I remember when I began posting like that as I was coming through grieving the lost family that the family D H and I had created became. I posted: "Ours is an ugly story." After we decided to explore and process vulnerabilities left from our upbringings, I posted the same kinds of words as I came to terms with Family of Origin issues: "Mine is an ugly story."

    And it is.

    But at least it is true. No one can hurt me with it because I already know I am sad at the broken things.

    People who hurt us in those ways have no integrity. How did we not see this?

    How did we take that on for them, too?


    And there are ugly things in the world, too.

    That is why the person whose trust we should cultivate is ourselves. That is another definition of faith, maybe. We are already kind. To hold faith with ourselves will make us very strong. To know the good and the bad in ourselves enables integrity to take place and then, over time, we can hold faith with ourselves.

    That is the person we should trust: Ourselves.

    How did that go, that thing I posted about trust. There is no trust without respect. There is no love without trust.

    It went something like that.

    So, the person whose trust, respect, and love we need to cultivate is ourselves. These are the values our abusers cheapened. The ability to look into our own eyes and believe what we see there. That is trust. The ability to review our behaviors or relationships or decisions or mistakes and understand that we made good decisions, and that our hearts were good, and that no one is perfect the first time or all the time.

    That is respect. Earned respect, as all true respect is earned or it is sycophancy.

    They took that from us, too.

    To love ourselves is where I am only beginning to come to. For me thus far, there was the paradigm shift of appreciation. First, for life and breath. That came first. And then came specific appreciation that I am here, able to breathe, able to see and feel and touch and be present.

    I remember posting at the time that it was seismic.

    Looks like I was right.

    Yay, me.


    Having come from dysfunctional homes, we will not have been taught how to understand how to interpret inappropriate things, from rudeness at the table to murderers in the streets. So, I was watching Mr. Rogers, this morning. He is on YouTube, did you know?

    He can help us, even now, to understand what trust feels like; what it would have felt like, to have been safe in our childhoods.

    This understanding will help us too, to understand the feeling tone of the places where we grew up. We do not have that, I think. Without it, without that understanding of what it was like, of how really unfortunate it was, we are like babes in the woods re-enacting old, merciless patterns and blaming ourselves and trying to figure out where we went wrong and hating ourselves for it.

    We may not have been wrong.

    Ours may be ugly stories, and that may be the end of the story.

    I think this is an important piece of our healing, Copa and everyone.


    Routinely betrayed and manipulated as children, we don't know what the feel of trust is. In my marriage of over forty years, there is a blossoming trust now, that my D H is who he appears to be, that was only a scaffolding of a beginning of trust, before.

    I posted about appreciation on the Work and Germany thread.

    That has to do with trusting ourselves, that ability to appreciate our lives and our breath and our true goodness of heart.


    Copa, I am glad to know you are feeling better and more centered. It happens to me that soon, I become aware of roomier, of fresh expansive breath, of a sense of distance and really, joy.

    Like someone imprisoned savoring the stars on the first night of her release.

    So good, to see them, again.
  6. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    You ladies are too fascinating, I am here, reading but need to be off to work.
    I will think on this and write later.

    I am still Norma Jean eating chocolates in bed. But I am an older Norma Jean......
  7. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Yes. Exactly. And her lips, her mouth. I have already been on EBAY for hours last night looking for glasses like that. The two parts of the face that communicate and sense. And her makeup is perfection. Everything. You are left with the sense of perfection, of aged to perfection.

    Also her hair. She has a terrific cut. I saw other pictures of her where she just looks like an old lady. The hair was not right there. Here it is perfect. Mine looks great in this cut, too.

    She was a textile designer. Had a company with her husband. Quite successful. They were involved in redecorating the White House for many presidents.

    And when she was 83 she was discovered. And it was all uphill from there. She was invited to teach fashion design to university students in Texas and became a professor there. She has written books. There was a big museum installation that celebrated her wardrobe. And a masterful documentary maker, I forget his name, made a movie about her: Iris. She is merchandising products, shoes, jewelry, eyeglasses, to her style and in her name. All after 83.

    At 93 she says she has all kinds of projects in the fire.
    Oh no, Cedar. Look at Iris. She would not be who she is without her face. All of it. When we are old we should look old.

    Look at Madonna now, Cedar. She was beautiful. Now she is not.

    You are beautiful, Cedar.

    Yes. A good point.

    You have not Cedar. You will not.
    Yes. It very much is.

    To watch it being destroyed before our very eyes. To be taken over and dirtied. And be able to do nothing. To have words of the heart, drowned out by bronx cheers. And then when silenced, to feel alone. Bereft. And confused.
    Well, this is very fascinating to me. And complex. Yes. There is weakness and a sense of inferiority in them, at the beginning. A weakness that we cover for. An inferiority in them we refuse to accept. We see the signs. They are unavoidable. But we refuse to see them as such. Because we fear our own power and refuse to own our gifts, and perhaps, even superiority. We put our lights in a basket.

    For what? Fear that attention will bring more harm? Fear of more predation from them, to bring on more hurt?

    Why did we, do we buy the "party line," the bill of goods, when we know better and knew better? It is willful self-deception. And silencing.
    But the thing is, all we have is faith. We have to have faith. In ourselves. There has to be the belief that we can prevail in ourselves. In the face of evil. We must hold ourselves in faith. In nothing more than ourselves. Because that is all there really is. If you look at it existentially.
    I disagree. My grandmother used to say, where there is life, breath, there is hope.

    I believe my mother lived heroically in her last days. She never had before. I believe there is great ugliness in our stories. But I believe our stories are heroic and we are heroic. Every hero needs his battles. To prove her true heart.

  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Wonderfully put, Copa :)
  9. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    You know the thing about the photo above, with Iris, you cannot even see the young woman next to her. She is washed out, insipid. Iris is the only one there. It must have been planned like that. Because the young woman is quite pale and fair, washed out even, and her outfit is monochromatic, all fleshy shrimp colored.

    I wonder what the subliminal message is. The girl looks tired and bored, yet ripe. Iris, alert and engaged, though clearly in decay. Interesting.

    There was a conversation I read online with Prada. About using mature models. She refused. She says she is in business. Hers is a commercial enterprise. Not artistic, in the main. At that time I did not know of Iris.

    Do you notice how Iris has no color on her nails?

    Last edited: Dec 9, 2015
  10. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Serenity, I am so glad you are here. I miss you so much.

  11. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I consider aging a badge of honor and a war trophy. Don't get me wrong. In small ways I try to look good and younger. I always dye my hair...always will. No gray. I am still thin, although that's a battle for me. I don't try to wear makeup. I never did and won't now...not going to change who I am. The young will look better anyway, but that's part of this circle of life...they too will age. I would not have surgery after I have seen so many celebrities with botched surgeries. They look terrible. And why have surgery when it isn't necessary. Now this is just how I think. Don't care who doesn't agree with me. I was always considered better than average looking and still am. Many people guess me as in my early 50's or even late 40's. So I have good genes that way. But I never judged myself by how I looked and never tried to look any better than I could look the natural way. Well, minus the hair

    Again, this is NOT a criticism of those who still wish to look great. It's just my lone opinion.
  12. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I have to go to the post office and return some junky jewelry. Just have a minute. Have to wrap and box stuff.

    This is what I think: the self-doubt, the sense of powerlessness, the sense that we may be responsible, that we invented it, ascribed motive, ill intent that was not there, is all coming up from the past

    This is how we felt and feel in our families, with our sisters.
    We are not now powerless without good options. That was then.

    In fact, we have every option. It is just a choice. Of which one.

    We will be Iris. We will see every single thing as an opportunity. At death's door she is and everything for her is an opportunity. She has more than enough time.

    She says she never plans to do anything. It just comes up. Opportunities present themselves and she chooses. Actually that is like M.

    We will be the same. We will see every little thing as an opportunity. To be accepted or not. We will be the center. Always. When we leave it will no longer exist in the same way without us.

    See the thing is now: our lives are not defined by our families. They are defined by us. It is just a question of turning our gaze and recognizing and accepting that the opportunity has always been us. In us. We have created it. Everything is transformed by our presence. And everything changes without it. And no longer matters.

    I realized that a few days ago. I was looking at pictures of Meryl Streep and Miuccia Prada, who are aging just like we are.

    And I asked myself. What do they have? What makes me look at them and want to keep looking at them? Even when one has put on her makeup badly, or has too yellow hair.

    And I realized that they have themselves. They look beautiful because the beauty is them. They look beautiful because they are still themselves inside. And because we admire them, we look for them in whatever guise they present themselves. Even wrinkled and old.

    And because they accept themselves, indeed embrace and love themselves, they present their essence through their eyes and smile. Like Iris. Like my Mother. She was limited but she always loved herself. Too much. A little too much.

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  13. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I lifted the quote below from Google. The press is throwing this diagnosis around for Donald Trump.

    It reminds me of somebody who is close to me. Do you anybody who fits this description? How has it affected your life and self-concept?

    Who else in public life does this remind you of? I am curious because it will help me understand myself and life better, to see this impersonally.

    Kernberg described malignant narcissism as a syndrome characterized by a narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), antisocial features, paranoid traits, and egosyntonic aggression. Other symptoms may include an absence of conscience, a psychological need for power, and a sense of importance (grandiosity).


    (Ego-syntonic means that one can behave aggressively and not feel anything disagreeable. No painful conscience. No fear or shame. No guilt. No diminishing of self-esteem. Like going to the kitchen and pouring a glass of milk. I'm thirsty. I need a drink. Like that. No big deal. What's the problem?) That is ego-syntonic
    as I understand it.
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  14. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    I love her Copa. She is entirely herself, it is marvelous. She reminds me of my nana, who was not as flamboyant, but always dressed to her style, cat eye glasses, neat skirt suits with matching trifari jewelry. She dressed up just to be at home.
    Yes Cedar. She is magnificent.

    This is true. A pedi/manicure does wonders. I do not have the luxury of affording them, but when I went with my girls before our trip, it was fun.

    Yes, like the videos of the women in prior threads, they are completely comfortable with themselves and have their own style. Not old and frumpy.

    Don't these women look like fun loving people?

    Well, there must be a balance to it, also.

    We are 'CLASSIC" WOW!

    Thank you Cedar and Copa.

  15. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Wasn't Iris Apfel beautiful? I wonder how she felt about aging?
    iris 3.jpg iris again.jpg

    iris apfel young.jpg
  16. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Wow so pretty....
  17. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Cedar, look at New Leaf's picture of the 3 women. You will look like the lovely lady in the middle in 25 years. Don't touch your face. I love how soft her face is. She is luminous. I wish I could do my makeup so good. I like her Chanel bag, too. The other 2 ladies are trying too hard. Without trying all you see is her. I love her, too. I wonder who she is. Do you know New Leaf? Thank you for the picture.

    Last edited: Dec 10, 2015
  18. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    No I am sorry I do not know, I was looking up models over 60, and came across the photo. We are going to see more of this, as the population ages. We are becoming quite the market.
    Thank you for your pictures. I like that we can grow into ourselves and embrace our age with grace and fashion.
    We are cool.
  19. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Iris lost her husband of 67 years in August. She is 3 years older than my Mother.

    The director of the movie about her which was released this year died in April this year. His name was Albert Mayles. He also made the famous documentary Gimme Shelter from the early 1970's.

    I wonder what it is like to lose a mate of 67 years. He may have been ill. I do not know. He was almost 101 years old.

    I wonder if there is an acceptance or great loss. Or both. I wonder how one goes on when they are already so old. Did she lose her great optimism and hope?

    It seems complicated. This aging business. All we have left is the much fewer years in front of us. So there is the urgency to live fully.

    But then there is the awareness of great impending and inevitable loss. Does one prepare themselves as they go, so that when a partner departs, there is acceptance or is there denial like with me and my Mother?

    I was thinking about it a couple of weeks ago. Losing a lifelong mate. There is a famous couple. The man is a very famous modern furniture designer. I forget his name (again.) Vladimir Kagan, that is it. His wife was Erica Wilson the famous British needlework designer. I saw pictures of their apartment about 5 years ago and they stuck with me.

    Then a couple of weeks ago when I was looking for needlepoint patterns, I saw she had died in 2009. I felt such a loss. I do not know why. It might have been the beauty and personality of their apartment in NYC. It was so personal to them. When people live in such a way that manifests who they I feel I know them. That is how Iris strikes me. She manifests who she is by her dress and her work. Erica Wilson by her home. Her work.

  20. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    We are hearing more and more about people making their marks later in life.

    This excites me.

    Copa, daughter was feeling ancient and washed up (at 41!) last night, and I told her this story. She is so much like me, you guys. She was like, "Really?!? Oh, good!"

    And she was happy, again.

    Just like I felt when I read the story for the first time, too.


    That is why I like to be right up next to D H cheek.

    I wish I could be right up next to my children's cheeks and my grands. But those little brats are not here with me like they are supposed to be and that is why I am not feeling cherished or appreciated.

    And it's all their fault.

    And I deserve better than this loneliness.


    Pardon me.

    I meant...well, huh.

    I don't know what I meant Copa, but I am so upset with my kids and grands.

    Prickly with it; and just who do they think they are Cedar hisses, narrowing her eyes and hissing in a monotone like someone very frightening.

    Very frightening.