Discussion in 'Family of Origin' started by Scent of Cedar *, Aug 29, 2015.

  1. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    In order to experience yourself more powerfully, you must WILL to do so. If you want to radiate from your own source and stop depending on other people, you must work very hard on learning to trust your own mind. When you succeed, you will have preferences instead of needs and dependencies. You will operate from your heightened intuition and honed awareness, and your behavior will be calm, appropriate, and exacting. You will use your will with consciousness, and take responsibility for all of your decisions. When problems create minor upsets, you will live through them with dignity, fluidity, and exactitude. And then, you will move on.

    I wish I remembered where I got that quote. Nonetheless, here is is, for all of us.


    So, I got into this mindset of blame. I blamed my sister. I blamed my mother or my father or my brother or myself. On another thread, I got in touch with how I was blaming my kids, not just for what they'd done, but for what they'd taken from me in doing what they'd done.

    That is what that whole meltdown having to do with my Book Discussion group and the daughter and the dinner was about. Who I wasn't and that I blamed the kids for having taken that identity I'd worked so hard to establish from me.

    Not very attractive, is it.

    So today, I am thinking about blame.

    I do not see blame in Serenity's choice to erect impermeable boundaries around the ongoing choice of toxicity in her extended family of origin. Serenity has been stalked and hurt and publicly humiliated and made to bear labels that are untrue for the sake of her relationship to her siblings.

    That hasn't happened to me in the same way.

    But I just did a number of threads that were all about anger and naming and blaming someone else for who I was not. I wanted the family of origin dinner, in part, because I was still taking my value from my family of origin instead of from...I don't know. A sense of integrity, maybe? Instead of respecting my own perfect value as a fallible human and letting them be whoever they were. The strength to be that centered is in each of us. We are tracing the genesis of the toxic shame that kept us enmeshed (what a good word) with stubbornly demanding that our families of origin "give" us a sense of value they cannot provide. Today, I am seeing that of course they (we) all of us, would choose to cherish ourselves enough to cherish (another good word) everyone in our lives.

    I was very surprised to learn that I was ashamed of, that I was locked into "forgiving" "disappointments", with my own children. It was horrifying to get that piece and understand the truth of it. Where was my vaunted compassion for the pain they were experiencing.

    I was focused on my own horror; I was ashamed of my own loss of prestige.

    Isn't that something.

    So, that is why I am having a look at blame. I think it will help us to learn how we are blaming our kids, ourselves, our kids for the ways we've interpreted ourselves as victims. I think that as we continue to heal, we will be able to see where we've listened to our shame bases to turn ourselves into all-forgiving victims instead of facing what happens ~ the good things and the things that hurt ~ from a place of unshakable personal integrity.

    I think that is where we are going, next.

    So, here are some quotes that appeal to me around the issue of blame.

    We are seldom aware of the profound effect that unresolved negative emotions have on us.

    Dampened by years of self-distrust, displaced by years of codependency in which we have channeled our creative energies into managing others' perceptions of us, those energies awaken with startling power and poignancy. We are like avalanche survivors, coming to with tingling limbs as we rejoice in our survival, throwing off the numbing weight of others' agendas.

    The Artist's Way at Work
    Julia Cameron p 188



    Self importance is man's greatest enemy. What wakens him is feeling offended by the deeds and misdeeds of his fellow man. Self importance requires that one spend most of one's life offended by something or someone.

    The Fire From Within

    So, the above quote has to do with that sense of offense, of blame then, over the mother I do not get to be (and I complain all the time about what a great mom I was and etc) and over the daughter or sister I do not get to be. (I do the same thing, there. Wonderful me, crummy them.) So, it is a balancing act for us as we heal. Once we stop blaming ourselves, we can see (I am beginning to see) where we have been blaming everyone else, and for what.

    Finally, as we move through these layers, we will be able to see ~ I was going to say clearly. I think what I really mean is that we will finally be able to see anything real, at all.

    For me, this is true.

    We live happily indeed, among men who hate us, free of hatred; among men who are greedy, free of greed. Though we call nothing our own, we shall be like the bright gods, feeding on happiness.

    Another quote I do not have a reference for. I apologize. It would be good for us to be able to read wherever it was I got that, for ourselves.

    You are not involved in word games. You are fighting for your spirit, your sanity, your soul.

    Guess who didn't reference where she got that one, either.

    This one is wholly interesting regarding unraveling what happens in our families of origin.

    "Do you think the mystery of love is only between those who like one another?" Sybil said. "Darling, you're part of the mystery, and you'll be sent to do mysterious things."

    Charles Williams
    The Greater Trumps

    So, four more quotes that seem to address blame and shame and the evolving (finally, for me) core of integrity, or of clarity of vision, in the heart of us as we move through the layers of healing. outdated rage means to be tired all the time, to have a thick layer of cynicism, to dash the hopeful, the tender, the promising. It means to be afraid you will lose before you open your mouth. It means to reach flashpoint on the inside whether you show it on the outside or not. It means bilious, entrenched silences. It means feeling helpless. But there is a way out, and it is through forgiveness.

    Clarissa Pinkola Estes
    Women Who Run With the Wolves

    So, on the above quote, I am coming to believe that the person we need to forgive is ourselves. Not whoever did or did not do whatever it was that they did. Forgiveness for the acts someone else commits is none of our business. Our business is to forgive ourselves for letting ourselves down because we couldn't see our own bravery or courage or kindness or shame. Understanding forgiveness in this way will help us, I think this is true, to forgive ourselves for never claiming the wonder it is just to be here; just to be alive in the world.

    Whatever our gifts or challenges or disappointments, that is the thing we will come to honor. That we are here, at all. How fortunate we are; how incredibly blessed.

    Where does blame have any legitimate place, once we see that?

    Those we love are simply those we love.

    Anne Rice

    The highest function of love is that it makes the loved one a unique and irreplaceable being.

    T Robbins

    And finally:

    For all the world's woundedness, an infinite compassion. Not anger, and not retaliation.

    I don't know where I got that one, either.

    So, this is where we are coming to, I think:

    Love so vast, love the sky cannot contain.

    How does all this fit inside my heart?


    This one Copa, true as it is for each of us, is included especially for you.

    The dragon rises from the mists and rolling fog of NOT KNOWING, aware that the journey has begun. It is time for the authentic self to emerge from confusion, seek its education, claim its heritage.

    The Artist's Way at Work
    Julia Cameron

    Last edited: Aug 29, 2015
  2. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

  3. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Yes, Cedar.
    Well, I am not so good at forgiving. I get enraged.
    M is like this.
    Thank you, Cedar. I will do this. Thank you.
  4. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Yes, I will look at the circumstances I found myself in with Admina and Modesta in this light.

    I felt I should not have been blamed, because I had confessed. So, where does that leave me?

    There has to be a position whereby there is openness to critique by others.

    Modesta had a right to dialog with me, but not based upon my communication with Admina. It is so convoluted. I mean, I am having a hard time, affixing "blame" and also understanding where my shame is.

    I will today buy the two books. I would very much like to go through the book together, as you had mentioned, Cedar.

    Thank you.
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Well, Cedar, you know who I blamed. I blamed me. For being born and my mother's not loving me. For her not wanting to hold me because I stiffened in her arms. For her trying to hug me at around age two and me kicking her away. For her putting up with my tantrums and defiance. For my depression, which I bugged her to get help for all the time.

    For my being different, which deprived her of having fun being a mother. I blamed me. She only got to be a prom mom to me once, when i went to another boy's prom whom I didn't even like, but she loved him. I ended up causing a mild argument at the end of the date because I did not find him attractive and wanted an excuse not to kiss him. That was prom for me in high school. I was 15 and had no interest in going again ever. Homecoming? She never got to be a homecoming mom either. So I blamed me for not letting her have the fun a mom has with a typical high school kid.

    To my early therapists: "My mother was a GOOD mother. It was MY fault. I was just a bad kid."

    And this blame of myself continued into adulthood, to at least 40 or so. To until I met my husband and he saw that things were not normal here in the ole Loonybin Family.

    I blamed myself for my sister hanging up on me and not speaking to me for months or years and then when she came back to give me another chance, I was so grateful I wanted to kiss her feet to show my gratitude. Obviously, SHE was right and I had done something horrible or she never would have done that. I think this eroded slowly. The cops most certainly opened my eyes, but I mostly blamed myself for our rifts and did not see that the cops were her control method...the ultimate way to shut me up. I saw it as my being so horrible that she called the cops.Again, this eroded slowly.

    By the time my brother's letter came in, which I did not read (I am still so proud of me for this), I was already turning things around. I did blame him for being too cowardly to talking to me and to sending a letter all about what I did that made him angry. I did however have a little shame there that he felt the need to write me such a letter. But things were changing.

    Most of my life, I blamed me.

    By the time my mother got sick the second time, I was well into accepting that not everything was my fault, which was one reason I felt guilt-free not putting my family on hold to rush down and care f or her w hen she had brain cancer. My sister could do it. If she couldn't, the nursing home would do it. By then I did sort of realize it was not all my fault and the anger about being scapegoated was starting to surface.

    Yet I still had enough good will toward my sister to go to the funeral to comfort her. It wasn't for me. I did not know my mother nor mourn her. I had mourned her long before she'd died.

    Now, in 2015, I have a whole different way at looking at blame. Three words: I DON'T CARE.

    I certainly do blame them for some things and I know I wasn't an angel and the bottom line is that we can not be together. And I think that's the important part, not the blame. I am aware that my FOO is toxic to me so I will not deal with them anymore.

    The only thing I do think about at times is the inevitable funeral, which makes me feel both guilty and sad. I truly don't want to go because of them, but I also feel I can not let them keep me away from paying respects, in the way I want, to my father, whom I love very much. Today, I was looking in a new Goodwill store that just opened and found myself gravitating to the dresses. I don't own a dress and I knnow I"ll need a dark dress when that sad day comes.

    Lately, I've been thinking about, "What will I wear?" I am not fashion conscious and not even sure of what to wear at a funeral because I have been to so few. I know my kids will probably just go in jeans, those who show up. My father is not close to my kids. I don't know who will go. Do I make Sonic go, even though he hasn't seen him in years? He doesn't like to travel. Jumper will go. I doubt sh e will want to dress in black, but she may. I have no idea about the Buddha Baby family. I know they don't feel safe leaving Buddha Baby with ex and his mother has been a big problem for them and may not babysit and they don't trust strangers with my grandchild... and they won't bring her will be up to them, really. My ex will go. He and my dad get along great.

    So here I am planning a funeral for a man who is alive...and what I will do. I know it will be the very last day I ever see my FOO. I will not sit shiva, especially if it is at a sibling's house and I don't know w here else it could be. But I will be there to honor and to mourn my father, not to give aid and comfort to relatives who may have heard bad things about me. Let them think what they like. We will drive up for graveside and leave after.

    So why did I turn this post into one about a funeral?????

    It was on my mind today, I guess, since Jumper and I went shopping and I was searching the dark dresses, with no idea how people dress for funerals. Hubby will also be a problem. Even for a funeral, I know he'll want to wear his black jeans, b ut I think I can talk him into dark patns a nd a white shirt. Tie? Not so sure. Why am I worrying about this NOW? I hope it's not an omen.

    At any rate, back to blame.

    I do not blame my surviving FOO peeps from being screwed up. Whether they did me wrong or I did them wrong or both, they are a screwed up, ill bunch who have not come as far in healing as me, yet I am st ill screwed Blame is pointless. POINTLESS. I decicded the focus will be on how I maintain a distance from anyone I can not safely be near or talk to or FB to or e-mail with. Blame is a waste of time. Staying apart is my main missions and that will be easy. I am in another state.

    The different state really, really helps. Blame doesn't help anybody, especially if we blame t he bad behaviors of others on ourselves. It doesn't even help to blame them. Then we get angry and that's such a wasted emotion.

    JMO. Sorry. Carry on...
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2015
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I think you did a good job explaining yourself, Copa. Don't you dare feel bad. All three of us who responded basically said the same thing. We will just avoid those types of posts from now on. Your heart was with the children, as was mine. I'm not ashamed, just sorry I answered.
  7. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    SWOT, I do not feel we can banish blame. Becauese we cannot control others. Blame is an unseen trap. We fall into it. Either from others or in ourselves.

    But it can be a teacher, too.

    As Cedar is showing us we can use blame as a signal on to which we can shine a bright light to rid ourselves of limits or to grow strong from the efforts of others to limit us.

    I do not know how to do it yet, with courage and grace. but I feel the need.

    This all has my sister (and mother) written all over it. I have not yet recovered myself. I will check in with you tomorrow morning. I will take a rest right now.

  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Thanks, copa. I do like that. Its true.
  9. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    This subject of death and what that will mean for us and how we might prepare ourselves to approach it is an important one for those whose families of origin were hurtful. I have been present while families have come together around a loved one's death bed. For some families there is warmth and completion and deep sadness. For some, the person dying may as well not even be there. Crying divas and controlling males and roared accusations about things that don't matter. Tension so thick you have to concentrate to breathe; everyone with a knife in the back and one in each hand.


    Given our tendencies to blame ourselves for every single thing, it will help us to remember: Dysfunctional family, dysfunctional death.

    I think often of my mother, and of my sister and brothers, and of how I see what is happening. I believe I am doing the best thing for myself and for my family.

    My family of origin was like, way out there on the level of dysfunction scale.

    I never knew that. I thought it was me. Even when I could see the wrongness? I thought I should be able to fix it. I have a little of that feeling now, surrounding the issues called by not seeing family of origin. It is a strangeness to note that over time, I turn things around. I come to believe myself responsible. I agonize over whether I should continue along this path...and then, D H will say: "You did not do this."

    "Your mother did."

    And it breaks my heart a little, to know he is right.

    It's a good thing, I think, to have an idea of how we will come through sad times. That way, we know how to proceed when the time does come to pass. I always did like your thinking that you could explain to the person conducting the service that you would be more comfortable grieving in private with only your immediate family around you. It's an unnecessary stress to add worries about how our dysfunctional sibs will behave during a time that is sacred to us.

    It's like my friend said: Dysfunctional family, dysfunctional death. It sounds awful to say it, but her comment helped me understand that, just as our lives with our families of origin have been so out of balance around other family occasions, so our times of grief will be unbalanced, too.

    It's the relationship you have to your father that matters. It's that you give yourself time to honor and love him and grieve him that matters.

    Our sisters will make even the death of a parent all about them.

    That is just the way it is, for us.

    We need to be wise, and we need to take especially good care of ourselves in times of grief. Our families will not be there to support one another. They will change even our grief into something discordant and strange.

    At least, that is what has happened in my family of origin.

    It's an unbelievable thing...but it's better for us to know that, and to remember what is real for us, and not to believe everything is going to change for the better when we've lost someone we love.

    Dysfunctional family, dysfunctional death.


    I do.

    I am very into blaming, just recently. It's more naming than blaming, maybe. I still have a sense of disbelief about all of it. I believed we did not see, and that if we went forward with good intentions, we could make a family of ourselves. That never happened. What I am able to see now is that it wasn't that we couldn't see. It is, and it always was, that the family was so weirdly out of whack about everything. What I don't understand is why that would be what they would choose.

    Like always, I don't get the win.

    But that's okay.

    What I am coming to understand through all this naming and blaming I have been doing just lately is that the thing that I am upset about is who I don't get to be because of who they insist they will be.

    I want that freaking dinner.

    They do not owe that to me.

    They don't owe me anything, really. Nothing at all. As I am coming to see that, as that feeling of resentment over what did happen, over what it is I do have instead of what it is that I wish I had or feel cheated in not having had ~ I don't know. It has to do with a sense of personal resentment. Once I know why these things are happening to all of us, I seem to be letting go of the shame and anger.

    So, that's a good thing, then.

    Maybe, the same good things are happening for them, now that I am out of the picture. That could be. It must have been hard for them too, to have me always judging them for who they were not.

    But then, I remember my mom drawing her arm back, like she was going to hit me. And I was sixty, and visiting her with my granddaughters.

    And, she was eighty.

    And thought that was a funny thing to do.

    But you know? I was bigger than she was, when that happened.

    I'm just saying.

    In the times she was remembering when she did that? She was way bigger than the thirty to fifty pound little girl. And those times were not just a threat.

    And she may have thought that was a funny thing to do then, too.

    Go figure, right?

    This is very true, Serenity. I am doing a mental shift here with my blaming, I think. I feel acceptance now, where I felt shame, before. They just do what they do.

    Nothing to do with me; not really.

    The win is different for them than it is for me. That's why I can't see it.

  10. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Blame; and guilt, and shame. And healing. It's amazing what we can find once we know the questions. These sites will help us. That these kinds of sites exist tells us that what we are going through now is a healthy phase of healing; we are making incredible progress. Like always, it feels terrible to be in the heart of the thing. But that's okay. We are on the path, moving well. How does that go? From a place beyond fear....

    So that must be where we are, then.

    Still feels pretty scary to me.

    I always wonder whether I am going to get stuck in the ugliness. I do, in a way. We incorporate those abandoned parts of ourselves, as we move through our healing.

    I think that is what is happening to us.

    ***This looks like a great site***

  11. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Cedar, I am getting over "the win." The win for the sister is thinking sh e has the control. She has the last word. She can stop me from doing something, even if she calls the cops. If that is her idea of a win, let her win. Although she can't stop me from doing anything anymore as she is not a part of my life and that makes her input insignificant.

    If she thinks sh e is the winner, then let it be. Why should I care?
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  12. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member



    Last edited: Aug 30, 2015
  13. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    I agree? But I want my people. I wish for the good ways this could be. I want that dinner I always used to post about. seems like they like to trick me. Or ridicule me. (What would Cedar do.) It feels like I am in a life and death struggle over something that must be really important when all I thought I was doing is just being a person.

    Betrayal, then.

    I think what happens is that I feel less-than, once I understand that they mean to do what they do.

    I am still surprised at that.

    I still feel like if I could just explain that whatever it was that I did to leave them seeing me as they seem to see me, that wasn't what I meant. Then, I go into this really huge anger phase because they've been tricking me. I feel angry with myself for having been so foolish. I used to post this all the time: I have been a fool for lesser things.

    Now, that thing that mattered to me...I am of two minds about it all, right now.

    I am glad that I believed we could do this. At the same time, I am upset with myself, wondering if it was cowardice after all, and not something more noble, that has fueled my behavior. Then, I remember that part of shame is to work things around just the way I am doing it, so that I feel a sense of control.

    But here's the thing.

    I don't know what the thing is.

    We will just do the best we can, then.


    Blaming is part of seeing more clearly. Betrayal, and self betrayal too, figure into this.

    Pray for their peace and therein, find our own.

    That comforts me alot, as we go through this layer.
  14. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Okay. So, what is happening here is that I am giving up a role. In the role of "I believe we can do this" I could not take anything they were doing seriously as it applied to me.

    It p**** me off when they do things to other people because that shows an intention I cannot disregard or cover or make sense of.

    My brother.

    My daughter.

    I was excusing what they did to me because I could, until the wrongnesses became so outrageously blatant after my father's death.

    I think this is true because I was afraid my sister would come here. I was afraid too, when she promise/threatened to call me when she came here where we all come in the summer.

    It's like she was saying that I was standing up from several states away, but that she knew I would buckle when she was like, twenty minutes away.

    And I was afraid because, at that point in my healing, she was making an accurate assumption.

    I would have made that dinner I was always posting about. In the past, that was my forever solution. See, everyone? We don't have to be mean.

    But they want to be mean.


    That is the thing that makes me so angry. They want to be mean. They feel self righteous no matter how wrong I think they are. They want what they want. It looks nothing like I want it to look, so they go ahead and use that against me, too.


    I feel so foolish.

    As we come through this, we will never be afraid in those same ways.

    We will have integrity, will have integrated selves; they won't be able to shatter us into our roles, which were to excuse their badness, and the bad behaviors their badness enabled.

    Okay. So I am not being very clear on this, just yet. But it's in there, I just know it.

    They are dirty rats. (Cedar hisses, channeling some gangster from those old movies. Jimmy Cagney, probably.)

    Oh, wait.

    I meant, "Pray for their peace and therein, find our own."

    Those dirty rats.

    Remember the Joe Friday video? That goes here.

    Okay. so, I couldn't find that one. But this one, which is like, twenty minutes long, is a perfect representation of what the three of us are doing. I get to be Joe Friday.