Singing the Bones: Recovering the Self

Discussion in 'Family of Origin' started by Scent of Cedar *, Aug 6, 2015.

  1. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    There is a story I first read in Clarissa Pinkola Estes Women Who Run With the Wolves. The story tells of an old, old woman who sifts the river beds, sifts the soil of the forests and the mountain passes for the bones, the forgotten bones, the bones lost or simply left behind. When all the bones are come together at last, the old woman begins to sing. Slowly at first, the bones develop sinew and muscle and skin and the old, old woman sings, seeing the form in them now; and off they run, full-throated and strong, the wolves, their beautiful coats catching and holding the light.

  2. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Maybe this is what we are doing on this Forum. Singing, and singing as the bones of our children develop muscle and meat. And they become mobile and whole.

    If this is the case, we need to stop yelling at them.
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2015
  3. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Copa, I am not so sure we are not the ones who are thinking and seeing incorrectly. As we had discussed on another thread, it is a question of meaning.

    What we need, what we see, whether and how and in what manner is a question of meaning. And that is a question of interpretation. So here is a question: The Indian caste system. The thinking behind that. That we are here to do what we are doing and are placed where we need to be to do that most efficiently. The crime in it is that they then legitimized judging without having to think further about our common humanity ~ even with the animals living all around all of us ~ in that the caste system was made a matter of birth and not choice.

    That seems always to be what we do in our societies. Those on top seem to be looking for ways to legitimize why they are there and why no one but they and their offspring could possibly be considered wise or royal or intelligent or educated or blessed in some other way to move fluidly through the social strata.

    Until our kids.

    Throwing all of it away with both hands. Refusing even and even especially, the education track to the "top".

    And refusing it, seeing the hoops and the meaningless "because I said so" in it about three minutes after they reach that age where true thought is possible.

    Choosing homelessness even (and daughter's choice and son's too were a choice in a manner of speaking ~ as is the choice your own child is making) over what we have made it possible for them to "achieve".

    I just keep thinking about this, this morning.

    That, and the rush of Time for us, though the time we are alive ~ the numbers of days and minutes and hours, has not changed significantly though the beauty in them has.


  4. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I think this is what my son had been trying to communicate when he says: I am not like you. I cannot live your life.
    Which is why my son is so completely adamant to live as defined by the circumstances of his birth and birth parents. Even by resisting or refusing treatment for his disease. There is meaning that he needs to find there. Although he does not see it as such. If he showed that he did, instead of insisting only the victimization and the stigma of his beginnings, I could better accept it. Of course, my accepting or not, is neither here nor there.
    Like the early Protestants in early Capitalist times, believing that their success was a mark of the favor G-d had found with them, and that the poverty of others, a mark of their rejection by G-d.

    I have long known that I achieved to show I had value, because I felt I had none. It worked. While, I never convinced one other person to change their mind about me, I convinced myself. And to my dismay,
    my child refused to buy in.

    And I am beginning to see this as a blessing for me.
    Yes. My greatest ire and frustration. I keep bargaining with him. At least the College. The SSI and the College. A work study job, and College and SSI. So far I cannot create a package deal that he will buy.
    I do not understand.

    Are you saying here, that our enjoyment of time has diminished, like your comments on Nerf's thread? (By the way, look at the Self thread, if you have a moment, about the Annie Lamott post.)
  5. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Cedar, this thread is dovetailing into the Precepts thread.
    Remember what I wrote about how cultures interpreted experience differently according to values, and environment and common experience?

    If this is the case, why would it not be so with our children?

    If we respect each other, and other cultures (cultural relativism) can we decide to respect our children, as they embody another expression of another culture that is not our own.

    We keep railing and ranting from an ethnocentric perspective: Mine is better. Think and be and become according to the better way. Me, mine. There is a narcissistic rage in this. A fit.

    I am having a fit. That my son is not becoming the me, that I needed to be. In order to ward off my sense of inadequacy, shame, powerlessness and marginality.

    And my son seeks that very state I warded off and which I ran from.

    Out damned spot. It is like Vivienne Leigh's compulsive hand-washing and glove wearing. Nothing will make go away that sense of being dirty and out of control. And that is what our children's choices...keep doing to us. Except it is not a question of gloves or hand-washing.

    Because they will not give us the gloves to wash. And they insist on rolling around in the mud. So it is not just dirty hands. It is the red sleeping bag flailing in my son's arms like a flag in my moderately upscale neighborhood. Calling the ambulance because he has a boil.

    That red sleeping bag flag...what is it? Is it a caste marker? Is it menstrual blood seeped through my skirt? Is it my self?
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2015
  6. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    My son often attacks my way of life. Screaming at the top of his lungs that I don't understand his generation and how they want to live their lives. That I am trying to stop him from being who he is. It is quite the opposite. I truly believe he can chose how he lives,loves, and whatever else it entails. This was my song when I was his age. My parents invited me out of their house to go live my truth. My truth like his truth could/can only be realized outside of the constraints of the "establishments" camp. Translation: Move out and live your truth.
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  7. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    PASA, this is it in a nutshell. It cannot be both ways.

    My home, my truth. My money, my truth. Choose.
  8. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Will you clarify, Copa? Are you saying son believes himself capable only of what his genetic heritage allows?

    But that has been disproven in a thousand ways, from physical size with correct nourishment to intellectual capacity with correct test preparation to character (remember physiognomy) to endurance and athleticism. To who does or does not have a soul, as women and animals were once believed, in all sincerity, not to. (There is the truth of your cultural filter).

  9. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    I had a thought. Copa's son is emulating/adhering to who or what he believes/was told about his bio. parents. My son does not know his bio. father. He is following in his footsteps (drugs/jail). Is it possible that on some bewildering level, that they themselves are not aware of, are doing so in order to form a bond with the missing parent(s) to fill that void.
  10. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member



    I think what I'm seeing Copa is that we don't have time in the same way. We don't live in our skins, we live in our minds and we are going so fast and our kids are going even faster. It is true though that in those other days, everyone knew who you were because everyone knew what side of town you were from. We played judgment games and self elevation based on things we could touch. Now, the assessments seem to revolve, for a certain...underclass, (?) around self and thought and vehement refusal of the palpable value of stuff.

    Until they need a house or something.

    Your comments on architecture, Copa. I have wondered and seen that thing, too. I think we all have, if we've been given an opportunity to touch and experience and smell the smell of those old buildings meant to represent the spirit, or the reaching for God or the real self, maybe.

    I don't know what it is, but we don't build it, anymore.

    It has to do with the concept of efficiency to what. Which efficiency are we talking about, here. the efficiency of multi-generational multi-nationals?

    And while we're on the subject, what do we do about the movies and news clips and other visual images that show someone alive when their physical bodies are gone?

    What is that teaching us about death and whether it matters or whether the individual matters and etc.

    Where was I.

    I am working in the yard, today. Moving rocks and we are tearing out and replacing drain tiles and relandscaping. It is just the right counter to all of our thinking. But I see that same focus on the task at hand. I mean, I am not reveling in the breeze or the sunshine.

    I am focused on the rocks I am moving.

    And it is taking a very long time but Copa and pasa and Serenity and IC? I find I am not so much savoring as resenting.


    So, we may be on a wrong track here altogether.

    Back in the day, hard labor was required simply to live. It is every shade of easier to think things and not have to move those stupid rocks to do it. Nonetheless. My rest time is over.

    Out I go.

  11. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Well, remember what Jung believed about the collective unconscious and how, underneath we are all connected. I am wondering too about that pasa. Here, we wonder whether an illness has been passed genetically, or whether it was attachment disorder and so on but...what about Jung's idea of connection. The barrier would be permeable, amorphous, there and not there or come in our dreams.

    I read that twins separated at birth will sometimes be found to prefer the same brand of toothpaste.

    That cannot be, what is it that accounts then for the strangely peculiar, seemingly meaningless and yet, really disturbingly this-cannot-be-chance-can-it frequency of those kinds of occurrence in twins?

    No one can say.


  12. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    No. I am saying that he has seemed to be exploring it. Homelessness, or living near the street. Flirting with drug use, or more. Neglecting his health. Not working. Untreated mental illness. Undisciplined and chaotic. Selfish. Self-centered.

    Cedar, I meant that my son sees himself and acts like a martyr. As somebody singled out to suffer. As somebody who is marked, as bad or defective. He sees his parents as marking him. He feels great shame that his parents lived so marginally. He rages against them. He feels them to have been as if garbage. He has no compassion or forgiveness for them. And yet makes some of the same choices. It seems he does so on purpose.
    I had not thought of that but it makes sense.

    A sort of spiritual test or ritual of initiation: To see or not if this is who he is destined to be. If this is who he is. Like a trial by fire. To see if he survives.
    Yes. I have a lot of guilt because I told him. That is what the experts (and the psychiatrist) said at the time was the best thing to do. But, I thought at the time it was too.

    Everybody deserves the truth of their own story. I guess at the base of that is the belief that he will master it and be bigger than he would of. But that presumes, he survives the coming to grips with it,

    On one level it was good I did, because the Hepatitis B emerged. How could I have explained that away with more lies.

    There was a family next door when I was little. Both children were adopted. The parents lied to them. My mother had told me. Stupid. I told the child. All hell broke loose.

    And to have hidden it, would have seemed like there was something shameful or hidden. That I did not want.

    But I get criticized for it. Why did you tell him that?
    But the thing is PASA, lots of kids are following in his footsteps, and they are not related to your ex.
  13. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    Copa, It is more than just the drugs and jail. It is his father's attitude about women, work, religion, music, food, clothing, the way he walked, and yet he has never even seen a picture of the man. He does not know his father's family and I never spoke to him about his father.
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  14. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    It's amazing how often identical twins separated at birth will have...
    - same breed of dog
    - same NAME for their dog
    - same interest
    - same or related occupations
    - same favorite restaurant chain
    - and a raft of other "similar or same" traits that don't make sense.
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  15. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    It is actually controversial. Some people have a higher potential than others. It isn't just the drugs in my opinion.

    Now I'm going to play a hypothetical scenario.

    Pretend I was adopted into the family of a doctor and a college professor, being the me that I am with my limitations.The parents wanted me to be a high achiever, but my limitations made MY level of high achievement unacceptable to them. My above average, but not honor roll level grades were not accomplished myself. They were only achieved due to their tutoring and interest (which can help) still did not make me an "A" student.But all that hard work just to get me at an above average level with GREAT for my potential, but disappointed my parents and, of course, I knew it. It made me feel like an outsider and very sad. (Haha, I'm going off topic for a second to say I actually felt this way in myFOO, but not due to my grades, although they were bad. Ok, I digress....back to the hypothetical story...)

    Now in this family, what if, due to learning disabilities, I needed assistance even to get a certificate in a community college. And the father is disappointed, even though he doesn't say it and mother is fed up and sure if I tried harder I could do a Maser's Degree in something and wishes she had been able to conceive a brilliant child...I am a disappointment, although I got my certificate and am an LPN planning to be a nurse, but that isn't enough for them.

    The story was over. I hope you all got the point. Everyone has a level of potential that they can exceed, but not by THAT much. If you have average intelligence, you may be able to teach, but you won't be a surgeon. Yes, some people have more potential than others. It's not politically correct to say so, but it's true.

    Now in the land of reality, before we actually adopted any child. I was told that middle class, average IQ people were the best adoptive parents. Many high achievers with lots of success and money to adopt do adopt. Many are disappointed if thier child can not achieve what they feel a biological child would have achieved. There is a secret...some people are sorry they adopted. Copa, this is NOT you and me, but I know people from my parent group who are sorry. Mostly they feel their kids are failtures.Some are. Most are very much like their birthtparents, often the parents they have never met. They were given every opportunity to thrive, but they didn't.

    Many of us with adoptive kids have met the birthparents and are shocked at how much, including gestures, our birthchildren are like the birthparents that didn't rasise them.

    Not everyone is wired to be able to graduate college or grad school or become a doctor.

    It is easy to feel disappointed if one believes that nurture trumps nature, something I never believed and never will.

    This post has no point except that if nature trumps nurture, and I feel it does (others disagree) then when we look at how our kids have turned out, often we sadly have to look at the father whom we had the chilc with who was not a high achiever or the birthparents of our adopted children or our own FOO and their deficits, which are painful to see in our own kids.

    Obviously nurture and enviroment plays a role too. Identical twins prove that. However, my own feeling, which could be wrong, but I don't think so in MY mind, is that nature is the most potent of all, which is why so many of our kids do not live up to what WE achieved. They are t heir birthfathers whom they never met but share DNA. They are their adoptive parents in IQ potential. They are our relatives whom we don't like to discuss.

    Food for thought only. No definitive proof here of anything either way.

    Last edited: Aug 6, 2015
  16. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Has Jung not been disproven? Like Freud?
    Um, I don't have penis envy. Seriously, it seems like it would be a pain to carry around!
  17. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    It's been a long, long time Serenity, but Jung went beyond Freud and into another understanding of who we might be, of how we might be put together or why we function as we do. Freud disagreed with anyone who disagreed with him in the smallest thing, and there was a feud of sorts.

    I don't know Freud's theories in detail either, but I too find his emphasis on genitalia denigrating. Everyone seems to be saying the same things actually, but not ~ there was no hero in Freud's world or his words. He demanded absolute loyalty to his perspectives or essentially, called you names and sought to ostracize.

    The human he believed in was very ugly.

    So it isn't as though he were the best adjusted person in the world, either.

    Now that I know others have been hurt during the courses of their therapies, and after the work we have done here, I am able to see therapy and therapists from a different perspective. I am sure they are hoping to do well, and to help others, but I agree it should never be a lifelong commitment for the patient unless the therapist is willing to provide that service for free.

    Which would never happen.

    We all are doing the best we know.


    P.S. I don't know whether I have ever wanted a penis of my own. That was a Freudian slip of arrogance and male fascination with being male, maybe. I love being female. Probably if I were male I would wish I were female. Or maybe, I would be happily male.

    Now that I think about it, I might like to have my own penis.

    It must be like carrying around a little person with you all the time.

    I did not enjoy hormonal swings because I didn't understand how to manage them. I don't miss that about being female. Everything is so much in the open, today. A good, potassium-sparing diuretic, extra B vits and intermittent St John's Wort would have made all the difference.

    Now, we know.

  18. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    In my son's case, I knew his name at birth and his birth parents' names. My son's birth paternal family is very prominent, and his grandfather a highly respected professional. The maternal grandparents were very normal and responsible people.

    Parents on this board many of them have DNA potential that has supported the greatest of successes and highest of morals. Yet their children turn to drugs, or become lost.

    In my son's case, he had real trauma in his first couple years.

    I believe that what looks like a repetition of parents' behavior, and therefore DNA can also be a way that our adoptive children to understand and to come to grips symbolically and meaningfully with their pasts.

    Most parents, rightly or wrongly, want their children to have values similar to their own, and to some degree or another follow in their footsteps. If there is a human nature, I would guess this is near universal. After all, how would culture regenerate itself, if there was not the expectation of generational adherence to values and norms?

    I am doing what nearly every parent on this board does, in hoping and wanting my son to live a more or less conventional life.

    I do not think I injure him by wanting that he be productive and responsible, to pay his bills, to follow through with medical appointments, to understand the consequences of actions.

    That I would want this for him does not mean that I am rejecting him because he does not want to go to college or because he is not Phi Beta Kappa. I am not that kind of person. I do not need my son to achieve to reflect well on me. I have had enough success personally for both of us.

    But I do have a psychology. I do have a personal sense of shame, guilt, self-doubt, a sense of personal failure and responsibility for what happened to me as a child with my family, and young adult.

    In this I am no different than anybody else, except, perhaps in degree.

    Because I am tied into my son, what he does or does not do triggers me. That does not mean I need him to do or not do one thing to love him.

    That he does not do so, yet, to me is not irrefutable indication of anything beyond self-indulgence and immaturity.

    Numerous possibilities, probabilities or certainties have been raised about our children, including my own: he is testing out ways of living for one reason or another; he is self-willed and wants to do it his way; immaturity; he has a mental illness for which he refuses treatment; personality factors; he may have developmental limitations related to drug exposure, a developmental disorder, his early beginnings or ADHD. Or substances.

    From my reading on this board, almost all parents struggle to understand. They raise each possibility in sequence, go through the list and start all over again.

    Because we are powerless to do anything but this: to ruminate and agonize until we tire. And start over to do it again.

    While I may be wrong the last thing I think that is fueling my son's situation is problematic DNA.
  19. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    I believe we will learn over time that drugs and many legally prescribed medications too, are changing the brain's chemical balance in ways we do not, today, have the knowledge to identify or measure.

    For instance, the anti-depressant my daughter was given that should never be given to those having ever experienced mania. It was given ~ in fact, the physician insisted on it because he believed klonopin was dangerously addictive.



    The kids' symptoms ~ right down to the kind of language used to their parents, whatever their upbringings ~ are too similar for there not to be a common denominator here. The prime commonality is marijuana. Could it be something so innocuous, so prevalent, as marijuana?

    I do know the marijuana out there today has been bred to be so much stronger that if we were to have used it back when we were (I admit it ~ I was) fooling around and being Cool Girl, I might never have come back from it either.

    And our kids are using this stuff daily and considering it nothing.

  20. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I truly had no expectations for my kids except they had a career (no college necessary) and were happy.

    I did not want anything else beyond that and that is the God's honest truth.

    Am I the exception?


    I am more proud of Princess for being a deliberate stay-at-home mother who gets to actually raise her own daughter every single day than if she had gone out to work, leaving her baby in childcare, even if it meant more money. But I would have accepted anything s he wanted to do. I practice acceptance, as learned from my Saintly Mother-in-Law who I talk to every day.

    I do think it is part of what made me a good mother.

    Would I be horrified if they were homeless on drugs?


    There are some things I can not accpet so I get when others can't. I thought my daughter was heading t here, so I do understand THAT sort of shouting of, "THAT'S NOT RIGHT!!!!!!!!!"