Work and Germany: Abandonment

Discussion in 'Family of Origin' started by Scent of Cedar *, Dec 7, 2015.

  1. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    So, work as defined on this series of threads, had to do with quieting the mind and concentrating attention on the task at hand. As we come through, awakening deeper layers of self, approaching our work (or play or even, our sleep) with this mindset contributes to steady state. At this level, we are in the midst of raw, of a kind of global vulnerability that feels like a bitterly cold wind cutting against weeping, excoriated skin.

    We are defenseless by choice, but defenseless, none the less.

    We are very close to our centers, close to naming and coming through, but it is painful. This place is where we need to be, to heal. But I could not know how to define my feelings, as I began this part. Nothing was certain, anymore. When we give up roles we have been for so long that we think that is who we are, it is very strange to sit there in the quiet instead of changing the feel of whatever it is. At one point, I felt I had lost all dignity. At one, that I was inept; bereft. Contempt was so horribly strong, like a dripping acid, attacking at shockingly unexpected times. It very much has been like defying my abusers interpretations of me only at this level, they feel real; feel right and true and I am defenseless without a role to protect the core self from the truth in those eyes. At one point, after I began to know better how to come through it, I found that I could work through an impossible situation one little piece at a time. I could keep focused on my work. And that is what I did.

    And there was no triumph in it.

    I miss triumph.

    I miss laughing and sarcasm.


    I don't know how to walk, anymore. How do I not exude confidence when that was my chosen persona? But it is happening, and I am doing it. It helps me to cultivate the attitude: When chopping onions, just chop onions. Which is a quote from Michael Pollan's Cooked. But I am not projecting the walking of a confident woman when I walk now. I am walking like me, and I don't know how to do that or what that looks like or what I look like because I am savoring real now instead of role.

    It is such a hard thing to just be ourselves.

    It was way more fun to be someone I wanted to be. Exhausting, and blah, blah, blah, but totally fun.

    So, that is the Work part of this title. For those coming along behind us, there is a reason this concept mattered. Somewhere along the way, we lost track that these words, Work and Germany, delineate survival skills for those of us choosing to recover ourselves. They are survival skills. This is very hard. Each time I come through a level, there is a time when I am not sure I haven't gone too far. The fear is that I will be trapped in vulnerable. I think the truth here is that we are working very hard to find vulnerable. And when we do, it is overwhelming ~ and that is why we froze these hurt parts of ourselves to begin with.

    So, I admire myself for having been this strong, and for choosing to be this brave, now. It doesn't matter to anyone but me; no one but me may ever know that I did this, or what it cost, or the incredible results I've experienced.

    What we have accomplished here on FOO Chronicles is astonishing.


    So, that is Work.

    Germany is a concept Copa developed. It has to do with celebrating the self, and with decency, and with demanding the highest standards from ourselves as we thaw. The reason Germany is important has to do with integrity too, just like the concept of work being "When chopping onions, just chop onions." It would be so easy to justify anger and worse and get stuck there.

    I thought I was stuck there for the longest time.

    Finally, I am moving past it.

    Serenity had come through it first. She posted to me not to be afraid of it; that the anger would pass. And it did.

    That is important for anyone coming along behind us to know. Hold faith with yourself, allow the feelings, don't act on them, just let them come, and you will come through it. It takes the time it takes. Be certain you do not act on the feelings until you are through them. By the time we come through them, we see everything so differently we may as well have awakened on another planet altogether.

    So, just hold faith with yourself. You will come through it.


    The past weeks have been difficult for me in the sense that I am rolling around in the depths of another level. I am no longer angry until BOOM and then, it dissipates. Immediately beneath the anger is me, lonely or ~ I am not finding the word to describe this. Solitary? Alone? I don't know.

    But I did feel we had somehow come away from my intention in beginning the threads on Work and Germany.

    Both concepts have to do with integrity. This matters because those of us electing to do this kind of seeing and healing and coming back into balance will find ourselves swimming through really awful feelings from our childhoods. Not one incident or another, but feeling tones. The vulnerability of a child. The sadness of a child. The confusion and the hurt of it, to a child.

    A child's wild, unreasoning fear of the dark.

    It was like being in a heated wind in a roaring night with flashing lights everywhere.

    Work, as defined here, and the concept of Germany, as Copa brought to us ~ it's like, Germany requires 40% more after we are dead on our feet. And, since that is what is required, that is what we do. With intention and self respect and intricate attention to detail, but without arrogance. Probably that is why we needed to learn: "When chopping onions, just chop onions.", before we could learn Germany.

    But if you should find yourselves where I was, where I still am but coming through it a little now so I know I haven't fallen into somewhere I will never come through, it was possible for me to stay centered through understanding those two concepts. Work first and then, Germany.

    Here is another important concept, a road map: The scab, the surface between the self and the world, the thing visible on the surface, is anger in one of its forms. Anger at ourselves, which is depression, or anger at everyone else which is I don't know what because I had the first kind. Anger at ourselves will feed with self-contempt. The self contempt will show itself in a circle comprised of awe/patronization.

    And that is all I know about that.

    As we heal, we stop judging contests.

    So, beneath that scab protecting us from the outer world is shame. Once we get through the scabbed part, there are a million kinds of shame. Shaming memories; developing awareness of horrifyingly negative tapes running, forever running, night and day and night, in the background of consciousness. Other people are not operating under these kinds of deficits. Once we have been through the initial shocks and we understand this is a process and that we are moving through it, a kind of determination kicks in.

    We want it.

    That is the energy that pushes us into the next level, maybe. We gain in strength; we are more ourselves and less amenable to what other people think on any level. At the same time, we experience the freedom to become honestly curious about other people, and to sort of fall in love with strangers' eyes, with all the human we see there. It's actually all zingy and fun and we feel pretty happy and think we did it and then, we burst through into abandonment and it is like black icy water. We are raw, vulnerable, fearsomely without...something, but I don't know what it is. Oh, we go along living our lives, but our internal dialogue has changed dramatically.

    If you are in that place, you will come through it. It will not last forever. You must be mindful; do your work. This layer takes a very long time. It is a very long time of feeling badly...but this layer breaks through into something almost like worded prayers. Like, the words for the swirling heat on the wind come clear, and we are able to form concepts that name the feelings and somehow in all that, we heal.

    My last battle was with the term appreciation. At the end, the truth I know now that I did not believe before is that I merit appreciation. Whether anyone else appreciates me is their choice, of course...but I merit appreciation. I imagine this will free me from ~ okay you guys, from important stuff. I don't know what it is yet.

    To merit appreciation, to see our motives and actions and intentions and appreciate ourselves for who we are, is a seismic shift.

    Think about it.


    Today is about the term: rededication, for me.

    That, and the concept of light, and of candles or many candles or a blaze of light.

  2. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Well, I seem to be practicing this with my buying. Still. I thought of it more as an old matron at a slot machine. I see now I am seeking my inner Germany. I am not kidding here. You have to start somewhere.
    Yes. I needed to be reminded here.
    Yes. It is horrifying to me that a child who I was once would sit along with the feelings I know find unendurable.
    We know, Cedar. I know.
    Cedar, we created Germany as children...but we were enslaved when we learned it. We learned with a gun to our head. Now it feels horrible because of the feeling memories attached to that first time when we were enslaved. Now, it could be like a piece of cake, if we are able to let go of "the first time."
    Yes. This is generous Cedar. Because when I think of my sister, until quite recently, I see her with the power that I gave her. Willingly. Without my power she just looks like a fool. A fool who has learned treacherous tools to invoke a feeling state. But there is no real power there. Only the power we give up.

    Thank you,

  3. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    This is Pema Chodron. What she describes here is where we are in the process. We are in the beginning. According to Pema, this is how this part is supposed to feel. Whoa. Wait. I only wanted to figure out how to survive FOO shunning.


    So, there are like, four more kinds of loneliness for me, then.

    Pema seems very happy, so maybe, we will be alright too, then. Which doesn't even matter as much as unraveling the pain and being brave.

    But it is good to know there is a pattern to our healing, and that others have gone through it too and come through intact.

    Sometimes, this is very scary, this healing we have elected to do.


    Christmas is coming, and I will be alone, again.

    And people will be sending those rotten Hallmark cards.

    And that will be another kind of lonely.

    roar they are so gutsy

    Anyway, here are some other things I learned, this morning.

    This is Eckhart Tolle:

    It's a paraphrase, not a direct quote.

    Confidence: an absence of fear. Spiritual word for confidence: faith. Faith is trust. We can access faith by connecting to the deeper dimension within. The quickest way to faith is to suspend thinking and feel yourself as the Presence.


    Other interesting factoids I picked up this morning:

    A grain of sand is halfway between an atom and the planet, Earth.

    A squid's brain is shaped like a donut, and their intestines run through the center. So, if they eat too much, they can damage their brains.


    Here is something beautiful.

    A chassid is a lamplighter. The lamplighter walks the streets carrying a flame at the end of a pole. He knows that the flame is not his. And he goes from lamp to lamp to set them alight.

    That is a Jewish Wisdom quote.

    Last thing.

    "I am practicing mindfulness, compassion, and lovingkindness. Don't piss me off."

    That is exactly how I have been feeling lately. Like I am redeeming myself and everyone else is pissing me off.


  4. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    I hadn't thought of it in just that way, Copa. It was a way too of seeing clearly who you were in this time and of exploring the taste of the qualities you would seek to incorporate.

    Were they worthy of you; is this the direction, the self you will create.

    Maybe, less about the stuff, though you did buy it, than about savoring the qualities of self that woman whose things those were would exhibit.

    That would explain why none of it satisfied you. Not that the purchase was incorrect, but that the woman whose things those were was not where you were going, after all.

    What a unique way to explore all those facets of self, Copa.

    I still love the kayak story.

    It's so strange that we are finding that the very things we thought were so freaking weak or even, pathologic, were tools through which we chose to heal.


    Isn't that something.

    Me, too. The difference now is that I feel a rush of compassion for that little girl who was me.

    Before, I hated her, too.

    She suffered alone.

    I was so ashamed to be me.

    Now that I am there? She does not suffer. She is blessed and there is gratitude and oh, the light in her eyes when she sees me making my way toward her!

    And then, she is me.

    And we both are happy, and there is a little more light.

    Thank you, Copa.

    We do know. And it is good not to be alone in the forest. Even when we are not next to one another, we can hear the others making their ways, too.

    I think we could not do this alone.

    But I think this loneliness part means we are entering the intricate complexity of something we do not know. And I think there may be no echoes of one another's progress, there.

    That theme of loneliness, of whatever that word is I am looking for.

    Whatever it is? That is where we are going, next. We are going to need those concepts of work and of Germany I think.

    And anything else we can depend on. Which will only be ourselves.

    Oh, great.

    Here is something else I read this morning, then: (Paraphrasing, not a direct quote.) It was a definition of happiness as something very different than we think. According to this interpretation, happiness has to do with useful; with honorable.

    With compassion.

    On another thread Copa, you were posting about integrity.

    So, this definition of happiness fits into the core of that thinking.

    Integrity is not something so easily practiced either, when you think about it. Rife with guilt and the potential for self condemnation.

    So, we need to be focused. Focused or in that place where everything is quiet, so we can know. But life moves so quickly.

    So, integrity can be a dangerous concept for us, too.

    Remembering the real priority is compassion the child we were may help us.

    It will be our negative tape place, our amygdala-generated automatic emotional position, to condemn and desert her.

    Maybe, that is her loneliness and courage we feel, now.

    I am impressed.

    Here we go, everyone. This is information on our brains and emotions. Recent research indicates the brain is a more generous receptacle than neuroscience would have had us believe for all these years. So, soon enough, this imagery will not be accurate. But for now, this is how things work, and a pretty good approximation too, I think.

    Essentially, for the sake of efficiency, we form emotional rivers, carve emotional riverbeds. Overwhelming emotional content is funneled easily and without error TO OUR GO TO RESPONSE.

    That is part of why this is so hard. Remember the myth about Sisyphus and the cleaning the stables and the river? That is what we are doing.

    Changing the course of the river, to clean the Augean stables.

    Those people who wrote those myths?


  5. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member


    I think it is as difficult as it is because the first times happened before we had words. There is no intellectual shield between ourselves and the feelings called from us (or focused onto us).

    Black, icy water, to revisit those feelings now.

    But now, we have the tool of work and the integrity of Germany.

    And each other.


    Thank you; a small blessing that changes everything.

    Thank you.

    I could not disbelieve it without you.

    It is like breaking an evil spell. Sleeping Beauty kiss of falling in love with our children. We did that. Though we cannot see it that was a choice; was a matter of integrity. Raised as we were, we may have created worlds of hurt and isolation for our children but we did not. That is why I was haunted by what I might have done; I knew what I might have done because it had been done to me and I had devoted my life ~ not just with my children, but in every interaction ~ to not being that person who hurt me. To hurting no one and nothing.

    And all that came from the Sleeping Beauty kiss.

    And we chose that. We chose well then. We will choose well, now.

    We are going to be okay, you guys.

  6. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Thank you Cedar

    "Cool loneliness doesn’t provide any resolution or give us ground under our feet. It challenges us to step into a world of no reference point without polarizing or solidifying. This is called the middle way, or the sacred path of the warrior.

    When you wake up in the morning and out of nowhere comes the heartache of alienation and loneliness, could you use that as a golden opportunity? Rather than persecuting yourself or feeling that something terribly wrong is happening, right there in the moment of sadness and longing, could you relax and touch the limitless space of the human heart? The next time you get a chance, experiment with this."
    Pema Chodron

    It is dawn, the air is cool, I am going walking and thinking.
    Alone, but not lonely.
    I am with my thoughts.

    My thoughts are with you.

    Life is hard, but it is also good.
    Life is also what we make of it.

    During the holidays, there is so much emotion and push to feel what the world tells us we should be feeling.

    In reality, there is us, God, and the air we breathe.

    It is a new day.

  7. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    You guys. I forgot to post the link.

    For heaven's sake.

  8. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Ok guys, so my phone rings at work this morning, it is my sister, I do not make the un-lady like hand motion towards my phone. I am trying to practice love and joy.
    Immediately I think "Oh, oh I hope nothing is wrong with Mom."

    I say to her "Is everything alright with Mom?" She says, "Yes I just wanted to call, and see how you are doing."

    Well, I think Mom has been at work trying to negotiate a peace treaty, which is fine. Mom has probably told sis about hubs....

    So I tell her we are fine, yada, yada, yada. Ask her how she is doing....
    Then I said "I know we have had some words, and I want you to know, I love you very much." She says the same.
    I say "We have been through some very hard times and emotions get strong.
    I have a very big favor to ask of you, I want you to think of me as one of your horses, that you have rescued from the slaughter house."

    The phone goes a bit silent, awkward pause, then "Well, yes, you have been through a lot in your personal life" So I told her yes, this is true and I am trying my best to be strong and get a hold of myself, but I am just like one of your rescue horses, who is a bit traumatized, but that I would be okay.
    She asked me if I was getting help, with a group or something and I said yes I am (you lovely sisters).
    We chatted a bit and I hung up. Phew.

    That is that.
    Well, I think I can move on and try my best to balance myself and this relationship with my sister. I do not know what the future will bring, life is short.

    I am thinking I will not be discussing my d cs with her, or any sad upsetting news.

    Middle ground.
    No sense cooking a complicated meal with someone who does not want to deal with the cooking of it.

    I will save all of my intimate feelings and stories for those who can bear to hear them. Give feedback without judgement, and pity.

    I guess I am detaching that part of myself from my sister.
    She does not want to hear my woes, I do not blame her, it is distressing, I know.

    I thank you all for understanding my situation and giving me your attention and good advice.

    So another step discovered. Know when to not share the story.

    I am a rescue horse, saved from the slaughter, gazing at the open pasture, after being at deaths door.


  9. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Leafy, would you like to share that story with us? Saved from slaughter...why does that imagery work for you, Leafy? What is it about that imagery that feels like you? Whose belief system places you in the category of a victim, of a helpless and horribly mistreated horse?

    Rescue horses are not generally saved from slaughter Leafy I don't think. I have a cousin who rescues horses. Though it is true they also rescue from slaughter houses, these people mostly rescue horses from savagery and starvation.

    I met a lady and her husband last year who run a rescue facility for parrots. I was shocked to learn it, but people abuse every kind of pet.

    Which is getting off track. So, back we will come to you, Leafy, and to your imagery.

    Do you feel yourself to be helpless Leafy, as a horse or dog or cat or parrot would be helpless?

    Slaughtering would have meant...what would that have meant, Leafy?

    What is it you would expect your sister to understand, if she were to comply with your request and see you as a mistreated animal?

    Who has mistreated you, Leafy? Do you feel it was yourself, in the ways you will have been taught to see yourself, or do you feel someone else has mistreated you?

    Do you feel the sister has mistreated you?


    This was written yesterday, but I did not post it.

    So the point I was making about the channels we will have formed in our emotional brains is this: The feelings released as we enter or come through the layers, the barriers we've set in place around certain feeling states, will automatically follow the same paths in our brains that we have followed all of our lives unless we remain conscious to the feelings and resolve them.

    That is why, maybe that is why it seems that we need to devote attention to our healing in a way we may not have needed to do, earlier in our processes. Earlier, it was enough just to admit what had happened. We were bridging a gap then maybe, between ourselves and the shame. Now, the feelings are wordless things, overwhelming things. If we sit with the feelings, we will be fine. That must be what Eckhart meant when he assured us the pain body could never stand before the force of our Presence.

  10. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    I was so ashamed to be me.

    This is a tender, growing place.

    Like sometimes in Christmas music, when the music sounds hushed and expectant?

    Like that.

  11. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Beautiful imagery, Leafy. I can SO relate.
    And yes, Cedar, rescue horses are OFTEN saved from slaughter. Some very good horses are sent there by bad owners that just want a fast way out of responsibility. Horses that just need a bit of work, or a work-around for their problem. Instead of being given up on.

    I've been on the edge of "being slaughtered" for a looonnnggg time. I think I know what Leafy means, but it's hard to explain.
  12. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Thank you, IC.

    Is the imagery then something positive? That there was a time when one was bereft and alone but that we have now been rescued and are grateful for the beautiful pasture?

  13. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Being rescued is definitely positive. But it is rescue in the sense of horses (or dogs), not in human terms. We are brought into something better. Interaction with people who care. Provision for our needs, recognition of our limitations, and the privilege of being given something useful to do. Being valued for who we are, not for what we can accomplish (winning on the track or in the ring).

    There are some horses that cannot be rescued. They will not accept care, lash out at anyone and everyone, destroy the structures that are meant to keep them safe, and so on. These are dangerous horses. And yes, sometimes there might be a person willing to spend a huge effort to rescue such a horse, but it is very hard to do. Maybe that's a bit like some of our difficult kids? We have to recognize that we need certain things, we need to recognize our limitations, and we need to be prepared to be productive. If we can't or won't do that... there isn't much others can do to help us.
  14. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    How gracious, New Leaf.
    How sad this seems.

    What are you saying, New Leaf?

    Does your sister appear to care more for the animals, than for you, to hear their pain and yearning, and not your own? Do you feel she does not respond to your pain and hurt, but does to theirs?

    Do you think she might feel the same? How is she like you, New Leaf? How may you be like her? Is there a way to come together, one understanding the other? Because it may be a two way street. What you feel you miss in her, she may feel the same, or similar.
    This is interesting, Cedar. Because a horse, an animal cannot control the resources to provide for himself. In the wild, yes. In society no. A horse or other domestic animal is likely to be dependent on someone who is more powerful, has more access and responsibility and mobility.

    An adult person, with capacity, with a mind, exists with everything available to him or her. I am not talking things here, I speak about responsibility. Of changing ones thinking. Of accountability. Of possibility. To see the meaning and integrity that comes from thinking differently about the same thing. Which is change.

    I think this is what Cedar means when she talks about neural pathways. That we can change them. Reconstruct them. Those that have become habitual. All it takes is a different decision about the same thing. Seeing it another way. I think that was what Going North was trying to tell me about my thinking and suffering feeling about my son, dependent upon what he does or does not do.

    At first I felt helpless. Lost. A victim. Of him. Now I do not. It took one day to change. Before that, it had taken a lifetime.Thank you, Going North.

    Last edited: Dec 10, 2015
  15. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    I guess Cedar, the imagery started as a way for me to try to help my sister understand, to mend the fence. A impulse thought that my sister may have more compassion for me if she viewed me as one of her rescue horses?
    That I know, she has great empathy and feeling for these animals, but cannot see what I have gone through, and how it may affect my responses, my being?
    She has no idea?
    Or, she does, and rather than feel empathy, there is a sort of distaste, impatience...disgust?
    She is repulsed by my expression of feeling, my tears.
    I am wondering if her reaction is because it means she has to look at her inner child, the way she conducted herself, and the resulting affect on me?

    Or, is this reaction the same way she felt back then? To her, I am a wimp, stupid, over dramatic? An idiot for staying in a tough marriage? A pushover where my d c's are concerned? I am getting what I deserve?

    I do not blame her for her child actions. She was not stopped.
    Most of her life, she has gone after what she wanted, and got it. If she found herself in a bad situation, she exited.
    I stayed, when I went through hard times with my marriage, I stayed.
    She left. She married and divorced three times. She went from job to job, when she ran into difficulty, left.
    I am not judging her, this is her life, her choices. I am wondering if she views her pattern as taking the bull by the horns and mine as oh God, there she goes again......!

    I don't know Cedar, all I know is that she has an idea and emphatically says so, of what I should do, or should have done, with my life, and is not feeling my choices and decisions, and all that is left is.... broken fences. Broken fences, distance and my Mom wanting us to mend the fence, before she goes.

    Not that I am a victim, okay, maybe I am, a victim of my circumstances.

    Like a rescue horse, I have no control of what happens around me.
    Who does?
    Do people who have never lost a child to addiction/mental illness- or grappled with the help/enabling syndrome, feel that we have brought this upon ourselves?
    In my sisters case, I do think so.

    That is why this site works. It is made of people who have been through/going through the fire of it and understand, how it happens. That it happens.

    But, I do have control of how I feel about myself, my life.
    I do have opportunity to take my circumstances and turn them into the pasture before me.
    Open, free, ready to take the first step, and then canter, then gallop and whinny and jump up with a loud call echoing into the distance. I AM! I AM!

    I do not feel my sister has mistreated me, I know she has.
    She was a child, as was I. But a child left to her own devices. She was shrewd, cunning and incredibly mean. When she wanted something she was agonizingly insistent, persistent, until she got it.
    She could be sweet, but there was always a catch. If I did not do her bidding, or please her, she was incredibly mean.
    She was not corrected.
    I was corrected, for reacting and crying.

    I am told now, that I need to forget about it, the past is the past.
    This is true, but are not the scars still there?

    I feel I am better than I was before, But I do have my moments.......

    So in that way, I was in the "kill pen". That is what happens to these rescue horses, they are sent to auction, then to kill buyers, who try to recoup their money, by selling them online, if the horses are not to the slaughter house they go.
    In the "kill pen", the horses are shoved into crowded corrals, confused and terrified.
    These amazingly beautiful sensitive animals are traumatized.

    In this, I am a rescue horse. I have been traumatized by the awful memories growing up with my sister, I do not understand why she was/is the way she is.

    I do not have to be with her, constantly anymore, so I am in a sense "rescued", but I am still left with the underlying affects. I am still questioning the reality of my childhood memories.
    Even as I write in FOO, because my CD sisters here, have suffered far more than I. I question my validity in venting. Like triage.
    If this section were an emergency room, I would be way off on the side, waiting for the doctor, cause damn, some of the stories you sisters have. I am like ok, I think I will go home and put on a band aid.........

    So, in my going back and remembering, it has become a sort of teeter tottering, gas lighted feeling
    "Aw, come on, it was not that bad." To "yes, I need to recognize, for me, it was."
    Then Serenitys "embrace the mat" thread, where she sees that she is strong because of her experiences. I feel this way, too.
    So, I go through all of these phases. Phases.

    Then, still, I have been in situations where I have volunteered in community work, stepped up to take on tasks, and absolutely been trodden upon. I am like " sheesh, do I have a kick me sign?"
    I am beginning to look at some non-profit boards as a breeding ground for bullies. That the ideal of working for the greater good is often times horribly twisted by unscrupulous people with hidden agendas. I am not trying to toot my own horn. I think civic mindedness, community contributor and volunteerism are critical to man kinds existence, that we all can chip in to try to make things better.

    So, I have stepped up to serve, which is hardly a victim mentality, but in the process of gaining more responsibility and leadership roles, been literally whipped and beaten. My last encounter, I had worked for 10 years on a board from director to committees, serving in various board capacity. I ended up in the role of Chair. A younger woman wanted the seat and ran a vicious smear campaign, including accusing me of stealing funds from the organization ( unfounded). I was devastated. It took a year for me to recoup, I know my character, I did not do such a thing, my good friends know who I am but Lordy, my reputation was dragged through the mud. I am still fighting this........

    Do I have a victim mentality, no, honestly I don't think I do. Do I see myself as a victim, no.

    Have I been a victim? Heck yah!

    Is there such a thing as victim pheromones? Do I put out hidden scent or signs that attract this? Is it that I did step up and take on leadership roles and that presents a vulnerability?

    I am thinking now, I would rather stick to my coaching kids then be involved with the politics of board work.I am so not cut out for politics. I am not a game player. I don't even play chess.

    Sigh. Ok that is a lot of venting, or whinnying, or was it whining, or why- ning?
    Thanks for listening.....and asking Cedar, thank you for asking

    Just leafy
  16. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I am thinking a lot about this conversation.

    There seems to be a number of unspoken ideas. Let me see if I understand.

    First, the sister cares for mistreated animals. This is a choice and a responsibility that she accepts and owns and does with dedication. That I feel sure of. The rest, I am unsure about.

    New Leaf, do you feel that your sister holds these animals as more important than are you, to her? That you desire, yearn for, require, a similar dedication, acceptance from her, and that she hold you and your needs with a similar responsibility?

    Was there a time that you wished for that from her? How much older is she, than you? Looking from adult eyes, was this wish a realistic one, then? Is it now?

    What would it mean for you, New Leaf, if she complied, now? Would you be diminished or enhanced?
    This is such an important question,Cedar. Because we have felt mistreated by others. And then when we looked more closely, the hurtful things seem to have resulted from our own decisions about ourselves. As children we had no other options. Now, we do.

    This question applies to all of us. I know that I for sure feel to have been mistreated by my sister, and she by me. There are so many layers of years and years of the sense of betrayal, abandonment, rejection, shunning it feels close to impossible to untangle it. She feels this for me. And I, with her.

    But the thing is, we are both injured parties. For there ever to be the hope of resolution we have to view ourselves, each, as whole and responsible, I think. Not one or the other as responsible. Because we want to be whole. To be whole we need to take responsibility one hundred percent for everything. Now. In the present. Only then can we let go the sense of being victimized. And gain in power.



    There is a series of posts on another thread. About the peril of a young adult child away at college who is using her independence to drug and drink and party. At great risk. There is a discussion of what to do.

    There is the belief by some that because the win, the college degree, is such a necessary and important thing, that it is best to leave the young woman in place, and let her finish. And to one extent or another close eyes to her peril, her willful self-destruction and to parental responsibility, especially moral responsibility.

    Some see this as the best choice. Because the degree is so important.

    They decide they must close their eyes to the present circumstances of the child, as not the most important thing and focus on the win. The degree. That is how I see that.

    I see the priorities as different.

    That our foremost role as parents is to tell the truth. Be a beacon of what we see as integrity and truth. To speak it and act from it.

    That anything else pales next to this. That there is no one thing, or achievement or action more important than character. And character comes from telling the truth, accepting it and acting from it. Not one other thing. And our children will always look to us for this. Especially with respect to holding their own value.

    And that to shut ones eyes to a betrayal of self (as parent and person) will contribute a little bit or a lot to the destruction of the adult child and the parent. Or at least, to the relationship.

    Everything else can be gotten at a different time and place. It is replaceable.

    Are you talking about that, Insane? Building intrinsic value. Treasuring oneself as having intrinsic value. And the parent seeing the value of the child as an intrinsic thing that has always been there. Not having to change or do one thing.

    Is that what you are getting at?

    Last edited: Dec 10, 2015
  17. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Intrinsic value. I suppose that's a good term. But I wasn't looking at it in terms of "my" value... but rather, learning to look at others that way.
  18. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    New Leaf, your sister may have a lot of attributes that are difficult.

    For example, my M. He is very intense, direct, strong and honest. He says just exactly what he feels. When I think he is mad at me these qualities render me absolutely terrified. Not that he will hurt me, but because I desert myself.

    But all of the other times, these very fearsome qualities are those that drew me to him and keep me with him.

    It is often not simple to know if the feelings invoked are in you, in us, or something they have intended to invoke in you. On purpose. It could be that your sister is confused, absolutely does not know that are reacting this way and has not intended it. Of course, she could have intended every bit of it. But it could easily be that the feelings are in you. In any event. The only way the situation can change is to own them. Because we cannot control anything about anybody else. Just us.
    Again, this is an assumption that your feeling about a true thing. That she does indeed feel repulsed.

    You may be construing it. Of course, she may feel repulsed. It may be true. But the feeling is in you. It is yours.
    It could be.

    But you are both adults now. It goes both ways. Your interactions too, as an adult, have effects on her. Both of you are adults now. Each with an inner child. There is the potential for reciprocity. But not if one adult is the victim and the other the perpetrator.
    We are all different in our decisions about staying and leaving and why.
    I hate it when people tell me how I should feel and what I should have done. This is a feeling of power over. Of knowing better. Shoulds.

    I had an aunt like this that used to tell me how lucky I was to have my stepfather. Who beat me and despised me. He was a sadist. She said other men would have thrown me out. Great.

    She would try to tell me what to do and how to think. I just withdrew from her.

    I do not think like this.

    We are in our circumstances. If we stay in them, we have chosen them. If we stay because we have a higher value, say of commitment or constancy or responsibility, we are not a victim. We have chosen.
    I do. I have no control over anybody else. But I decide how I respond. To me, that is everything.
    If this is so, that she believes this about you, and about life itself, I can see how it has closed down communication. Because this is a powerful feeling to have...that somebody blames me for my misfortune and feels I caused the misfortune of my child. That I brought it about.

    I have some shame when I learn or fear that my son has presented himself to my nieces (and therefore my sister) as a victim, a rejected rescue horse and presents himself to be rejected by them.

    I admit, I do feel shame and vulnerability. Because I believe that my sister seizes upon everything she can to cast me as lesser than she.

    As I write this I realize that by thinking this way, I give her power, and I cede my own integrity and value. I can change this. I will.
    She sounds like a very effective and powerful woman. It is exactly these traits that seem to empower Donald Trump, and others like him.

    On the other hand, what you write of her makes her sound as if she has a great deal of vulnerability as well. Her sensitivity to the wounded and neglected horses, only one thing.
    That has happened to me in work situations.

    The reality is that there are aggressive people. Like horses. What does it really mean about us? Why do we take it personally?

    M for many years was very powerful in his church. He is a Catholic. I mean, throughout Mexico, Central and South America. He gave motivational speeches to thousands of people. I think it had to do with family life.

    Somebody came up after him and wanted his power. He got knocked out of his position or ceded it, I do not remember which. It bothered him, pained him for a long time.

    Now? I never hear him talk about it. I think he could care less. I see him as more and more building his value in himself. What he has lost, seems to matter not at all. Except for his children. And now he calls every night, one daughter. Most of the time she does not answer. But sometimes, she does. In this way he reclaims his children. His dedication to that. I respect that.
    I think this is true. I once volunteered in an organization that helped Central Americans get amnesty. This was maybe in 1990 when the wars were going on in Central America. The woman who ran it seemed to have the greatest empathy for the refugees.

    When I came to know her I saw she was a bully and a control freak. She was mean.

    The whole thing was a reaction formation. She did her "good work" to counteract the reality that she was a bully.
    How are the two different, Insane?

    When we hold others as valuable we build our own value.

    And conversely, if we hold ourselves as valuable, to the extent we do so, we can build value in another or hold them as valuable.

    Last edited: Dec 10, 2015
  19. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    It's easier for me to see and acknowledge the value in others. Much harder to see and acknowledge it in myself. The concept probably isn't different, I just have a lot more practice at the first one than at the second one.
  20. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    You are taking here about valuing.

    As I think about it, are they not reciprocal. As we are able to do the one, we do the other as well. They are tethered are they not?

    I have not been good at either one. If I am honest with myself. But I have hope for myself.