Work and Germany; Benedictines and Buddhists: Attitude

Discussion in 'Family of Origin' started by Scent of Cedar *, Nov 2, 2015.

  1. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    I don't know whether I will post this for us or not. This morning, I am thinking about work and shame. Thinking about the way shame subverts our thinking, even in our work. Not in our paid work necessarily ~ but that is because the rules and the roles are very clear ~ but in our ability to be tumbled into our work, into the moment in front of us, body and heart and soul.

    This ties in to integrity, but also into something very much more.

    Work, simple physical work requiring no great thought, is a precept of most spiritual beliefs I can think of. In working outside yesterday, I reminded myself again and again just to do what I was doing. A good, good job but no thought beyond the physical work I was doing. This morning, I am thinking about, reading about, shame and the invisible place beneath it. It is the invisible place that, in its very invisibility, informs the shame. Just because it is there, there is shame. Little banners and stickers of shame, all around the invisible places within us. I think, this morning, that our attitudes toward our work can be healing things. Whatever the work is, our attitudes toward it, our decisions to engage fully, matter very much to our healing. We use our work to stand before the invisible place, very present.

    I read this morning about misogyny and age and women and depersonalization. About the sense of contamination or decay that surround the aging process, most especially for the female. And I wondered how to be healed, how to stay (or become) centered, how to cherish being here at all (which is often lost as we age, and come to see ourselves as others see us).

    Work is the answer.

    Not the physical work of whatever we are doing, but the commitment to it.

    This morning, after skipping around reading many things without much discipline or grace, I decided to think about how I was thinking about what I was doing. It was a simple matter to grant myself the dignity of the work I was doing, but I had to choose that. Negativity at the heart of us regarding our work and its value was a paramount thing preventing concentration. It was as though I did not perceive myself, for myself, capable of producing work of value.

    I was surprised, to realize this.

    It has to do with not paying attention, with not requiring ourselves to pay attention, to what we are doing.

    It has to do with that shame mindset ~ that is here, somewhere.

    Then, I remembered the Benedictines and homemade soup and homemade bread and washing dishes by hand and maintaining silence, and how that felt, to be in that space the Benedictines had created through the force of their will. There was nothing there, when they began construction of that place I came very much to love.

    Nothing there.

    Now there is a University; a hospital system; a culture of caring and generosity and volunteerism. A renewal center. And part of that is that days they did not want to work were just days they did not want to work. Part of it is that no work is seen as more valuable than another. Work itself is the value. Talent or education decide the kind of work, but not the attitude toward our work or the ultimate value in it.

    I think we've all forgotten that. We think it is about relaxing when really, it is about wholehearted presence
    in something made meaningful by our presence; made meaningful because we are there.

    And we have been talking here about integrity, and about Germany and what that means, to claim Germany.

    And the Buddhists too, cultivate simplicity and work and silence and no work is more valuable than another and no person is more valuable than another.

    So, that is what I am thinking about this morning as regards the shame base, and how to heal.

    Could it be so simple a thing as our attitudes, our sincerity, toward our work. To do something well for the sake of it, and to require that of ourselves instead of the whining and sulking and defying I was doing yesterday about working outside when I would rather have been here, where there is feedback and sometimes, I get gold stars.

    Working, alone or alone in a group; integrity, a thing we practice alone or alone in a group...maybe even joy, a thing we practice alone or in a group.


    There is something here for us; something to do with our attitude toward ourselves, and what is revealed in the way we see our work.

    "When chopping onions, just chop onions."

    It's like that.

    Tears are part of chopping onions. What is coming next once the food has been prepared is in the future. Getting through the chopping part or complaining about the pain or remembering other onions are distractions.

    "When chopping onions, just chop onions."

    That is from Michael Pollan's Cooked.
  2. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    As I come through whatever this part is, I am feeling very horribly unattractive. It is not a rational feeling. It is an overwhelming certainty of worthlessness; the feeling of ugly is connected directly to some overwhelming something that is very toxic. It has to do with abandonment, I think. That is the invisible feeling state beneath shame. It is impossible to function beneath it. The feelings are very intense.

    I am encouraging the feelings.

    They are truly overwhelming. It seems I have no words for the core of it, but only for the experiences after the core had been formed. The words coming up are very ugly; are terminally shaming. There is no alternative, I mean. It all feels true.

    I read something that turned out to be a site that wanted money, so I did not link to it, here.

    This is how they described that feeling beneath the shame we were discussing earlier:

    The original woundedness revolves around abandonment. As Copa noted, before we had words, we lived in worlds of experienced feeling, in worlds of emotion without definition.

    Copa's was an excellent point.

    That is probably why this part feels so real, but is absolutely without words or imagery until I apply them from the echoes of a time that came after, echoes from hurts in a time I had words. It would be like soundness, wordless, post-truamatic stress feeling.

    The wash of feeling is truly is overwhelming. But I do have words, now. I do know I will come out the other side, now. It's been getting steadily stronger, the hits more intense and sudden, keyed by small things.

    So I wrote this yesterday. I expected three or four days like this. This morning, already, I am better. I am thinking differently, am more in place.

    If and when this happens for you, don't be afraid of it. Work, that work attitude, was the correct answer. If I think back on it, this feeling has been coming on stronger and stronger since the imagery of the beautiful whore, loving every inch of her flesh and bathing in the sun.

    It was the funniest thing. The first thing I did this morning was check the mirror to see whether I was still ugly.

    I'm not.

    But it was that intense.

    Overwhelming feelings comprised of ugly (I don't mean unattractive. I mean ugly.) and of contempt and darkness. Work and that attitude we discussed earlier, that was the answer. That was how to stay present to the feelings without being frozen in place and time.

    I read this material, and began to post it for you, yesterday.

    Then, I felt it was too stupid, felt I was too stupid, and did not post. Then, I came back to it. I still didn't post it. Even that wish to be honest, to keep myself honest for the sake of my healing, could not override those feelings of stupid, of foolish and ridiculous and obscene.

    If this happens to you in the course of your healing, know you will come through it. It will feel like the beautiful whore, bathing in the sun. Hot, sunstroke hot. Cheap, garish, ugly with true things. The whore washes her feet in the envisionment.

    That is work.

    That is the attitude that will bring you through it.

    Loving, attentive; centered.

    This morning, I am better.

    This is what I learned about this state as I was going through it yesterday. There will be so much more, I know that.

    But this is yesterday, and was actually written for you and for us, yesterday:

    So, abandonment. It is not that someone leaves you or ignores you.

    Abandonment is when you are judged and found wanting and hurt and left alone in disgusted anger. Or, as Leafy described, alone and in pain and without words to define your situation to yourself. I keep sliding out of concentrating on the feelings I must incorporate to heal and into what I might have done to my children. To the failure in it; to the how could it have been any way but this. So many bad, bad words to describe myself; so many times I was stupid. Unwanted. Not honored.

    And the cycle begins, again.

    So, that is the feeling tone of abandonment. The words coming, the feelings attending the words ~ okay. So, the feelings are coming first. The words, going back as far as I need to until one hits and sticks and I go down, come after the feelings. Labeling, describing, assessing, addressing, intellectualizing, the rush of feeling, like some fetid thing. So, we have a myth for this task: The Augean Stables myth. And it couldn't be done, but it was done. The course of a river was changed, and the stables were cleaned.

    So we know it can be accomplished.

    All we need to do is change the course of a river.

    This is the beginning.


    Abandonment: An Emotional wound and therefore, wordless. If and as this time comes for you, there is nothing to be done. This is what healing feels like. Just listen: When chopping onions, just chop onions. Abandonment is shunning, but worse. Abandonment is no one in the mirror because you are beneath vision. If you have been ridiculed and then, shunned by your family of origin as an adult, imagine what that was for a child who lived in it, who went to school and to bed and out to play with the other kids from that shocked and hurtful, echoing emotional place.


    Like in Carol King's Tapestry, when his hands came up, empty.

    Like that.

    Those of us coping with abandonment issues compounded by physical, verbal, or emotional abuse competed, went to school and learned whatever he or she was able to learn and retain, given the situation at home. We came into adolescence from that defended place.

    From empty.

    Abandonment operates out of a system of prejudice; it is living in a kind of racism, but worse, because you have no other people who look like you, no one who is like you. There is no safe place, no relaxation, ever.

    Shame: According to the site I explored (Okay you guys. I am going to post the link. I found it valuable even so, but they want money before they let you participate, and they do not have an open forum set up like ours and so on. The description of the wounding and of the healing ring very true for me. I found it helpful. Here it is for you. Remember, at the end, they want money and to sell books.

    Back to shame. So, in addition to abandonment issues, which are nothing so pretty as abandonment would seem and are actually horrifyingly wicked and evil and wrong, the ultimate punishment being not beating, but ridicule and condemnation and isolation and shunning. Shame has its inception in the gilt the child feels because of the way he or she is thinking about the parent. He or she comes to believe that is why this is happening. Hypervigilence begins here; harboring guilty knowledge and self deception begin here; post traumatic stress response, keyed in a thousand ways, begins here.

    Add ongoing physical, verbal, or emotional abuse to that.

    Add fear; add shame at your family of origin. Not only are we shamed, but we are ashamed of the brokenness in them.

    In this presentation, shame is described as an infection in the wound that is abandonment. Each of us has abandonment issues to a degree. Abused or mistreated children (or adults, if we should find ourselves in abusive relationship of any kind) has abandonment issues. Shame is an infection seeded there.

    Limiting beliefs arise, in shame.

    Think of that.

    Apply it to your life.

    That is why you believe you cannot.

    But you can.

    The fearsome thing is knowing you have been accused and judged and fond wanting, have been determined less than somehow, and have been condemned and are being, or that you have been punished.

    The abuser meant it.

    She meant to do what she did. (Or, what he did.) I think the difference today is that I see the abuser being wrong.

    That is the scab of self contempt which covers shame, which covers abandonment.





    Very worth it to have gone through this. As long as I have been posting about the beautiful whore, that is how long this has been simmering.

    Again, work was the answer. Work, and integrity beginning from now.
  3. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    So, this is Wednesday. This began, the insistent, emotionally overwhelming part, began on Sunday.

    The answer was: Work as a sacred thing in and of itself. The phrase attending this phase: When chopping onions, just chop onions.

    Just keeping a chronological record for anyone else coming through it.

    I cannot stress strongly enough that it was work viewed for its own value that brought me through this.


    Or because you would kill yourself, if you truly saw yourself as they taught you you were. There is a conflict there, maybe, and so we don't look in the mirror, at all. Abandonment recovery too is, as Eckhart Tolle suggests, a matter of certainty in the power of your own Presence. How did he say that.... This is not a direct quote, but it goes something like this:

    Though the pain body seems overwhelming, seems all encompassing, I assure you that nothing can stand before the fact of your Presence.

    Something to that effect.

    If anyone would like the direct quote, please say so. I have it here in my quote box, but I don't want to stop and look for it, now.

    But I will, if one of us would find it helpful.

    That is the thing that was taken from us: Belief in the power of our own Presence. However we have been hurt, in whatever phase of life, whether as children or as soldiers or as adult women or men trapped in abusive relationships, this is a piece of recovering equilibrium. Recovering our belief in the power of our own Presence to withstand who they taught us we were, so we can welcome and cherish the shamed Child within at deeper and deeper levels. Again, think about the myriad levels and effects of racism; of shunning; of prejudice. Think of extremism in any of its forms. Think about ridicule and how it is used, and how hurtful and shaming a thing it is, and how without ethical structure are those who use it routinely.

    Think Animal Farm, or Lord of the Flies.

    That is how we grew up.

    Those terrible lies, and we believed them, because we knew nothing else.

  4. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Cedar this is amazing work,
    I have to get off my butt and go to work, but wanted to check in.
    You ASTOUND me sister!
    I will reread later and respond.

    Thank you for sharing, so very brave and strong, you are.
  5. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    I am reading and rereading this Cedar. Thank you so much for posting this incredibly honest, in-depth, excruciatingly painful, brave, giving piece.

    Presence, integrity.

    Such a gift you are. Keep thinking Cedar, and sharing. You have a gift with that mind of yours, a true gift.

    Thank you.
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Amen, sister Cedar. You have come so far. Let's keep growing... and outgrowing the roles we were given.
  7. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Oh, how it pleases me to see you, Serenity.



    I came on this morning to keep a running commentary on how this feels. I believe I am progressing, but I am...I seem to be coming passionately alive to my own point of view. There is roaring explosive angry; there is an almost delirious intensity of drinking in and absorbing and celebrating emotion, good and bad and sudden and sharp and sometimes, piercingly sweet.

    Like in the surfing picture Leafy posted for us that day.

    Like that.

    Overwhelmed, and the colors and intensity are beautiful and without shadings. There is the need to be very strong, and an answering call of strength, and center and balance in process.

    And the wind, and the laughter and speed.

    I believe that surfing imagery has replaced the beautiful whore bathing in the courtyard imagery. It is that intense. I feel it that strongly.

    I read something yesterday and actually got tears in my eyes and that never happens.

    And I let it happen, and I watched it happen.

    So I am still here, still present, that part of each of us that is the real self; the watcher Eckhart Tolle describes.

    But boy, those emotionals, the speed and the Sun in that surfing imagery ~ wow.

    And the water, so intensely blue and alive.

    So that is what is in the beginning of the place beneath the scabbed defenses that cover the shame that covers abandonment; that dark place without sound or color.



    It is overwhelming, in the sense that I recognize my capacity to assess my situation accurately is off. I take offense readily...but there is sense of great good humor, too.

    Like a kaleidescope, in that way.

    That intense. That angry. That funny. That kind.

    That alive.

    I swear, the humor was a requirement, or I would have blown myself up, I have been so often flashpoint angry. True to form, I am stumbling from lesson to lesson in the real world, with real people and real situations and I find that hilarious too because I am so freaking mad all the time, now.

    I don't exactly know what to do with any of it.

    How strange.

    Boy, I cannot believe how short-tempered I have become. Impatient and short tempered and easily offended and fuming. It's shocking. I am holding determinedly to faith that this is legitimate emotion whether I have words for it or not.

    And it just all strikes me so intently.

    I am raw, but only just the tiniest bit open. The waters are still deep and black and impossibly cold, but the Sun from the surfing video strikes shafts of grey into the black water.

    So cold.

    So still.


    So, this morning in my looking around for what I needed, I found:

    "In business, there is such a thing as an invaluable person, but there is no such thing as an indispensable one."



    Beauty for ashes has been a phrase much on my mind and with it, a sense of entitlement; of a Promise.


    So, I began reading about raising children. In a sense, that is what we each are doing, in reparenting our traumatized children within.

    Ten Things Healthy Families Tell Their Children

    1) Go ahead; try. It's a big, beautiful world, out there.
    2) It's your choice.
    3) You are safe, and loved.
    4) You make me happy.
    5) I trust and believe in you.
    6) Have a great day. Don't forget who you are.
    7) Mistakes happen.
    8) I love you.

    Okay, so that was eight things.

    10 Phrases Resilient Families Use Alot

    1) Laugh it off. Come on, laugh it off.

    Humor elevates feeling tones, increases the sense of internal locus of control, increases feelings of personal empowerment and resilience.

    I would add that we need also to remain focused and aware of our work, as was noted earlier in this thread. Leaven with laughter; this is a slippery slope area. Easy, so easy, to slip into ridicule and victimization of others or of ourselves.

    2) Don't let this (event or incident) spoil everything. Make another success, or remember what you are good at; what you do well. What you will learn.

    3) Let's take a break.

    Sometimes, I sit and think. And sometimes, I just sit.

    4) Who have you spoken to about this? There are supportive people everywhere. We only need to find them.

    5) I know it looks bad now, but you will get through this.

    6) What can you learn from this? Positive reframing.

    7) Don't worry. Relax.

    8) This isn't the end of the world. You will probably make friends, just like you always do.

    9) You could be right. But have you thought about....

    10) What can we do about this? (About disappointment, about feelings of inadequacy or helplessness.)


    Language: Extreme language leads to extreme emotional responses and black/white thinking. Tone it down to gray.

    For instance:

    "I'm angry.", to "This is annoying."
    "This is a disaster.", to "Talk about a pain in the gluteus maximus."

    Realistic languaging leads to realistic thinking, which helps us redefine our perceptions.


    Establishing resiliency: (Which is the flexibility versus rigidity dialogue taking place in the research Serenity posted for us.)

    Feelings of constant failure, of constant rejection, of always narrowly missing being picked for the team. (Which are other words, prettier ones, for ridicule and victimization and abandonment.)

    Take action.
    Hold their hands.
    Hang in there. This will pass. Find some rewarding activity to counter the pain.

    And finally, something I found especially appropriate, given my recent, unanticipated fixation on Michael Corleone:

    From Facebook this morning.

    Michael is smoking a cigar. Leaning back, he says:

    "There are three things you should know about me.

    1) My circle is small.

    2) I'm loyal to the end.

    3) Never f*** me over.

    And I mean, that is resonating with me, you guys. And there it was, right on my Facebook.


    So, that was my morning.

  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    This really hit me. Not once did my mother express trust in my choices--she tried to make them for me--nor was love much expressed or to be who I am. Does it mean your family was a total failure if NONE of these things were said? Boy, if so, we have all really done well, since most of us didn't have this.
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  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Love this, Cedar.
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  10. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Yes, it resonated with me too, Serenity.

    These lists will help us reparent ourselves, I think.

    I have such a time making decisions. It goes back to believing my choices will always be wrong, somehow. I can see my mother's eyes; can see the curl of her lip: Just don't think, Cedar.

    Now that I am in this heightened emotional state from all this work we have been doing, I feel tears at the corners of my eyes, when I see that, again.
    That is the taste of compassion for the self, so I love it and am not ashamed.

    Which does not mean I am going to allow boo-hooing in public.


    I most sincerely hope.


    Just knowing that, just connecting that memory, those words, to compassion for myself frees me. This is the source ~ this thing I remember which holds the power of all the things I do not remember ~ of the panicked assertion that I can do this, that I will just pick one ~ pick something, pick anything: What does the other person seem to want?

    Pick that, and call it my own.

    We don't know what we like, going in. We don't know how to create a new thing because those parts of self others take so for granted were the very parts where our abusers fed. This is connected to the food thing, and to the allergy thing, I just know it.

    Copa posted yesterday that in M's culture, women somaticize anxiety and depression. If she has time, she will tell us more about that, today.

    Recovering these aspects of self increases internal, versus external, locus of control.

    That is what was stolen. Internal locus of control. That is what was broken in us so our abusers could dance in that peculiar light.

    We need to reclaim that.

    Nothing to do with our abusers.

    We were children then, and powerless because we did not know. Now, we do.

    Even with all of this, I admire my mother and find her beautiful and so bright.

    I don't think I see my family of origin as a failure so much as I see it as having been twisted by my mother. It all leads back to her, and to how she needed things to be. That contempt piece, still live and vital in her, today. I just don't know what to think about my mother. She is frightening and mostly, very scary because she uses normal feelings, fine, bright feelings, to hurt people with rejection or ridicule.

    Here is a story.

    So, my mother was maybe 81 when this happened. She uses no cane, she is alert and oriented, very bright. So, I was at her house, washing the outside windows. My mother was outside, too. I realized I hadn't heard from her, and wondered whether she had gone in or what, but finished washing the window I was on before going in to be sure she was okay.

    There was my mother, lying face down on the ground.


    When she knew I had seen her, she leaped up, laughing. She was fine.

    For heaven's sake.

  11. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Is this an artifact of abuse.


  12. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    So...that shine on her is what was taken from me. That is why she shines the way she does, in my memories of her. There is nothing beautiful or even, especially bright about intentionally destroying your own child, or about seeing to it that your own children will see one another through thinning films of jealousy and hatred and scarcity.

    The question is less why did she hate me than why did I stay. I stayed because I believed her; believed she was correct in her assessments. That is where the battle was lost. I could not leave because I could not see my way out or believe it when I did see it. She was my mother. I believed her. Why would she tell me things that were not true.

    But she lied. Probably, the exact places where the wounds are most intense are the places, the strengths, she could not eradicate ~ not in this oldest child.

    So I will go ahead and reclaim them, then.


    I have learned from this post that each place in my memory where my mother shines is a wound.

    What will I be left with, when they are healed?

    What, in all the hells that ever were, will I hold myself together with, then? It was not necessary for her to love me. I loved her, and I knew I did because of the way she shines, in my memory.

    I am not so sure I want to take that away.

    Though she may not have loved me, I was able to love her.

    That will be the cost of this phase of my healing.

    That is a very high cost.


    So, it is a few minutes later. I am thinking of Nietzsche: We love breathing because the love came first.

    That is who we are. The other is illusion. At the end of this, I will love my mother as a human, and not a magical, being.

    Or not.

    That is my energy she shines with, in my memory. How incredibly put together we are. How lovely, that she should shine like that; that is how it is for us, then: We are meant to heal. What beautiful signposts, once we knew what they were.

    Like I always do, I will leave the how I got here in for someone coming along behind.

    I think we may have been the ones who made them shine that way. It was probably that the reality was too ugly and too scary to accept. Another instance then, of learning to see through our own eyes and never to see ourselves through theirs. It could be that in every instance where our abusers shine in our memories, we were damaged; traumatized, we may have justified the trauma by elevating the abuser. In this way, we made sense of what was lost. Of what we lost, so they could dance in that peculiar light.

    Who says things like that to their own daughter.

    "Just don't think, Cedar."

    "I'm not reading this sh**t"

    "Welllll. I guess you weren't such a good mother after all, were you."

    And after our daughter was so troubled but before our son fell too, she said:

    "We would leave your house after having dinner and there you would all be, waving. And your father and I would say: "What a nice family." It just goes to show that you never know what goes on behind closed doors."

    And I believed that, too.

    How awful for all of us that I did.


    And when I was a mom at home, that sense that I was incompetent because I was not working, was not doing anything worthwhile. And when I went back to work.... Here is a story: So, I had decided to go back to work. The kids were probably eleven and twelve. I had applied for work, and was telling my mother I had done so. She said: "I would never hire you." So, here is the mystical and kind of awful thing that happened. I believed her, of course I did. Nonetheless, like I always do, I admired myself for having tried, even if no one would hire me and I had seemed foolish to everyone for trying, for having applied at all, sort of wasting everyone's time. Understand too that a piece of this for my mother was that it was a good thing I was married, or I would not even be able to make a living. So...I was offered the position. And on the day they called to tell me I had it, I was so sure I did not have it, that no one would hire me, that the woman from Human Resources had to say: "Do you still want the position?" I kept hearing her building up to telling me she was sorry but of course, they could never hire someone like me. What she was really saying was more and more stuff about benefits and whatever hours I wanted and so on.

    And I was so surprised that someone had hired me.

    And when I told my mother that I had been hired, she said: "You belong at home, taking care of your husband." There was other stuff there about D H capacity to make money, and about D H having said he would rather I not work. My mother implied I was putting that arrangement in danger and where would I be when D H left me with nothing but a job where someone like me could be hired.

    A part time job, at that.

    I took the position. Part time, full benefits. I was told that if I chose to go full time, supervisory position was very probable.

    The company reimbursed for education. That is how I began going back to school.

    My mother taunted me about school, about why I would even think to do something like that. It was my father, as I began my Junior year, who said that if I did complete the requirements for that degree, he would attend my graduation.

    And I never thought about it too much, but the conversation between the two of them had to have been my mother hating, and my father taking a stand.

    I did graduate. Cum laude. There were many honors.

    They attended the graduation and one of the Honors ceremonies.

    My mother seemed to enjoy it.

    I was so happy to share that with them both.


    I think I am on to something here. The things my mother did and said, the expressions on her face while she did them, these were very ugly. We have spent our lives protecting ourselves from what we know.

    And protecting them from what we know.

  13. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    One of the threads is about the way we view our mates, and is about the way we view ourselves in our relationships. For those with an abusive parent ~ which will mean, I now believe, a gamut of intergenerationally abusive relationships of varying degrees of subtlety or overtness ~ from grandparents to nieces to aunts and uncles to sibs and their children, too ~ consider the abusive parent's interpretation of your mate, and of yourself in relationship to your mate.

    Think how nasty my mother's interpretations of myself, of my mate, our home, our children...and though I told myself that was just how my mother was, on some level, I believed, and believed I deserved no better or I would not have believed no one would hire me. But I did believe that. Like a brainwashed soldier who cannot determine reality, I believed whatever she said or implied.


    These people had such terrible effects on every aspect of our lives, on every smallest nuance of self. Once we see it, it is shocking. Shocking, to understand that was so intrinsic a piece of who we were that we did not question it.

    That we never even saw it.

    No wonder D H never liked my mom or my sister. I thought he was just being jerky.

    And he never thought much of my brother, either.

    Or my aunt or my grandmother.

    But he hosted the most beautiful dinners for all of us, and he enjoyed that part. Just not them.

    D H did like my father, very much.


    On the shining mother part: These are brown and shriveled things, now. There are still some determinedly bright images of my mother, but I know now there is trauma beneath. I recall Jung, supposed to have kept a representation of himself in a tiny box in the attic of his childhood home. I recall him working with rocks, huge rocks, because of their connection to Time, in the home where he retired. He brought the representation of self there with him.

    I don't know how those two things come together, or what that means where my mother or my process at this point is concerned.

    I only know it is connected.


    Kind of a yucky feeling, all of this.

    Like wandering around a Carnival after dawn. All the lights are out ~ some of them, burned out. The lot is dirty and deserted, the costumes tattered and cheap looking.

    Everything so cheap looking.

    Bad smells.

    Only the Fortune machine looks the same.

    Sort of a friendly, familiar scary thing.


    So, that's good, then.

    I have just enough money to learn my Fortune; maybe, a little more. Before I do though, I will sit and drink coffee. And the Fortune will be from some friendly scary thing, old and familiar and beloved.

    Remember my contention that this is all connected somehow to breathing, and to asthma, and to allergies.

    To limiting myself.

    To never risking and succeeding, and learning Mother lied because that would be very wrong.

    That is an essential piece of the conflict here for all of us: Who is the liar, here.

    Think how strong a hold those belief systems have on us. Think, oh just think, what they have cost.

    So. If I were going to name the illness my mother suffered, I would name it Narcissism. But I have read Narcissists do not generally beat their children or kick their dogs or threaten with fire.

    Sociopaths do.


    Does it matter what the name is. It does, in the sense of why the Liar lied, and how that was justified. And how it was that what happened to all of us was justified. And continues to be not only justified, but celebrated, to this very day.


    There are witnesses to the shunning now, and to my changing interpretations of what it means, of what it represents. Maya, an Englishman, some others.


    Something here about balance. The surfing imagery contained information about balance; about speed, incredible speed, and wind and sun.

    Pay attention.

    There are sharks, where the water is deep and very cold.

    And shafts of gray light, piercing the dark.

    Climate change.


    So, I was 42, when I graduated.

    I am glad that happened, for all of us.

    It is good to have signposts that cannot be sullied or disproven.

    And that was a very classy school, and was an impossible thing that I did, at the age that I did it. And I did it while my life and my marriage were falling apart, and while I became a Grandmother for the first time. And while I was losing hope that daughter would be able to put this behind her. And the falling in love with that little girl I would name here Baklava grand.

    Easy cheesy.

    F you, Mom.


    It's possible she would have done better if she could.


    Thank you for witnessing for me, everyone.

    This part feels pretty awful.
  14. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    So, Saturday and Sunday are Book TV days. And these are my favorite programs, and I wait for them all week, as you know. (Now that Beverly Hills Housewives, where the higher the heel, the closer to God, isn't on anymore.) Today, just now in fact, a Japanese lady writing about the Internment. Telling how everything was lost, had been taken, any smallest thing of value, gone ~ stolen, by the time they were allowed to return. By the time they and their children and families were freed. (As we are freeing ourselves, and our families, now.) When they returned, they were told ten of their twenty acres would be taken by the Government, one way or the other. So, they sold the ten acres and were left with ten acres of land and nothing more, at all.

    And the lady says there are people who say to her, "Aren't you angry. Aren't you bitter."

    "No!" she says. "This is my country."

    "We paid back. Five of us in my family joined the Service. We paid back; we proved ourselves loyal and we proved our worth to this Country, to this wonderful Country of our choosing."

    And she talked about the shooting at the Church when a White man shot dead so many Black people and the people forgave him. And she said, "Like a mist of forgiveness, a cooling mist of forgiveness, so that we can create something more, something good."

    So, I think that applies very nicely to our healing processes.

    Internment: When we are overpowered and falsely accused and named traitor and everything we had left is stolen away, while we are Interned. (This would be reputation among family, among extended family; this would be the nieces and nephews poisoned against us, and the new husbands or wives. This would be my mother, writing a story casting suspicion of murder on her mother-in-law once my father and everyone we know in his family was dead.)

    The cooling mist of forgiveness.

    And the lady was surrounded by growing plants. And I got it that the misting was an intentional act; an act of faith and belief.

    A cooling mist of forgiveness.

    No more than that. No further definition required.

    A little like, "Pray for their peace and therein, find our own."

    So I don't know exactly how that fits here either, I just know that it does.

    The Country is our own lives, of course. Our own lives that we've chosen, and created from nothing but what was left after everything was stolen and even that was cut in half. And even the family members who joined the Service and served well and honorably. No one knows about that, anymore. No one cared about it, then.

    Except them; except the lady and her family.

    Except us, as we tell ourselves true things that are so unbelievably hurtful and that seem so wickedly pointless and so wrong.

    It had to do with honor, this lady's talk, and with the Japanese family declaring their own names in that same way that committing to our work with integrity has to do with honor, and with declaring our own names, and with defining ourselves to ourselves, and with making that visible not for them, not for anyone else, but for ourselves.

    Internal locus of control.

    That is how we regain it.

    The quality of Mercy is not strain'd
    It falleth as the gentle rain from Heav'n
    Upon the place beneath.

    It is twice blest;
    It blesseth him that gives and him
    that takes.

    "Tis Mightiest in the Mighty.

    So, that's Shakespeare, of course. From the Merchant of Venice.

    Very helpful to me, when I am deeply angered and in that place of bitter vengeance.

    The quality of Mercy is not strain'd....

    A cooling mist of forgiveness, intentionally undertaken. Not for their sakes, but for our own.

  15. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Another change for me, maybe just a little thing or maybe, something huge.

    One of us wrote (on Watercooler) about feeling upset at what her kids were doing from her own perspective. There was no guilt in her posting, there were no questions or decisions to be kind and all the things I am forever posting about. One of the things she (sadandfrustrated) posted: "I don't need this crap."

    It's like being able to stand where you are and look out and not take responsibility for what anyone else is doing. Not even to feel badly, to suffer, for the ruination of the thing you worked to achieve. Her phrase was an acknowledgment that she had done her part and more and someone was messing with the fruition of what she had worked as hard as she had to create this thing meant to bring them together and

    she . does . not . need . this . crap.

    I am fascinated by this.

    It is mindboggling me.


    It could apply to everything in our lives.

    No guilt.

    No second guessing our motives or beating ourselves up for not having seen it coming.

    "I don't need this crap."

    I am enamored of this phrase.
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  16. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Well, somehow I missed this thread and I am not getting alerts for some others. Sigh.

    I will catch up. I posted today on Serenity's Foo thread, and it really belonged here, because I am dealing with appearance issues, too. Except I am acting it out. It is not just feelings. I have turned myself into a Rastafarian by accident.

    I will catch up with this thread and get back to you later.

    Last edited: Nov 20, 2015
  17. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I missed this thread totally so I will work hard to catch up. Very germane for me this day and week. I have been embracing my inner Germany with very poor results.
    Good. I have a great deal of shame when I try to do some kinds of work.
    In the work the doing of which evokes shame, I have very little integrity.
    Exactly. For many years I studied which culminated in an academic degree and a profession. From the time I committed to the idea of this to the achieving of a license, which entailed 4 years of internships, was about 17 or 18 years. On top of a bachelor's degree. I did the work as a licensed person for maybe 18 years, with some time off to dance and to care for my Mom.

    Over those years my commitment changed me. And my attitude towards work changed. And my attitude towards me working changing extraordinarily.

    I came to believe myself to be a highly proficient person. I came to see myself as extraordinarily committed to my work. I came to see myself as entirely inner directed with respect to my work. I came to see myself as having a great deal of integrity in my work. In my profession I am extremely hard-working. M says I have a "don" for my work. I love it when he says this. It is to have a gift.

    I am not bragging here. All of the previous paragraph is a set up for this:Nothing about me could have predicted any of that. It was created in the course of working. In no other area of my life, in a working sense, do I have anywhere near this integrity, discipline or pride. In fact I am a sloth.
    Well, great. Just as I was embracing my beauty, I have to confront decay.

    As an aside, there is a wonderful book by the anthropologist Mary Douglas called Purity and Danger.
    I have written elsewhere that I was a domestic servant to my mother as a child. Washing, vacuuming, dusting, washing dishes, windows, bathrooms, ironing, sweeping 3 floors of steps (2 staircases), making beds, watering the garden, sweeping concrete in front and in back. started very early for me. These were chores I did alone. I was responsible for them. If I did not do them well I was disciplined.

    With my grandmother I gardened. I loved it. I think the difference was that I did it with my grandmother. She was with me. We did it together.

    When I do any of these chores now I feel extreme anxiety. I am beginning to believe *thank you, Cedar, that it covers shame. When I start feeling the anxiety I stop. Typically, I feel anxious right away. Thus, M does almost all of the housework, and folding clothes. It is not fair. He does not like it. I feel ashamed even telling you.
    It is very, very noxious for me to feel this anxiety. My self-talk tells me I am not doing it right. Instead of doing it more and better, I do it less, and stop.

    Cedar, I had fun with the baking soda and vinegar because it was new and an experiment and because you were with me while I did it. It kept away the abusive self-talk even when the porcelain's shine disappeared. Smile.
    Yes. That is what I am talking about.

    I think that is why I need M's sister with me. I need an enforcer. Or somebody who is benign to counteract the negative feelings.
    Yes. This is me, with housework and gardening too. The strange thing is that these are things I value highly. I am highly invested in a beautiful and well-designed home. Not for display. For us. I pore over paint colors; I spend hours and hours thinking about pillows and art work and curtains etc. It is a highly important thing for me. As it was for my mother.
    Is my favorite housework.
    Except in my case, it is bifurcated. My attitude towards my professional working is completely opposite to my attitude towards domestic work

    I would like them to be aligned. I am very invested in learning to sew and do textile arts. I am afraid that my perfectionism will get in the way. That I will not tolerate working through errors. I think this is the heart of things. My mother was a very harsh critic. I have internalized that voice as my own.
    Yes. But how to work through from one extreme to another? That is the question.
    I do not think so, Cedar. I think it is about our companions while we work. For many years I was half-hearted about academic work. I changed one thousand percent. I would like to do so with domestic work.

    I changed in academic and professional work because I had strongly held and specific and tangible goals in mind that I never let loose of. I had a vision. I am a dog with a bone when I have a strongly held goal. I never, ever let go.

    So the answer for me must be, in part, to establish and define a specific goal apart from the task itself. Apart from the house or garden. It has to be something else. Something bigger and more powerful. I wonder if it has to do with a spiritual practice? Or maybe, if I tie it to something that is already a powerful motivator, my academic development, scholarship, study. Maybe I will devise a Psychology of Domestic Work. Like Sports Psychology or Health Psychology or Psychology of Law. How interesting? I am already interested.

    Thank you.

  18. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I cannot believe I missed this thread. I have so much work to do. This is making me so very anxious. Like unbearably so. I have not read through the postings, but did glance at your request, Cedar, to know more about the somatic expression of emotion, in many cultures. Specifically in M's family. I will tell you briefly now and I will expound more when I hit that post.

    I first came across this when writing my dissertation on a certain chronic illness. It is prevalent in Asian cultures, among men and women where depression is often expressed as a physical ailment and cured through somatic treatments.

    Except this makes sense because there are treatments that involve touch and relationship and listening. And with plant based treatments, like in Mexico, these are passed down through the family for ions. M and his sister use remedies that come from Aztec times, taught them by their mother. So when we drink a tea made of a certain plant, she is there with us in spirit. So there is relationship there. Not a pill from a pharmacy. How alone and sterile can you get?

    I got sidetracked. I will tell you something gossipy. M's sister had many ailments, principally muscular/skeletal issues, which she says include Osteoporosis. There have been years when she did not leave the house. Still, there are weeks when she is confined to the house in pain.

    Husband will be losing his job in a few weeks. (She had to give up her beloved Segunda, second hand store, because it was a drain on finances.)
    She is very bad now.

    M's mother is convinced she developed these problems because her husband practiced brujaria, which is witchcraft. Like voodoo. It is extremely common in Mexico and Guatemala where I lived for awhile. One day where I was lived I sat down at a table outside in the morning and found a few objects weirdly grouped. Like a dead animal and a couple of other things. I cannot believe I do not remember.

    Everybody in the household went nuts.

    A neighbor was casting a spell. It went on for a couple of weeks. With progressively weirder stuff showing up.

    OK. I know I am getting sidetracked. I will stop. I will stop here. I would have gone on and on just so I do not have to deal with anxiety provoking post.
    As much anxiety as I am experiencing I wonder if this is what is tapped for me with housework? Think about it. This would have been the first arena of conflict with my mother after toilet training which I can bet was very severely dealt with. She must have been absolutely frantic with all of the messes I made. I loved to make messes. I was artistic from the beginning. Drawing and painting on walls and floors. Taking all the pans and pots out of the cabinet and making music. There must have been battles aplenty to get me to clean up. At 2 or 3 or 4.
    Well, that pretty much sums up what happens around housework.
    Yes. I cannot work my way through this. I am referring to housework here, not appearance. Except, the thing is, I have huge issues about appearance.

    I do not look at myself in the mirror for days and days. I avert my gaze when I brush my teeth. I cannot bear it. To look at myself. What is that about? That is why my hair becomes a rat's nest.
    Yeah, but what if you feel you cannot work?

    M's sister wanted to find a Thai massage place. She went to one where her daughters lived and found it very effective. In another post I will tell you about the sisters' (more than one) dependence on massage. Well, I looked on the internet to see if I could find one for her in our city. I found a place, called Jewel's Massage. It is on a proper street in a proper building.

    But I became anxious it was sexual massage. I mean, I work with prostitutes. Nothing phases me. I lived in a brothel. And all of a sudden I am afraid to call a spa because it might be prostitute? So for two weeks I could not do it, until today I called her to give her the number. I could not call
    I need to look this up. I know nothing about it.
    How sad for us. I remember when I was about 11. (I always loved to be in our yard.) There was a pregnant cat which was there with me. This was the first cat I remember knowing. Strange, I know. I bonded with her. I remember feeling safe with her. I was not anywhere else. I am so grateful I have my Stella, who has healed quite nicely from her dental surgery.
    Imagine living in a climate like this. Unrelenting. Never-ending. No escape. Nowhere to go.
    Maybe this is part of the reason I cannot finish my house. It is already almost gorgeous. I cannot give myself complete peace. Still.
    Perhaps I cannot face the truth, but this is how I see myself. My mother loved me. My father loved me. They saw me as a darling and adorable little girl, because I was. But my mother, particularly, treated me very harshly, very often. Particularly about cleaning the house.
    Yes. I created this to a large extent in my work life, but not totally. Because I have not allowed myself to work in my profession outside of a very punishing bureaucracy where I was in danger emotionally. I did my work in a hostile land. Always vulnerable to denunciation. And largely hidden.
    Yes, but how to start?
    Well like you, I got none of these.
    Thank you for this.
    I love this, too. Maybe this is part of the remedy. To go to battle in my house. A turf war.

    Thank you, Cedar. This was a beautiful and courageous post. How many days am I behind now? 9?

  19. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member



    Cedar, what will be left? Us, I guess.

  20. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Me too. To the point it has been an issue in my work. In emergency situations I make good, intuitive and immediate decisions. I am excellent in a crisis, where the emergent situation forces me to decide. When I have the opportunity to deliberate, like for a recommendation that may affect access to benefits or placement, that might be averse, or where several people are involved and there is no one decision that can benefit all, I go round and round. I look at every angle. I see it as wanting to be as responsible as I can. Others have mocked me. I see them as indifferent to the effects of their decisions.

    I am a poor decision maker in my own life. I either dither and dither. Or I am impulsive and feel out of control. I wonder if this is one more thing I am trying to work out my my compulsive buying.
    I am too tired to talk more about it, but I will tomorrow I hope. I want to talk about M's other sister, one I have never written about. And I want to write more about their use of massage therapists.
    This is horrible. Sadistic. I cannot believe she did this. I have to revise my thinking about her to incorporate this. Cedar, this is bad.