Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Underneath What People See...Or Want To See

Recovery work is not all I do, so these photos show my progress reorganizing my basement. This will be my woman cave! Not all is yet finished, as you can see.

This morning began Week Three of my trauma Counseling.

I went in agitated.

> I'm discombobulated!  Yesterday my sister wrote me a letter that was really out of character.  Except that it's truly IN character - her deepest, truest character.  I'm so confused.  It's like she's not acting like herself!  Remember how I reported she left me high and dry in some guy's room, to sleep with him, when I was 16?  .

"Z" Ah, yes.  She's the professor.

> My sister read my recent posts here, and wrote me. 

"Z"  How did you feel when you saw she had written?

> Well, when I saw it's subject line "Wonderful Work to healing"  I was relieved that it wasn't about her.  Then I read the letter.  I am so discombobulated! Can I read it to you?

"Z"  Please.

"Dear [Gowitheflo]

I have just opened your blog. Wow!!
Dear sister, you are a very courageous woman.
It is a brave thing to let your heart and soul be so exposed
and we can see the results of your healing with each entry.
You are allowing us to be witness to the grandeur of your soul
and the opening of your heart. It is a privilege.

It cut me to the core to read about my heartlessness
and caused me to own it in a way I had not completely.
To hear it through your eyes was powerful.
I know I have apologized before but that seems so lame.
What a disconnected, wounded and bleeding person I was.
I am truly sorry I was who I was,
and was not who you needed, putting you in such danger.
I was not there for myself, nor you, nor anyone else.
I am very proud and happy for you Flo,
knowing how difficult and painful this healing path can be.
Know that my prayers are with you each step you take.
My heart is open for you and I know mine can open wider and wider.
I am so grateful to you, I too continue to grow and open."

"Z"  This is a very compassionate letter.  I was expecting something else...

> This does not compute! She wasn't this respectful to me - ever!.....
"Z" So you are on guard.

>"I'm always on guard.  Loving actions like this really throw me off. 
> When I woke this morning, I told myself I don't need her approval.  Except I realized clearly that the exact opposite is true - seeking approval from others is my entire orientation!  When I get love, like in Hawaii, and this, with my sister, I feel disoriented.  I only feel grounded, and feel my legs under me when I'm getting approval. And getting approval is so rare!
"Z"  Hmmm, I've heard "People Pleasing" described a number of ways, and this is a good description.   So, it's like someone unexpectedly comes up behind you and kicks your knees, collapsing you?  You're re-enacting the mother trauma with your sister.  Let's do some  work. O.K.?   Close your eyes. Would you invite all your inner children in? All ages of them?

> Yes.  Ages baby through 17 are here, plus me.  We're in a circle.  Our hands are at our sides.  Now our hands reach out and clasp.  I start to cry - then feel blank [I've entered that collapsed state].

"Z"  [She brings me back to my feelings]  How do you feel in your body?  What is adult Flo doing?

>  My body feels stiff.   My lower back hurts. That's unusual... I'm looking at my circle of my child selves and I don't know what to do with them.

"Z"  Just 'be' with them.  I know you feel compassion toward others.  Can you feel compassion toward your inner children?

> I feel stiff.  Unfeeling....  >>sigh<<  Well...In the absence of feeling I can at least be a role model to them.   Teach them.  Provide structure for them.

"Z" Who does this remind you off?

> My mother....I am being like my mother. (EGad.  All these years I thought I was nothing like my mother. )
"Z"  ....You need someone outside yourself to [re]mother you...  Would it be O.K. if I was that person?

> Yes. (O.K....This ought to be interesting.)

Are you like your mother?
and is this a good thing?


  1. My thoughts about your sister's letter... if you can change and grow as you get more information about your past (mother neglect and lack of protection) so can your sister. No reason what-so-ever to doubt that her letter is anything but honest and compassionate.

    Question: Do you cook with all your clay pots or just collect them? Have you priced them lately? I got sticker shock when I did. I have two that I'll probably die still owning.

    1. I picked those clay pot beauties up at Goodwill over the years, because they are such beauties. I love meals cooked in them; they just aren't my own...yet.

      Thanks for the reality check on my sister's letter. :-)

    2. What do you cook in your clay pots?

    3. Not so much now that I live alone but it used to be my favorite way to cook. I use my mini crock pot most often now which cooks in a similar way. I was going to buy a small clay pot a year or so ago until I saw the prices. I need to try Goodwill. There is something primal in cooking in them, don't you think.

    4. I think there is something primal in cooking ANYthing from scratch. ...which I'm trying to do more of. I'll let you know when I use my clay pots.

  2. The first thing that came to my mind--if you can change and grow--so can your sister and it sounds like she is! If you were a hurting little girl, your sister probably was also. I think her letter to you was profound!!! Wouldn't it be nice if the two of you could become---sisters?

    1. Yes, the letter is profound. It is also the very first time in her life that she has acknowledged that my own life has profound meaning to her.

      I don't see either of my big sisters becoming BF sisters anytime soon. I 'know' they love me, but 'feeling' it, given their behavior, eludes me. Each has a terrible case of 'the gospel according to...'. >>sigh<< Probably all three of us have this 'flu' LOL

  3. I marvel at how deep you are reaching. I'm not as brave. I too think your sister is trying. And it doesn't matter if you are BFFs or not. We don't get to choose our family ... only our friends.

  4. Yes, I am grateful she is trying. I'm not feeling love inside me, and, well, I can be real here, shortcomings and all.

    Will anybody love me for being real? Somehow, the Velveteen Rabbit comes to mind. Figure that one out...

  5. I'm curious. How do you define love? Your husband loved you with all your shortcomings. We all have shortcomings and most of us find love regardless.

    1. My definition at the moment. Love supports our own, as well as another's wellbeing. Love values the amazing, unique person he or she is. My husband's love felt like a miracle, a gift from God, alien at first. I remember being discombobulated by his affection and profound respect when we first dated. I got used to it. LOL When he died I felt confident about my lovability. I leaned in on my family afterwards, for family can't turn you away, right?

      Oops. Family experience was very different from seeing them once in a while, at holiday time, at my husband's side. I found myself both compulsively drawn to and repelled a family community with a different definition of 'love' than I experienced with my husband. In this family community, Love = Approval, with shaming 'jokes' as behavioral modifiers. Love = Stiff Upper Lip, with zero tolerance for sharing feelings. Love = Independence, not relying on friendship - I was told to get a therapist when I asked for emotional support. Love = Being nice on the surface, NOT sharing 'dirty laundry'. Love = Aligning with one side or another in 'secret' family feuds.

      It was to survive emotionally that I began writing this blog. This is no joke. I prayed that someone in the ether had the same definition of love my husband and I had: Valuing the other person, warts and all.