Standing up for the infant in me

Progress....

I managed to speak for the needs of the unborn child, child and youth I once was in the face of very stiff opposition.

While talking to my sister I expressed some of the childhood traumas that involved my mother very directly. My sister took it as mother bashing or woman bashing and tried to shut me down. I told her repeatedly that this wasn’t about blaming her or mothers or women. It was about identifying the factors that were hurtful to the unborn child and child I once was so that they can be expressed to her and healed in me (I'm dealing with severe health issues, it's not an academic exercise, my health and survival depend on it). I eventually said that if we have to blame anyone it would be the “Village” talked about pretty regularly when it comes to identifying what it takes to raise a healthy child. If anyone is to blame, it’s us all.

I think I got through to her and defended the innocent child I once was. I had to get mighty angry, use profane language (not my usual) and loud to counter her unsupportive stance. An hour later I was in tears as the repressed pain from that time period in my life surfaced. I had created safety for myself in the face of a very aggressive sister!

In my family the mantra “don’t upset Mom” was drilled into me quite strongly. It was heavily supported by a father who was quick and intense in his anger. Fortunately he’s dead. I saw no possibility of positive change in him at this level while he was alive. My mother clings to her “victim” or “martyr” role like her life depended on it to this very day. She is not healthy emotionally or sexually. That was a high stress mother for me as a fetus, infant, child and youth. I had to suppress my needs a great deal and tolerate her neglect and abuse. My sister has tended to side with her unhealthy stance too. She tends to treat me like I am her stupid little brother who she has to force to comply with her idea of what’s good even if my needs aren't even on the table. My brother tends not to get involved at all but doesn’t help me.

It’s tough defending the needs of an infant boy to an entire family that seems to be dead set against it. But I did it! I stood up for him… and me! Ouf. Now to build on this and continue to heal myself and build the kind of “Family of Choice”, I (and my Inner Child) need to thrive around local people.

Thanks for your support,

Garth
 
A second success today...

My sister has been planning to visit my mother (who lives locally). She's scheduled to arrive in a week. After that last conversation with her (it happened over the phone), I was getting quite nervous about being guilt tripped by my mother and my sister to socialize with her even though I didn't want to. After a whole day of fretting, I thought this morning, "Why not ask my mother NOT to include me in social visits that include my sister". This a major change from what I lived with them when I was about 3 (mother severely depressed and unavailable, older sister behaving as surrogate mother to me (she was 6 years old at the time)). My mother agreed to not invite me to any non-essential events that included my sister. Ouf! Relief. I protected the infant child in me once again. Yay!!! :)

Just thought I'd fill you in.

Cheers,

Garth
 
GOOD JOB SUBTLE STUFF!!!!

Just don’t be weakened by guiltand emforce the boundaries you set forth. I say this hoping I am wrong about the wording “agreed to not invite me to any nonessential events...” a severely depressed mother and a surrogate mother sister may see it essential to “family” and to their reverse roles to command or guilt your appearance. Protect the ground youbjave taken back for your safety and do not surrender it!
 
Thanks guys,

This is a major change for me. My body is certainly feeling the stress. I've been seeing that this event with my sister may be connected to my birth. She was an only child until I came along and may have wanted me dead at the time. It certainly felt like she wanted me dead during the phone conversation we had recently. Paradoxically, she seems to think she's helping! I was in tears afterwards (very rare for me). When I was conceived, I doubt very strongly that my sister was involved in that decision with my parents. She went from being an only child to having to share her world with me. It would have been far easier to take her anger at this erosion of her monopoly of maternal affection out on me than direct it at my mother.

After I got my mother to stop including me in any social events with my sister during her upcoming visit, I went through a bunch of feelings related to maternal support. My sister was pretty obsessed with criticizing my use of money to support my healing process. Some of that money comes from my mother. I wondered if it had something to do with our recent conversations about my mother's Will. It might have triggered memories of when I was three, my sister 6 and my mother was going through major depression due to the death of her sister. I would have felt at my sister's mercy (she broke my arm in a tricycle accident at this time) and my mother would have felt completely unavailable to me. My sister would have felt a great deal of pressure to control me so as to not further upset my mother and have her die on us (child thinking which my sister confirmed). I broke through it this time by expressing my concern about my long term needs to my mother and suggesting that I figure out a budget for my future to see if the conditions in her Will would actually satisfy them or not. My mother thought it was a good idea! She also wants to talk with my sister about her way of relating to me.

Looks like I've found a way to reverse the pattern of having my needs ignored by my mother and being actively hurt by my sister. I'm thinking I'll reach out to my brother to strengthen that (very weak) connection. I'm changing family dynamics that were set long ago to be less conflicted and more supportive of my needs. It's a big change. I'm finally finding a way to feel that I can positively influence family dynamics for myself.

I'm seeing that harmonious relations are key to health. My life was set up on some very stressful, conflicted family relations starting in my second trimester in utero (two major deaths in my mother's life (one in my third trimester to birth, another at 3.5 years), a move in my second trimester (very stressful for a mother and her unborn child according to Thoms Verny's The Secret Life of the Unborn Child), the unexpected birth of a new sibling when I was very young (15 months old), extremely conservative and socially isolated culture (military, little support for mother and hence the infant me), poor communication around sexual relations for my parents, no communication and no emotional resolution around these issues. I ended dealing with the consequences and carrying the burden.) I'm doing alot to establish a harmonious connection between my body (inner fetus and infant), heart (inner child) and mind (inner young adult). It seems to be working its way outward too.

Thanks for your support and kudos. Much appreciated! :)

Garth
 
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Thanks for the heads up Mani!
Just don’t be weakened by guilt and enforce the boundaries you set forth.... Protect the ground youbjave taken back for your safety and do not surrender it!
Yes, I do have a tendency to try to please before I'm really safe. I'm getting clearer on what I need. I need a sister who understands my healing related needs enough to be supportive of my healing process. Otherwise I need to stay away from her as much as possible. She can be really hurtful to me. My mother seems to be on board with supporting me. She's changed alot in recent years and is much more supportive and emotionally stable than I generally expect. I've agreed to pick up my sister (with my mother) at the airport and negotiate for shared use of the car. That's where it ends. Sticking to my gut feeling around whether I'm safe or not is going to be my challenge. I also have to direct my sister to my mother if she needs help with the change rather than trying to resolve her emotional problems myself. My mother has agreed to do this for me! :) I just have to remember that and stick to it.

I'll certainly keep your warning in mind. Thanks!

Cheers,

Garth
 
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A little more news.

I got my mother's assurance that she would deal with my sister's controlling and hurtful behaviour. I wouldn't have to worry about exposing myself to it. This is good. It's a big relief that my emotional needs are finally on the table!

I also asked her if my sister was involved in the decision to have me before I was born (and before I was conceived). She told me that we were all accidents. None of us were planned. I laughed! What a relief! I thought my sister and I had been planned (i.e. "special" not a good thing ordinariness is underrated)... apparently not. An accidental birth with little preparation, little support from father or the community, major crises during pregnancy and a medicalized approach to delivery. Not the best for a child. No wonder my health is so poor!

Just thought I'd fill you in on the latest news.

Cheers,

Garth
 
A little more,

I've been doing much work paying attention to my digestion and belly and working at creating a healthier, more loving connection with my belly. (I have a severe autoimmune illness that affects my digestion pretty intensely). Today as I was going through my normal stress around eating habits, I really got into the groove of honouring my gut's needs. At one point, I was trying to decide whether to eat a little more and got a pretty clear message that that would be too much. So after some internal struggle, I refrained from eating. A short while later, I was having some pretty intense dreams about my sister's upcoming visit and felt rage at her unwillingness to respect my decisions about my health. I had quite a few creative fantasies about how I could protect myself. Eventually after these settled down, I had an imaginary scenario where I quite calmly informed her that I wasn't going to continue to drive her from the airport if she insisted on harassing me. She could grab a taxi or agree to refrain from bossing me around. It felt strong.

I realized that my eating habits (eating more than my gut can comfortably handle or eating food to which I am reacting) were serving to keep my anger (and strength) repressed. I find this very interesting. Just thought I'd share.

Cheers,

Garth
 

Healing light

Registrant
A little more,

I've been doing much work paying attention to my digestion and belly and working at creating a healthier, more loving connection with my belly. (I have a severe autoimmune illness that affects my digestion pretty intensely). Today as I was going through my normal stress around eating habits, I really got into the groove of honouring my gut's needs. At one point, I was trying to decide whether to eat a little more and got a pretty clear message that that would be too much. So after some internal struggle, I refrained from eating. A short while later, I was having some pretty intense dreams about my sister's upcoming visit and felt rage at her unwillingness to respect my decisions about my health. I had quite a few creative fantasies about how I could protect myself. Eventually after these settled down, I had an imaginary scenario where I quite calmly informed her that I wasn't going to continue to drive her from the airport if she insisted on harassing me. She could grab a taxi or agree to refrain from bossing me around. It felt strong.

I realized that my eating habits (eating more than my gut can comfortably handle or eating food to which I am reacting) were serving to keep my anger (and strength) repressed. I find this very interesting. Just thought I'd share.

Cheers,

Garth
I'm glad your making positive choices for your healing

Peace HL
 
Today's events,

I managed to pick up my sister at the airport with my mother accompanying me. It went well. I managed to stay focused on the task I had agreed to do (drive my sister from the airport in company of my mother), refrained from adding my comments to any part of the conversation my mother and sister had while in the car, and declined an invitation to visit when we arrived at my mother's place (where my sister is staying). It's a relief. I did alot of work to prepare my mother and she is doing her part well. I'm grateful for that. It's been challenging to gain effective support from her, but I think I know what works for her (dealing with my sister, acknowledging past trauma and its effect on my health, a willingness to help me set up a healthy future for myself and financial support mainly) and what doesn't (helping with my need for safe healing touch practices, support for creating healthy intimate relations with women).

This whole thing with my sister reminds me quite strongly of the tricycle accident I mention in a previous post . On that day my sister was riding on the back step of my tricycle fighting with me to control the steering. She won. I fell off and broke my elbow. These days it would seem she is trying to control my life direction again. I'm not letting her and unlike when I was 3 and a half, I have my mother's support. I also succeeded in successfully reaching out for support (a survival need for a kid) which was foiled when I was young (mother sent me to hospital and didn't visit because she was accused by hospital staff of child abuse. I was confined to a crib. My ony visitor was my father).

My sister is here until Thursday. So far so good. Wish me luck for the rest. I've agreed to drive my sister and mother to the beach (but not to stay with them) and to drive my sister back to the airport. My mother is likely to come too (if not I'll ask her to) so that she can keep my sister busy with conversation while I focus on driving and keeping myself safe.

Cheers,

Garth
 

Brennan87

Registrant
Subtlestuff,

Good for you for establishing healthy boundaries and sticking with them regarding your sister. Food for thought, too often, those around us prefer to stick their head in the sand rather than allow the bubble they created be burst. It's easier for them to deal. Maybe I'm projecting my own life onto yours, but it sounds as though when you told your sister, this might be how she is reacting. It didn't happen, thus, we never speak of this again type of thing. It's easier for her to face than face reality. I have a sister like this as well. She believes that our youth was a carbon copy of the brady bunch, when nothing could be further from the truth. In the past, whenever I would bring things up, It was always met with "I don't remember that"> Yet, she's almost 8 years older. Putting boundaries in place that will protect you is the best way to address this. Kudos to you!
 
Thanks Brennan87!
Good for you for establishing healthy boundaries and sticking with them regarding your sister. Kudos to you!
:)

Food for thought, too often, those around us prefer to stick their head in the sand rather than allow the bubble they created be burst. It's easier for them to deal.
My sister seems to really think she's doing me a service when she's actually hurting me quite deeply. She seems to think that it's her business to control my life as much as possible and get the dumb ideas I have regarding my healing process out of my head. She probably has her own unhealed childhood trauma wounds that are playing out this way. She has consistently showed that she has no tolerance for the kind of information I share with her about my history of childhood trauma. I'm simply going to keep my distance until she shows that she can respect me and my approach to self healing. Fortunately my mother is much more supportive at this level. Thanks for your thoughts.

Cheers,

Garth
 
Day 2:

I managed again to steer clear of risky conversations with my sister even while driving my mother and sister to the beach and back (I didn't stay). That part of today went well. I took care of my immediate needs.

I also watched Andrea Brandt's Presentation today on Avaiya's Healing from Childhood Trauma Master Class and used some of her ideas to inquire why my gut was feeling so tense in spite of my successes at keeping my sister at bay. When I really tapped into my gut's wisdom I heard the thought that it was upset that I was trying to create a safe place for myself within my family of birth. It didn't think that possible. It's also true that I often do things that try to convince my mother, sister and brother that there are approaches to healing that might benefit them. That's likely true, but they have too much to lose so they stick to the status quo. I've been making subtle attempts to create a safer more intimate and warm-hearted connection with them. It's what gets me into trouble. It puts me in an exposed place where I'm not safe. Since my most recent interactions with my brother and sister, there are conversations I no longer want to have with them. I'm not really keen on much of a connection at all. I can't fully relax, open and feel safe with them. I recognized the wisdom in that thought coming from my gut. The feeling in my gut was of a great deal of fear. It felt like it was coming from a very young infant, perhaps the unborn child I was in my mother's womb or the 4 year old I once was. I thanked it for it's wisdom and reassured it that I was abandoning any efforts to win family members over to a place where I would feel safe. I would focus on keeping the infant I once was and the gut that still reacts to subtle signs of threat safe. I'm been feeling sad ever since but my gut is doing much better. I suspect the dream of a safe family has occupied my mind in subtle ways for a very long time. It's a pipe dream and keeps me drunk on a fantasy. SIgh! I'm finding it sad to let it go, but let it go I must. Grieving is something I rarely do well. Time for some practice! Time to face the pain. Sigh!

Just thought I'd fill you in.

Cheers,

Garth
 
Day 3

I was worried that since I was driving my sister and mother to City Park on my way to a session with my therapist that my sister would bring up a conversation around my choice of healing process and try to criticize/impose her way on me again. I was ready for it, but it didn't happen. Another day where I kept myself safe in the presence of a threatening/unsupportive person.

I'm feeling sad at the loss of my dream of a safe place within family. I'm realizing that I was given an impossible task: "stay healthy and strong, so that you can provide for yourself and others and yet don't expect us to provide the conditions for that to happen". I don't see much of a way to avoid Adverse Childhood Experiences (and the severe health challenges that are connected to them) when you have as a source of nurturing a single female and you are in competition with her moodiness, your siblings and her husband. Someone has to lose. Given random crises, other bonding disruptions and a woman with a tendency to suppress her anger and then use me as compensation, I didn't have much of a chance. Sigh! I am interested in a future where I can participate in the movement to prevent Adverse Childhood Experiences. For now, I seem to be letting go of a big chunk of my past. I do best when I stay present, and mindful. I slip, however, into the sadness pretty regularly. It's painful to feel like a failure in the eyes of most people even though I know it's no fault of my own. It's painful to feel so deeply unloved by people who appear generally friendly and highly celebrated in this culture.

Cheers,

Garth
 
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Healing light

Registrant
I hope it gets easier for you but I'm glad your taking càre of your needs like you are
It is very difficult , I wish you peace in your healing
HL
 
Day 4,

Very little driving my sister and mother around today. We seem to have settled into a routine where I drive, play calming music on the car CD player, they talk. Works for me!

I wrestled with my various approaches to healing today and was feeling somewhat desperate then relaxed into a meditative state while listening to a soothing music CD. I was reminded of some notes I took during Richard Schwartz's session in the Avaiya talks on Healing Childhood Trauma:
Exiles crave a redeemer. They got the message from a caretaker that they weren’t valuable. The exiles crave someone who will tell them they are valuable. Protectors aren’t so keen on this relationship because they fear intimacy (unsafe). Solution = Self becomes primary redeemer. Become the primary caretaker of your exiles. Don’t give that job to someone else.
I know that I often look for someone or some group of people who will "save" me from my pain. So far, it has never worked. I simply find I get rejected and/or the people leave and I end up feeling hurt or angry or both... again. This idea of having "me" the Self as the Redeemer is good. My therapist talked of reparenting myself (self as new mother i.e. redeemer). Richard Miller of iRest also mentions a core self being unwounded. I FEEL like an exile in so many ways. People who embrace me as I am including my need to be touched and held are very rare. I only have two: my primary therapist and an animal therapist I see occasionally. Sigh! Experimenting with iRest's welcoming of all sensations, emotions and thoughts seems to help. Now that I've given up on family as a safe place and have faced the pain of it all, I seem to be settling into a more meditative approach to healing. I hope it helps. I'm tired of suffering.

Cheers,

Garth
 
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