Abandonment, Adoption, Anger, Anxiety, Assault, Brit Lapthorne, Confusion, Panic attacks, Pinocchio, Post-traumatic stress, Rage, Wrathful
Pinocchio’s nose is less obtrusive than the sure knowledge of my mother’s combustible nature, both from my childhood and right up til the present day.
Few are the Christmas or other family holidays in my recollection where she didn’t spit the dummy (in a seriously major league kind of way). Often it was over small, inconsequential things. At least once, if not multiple times during the hours we spent cloistered confusingly and unhappily as a family… this is the meaning of family?
I don’t want to be like that. Ever… I would chant to myself…
Mostly I recoiled in horror from her irrational and emotionally violent outbursts. They froze my mind, rendering my ability to respond practically useless. It was easier to slink away and wonder what the hell it was all about, knowing we’d probably never find out.
The collective debris of these moments gathered and surrounded us til we knew what to expect and how to pretend it never happened.
Eventually through my own wilful misadventures brought on via naiveté and romantic idealism and because I accused my parents of not understanding, very bluntly one night, the poisoned agony driving my mother’s experience of life was explained. Or at least some of it… she jealously guards it… no one can interfere, no one can understand her miserable life and no, she doesn’t want any help with that thank you very much!
The angry outbursts continue to this day. She even rants about people on TV, in the news. Brit Lapthorne’s parents? They spent way too much time courting the media – media whores! Anyone who’s ever adopted a child? Dirty rotten baby stealers, worthy of her scorn and hatred the lot of them (her own child – my absent half-brother – was forcibly removed from her as a single mother in the 60’s). Rant-rant-rant. And she don’t stop.
We three kids grew up with one explosive and unpredictable parent, and another who was mysterious in his own way – very quiet and internalised, never expressing anything much. My sister and I would question each other: Have you found out anything new about mum and dad lately? What do you know about them? Why don’t we know much about them??
I can’t count the number of times we had that discussion…
When we kids tested my mother to her limits she’d become extremely angry and threaten us… she’d leave the whole family – just walk out the door and never come back. Terrifying to a young child. This generated much anxiety… we’d beg her not to go, cry and say how sorry we were…
After several repeat performances we realised she never went further than the car. She’d sob there, before wearily returning silently and ignoring us til dad came home.
To this day, I cringe when confronted with irrational, illogical and extreme expressions of anger. Those who won’t be reasoned with. Anyone who’s really angry at me. I still freeze, I feel physically ill and I don’t know what to say in the face of such a horrible human expression.
Heated and passionate debate? Not a problem as long as there’s logic and open lines of communication. In fact, I enjoy it. Bring on such passionate exchanges any day of the week…
But wilful, wrathful, single-minded fury, the likes of which I expressed not so long ago (possibly for the first time in my life)? No. I run from that sort of anger. Like a rabbit. Whether it’s mine or others’. I lose my communicative abilities entirely.
It seems, despite everything I’ve been through with this wretched assault that I’ve allowed to invade my life and take too many hours of enjoyment and love away… I’ve never, ever, permitted myself to feel totally and utterly pissed off about any of it.
And so, from within deep ravines of my inner being (where wounds never quite heal over) came the furious host, unstoppable til it ran its course.
It dragged its dirty unsanitary claws raggedly across the newly salved scars on my heart tearing them wide-open… awakened, the terror replays in its familiar groove generating intensely painful panic attacks and anxiety, destroying the structure of my brain (leaving jelly-like mush) and my ability to concentrate, bringing to the fore that ever-present teary-ness…
Prickling just beneath my pores. With ridiculous ease I cry (not because I want to) wandering the streets, in private bathroom-break minutes, sitting here alone typing, entirely vulnerable and so completely and utterly sick of myself. And of dealing with this stuff alone, never, ever, with anyone here to put their arms around me and tell me it’s gonna be okay.
I’m temporarily weakened and disarmed. But I know this place. I know I am not that. Confused, for sure, I don’t get it, this return of pain (H tells me its common for trauma to re-visit, damnit). I know this is just energy passing through in a wretchedly painful form… and for now it’s a parasite, not budging, despite my many valiant efforts.
“Spit the dummy”???!!!
My, what a strange breed you koala people are….
On a slightly more serious note…slightly…I’m reminded of a walk I took a day or two after my father died–I could see him in my mind’s eye, and he looked so different than I’d ever seen him before–so much like me–not in a physical way, so much, but more like I could see him so much more deeply than I ever had before…and it was then that I realized what the source of all of our conflicts was–simply looking at each other and seeing mirrors reflecting everything we hated about ourselves….
@Dr Jay – we Aussies have a whole lexicon you’d absolutely love… It always amuses my US yogi and yogini buddies when we hang out… last time they were tickled that we call mosquitoes “mozzies” instead of “skeeters” or whatever horrendous word you use…
You have to get much more inventive BTW, with your Aussie insults now you know this – do some research man!!
Oh – and Brit Lapthorne is a young backpacker who recently went missing in Croatia and turned up in the ocean sans arms and legs. The Croation authorities appear to have entirely bungled the investigation and claimed her death was from ‘natural causes’. Hmmm.
So yeah, slightly more seriously… um, yeah. We are. Projections of our parents. Reflections of that we don’t wish to be. In some ways, we can’t help it, at least… not when we start out in this life.
But to truly be free, we must embrace those things we detest in order to take the power out of them. Once we see how we relate to them, we can’t let them rule us, not if we want liberation – and I’m not necessarily talking about enlightenment (although that’d be nice too) but just purely, living without being held hostage to our DNA, our upbringing and our fears and doubts…
You are not alone in this. I am here and so are many others, but I know it isn’t the same. I wish I didn’t live thousands of miles away because I would give you a big hug for comfort and because I am so proud of you.
It’s true Svasti, as CC says – you are not alone, though it may feel lonely. You recently wrote a comment on my blog about recognizing separation, or the fact that there is none. It is so true.
So much of what you’ve written here is similar to my own mother’s rage. How grateful I am for having a sister (Lucy, a fellow reader of yours, and you of hers!!) to journey through the healing of that violent rage… and ours did get quite physical as well. The beauty I see is that you courageously transform your fire into these words that elevate, heal, and inspire. Unlike your mother, you do want to deal with it ALL, (thank you very much) and the Mirror was just the starting point. You’ve obviously stepped through that looking glass and you are tending to the cuts and scrapes it inevitably has made. What ever that takes at the time, you seem to be present for it all.
I applaud your courage in baring your soul for us here with such honesty and clarity. I have faith that the energy is moving – it’s pace is slow and may feel stopped in a parasitic way, but big things are happening as you are present with that pain.
much peace to you, Karin
Michelle Tackabery said:
O my poor Svasti, how well I know your mother. She and my stepfather are twinned souls; halves of the same awful person. Reading this reminds me (oh pain) of the same. Have you heard the 10,000 Maniacs song “Don’t Talk?” That song was the first time I could articulate that nameless wrath, that raging thing that sat on the couch, drank and raged, drank and was wrath, drank and was anger, drank and was irrationality, or wasn’t even drinking and was anger, was hate, was fear, and trapped me in silence, paralysis, depression.
This week is Thanksgiving here in the United States and every year at this time I feel the nameless dread of reliving those horrors even though now he is dead, and my mother isn’t here, and the times of that irrationality, of screaming at the television, of blaming me for the evils of every teenager in the universe are over, they are never over.
Oh pain. I understand. That’s all I can say.
@CC – thanks. It really isn’t the same but as I’ve said before, I truly appreciate all of my online bloggy friends and the varying degrees of interaction I have with them all.
What has been missing is enough gentle human touch right here, in the realm of the physical. But I’m working on it, starting to reach out to more people…
@Karin – yes, I know that absolutely we are not seperate. But at the moment, having just moved into my own place and with a family that on the whole can’t/don’t want to deal with what I’m going through… and really, not enough friends here locally I can call on when I need them most, its tough to keep that in mind sometimes.
So I talk to my dear friends in other places (thanks S, T, Y, J & LBG) and I write and I communicate via email, IM and this blog with those I’ve never met who understand and accept this horribleness better than my own kin.
@Michelle – I need to clarify something – my mother is not a horrible person.
In fact, sometimes she can be very caring and generous, just not always. She’s been a wonderful legal guardian to her mentally disabled cousin for many years. And before things broke down so badly with her and her own mother, she was her main carer too.
My mother just has limitations, in terms of what she’s able to cope with. Its my opinion she has so much unresolved emotional pain and trauma of her own that she simply has no room for anyone else’s.
I don’t blame my mother or hold her responsible for my own state of being, its simply interesting I think to see how it all fits together, understand, and then do what we can to change the impact our parents (such intimate people in our lives) have had on our minds and emotions. The impact belongs to us, not them. And in recognising it, we have the opportunity to create some balance for ourselves and become free of our reactivity.
I don’t know the song you mean, but if it helped you get that rage out, then good!
“Poisoned agony,” you wrote … what a powerful pairing of words. They say so much.
You write of the Thanksgiving holiday … and I think, too, of Christmas, just a month away now. Christmas — talk about combustable!
I’m focusing on Advent this year, for the first time. I don’t adhere to any religious tradition, but I love knowing that in just under a month, the light will once again gain in moments over the dark …
The return of light; the warming of dark.
Be well, and thank you for such potent, resonant words…
P.S. Your mother’s outbursts (i.e., of people who adopt: “dirty rotten baby-stealers”) remind me of a film I watched last night … *Monster’s Ball*. One man, a central character’s father, is a festering wound, dying of his own rage. The film is difficult to watch at moments … but also very cathartic because there is compassion, justice, resolution as well. I started to watch it a second time — it’s brilliant in its grit — but my husband shooed me to bed! ;-D
@Jaliya – thank you for your words… its nice to know there’s something useful coming out of all of this!
Actually here in Australia we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, so I’m only referring to Christmas and other holidays including Easter and any school holidays.
I’ve never enjoyed Christmas as an adult. Especially not the materialism that goes with it. And the expectation…
Also here in Australia, we celebrate summer solstice on the 22nd – the longest day of the year. The other way around 🙂
I know ‘Monster’s Ball’ well – what an under-rated movie that was! Whilst Halle Berry got an Oscar for it, the rest of the players were just as amazing if not more so… and yes, many people die whilst holding all that pain close to themselves. Why wouldn’t they?
And Heath Ledger’s character was interesting in that he chose not to be a part of that life, albeit in a very dramatic and painful way.
Letting go of all of our crap is the ultimate surrender, the ultimate act of love.