I have been trying to make the sub-conscious conscious. Being kicked in the butt by my totally sub-conscious behaviors (automatic pilot) is not fun in the slightest.
I have read a lot about synchronicity. I also have oracle cards. I also think we can encounter seemingly random things that speak to us. We can call that “synchronicity.” But that thing may only be meaningful to us because our subconscious is screaming at us and we see what is percolating just below our conscious surface.
The human brain is a meaning-making machine. We humans will see three dots and connect them into a triangle. We look at a piece of toast and see the Virgin Mary or a potato and see a dead president. Animals would simply eat the food and be happy to do so.
Our experiences affect everything we perceive. We see the same facts, but our personal experiences make us connect the dots differently. Or we can be in denial about something and be missing a whole lot of dots. Just because Persona A doesn’t see the dots doesn’t make Person B blind to them. I see this in dysfunctional family dynamics and in politics. If you have enough dots, you can see the sub-conscious processes of others. That is a tad scary. That person can say you are delusional, but if you can seriously predict what they will do next better than they can, reality gives a clear indication of just who it is that is delusional.
It’s always easier to see the sub-conscious processes of others. I think the idea of oracle cards, synchronicity, and an endless variety of ways of getting off automatic pilot is to make visible the invisible. But un-burying potential trauma seems inherently risky. I hope my sub-conscious gives me reality in bite-size pieces that I can handle. That may be asking a bit much.
I have been watching videos by Dr. Les Carter. OMG. They are so good. Or maybe they just speak to exactly where I am at.
I have always felt like a victim of my dad. I watched him push, push, push, his father to the point where Grandpa would get angry and flustered. I remember wondering, “Why is Dad so mean to Grandpa?” Even as a pre-teen, my dad’s behavior confused me. Now I am 52 years old and he does it to me. And I am DONE.
The video I just watched was all about the predictable things narcissists do and how they are addicted to control. This I can relate to. I have watched my alcoholic brothers ruin their own lives. I have seen the Jellineck charts that show all of the extraordinarily predictable stages of addiction. If you know that A leads to B, which leads to C, which leads to D… and you see B, you do not need supernatural powers to know that C is coming next. The timing may vary, but the timing is the only thing that varies.
Not only is there no need for me to be a victim and simply accept how he treats me, but I also now have the ability to predict the dysfunctional crap he will throw at me. The mystery is gone.
I am going to get political now. This stuff is so relevant for today. People throw around the term “narcissist” very easily and say Trump is a narcissist. This is not “pathologizing” the President. The description is accurate. Trump is a full-on narcissist. He suffers from what Alcoholics Anonymous refers to as “terminal uniqueness.” Only he can solve the problem (that he himself created and takes zero responsibility for). Only he is the “chosen one.” When completely at fault, his strategy is to blame, blame,and blame some more. Once you understand what you are dealing with, you can actually predict what he will do next. That is the narcissist’s blind spot. They delusionally believe they are unique while the reality is that everyone has their number. Everyone. The code he speaks in, everyone already has the accurate translation of, with the possible exception of his more ardent followers.
More dots connected…
I have always thought that I had many problems. I knew I had toxic shame, perfectionism, suicidal tendencies, and odd dissociative periods (is this real?). I have spent my entire life trying to address my many emotional problems. After all, my family always gave me the impression that I was the one with the problems. Everything got projected onto me. I took responsibility, sometimes consciously and sometimes completely subconsciously, for all the issues I encountered.
The problem? These were not all my issues. I had no power then nor now to address other people’s issues. When I was in the sixth grade, I got sent to therapy. Don’t get me wrong. I totally needed help. But look at the bigger picture: all my brothers were getting their girlfriends pregnant, using drugs and alcohol, and getting in trouble with the cops and I got sent to therapy.
And, worse yet, my dealing with my problems only took me out of their equations. I could barely deal with my problems and I knew I had no desire to be blamed for other people’s stuff. So I backed out of the family.My family always thought I should get help. And I did. And it made me at least semi-functional. But the more I understood about myself, the less I had in common with any family member. Knowledge and common sense put me on the outside of my family,much to probably everyone’s relief. Without the inclusion of knowledge and common sense, my family predictably went off the rails. But my marriage to Barry and my support or his sobriety trumped all that. I make no apology for being supportive of a good man.
And now I have reached a new level. I have realized that all of my problems are the exact same issue manifesting in a dozen different ways in a dozen different circumstances. It’s all crippling shame from dealing with a narcissistic father and chemically-addicted brothers. In school, it showed up one way, at work, another. Every situation evokes a different angle. It’s like a ball of string. It’s all knotted up,but it’s all one string. I have hit the core of the onion, where all the previous layers of dysfunction have been stripped off.
After Labor Day, I am contacting an inner child therapist. I believe my dysfunction started before I had language (pre-verbally) to defend myself. I have read hundreds of books and had thousand of hours of therapy. My current therapist is a nice lady, don’t get me wrong, but the things she tells me evoke a “Duh!” reaction within me. I know all this stuff consciously. That’s not the issue. If logic and reason could resolve my problems, I would be perfect by now. Seriously. I am a little Sheldon Cooper-ish. I am almost too logical. The shame is not amenable to logic and common sense. It feels like it is in my bones. That’s what tells me it is pre-verbal. In other words, this crap is sub-conscious.
This sub-conscious stuff is the hardest stuff to address because talking rationally about a sub-conscious issue doesn’t touch the emotional component. Racism is a good example. We can talk 24/7 about how all humans are equal. It makes zero difference. Here are some historical realities no one talks about. Blacks used to be bought and sold like cows, horses, and pigs. In the Constitution (or the Declaration of Independence, I’m not sure), Blacks are to be counted as three-fifths of whites (human beings). In the sub-conscious of many white people, that makes inter-racial sex akin to bestiality. Sensitivity training can never undo the “Eeeeeuuuuwww!” reaction many whites have to inter-racial sex. That visceral sensation is not touched by logic and reason and it never will be.
When Barry died, I wanted to “get back into life” and start a new relationship with my family. I walked right back into all the sub-conscious crap I left thirty years ago. Not a damn thing had changed. And, before I knew it, I once again wanted to off myself. The sub-conscious stuff had gone nowhere. And now it is getting passed on to the next generation, which is even more tragic. I can’t watch the same train wreck twice.
I thought I had all these distinct, discrete problems. No. I have one big problem that manifests according to the situation at hand. Dealing with this is even more important than my job. I can never get a better job or improve my life in any meaningful way until this gets addressed. Period.
This has been a very healing weekend. I feel so loved.
I have been trying to figure out how to deal with a narcissistic father and my lethal shame. I still don’t have a lot of answers, but I know one thing: I am going to try to honor my limits. What can I handle, relationship-wise, with my dad? I don’t know, but my tolerance (and not his agenda) will drive my behavior.
My New-Age-y friends and I tie-dyed tee shirts, walked around a labyrinth, made papier mache suns. It has been so cool and rejuvenating. I am sad to go home in the morning, but this is the beginning of a new chapter in my life.
This place is up by Big Rapids and Ferris State University. They have an actual Museum of Racist Memorabilia. Really weird. I am at the Inn at the Rustic Gate. Rustic is about right. There is no cell service out here! But they have WiFi. People kept hopping in their cars to go try to get cell reception. The place is beyond peaceful. And the food is fantastic. And they own a cat, Einstein. He rules and he knows it.
I even have deepened my relationship with a couple of lesbians who live in Bellingham, Washington, Jen and Miriam. Jen is now a professor out there. She got her PhD at MSU. These women know what it’s like to walk away from family and develop actual healthy relationships. I admire them both.
I am so grateful for this weekend.
Also, it was Linda’s birthday. We all chipped in for her gift. I forgot what it was, but she said this birthday was very special because of all of us. She goes home to her PhD botanist at MSU husband. She is the one that seems to live in a parallel reality and comes to visit earth occasionally. She totally lives in her right brain. I don’t understand her much, but we love each other a lot. She just seems to live a most interesting life.
I know some of the most interesting people.
I’ve been reading a lot about shame. And connecting dots all over the place.
One thing I have read is that toxic shame can cause dissociative experiences. OMG. I have had so many of those experiences that it is creepy. When I am under serious stress, I can be unsure of even my existence.
How did none of my therapists make the connection, ever? Everything I read about toxic shame applies to me.
One of the things about shame I had forgotten was that addiction is driven by shame. One more thing I have in common with my brothers, only I have had to tell my self-loathing stone cold sober.
Buddhism talks a lot about no-self, but this is not what they have in mind. You cannot sacrifice something you were never in full possession of in the first place.
The difference between now and thirty years ago is that I now have the time to focus on myself and deal with this. And deal with it I must. I know viscerally that absolutely no part of my life can work until I deal with this issue. Not career, friendships, work, family, nothing. I thought getting an MBA would give me confidence. Nope. It just doesn’t work that way. I have to deal with this.