“With broken selves in a world on fire, trauma is everywhere.” Page 47 of The Trauma of Everyday Life by Mark Epstein, MD.
That about sums it up.
As I’ve been reading lately, I have come to the conclusion that something happened to break the infant/mother bond when I was a baby. Problem: I seriously doubt that Ma would have any recollection of her going on vacation or to the hospital for a few days or anything like that when I was a baby. Her memory is highly selective and she isn’t great at connecting the dots of cause-and-effect. My parents are not bad people. Ma, in particular, means well. She would never do anything intentionally to hurt anyone, especially me. But the reality remains: If I saw my childhood behavior in a kid today, I would instantly wonder, “Wow. What the hell is wrong with this kid? Some basic need must not have gotten met.” In compensation for my lack of emotional connection, I learned to rely on my brain. I have lived most of my life in my head–minus a will to live. Intellect is no substitute for emotional stability.
It is only now, with Barry gone and me now having the time to focus on myself, that I can accumulate and connect my own dots. Many women never get this opportunity. Our lives are never about us.
Look at the political situation now. It is bizarre. People are defending the indefensible and then they are going to be shocked when they discover their credibility is gone forever. Imagine what the world will be like in ten years and you will understand where I am coming from. I am looking beyond the current situation and trying to figure out what can possibly come next. I cannot guarantee much, but I can guarantee that no one lives forever and that future generations will freely judge our behavior.
I went to the mall today. I watched everyone and saw only one “normal” person doing what he normally does, a regular. Everyone else seemed a little dazed and disoriented. My parents are fabulous compared to those of one of my friends, whose mother actually tried to kill her at least twice. Is everyone messed up? That seems to be the case. There is simply no solution.Epstein says that, “The effort required to ward off the possibility of trauma–the rush to normal that the absolutisms of daily life encourages–is itself traumatic.” (page 56) There is no escape. Period.
The book comes from a Buddhist perspective and goes into the Buddha’s childhood. It is very interesting.
I want to be a constructive influence and help prevent trauma. But I feel like I am playing with a deck of 35 cards socially, instead of the normal 52. I cannot help others when I am such a basket case. I’m working on it.
I feel like things have sped up lately.
Of course, holidays make everything a little crazy without any other additional input.
But then this year started and I felt like the world was spinning out of control to some degree. Trump gets us into war with Iran. WTF? I am not a Trump fan, but the one thing I liked about him was his pledge to get us out of these endless middle-eastern conflicts. I am old enough to remember my parents thinking that Carter was simply incompetent foreign-affairs-wise because of the whole hostage crisis. This is the best guarantee I can think of that Trump will be a one-term President. Once we get into a conflict somewhere, we never leave. Seriously. We are still in Germany, to this day. No kidding.
And I am feeling some urgency to get out of Michigan again. Why? I don’t know. I have a lease that does not expire until November and a job I am greatly appreciated at.
I have always been interested in intuition, the paranormal, and other subjects that I have not always seen as related. But now I know they are. I am currently reading Jean Shinoda Bolen’s The Tao of Psychology: Synchronicity and the Self. After her book, The Ring of Power, which I found profoundly illuminating in reference to my narcissistic father and my relationship to him, I wanted to get more of her insights. She is Jungian. I realized that my relationship was truly archetypal, with him being Wotan and me being Brunnhilde. Every recurring situation in life is archetypal. Our responses can be conscious or sub-conscious. I am unwilling to just bumble my way through life anymore. Here is a quote from page 18: “Jung maintained that the collective unconscious or the archetypal layer of the unconscious (two terms for the same phenomenon) was involved in synchronistic events….’There are as many archetypes as there are typical situations in life. Endless repetition has engraved these experiences into our psychic constitution.'” Bolen is quoting Jung, of course. Page 23: “Tao and Self can be considered one and the same, both giving meaning and both beyond definition.” Tao is about our holistic right-brained perspective, as distinct from our dissecting left-brain.
A few days ago, my dad called. I had not spoken to him since probably July for more than a few seconds at a time. He called for more than an hour. OMG. What was happening? My brother Bob is looking for property in Florida and now he has blood cancer from the weird JAK 2 mutation. In addition to COPD, heart disease, and cirrhosis. My friend on the east coast said she thinks he was looking for some reassurance from me. I am so not the person he should be seeking that from. He calls me “my favorite daughter” which I am not completely comfortable with. He has no other children. It just gives me the creeps, for whatever reason. It feels like I am playing a game that I tired of a long time ago. My brother Mike passed away this past summer. My dad raised my brothers from my mom’s first marriage and myself. Now it probably feels like he has lost one kid and another one is on his way out. When I told my friend I might tell Dad not to call me that anymore, she implored me not to, saying it would devastate him. I feel for him, and yet, I am tired of other people’s feelings mattering while mine…not so much. It just gets very old.
(And the weather sucks, of course. This is Michigan. We got a ton of rain yesterday and then we got a good inch of sleet. It could have been worse: freezing rain. In some ways, we got “lucky.” It was nasty. The roads are still not great.)
So now I feel like I am getting closer to being the last sibling standing. Things seem to be speeding up. And I have my ear to the ground for odd coincidences.