Reflections on Life Thus Far

My life. My story: Exploring mental health, spirituality, meditation & random thoughts I have


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Understanding Is Forgiving

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To me, if you want to forgive anyone the easiest way there is by understanding them. But what if you didn’t really know them yet their existence had an effect on you. In my case I am trying to understand a grandparent who committed incest with his daughter (my mom) over the span of her childhood. I would really like to understand what caused his behaviour so I can drop my anger towards him. He’s been dead a long time but his actions influenced my upbringing since my mother sexually abused me too (primarily covert abuse). I have released 99% of the anger towards my mom but I have not released any toward the grandfather.

How does one go about understanding someone you never knew? At this rate I am not going to be able to forgive him at all. My heart is not that generous.

©Natalya Lyubov, Reflections On Life Thus Far, 2016.

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Writing Exercise (Day 2)

My counsellor gave me some exercises to encourage writing with emotional awareness. Often I get stuck in my head and miss opportunities to connect with my inner experience. So I have finished day 2 of 4 of my writing exercise and feel content with how it went. I wasn’t expecting it to take the turn it did but I’m pleased I thought of it and allowed myself to include it in the entry. Day 1 I settled on discussing being constantly infantilised by my mother throughout my childhood and teen years; today I continued discussing that a bit more but got into my issues with fear around men. Mom taught me when I was a child that pretty well all men were potential sexual predators so I never had boyfriends. She also talked about sex like it was something scary and repulsive so I avoided all intimate contact. Fortunately I am introverted and enjoy my own company but I felt like it would have been nice to enjoy a relationship instead of living like a nun. I didn’t expect for this issue to come up today in my second day of writing so I wonder how day 3 will go now! FYI-I am not afraid of most men now and have changed my views around sex in a positive/healthier manner thanks to therapy.

©Natalya, 2014.

 


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Avoidance…

When it comes to avoiding I am a master of sorts. For the purposes of this post I’ll stick to one issue though. My counsellor gave me an exercise to help me get started writing in a way that includes my emotions. I’d mentioned I wanted to write a memoir but I have a tendency to write from my head instead of my heart so she gave me a writing exercise. But I’ve been avoiding it since I saw her last (May 20) because it requires me to write about something traumatic then reflect on how I feel after writing it. There’s four days of exercises I’m supposed to do and each day requires me to monitor how I am feeling but I just can’t seem to do it. Also, I’m supposed to do it consecutively so no breaks between the four days. That is probably another reason I’ve been putting it off because I dislike the thought of having to write about painful experiences from my life in a concentrated manner with need for focusing on my emotions.

Another reason I am probably avoiding the writing exercise is because I feel reasonably well and don’t want to feel miserable because I wrote about something traumatic and had to stay with my emotions. It’s perfectly normal to want our positive feelings to last and our ‘negative’ ones to be short lived; but avoiding our negative feelings regularly isn’t healthy. For the most part I don’t ignore my less favoured feelings it’s just the idea of having to illicit them intentionally isn’t really appealing. Of course I might not experience the glut of negative emotion I’m anticipating yet I could also experience much worse and be ‘knocked flat on my back’ so to speak. So what to do? Bite the bullet and be done with the exercise before my next counselling appointment this Tuesday, or put it off and get around to it when I feel ready? The second option is kinder but my natural impulse is to simply do what needs to be done and ignore the detrimental effects on me.

Perhaps I’ll sleep on it and have a clearer idea in the morning on what to do.

©Natalya, 2014. Reflections On Life Thus Far®


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Speaking Out Heals Shame

Rev. Jordyn Morrison Clason, Ph.D. ~ http://www.RealClairvoyantPsychic.com

Experiencing trauma can lead to shame depending on the nature of the trauma endured. When we’re filled with shame we retreat inside ourselves and fear having others know what we’ve been through; as though we were somehow to blame even though we intellectually know that’s not the case. It’s ironic really because if you experienced trauma from a person or group of people, they, not you should be feeling the shame. Yet they lack the moral conscience for this so the survivor of the trauma ends up with it instead. This seems terribly unfair in my opinion. But we see it all the time with abuse survivors; they think they were at fault somehow no matter what their head tells them. It’s difficult to reason with your emotions because they aren’t reasonable! So you have to muddle through the emotional baggage ’til your head and heart are on the same page. Not an easy task no matter who you are.

In my experience, speaking about my traumatic experiences sort of relieves the pressure inside me; it’s like the steam from a kettle being released. For all the years I carried around the shame of my past I believed keeping it to myself would be easier but it wasn’t. Instead I had unrelenting depression and anxiety never feeling at peace for very long. When I started psychotherapy I didn’t talk much about the abuse I’d suffered because I couldn’t allow it to surface. I thought if I did then I might fall apart (which I did later). So I wasted years talking about my symptoms never discussing the causes of my chronic depression and anxiety/panic disorder. All this because I carried so much shame inside me that I figured no one could accept me due to abuse. How sad that I had so little self worth and love for myself that I couldn’t imagine telling anyone what I’d been through. I’d also minimised what I’d experienced a great deal too so felt unjustified in feeling the way I did; like we need to have reasons for our emotions! Sometimes they are irrational but we aren’t robots so that’s just how it has to be.

When we don’t confront our past it tends to show itself in maladaptive patterns until we recognise where they’re coming from. For some this means abusing one’s self or others so it can be serious. Once the trauma can be remembered and processed it allows us to stop looking for distractions. Our minds don’t have to spend so much energy on repressing what happened to us. If you’re like me sharing what happened to us can be scary or even threatening; yet that’s what’s needed for one to end the behaviours destroying us or other people if we perpetuate the hurt inside us onto others. You can’t be free ’til the secrets are outside of you because that’s what loosens our abuser(s) hold on us. They wanted us to keep quiet and hope we took responsibility for what was never our fault to begin with. If we had had the coping tools to know better we would have done better but most abused children aren’t lucky enough to have the resources or simply are too young to process what happened in a meaningful way.

Ideally, our abuser(s) would recognise what they did to us as wrong and make restitution but too often this never happens. Usually it doesn’t happen because the abuser was also abused and can’t face their own painful past, it takes courage to confront painful memories and process our hurt emotions. So sometimes our abuser(s) just aren’t courageous enough to deal with their own pain and continue to make others suffer. Or maybe the abuser(s) aren’t alive so restitution isn’t an option. But you can still face your pain and know you are making a difference because you won’t be perpetuating abuse/pain onto more people. In fact you can also come to appreciate you are stronger than your abuser(s) because you’re choosing to confront your pain. This might also be an opportunity for you to see that your abuser(s) felt so awful they couldn’t bear to face what happened to them so took the ‘easy route’ by hurting other people. It really isn’t easier to hurt other people than face your own pain but I think it takes less effort because it doesn’t require that you challenge yourself. For that reason I consider it the ‘easier route’.

Anyhow back to my main argument of talking about your trauma or ‘spilling the beans’; personally, I prefer ‘airing the family’s dirty laundry’ as my preferred term because it just sounds ‘spicier’ and a bit titillating! But I digress… Once I finally told my therapist about the sexual, emotional, psychological, physical abuse and neglect I felt free. The shame had begun to dissipate like morning fog when you live by the coast. I still felt some shame when I had to hide my past in front of other family but it was beginning to be more manageable. Once you open the proverbial can of worms there’s no putting the lid back on. The secrets you protected from your conscious mind won’t be forced back into hiding. You can try to deny it happened for awhile but usually the truth wins because you can’t really ‘unknow’ what you know once you’ve confronted it. This is a good thing even though it doesn’t feel in the least bit good to begin with! I felt so awful I reverted to my eating disorder I’d been in remission from for a couple of years because starving temporarily numbed me and took my focus off the new awareness I had concerning my past. I think it’s fair to say any addictions you had in remission may flare up temporarily until you can ‘digest’ what you’ve learned. Mine gave me a respite from having to face things I didn’t feel capable handling. In essence it was easier for me to deal with my eating disorder and try to manage that then it was the horrible reality of my mother sexually abusing me.

Busyness is a way to escape ourselves. My family suffers a lot from this in order to avoid their childhood abuse coming to the foreground of consciousness. Idleness is not a ‘sin’ but an opportunity to go within and understand yourself better.

I’m feeling stronger these days internally but it’s been four years since I ‘discovered’ the type of abuse I’d been through and I haven’t been employed the entire time either. In fact I quit paid employment because I felt I’d been delivered such a huge psychological blow I couldn’t possibly continue my job. For quite awhile I worried about what I would end up doing with myself since I was no longer employed or a university student. My identity came crashing down. The pieces were flimsy to begin with so it’s likely for the best I had to reconstruct my idea of who I was again. What I’ve discovered along the way is you’re a lot stronger than you ever imagined. I didn’t think I could survive the distress I was in yet I did and I am healthier now than I have ever been. Yes, I am still unemployed but people should not base their value on their employment status. You are not your job, car, house, or any other material/external thing. It took me until recently to realise I could be worthy as a person without a paid job. I was always brought up to believe you had to be educated and wealthy to be worthy but that’s not true at all. What’s in your bank account doesn’t make you wealthy because wealth ought to be measured by happiness and love, not dollars and cents (or Euros, Yen, Pounds etc.). One can give back to society and/or their community through volunteer work or helping family. I won’t elaborate on this though because it’s too much for a post meant to discuss trauma and shame. Perhaps I’ll do a post on economics another day!

What do you think about the ‘truth setting you free’? Does sharing what happened to us with someone we trust heal us from our shame? Have you experienced abuse/trauma you kept hidden from others (perhaps yourself as well) then discovered/shared it and experienced relief?

©Natalya, 2014. Reflections On Life Thus Far®

 


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Transgenerational Trauma & Transmission

http://www.humiliationstudies.org/documents/ValentTransgenerationalTraumaHolocaust_15.pdf

You can see I posted a link directly above my writing that is about transgenerational or intergenerational trauma. Although it is about Holocaust trauma it is easily generalised to other groups having experienced long periods of trauma. For my situation I am using the term to refer to childhood abuse passed down through the generations. In the linked article it talks about the unconscious and unwitting process of the traumatic transmission to the next generation. This means parents are unaware they are passing their traumatic experiences onto their children because they have not consciously dealt with their grief over having experienced horrible things. I really feel the article opened my eyes to how I ‘picked up’ on my mother’s trauma even though she avoided speaking about it when I was very young.

Growing up I was abused and traumatised by my mother. Much of it happened unconsciously in so far as mom didn’t recognise her behaviour as abusive due to her own experiences. Usually children think their parents are perfect but I was only too aware mine were anything but that. They did their best but you can’t give what you don’t have. I was long aware mom was treating me badly which caused me to have a lot of anxiety as a child. I’m not sure how I ended up without that protective buffer most kids have that allows them to think its their fault not the parent’s. In any case I didn’t have that and felt very depressed and anxious growing up. It wasn’t easy because I reacted with anger to my situation but was basically told this was inappropriate; I beg to differ! From my perspective the anger was more than appropriate considering what I was being subjected to on a regular basis. It was not my fault I happened to be the poor kid that shouts “the Emperor has no clothes!” and my family didn’t appreciate my honesty.

Most kids learn to cope with their situation through denial or some other defense mechanism like repression or the like. I didn’t seem to have the capacity for this so went emotionally numb instead. It was the only way for me to cope that didn’t involve me lying to myself about my family situation. By 18 I’d already attempted suicide seriously three times and was on antidepressants. I also had an eating disorder that helped me feel like I had a bit of control along with the side effect of leaving me emotionally numb. Following my suicide attempts I entered psychotherapy for the first time and never looked back.

Unfortunately my first few years in therapy were spent on trying to get me stabilised from my depression, anxiety and suicidal impulses. Had I known about transgenerational trauma, boundaries and female to female sexual abuse I might have fared slightly better. If I’d known of these things I wouldn’t have felt so ashamed for being something of an emotional train wreck. To my mind I felt I must have been overreacting since I hadn’t been sexually abused by a man, physically beaten or anything I could pinpoint anyhow. As I stated I knew nothing of transgenerational trauma transmission, nor boundaries. Thus, I continued to feel ashamed for being “weak” thinking I’d “only” been spanked, slapped on the hands and endured messy living conditions. It wasn’t until years later I realised mom had been a compulsive hoarder. I did know she had a Narcissistic Personality Disorder though as I’d come across the disorder in a book when I was 17. The impact of her NPD on me however was unknown until I came across another book in my early 20s on the disorder’s effect on children of NPD parents. That opened my eyes and made me feel much less crazy for feeling the way I did. I won’t bore you further since this is meant to be a post not a book! LOL

Transgenerational trauma transmission was first identified in survivours of the Holocaust but has since been applied to those in other groups as well, notably Aboriginals in North America and genocide survivours. The phenomenon also applies to families where abuse has been passed down to subsequent generations. The German psychoanalyst Alice Miller described the phenomenon in her term ‘repetition compulsion’; this applies to abused children having their own children and repeating the abuse unconsciously on them. In this way the abuse is literally passed down from generation to generation until someone has enough insight to get help to stop transmission. Incidentally, Alice Miller is an excellent author with lots of books available on child abuse. The only complaint I have is she doesn’t address compassion for one’s self or parents. Otherwise she is excellent in her championing of abused children through her books emphasising truth above all else.

Can you identify transgenerational trauma in your family?

©Natalya Lyubov, 2014. Reflections On Life Thus Far®

 

 


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Mother’s Day (North America)

It’s Mother’s Day here in the U.S. & Canada; Mexico celebrated yesterday (May 10). Happy Mother’s Day to the mom’s who actually manage to do a “good enough” job. A past therapist of mine told me parents need not be perfect but they need to be ‘good enough’ which is a realistic way to think of it. There are no perfect mothers because people aren’t perfect but as long as you can express love to your child(ren) and they feel it then you’re probably doing a good job. The ironic thing is there are a lot of moms not capable of expressing healthy love but they believe they’re excellent mothers.

My mom was not capable of showing me love in a healthy manner and neglected me emotionally, she also abused me but she thought she was a great mom and it was me, the child, who had the problem! Why do we have these sort of blind spots in us preventing us from seeing what sh*t we are as parents? I’m not saying every mom that thinks she’s a good mom is actually not; what I’m saying is there seems to be a lot of moms thinking they are “the world’s #1 mom” ignoring the fact they need professional help. Mom had psychological problems because she was severely abused as a child and developed into a Narcissist but didn’t get therapy. This is the level of dysfunction I’m talking about when I mention moms being blind to their flaws.

I didn’t mean to make this post into an angry one so I’ll try to redirect my thoughts to more positive things. If you have a mom who loves you unconditionally consider yourself lucky! Be grateful you have a mom that didn’t ‘f*cK you up’ because I can tell you therapy to correct it isn’t fun. If you weren’t so lucky I can relate and send you my sympathies. My mother is dead so I am enjoying not having to be phony anymore to avoid making others uncomfortable with the truth.

Non-human animals are usually much better mothers than us…except the ones who eat their young. But aside from them they really are better than us.

The best thing one can do if you didn’t get lucky and have a loving mom is to learn to love yourself like a ‘proper’ mother would. This requires you learn compassion for yourself which is difficult to come by through merely reading self-help books. Psychotherapy with a therapist who has compassion for themselves is your best bet for learning to love yourself unconditionally. If you can find a ‘shrink’ that will sit with your emotions and make you feel accepted then you have a winner. Unfortunately, there aren’t a great number of psychotherapists like this but they are out there and when you find one you’ll know it because you’ll suddenly feel like it’s okay to actually be you for once.

So, is it Mother’s Day in your part of the world today? How are you spending the day? If it’s just a regular Sunday in your country then I hope you simply have an enjoyable day.

©Natalya, 2014.

 


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Reactive Attachment Disorder & Me

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/reactive-attachment-disorder/basics/definition/con-20032126

No, I’ve never been formally diagnosed as having RAD but I definitely fit the criteria and identify with it. Most know of it as something only in children but reactive attachment disorder doesn’t cure itself with ageing. I come from an emotionally neglectful home and can’t find any photos of me smiling as a baby when being held by someone (including my mother). If I smiled it was when I was alone, playing on my own. Thinking about RAD makes me sad because I know how many of the problems I had in life are related to never forming a healthy attachment (secure attachment) with my mother. How do you form an attachment with someone who has serious issues of their own and no insight to get treatment? Small wonder I failed to develop a secure attachment with mom and never wanted to be held by her. I didn’t even like being touched so hardly got used to liking it.

Today I saw my counsellor and brought up my feelings of sadness and grief connected with RAD. Most of the session I simply cried and let out my pain from not feeling like I was secure with my mother. Mom was abused as a child herself and never went through therapy so passed her trauma onto me. Often I felt completely alone and helpless-not to mention uncared for. Naturally I never knew what I was feeling because I had no mirror or person to helpfully teach me what I was experiencing. This lead to a lot of anxiety because I didn’t know what was going on in me. Mom sometimes offered comfort but other times she neglected me and I felt ignored, like my emotions didn’t mean anything. This taught me to not express emotion overtime which lead to much pent up anger.

"Love is unconditional and 'knows' that our psychological pain comes but from our ego. Attachment 'thinks' that our pain comes from other people. Attachment dissolves when its object does not conform to what our ego wants. The pain we feel then is created by our frustrated ego, which calls these people toxic, whereas it's our own ego who acts toxically. This is called projection and precludes our development.~JY Besle"

“Love is unconditional and ‘knows’ that our psychological pain comes but from our ego. Attachment ‘thinks’ that our pain comes from other people. Attachment dissolves when its object does not conform to what our ego wants. The pain we feel then is created by our frustrated ego, which calls these people toxic, whereas it’s our own ego who acts toxically. This is called projection and precludes our development.~JY Besle”

The erratic expression of concern contrasted with indifference or anger from my mother when I was upset gave me no security upon which to build my emotional immune system. For a long time I felt numb or like I might emotionally bleed to death. Mercifully, numbness was more salient than any other feeling but it didn’t help me to mature properly either. As a result I isolated myself or spent time in unsatisfying, dysfunctional friendships that met none of my needs. Romantic relationships were a non starter so I am horribly stunted in this area. All that I know is what I have read from psychology and self help books. Having RAD meant I didn’t want to be touched because my earliest experiences were negative with few positive experiences to even out my perspective.

I wish I could reach out to people and tell them what I need but it’s really scary for me. I’m so used to trying to function as though I need no one but it’s painful because I am left dealing with everything on my own. The exception being when I see my counsellor. Just imagining trying to tell a friend what I am feeling or need has never been something I’ve managed to do. My thought is that they would not respond kindly or would reject me as my mother did. Since many of the friendships I have had have been with emotionally unavailable people my fears were not without warrant. Now I am wishing I could wave a magic wand and have friends in real life who accept me as I am-not as they wish for me to be.

This is a real grieving process. Knowing that I have spent so much time feeling alone with no close relationships hurts. Maybe if I’d realised my issues were attributable to RAD I could have avoided unnecessary treatments or at least not wasted my time exploring stuff that had little to do with my actual problem, attachment.

Perhaps the silver lining in my experiences is that I am wiser than I’d have been if I grew up in comfortable surroundings without any conflict. Although I didn’t enjoy going through what I have gone through I know it has given me insights and perspectives that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. Pain can be a teacher and hopefully I will continue to see the messages in whatever it is that happens, not just what has already occurred. As the saying goes “pain is inevitable, suffering is optional”.

Being personally insightful, self aware and philosophical has without question helped me along the way. I know I am

Adult attachment styles & romantic relationships

Adult attachment styles & romantic relationships

lucky to be 32 and unpacking trauma now instead of a decade or two later. I feel grateful for the opportunities I have been given and want to be mindful of all that I have, not the things I’ve lost. Yesterday, when I went to counselling, I was feeling sad with grief but being open about my feelings with my counsellor gave me healing. Today the sadness that had been hanging over my head is gone and I feel uplifted.

So often all that I require is the space to be open with my thoughts and feelings without fear of being shamed. Not all of my therapists have helped me but those that did I am immensely grateful to. It’s been a long road I’ve been on (this healing road) not always knowing if I was making progress or not in therapy. At 17 I embarked on a journey, a head shrinking journey, that has been successful in the last half or so more than the first when I fought merely to stay alive. Those early therapy years I struggled against suicidal thoughts and anger that I had “failed” in my attempts to kill myself. I wasn’t able to get very far then because I felt depressed and anxious constantly. Psychiatrists unwilling to take the time to get to know me threw me out with the proverbial bathwater labeling me as Borderline Personality Disordered. Now, I have concluded they were not the a**holes I used to think of them as, but rather lazy and too comfortable in their practice to take on any hint of a challenge. In other words, they had their patients already and were established enough that they didn’t want “bothersome/trouble” patients with BPD. They had lost any compassion they might have started with in favour of seeing only those with “easy” diagnoses-aka drug treatable conditions.

My attachment disorder is not cured but I see half the battle as having identified the root issue behind my troubles. Overcoming the rest of my attachment related issues won’t be easy but I feel confident I have what it takes to get through it.

Do you have attachment difficulties and if so, how have you dealt with them? Please share.

©Natalya, 2014. Reflections On Life Thus Far®

 


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Denial of Reality

I know I’ve written about this subject to an extent before on my blog but I wanted to expand on it a bit. My whole life I have had an inability to rationalize and normalize abnormal behaviour. It seems the rest of my family is pretty adept at it but I am not. I grew up in an atmosphere of chaos and recognized it instinctually that my family wasn’t normal. Maybe other people have this experience too and just don’t talk about it. But the people in my family seem rather good at ignoring abnormal/unhealthy behaviour writing it off as no big deal essentially. I just don’t understand how they do this. How do you see someone in a state where they are not functioning well yet nobody will admit to it.

My mother had Alzheimer’s disease and died but for many years she functioned poorly yet my family ignored it. They

Healthy brain (bottom) versus brain of a donor...

Healthy brain (bottom) versus brain of a donor with Alzheimer’s disease. Notable is the “shrink” that has occurred in Alzheimer’s disease; the brain was decreased in size. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

only admitted there was a problem after mom was to the point she couldn’t find her way home if she walked further than the end of the street. Only when she had lost significant portions of her grey matter did they accept mom was ill. WTF?! She was ill for a long time before then yet they chose to put their heads in the sand and pretend it wasn’t there.

Okay, you can say it’s normal for people to be in denial about a family member’s illness if they are an enabler or used to it. But I’m talking about family that were not around often and had fresh perspective yet still chose to ignore the obvious. Or was it only obvious to me? It would seem you need to be knocked over the head with a hammer in my family before you admit to problems existing. My sister and I both saw how ill mom was but we didn’t have any power so it was of little consequence our recognizing anything amiss.

Is it just a natural way to cope denying there are problems in your life? Or is this just something dysfunctional families do? My family is most definitely dysfunctional. What is your experience?

©Natalya, 2013.


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Reductio ad Absurdum (Reduction to Absurdity)

I’ve been thinking lately about the annoying phenomenon of people taking a maxim or truism and not considering how

English: Pope Pius IX funeral.

English: Pope Pius IX funeral. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

they’re reducing a helpful bit of information to absurdity. For example, take the maxim or phrase “leave the past in the past and move on”. A fine piece of advice in many different circumstances but NOT every circumstance! Another is “don’t dwell on the past”. Again, perfectly good advice and apt in lots of ways but not in EVERY circumstance. When you have been abused as a child hearing such phrases are invalidating and unhelpful to say the least. We don’t need condemnation for not healing ourselves in a New York minute! Healing from abuse and trauma takes time, especially when it happened in childhood. People need to respect this fact and not add guilt to our burdens by telling us some variation of “move on”.

Generally when people use these phrases they are trying to either make us feel better or make themselves feel less uncomfortable in our presence, or both. It is not a case of people lacking a heart it’s just that they haven’t learnt how to feel compassion for themselves so can’t offer it to others. The best you’ll get from a lot of people is sympathy. Lots of people are empathetic and have compassion but these aren’t the people you end up dealing with when you’re hurting! Call it Murphy’s Law or bad luck, either way it doesn’t lead to a place of understanding.

My grandmother’s funeral is today and I’m not attending because I didn’t love her and am angry she stayed married to an incestuous pedophile. She never attempted to make amends in the years after my mother was forced to leave home either. My grandmother chose to take her husband’s side and have my mother leave the family home when she was a teen. Mom was very traumatized and never got better which lead to her abusing my sister and I. Now I am supposed to just pretend nothing happened and attend the woman’s funeral because it’s the “right thing to do”? I don’t think so!

Perhaps someone more spiritually evolved would be able to “forgive and forget” but I am not that evolved. Instead, I am choosing to stay home from my grandmother’s funeral because I will not participate in more deception and phoniness. The aunts that will be there are the ones who chose to ignore their inner child’s pleas for compassion after being abused, instead opting for a mask they could put on for the world to appear “normal”. I tried to wear a similar mask but it always fit poorly and would fall off. Sadly, people with better fitting masks took the opportunity to make sure I felt inferior-but no more! I am not going to force myself into a mold so other people feel comfortable. It is not my problem if people end up being uncomfortable in the presence of authenticity.

I guess I should try to address reducing arguments or tenets to absurdity since it’s the title of my post. Well here’s one that bugs the Hell out of me “treat everyone equally”. So I can hear the protests already and you wondering what on earth is my problem with such a fine ideal as equality. The issue is not everyone has the same abilities and conditions meaning we are not equal in anymore than a human/spiritual sense. Yes, we’re equal as far as human beings but past that we stop being equal. After our inherent human equality there’s inequality of sex, race, economic status, etc. If I am economically rich and have white skin I have more privilege than someone economically poor-especially if they happen to be a person of colour. Add in gender and dis-ability and the playing field we are on is not even close to level.

We are all unique and have different talents but we can’t penalize people for systemic racism and sexism or preference for materially wealthy people. I do not like the notion of treating everyone equally because we haven’t all got the same advantages. This is the reason we have affirmative action policies in workplaces and schools. Disabled people and people of colour have racism and ableism to contend with that able people and white people don’t. Even if you are an able white woman you do not have the same advantages an able white man has. Able bodied white men of middle and upper classes have power the rest of us don’t.

My favourite term in the discussion of equality is “false parallels”. False parallels occur when we look at someone of colour who decides to cater only to other people of colour and white people complain it’s racism. It is NOT racism because people of colour don’t hold the power white people have. Thus, persons of colour catering to others like them are simply ensuring they don’t have to compete with those who already have an advantage in society from their white skin. A similar idea is all women’s clubs where men complain of sexism. Like people of colour, women hold less power than men so women organizing a club only for women is not sexist. It is sexist for the group in power (men) to have an all mens’ club excluding women, provided the club is something women could participate in. I am not suggesting we start having segregated this and that either, I am merely pointing out the absurdity people engage in when they condemn minorities for wanting to have their own spaces and be a part of the larger society too. It isn’t preferential treatment for minorities*.

*Minorities are people belonging to groups they have no control over such as their race, gender or sexual orientation. It is nothing to do with statistical figures or which group has the most members. It is about the power held by a group in relation to another. Vulnerable persons fall under a similar classification in that they are vulnerable in relation to another without their “handicap” (I am using handicap here to mean whatever makes the individual vulnerable, be it their age, disability, physical or mental status, etc.).

Well now that I have written this disjointed post I’m going to publish it for your reading confusion! 😉

©Natalya, 2013.


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Self Awareness Or Lack Thereof

My parents both lack(ed) self awareness and insight into themselves. Now that my mother is dead I get to hear things my

self-awareness through habitual self-reflection.

self-awareness through habitual self-reflection. (Photo credit: m.a.x)

mother said repeated by my dad who worshipped her. Apparently, when my mother was in the last stage of her life with Alzheimer’s, she said she had never hurt anyone and didn’t understand why she was suffering. Now I am not going to speculate on what brought the Alzheimer’s on but I do know she also claimed something similar when she was more lucid. My mother hurt me loads of times, as well as my sister and my dad but she never recognized those things. Which leads me to query how someone can be that blissfully ignorant of their own a/effects on others?

I’m certain my mother had Narcissistic Personality Disorder so it could be the personality disorder that robbed her self awareness. But whatever it was  it meant my mom could be mean spirited and not recognize it. As some may already know if you’ve read my other posts, my mother abused me as a child. So clearly she was not someone who had never hurt anybody in her life. Often she hurt my dad but my dad was so beaten down by his father that he never even saw my mother’s behaviour as abusive. Even now he keeps her enshrined in his memory. His father is similarly praised in spite of the hurtful things he said to my dad all his life. Does it change anything just because one can’t see they’re being abused?

If you think it’s okay to do a particular thing but others are hurt by it then is it still okay? I don’t think so. Of course it depends on what we’re talking about but by and large it’s wrong to do anything that results in someone else’s pain. Mom never went to therapy so didn’t get the help she needed. This resulted in my sister and I being raised by a very dysfunctional woman. None of this stopped her from viewing herself as a celebrity and star however. In her mind she was special and others were just sad sacks. As a child she would tell me she was pretty much a genius and I would never be able to compare to her superior status. You may imagine this resulted in my self esteem being weakened. To this day I feel that I am never intelligent enough and always lacking. She also claimed to have superior physical prowess which didn’t exactly help me any either self esteem wise.

It’s kind of late here and I have an appointment tomorrow morning with my employment counsellor. It’s a six month follow up since I decided the employment counselling wasn’t helping me any. So I will end here even though it’s kind of unfinished-my post. Sorry for that.

©Natalya, 2013.