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Messages - bluepalm

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1
Art / Re: Needle and Thread with...
« on: September 15, 2021, 09:36:04 PM »
That's gorgeous BeeKeeper!  :cheer:

2
Kizzie what you said resonates with me too. "Nowadays when I do feel a tightness in my chest or stomach or other body reactions I know it relates to trauma even if I can't figure it out at the exact moment."

I have only a few isolated memories of my childhood - of my whole life really - but I neither have the time nor the inclination to try to remember more of what happened to me. It is actually a relief not to remember, although it occasionally becomes an embarrassment when other people mention things I don't recall or I meet people who know me but I cannot remember them at all.

For me the important thing is that I need to focus on my bodily reactions now, in the moment, and do whatever I can to look after myself to limit my distress now, in the moment.  I actually feel dissociation is a blessing.

When a therapist suggested, a few years ago, that we try EMDR and started to prepare me for it ('think of a safe place' was the first hurdle at which I fell) my reaction was 'this is ridiculous' - exactly what from years of continuous trauma was I supposed to focus on? I told her it was not an appropriate form of therapy for me. My cumulative experience of continuous trauma lies outside the scope of EMDR.

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Art / Re: Needle and Thread with...
« on: September 13, 2021, 09:39:46 PM »
Beekeeper, that pendant is gorgeous - beautifully done.  :cheer:

4
Family of Origin (FOO) / Re: Death of an Abusive Parent
« on: September 03, 2021, 09:12:10 PM »
Armee, my heart goes out to you for all you are suffering right now, and I admire and respect you for having the inner strength and goodness to care for your mother through to her death with such kindness, despite all the suffering she has brought into your life. I wish you peace and deep healing after all that you have endured.

5
Depression / Re: Waiting for the fun to start
« on: August 30, 2021, 03:41:31 AM »
Hi Papa Coco, I hesitate to respond to your post in case my experience is of no relevance to your situation and I apologise if that's the case. In the grip of depression it is sometimes dauntingly difficult to find meaning in anything.

However, your description of waiting for something miraculous resonates. I remember sitting in the yard behind my family's house, watching the corner of the house and waiting for 'a man from the government' to come and take me away. I was waiting and hoping for a miracle to remove me from my situation and give me to a family that wanted children, where I thought I would be happy.

No one ever came. So slowly I stopped hoping for a miracle and instead focused on the only thing that was in my control as a young child - my education. I recognised quite early that education was the key to my escaping my circumstances. It was my focus on learning that led to my getting into university at a time when few women went on to further education. And upon escaping my marriage, after a period of wishing desperately that someone would rescue me and look after me, I went back to university again and forged a professional life that gave me a sense of purpose and therefore the possibility of happiness. Later in life, when I left my profession, I went back to university again to learn and follow yet another path.

Each time it was a new journey and a focus on learning and a fresh outlook that saved me from succumbing to the depression that has dogged me all my life. So for me, learning something new has been the key to finding purpose and a feeling of pride in achievement and in my ability to take the initiative to solve my predicament, both of which to my mind equate (not to 'fun' by any means) but to a quiet kind of happiness.

6
Introductory Post / Re: New and a bit overwhelmed
« on: August 28, 2021, 10:19:15 PM »
Hi Geopolis, and a warm welcome to this healing community.

When you say that with three small children you 'refuse to allow my past to become their future', this resonated so strongly with me. Yes! Having the inner strength to work on understanding and healing from the past so as not to pass on pain and suffering is truly precious.

I look forward to reading your contributions to this forum.

7
General Discussion / Re: The Yo-Yo of Self
« on: August 27, 2021, 11:04:52 PM »
This thread has me in tears. So much suffering endured for so long by so many. All at the hands of other humans. What other form of life turns on its own members, trying to destroy them with such cruelty and ferocity?

Papa Coco you were not rambling - every word had meaning for me. You refer to Hansel and Gretel being fattened up for destruction. I once used a similar image to convey that I learnt early in life not to ask for anything.

Hansel and Gretel ate the house,
nibbled at it like a mouse.
I shut my mouth and hunger denied.
To save my mother, my soul, it died.


One time I did ask for something from my father, to collect me from the railway station in his car because I felt too sick to walk the mile distance home, he was visibly angry with me when he collected me and told me he'd calculated that trip to collect me would cost him two shillings and sixpence and that amount included wear on the carburettor. That taught me I had less value to him than the carburettor in his car engine.

Gromit - you said 'I am outwardly, calm, confident, unflustered, but a mess inside'. Trying to convey this 'internal mess' to a therapist once, I explained that although I sat there well put together with lipstick and perfume and earrings, if I were to open my skin down the middle of my body she would see a tangled, bludgeoned mess of blood and gristle instead of a neat placement of internal organs.

I learnt very early in life to show no preference for anything because I knew that whatever I preferred would be taken from me or destroyed. My shorthand visualisation of this caution I learnt to display was that if I held out in my hand a pretty flower and said to my father 'isn't it beautiful' he would grab it and crush it in front of me.

I'll stop because I feel sick remembering all this. Thank you to all who have contributed to this valuable, albeit distressing, thread.

8
Neglect/Abandonment / Re: How does one accept their caregivers actions?
« on: August 22, 2021, 11:00:36 PM »
I feel this is one of the most important threads I have read on this forum. It certainly goes to the heart of my struggles over the years. Thank you to everyone who has contributed.  It's taken me a while to try to put my thoughts together and I hope they make some sense.

It is a fact, that I now accept as something unchangeable, that from my birth my parents, through their combined actions of neglect and active abuse, tormented me such that my brain was damaged and I was left helpless to protect myself from the first predatory man who came along. I then, living with my husband, went through thirteen years of a continuation of what I had previously endured with my parents. Our two children, now in their forties, are more like my husband and my parents in the way they behave towards me and towards life in general than they are like me. All of this I now accept as being what it is.

I felt as if I lived 'under assault' every day of my life for the first half of my life and I have now effectively run away from my children through moving hundreds of miles away and disengaging from them emotionally, while remaining in touch from a distance. These actions are, to my mind, acts I've taken as a result of accepting these people are who they are and I need to protect myself from them. These actions have been freeing and have given me peace.

However, arriving at this acceptance has been a life's work - years of therapy for myself and then even more years of puzzling alone over why what happened happened. In attempting to understand, I've long tried to 'diagnose' them as a way to forgive them - 'they know not what they do'  - they are helpless in the grip of their own impulses. It's their DNA and life experiences that drive them helplessly along to behave as they do.

To some extent I believe this effort to understand and forgive (at least in my mind) has been healing for me.

However, recently I've allowed myself to judge them. To assess their characters in the light of how they behaved - often when they knew no-one but me could see how they behaved and so they felt safe to be deliberately cruel. I sense that because the relationship between children and parents is so intense and fundamental to life, it is hard for children to see their parents as people who have characters - that is, as people with personalities formed through choices made, values held and patterns of behaviour developed.

I was about 35 years old when I admitted to my therapist that I did not love my parents. While making this admission I curled into a ball of shame and self-blame. I felt it was the worst thing I had ever said to anyone in my life. Given that objectively my parents never expressed or showed any love for me at all during our entire lives together (they are now dead), this indicates to me how strongly a child desires to love their parents. And how strong the cultural demand is for children to love (and presumably therefore forgive) parents despite how they are treated by them.

I have now reached the point, more than thirty years later, where I can judge my parents and my husband as being evil people - people who behaved in a profoundly immoral and wicked manner towards me. My husband once said to me he thought he was a psychopath. I suspect the same could be said of my parents. See, again I diagnose - which is a way to 'forgive'. But now I also judge because for my own sanity I now believe these people had choices.

To think otherwise is to make a mockery of all the work I have put in to overcome the damage done to me and to be a good person, a person of 'good character'. To be a person who absorbs but does not pass on the hurt. I have never deliberately set out to hurt my parents, my husband or my children. Inadvertently I must have hurt them, I'm sure. But I have never deliberately behaved towards them out of malice - to watch them suffer. It has taken a lot of self control and reflection and work in therapy to  be who I am and not to give in to rage and and resentment and a wish for revenge. Not to lash out mindlessly at them as they did to me. If I can do that work, why couldn't they?

On a larger social scale, it is the oppressor who demands that the oppressed be forgiving and accepting of the status quo. That the oppressed do not rise up and demand accountability but accept their lot in life as suffering. No social progress could have occurred if the oppressed had not refused to forgive their oppression and instead had fought to demand accountability and change from those more powerful than themselves. My sense is that the strong demand for 'forgiveness' in a culture, the ease with which people will say things like 'it takes strength to say sorry but even more strength to forgive', is a reflection of the fact that those in power wish to avoid accountability and to protect their privilege as the oppressors.

In my experience, the failure of my oppressors to say sorry for their behaviour, to accept responsibility, and be accountable for their conduct, is the reason I now judge them as being evil people.  This is a poem I wrote earlier this year (and posted on this forum) when I realised I had reached the point of judging my parents. The emotional release I have felt to state this without guilt has been enormous.

Victim Impact Statement

You damaged me irretrievably

You stole any possibility of my feeling safe, contented, warmed, loved, wanted, precious

You condemned me to a lifetime of isolation and loneliness

You deprived me of human touch and acceptance

You made me feel I was living in a war zone - hungry, thirsty, frightened

And you did it with malice aforethought

You were evil


bluepalm

9
Yes, Papa Coco, well said and I totally agree. It is refreshing for me to read what you say so well and so bluntly.

For years I've tied myself in knots trying to understand why my parents and my former husband behaved as they did towards me. I've tried to excuse them, diagnose them, comply with that dictum about 'focusing on the behaviour, not the person'. Only recently have I come to the position that you state so well.

We all have a choice. They chose to abuse and all the evidence I have is that they enjoyed it. In fact they revelled in it. My mother had a frozen expression. Her face rarely expressed anything but distance and anger. But I once saw a micro expression on my mother's face as she said something cruel to me and it was as if an evil troll peeped out, laughing gleefully at the distress she was knowingly causing me. An unforgettable and totally unexpected moment. And so revealing.

Like you, I chose to seek help and did not pass on the abuse to my children. My impulse, when I knew I was pregnant with my first child was to seek therapy to understand what had happened to me so I would NOT pass that on to my children. It has remained a central concern of my parenting.

It shows me how insidious the impact of abuse can be that I still hesitate to give myself credit for doing that, although I have reached the point where I can state clearly that my parents and my husband, given the way they treated me, were evil people - that is, they were profoundly immoral and wicked people. No excuses, no diagnoses, no deflection. They were at their core evil. And I was their victim, not through any wrongdoing by me - rather by accident of birth and because I was then defenceless against the first predator who identified me as a compliant victim.

10
Introductory Post / Re: Hi Everyone: Introducing myself
« on: August 19, 2021, 09:32:49 AM »
A warm welcome Papa Coco to this kind and caring community.

Your introduction story is a distressing one, but, sadly, I feel it will resonate with many people on this forum.  I know part of me said 'yes!', when I read about your only feeling safe when 'completely alone and out of sight of all other humans'.

For me this has been a very healing community to be part of and I hope you will also find the support and connections you are seeking.

bluepalm

11
Art / Re: Needle and Thread with...
« on: August 18, 2021, 09:20:59 PM »
BeeKeeper I love what you say here: 'Good enough is something I allow myself now, in life and in beading, It takes me time to appreciate it but once I do, I feel that comfort.'

I've been on this journey from striving for perfection to accepting 'good enough' too. Now I feel that 'good enough', something made with the imperfections left in, is actually a warmer, better and more human result. A machine can give perfection. Humans are imperfect - that's what connects us.

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Art / Re: Needle and Thread with...
« on: August 16, 2021, 09:52:38 PM »
BeeKeeper they are marvellous. I couldn't see the detail until I enlarged the image and as I did my mouth opened and a puff of air came out as if I'm saying - How did you do that? How did you make such gorgeous little earrings?  Genuine admiration.
bluepalm

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The Cafe / Re: This Wonderful Poem A Friend Posted On Facebook
« on: August 16, 2021, 09:49:12 PM »
Wow - that is fantastic. The writing carries you along and the imagery is fresh and the overall effect has made me smile a smile that keeps on going!

This is a poem that carries profound truth.

Thank you Bach, for posting it.

bluepalm

14
Dante, I have had one strong positive emotional flashback in my life, the memory of which I still treasure. My father used to take my brother out with him when he went places and I was always left at home with my mother. I ached to be taken out too. Well one day it happened. It was the only time my father ever took me anywhere with him in my entire childhood.

We drove to a spot on a river and he and my brother fished in the river.  I had nothing to do but run around on the bank of the river by myself but the feeling I experienced while doing that, because my father had taken me out with him, was absolutely out of this world happiness. It was amazing to me. It was like a glimpse into a world I had not previously known existed.

And it was the only time in my life I have ever felt that feeling except that, for perhaps 25 years after that, each time I drove past that river, along a stretch of road perhaps 50 metres long, an echo of that out of this world happiness returned to me for that instant. Slowly it faded over the years and now it's a memory and I can no longer conjure up the feeling. I'm sure that was a 'positive flashback' and I'm truly glad I experienced it on and off as I passed that spot for so many years.

15
General Discussion / Re: The Yo-Yo of Self
« on: August 16, 2021, 09:26:54 PM »
Dante, you say: "I am working on trying to be more open to creativity, but I've found at least so far that it increases my anxiety because I know that whatever I do will not be up to my impossibly high standards (which I now realize were imposed by my FOO).".

Please may I pass on a realisation I had which has freed my creative spirit. There is no way to make a 'mistake', or not live up to a 'standard', when putting marks down on paper or canvas with pencil, charcoal, paint or whatever.

Whatever marks you make are made by you for a reason - perhaps unconscious - and they are valid in themselves. No one is entitled to judge them.

I started off thinking I needed to depict the world accurately and, like you perhaps, beat myself up when my efforts 'failed'. I now understand that anything I put down is valid. Everything I paint is a release of energy by me. Perhaps the result is not pleasing to my eye and I may throw it away. But the process of putting those marks down was still valid and meaningful. The concept of 'intuitive drawing' helped me break through my resistance. Make a mark, then another one, just let your hand work randomly and see what happens.

One of the most expressive paintings I have done is a watercolour that I now value highly. It doesn't depict anything. But when I sat down and put paint on paper, when I let colours bleed into each other on the page, I was in such overwhelming emotional turmoil and despair that I felt I was 'bleeding out', that I was dying. And the paint helped me to express those feelings and, importantly, to deal with them, to lessen them, to transfer them to a creative work. In that way creating an art work can feel life saving in the moment.

I hope you will try it sooner rather than later.

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