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Emotional absence!

I was going to say it is misunderstood. But to misunderstand something you need to know something about it. I don’t believe that we have a clue what emotional absence is or the consequences; even though many of us have experienced it.

In Nancy Newton Verrier’s book The Primal Wound Understanding the Adopted Child, published in 1993 she shares her heartfelt story as an adopted mother and those of adoptees, birthmothers and adoptive parents whom she spent many hours interviewing. Through their willingness to open their hearts and souls to her she is able to give us a window into the ‘primal wound’ which like, emotional absence, has been absent from our awareness as parents and professionals.

So much about what I know and talk about is unseen.

You can’t see a primal wound or emotional absence. You can’t see the wind either but you can see what it does. This year has been particularly windy in Northeast Texas. You are aware of the constant wind as you can see the trees swaying and feel the wind on your face. It makes for a very bad hair day. But you don’t see the gusts coming that almost blow you off the porch.

Though her book is speaking to adoptees I think it also speaks to others who through birth traumas either their own or their mothers or both end up with the same feelings of disconnection, distrust, rage and fear. We are more technologically advanced than we are with our own fragile side of our humanness. Though woman of long ago made the birth process a sacred experience to be entered into with care and emotion our present medical system has forgotten that. Now babies come when it’s convenient for the doctor or mother or both. The first choice of a human, when to be born, has been snatched away from them. Then we wonder why we increasingly have more children that are hyperactive and aggressive. They are fighting for their lives.

Oh, I See

I don’t mean to be needy but I’m so small and can’t do much for myself. I look in your eye and it scares me. I don’t think you want to care for me. Oh, I see I’m more than you bargained for. I can’t help that you have to do so much for me. I’ll try not to need so much so you won’t be so stressed.

I don’t mean to cry so much. When I do, your face is all red and scrunched up, like my bottom when it has diaper rash. Your face must really hurt. Oh, I see my crying hurts you. I can’t help it, something inside of me makes me cry. I’m sorry my crying hurts you, I’ll try not to do that so much.

I don’t mean to think so much. When I ask you about why the sky is blue and where the sun goes at night. You say I think too much. I can’t help it. I want to know about the world and everything about it. I want to fit in and do good. I’m sorry that makes your face look mean and you yell at me. I’m really not trying to bother you. Oh, I see, my questions bother you. I’ll try not to ask them, so I won’t bother you.

I don’t mean to need you so much. When I want to hug you and have you hug me, you push me away. You say I’m smothering you. I’m not trying to; I just need love and affection. Oh, I see, my hugs are too much for you. They make you want to run and hide. I’ll try not to need a hug, because I want you to stay here with me and not run away.

I don’t mean to run after you so much. I just need to know I’m loved and cared for. I’m not sure with you. Can’t we talk about our feelings and what it’s like to fall in love? Your eyes narrow and you say that’s silly stuff. Now go away. Oh, I see, my emotions aren’t worth your time. I’ll try not to feel anything, I wouldn’t want to waste your time.

I’m grown and now I understand. My needs, my thoughts, my emotions, and my feelings are something bad about me. I must not need what I need, think what I think, ask questions, have emotions, or feel what I feel. You have taught me well. Now, I’m ready to join the world and be like you.

What I Really Want

I am an ordinary woman with an extraordinary hunger, an ache to discover and consciously live the meaning of my life and a conviction that that hunger can only be satisfied by cultivating a deeply spiritual life.
-Oriah Mountain Dreamer

It doesn’t really interest me who is right and who is wrong. What I really want is for people to get along. Somewhere between the right and the wrong is what could work if we had the will to make it so.

It doesn’t really interest me why people do what they do that is harmful to themselves and others. What I really want is for people to get along. To harm one’s self is to harm the All we come from. To harm others is to harm ourselves.

It doesn’t interest me the reasons other people did what they did. What I really want is to not have to suffer for the consequences of their behaviors while they don’t.

The coals of self-criticism sizzle and steam as I struggle to walk without injury to the other side. There I find that I’ve been caught up in the vortex of unreason appearing as reason; punishment appearing as teaching; control appearing as salvation; fearful ness appearing as calm.

Something inside me died on August 19, 2010. I recognize the feelings well as they have surfaced before. Flashes of relationship bob to the front of my awareness. The intensity that has run my life begins to become clearer. That energy was one of judgment that I lived in a world that needed me to fix it. If I didn’t fix things I would die. I faced the reality that I can’t fix this world. Sadly, it never should have occurred to me that was even an option.

In the world of my childhood I was the oldest and I was the responsible one for making sure I did what I was told; whether I liked it or not; whether it was difficult or not; whether I had to sacrifice my voice in silence; whether I had to make the best of a bad difficult situation; whether I attempted the unattainable; whether I had no power or control over others; whether my heart and body ached for comfort, kindness and love and found none; whether I had to be last or not at all; I had to make sure others needs were met whether mine were or not.

I hope this is the core issue that has sabotaged me as I am ready to create and maintain a life of freedom, joy, creative expression, health, wealth, interesting and loving and supportive relationships. I am ready to live from a core of peace, calm, harmony, joy, fun, loving life and willing to give to life. I choose to live my life from my inner wise voice that embraces all of life and calmly, eloquently, and softly speaks her truth. I stay connected to the sacred presence of my soul and that of universal soul which we all come from. I have the power to make the choices to stay connected to this sacred life, rejuvenate my mind, body, and spirit, have plenty of energy and clarity of mind to express this spirit in all of my endeavors in a calm quiet powerfully clear and courageous way.

Woman on the edge is about consciously stopping so you can find the deep stillness that lies beneath the surface of everyday activities and busyness. It is about slowing down and if necessary, stopping the doing to connect with being. In that slowing down you find the way out of the gerbil cage repeating what you don’t want to create a new pathway of your own.

This ache to know more, to grow, to evolve has been with me for as long as I remember. I feel it in my body-mind, emotions, and soul as I write this. My self criticism beats me up for not staying on a straight path. I feel its chains weigh heavy on me, but I let them drop off. I know that the multiple paths I have taken are all part of my spiritual quest to know my self and others. I look back with clearer eyes and see that all my experiences are part of the process of growing me.

I no longer need to feel shame, grief and guilt for my old critical voices berating me about things I couldn’t know, things I didn’t know and not voicing what I did know.

My cultural, family, and human conditioning for good or ill has influenced me in many ways. Some of it has nurtured and supported me and some of it has hurt and disappointed me. My mission has and is to awaken and embrace both. By doing that I am free to create. The heaviness of that critical voice is quieted by the release of its weight and my body feels light and free.

May you open yourself to growth and freedom.