Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Fisher King

I'm triggered, y'all. I'm slogging through an original injury and I do mean original. OK, here it is: my mother did not want me, did not welcome me into the world. I don't blame her. I've thought about it, worked through it EXTENSIVELY during my ten years on the psychotherapeutic couch. I know this issue, and have explored it from every which way. I released the anger and blame long ago.

Times were tough in our family when my mother became pregnant with me. She and my father were victims of McCarthy's witch hunts, had a terrible time finding and keeping jobs. They already had two kids; they were stretched thin.

The day I was born, my father was not working. In fact he was in the hospital for something, can't remember what. My mother was worried sick about money, and too it was February of 1953. Can you imagine her medicalized labor and delivery? Oy vey. Did I mention it was Friday the 13th?


To make matters worse, I was a very tough baby - cried all the time, terrible colic, ear and throat infections all the time, did not sleep. I know in my heart of hearts that my mother did her best, but from the get-go there was a basic disconnect between the two of us. She didn't, at any level, understand why I wanted to wear dresses and mary janes rather than dress like my proletariat sisters in brown corduroy pants and sensible shoes. She did not get why I was so shy, why I worried all the time. I worried ALL the time when I was a little girl.

When we went to the grocery store, I stuck close to my mother. My sisters were content to hang out in the aisle with the toys and magazines, which would certainly have been far more fun than riding around in a grocery cart. But I never let my mother out of my sight - I knew she would ditch me if given half a chance. Well, that was my little girl translation of what I felt in my heart of hearts: the disconnect between us. I'm sure my mother never considered abandoning me, but it felt like that to me. One time I fell asleep in the car on the way home. They decided to let me sleep in the back seat for awhile. When I woke up, everyone was gone, I was alone in the car. Needless to say, I lost it - had a major meltdown for which I was shamed for years afterwards. It wasn't until my mid-30s that I stopped worrying, anytime I was anywhere with anyone, that they would forget I was with them, or would decide to leave without me. For heaven's sake! What a powerful wound.

Awww. I can hear one thousand tiny violins playing for me, can you? Seriously, I'm 59 years old and can still be triggered by this ancient truth. Good lord. I can't be psychologically triggered for very long since I've been through the story umpteen times with various healers, and have learned many many many many ways to soothe myself when this issue arises.

This time around I was triggered at a visceral level. For the last week or so I have been doing everything I know to move onwards and upwards away from the old feelings. It has not been pleasant but I'm getting there, or so says my sister Hannah who can read my energy even from 3,000 miles away. But I'm having nightmares about being abandoned by my sibs, cohorts, friends, colleagues and neighbors, evidence of the old wound flaring up. It's kind of incredible to realize it continues to pack a wallop when kicked up and active for a little while. I hope it is only for a little while!

Wish for me some patience, will you? I've been here before, though not for a long time. It won't last forever and in the meantime I'll continue doing everything I can to let go. Thanks for listening. Shalom.


I need orange said...

Just knowing that an old feeling is not helpful/productive/useful/worthy-of-current-attention is not enough to banish it to the sands of time.


I hope blue skies, sunshine, and flowering trees can help you disperse the miasma of yesteryear.

mockingbirdsatmidnight.com said...

Those old wounds given by our parents—no matter did they mean them or not—scrape open and ache surprisingly hard.

I hope you dream tonigh of orcas and elephants instead of pain!

ellen abbott said...

those old wounds scab over, we learn to deal with them but they never go away. When the nurse brought newborn me to my mother after delivery she refused me saying that I couldn't possibly be her baby because I had dark hair (she was blond). it was such a scene that they had to go fetch my father to convince her that I was indeed their baby. I was a very clingy child, my elementary school reports always remarked on that, and my mother was always pushing me away. she didn't really like children and she didn't really like to be touched. I finally had to wrap myself in armor where she was concerned, somewhere in my early teens, and we had a very cold relationship. I didn't like her and she considered me the 'mean' kid because I wouldn't cater to her selfishness. I became the mother to my kids that I wanted and have the relationship with my kids that I wanted with my mother. But there is still that hole there, that little girl that just wanted to be hugged and loved by her mom. So I totally get it.

Gayle said...

Amazing how no matter how old we are the inner child in us is always there.

The Cranky Crone, she lives alone! said...

Oh I hear you, recognise that fear.........the only way I ever dealt with it was by not having friends or even aquaintances, because when I did they either moved or left the country ha ha ha, even my invisible friend left!!!
Well thats how it feels to me, when I let it. The rest of the time I try to rationalise and try and not feel abandoned.
Being left in an incubator for 3 months as soon as you are born in the fifties with no touching and being fed too much through a tube does nothing for self esteem.

Rebecca Clayton said...

You have an awesome way of facing down the tough stuff. I know you'll win this round too. I just wish it didn't hurt so much!

I think it's enlightening to look at my mom's life, now that I'm older than she was when she was raising me. No new insights, just a different feeling--the poor girl! Things were rough back then for our mothers, as shown by your story and Ellen's too. Mine was clinically depressed off and on for years.

Angela said...

Reya, you are loved by us, your friends now. We choose our own family, don`t we, and you even have your sisters, but also so many new sisters (and brothers). I think it is right to look at our mothers with compassion (mine soothed her disappointments with alcohol). It was THEIR life, and we cannot change it. But we can look at our own lives with compassion, too!
Do you mind if I hug you now?

Reya Mellicker said...

Thanks for the hug, Angela, and oh Rebecca and Ellen, my heart goes out to you. Good lord. I don't blame anyone who takes on motherhood for the things that go wrong. These women tried their very hardest to get it right.

And look at us. Quirky perhaps, but awesome each of us, hey? Onwards and upwards.

Reya Mellicker said...

I was going to take this post down - seems whiny to me, but your comments are so beautiful!

Orcas and flowering trees and elephants and sunshine will disperse the miasma of yesteryear!

Reya Mellicker said...

Mockingbirdsatmidnight - I just saw that there will be the annual elephant parade tonight through DC! So your wish for me, for orcas and elephants, is going to come true - the elephant part anyway.

Here's a map of the parade.

glnroz said...

No one is going to "drop" you here...been out of pocket ...check my blog and see.. lol,, sounds like a shameless "come play with me".. but I have missed being around here. lol

Reya Mellicker said...

Yes Glenn I'll come visit

X said...

You are loved.
By me and so many others
But that's a deep wound and has to heal from the inside.
Oxygen and light helps
Breathe dearest
Go toward the light
Leave the ghosts
Stay with the living
Buy kitchen linens
And lingerie
And let it slowly go.

Meri said...

This is one of the most powerful posts imaginable -- and you see what a chord it struck with others, each with their own wounds. You truly are a healer, of not only others, but yourself as well. And aren't we here to heal ourselves and grow?

Kerry said...

I'm glad you haven't taken this post down; I'm just now getting over here to catch up. Wow.

What happens to us as children colors the rest of our lives, doesn't it. It's just one of the ingredients that makes us who we are, though. And you are so amazing; you have dealt with your past and have achieved such a deep understanding of yourself. Kudos to you.

Steve Reed said...

You already see all the truths in this situation, Reya -- that this is a temporary feeling, that it's a reaction rooted in your childhood, and that however painful, it's a feeling with which you've learned to cope. I'm sure it still hurts, though. Sending you a hug, which is all I can do. :)