Constellations #2: Survival Strategies

There is a part of me, when I look now, that is always hopeless. Always sad. Now that I have seen her I cannot unsee her and I cannot comfort her. She has always been sad and inconsolable which is why I haven’t looked or, at least, lack of being able to ever comfort her means I always have to turn away in the end, before she is finished crying, before she can be properly consoled – for my own survivial.

I see her now because I have met her, looked her full in the face, stood in her and felt what it is to be her – felt the pain of being ignored, the rest of me looking away, refusing to acknoweldge her. No wonder she is infinitely sad. No wonder she can’t be consoled – she won’t be seen.

But now I see her and its the same. I looked her in the face, felt what it was to be her 3 weeks ago and she is still crying, still inconsolable – and worst of all, still hopeless.

It makes sense, however that she would be grieving espeically now. I recently understood – following a year of excitement, then turmoil and grief trying to work it out, that I am not ready to have a child alone – and I am not sure if I will ever be. There is grief in accepting this as I now have no plan at all, nothing to take away the other grief.

This is related to the fact I had a wonderful trip with a friend of mine. Our trip was magical- challenging but so rewarding with some truly unexepectedly spiritual expreinces. Then I came back and went dancing and felt a million dollars – all the good dancers wanted to dance with me, they were almost queueing on the dancefloor. My life isnt so bad, I thought – I have some really amazing blessings in my life that I’m just not willing to give up (yet, maybe ever). People talk about having children as being ‘the secret’ – but when I dance like that, with all those amazing young dancers around me, wanting to dance with me, us busting out moves together, feeling the connection and communicating in that unspoken way with them, with the music – that is also a secret; a special, magical joy – a gift. I feel like I’m in some kind of amazing fantasy world when my nights are like that. That is one of the things I would have to give up – and who in their right mind would do that?

It is also related to the fact that in doing constellations I see the parts of myself that have needed to be shut off for my survivial, and I see clearly what survivial strategies I have developed. Not to diminish survivial strategies – they are amazing things (and essential parts of me) that have helped me not only survivie but flourish – come up with novel and creative ideas, carry on in life instead of crawling into a hole and instead forge a new career, find a new home, find new friends….however at the same time I see how I have been able to use them to supress sadness and grief.

I say I see this through the constellations – I saw it before of course and have even explicitly written about it in my blog – that I was intenionally shutting away sadness/discomfort because for all the work I had done on myself it didnt seem to make any difference, I was still sad, still grieving and I couldnt work out why/make it go away.

If I could continue to shut it out I would, but unfortunately it doesn’t go away, and what I have started to understand through looking directly at this sadness is that she needs to be expressed because she is a part of me too. Once I had properly looked at her again, for the first time in a long time, I realised the full force of how much I had ignored and denied this part of me, as though we were comletely separate beings, and all I could say was ‘Im sorry, Im sorry, Im sorry – Im so sorry’ – because I felt like she was a child I had abused without meaning to, almost without realising, and I felt such extreme remorse for my actions. My first experience of extreme compassion for myself perhaps.

I noticed how I had denied that part of me that is so sad and hopeless the capacity to be heard because I did not know what to do with her – and would speak to her in the way I had learned to from my parents (as they were then). With incredulity/not understanding how sad and sensitive she was, not able to fully engage or support the emotion. In the end becoming a bit shut off and impatient because I couldnt seem to do anything to help it get better. Which is why I suppose it is still there.

It is also related to the fact that a good friend of mine went through a very tragic, life changing experience recently which I was very involved in supporting her and her partner through. In the early stages of extreme grief (just after the fully acute stage of the first few days) my friend blamed herself and said she felt embarassed and ashamed. It had not occurred to me that she would blame herself, just that it was an awful awful thing that had happened to them, but when I thought about it more I realised I would probaly feel the same way if it was me. I realised also that blaming yourself is a way of escaping the alternative, arguably more accurate truth – that it is no ones fault – or even if it is, that you are just unlucky, that life is just random and cruel and there’s nothing you can do about it. She said to me ‘I’m a planner and a do-er – I dont know what to DO‘.

I’m a do-er too. I realised that in blaming myself for having struggled so much with romantic relationships, for the men I met online this year not wanting to go out with me, for believing there is something in me that makes men reject me*, for believing there is something in me that needs to be fixed before things can work out for me – in doing all of this I am also protecting myself from the full force of the grief of my situation.

Because if there is something wrong, it implies it can be fixed, if only I could work out how. But whats worse is the idea that there is nothing wrong at all, that its just bad luck – and there’s absolutely nothing I can do about it – I can’t fix it; no amount of ‘doing’ can make it right.

*(I know aswell that some of the men I met were just not in a place to go out with anyone/were arrogant and selfish/acted in a way that made me not choose or ‘reject’ them too. I also know that there was a period last year for about 6 months where I absoutely knew there was nothing wrong with me at all. Though as happy as that made me for a while, I wasn’t aware as I am now of the part of myself I had to shut off to allow this and now she is coming back to have her say…)

Blaming oneself is a form of ‘doing’ too; a survival strategy. When all other forms of ‘doing’ are denied to you, it is the final way to escape when you still need to protect yourself from the underlying grief and shame.

Me having a child could have been – and likely is for many people who dont become conscious of it – another ‘doing’/ survivial strategy. I thought it could make me happy in the absence of a romantic relationship but it might not. Then I would be screwed. And worse than that, I would have screwed someone else up too – not only bringing someone into the world without a father (which I did manage to get my head around in the end as it happens) but more than that, instead of dealing with my own unresolved grief, just passing it on to some poor unsuspecting child who didnt even ask to be born. I just wont do that to someone – I refuse to be responsible for creating yet another wretch! (This is not to criticise single mothers by choice – once I have progressed with resolving my grief if I still want it I would absolutely go ahead).

Arguably this blog also is a form of doing – a way to hide from my grief & shame. A form of enquiry where there are in fact, ultimately few answers to be found – a form of enquiry that keeps me enquiring, rather than looking directly at the painful emotions, and a form that legitimises my state, when I find very little else out there to legitimise it, very little to counter the shame when it is at its most extreme. Don’t get me wrong, I am very proud of this blog and feel I have developed many insights through it – but I notice this other dynamic at play also now I have learned about ‘survivial strategies’ and the many clever ways in which they play out.

The other reason I dont really feel I have a choice is that if I do want an intimiate, confiding, loving relationship (and I do) and based on the notion that this might be possible, there’s a possibility that the consellations work might help improve my relationship to myself. Well maybe it will, maybe it wont (I remain relatively sceptical – as I have said many times, I have been working on this for many many years without much apparent change in terms of my romantic relationships – but really feel I have no other options at this stage). Although I can’t report dream men falling at my feet just yet, the work is very powerful and deep, and I notice vivid dreams/nightmares and some useful insights, partly as detailed here, so there is definitiely something stirring in my subconsious. Whether this leads to improved luck in love remains to be seen.

It is a very uncomfortable and painfull process to confront the deepest conflicts in your identity head on. I am just hoping it will all be worth something in the end, even if just helping me come to terms with my situation, nevermind anything else. I don’t intend to toruture myself forever, if I don’t see (or feel) changes in the next few months I’ll back off again and save my money for something else.

I am nowhere near ready for a relationship at this stage, but that feels fine. My modest hope from here is to come to a greater acceptance of where I have ended up, and beyond this to forge a little more hopefulness, and in time, come to feel more positive about my future.

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