My friend and her son get home from the march. I stayed home sick, but despairing most of the day. It occurs to me that while my sadness seems to be about these terrible bits of my past and tragic or horrific losses, it is just as likely to be about the intersection of the present and my parents’ negligence.
I have been thinking there is a physical experience of connection you get from doing things together: we clean up the kitchen and fall into whatever task the other person isn’t doing. It’s like a soccer game, staying open for pass, looking for the open person. It’s nothing special, but it doesn’t happen with someone like my mom as easily, because you can’t figure out what she might do or want. She’s harder to predict.
So I am doing that every day, and getting a kind of connection from it, in addition to actually speaking. It’s probably triggering a lot of grief. Some of that grief related to specific people, but some of it about losing a dynamic that my mother couldn’t sustain.
I have some other ideas.
My dad learned people are objects because of the vast gap between him in his psychotic mother’s mind and him in his own—that’s what I think, anyway. Him in his own mind didn’t exist anymore, but he didn’t see the psychosis in between. He just saw he wasn’t there. That’s what will lead a man to become obsessed with the division between life and death, sensate and unconscious bodies, unconscious bodies and dead bodies. If his body seems to be treated as though that body cannot feel, because his mother is not sufficiently in touch with reality to know that in front of her is her child, and that child feels pain and is frightened.
I think that is why he tortured me—or us, I suppose. Some of what happened to me happened to my sister. He was attacking my vulnerability, the part of himself he blamed for feeling pain and fear.
My other thought today is that the need for control comes from a lack of trust. When there is no sense that it will be your turn again or that your wishes will ever be a factor in decisions, you fight for your way and you fight to keep your way, because when you lose that control, you don’t know when you will ever get it back. My sense of never being right enough, never being good enough, never making my mom happy—that’s lack of trust. That’s control. That’s, “You did it wrong, because I wanted it that way and you did it this way.” My sense of never being able to please her, never being able to make anyone happy with what I did, that’s from lack of trust. I think I have been there too, thinking no one cared about me or would consider me if I wasn’t considered all the time. But from a mother to a child, it distorts your view of the world. You don’t know why your parent never seems satisfied, why no matter what you do it isn’t enough, and you feel perpetually defective without knowing the reason. Without knowing your parent didn’t, essentially, know how to share or take turns.
I had this other weird thought; in the old days, before any integration happened, Apparently Normal me sort of behaved as though I had no feelings inside. I talked about feelings, I acknowledged feelings, but I didn’t feel them in my body. I didn’t know that anyone did or that you were supposed to.
Well, I wasn’t raised as though they existed. We learn what is real and what isn’t from other people. We are social, and we construct reality together. If someone doesn’t see us, neither will we.