Friday, December 11, 2009

Past family patterns

Currently, my study has seen me working with the procedure of how a person can unblock themself from patterns of the family/genetic line that are redundant ways of being.

It's fascinating how it is unravelling for me. But extremely personal, hard work. I am co-presenting my first class next Feb/March (depending when we finish the manual!) on it, so I'm being taken to task on it, something that began for me in September when I first agreed to take on the work.

It has been interesting to actually observe it in others as well, now that I am more consciously aware of the things we say and do, tell ourselves "it is the way it is, this is how it has always been and how it will always be and I can't change/escape", etc.

For instance, our dear hard-working builder, whose body is old before his time (he's in his late 30's) from lots of hard physical labour, heavy smoking and drinking and simply not treating it with respect, says things all the time like, "I'll die young, we all die young in my family." It's like he's talked himself into dropping off the mortal coil in his mid-60's simply because "that's when all the men die in my family." And he is going the right way about it, sadly....

These family patterns are strong. The things we tell ourselves and the patterns we have unwittingly had passed on to us, that are not part of us really but for all we unconsciously know may as well be, can be a prison. Or a very convenient scapegoat.

"I lose my temper because my mother/father used to with me, I learned it from them."

It may well be true. My father actually says that anger is a learned response. He's right, I believe. Kids don't come into this world "angry". But that aside, I don't want to use it as an excuse for my behaviour or this pattern - the more responsible path is to unravel it. Unpack it, shine a light on those things I know are not mine and simply learned or ingrained so deeply that the separation has blurred.

Can we change these things? Of course we can. Once we recognise them, name them. We can choose, just like the builder can raise his awareness up and out of the expectation that he's going to die "young" because "that's just the way it is in our family."

A brief overview of the violence I remember in my childhood household includes (and was mostly meted out by my mother):

• Parents lifting hands to each other. I myself was rarely hit more than a smack but I have seen both of them laying in to my siblings.
• Screaming, yelling, slamming doors so hard you could hear splintering of the door frames.
• A foot through a bedroom door.
• Baiting, belittling, laughter at others' (in the family) obvious pain and hurt.
• Living in fear of saying or doing the wrong thing because we never knew what would tick her off - when she did fly off the handle at us, nothing would stop her and the hysteria would rise, seemingly uncontrollably.

Scary stuff, considering this all happened before I was 12.

After an "episode" like this, licking our emotional wounds and confused as all hell in our bedrooms, we would be waited on (served dinner, have our washing folded, all the usual motherly duties of the household) in utter silence. It was a real mind-f@*^ of a situation, seated at the table with your kid brother, unable to get your mum to talk to you, unsure how you should "be" or if you should even be heard breathing, not knowing when the next shrieking explosion would occur. And she, never apologising, never showing remorse or regret. The only thing to do was let her calm down, ride it out. She would ignore us, sometimes for days. After my father left, I can recall many times where me and my younger brother would sometimes go entire weekends not being able to get a word out of our mother, despite apologising (not that we had any clue what we had done - and in reality, we had probably done nothing wrong at all), and she would hole herself up in her room. In hindsight, I'm aware she was probably depressed (undiagnosed/untreated), stemming right back from her mother's untimely death when my mother was 16. What I can't fathom is how she could keep taking it out on us, all her pent-up anger. She was completely unconscious. I know that now. I do forgive her. But I won't pay for it any longer and nor will my child after me. I am now completely awake to it and, even if I continue to feel the urge to yell (I'm talking, beyond firm/stern, reasonable words here, people), I will be fully conscious of it as I was earlier this week. It's slipping from me, this hold my learned anger/outmoded pattern of behaviour has on me.

I am becoming more fully aware as I grow older that my mother was "simply" re-stepping through patterns handed down to her by her own mother/parents' power plays and displays. Some of the stories (of physical and emotional violence) are unbelievable.

I had a dream last night that my mother was violently murdered. A gory, gruesome, very real-feeling dream. Strange significant details of the dream include the fact that her body was not found, but we could see, from the evidence left behind, that she had been scalped. I am yet to research what exactly that scalp (the hair) symbolises, but I am certain it is pertinent to what I am going through personally. Interesting moreso because, when I went to bed last night, I was actually in the middle of a process to actually heal my past redundant "anger patterns" - the stuff I've come to recognise as not being mine, not my true original self and passed down through a genetic pattern. The significance of having this most vivid "ding-dong the witch is dead" symbolism on this particular night is profound to me.

I'm not satisfied with the excuse that I can get angry at my child because "we all do." No. "We" don't. That's something we've told ourselves is okay - safety in numbers, perhaps - and it just doesn't sit comfortably with me anymore. Does this mean I'll stop yelling? Here and now? Nup, probably not. Does this mean I'll judge people who do yell? Hell, no. Gives me no such pious right. But am I conscious while I yell? Can I hear myself, at the very same time, saying "this is not you, you don't have to communicate this way"? And do I want my child to receive the baton that was handed me from my parents?

I am a work in progress, seeking my own truth, which is given to change depending on what I uncover and discover about myself and the nature of all life forms. An exercise I was involved with on a study day last week asked us to go in and find our own personal mantra - wait for it to be given to us in the silence of sitting still.

Mine was rather fitting.

"I seek."

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