Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Hot Potato: Update After T

So T and I discussed the things I'd learned about my father when I spoke with my mother after my last T appointment. It's apparent he was/is a deeply tortured and depressed man. She felt alot of my instincts were on target with things I "gathered" out of the conversation with Mom. Which is pretty humorous since my mother herself didn't even realize the relevance of things she was conveying. As T Mom is not terribly insightful. Umm, no.....insight is definitely not her friend!

T said there is a tremendous level of unconsciousness within this family structure, not just from my parents but obviously their parents before them. Everyone is acting out from their old issues and they all have their heads buried in the sand. She said she suspects this is why I'm so strongly driven to understand what has happened in the past. What I'm doing is a powerful act particularly when done in this manner. I'm kind of Monday morning quarterbacking....KWIM? All these things happend and I'm now trying to go back and figure them all out. But what is fantastic about this process is that I'm separating out what is mine and what is theirs. I'm taking everything that I ended up internalizing in dealing with all their garbage and sifting through, taking responsibility for what is mine and giving back to them what is theirs. The hot potato.....pass it along. I don't want it in my hands any longer!!

I've speculated before that I thought my father may have been abused. He was clearly, and rightfully, traumatized by his childhood. His father walks out on him at 1 year old. His mother acts out at him in anger over and over. One thing T pointed out that I had not thought of....often the same sex child of an abandoning/abusive parent bears the brunt of the anger. ie: His mother and his sister were furious, hurt, etc, etc at my father's father for walking out. They took it out on my father. Maybe even blamed him since everything was "fine" until HE came along.

This exercise of talking to my mother was enlightening. It was empowering. I had a helpful conversation with my mother. In the course of which I managed to keep her on track and give her own issues back to her when she tried to use the opportunity to explain her lack of action. I ended up with another homework assignment....I'm going to basically have a similar conversation with my Mom about my Aunt (father's sister) to see if I can piece toogether any more about their past and family. She and I have to go somewhere together on Sunday so I'll take that opportunity in the car, I think.

T asked if I was glad that I did this and I said yes. That I wasn't really sure what it meant for me in the long run but I really feel like this is starting to bridge the head/heart gap in feeling rejected by my father. This is a completely broken man with virtually no capacity for love or empathy. I see how it happened to him and I see how he chose the weakest path of not dealing with it but rather perpetuating it and acting it out with me. I see now why it was so concentrated on me. And I feel like I have undeniable proof that it was not about ME. It's all about him. I realize nothing I can say or could have ever said to him would have been enough to change the way he felt. My hopes are to be able to fully accept this and also to be able to convey the same to my DD about her own father.

This conversation took most of our hour but I did manage to squeeze in a few words about my letter to Food. T said it was a powerful statement and I should keep it with me for when I'm feeling weak or tempted. When I read it to her, first time I read it out loud, I said I felt like someone just threw me on the high wire and yanked the net out from under me. She told me that I'm right to feel fear, sadness, even grief. After all, as my own letter states, food has been a companion and a very consistent source of security. Now I'm abandoning that and I need to allow myself some grief about it. So far it feels good but the first couple days are usually a piece of cake.

I'm going to curl up with CSI and then go to bed. I hope for some actual sleep tonight.

1 comment:

Enola said...

Sounds like a great session. Your T is a very insightful person! Her statement, "...often the same sex child of an abandoning/abusive parent bears the brunt of the anger" -- that makes sense. My gf abandoned my dad's family. My dad was the second oldest but the oldest son was just like his daddy. So my father had to raise up the children and be the responsible one.

I remember walking the road of finding out more information about my family. And some of the deeply buried secrets I uncovered. You were there for me when I needed to vent and sort it out, so if I can return the favor, just yell. On this side of it, I am glad I found out the information. It's not an excuse for what happened, or justification. But it helps me put the pieces together and understand the patterns a bit more - so I can make sure I don't fall into the same patterns.