You were posting re: the removal of yesterday's first post.The choices are to stop and leave, or to continue and be censored.
I would feel confused, too ~ would feel I had inadvertently posted something inappropriate. Without explanation as to why the post had been removed or censored, there would be no way for me to know how to avoid repeating the offense in future.
That is the scary thing.
How can we not repeat the offense, if we don't know what it was.
It's like being a little kid again, trying to figure out the rules without a way to do it.
Nonetheless, there is a lesson for all of us here, Copa. Just as Daphne's intent in posting was to harm Serenity, but turned instead into an opportunity for healing, so we too have been given an opportunity to examine the way we are seeing and to choose whose eyes we will see through to define ourselves and our situations.
Your intention was not to offend, Copa. Whatever the reason the post was removed, it is your intention in posting that matters, for you. Your intention was a good and correct and honorable thing, Copa.
Nothing more is required.
Your intention was to share information you had searched for and found meaningful in your quest for forgiveness and self reclamation.
In other words, yours was a caring and generous act.
What more is there to say or to think about this, Copa?
Another alternative, still: Ask a question. Which were the standards offended, that the post was taken down? Let it be nothing personal to you, or to me or Serenity or the moderator, Copa. Choose a culture of guilt, where right and wrong and expiation are clear, over the cultures of burgeoning shame we each were brought up in.
It all fits together, Copa.
Just as it did, in Joseph's story that you posted for us here.
Would we have reviewed the lessons there again, learning more each time, had the post not been removed?
Or, would we have missed the essential lesson in it, altogether?
Joseph was cleansed of the instinctual need to choose either shame or guilt, in the way he understood the why of his situation.
That is the lesson.
I am becoming less and less angry about family of origin shunning and behavior in general (those worms) since yesterday's discussion on guilt and shame cultures, and forgiveness.
I am carrying resentment over having grown up accusing myself. I cannot place responsibility for how it was I came to do that. I cannot blame anyone else (darn it) for the way I chose to see and believe myself to be.
In a shame culture at its best, standards of personal behavior would be higher than in a guilt culture. In a shame culture at its most dysfunctional, there will be shunning, done more to keep the culture safe than to hurt the shunned one.
So I am trying to figure out who to blame. Rottenly enough, being that I am the only one who can determine how I define myself, it looks like I am the one to blame.
And I would certainly prefer that the bad guy here not turn out to be me.
But I am the one doing the thinking and labeling and believing myself into less than. The issue revolves, not so much about why I did that then, as why do I live through roles, now. How did I shame myself. What was my crime. Was expiation impossible, given that the definition of what was an act meriting punishment was forever a changeable thing...is that the why behind the creation of a shame based core self?
If we come to hate and disparage ourselves without requiring proof for why that should be, at least then we can make sense of why our adults in our lives do what they do. We gain what control there is to be taken in a forever chaotic situation where the rules seem to be that whatever we did somehow was either not enough, or was wrong altogether.
So, that's how it started, then, this business of blaming ourselves, and the shame attending that self concept. Since we could not name exactly where we went wrong, we could not name and limit and make expiation for, the sin apparently committed. Yet, in that the parent was on a wild rampage, we must have done whatever it was, or why would they be taking it out on us
My mother: "Just don't think, Cedar."
I'm must have been thinking pretty well then, for her to have said that.
Good for me.
On to the sibs. Those we were somehow supposed to protect, not just because they were littler than we were...but because to us, seeing ourelves through what we could figure out about the abuser's concept of us as the bad guy, no matter how hard we tried not to offend...the sibs are innocent in a way we are not?
That would explain why I was forever excusing whatever my sister did, until she hurt my child and I snapped out of it.
There is something here about how we see and are seen by, our sibs. Something about defining ourselves through shame in relation to them that accounts for their feelings of entitlement, and for their senses of betrayal when we declare entitlement for them null and void.
Something here to do with those internal conversations a battered child had with herself regarding the mother she loved and feared and found less than perfect, and with the siblings she could not protect.
So, doubly damned.
Who is the bad guy here. If the mother's intention was good (as of course it instinctually was) then who is the bad guy here for condemning her for something she could not help.
Who is the guy in control of how I think about me...and in how I think about her and ~ oh oh.
I am still trying to figure out how to blame someone else for that.
It isn't going well.
I am the only one who can define me, to myself.
For heaven's sake.
Oh, that Joseph! Forgiving his having been sold, forgiving his having been enslaved, proceeding through his life as though whatever someone else believed had nothing to do with him.
What an excellent choice Joseph's story was for us, Copa. It was perfect. I am sorry it was taken down. I had to find it online to read it again for my healing. Thank you for posting identifying reference information further down in our thread.
I have been thinking about that. Shame based core has been a terrible thing. Living automatic roles precludes presence. On the other hand, Cedar reminds herself, still trying to figure out how the way she sees herself could be blamed on someone else, the choice of role over real had to have been devised as a survival mechanism in the first place.Rather we lose part of our best selves.
Babies are innocent.
So, we are damaged, not defective.
Cedar sails away on that one for awhile, blame banners at last flying high. Eventually, Cedar's craft bumps rudely ashore.
I feel like the eunuch in the sultan's court. All devious, and with my eyebrows plucked.
Cedar leaps to the shore, planting her flag on whatever the territory is that has been regained.
Resolving, in future, to grow our eyebrows back and be eunuchs no more, on we go.
And just to clarify a point, there will be no more painting on of eyebrows in future, either.
Whatever browline we have will be just fine with us.
But we do choose to love and honor the eunuch. It was her great navigational skills that got us safely to here.
She can be retired with full honors to a beautiful land where precious teas are drunk from bone china cups and wear her eyebrows, secure in our affection, any way she chooses.
So. The essential harm, not just for the children, but for every member of the strongly dysfunctional family, is the assumption of roles; roles were required to figure out how to protect the core self in chaotic environments where the rules are never the same two days in a row.
As we are not present when we are in a role, we are not vulnerable. Behaviors and, more importantly, punishments are clear, when we are in our roles. I am thinking here that this is why, if we have been jerked out of sleep as children by an enraged abuser, part of the trauma there is that we do not have role protection when first awakened.
I wonder if every traumatic event we carry into our adulthoods has to do with times role protection didn't work. Times when, whatever role we believed had finally established a way to understand the rules of engagement, chaos erupted anyway. For us, chaos would have been less that the mother was behaving in a chaotic manner than that we could not make sense of why she was doing it, this time.
Safety, for us, was in knowing the why behind the mother's actions, so we would not break that particular set of rules in future. That is how we protected ourselves, back when we were little kids and had zero control over our environments.
Here is the thing. Our abusers were not abusing from sane minds. Though abusive episodes felt to us like something we should have been able to prevent by following the rules, the abuser was actually abusing out of a sense of rage having nothing to do with us.
But we didn't know that, then.
We could not be Joseph until we had come to terms with having been betrayed.
And until we could stop blaming ourselves or anyone else for our enslavement.
We survived; we won. This is the taste of success, that we are safe enough now to choose vulnerable, to choose real.
As little kids, we were still trying to figure out how to make our brothers (and our fathers) like us well enough not to sell us into slavery in the first place.
Back to the taste of the trauma in those middle of the night awakenings.
That we were not role protected in our sleep is why we remember those traumatic events that occurred in the night with such clarity.
No role to react from as a way of understanding why we are guilty, in a severely dysfunctional family, means the core self is unprotected. No role when, in our adulthoods our children are troubled and our families are falling apart leaves us vulnerable to our families of origin, too. That is why I believe my family of origin to have attacked because we were vulnerable. In fact, they always attacked. I just didn't hear them until the role "perfect mom" fell apart.
Back to how all this started.
We go into our lives afraid of sleeping; afraid to relax or to let down our guard because we have been traumatized when, falling into a child's total sleep, we let our guards down as children. Here is an example: So, when I was eight or nine, my mom pulled me out of sleep roaring about how I had not washed the dinner table well enough. So, whatever happened first, what I remember is sitting in the chair she insisted I sit in and stay awake in and consider my crime of not having washed the table well enough in while she roared on about whatever else it was, that night.
My strongest memory, the clearest thing I know about that time is that when, slipping back into sleep even with my mother roaring away about whatever it was, I put my head down on my arms.
And sure enough. I could smell the scent of maple syrup.
My mother was right.
I had not cleaned the table well.
Serenity has those middle of the night awakenings to a mother roaring on about something, too.
I think that is why we remember those times. We were sleeping. We were not role protected.
That is why we remember. There are other, dramatically more traumatic memories of abuse in my childhood. Though this memory carries no traumatic punch comparable to those, I have never forgotten realizing that this time, my mother was right.
Maybe, that is why I feel disturbed when things are not perfectly in order, today.
Drawers would be dumped out in my family of origin, too.
I am forever aware of it if things are not in perfect order in a drawer or a closet, not just in my home, but anywhere, to this day.
That could be why.
To be messy is dangerous. Not so much because of what the mother will do, but because we will judge ourselves harshly ~ will blame ourselves for everything the mother does (including hurting our sibs) and accuse ourselves because we were not perfect.
If, on the other hand, we can review the situation and find our behaviors were the best we knew, then we have done all we could have.
If we have been perfect, we do not accuse ourselves. We may not be able to figure out why the abuser did what they did, but we know it was nothing we did on purpose.
In real, which is messy (real boats rock), there is relaxation and playfulness and joy. But without the protection the role offers, without the protection of perfectionism, we open ourselves to the possibility of self condemnation.
This is why we do not relax, especially in the night.
I mean, there is a pleasure in an orderly home. This goes beyond that. Again, a matter of degree; a matter of flexibility, and a question of whose are the eyes are we seeing ourselves through.
Instead of trusting that we are enough in ourselves, that life is a safe enough thing that vulnerability (or joy) in the present moment can be our first choice, we have learned to defend; have learned it is best to put a spacer between what is and ourselves.
This is how we learned to defend the shattered core of self. The roles acceptable to our abusers required varying degrees of self betrayal, but guaranteed a way to learn a kind of map of survival, the most basic instinct of all. So, we sold ourselves out. Which was the right thing to do, because we did survive some pretty freaking harrowing childhoods.
It is a very hard thing to let go of the safety of a role. The more deeply and consistently we have been betrayed, the scarier it is to come real ~ to not erect that little spacer the role provides.
The answer to the scariness of choosing real is in Brene Brown's or Eckhart Tolle's "Sit with the feelings. There is nothing you need to do."
How does Eckhart phrase it. Something about the pain body dissolving in the simple fact, in the power of, our Presence.
That is what Joseph did.
Again, though role assumption is a form of enslavement to the needs of the abuser (in the same way that Joseph was sold), we are the ones who did the enslaving. We did it to keep us safe, to keep the core self safe, in chaotic environments where true safety did not exist.
Where safety wasn't even a concept we could regret losing, because we never had it.
Here is an analogy:
A bride walking down the aisle. That is a form of a role. It is a question of flexibility again, then. How real is the bride to herself as, veiled and with her father at her side, she walks past her friends and her family toward her mate? Which aspect, out of everything that walk symbolizes, is the bride living?
Or a President, at his first Inaugural Ball?
How real are we to ourselves here, as we symbolically walk this aisle we have decided to take?
Are we wearing a grandmother's gown, or a mother's wedding dress, or have we chosen our own?
Or are we choosing the ugliness, and the vulnerability, of naked.
Until we are healed enough to understand where we are real and where we are role, we will be choosing a gown representing hope.
We are doing well, then.
At the end, with the mate's kiss, the gown no longer matters. It's your imagery of Sleeping Beauty Copa, and the kiss that awakens the sleeping princess and changes and awakens and enlivens all things. With the princess' decision to allow the vulnerability of love, not for the prince, who she doesn't even know yet because she slept through it, but of love for herself. Of real, scary as that is, over role. The birds sing, the barrier of thorns protecting the sleeping princess for hundreds of years falls away.
The princess awakens.
One more question.
Why have I chosen role over real as an adult.
Well okay, so that would be the shame based core developed because, when one is just a little kid, one cannot accuse the abusive adult mother of meeting her responsibilities to her children inadequately.
That is a kind of a sick joke that only those abused in their childhood's will get.
But to us, it will seem hilarious, because of the horror at the heart of it.
A child cannot survive without its parent; we must believe that, whatever it looks like to us when we are little kids, the parent knows what she is doing.
Well, our parents didn't know. When I would go all sanctimonious role and say I believed my mother loved me, I was choosing a gown of hope. But what if the literal truth is that my mother was scared to death in the night, too? What if she too required witness and I was the only one there?
As adults whose choice of role (again, a matter of degree ~ we all function through role choice on some level) has goes down in flames, all roles come to seem to us dishonest choices.
We let them go. We become present to the moment we are in, figuring things out as we live them.
Good for us, then.
On we go.
So, this part of our healing then has to do with coming honestly into self possession.
This is not an easy thing. Again, the parable of Joseph comes into play. The brothers, still living through their roles, and so, living in fear instead of flexible.
I get you now Copa, in your assessment of why Joseph was crying.
It's a matter of degree. I'm thinking again of Serenity's post on flexibility being the rule in healthy families versus role rigidity in dysfunctional families.