The Gordian Knot Part Two



A change in perspective.
or 
Breaking points.

So there you are, being quite unhappy, pushing on and making the best of things. Maybe occasional forays into depression...actually now I think of it quite a lot of unhappy. But you are...maybe...getting by.

Often something happens - a trigger if you like.
It will spill you over into a whole new way of seeing things.
It could be a simple act or observation, or as life changing as being a parent - but what it will probably be, at its most basic, is a memory seen from a different perspective.


Perhaps as you interact with your own children you realise that some of the things you remember from your childhood are very far from what you would consider acceptable.
You may have a clear and certain knowledge that your childhood wasn’t a happy one, but for many people there is a huge gap of uncertainty. You probably find yourself thinking, "well it wasn’t all that bad...was it?"

But events will build -  one thing will chase upon another and it will become less of an occasional drip and more of a cascade. As you do something you remember something similar from your own past that played out very differently and think, "That was wrong" or "How did it end up like that? I would  never react that way in this situation, that would be...cruel, thoughtful, selfish, stupid."

Awareness comes upon us slowly and with a huge amount of denial.
After all, normal for us - whatever dysfunctional mess it may be, is both predictable and to an extent safe.
  
[Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance]


However bad it may seem to be suffering under a constant tirade of someone pointing out your flaws, whether real or made up, it is still, what you are used to. You have totally integrated that as part of your normal. You may not like it, but you have been accepting of this as normal for so long that you are not sure what reality would be like if this wasn't happening.

The temptation to maintain the functionalism of this abnormal normal is huge - and even small steps away from it take an enormous amount of willpower and self discipline. You know things are wrong - but you are not sure why, or how to change them.

This is a slow transition often to controlled low contact.

It is harder and harder to accept that you have to withstand the tirade of criticism so you start to avoid contact.
You screen your phones-calls?
You are increasingly claiming to be too busy or ill to visit or be visited.

Then there’s the day you are stood in card  shop, birthdays, mothers day, fathers day..?  You look at all the gushing comments and flick through, realising you are looking for something altogether more neutral. You just can't quite push that huge rock up that hill today. You can't quite bring yourself to touch the "Worlds best mum, " cards and you slink, depressed to the blank cards section.

You start  to recognise controlling behaviours.

They never phone you, and they are clear phone calls are never frequent enough. But you don’t phone them more frequently.

Gifts, carefully chosen, are rejected or returned but you don’t replace them as you used to.

Others peoples children are held up as paragons of success and virtue, but you don't try to emulate them, or even contradict them to say how well you are doing any more.
You just don’t quite care the way you used to.
Its all a bit tiring, and predictable and...not worth it.

The only time your fire seems to rise any-more is when someone else comes into the focus of the litany of failure that everyone except the Narcissist seems to suffer from. You partner and your children most of all.

You find yourself using the word  - whatever - more than you thought possible, and this just seems to create anger rather than placate them.

The Narcissists  supporters start to goad you privately about how upset they are with this recent change in you. Perhaps others are used to try to push you back into line.

But you cant do it, you are in a numb state, you are just ...waiting.

You are grieving - but you just don’t know it yet.

[Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance]

...and then it comes - the thing.
It may seem like a tiny thing but actually its not one thing - its everything - and it pushes you,  and you rise and rise and rise to it. Some tiny piece of nastiness is far far too much.

You move from disbelief into towering raging anger and you won't accept the disapprobation for once - you hit it right back at them. Maybe finally you feel anger for yourself.




 [Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance]


and so begins the next phase.

The "What the F**k have I done phase  - The one where the easiest thing to do is just give up all the anger apologise get back in your little box and travel round the circuit again....but your going to go via depression,
and add in quite a big dose of self hatred to spice the flavour up a little.

I went via this spot more than once - each time hating it a little more before
"What the f**k have I done?"
turned into:

"I'm not doing this again, I'm not wrong and I'm not going to pretend I'm wrong to make someone, with so little humanity, feel better about themselves, again"

This is the point where you realise that you-cannot undo the Gordian knot, you are truly tied and that you must destroy the thing itself to be free.


 [Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance]



 Here begins what we classically think of as grief, the encompassing sadness and longing for something or someone we can’t have.
Here we separate our self slowly and painfully from the Norman Rockwell picture perfect family and start to use the word abuse. It is now that we forever part company with trying to raise up all of our family of origin with our strivings and finally realise we have to cut the ties that are dragging us down before they drown us.


We look to ourselves and all the damage done to us and we grieve for the childhood we didn’t have - and we move our own children out of harms way and start the process of making sure that what happened to us has the least effect it possibly can on them. We want normal - we long for normal - (the ease of familiarity and the lack of hard work it would be just to sink back into our allotted place and all it would take is another little chink of our self respect) but slowly we move to acceptance that there is so much we are never going to have or have had.


[Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance]

We start to actively care for our children and remaining family by caring for ourselves. We move on filling our head with the new us. The one who is no longer downtrodden, who may have some talents, who knows how to experience joy and happiness. 
But now we also grieve and we live with guilt too for what we have done.

We have made a bargin with our self that the cost of estrangement from our family of origin will be worth the difference in our lives.

We carry a burden of knowing we did all this, we gave up on something that is fundamental to most peoples understanding of the world. We made our self different and an outcast -  with the added irony of being a freak for trying to be normal -  in the way most of the rest of the world understands normal, instead of the normal that our family of origin pushed us to our near destruction with.



Note this:
[Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance] shows the five stages of grief, (Kubler Ross Model) the order is a little arbitrary - because we dont move through them in order, and we may visit some sequences over and over again before moving to another. But as I wrote this I realised it clearly applied and thought I might use it to illustrate some of the motivations that were acting on me during the stages I described.
























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