M: Hi Geli, very merry good afternoon to you too. Have a tea with me ! What is going on in your life right now ?
A: Something bothers me. I can tell this because I am experiencing sensations of sadness now and then. Unfortunately I am unable to really uncover it alone.
M: Where does it sit physically ? How does it feel like ?
A: I ´d say it sits in my stomach and heart area. And I have traced down a general identification that comes along with it. “I believe I am unable to provide my children and me out of my own resources.”
M: When did it start ? What happened when you first noticed this sensation ?
A: Well it has returned recently because I am in the middle of a move from one home to another and I feel kind of stuck. I have not been working other than volunteering for the last five years. I spent my heritage and before the next one might come it will take some time still.
M: So you do not have the resources currently to move out and be independent. It probably takes some creativity to find the money you need – beg, steal or borrow. Where there is a will, there is a way…you do not seem to me like a woman who does not know how to get things done. So maybe this concern is pointing somewhere else.
When did you have this realisation ? What exactly happened that triggered this thought ?
A: Do you mean the original thought I mentioned on top? (“I believe I am unable to provide my children and me out of my own resources.”)
M: Well, you say you are experiencing sensations of sadness and this points to an insight of yourself being unable to provide. How did it get started ? What was the trigger ?
A: It got started by looking at facts. Fact number one is, I do not have a monthly income. Fact number two is, where we live it is not so easy (if possible at all) to get a position that provides me with the monthly income I need for my children and I. The father of the children is hardly paying anything for both of them. According to German law my current husband does not have to pay any money to me after we are divorced. (Not that I would want him to)
My new partner still lives very far away from here and I do not at all want him to provide my children and me with any money. I just have enough of being financially dependent on a man.
I feel trapped.
M: Sounds like you got yourself in a fine mess 🙂
Well, seriously now, I think there are several issues at hand. First of all – do you have to move right away ? It sounds like right now the old life and the old “structure” is still providing for you and the children. It does not sound to me like there is any hurry. You can also take the “awakened” position and see how things will be working out and what is coming up in terms of opportunities for yourself. Secondly – where are you going to live and with whom ? Are you going to move in with your new partner ? Where are you going to live and who will be the provider ? It sounds to me like there are still a lot of open questions.
But it somehow strikes a nerve when you say “ I just have enough of being financially dependent on a man”. Lets start with that. What does that mean to you ?
A: I want to look at the core issue rather than at how my future life will look like.
Now I sense all the pain of being in a trap. And along with the pain comes the sadness. It is as if I am for the first time in my life conscious of repeating a kind of text book script.
When I was twenty years old I was convinced that I would never get married nor have children.
M: Being in a trap. You say you were convinced that you would never get married nor have children. Does that mean you did not want a family ? As for me I can say I always knew that this was not in me. It was more than being convinced, I knew it was not my path. When the opportunity came, it was only natural to say “no, thats not for me”. So how was it for you at the time ? Were you ambiguous or maybe even doubtful – or was it that you really did not want it and why ?
A: I wanted to be free and independent and I believed that this would only be the case if I did not have children. I changed my mind when I was thirty something because I applied being “the good girl” instead of doing what I would have liked to. I “sold myself” to receive love and appreciation. So I married and got two children.
M: But you were married before, were you not ? By the way, what did it mean to you to be free and independent ?
A: Yes, I was married before. A marriage to me was more an agreement based on financial or organisational issues. I never believed in this “marry only once in a lifetime – thing” nor did I trust it. To be free and independent meant to me to be only responsible for myself as well as to be able to leave when a relationship got too uncomfortable for me. I grew up in a highly dysfunctional family and this was certainly not a role model for me to follow. I always wanted to live in a kind of house sharing community rather than in a traditional family.
M: So your idea of freedom included being able to “leave” whenever you wanted and be independent. However it seems to me that you still liked the idea of being “close” to others, without necessarily being “tied” to them in a formal way. So it looks to me like “being on your own”, did not sound like such an appealing idea to you ?
A: I have always loved company and most of the time in my life I had company. Marriage and children can turn “having company” into a prison.
M: To be social does not necessarily mean you have to live with someone. You can live on your own and have a big social circle. So what was it about “being with others”, but in a rather non- committal way, like in a non-traditional arrangement, that seems to be safe for you ?
A: I feel safe as long as I have my own money to spend on all I want. It seems I can not take money from others without having a very guilty conscience about it. It is as if I take something, I am not entitled to receive.
M: I think we are digressing. You said you wanted to be free and independent. This included that you could walk away when you felt it was time. It looks to me that you lived by that until your second husband came along and you remarried. What changed your attitude regarding having children ? Why did you agree to having children if you were convinced that this was counter to your idea of freedom and independence ?
A: First of all I believed that men in general are not reliable.
My second husband´s family was quite wealthy and so was he. I thought my children would be safe with him. I pretended to myself that he was reliable in all ways, which he was not. That was another pattern of mine. No matter how the reality looked like I saw it through tinted glasses.
I focused on my own ideal version instead of acknowledging what was really going on.
M: So we can also say that by having children you thought you would be safe and taken care of by him ?
A: Yes, by him and his family. And that was a real false conclusion. I got caught in a trap.
M: Does the situation – trap – remind you of something ?
A: Ok. It seems that now I am confronted with my inner pain threshold.
I am reminded to my family situation. Only I can not see who felt trapped there. My father, who did not want any children and ended up with having three? My mother who wanted to have a big family of 12 children and ended up with three? Or myself?
M: Stay with yourself. It sounds like you were growing up in a battlefield of expectations. Your mother not happy how things turned out and your father not happy either. So who could give you stability and a basis for developing trust ?
A: I feel a pressure in the area of my heart now. It seemed I could only rely on myself while I was living in my family. From my very early teenage years on I more or less took care of myself.
M: Sounds to me like you had no real support growing up. This is a dreadful situation for a little child. You could not trust the situation to be stable and not to break apart any moment ?
A: I just remembered three things my father used to tell me over and over again.
“You are not worth a penny.” “You are not worth a tinker´s dam.” “You are my scourge.”
M: Whatever happened, it looks like you did not experience situations that allowed you to build trust. Can you sense this place of not trusting in your body ?
A: Sure I can. It is a kind of cloud like pain that goes deeply into my heart area and is accompanied by recurring dizziness and a pressure in my throat.
M: So you have not learned to trust anyone. Neither the grown ups who were supposed to provide for you, nor yourself – because at the time you were little and you knew if the situation somehow collapsed, you would be unable to provide for yourself. On top of that, this seemed to have been affirmed by the behaviour of your father telling you, you were worth nothing. So there is this basic distrust that anyone – including yourself – could provide for your survival.
A: Ja. This was the situation in my childhood. I have “re- felt” in the last minutes the panic-like sensations that I had in my childhood whenever my father would be in his totally unpredictable fury or rage.
M: So he had the power and you felt dependent – at his mercyM: ?
A: I felt alone and terrified. There was no mercy. His fits came and after some time they were over. And if I would gainsay him or his judgements I would probably only cause another fury attack. So I learned to keep silent.
M: And maybe do what he asked or wanted to appease him ?
A: Ja. I gave this a try, especially when I was younger. But it did not really work.
M: Frustrating, I am sure. Children tend to think it is their own fault when parents are dysfunctional. they try to rectify the situation but of course this does not work. So the feedback you get is – you are worthless, useless, good for nothing. It is of course not true for you as a grown up and accomplished woman.
A: Worthless and a burden. Now that I re-feel and remember all of this I am really very astonished that I survived my broken self.
M: Well, I think we all have our baggage. the important thing is to just take it as a pointer. So we now have a feeling of a general distrust – like you cannot trust anyone in a family to be there for each other or to provide reliably. Then the feeling of being worthless, useless, a burden – so there is guilt associated with that. I would stay with these feelings if you can. They may lead you even deeper into the pain, the loss, the anger or sadness. But at the bottom of it is the source of inner strength.
A: Ja. I allow it all to be with me. I open up to it.
I thank you very much for leading me so gently to these packages and assisting me to unpack them.