Sisters, Sisters, Sisters,
There were never such devoted sisters
Never had to have a chaperone “No, sir,”
I’m there to keep my eye on her
Every little thing that we are wearing…..
This is the song from White Christmas and a while back it kept popping into my head so I took that as a hint from my guides about some emotions that were coming up for me around friendships, particularly women so writing this helped me explore it a bit more.
If we believe we are all children of God, all men are our brothers and all women are our sisters. So when I refer to sisters here I talk just not of biological sisters we may have had, but also about our friendships: an area that has been a challenge for me all of my life.
All relationships have been a challenge for me, but those with women I have found difficult in ways I can not describe fully yet, as I am still investigating, still feeling through painful emotions and I have a way to go yet.
I find it hard to believe I am accepted and loved. I feel rejection in all sorts of scenario’s: an anxiety and fear that does not actually relay the truth of the situation – it is often just my fear and I live in it still and in the last few years it has got worse. Of course it has: I have not felt the causal emotion – the reason it all started.
The words to this song, from the movie White Christmas, intrigued me years ago: I had never had a friendship like that. I had had what I thought were close friends, but they didn’t seem to last. When I was a kid, we moved around a lot, so I made friends and then I would be off. One year I left a school, then plans changed and I was back there in September, but off again within a few months. I remember my discomfort at having to return after having said goodbye to everyone. I felt like everyone thought I had lied about leaving. When I was 12 we moved to Devon and I did stay in the same place for 6 years but by that time I was already uncertain and unsure of myself. I still made friends, still giggled together with others on the bus home from school, still compared notes on boys, but never felt that closeness with one particular friend and even if it started to feel like that, it seemed to change. I often felt like a strange creature with a secret world that no one understood or knew about: I often felt like an observer of my own life. I would relate to a certain point, but mostly I felt so utterly alone, in my thoughts and behaviour and with my feelings. My only true friend became the ocean, where I went to talk, cry, sing and write poetry: its strength, beauty and far out horizon gave me space to feel and express myself.
I moved away from the ocean when I was 18 and my tentative relationships with women continued. I would seem to make good friends but they only lasted a few years and then they were gone. We would lose contact or something would happen and we no longer had anything more to say to each other. One friend ended our relationship because I was “too thoughtful.” At the time it made no sense to me and I learned to trust or like myself even less: not knowing when I was giving too much, which sometimes led me to feel worn out and resentful if it felt like others were just taking and not giving: not understanding what I had done “wrong.” If problems arose in friendships I would often bury my head in the sand: not answer calls, pretend not to be in, panic if I bumped into them, or pretend everything was fine, but retain feelings of anger, confusion, fear,sadness and even devastation within.
I was too scared to speak up in case I was not liked anymore: I averted disaster to avoid the pain of rejection or judgement or punishment. The truth is I had become ashamed of myself, unsure, and certain I was not truly liked, that people would find out in the end how awful I was – that the real me was a bad, unlovable person.
Naturally, it was not just that I moved house a lot: in fact the constant moving, the never asking how we children felt about it was just a clue to the fact our feelings or the effects of the changes on us were never considered. I still have huge blanks in my memory, but my feelings tell me that everything was about the adults, especially about my mother. She was needy and narcissistic. Her own childhood, her own family history created a parent who really struggled to be a parent at all. How can you love your children when you do not know about love? When you do not know how to love yourself? All you do is believe that the world is against you and you fight in whatever way you need to to get attention, to get “love”. For my mother, the need was so great, the pain so deep, that she used her children to meet her emotional needs, which is very damaging.
The most painful emotional event for me was how my mother would pull me closer, tell me I was her favourite (which didn’t make me feel comfortable), get what she wanted from me, which could be any form of caring for her – either emotionally or physically. Then I would not do something as she expected in some way, if I didn’t make her feel better, if I didn’t stop her pain, didn’t do enough chores, didn’t listen to her enough, she would push me away – tell me I didn’t know what she was going through, that she “had sacrificed everything for her kids” and that we were ungrateful and I was a terrible daughter. I would stand confused. I tried to please her more and more. I would get her breakfast in bed, I became an entertainer to make her smile. I feared her wrath. I feared the uncertainty of her moods and the events it created. I feared rejection and abandonment.
I became a carer, a people-pleaser. I had been taught my emotions didn’t matter and in fact to express them was “selfish.” I learnt that love meant I had to earn it, I had to be perfect: in this way the love I dreamed of became unattainable.
My fears became so great I suppressed them hugely and many times my own law of attraction brought me events where I was rejected by friends. Of course this is God’s law working with love to help us feel and release the painful emotions – but that is something I have only understood in the last couple of years. Most of my life I have continued to suffer and hide my pain, my aloneness..
Rather than face others judgement I judged myself first and have self punished myself in many, many ways all my life: through food, through poor self-care, through relationships, living in fear and not following my dreams and desires. I gave myself the slap before others did – it seemed the easier option. It is a route many of us take. One that imprisons us in fear and suppression. A prison cell that only we have the key to.
Of course I never did reach the perfection I felt my parents wanted, no matter how hard I tried, particularly with my mother. So I mostly felt unloved and unaccepted. The rest of the craziness of my childhood led me to feel invisible and insignificant. Most of my life I have felt that no matter what I did or who I was, I could not be loved.
So why would I believe that a friend could really love me? Every other minute I wait to be “unloved”, rejected and alone. How can I trust my sisters, when the one big sister ( my mother) who was meant to guide me and teach me about love and trust, manipulated and hurt me. It may not have been consciously, but it happened. This is how the past become our present, when we don’t grieve over the things that were lost or missing.
My fears about trusting women have grown rather than shrunk, because have grieved about the lack of love from my mother. This is just an example from my own life of the the impact of not processing emotions and I have need to be compassionate about the fact that as a child expressing emotions always resulted in punishment, anger, shut down so it is something I will need to learn.
But until I do process these emotions about mum, I am blocked to the feminine side of God, the majority of the time. The only time I open a little is when I am out with nature and I do have some interest in finding out about God. For my own health, my soul’s growth and my relationships it is an issue I can’t keep avoiding so I plan to connect with some friends I haven’t been and see what happens.
Fear is a very damaging thing when we make it our God, but it is just an emotion – an imagined event too. But we blow it up into this big monster we keep running from. Mary has written some great blogs on fear and there are some talks too. Here are the links:
- Let Yourself Fall from the Plane blog
- Living in Fear and the Freedom to Choose Differently blog
- Sometimes I think of Dogs blog
- Fear is your Friend Part 1 seminar
- Fear is your Friend Part 2 seminar
- Fear Revisited Part 1
- Fear Revisited Part 2