On shame and the difference between longing and belonging

Currently reading Brené Brown her book ‘The gifts of imperfection’ – liking it, the Feeling way. I’m thinking it is a good book, and… finding too that she does not totally own what she’s writing. But, ghegheghe…. I am learning to deal with that. 😀 Starting to realise here that my perfectionism is nothing but a transfer of my own unsolved issues with shame, with not being good enough. And because I do not feel comfortable with (this aspect in) myself I feel that I need to point out other people’s inability to meet The Standard. ‘You are not good enough too! How dare you take your place in this world!’ What to say? Glad I now start to see how the dynamics work. Not happy about it yet, still in the learning phase, a little healing is happening here and there, it is a lot to process.

Opening my eyes to the shame I carry also opens up my eyes to how it got there and how this carry over system of parent to child works. Biologically very logic that we as a species carry over what we have learned of life to children. But not pretty when it comes to shame. I also remember fights with my mother where I refused to accept the shame she wanted to give to me.

Which brings me to this energetic / emotional system inside me I have been wondering about for a long time. People tend to say I am very open and therefore easy to speak with People tend to tell me very private things easily. But I sometimes think that my openness is a sham. I did not know how it worked but now I do. Part of it is a defence meganism: by opening up showing that I am no threat. Part of it is what I call ‘creating a mist’: by speaking about intimate things which are almost close to my heart I keep people focussed on that. But I never show what is behind that; the shame, the feeling of unworthiness, the feeling that I do not belong. Nowhere. I even cultivate the not belonging in my life, even here in my sober blog. I have this believe I have the weirdest sobriety blog around. Which in itself is not a problem, but the way, the intentions with which I set it up and use it as a shield is. I do that with everything. To cover up the not belonging inside. I feel like I turn myself inside out in order to hide the nothingness inside of that.

Belonging :-). I don’t know, it is not within. Never has been. Well yes, it has been in my ayahuasca experiences – but that is eh, real but not daily. My mother favored my older brother till the age of 30 or so. It was common knowledge, my brother even apologized to me about it :-(. He also told me to make less of a fuss too, so she would like me better. :-/ I guess I have been fighting for the right to be liked while making a fuss all my life. Children, well, even my cat, can have this ‘how much do you love me?’ behaviour where they test boundaries to see if the love is true. I don’t know if any of that was visible then. There was a lot of aggression in me too because I felt my needs were not met.

I feel my parents have been comparing me to my brother since the first second I was born. I was born as I do everything: stuck at first, wanting to coming out with my head the wrong way up as my brother had done. Then I drew back (is that even possible?), turned and was born in 3 contractions. Screaming so angrily like my mother had never, in all her years of childcare in hospitals, ever seen or heard a baby screaming. I guess that set the tone. My father said ‘Wooow, this one is very different’ and fainted.

That story has been repeated to me from a very young age. I never felt comfortable with it. I even made up that it was not true and that I was adopted. My brother and I spoke about that. We were sure he was real and I was adopted. We decided that based on how my mother related to me even though my brother could most likely remember that I was born and my mother had had a big belly. Kids and their thinking.

Around my 30ish birthday she suddenly came up to me saying something that bugged me for a long time: ‘I was reading a book and the mother had to choose what baby she would keep and what baby she would give away. I have always thought that if I had to choose I would choose your brother but now I think I would choose you. Not that I think I ever have to, but just so you know.’ How is that for an awkward ‘apology’?

Did it make me feel good? No, it freaked me out. First because in my ideal world parents don’t even THINK about having to choose between children – it sounded more like secret wishful thinking than anything else. And secondly because it proved that my mother had been favouring one of us and that was another reason for my ideal world to fall apart: mothers are not supposed to favour children. Life is not safe if mothers start favoring children. And thirdly because it proved that the person she favored was not me and I did not want that to be true but she made it true. I did say ‘thank you’.

Funny how one can be adult but when it comes to mother-child stuff I assume the child roll immediately. No questions asked.

Belonging. I started to mix it up with longing by the time I turned 14, 15. I’m guessing now I was quick to fall in love because I did not find I belonged in my family and wanted personal and physical connection to reassure me. Two days ago I dreamed of waking up in a farmhouse in the night, I was alone in the house. It was cold and pouring rain outside but I walked out to the barn where there was a campfire with family and friends who I knew were having (too much) drinks. While in the rain I noticed I carried a large empty wineglass and a teddy bear. The wineglass was to get drunk so I would not feel the difference between me and the others anymore. I guess in there is, for me, a very important piece of information on the energetic systems  behind my drinking behaviour. I also carried a teddy bear, that was because I was so very lonely. I was ashamed of the teddy bear, ashamed of feeling lonely because it told me (tells me) that I was (am) not good enough to be connected, to belong.

I also noticed this effect of ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’ in the drinking when it came to my father. My father has Aspergers syndrome which is one of the different autistic constitutions where the person is very brainy, mainly very technical with an immense control of language but has no social skills nor awareness of emotions in themselves nor others. He was pretty powerful in his presence and denying anything human that got in his way. In order for me to exist I had to not be there emotionally. We used to drink to excess together. My mother would hate that and we would laugh. Nauseating.

The night I had the dream my father had been checking my Linkedin profile. That feels uncomfortable. Does mean that he probably is up and about after the cerebral hemorrhage he had last year. We have not been in contact for 7 years now. It still scares me that he is sort of out there and interested. I feel I have no skills to deal with him. I feel sucked into his power immediately, even over a distance, even now he is most possibly a doddering old man. There is a reason I do not see him; I can not deal with it.

On mixing up longing and belonging: I am starting to see now how, and with what intention and intensity I throw this net of projections and hopes over the book store man and claim that it is love. I feel I’m almost there in letting go. 🙂 Good. I would like to be free but I can’t do that on willpower. As with alcohol, I need to do it on knowledge, insight in how and where and when it connects to me. I am happy that I have the time to work out these carry over feelings. Did I tell you he and I sort of ‘agreed’ on doing that as long as I kept ‘the biology’ out of the conversation? Which I understood as: ‘No sending of sexual messages, verbally or non-verbally, energetically.’ (What is the last conversation you had with your book store man?)

Ooh, I am very happy for this blog where I can just pfffffllllll spill all of that out….. Ghegheghe… on book store man, I have been cleaning my book shelfs and brought some 2nd hand books to the young book store man and also to the old. Traded for a beautiful book of Pema Chödrön a.o. He had a friend of 76 and they are both very much into health food, like: no wheat, eco only, nuts and avocado’s and vegetables, no sugar, no meat, no dairy. We went shopping for food and I laughed my head off. Two grandpa’s, both with more stamina and more speed in their walks than I, discussing what to eat and what not and what for. Part of which had to do with weight control!!! Gheghegheghe… I did not dare to put anything in my basket. The book store man saw than and started giggling. Ghegheghe, a tiny, 50 kilo 72-year-old with long grey hair and a long grey beard and bright blue eyes giggling.

Ooh, by the way, they are both old hippie addicts, heroine and alcohol. We spoke on recovery quite a lot. Very interesting. The friend of 76 ended up asking me if I were too critical to actually look at the possibility of taking him on as an intimate friend. I guess that was exactly how he phrased it. Both men are very sexual, must have to do with their diet, or because there is nothing left for them to do? Well, it makes him number 4 in a row of old guys ‘falling’ for me. There was a day, quite some months ago where I wished the Universe would help me find a wise man. Let this be a warning to you and I: BE SPECIFIC when you ask the universe for something. 😀

Is it a coincidence that this shows up in my life now? No, I think I still carry this concept of mixing up belonging and longing on the outside. My body of course is an abundance of Dutch glory, as the old book store man called it. Men tend to take that personally. Alexander Lowen says something like ‘the body is a manifestation of what happens inside’. My body type would belong to women who separate sex from love. That seems to create wide hips, heavy chest and a (well, relatively) small waist. I think it is (also) true. I feel like I use my sexuality as a shield. Daring people. Well, I guess that can be the next subject of study after shame.

There is something funny going on and I am going to put it out here because it puzzles me. Not seriously but still. When I got sober I realised that somewhere down the line, if I ever wanted to have sex again, I would need to start really slowly in order to not fall into old patterns/habits again. I was thinking: I might want to do a Tantra course like my friend did with her husband. A few weeks later I walked into the young book store man’s shop and after a customer had left with a tantra book he commented; ‘God, all these people getting stuck in tantra sex, trying to find liberation…. I will never ever do a tantra course.’

And the old book store man commented this week: I have not done tantra with my ex (he just broke up with her but they are still getting together – similarities all around) but I would really like to do that. How strange is that? I mean, these are people just saying things out of nowhere. It is not that I walk around with this big sign on my forehead saying ‘Tantra course!’

Ok, so I’m trying to deal with shame and kendeng! sex comes up and I am fending with it. Not elegant but I’m not going back to edit it because I think it is relevant. I do not know how yet and I sort of feel that I do not want to know either. :-D. Which, I have learned by now, means I had better sort it out.

I am happy-ish that I quit. I find things a little difficult these days. Specifically with my father and being thrown back in these ancient, almost tribal memories of the campfires we used to have, (be)longing and drinking. And I am sad about these memories, sad about the shame, the energy which is locked inside that and specifically sad about not belonging and feeling like the only options I have is to sort of hook up with an old geezer. Next, that tells me I am way too fucking fat and blaaah blaaah blaaaah, here I go again. Shame needs to be looked at. There is this repetitive pattern in my head telling me that the young guy does not want me because I am too fat and the old guys do want me because I am fat. I guess there is some work to be done. The thought of seriously paying attention to my weight has crossed my mind but I must make sure that this does not happen for the wrong reason. Rejection leads to shame in me, and to the feeling not to belong here. Losing weight does not solve that.

I need: to continue to look at and work out shame issues and possibly with somebody who can bear to listen to it too. Therapy time. And no, I will not risk my shame issues on those who can not bear it. I tried my SIL this week, that worked out to be an ‘adding insult to injury’ situation. 😦 Sigh.

I want: the whole world to be different so I don’t have to change. (Guessing that is not very likely to happen…)

I take: Ayurvedic pills and Mebendazol against parasites in my intestines. It makes me feel very lousy; I had the start of all the side-effects which are listed. That’s when I went to sleep to put my brain to rest so it could not come up with even stronger side-effects. I guess that is something I have learned in sobriety. 🙂 The hypochondria is still there but the dealing is getting a little better. 🙂

3 Things: picked up another beautiful book at a so manniest 2nd hand bookstore; Your child’s body language from Susan Quilliam. It is a photo book explaining what it is you see on the photo’s. They are real photo’s of real situations. The book tells me that there are other people in this world who also see what I see. I always thought I was strange about this. Maybe she is strange too. That is also possible. All that knowledge for Euro 1,50. Secondly I am happy for the nice bike tour with lunch and a book in the park I had today. And for writing this blog or maybe more for the discoveries I made.

On discipline: getting more insight on how I try to shame myself into good behaviour. Which I guess is why it is not working. There is one good thing about my procrastinating: it has brought me to go look for what is behind it, to learn to listen to shame. I’m just in the phase of cleaning up / gathering info so there is no real healing yet so I am not really happy about it yet but I guess that will come. 🙂

Guess that’s all for now. It is late night now. Thank you for reading this. Thank you for sticking with me when I try to sort out these things amongst which the book store man things which must bore you to death by now. Well, rephrase: must have bored you to death months ago. I think I’m getting where I want to go: get insight on my way, the systems of attachment.

Hope you have a nice evening / day.

xx, Feeling

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8 thoughts on “On shame and the difference between longing and belonging

  1. Hi Delen,
    I have some deep stains from my parents and it is only through being very disciplined and focused that I can steer away from ruminating on them. Like you said, it can be very comforting to over-share or offering your shame story up front as a way to establish intimacy and build a rapport. I have done it all my life and it’s how people would say that I am open, and it can be easily abused by people who sit back and just listen to all your revealing insights about yourself and in return offer nothing back.
    I’m rolling with your thoughts here, it’s a big wide space you’re entering.
    Thanks,
    Bren

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Bren,
      I have found out that there is nothing I can do on discipline (yet?) to it is my usual path to go deep and go through, look back on the other side an be totally done. Like it has been with drinking.
      Yeah, oversharing. I am not here to ask for people to ‘give back’ – not expecting so. I am happy when people do though 🙂 ;-). But in off- or online life I do not meet a lot of people who plan to abuse this. People mainly turn away if they are uncomfortable – like I think I gained 30-40 followers more than I’m currently counting and they unfollow when I write stuff they cannot or do not want to deal with. Which is everybodies right. In these 11 months there was one guy, well 2 actually, who were getting judgmental, I think they left pretty soon after posting this ‘you are not good enough/doing it right’ messages. Like my tendency to judge, it’s all transfer of their own shame.
      Why did you call me ‘Delen’ btw? Did you look that up or do you know Dutch?
      xx, Feeling

      Like

  2. Hi Feeling!
    You write such powerful posts.
    I wish I could think of magical things to say to you to help you!
    To take away all the pain!
    I do know that life is a strange voyage, and I sometimes think it amazing we make it at all!
    xo
    Wendy

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Parent issues are hard. My mother is a narcissist. She constantly played my sister and I against each other. Your sounds similar.
    I understand some of your feelings of apartness. Settling into my body and finding some stillness through yoga seems to have resolved much if that got me. I have comfort in my skin, for the first time in my life.
    I hope you find the same. It’s relieving.
    Anne

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, hard. I read your writing about your mother. It makes me sad, I wish it had been different for you. I’m not sure about the narcissist part, that is because I do not know what a narcissist is but the word keeps popping up lately so I guess at some day I’ll need to look at it. Currently my sad reply is: if it is bad, it’s probably me. Oooh, the poor me thing. That’s on the to-do list somewhere too. 🙂
      Apart from all the inactivity and procrastination I have done the last 2-3 years, I would LOVE to do yoga now but this infected shoulder tendons hurt like crazy when even putting my hair up so :-(. Which I’m guessing is my punishment for not doing stuff when I could have, should have. It is amazing how much info comes up when I take away this blanket / mist of shame. So many destructive thinking patterns pop up! Again, thank you for the book tip on Brené 🙂 🙂 :-).
      I’m getting prepared to spend the afternoon with two wonderful kids to play outside, which is always a strong way to connect with life again. 🙂
      Have a nice Sunday,
      xx, Feeling

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Feeling,
    I admire how you tackle issues head on, it’s brave and honest and you should be proud for challenging yourself where others don’t/can’t. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Millie,
      Thank you. Sometimes I forget about the bravery and that I actually think I’m doing well – well, I can’t do it differently so this must be my definition of well. Sometimes it feels like walking from one trap into the other. But thank you for your reply. It is good to look at things from a different standpoint so now and then. (Well, specifically when someone calls me brave! 🙂 Yay me! :-))
      xx, Feeling

      Liked by 1 person

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