Tomorrow is the new moon this month. As a part of my New Year’s resolution, I intend to write down every new moon up to ten “wishes” that I have for my life. I was given the suggestion to read New Moon Astrology by Jan Spiller by one of my favorite astrologers, Annie Botticelli. The book is filled with suggestions from many different aspects of life to help you decide what to wish for. I have a nice bound journal to keep track of my wishes so I can track if they come true or not. The theory is that the new moon holds special energies that will amplify your desires. Regardless, I believe any time we focus on something we are one step closer to manifesting it in our lives.
The journey from logic to belief is long and arduous. I’m a strongly left-brained, scientific type person who has spent most of my life thinking rather than feeling. I think part of my transition in this life is to tap into my intuition and feelings and balance that with logic and rationality. It is a bit like a tug of war that sometimes makes me feel either insane or in need of medication. However, as I lean into it I am starting to feel better footing.
One of my wishes is to exhibit more feminine qualities. I am looking back at my 24-year marriage that ended and thinking through all the things that could have been done differently. One of the most glaring issues that I’m discovering is the balance of masculine and feminine energy in our marriage. I’ve recently been listening to YouTube videos by John Gray, author of all the Men are From Mars books. He really lines out the roles the genders should be playing and just how very wrong we end up getting it in relationships. Listening to him, it really is no wonder I have such a strong desire to not be married anymore.
My parents set the stage wrong. Although my dad was capable of strong masculinity my mother was the typical bossy, controlling wife that didn’t delight in what my dad provided and shamed and manipulated him into not wanting to do anything for her. As a young wife, I thought that it was my job to do all the cleaning, cooking, and caretaking. I had low expectations of my husband providing anything for me because I never saw my dad do much of anything for my mom or the family outside of work. According to John Gray in a properly balanced relationship, the man always gives more than the woman. There may be defined roles, but if there were a way to quantify who was doing more in the relationship the man would take the heavy end. In the “old days” it meant the husband went to work to provide the house and all the possessions and the wife took care of those possessions in gratitude. I am NOT in favor of the old ways. I am very happy I was born into a world of gender equality. However, in a perfect world it was a beautiful way for the woman to have freedom to live each day as she saw fit making sure the house ran smoothly and the man bore the brunt of obligation. I say this with dreamy eyes because the reality for me was working full-time, taking complete care of my children, handling all the cleaning and mental load of running a family/household/finances (not to mention all the decision making) and my husband went to work for 8 hours a day, cooked dinner (mostly), and then spent the rest of his time with feet up resting. The imbalance laid the bulk of responsibility at my feet and I became more and more stressed and resentful.
According to Gray, When a woman is stressed, her estrogen drops and she takes on the more masculine role (which diminishes her sex drive). When a man isn’t giving more than a woman in the relationship his testosterone drops and he develops more feminine qualities in the relationship (which makes him lazy). Both of those hormonal responses produce depression and more stress in the genders. True happiness and fulfillment happens when the woman is producing strong estrogen (which means she feels sexy) and the man is producing strong testosterone (which gives him the energy to DO things). Sadly, when you’ve practiced the wrong habits for so long the only answer seems to be divorce and to try to get it right with the next person. Habits are so strongly engrained it is nothing short of a miracle to get a couple to stop dancing that same dance, like my parents, who never learned a new dance.
I recognize that although I didn’t know better, it was my fault for allowing myself to take on more stress than I could handle and not expect more from my husband. My personality is on the neurotic side of the spectrum, so I take on more and more responsibility to prove my worth. Or at least I did. As I transition from logic to intuition my desire to take care of myself and allow for my joy and rest to take more of a central role in my life increases. I expect less of myself and oddly my self-worth is increasing rather than decreasing. I am feeling the supreme peace of knowing that there is a “good enough” in my view instead of striving for unobtainable perfection. I can honestly say that meditation replaced the need for medication to achieve a non-neurotic life.
So, as tomorrow approaches and I set about to determine what my new moon wishes will be for this month I am focusing on learning to embrace femininity. Not out of selfishness, or even resentment toward lazy men, but knowing that by finding my own value and joy and I can actually bring value and joy to my next relationship. Yes, it will be my wish to find that lucky guy to test out my new-found knowledge, but not out of neediness. In this beautiful new moon, an absence of something, I have found wholeness.
It seems important to take time at the end of a year to reflect on what I’ve learned and the growth or challenges of life so as to move forward with intention. In years past, working for myself, I didn’t take much time to reflect. I was gang-busters on getting shit done. I’m thankful that I have a job that I can take PTO and sit and drink my coffee in the morning quiet of my apartment and just be.
That is one of my New Year’s resolutions. Learn to just be. I truly want to embrace whether astrology is what it claims to be. I spent 15 years neck-deep in the Christian Bible trying to sort out how I feel about religion and came out the other side realizing that there is so much more than that box can hold. It doesn’t mean it isn’t a valid box to sit in, but as I’ve stated elsewhere truth is truth at all levels, not just the one we are camping on. I recall that people I met along the Christian path made all eastern thoughts such as yoga or astrology out to be evil. One of my more stubborn traits is that if you tell me something is wrong, I’m going to explore it to figure out why I should believe that. I don’t take things a face value, if it is important I will deep dive in to figure it out. It must be the insanely strong Sagittarius nature I have. 5 of my placements are in Sag, making me seek truth above all things. Astrology may be just an indicator of possibilities, but I would like to explore how those posibilities actually play out to get a sense of what may come moving forward. It isn’t a crystal ball, but it can be useful none the less. It is worth my focus for a while to see if it is both trustworthy and true.
According to my astrological predictions of 2021, my progressed moon is moving into Scorpio for 2021. I need to learn more about how that all works, but apparently it means I will be more emotional. Moon in Scorpio. . . seems like sending a scientist into a daycare center. Chaos reigns! There is very little logic and no way to contain it. I look forward to emotional growth and learning to deepen my ability to understand myself better. It perhaps will deepen my interest in astrology and other psychological endeavors. I am hoping it will increase my ambitions since Mars rules Scorpio. I have spent the last couple of years feeling listless in setting goals so with any luck I will be able to truly figure out what I want for the next phase of life. The Moon in Libra, that I’m moving out of, explains why I was so set on keeping the peace and not rocking the boat in my relationships. Even in moving out of my house and leaving my husband I did it in a very peaceful and non-confrontational way. It also explains why the turmoil with my daughter during the Spring COVID shut-down was so difficult for me. I’m actually looking forward to embracing the ability to have constructive conflict and not feel the need to make everyone else comfortable for a while. It also seems like a great time to take up dating! That will be a roller-coaster of emotions I haven’t felt for 30 years and this time I am much more grounded and mature in understanding myself.
As I listen to the predictions for both Virgo and Sagittarius in 2021 it appears my energies will get off the hook with some of the more negative tones of the year. The over arching idea of 2021 appears to be that it will be better than 2020 but only in that it is unpredictable in nature fluctuating up and down rather than the “under the thumb” feeling of 2020. Steve Judd is adamant that January is going to be the hardest hit with some unpredictable nightmares occurring mid-month and then some release of that until September-October when some scary hidden things are going to come to light that will rock the world. November may see some natural disasters and other physical earth changes too. Overall, though, my sign outlook for both Sag and Virgo are very positive as Jupiter is my dominant figure and it is blowing me kisses on both fronts for most of the year.
So, in planning my year, or at least making my resolutions, I want to focus on my own stability and ability to take care of myself. Ever since I got pregnant with my first child I have focused on my family. That appears to be from a strong 4th house and Saturn in Cancer placement. However, something about leaving my husband and two sons and camping with my daughter in my own sanctuary as released me from my bonds of enslavement. Not that I don’t still want to nurture and love my children, but I feel a strong sense of release from being burdened by it. It is like my boundaries have been lifted and instead of trying to reign in and control everything I am feeling a strong sense to let the cards fall where they may. My boys are adults now (my mid son doesn’t turn 18 until June by by in large he is his own man in every way). In discovering the depth of astrology I am learning that they have their own lives to lead. I am now a spectator and although I can call out my observations, it is their game to play. I do not need to shelter or protect them from all the harsh aspects because it just hinders their growth and development. As I have seen in my own life, the earlier you learn the lesson the better it will be for you in the long run. There are SO many lessons to be learned in life and skipping over any of them is a huge disservice.
I see that in my ex-husband’s chart. Although I am still convinced his birth time is wrong, it is impossible to overlook his birth day. As I review all the placements and what they mean and how his life path “should” be according to his chart, he has pretty much missed all his opportunities for growth and completely derailed his path in this life. He is on the cusp of Aquarius and Pisces – literally to the hour. Although technically his is Aquarius he exhibits all the Pisces negative qualities. However, the rest of his placements make no sense. I see very little of his life in the interpretations. Why? I believe that childhood trauma brought out the Pisces ability to detach into a dream world took over. He has stuck his proverbial head in the sand and refused to engage in life. As I learn more, I understand where it started. We married when he was 19. That was our first mistake, but I digress. Around 28 is the Saturn return, which causes someone to really question who they are, what they want, and what direction their life is taking compared to their life path and purpose. Because when he was 28 we had 2 small children and he was a stay-at-home dad, he chose to refuse to take up the torch, so to speak. I was the “boss” of the family and he was happy to keep the kids alive during the day and have no real responsibility. That is not his life path and purpose. As our family grew and life continued to get more mundane, he got further and further from who he was supposed to be to the point that he became very unhappy. However, he saw this as “life” in that being a dad and a husband meant that he wasn’t supposed to be happy somehow. Instead of then figuring out his responsibilities and engaging as a father to his children, he checked out. He holed himself up inside his own head, not letting anything or anyone in. He kept his nose to the grindstone of work, after our daughter was born and I chose to stay home with the kids, because he enjoyed it and it suited him, but his home life was completely boring to him.
What is interesting to me as I read the CafeAstrology.com version of “who he is”, I really like that guy. If he had actually become what his chart indicated, if he had met all the challenges and stepped up, embraced conflict in that he fought for his own happiness and become the best version of himself, we would still be together. It is in refusing to see the pressure life was putting on him as helpful, he was squashed by it rather than elevated. I look at my own chart and see it reflects me, scarily, to a T. Although I feel like I’ve failed in a lot of ways, according to my chart I have embraced life’s challenges beautifully and learned the lessons presented thus far. I lived out my South Node (in Capricorn) in my early years, embraced my North Node (in Cancer) during my parenting years and now get to release myself from that burden. I was tortured by my IC being in Scorpio by my Scorpio mother and now my mid-heaven in Taurus can shine with my satisfaction in my physical world.
That doesn’t mean that I don’t have a lot to learn still. Equipped with my chart, I know what that is. My Jupiter in my 7th house predicted the end of my 1st marriage and now my Pluto squaring my Venus tells me I have to get comfortable with my emotions. That indicates both having a fear of intimacy and a strong desire for it. I need to move past the fear of it to find it with my next mate. I abhor the thought of dating in that I know I will have to date a lot of different people, which means exposing myself and all my inadequacies to the nth degree. However, it is my next path of growth to put myself out there and find out how to hold on to my energy and not allow other people to toss it around like a boat on the ocean in a storm. I was drawn to my 1st husband because he was stable, emotionally, and did not cause drama. However, intimacy comes from moving through conflict to resolution. I never felt emotionally intimate with him because he was so guarded and we never actually resolved any conflict. After a fight, I never felt closer to him, only more frustrated and lacking in release. I have my children to thank in teaching me that we can have serious disagreements but still be dedicated to each other and come out the other side feeling stronger and more connected. I am not the emotional vampire my mother was, and conflict is not death, as her Pluto nature imposed. I do feel, however, a strong desire to stay completely away from people with strong Scorpio as it feels like regression back to childhood for me.
What have I learned in 2020? My worth is in who I am not what I do. As a Virgo I have an insatiable desire to be useful. I have learned that I am useful and have proven that in every way and no longer need to prove that. Of course, I still have to get things done and do a good job in what I do, but now I see that is innate in who I am not something I have to worry about. I over-do my usefulness to the point that others feel like they don’t have to do things because I’ll take up any slack. That puts me in a position of feeling resentful and lacking in boundaries of what really is mine to do and what really belongs to others that I have taken on. I want to hold on to this notion that I cannot take up other people’s slack without somehow injuring both myself and those I think I’m helping. There is always a time when they cannot do something and helping them is the compassionate thing to do, but knowing when that time is and when it is them just refusing to take responsibility is a supremely important line to understand and not to cross.
I have also learned that I have to step out of my head and engage in life too. I’m not the “head in the sand” person my ex-husband is, but because most of my planet placements are in the southern hemisphere of my chart my life lives in my consciousness not out in the world. It has been a safe-haven and a wonderful first half of my life to really develop my mind and conquer my sub-conscious wiring. Not that I’m an expert, but I’ve done the work. I really feel that it was in physically leaving my husband that I realized action is just as necessary as making the decision in your mind. I left my husband mentally 5 years ago, honestly, but I feared the reality of it and how it would affect my family if I physically left. I realize that the mind is like the sandbox version of a computer program. It is nice to play around and see how it might go to work out bugs and make sure it is what you really want, but it is the production side of the program or life that matters. Until it leaves the storyboard and is physically realized it doesn’t really count. So one step I need to take is in speaking my truth. I spend a lot of time hiding what is really in my mind to “protect” either myself or others from the harshness of who I really am. This has created relationships that aren’t actually real. People don’t actually know me. I blame the fact that my parents and my ex weren’t capable of knowing me no matter what because of their own inability to see reality, but that doesn’t excuse my hiding things from them. I have to put out there who I am and they can either deal with it or ignore it at their leisure and I can choose to spend time with them or not depending on their reaction. However, until I put it out there we can’t know what will really happen.
So, in summary, 2021 will be a year of honesty and of self-acceptance both mentally and physically. I am who I am and those who appreciate that will stick around and those that don’t will fall away but I’m not taking responsibility for anyone but me and showing up as the real me. Dating will test this and hone it and helps me fight against my tendency to hide and pull back from those who would energetically deminish me. It will be rough for sure, but I want to embrace my Sagittarius nature and have fun with it. I want to be playful and enjoy getting to know people on a different level. To really embrace my Jupiteriousness (not a real word!) I need to seek truth not only internally but live it externally. Carpe Diem!!
One of my paths to self-actualization according to my astrological reading is to develop my communications skills both in written and verbal mediums. I came across a DailyOm course on “Uncovering the Authentic Self” that asks a bunch of questions weekly to help you look back and see trends and various roadblocks in your past that will help you clear the road for the future. I intend to review these questions and do my best to engagingly introspect. Feel free to join me!
What is standing in your way right now?
Over time I’ve realized that I am the only one standing in my way and that is usually a huge hurdle to overcome. I have spent a great deal of time, energy and money to determine who I am and it seems that is a never ending topic. I seem to fight against my own inner-knowing and brush it off as too easy or over simplified. The truth is, if I would just take myself seriously I would have a much easier time.
However, as I do look back over my history and compare it to my astrological chart and what they “predicted” I still think life would have taken a different course than my intuition would have allowed. For example, I knew I had to be a mom. I didn’t really want to, in the beginning, but something said that it had to happen for me. I thought I would only have one, and that would have shaped me very differently than having three did. I unconsciously ended up having to dedicate myself to my children and my family (as my 4th house and half my planet placements dictated) rather than dedicating myself to my career (as my south node was trying to move me away from.)
Now that I know what my chart says my growth points are and what I can expect from the 2nd half of my life I can navigate more consciously and avoid those things that I know are not congruent with my true self. However, psychology still plays a big part in things. As I was reading today in a horoscope analysis I purchased on AstroDienst, my struggle with both myself and my chosen partner in life is my desire to work out my “daddy issues”. The absence of my father in my childhood now leads me to desire a surrogate and it really resonated with me that my desire to find a new husband stems from my desire for someone else to give me meaning and purpose and be that ideal father-figure that I can admire. Crap! I need to get really comfortable with taking care of myself and depending on my own resources to find security and meaning before I can successfully find a new mate.
What would happen if you overcame the obstacle?
I have worked on my daddy issues. Around the time my 2nd son was born it started becoming very clear I could no longer release my dad from responsibility of his absence in my childhood. Yes, my mom was the dominant figure in my life but he chose to not participate. It took me a long time to work through forgiving him for not protecting me from my mother’s emotional abuse (she is a solid Scorpio) and even longer to forgive him for not actually being a father on any level other than financial provisions (he is a star Capricorn). However, I still admired him to some degree until I had an all-out war with my mother and chose to stop talking to her for a couple years. Even though he knew how crazy she has always been, even though she was wrong on so many levels, my father still stood there and said that I was basically a disappointment as an adult. He said if I had only been disciplined more as a child, maybe I would have grown up better. That was the moment any and all disillusions of my father fell away and I saw him clearly. I saw him as a weak and selfish man who deserved my mother and was happiest when he was miserable. He felt superior in her insanity and my rocking that world and trying to better myself, or her, was unacceptable. He would never see me, the same as my mother would never really see me – only the fantasy of what they wanted me to be.
It never occurred to me that I needed to let go that my ideal for a man. I do realize that no man is perfect and no relationship will ever be roses and rainbows all the time. However, as I have decided to let go of my 1st marriage because he cannot see me, just like my parents can’t see me, I do need to be real about what I can expect if I marry again. If I could really understand my desire to idealize the perfect man as everything my father and my soon to be ex-husband represent are not, then I would be able to set the expectation a little more realistically. Honestly, that is my biggest deterrent for dating and why I’ve delayed filing for divorce. I know there is baggage and a great deal of compromise in finding someone to spend your life with after 40. I don’t believe in fairy tales or perfection anymore but there is still a strong disappointment to me when people fall short. I know everyone will fall short of my ideals and I don’t know how to live with the discord. I don’t want to accept something mediocre because perfection doesn’t exist and yet if I don’t I will get nothing.
Are obstacles really just fears holding you back?
Um, yes, obviously! But let’s review the facts. I have many friends I really can’t spend that much time around, but I hold onto the friendship anyway. I see their “quirks” and their issues clearly and I have learned to accept that it is not my place to try to fix them or hold them to any kind of standard. Some I truly respect and value, others are just fun to do stuff with. However, I have to limit how much time we’re together. A few I can travel with, but most I can’t be with for more than a few hours at a time. I’m finding that true with my kids as well. As they grow into adulthood, I find them difficult to be around all the time. I think it is the energy that they exude. Strong energies really tire me out and I need a lot of downtime to find my own energy again. My mother taught me that when someone around me has a stronger energy I needed to back up and sit quietly. I find it hard to show myself, my opinions, and my desires when I’m around someone who is stronger energetically than I am. If they are weaker, I can stand up more but I also have an aversion to people I find really weak. If I can dominate someone, I feel guilty doing so therefore I will hide my strength to protect them. So, it would seem there is a really small margin that I can operate as myself in.
I think my take-away today is that I need to learn how to hold my energy steady regardless of who I am around. Perhaps dating is a great way to practice that since the majority of dates will “go away” and I don’t have to see them or spend time around them again. I have realized that my not engaging in conflict has not been healthy for me or those around me. They cannot every really know me if I never tell them what upsets me. I have a fiery nature that I need to allow to be unleashed. When people realize that they irritate other people, they have a choice to make changes. If they choose to continue to irritate people, then they will suffer the consequences of not having those people around – but it is still a choice and I am an adult now. I am not a child who needs to make everyone around me feel comfortable. Perhaps as I spend more time around people and practice using my energy to make room for myself, more people will be less difficult for me to be around.
Winter solstice, shortest day of the year, and this year it marks the convergence of both Jupiter and Saturn in the sky. They will look almost like one planet even though they are millions of miles a part. This is the first time they have been in this position in 800 years and in addition to being significant by themselves they are both entering into the house of Aquarius. Yes, I am interested in astrology now.
I have spent the better part of my adult life trying to figure myself and other people out. It never ceases to amaze me how different people can be and how diverse they can be. I started learning about the 4 quadrant typing system, DISC is the one that comes to mind but there are so many variations of this system and they go by many names. However, that is like saying it is a 2-story house or a ranch style. It doesn’t describe the size, neighborhood, color etc. It just gives you a framework to mentally understand a few of the dimensions. It is important the same way knowing if someone is an introvert or an extravert. It sheds light on otherwise confusing differences in people. I, however, need more.
I have looked at Myers-Briggs. I think it is very helpful from a career perspective because it goes into details about work style and communication. If you are an ISTJ (as I am) you will not likely go into sales. If you do, you will be supremely unhappy because it just isn’t “who you are”. With 16 different types in Myers-Briggs it helps to really dig a little deeper to pinpoint some more unique differences between people. However, it doesn’t really take into consideration upbringing and influences that life throws at you to help you become more balanced. The typical ISTJ is someone who lacks in the people skills department so they focus on facts and data. They make great accountants and scientists, which is why I went into finance where I can both analyze and be neck deep in data. However, my life influences have given me the ability to teach and counsel and be able to break down the steps into understandable sections to show other people how to do things. I thrive when I’m training others and being able to see them understand what I’m showing them. That is not necessarily common to ISTJ. There comes a point in these kinds of models where you can’t just type-cast a person based on a test or you may overlook some really important factors.
The Enneagram has been my favorite for several years due to the depth and breadth it offers. Not only are there 9 specific personality types but it shows how people will change when they are doing well or doing poorly. It also shows the different directions they may lean within their personality toward the one next to them on the wheel. I do find it very validating and the most compelling is the levels of health it dives into. A healthy Type 1, for example, is humanitarian and eager to “fix” the world on a selfless level. However, an unhealthy Type 1 is judgmental and negative to a pretty strong degree. People live on the spectrum each day but the Enneagram gives guidance to how a person may be drifting downward on the levels as to how to bring themselves back up. What works for a Type 1 will not work for a Type 3 to improve their levels. The key to the Enneagram is knowing which one you are. It is easy to mis-type yourself. People have a problem with not seeing themselves in reality. They may not like aspects of themselves so they project different behaviors so they feel better about who they are. If you mis-type yourself it is really pointless to use the Enneagram. As with the other two systems you really need the help of someone who really knows you to tell you if a type fits.
So, what about astrology? People read a lot about their horoscope and most people know the basics about their sun sign just because it is fairly common now. However, the sun sign is really misleading. I am a Sagittarius and for most of my life, that just didn’t fit me. Yes, I do like to travel but I’m a solid home-body who likes consistency. I do like my freedom, but it expresses itself in a very muted fashion. It is more of a freedom of the mind and choices rather than a physical freedom. It wasn’t until I discovered that the rising sign (ascendant) is what your personality really is that it made sense. I am a Virgo rising, which explains my attention to detail and my organization as well as my need to do everything the “right” way. The sun sign is your path to growth. As a Virgo I need to lighten up and embrace a fun-loving side to honor my Sagittarius nature. I see the struggle for both and know that is things like picking up and moving my family across the country (twice) that my Sagittarius-ness came out. My hopping on a plane and wandering around London by myself for 4 days (and loving it!) shows my gypsy side. My day to day presence is defined by the Virgo.
Astrology is so much more detailed, and confusing, so it is not for the faint of heart. Once you get a full natal chart and see the planets spread out and find out their locations all mean something entirely different for you than for other people your head might spin a bit. However, if you actually understand what they all mean, you find a lot of details that the other systems miss. You also are what you are. I know my birth date and time and that isn’t going to change. I cannot mis-type my astrology chart. One interesting thing to note is that you can not become your astrology chart. Depending on your traumas in life, and your willingness to let life shape you, you can end up on a path that is different than your chart. So, if your chart doesn’t resonate with you, it would be best to really look into what happened in your life that pushed you away from realizing your true potential – because the chart is a map to becoming the best you. And you always have a choice. However, if you choose not let life shape you there is no chance you are happy about it. There will always be a feeling that a piece of you is missing because you literally amputated your real self somewhere along the way. You can use the chart to understand where you do need to go and do your best to get back on track. You can find the missing pieces and repair the damage if you are intentional and dedicated.
The Celestine Prophesy focuses on energy. Understanding how it works in general, understanding how it interacts between people, how important it is in relationships and getting in-tune with the world etc. I found the part about the dramas we play to be very interesting. There are two “coins,” so to speak, in which people choose one and favor one side. One coin is the intimidator/victim coin. On the one side is the person who uses their energy to dominate another person entirely. They summon great force and attack a person energetically/physically/emotionally/verbally. The other side of that coin is the victim. They go with the “poor me” mentality of passive-aggressively retaining their own energy in the situation by playing on sympathies. It is harder to spot this person, but they manipulate to get us to feel sorry for them and change our energy to help them. Understandably, if someone is intimidating we expect the person being intimidated to react as a victim, but a strong victim mentality is destructive in that they take no responsibility and live their lives willingly “at the mercy of others” when in fact it is simply their refusal to take control that is causing them to be in the situation they are in. The intimidator takes energy and the victim is actively blocking energy and holding it in. Oddly, the victim when energized enough can become an intimidator. It may not be their go-to but they can turn around and intimidate others when they feel the advantage.
The other coin is the interrogator/aloof dramas. The interrogator questions the other person either openly or covertly to look for holes in the other person’s thinking so they can point it out and prove them wrong. It isn’t inquisitive behavior, because they aren’t looking to learn, but a means to get energy by feeding off the other person. It is more subtle than intimidating, but it takes energy nonetheless. At the extreme, it leaves the person being interrogated feeling shamed or humiliated because the interrogator found their weakness and tore them to the core. The other side to that coin is the aloof drama. They are active avoiders but not as victims but as deflectors. They “play dumb” or place their attention elsewhere to avoid the situation altogether. They may say or do something to dodge the interrogator’s questions or freeze and claim ignorance. Instead of fighting, they flea. They also withhold information and refuse to allow the interrogator to get enough information out of them to find a flaw because they know what the interrogator is doing and refuse to be shamed. They are actively holding on to their energy to keep it from being stolen. A talented person who is aloof will go to great lengths never to be cornered and have to give up any information, they are excellent dodgers.
I am an interrogator/aloof person and my husband is an intimidator/victim. I spend my childhood in an aloof drama in order to avoid my parent’s interrogating skills. My mom is one who uses both coins actively but seems to favor playing a victim. However, my dad is an expert interrogator and very aloof. I spent the first 20 years of my life feeling shamed pretty much all the time by what I didn’t know and got good at learning to stop people from ever getting the best of me through my ignorance. My husband favors the victim side and goes into the “poor me” mode whenever I get upset with him. He is not very good at intimidating and only seems to use it with our kids. However, because he has never honed his skills he just comes across as a supreme jerk instead of masterfully using it to get what he wants. Whenever I become an intimidator to get something I want (like compliance from stubborn teenagers) it feels horrible and abusive to me and I don’t want to be that person. However, tearing someone to their core and shaming them doesn’t feel as wrong to me, even though the effects can be just as harmful. As I go through my own healing process, I have more compassion and empathy and although I may use my interrogation skills it is less to shame and more to unravel information that is being withheld. As a life-long learner and interrogator, it is very important to me to have facts so it feels easy to justify asking too many questions in the name of communication. I’m not really sure where that line is.
As I was reflecting on energy and how it plays back and forth between people I was struck at the patterns of my energy in my life. Because my family growing up consisted of people with very strong energies I naturally had to defend my own from being sucked away from me. My dad wasn’t that interested in dominating me and left me alone for the most part, but my mom was an energy hoarder. Whenever she felt low she would do just about anything to gain some for herself and she was very creative in engaging in various dramas to create an energetic situation she could feed off of. I had to get very creative in bringing the drama under control so it didn’t (psychologically) kill me.
As a defense mechanism, I think I developed a pattern of matching my energy to the person I wanted to make happy so that I could feel safe. I’m going to have to explore more of that with other people and see how I do it, but I morph to fit in so as not to stand out and be a target. However, I see that I married my husband because he does not feed off energy. He never has felt the need to dominate me, and when we were younger I would interrogate him and he would just shut down. I would try to get energy through my skills and when I didn’t get it, I would become an interrogator to generate more energy and when he didn’t budge I would have to deal with my own need. He was a rock that anchored me and helped me face my own need for drama and learn to find other, more healthy ways to deal with my needs. I appreciate that, it still isn’t healthy because we never learned to work through conflict or deal with our frustrations, but it has helped me to become more self-sufficient in my energy flow.
A friend recommended a book to me called The Celestine Prophesy. The best way I can describe it so far is Divici Code meets Deepak Chopra. The author clearly believes in Energy Medicine and Mystical spirituality not tied to a particular faith. It is just what the doctor ordered. Normally, I stay pretty busy on the weekends getting caught up on cleaning or working. However, I took the opportunity this past weekend to rest and read.
One aspect of the book that I wanted to explore was the idea that we cannot grow if we don’t go back and realize the opportunities our parents gave us in shaping us for our destinies. Even if those circumstances felt bad, or we wallowed in self-pity at the poor fate of our being born into the families we were, we need to look for the connections and how it has intentionally shaped us to be where we are. I have done something similar in the past, but it is good to get it out in the open.
My father is a very stable and hardworking person. I remember he was always busy either working or going away on weekends for the National Gaurd. He was respected and a leader in the positions he held. He seemed to be trapped in middle-income life and struggled with his financial decisions, and never seemed to get ahead. However, because of his diligence in being a hard-worker, their house is paid for and he has a nice pension. He was agnostic, never really telling me what he believed other than it didn’t hurt to have faith because even if you’re wrong you’ve been happy and if there really is a God and you don’t believe you have something to lose. However, he never seemed to have much interest in discovering anything out about what happens after you die.
As a father, he was aloof and disinterested. He didn’t really feel compelled to be a part of the lives of his kids. He did seem to directly compete with my brother on things and seemed to resent when my brother was better at something than him. He would ignore things for a long time, and then finally explode and yell. However, he wasn’t physically harmful in any way, he seemed to leave all discipline to my mother.
It is interesting as I write this I see so much of how my life was limited by my upbringing by my father. It seems like I lived under the dome he built. I have kept my life small and not aimed for more than middle-income life. I have made decisions that have set us back financially. I married a man that is aloof and disinterested in his kids and ignores things until he explodes.
My mother is strong and determined. She was never really interested in working but always had some kind of side job that she could spend the money on her own pleasures. She was feisty and not someone you crossed. There are so many bad things I could say about my mother and how she hurt me as a child, but the important things are that she taught me to be a mediator. She could not understand other people, even a little, and would look to me as a kind of counselor. I became good at observing and trying to figure things out because she appeared to not have the ability to figure much out herself. She was good with numbers, and had decent problem-solving skills to get what she wanted, but was so oblivious to people.
She became a Christian when I was 9 and went from being aimless to having a very direct purpose in life. She has been obsessed with reading the Bible and writing in her journal and teaching others about what she knows. She is also very uninterested in anything that challenges her beliefs to the point of knock-down-drag-out fights if you suggest anything she believes may not be true. It defines her now. However, she has developed great faith. She has almost a child-like faith in that she finds great parking spaces and seems to have a bubble around her when driving, and she is a terrible driver.
What I feel I have received from my mother is stubborn determination. Once I decide something, I don’t look back. I fight for what I believe I should and I will completely reinvent my life to get what I feel I should. That led me to take our first child and move to another state so that we could raise our family on one income, which we did. I then picked up our 3 kids and moved back to Colorado so they could have more opportunities as they got older, as the small town we lived in was a recipe for teen-pregnancy and alcoholism. I homeschooled. . . enough said. I built a business around working from home so I could fulfill my duties as a mom and make money for our family.
The theme of my adult life is “should”. I have looked at what I believed needed to be done and I did it, regardless of whether it is what I wanted or felt good to me. I ignored my own intuition and made my road map off of expectations for what makes a mom a good mom, or evading being thought of as “bad” by those whose opinions matter to me. That is not something my parents did. I know my mom sacrificed so that we could have things, but she would not have picked up the household and moved to benefit the kids. My dad would never have allowed her if she wanted to. She made sure my brother got special schooling and I got braces etc. so it’s not like they were not working for our good. I just went overboard to make my home more child-centered.
At some point in the last couple of years, mostly since I started tapping into my intuition and actually asking my body and internal self what I really wanted have I stopped striving for the “shoulds”. Outside of moving my family across town so my kids could go to better schools (yes I’m relentless), I have been really working toward not worrying about making anyone else happy. That has sent me on a two-year frozen period where I’m not really sure what I want because I’ve always been led by shoulds. My intuition isn’t giving me a lot of lead on what comes next so I feel stuck and trapped, really. I can see that my life before was marked by dissatisfaction. I was always moving toward a goal and it has been hard because I have not determined a goal to work toward in the past year. I am hoping to go through the exercises of the book will help me find that goal.
What have I learned about my past? How is it paving my future?
As a child, I felt very alone. My parents didn’t know how to connect with people, nor did they understand how to love other people. Don’t get me wrong, they felt love, but as I grow in my own life I see that love really is 1 Corinthians 13. It isn’t selfish, it isn’t needy, it doesn’t demand that it be right and others wrong. I believe that my parent’s inability to allow themselves to be wrong gave me the gift of allowing myself to be wrong. My whole life I have asked the question, why? Instead of camping on what was comfortable and safe, from a mental perspective, I always challenged myself. I explored and I learned and I always tried to make myself better. I did so because in my family I was last in the pecking order and there were a lot of big egos ahead of me in line for filling. Each person in my family denigrated and belittled those under them so that they could feel strong and good about themselves. I had no one to do that with. I received the brunt of my mother and my brother’s ego trips, but I had to learn to protect my ego. I went inward. I went to fantasy and released my frustrations through playing out events in my mind to their logical conclusion and then learning from the mistakes of my characters instead of making them myself. If I made any mistakes, it was sure to be wildly criticized and my shame would be enormous, so I learned to walk the fine line of not allowing for mistakes.
I can thank my parents for my determination to learn to be a better person because they were so set in their ways. I saw the conflict that it caused, that they refused to appreciate each other, and keep conflict at a minimum. Unfortunately, in my marriage I have not learned to have conflict, only to avoid it. I married a man that is incapable of communicating anything that makes him feel uncomfortable so in the early years I yelled and vented and said things that I regretted and ended up apologizing for my behavior and the argument was over. Never mind we never settled anything and he never really contributed. I always just thought he was the wiser one not engaging and embarrassing himself like I did. It never occurred to me in the beginning that he simply could not think when his mind was flooded with shame.
My adult life has been driven to answer those “why” questions. At first, I was dedicated to learning about God. As I had children I was obsessed with solving the “What does God want from us?” question. My mortality and the fear of losing them prompted me to make sure I was still on the right path, has the answers, and was not wrong. My need for being right was not to use it against anyone, but simply to make sure no one could make me feel ashamed for not knowing something that was available and true. This took me into my homeschooling years where I studied the Bible to its core. Why was my motivating question. Not just why, but how do I make this practical enough that I can apply it to my life and the lives around me? I suppose being married to a simple man and homeschooling helped me develop skills to explain things in a way that broke it down to the basics. Instead of the philosophical meanderings of so many that make sense to so few, my super power is deconstructing the complex and making sure it still holds up. Something that is true will continue to be true at all levels, not just one.
In addition to asking questions about God, I deep dove into understanding people and human nature. All of this was done outside of any profession or academia. I read a bunch of books to try to understand my childhood, who my parents were, and why they were the way they were, personality types, and why some people “clicked” and some didn’t. I had shelves full of information on my inner-child, boundaries, the Enneagram, and how to be a better me on many different levels. I came away with more questions than anything and the more I dug the more I realized that there isn’t really a right way to live. There is no way to be perfect, and that in striving for perfection I not only make myself miserable I become someone no one really likes because I lose the quirkiness of being unique. Perfect isn’t any fun and doesn’t play well with others. Believe me, that rocked my world and sent me into depression. What had I been working for all my life then?
Today I sit in an office and wait for my daughter to have a brain map for neurofeedback. She has been doing neurofeedback since January. We paused for a few weeks due to COVID but I have seen a decline in her ability to deal with things and I am really concerned about her future. The original tests indicated a very poor memory and low auditory processing. If she were an avid reader she could learn for herself since listening to the teacher isn’t landing well, but she doesn’t like to read. She has no attention span to sit and teach herself unless it is a YouTube video or something very social in nature. So, she will never be a scientist or an accountant like me. However, she isn’t able to reflect on her failures in a way that she learns to not repeat mistakes.
An example of my frustrations the last few weeks we’ve been cooped up together is that she is aware that she does poorly because her school requires her to take a “learning strategies” class to help her with her other school work. In my day it would have been referred to as special education, but the schools like to keep that terminology on the down-low. She doesn’t want to feel “stupid” because she needs help, so she keeps saying she doesn’t want to go into that class again in the fall. Okay, great, good to have goals. So, I explain that if she reads the materials the teachers have been providing for remote learning and she gets a C or better on the quizzes and tests then she won’t have to go into learning strategies in the fall. When she truly applies herself she is able to get a C or better. However, when the time comes she refuses to read the material and ends up taking the quiz and failing because she didn’t know the answers. To me it seems perfectly logical that you can’t have both (no special ed AND poor grades). You have to choose which one you want more. If she really doesn’t want to apply herself, then accept that she is stuck in a special ed class at school. Most people can reconcile that, but she cannot. She is adamant that she not be in the class AND refuses to do the work required to get better grades.
This leads me to believe there is something more serious going on inside her head that cannot be solved by communication. Therefore, I sit at the neurofeedback office to find solutions. They have someone they can refer that will read the results to the mapping and recommend a prescription medication that may help her. It has to be chemical. I have fought the idea of giving her meds for a long time because I believed she just needed to decide to do what she “should”. I no longer believe that. I’ve seen it in action for too long. I hope there is something out there that can assist her without having too many negative side effects. Like COVID, the cure cannot ruin everything.
I love my daughter’s joy and innocence. She is such a wonder to behold with her positivity and imagination. As a little one, I adored her for her yin energy. I am so completely opposite her, she provided a release from my uptight nature. However, I believe that as she grows and is expected to mature, it will become more of a neurosis if she does not advance along with her peers. She will not be able to tell the difference from her imagination and reality because she continues to reject reality when she doesn’t like it.
Oh parenting! Sometimes I lament and wish I had the lives of my single friends. However, they are never pushed to become better people in the same way. They are allowed to stay exactly where they want to without the pure force of children holding up the ugly mirror to our faces and making us come to terms with personal growth. I am jealous that they have choices and my life feels less free, but I also have people in my life that I am essential to, that even if they resent me the way moms are supposed to be resented, they also have that place in their hearts that will hold me.
I miss looking at things from a big picture. I majored in Finance rather than Accounting because I love concepts and finding meaning in big things. As it turns out I also am really good with the details and being in the weeds. I find comfort in the nitty-gritty because there are results and it is more apparent when you actually finish something. As it turns out there is so much frustration with the big picture because there are so many ways to look at things. Because our view may be limited to one side, we come to believe our side is the “right” side, the only side, the most important side. We even believe that there are no other sides, because we don’t have access to the big picture. When we realize that there is so much more to see, we can either reject that and keep our old views or we can humble ourselves to start changing the way we are thinking to understand the whole view.
It is like the story of the three blind men that come up to the elephant and are asked to describe what they find. One, who has the elephants trunk, describes it like a snake. Another, who has the elephants leg, describes it like a tree trunk. The last one is at the elephants belly and describes it like a big leathery wall. None of them are wrong, but none of them are right either. They do not understand, and therefore what they think is right is only partially right.
That, to me, is like our view of God. We all have developed our own view based on what we have had access to through family, church etc. There is so much more. We may have words for it, so when we discover more it gives meaning to those words, but inside our hearts and minds the view has expanded to include more depth and understanding.
As I sit and ponder Easter on my couch at home because stay-at-home orders forbid me to attend services in person, I wonder how much of my view of God is still not open to me. I have gone from having very firm views of the side of God that I held as being the “only truth” to intentionally challenging myself to see God from the other views to understand why people hold them. I have gone from being certain of what I know to being very uncertain that I know anything at all.
I don’t believe that we should all just find out own truth. I do believe that there are things more true than others. Children can believe they can fly, but as parents we don’ t let them jump out their window. There are laws that govern all of life, whether we believe or know about them are not. We should seek to understand those laws about God and the Universe so that we can find firm foundation in our lives; then seek inside and out to formulate our beliefs of however much of the big picture we’ve been given. Finally, we should be open to the idea that there is more yet to be revealed. None of the blind men explored the ears or head of the elephant. What have we yet to even discover about God?
Things have not yet started to unravel. I made the conscious choice not to yell or allow things to get crazy. Monday was questionable as my daughter was resisting even doing catch up work since there is no school on Mondays now. However, I explained to her that it is not about her having her own opinion or desire. We can deal with that and talk about compromise. It is about conflict and how she is creating it. I had to express very clearly that other people do not like conflict, especially when they feel they can’t control it. Her creating conflict caused people to feel very negatively about her rather than focusing on what she was upset about. I don’t know if it resonated or not with her but it helped me separate my feelings of anger toward her and placed it on my overwhelming angst about the lack of control I was feeling.
I believe that is why I tend to yell and get physically aggressive when I get upset. I spent my entire childhood being dominated by very strong personalities. I was the youngest so everyone ahead of me felt they should control and dominate me. Whenever I would try to defend myself or assert my own control they would make sure I knew they were in control. I suppose that is the endless cycle. Kids being dominated by their parents to grow up and dominate their children. I have such a strong desire not to allow my daughter to “win”. However, as long as we are not angry, I don’t feel that need; I’m happy to compromise as long as she completes her responsibilities. It is as soon as I get angry that I feel I have to show her who is in control.
As fate would have it I started some new classes on MindValley. One being Donna Eden’s Energy Medicine. She has some great techniques to do that help calm the body and align the energy of the body when you’re feeling out of control. The hard part about those things is remembering to do them when your emotions have taken over and there is no more logic. It is also hard because I want to get other people to do those things too, but they don’t know or understand the reasons and are not inclined to do it.
Another week almost over, as it is Friday. Only six more weeks to go. Perhaps this is an opportunity for me put into practice all the things that I have learned. I suppose it is time.