Trauma induces very unpleasant internal emotional states. When an infant experiences an unpleasant emotional state, what does she do? She cries, which ought to bring the parent. The parent then, if he or she is well-regulated herself or himself, will then pick up the infant and go, “Aww,” and hold that baby and rock them, or sing to them in a sing-song kind of way. That will regulate the child’s internal state. Then the infant learns that emotional states that are unpleasant come and go. It’s okay. If I can’t handle it, I can ask for help. For the many of us who didn’t have that kind of holding environment, who didn’t have the parents around that could hold us in our unpleasant states and soothe us and regulate us because they were not regulated themselves, we end up fearing that these difficult emotional states are permanent and ‘I will stay stuck in them’, ‘I will never get out of them.’ Then what do we do?
One of the great things about reaching midlife is the perspective and the clarity we get as time begins to feel more precious and important. I remember reaching a point in my life where I no longer had the energy or the desire to chase after anything anymore. Not only that but it seemed like the strategies I used for most of my adult life – setting goals, creating detailed action plans and working my butt off to make success happen all stopped working.
My manifesting muscles went limp.
This entry is taken from one of the most beautiful film scenes I’ve ever seen. It is between a father and a son. I wonder what the world would be like if there were more experiences like this in the world between parents and children.
It is a conversation between the son and his father after a young man staying with the family over the summer–and with whom the son has been having what he believed to be a clandestine relationship–returns to his home. The son after riding with him to the town with the airport comes back quiet but obviously impacted.
Write what disturbs you, what you fear, what you have not been willing to speak about. Be willing to be split open.
– Natalie Goldberg
It is as though we are only vaguely aware of the whole discourse of gender that swirls around us as children, but that catalyzes with puberty. With my period, I was called on to negotiate that identity. By gaining weight I was having none of it.
I don’t feel resentment toward the Dude because I didn’t do a damned thing I didn’t want to do. I didn’t lose or leave myself. Everything was fully and freely given on my end. I feel pure of heart. I have no regrets.
In my pain and powerlessness, my disappointment and self-doubt, I realized that among the myriad of emotions I was experiencing, I did not feel resentment. And yet, I knew that had I slept with the Dude and had he pulled away in the same way he did, I most certainly would have felt resentment. That got me thinking about the nature of resentment.
I decided that there is a way in which resentment is what you feel when you give up a part of yourself to another (typically unsaid by you, unagreed by the other) that you really don’t want to give up. But you do so in a bid to get the other person to do something you want them to do (and you’re not sure they will). Then, if that person doesn’t do what you wanted them to do, your reaction to their not doing so is resentment. Resentment arises as the result of a one-sided, tacit, failed tactic.