Why Abandonment and Neglect are the Hardest Wounds to Heal

This is an especially poignant piece that speaks to my heart and mind on so many levels. It is not anything of my usual postings so some may find it “off”. But I can relate so much to this and it is worth sharing in my opinion

The Committed Parent

Once, in a significant relationship of long duration, I very reluctantly initiated a breakup. I initiated it for many reasons. One “senseless” reason was to avoid having to re-experience the feelings of loss, abandonment and neglect so familiar from childhood. What I ended up feeling, of course, were crippling, pulsating pangs of loss, abandonment and neglect.

To the logical brain, initiating a breakup to avoid feelings of loss, abandonment and neglect makes no sense. To the feeling brain and a heart desperately trying to heal, it makes perfect sense. The Pain Body (an Eckhart Tolle term that I particularly resonate with) in concert with trauma long buried in unconscious Implicit Memory looks out and pinpoints the precise people to help us reenact the trauma – in unconscious hopes of healing it at last. But with abandonment and neglect, by their very nature, that rarely happens. Partly because every way you…

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I just watched a very interesting flick called “Craigslist Joe”. It was about a young man who traveled cross country for 30 days with nothing but a laptop, a cell phone and the clothes on his back. He found rides, places to stay, food, and ways to contribute to society along the way just by ads on craigslist.

He wasn’t just a taker. He contributed. He left a mark wherever he went. He helped. He was willing to clean, teach, console, party, and life live where ever and however it was unfolding at the moment.

I couldn’t help but think of our homeless population. I have cared for many of them during my years working in hospitals. I always have a heart for those that face struggles in life. I feel a kinship I suppose. Anyhow, this movie made me think of those that I’ve tried to help.  More than once I’ve worked at finding a place to heal, to find hope, to open new doors for a fellow man that is struggling with life on the streets and addiction . My experience is that unfortunately they don’t want to open any doors. They don’t want anything different. They don’t want to contribute. The homeless (and mostly addicted) population that I have met and tried to help want what is given as long as it is given under their code of conduct. NO RULES ATTACHED. The don’t want to have to respect your house by keeping things clean. They don’t want to have to contribute anything unless they feel moved to in the moment….meaning no scheduled work or chores. They don’t want to honor the fact that you have to get up in the morning and so noise needs to be down at a respectful hour. They would rather face the elements and do what they want whenever they want the way they want. That was my experience. It kind of soured me to wanting to help those that are on street corners.

Yet, in this short memoire, this young man showed that “homeless”doesn’t have to mean helpless. It isn’t just a “take what you can get” mentality. He showed that you can find kindness in people if that is what you are willing to share with them. He found that he can give of his talents and resources as well as be the one in need of housing and a meal. And that the barter system does work.  A person doesn’t have to sleep on the streets night after night if they are willing to be real and share and care.

I love when I am able to see things from a different perspective than that with which I was raised and taught. It’s not a JOB or a degree or contacts that make or break you. It’s what you have to offer the universe and if you are able to trust the powers that be (for me that would be God) to direct your path and provide for your needs.

I need to be inspired now and then. I need to feel good about the world I live in. I”m thankful that I mostly see the good in people. I grateful I still have much to offer the world, even if it isn’t in the way I was taught was the only way to make it. I can’t work a JOB right now…but I can still make a difference. With a smile, with a phone call, with a hug and a smile. I can bake a cake for a birthday or offer someone a meal. I can share a story or buy someone a cup of coffee. Some how…life works if you are willing to share. That means giving as well as receiving.

 

A Superbowl that changed my life

It’s Superbowl Sunday!!!  Even if you aren’t a football fan it is likely that you are aware that it is Superbowl Sunday.  Except for two other Superbowl games  I have no recollection of anything about any professional football game I’ve ever seen.  The one other was in 2006 when the Seattle Seahawks were playing and lost due to some terrible calls.  That is my opinion anyhow.  I am not a big football fan yet I could tell that the ref’s in that game were doing some serious picking on the Hawks.  I couldn’t watch the last 5 minutes of the game.  It was disgusting.  I am certainly glad they won today’s game.  The 48th Superbowl played in New York was one they deserved to win.

The other Superbowl Sunday I recall is one that changed my life.  It was 20 years ago.  Superbowl XXVIII.  The Cowboys and the Bills.  I don’t recall where they played the game.  I know who played because I googled it.  I do remember where I was and who I was with and what I did to change the course of my life forever.

I was at the Newport Hilton on the Oregon Coast with my then husband, Mr. B.  We had decided to go over to the coast to enjoy our weekend and have a place to watch the game.  We had only been married for about 3 months so of course we were still very snuggly and cuddly and romantic. Mr. B. was a huge sports fan.  In fact, I sometimes think he would die if he didn’t have access to watch sports and keep up on his favorites.  So, a weekend at the coast at a nice hotel was a compromise of what I enjoyed and what he enjoyed.  And we both loved the beach which is why we decided to watch the Superbowl from there.

The bar had a few huge TV’s.  That was back when big screens were just starting to be made.  Technology has come a long way since then.  There was a lovely view of the beach.  They were packed and there was lots of food and everyone was having a good time.

Every so often my husband would go over to some machines and put some money in them.  I didn’t know what they were except I had seen them before and knew he sometimes put money in them and played a game.  I was feeling a big ignored, with both sports and now this machine and so I went over to ask him what it was about.   He then gave me $5 and said put it in and I’ll show you.

That was the first bet I made in a video poker machine.  I had never really gambled before that.  Maybe some penny ante poker, but nothing worth recalling and never on a machine or at a casino or anything like that. This was a whole new experience for me.  I can’t tell you if I won or lost.  I can’t tell you what game I played.  I can’t even tell you how it made me feel.  I just remember that is the first place I ever made a bet.

We enjoyed our weekend.  Like I said, I don’t remember much about the game because I was mostly there to spend time with my husband.  I know we stayed over another night and probably took our time driving home, stopping for lunch at one of our favorite places along the way.  But I can’t tell you for certain.

While I didn’t play a machine again for a few months, that one bet was the start of the change of my life.  You see, I became a compulsive gambler.  In less than a year from that Superbowl game my family was doing an intervention to get me into treatment.  I was lying and stealing money.  I was not being the person I used to be.  I was not there for my family.  I was not performing well at my job.  That was just the first year of my gambling.  I ended up battling my addiction for 16 years.

I am proud to say I am nearing my 4th year without making a bet.  But it being Superbowl Sunday and the year 2014, it hit me hard the memory of that game 20 years ago an how my life changed course.  I can’t help but wonder what would have been different if I had never made that first bet.  I had no idea at that time that anyone could get addicted to gambling.  I was very careful about addictions.  I was raised in a home with addiction.  Had I known…I may have done a few things different.  But I didn’t.  The price was very costly.

Not only did I lose thousands of dollars over the course of all those years, but I lost friends and family.  I lost respect of my peers.  I lost opportunities.  I lost moments that can never be made up.  I lost a part of me.  I lost more than can ever be imagined.

I can’t change what was done.  I can only go forward from here and hope that the lessons I’ve learned are directing me along the path God has set forth for me.  I took control of the reigns of my life that day that changed my life.  Today, I let God be in charge and I trust He will find a way to use all  those years for some good.  Maybe good for me, or maybe good for someone else.

Knowing what I know about compulsive gambling today, would I make the same decision?  NO WAY.  Gambling can ruin lives.  It is the addiction with the highest rate of suicide of any addictions.  It eats at your mind faster than your wallet.  No, if I knew then what I know now, I would not mindlessly put my money in a machine a place a bet.  Or, would I?  There is no way to tell now.  I just have to live in today.  And today was good, because I watched the big game (well, only the second half because I have the flu and slept through the first half) and I didn’t make a bet and I didn’t make any big decisions that were life changing.  I just watched the game.  And I will remember who played and who won!  I was present.  Thank you God…for the Present of today!