Art “Bright Wings” by Mary Southard, www.marysouthardart.org, used with permission
Narcissists, Psychopaths, Mean Mothers, they are all part of an epidemic to demonise people, the people who cared for us. These myths are written by people with doctorates, so they really must know what the hell they’re talking about, right? Google it. There’s no shortage of literature on parents who fucked up royally and messed up their children beyond repair.
They fuck you up, your mum and dad.They may not mean to, but they do.They fill you with the faults they hadAnd add some extra, just for you.But they were fucked up in their turnBy fools in old-style hats and coats,Who half the time were soppy-sternAnd half at one another’s throats.Man hands on misery to man.It deepens like a coastal shelf.Get out as early as you can,And don’t have any kids yourself.
What I don’t agree with is that our parents are unfeeling psychopaths no matter how distant and unrelated their thoughts and hearts might be to ours. I’m glad that Philip acknowledges this in his poem and shows that our parents were also traumatised by their parents and the cycle continues down the generations. It’s remarkable that with all this unconsciousness of our impact on each other, humankind hasn’t gone extinct yet. However, I may add, we are dangerously close to extinction if we continue to destroy Mother Nature, which is reflected in our human nature.
There is an epidemic, but it’s not one of a surge of psychopaths and narcissists in the population but one of emotional laziness and we, as children (as traumatised as we are with our upbringing by unconscious parents) of seemingly uncaring parents are just as guilty.
It’s easier to think that people who don’t seem to care about us (no matter how close they are to us!) are Darth Vader than to acknowledge that we are the ones who stopped caring, about ourselves and consequently about others.
If you’re seeing psychopaths around you, and if your own father appears to be Darth Vader, stop. Think about what it is that you’re seeing in him that’s a reflection of what you’ve got in your shadow, the side that you don’t want others to see.
Here’s my confession and if you judge me for this maybe you’ve got a guilty conscious.
I’d rather finish working on cleaning up or a task I’ve started than to stop and tend to the needs of my young girls who may be crying for attention.
Here’s the thing that might blow your mind. This is exactly what I criticise my dad for. He’s refused to take time off work to spend time with his family who wants his presence. This obsessive compulsion to finish work at all costs is the Darth Vader rearing his ugly head in me. There’s nothing wrong with dad. He’s possibly responding to me putting others first in my life. And let’s be honest, I haven’t been close to him since I turned 13 and had a different path in mind for myself (art school!) than the path I let him bully me into because of my good grades.
So how do I heal him? Haha! I can’t. That’s what we, as caring people of the world, need to get into our heads. We can’t heal anyone but ourselves. The answer isn’t in denying life and turning our backs on our reproductive abilities (a form of creative output) either as Philip Larkin suggests.
It’s egoic to think we have the power to heal anyone but ourselves. By placing expectations on others, trying to get them to act in a way we feel is in their best interest, demanding performance, having an agenda in our interactions with others – these are the things that steal our full presence in the relationship with ourselves and others.
For example, I bullied mum to fix up her relationship with dad because despite their separation there’s a misunderstanding between them and a huge entanglement of emotions and past trauma that hasn’t been overcome. I see this shit and feel the need to interfere. I turn it into a mission to fix up this mess. It only leads to mum becoming unhappy with me and rightly so… I hate it when she meddles in my business so f course she would hate me dictating how she should view her life and who she should consider fully in her new life ahead.
If I heal myself and overcome the trauma of having grown up in a household where no one sought to understand each other, then I don’t place expectations on her to resolve whatever trauma she’s experienced in her relationships. My ego is adding trauma to trauma and I’m doing harm, not good.
Healing Mother Nature
I’m just as self-destructive as anyone else because I’m not fully conscious of the damage I do when I’m not in a state of full presence. That is when I talk to mum and other relatives with the intention of getting them to see things my way and get them to tell me I’m right because somehow I’ve lost faith in myself.
Even as I’m typing these lines, I’ve got a two-year-old asking for Peppa Pig and a crying baby because she’s most likely bored. So let me take a break here.
I’m back now with the full blessing and the support of my household. My baby had a little feed and she’s making squealing noises as she smiles and I negotiated with my two year old and she’s happily watching a Turkish cartoon called Niloya that teaches her to care for animals.
How do we heal ourselves and consequently Mother Nature? By creating. Create relationships, real ones where you’re not judging or expecting anything but simply enjoying each others’ company.
Discover your own creative ability. Knit. Make pottery. Paint. Write.
I’m happy when I’m dropping these lines because it gives me access to something greater than myself and a whole new appreciation for the people who overcome the resistance within themselves, the fear of judgment and rejection from others to put something new out onto the world.
Also consider that when you’re creating you’re not mindlessly consuming. You don’t feel a need to prove you’re better than others by buying the latest tech device, the fastest car and logos on your clothes.
If you’re creating anything with the intention of proving you’re better than others, stop. You’re destroying the relationship with yourself by placing that pressure to be better than others. Create with the intention to discover. Discover what lies in your subconscious and how this connects you to others, humans, animals and nature.
But don’t let me pressure you. Just give it a chance. Pick up a pen, pencil and a paper or spend some time in nature and see what comes of it.
Over to you…
What is one creative act you’re going to try today? Will you pick up the phone to reconnect with an old friend? Will you spend some time journaling and exploring your own thoughts or simply playng with your children without an agenda, just observing how they interact with you and their toys?