Something that I stumbled into is the idea of familial wounding – and of course it was presented by my fav teacher Robert Ohotto. It was almost immediately after hearing of this concept that I ran afoul of it, or rather recognized its operation within my system.
The idea is that children psychically inherit the wounds of their forebears until those wounds are actually managed. When I hear ‘psychic DNA’ I’m picturing a sort of energetic stew pot that all children spend their early years in – now recall that young, teeny kids no older than toddlers don’t really recognize yet they are NOT their parents. It’s not until a kid reaches the age of MINE! that they begin to really formulate this concept. Until then, they are a sponge absorbing everything in their environment and working double time to make sure they fit in so they will survive. So here are toddlers in the emotional energetic stew pot that is their family, then they ‘graduate’ to TV, school, and so on. At each level, the stew pot gets bigger and more ingredients are thrown in.
Alas, some ingredients are toxic, and some are just really harmful. In my experience, it takes to around the age of 30ish before the sense of self is strong enough to actually consciously confront these and actively decide what to do with them. Until, we are living out what we have been raised within and don’t really think about it too much.
In my case, it wasn’t really a conscious awareness of needing to break a pattern, but I moved from the East Coast to the West Coast in order to break a family pattern that I did not want active in my system. That meant having to leave my family behind. All of them. Of course I didn’t abandon them, I still visit and talk but I HAD to get away if I had any chance at breaking this entrenched pattern. And it wasn’t until Ohotto said those words that conscious recognition flooded the system. Like his words broke a dam or something. This first level that I was dealing with was health. Being female, my family very strongly had the notion that it’s romantic to be sickly and weak so a man can be all manly and take care of me. *blink*blink* I had a friend who’s man literally refused to get her heart meds so that she’d get sick and he could play the hero by taking care of her. No, thank you!! Being weak, injured or sickly is also the key to love, because someone has to take care of you. I used to sit and listen to my mother and grandmother literally try to out-compete each other on the “I’m so sick” scale. Holy shit! I finally said to my mom “You guys can compete for who’s the most pathetic, I’ll be over here.” My mother was, not surprisingly, shocked and deeply wounded by this attitude because it invalidated a lifetime of unconscious injury which has led to some serious chronic conditions she has to face now. Again, NO PART OF THAT. I’m sure all this is somewhere or other in this blog already, so I won’t rehash it too much beyond this.
But in the midst of trying to consciously bring all this up and identify where certain parts where active and where they weren’t etc, I ran afoul of another one. Religion.
There’s a question of “how do you identify a familial wound versus a personal one?” Well, that’s pretty much “have you experienced the wound personally?” In my case, I would literally RAGE against organized religion. I had NOTHING good to say about it and what it offered. As far as I was concerned, codified religion was the source of all evil and abuses in this world and it should be eradicated. … Woah, that’s some serious hatin’ and what in my personal life could have possibly given me that much venom? Nothing. My own parents are largely non-religious. Other than “be good to each other” that’s about it. So where was this rage and poison coming from? After talking to family members, I found out real quick that religion has been used as a weapon across multiple generations in my family on all sides in all branches (I’m the genealogist, I got the skinny on this one) and it’s because of this pain and deliberate injury that my parents said “thanks but no thanks” … so processing this wound came down to me.
Oh goodie. That’s 2 family wounds. Oh wait, there’s more. This one was gender based. Now the women in my family are strong, and I don’t mean “will beat you up” but more like “nothing can stop them when they decide to do something”. I got that one. I will smile and nod, pretend to acquiesce to whatever smack is being laid down, and then do whatever I want anyway. My mom, my grandmothers, my great grandmothers. Hell, one great-grandmother successfully raised 3 young children through the Depression years after her deadbeat husband abandoned her. That’s tough. That’s strength right there. And the women in my family have it in spades. So yeah, it really rankled them generation after generation to be told hateful, untrue lies in an effort to preserve a false Social Order, using religion as the bludgeoning device to justify the crap.
Now this is where it segues for me into something much larger – cultural wounding. These are psychic wounds that every person who’s plugged into the culture has to navigate. I once went on a diatribe about the psychic wounds of the Southern ego (especially the Southern Male ego) and through this, I could absolutely understand everything about the rage I’m seeing in my own sub-culture right now. It’s multiple generations of wounding and unprocessed pain from the Civil War. Now there’s PLENTY of unprocessed rage and pain to go around on all sides there in the South, and everyone’s pain is valid in terms of “you have a right to feel the way you do”. But I know that I have a duty to help process it — to lance the festering boil and let the poison out of the system (psyche) so that real healing can actually begin. I think that’s exactly what we’re seeing now — the pustule is near to bursting and it must if we are to move forward. That means seeing it, recognizing it, accepting it’s there, and then dealing with it. Right now it’s unconscious, and therefore reactive.
But the cultural wound that I personally seem to keep coming back to, keep having downloads about is the gender one. Back to my personal story of introduction. I can’t remember exactly what precipitated it, but I was attempting to recognize and process the sheer amount of gender based rage and shame and pain and it was literally making me upset to my stomach and my entire body started to ache. I was thinking it was family only, and when I suddenly realized that what I had tapped into was so much more vast than just my own family that I literally had to vomit. I did vomit until I was dry heaving, and kept trying to vomit. To get it out. As I’m kneeling over the toilet, convulsing to throw up, I’m just marveling that this isn’t just mine, and I can’t try to carry it. I have to let it flow through my system – see it, recognize it, acknowledge it, LET IT GO. It’s too much. It will kill me, and indeed it is killing many women. Why do you think we have such issues with breast cancer?
But the more I work with this idea, this cultural wound, the more I’m seeing how men have also been deeply wounded by the flip side of the coin. That’s a new thought for me. Until recently as far as I was concerned it was as black/white as the religion question, and it’s NOT that simple. There are no “bad people” to blame. What there is is literally THOUSANDS of years of pain, rage, sorrow, shame, grief, and resentment to be acknowledged, and it’s on all sides of the gender equation.
I had a download just last night about the relationship between marriage and the prostitute archetype. What is marriage but a culturally instituted and supported selling of sexual services and fertility to a single john in exchange for money, protection, food and shelter? What’s prostitution if not the same thing but getting rid of the single john and add in a whole mess load of shame, especially on any children who might result. I actually used to discuss this very topic with people when I was in my teens, and I forgot all about it. Being female, I only saw the woman’s side and of course railed against it.
Dowry? Don’t you mean “price tag”? Well at least calling it the “bride price” is a bit more honest about what’s really going on.
What I never saw until recently was just how much men have suffered as well. Putting the entire onus for providing onto his shoulders is a heavy burden, especially when she decides she’s owed that provision. All this does is engender (hah!) resentment on both sides since that decision she’s made is actually a manifestation of resentment. Hell the stories I’m hearing about getting wives to set themselves on fire and other such evils which are coming to my attention from the middle east chill my soul, and it’s thousands of years of resentment and rage at being tasked with something that is not … right. Just as the reason so many women are angry at men and lashing out REACTIVELY is the same one – thousands of years of resentment and rage. There’s plenty to go around! And for every “he did” there is a “she did”. Men tend to respond more physically violently, which a gander at the homicide rates of women killed by the men in their lives should give any sane person nightmares. But women tend to respond more underhandedly, manipulatively, heck — crazily.
Overall, what I want to see with regard to this is more response, less reaction.
The women going into the Texas Assembly dressed in the Handmaid’s Tale cloaks? *groan* I understand the point and agree with it, but this sort of thing is a classic reaction — not a response. The emotional imprint this carried was anger, self-righteousness, indignation, blame. Do any of these invite the opposing side to actually listen? No, they do not. Instead, these emotions being brought to the table evoke only the defensive ones in reaction. They escalate the situation of divisiveness and let’s face it, men are generally more aggressive. They have no problem punching someone in the face to make them shut the hell up. Women don’t do that by that large. Is it in my best interest to provoke an extreme reaction such as passing a “lie to pregnant women” law because are females are really human anyway, or provoke a thoughtful conversation on what’s behind these attitudes? Dude, in conversation, women rule. Talk ladies, talk. And that means being conscious of what’s going on … not just theatrically reacting.
Oh there are so MANY juicy things to tackle here!! Like the division of emotionality. Somewhere along the lines, it was culturally decided women were the emotional ones. So when women get emotional, men roll their eyes and if we’re lucky they stay to comfort. But this means that culturally men aren’t allowed to feel. Men are robbed of this fundamental aspect of being human, and the responsibility for processing their emotions falls to the women in their life. This completely limits the men who fall into this trap, stunting them and cutting them off at the knees in terms of the range of human experience which is open to them.
There’s a scene in Downton Abby that absolutely encapsulated this BEAUTIFULLY. It’s so stereotypical, it plays out over and over and over again in all of the cultures which adhere to this damaging and wrong paradigm.
I would link to a scene of it, but I can’t find it. A maid has given birth to an illegitimate son of a man who died in WWI. The grandparents are invited to lunch and are surprised with a live toddler grandson from their now-dead son. If you can watch this scene from the perspective of who is free to process emotions and who is not, it becomes a fascinating thing and very well written and acted. The grandfather is enraged, which is the only allowable strong emotion for men, while the grandmother is caught trying placate his anger, placate the people they are visiting, and her manage own desire to just snatch up the only possible vestige of her son – especially when the angry husband is refusing to do so. In the end, he storms out and she’s left to apologize for him before she scurries out after him with a look of intense longing openly on her face as she looks as the baby.
Classic!! And oh so painful to watch from the perspective of seeing a devastatingly broken paradigm being played out. Even the WORD hysterical, which is used to reference a state of being essentially overcome with uncontrollable emotion, literally means “of the womb”. Hello!!
I could go on, and I’ll admit I’m getting excited thinking about this right now, but it’s late and I don’t have the stamina to corral this material right now. I’ll probably break all this down into smaller bite sized chunks later on, but it’s been rattling around in my brain and I have to spew to get at least some of it down. And there’s soooo much more!! You’ll see this again when I have more time to explore the pieces in depth, but know that right now … energetically speaking, we are ALL being asked to lance the festering boils of cultural wounds. We can do this by tackling the issues head on, thoughtfully. How? Feel for those areas where strong emotions want to take over and highjack the system. These are the pressure points that you are plugged into, and these must be handled carefully. Everyone will be plugged into different things – I’m plugged into gender wounds right now, others into race, yet others into religion, etc. But know that not everyone is capable of handling the higher level more abstract archetypal shit. That’s OK. Handle your own shit. Own it, and RESPOND. The goal is to bring people to the table so we can work on a solution together, not drive everyone away. In these deep cultural wounds, no one is right, and no one is wrong. We’re all just hurting. Have compassion for this, and choose to respond.
About the Featured Image: Found it on a Harry Potter fan site here and then modified it a little bit with new text.