Saturday, July 28, 2018


To be alive is to have feelings. We probably all experience a number of them on any given day. Some people wear their feelings such that it is obvious what they are feeling. It might be someone ranting, and so we can make an educated guess they are feeling angry. Or, a child might have a hang dog experience on her face and we can guess that something has happened to make the child feel sad.

I tend to label many feelings in the 'upset' category. My hairdresser was upset yesterday, taking a long time to do my hair so that we could talk. This was very obvious to me. Her husband is exhibiting some very controlling behaviors and she doesn't know what to do about it. She was in therapy earlier in her life after being in an abusive relationship so she knows various strategies. When she is not happy with something that has gone on between them she knows to say, 'I feel...' rather than 'you......'. She tries to negotiate and discuss  matters but she has so little autonomy. He was angry with her when she hung the curtains her parents had paid for in the baby's room. He really does want control over every little thing.

Specifically, she wanted to know how she could get him to go to therapy. The short answer was and is that she is wasting her time trying. He is feeling much too much threat at having his vulnerabilities and feelings exposed to ever agree to do that. Even if he does agree, to get her off his back, he won't follow through. A lovely young man, sensitive and caring, there are bullying issues in his past and he has abandonment issues, so he's locked into controlling his world to shield himself from his most vulnerable and painful feelings, and that's that.

We can reasonably refer to these traits as 'narcissistic' or 'borderline', but I think it is far more common to be unaware of some of our more uncomfortable feelings, or to not expose them, than to label them as just belonging to certain personality types.

I can certainly speak to some of my more uncomfortable feelings. I could tell you about them here, but in the moment, when I am feeling those feelings, deeply hurt, I can't utter a single word.

Partly, this is training; training myself. If I try to express my feelings and it turns into a negative or circular conversation, or a controlling situation, I stop talking immediately.

But, putting that aside, if my feelings are very hurt, I ride the situation out and taking my feelings away with me to process. I in no way encourage this strategy or behavior. I am only saying that this is what happens for me.

Perhaps it is embarrassment. Perhaps it is hopes dashed. Perhaps it is a feeling of being insignificant, or unimportant to the other person.

The thing about being human is that something happens earlier in our life where we felt something - perhaps that we were not as important to the other person as we would like to be, not as important to him or her as he or she was to us. Let's call this feeling sadness. I give this example as one that I have experienced myself.

Then, many years later, along comes an opportunity to meet with someone you've come to know quite well in an electronic sense. You're excited about it but there's ambivalence on the other side. You don't understand it, assure the person that there's no need to meet if he doesn't want to. He says he does, but still, there's doubt in your mind.

So you do meet, it's kinda fine. If you were a third person looking in, you'd think it was fine. But, inside me there was a whole lot of distress going down. Adept at holding my feelings in, I was struggling.

I've asked myself many times since then, 'well, what were you hoping for?' and also 'why couldn't you say what you were feeling?'

It's easy to answer the second question. To expose my feelings of hurt is an extremely vulnerable thing. To say, 'I feel unimportant to you' is almost impossible to me. I'd rather go off and cry alone, and I mean that most sincerely.

What was I hoping for? Well, of course, to feel a connection; for him to have made a bit of a fuss; to have carved out time for me; to have found a little quiet restaurant where we could speak from the soul. I wanted to walk away feeling nourished; a tender memory to hold dear to my heart.

My point is we are all subject to feeling too vulnerable to expose our more difficult feelings at times.

Intimacy can only occur when we do. And so, I work on it.

Thursday, July 19, 2018


It's one of life's great challenges, to put oneself in the mind space of someone else. This is the great value of novel reading, because novels don't write themselves. They are written by other people who see life from a different angle simply because they are different to us.

If someone like me is reading a novel like 'the shepherd's hut' a whole new mind space opens up. I can't imagine causing violence and so to read of people who do it so effortlessly, with relish, is to attempt to understand the Other; not to necessarily understand the behavior but to acknowledge it as simply there in the psyche of some people for whatever reason.

If you are prone to looking out for the Other - helping, healing, giving the benefit of the doubt - which is also classified by some as naivete, understandably, it's close to impossible to get into the head space of someone who isn't any of those things, or is rarely any of those things; certainly not his or her default stance.

One son was in an elevator carrying a Haigh's chocolates paper bag when a colleague asked him why he had bought chocolates. My son, who already thought this chap psychologically impaired, responded that he was going to dinner at his parent's house and bringing them the chocolates as a gift.

'Why?' the man wanted to know.

It genuinely intrigued him why my son would do that.

'Because, I know it will make them happy,' he replied.

This didn't impress the colleague. For whatever reason, his brain could not compute.

The more absorbed we are with our own problems, almost insanely forgetting that everyone has problems of one kind or another, the more introspective and lacking of generosity we become.

When we focus on what we don't have, like looking through a microscope at a single drop on a glass plate, we entirely forget about the fact that we are the speck in space.

The more we notice the space around us, above and even below us, in front of us and behind us, the better able we are to put our 'problem' in some reasonable sort of context.

In meditation I encourage, with carefully chosen words, for people to feel all of creation within them and for them to enter into all of creation. In a relaxed state, both mind and body, it is not difficult to conjure this sort of  non duality where the 'I' is transcended.

When the 'I' is transcended, violence upon others is unthinkable. Still, it's not the way of the world, is it? Violence begets violence and so the wheel of violence keeps turning; selfishness endures.

I asked  the teacher I work with about Emily when at school this week, a cute and highly intelligent but troubled 7 year old. It was rough right now, I was told. She arrived back from a holiday in Bali with her Dad to discover that Mum had moved out of the house; much of the furniture had gone with her.

The teacher made this interesting observation. 'I just hope that she has the tenacity to say, 'I won't wear this failure. Whatever you choose to do with your lives, I choose success.' And, it made sense at that moment why some people become quite hard and single focused. They have to be that way to survive a life where the odds right from the start didn't go their way. It's the survival instinct at play. 'I am going to work hard and make a success of my life despite the odds against me'. Right now, school is where she can feel safe.The rules don't change, the expectations don't change.

I remember now that the Headmaster of my sons' school said exactly this to me years ago; that money was no security for some boys there; that the school environment offered them the stability and care that they didn't necessarily get at home. This reminds me of Hillary Clinton's phrase, that it takes a village to raise a child. It is the truth.

It seems to me that it is quite an art to be human; to have the tenacity to succeed, whatever success means to the individual, and the heart to feel for fellow man, regardless of personal circumstances; to be open to failure.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Objectification, again

There's a lot of material on this blog about objectification and much of it is positive. It's positive because in so many of my experiences where I am a 'doll' or a 'bimbo' or an 'object' or just 'it', it is so incredibly freeing. I love having my mind vacated and my body responds so enthusiastically to that sort of play.

For quite some time, many times, there was a feeling of being deeply connected to another person, a wonderful feeling of being intertwined in the play, because of the play. Trust is such an integral part of the play where objectification is involved and if the trust is there, that's very connecting, and soul sharing.

If my body wasn't responding to the play, just the mind, though I don't think that's technically possible, it would almost be enough. At its best, the sense of joy that floods the mind is its own reward. The facts are that the play was/is deeply arousing to the body, and much of the 'feel good' sensations come from that too. It's such a mind/body experience that it is hard to separate them into categories.

To be clear, for me it's about the Top wanting me to have that connecting and pleasurable experience as much as he wants to feel the sexual turn on and the connection himself. I operated on this understanding of the play for some time, in an intuitive sense, without spelling it out, even for myself.

I used to wonder a long time ago if I had a 'slave' soul. But, I don't. I don't have a slave soul, not at all. I've noticed for some time now, though I didn't have the words I have today to express the awareness, that if I am in fact treated like an object or a fuck toy, and it becomes very clear to me that my feelings and my pleasure have nothing to do with the event, I am thrown into a pit of despair that I don't crawl out of for some time.

Oh, I can camouflage those feelings of emptiness and disconnection. I can go about my life such that you won't notice much, or any, difference in my words, my tone, my behavior or my pleasure in life. I've become so able to live in the moment, to categorize the confusion and upset in a particular place where the day is hardly effected and the relationship is not affected in a veneer sense. Even if the sex wasn't right for me, harmful to me, I can find a sense of gratitude in many other moments in my life.

However, I become skittish, you see, about wanting to interact in a sexual way any time soon. It's such a dark place I go internally when I feel that I have been used as an object purely for the other's gratification, or pleasure or sense of power, or whatever the heck it is that motivates this behavior, that I will just about walk over broken glass to avoid any such similar interaction. It absolutely does not work for me if I don't feel a sense of generosity.

It is said that those with narcissistic behaviors aren't so good at thinking about the 'we' in sex; that they can view their partners as objects that satisfy their needs. In fact, rather than more sex bringing the two partners together in the case of sex with a narcissistic bent, it can cause further separation. When I read this research finding, it made complete sense to me.

What I think is important if the kink tends towards objectification play is that both people understand what lies behind the motivation for such play. Kink is kink and person specific, but in kinky play the motivation should be for greater connection for both players. If it isn't achieving that outcome, then it's just not working as it should. No kinky play is probably a much better outcome than doing it in a way where one partner causes emotional harm and disconnection. Whether that makes sense to a person who does not see sex in the 'we' sense, is the debatable question.

I want to add that I am not just talking about kinky play here. Any lover who is inclined to take his pleasure rather often without concern for the partner's feelings and body state will cause disconnection in the partnership. Those who are divorced may well be able to speak to this.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

How things go

It is said that it can go either way when a child's basic needs have not been met - you  can turn out an empath or you could turn out a narcissist. There are detailed arguments about why one person goes one way and one person goes the other. The more I simply observe people the more I think that narcissistic behavior is often the province of the empath who doesn't feel loved.

It is a stretch, this thought of mine. Put it this way. You can try heaping love on a narcissist and if he or she responds positively to that, you might be onto something; a way to improve the reactions and interactions.

If that doesn't work - and it might not be love that is needed so much as approval or respect, according to the relationship - then I think it's fair to say that there is narcissism involved and it may be unchangeable. It may be necessary to accept the 'isness' of that.

My brother and I had an interesting conversation yesterday. Our mother is demonstrating odd behaviors; different odd behaviors to before. We've been trying to tease out quirkiness, egocentric/selfish behavior, and behavior that could suggest a form of illness. We've had to look closely at her behaviors and do a lot of talking to sort that out.

I happened to say that I had done an experiment in relation to my mother when I returned from holiday last month. Instead of kissing her and hugging her when I next saw her in a cafe, a few days after my return, I stood by the door, watched her come in, said 'hello' and waited. She said 'hello', of course, but that's it. She made no effort whatsoever to touch me in any way. Nor did I. I told her I had a table reserved and escorted her to it. We sat down.

On the various occasions I have seen her since, it's been the same thing. Oh, I've dressed her in the hospital after a test, and held her arm as we walked and so forth, but there has been no greeting with touch. She seems absolutely fine with that.

My brother revealed that he had made the same experiment a few years back and since then there is no greeting, even when months have gone by since they saw one another. He tells me it relates to the fact that he used to kiss her on the cheek and then when he went to hug her he could feel the sentiment, 'Oh God, do we have to do this again?' from her. She made it quick, with her body well away from his.

I told my brother that I have scanned my memory banks for any touch from my mother at any time in my life, perhaps one of comfort, and I can't. I have also scanned my memory banks for memories of touch from my father and I located one memory, where he came up behind me; hugged from behind. It was in the kitchen of a hotel they owned.

There are no memories of my mother's grandmother or grandfather hugging me, and not my father's father either. My father visited his father religiously on a Sunday morning and we two children tagged along to play in the garden. But, there was no hug hello, or goodbye. He seemed a lovely man to me but I was more or less invisible to him.

I shared a long ago memory with my brother. My mother and I were in the laundry of another Hotel, a time period later in my life when I was in my mid to late teens. I think my mother must have been complaining about my attachment to Maria, an Italian woman who was with us for many years. My mother must have really angered me because I was a very quiet child who kept her feelings to herself.

'I talk to Maria,' I said to her, 'because she acts more like a mother than you do.'

It was a confession. I didn't expect my brother to necessarily support the outburst. He said to me, 'If  Maria hadn't been in my life I am sure I would be a drug addict.'

The mind is crazy. We get hurt somehow and then the mind compensates in various ways. My mother had very little education and so her business and being a business woman meant far more to her than being a mother on the ground with us. She would deny this but it is the honest to goodness truth. If she developed narcissistic traits it relates to problems in her own childhood. Nothing comes from nothing.

In my own case, I became a giver. There was no determination about this, it just happened that way. Perhaps it felt comfortable since I had been doing it all my childhood; considering the other person's feelings ahead of my own. My husband can be sexually selfish; negligent; absorbed in what interests him. I notice. I am aware. But, as good a time as we can have, people return to their default position. It is just the way it is. I can't change this.

I've been leading a meditation group and I love creating a sacred space where I can afford other people peace and quiet. I encourage effortlessness; to just Be; to just be the dark screen or the blue sky that always sits behind the most cloudy day; that essence of life that is the natural self; ease.

I take refuge from the damage that was done to me at an early age, from selfishness, in goodness, kindness; an understanding for the suffering of all mankind and an appreciation for all the many brave attempts to counteract that which is not right.

This is just the way I turned out.