Wow, where is the time going, another 9 months passed since my last update.
Thought id post something here having just returned from the first ever Israeli ManKind Adventure New Warrior weekend. https://www.facebook.com/mkpisrael/ . 16 initiates and 30 staff men. We travelled from the UK, USA, South Africa, France and a few local Israeli men all helped to staff this event. Some Jews, some atheists, some Christians and one courageous Muslim man.
I saw my father just before going. I hadn’t seen him since last summer when he tried to triangulate my daughter into his drama and then told me to go fuckmyself after I told him to stop. I took SO as I know he finds it hard to act out with her around. She challenges him on his victimhood, I no longer waste the energy. There was no apology. As usual he was negative and draining. I asked why doesn’t he buy a one way ticket to Switzerland to visit the Dignitas clinic and end his life. He replied “dont think I haven’t considered it”. He remains emotionally a young boy.
Israel was a bittersweet experience for me. Forgive my repetition as some of what I write below has already been articulated in other posts over the years here. I’ve carried deep shame about being a Jew for most of my conscious memory and I have a lot of ambivalence towards my religion. I was brought up with a form of mind control. One of the many weapons used included the often used line don’t upset your father, he’s suffered enough. His trauma, being deported to Auschwitz from his home in Hungary at the age of 11 along with his parents and 7 brothers and sisters. All his family apart from one brother were murdered in the gas chambers. Breaking free from my toxic family system was incredibly hard, given the power this script held over me.
I’ve been the family’s torchbearer of the unresolved grief, my parents and 3 sisters not being ready to do their own healing. The men’s groups I attend have been the only place I’ve felt safe enough to dive into the well of grief and touch what feels like at times a bottomless pit of pain. Each time i show my vulnerability amongst men i know I can trust, the grief whilst still intense, feels just that little more bearable. I alos notice I bounce back much quicker, not feeling drained for days.
There were other staff men that had also lost family in the holocaust. When we circled up for the last time, those impacted stood in the centre of the circle on the land that became symbolic for the Jewish fight to exist. We chanted the mourner’s Kaddish (the Jewish ritual prayer for the dead). It was a powerful moment and one that will stay with me for a long time.
One generous man, trained in EFT (tapping) after witnessing my pain, did some tapping with me. It seems to have helped me let go of the grief i’ve been holding for too long. I think i may get some training as the effect has been palpable. Recounting events to my SO would normally have reactivate this trauma, this time I could separate out whats mine and what’s not. As I type it reminds me of how i fuse feelings to events in a way that has been less than healthy and helpful. I didn’t experience the holocaust and yet the burden I carried felt immense. Same goes for limerence. I never had a real relationship with LO and yet the grief of mourning something that never existed also felt huge. Hmmhhh
Im not sure of the connection between the two, and yet it does feel related. Normally on ManKind weekends, my attachment wounds are rubbed and my thoughts go to LO. On this staffing, this didn’t happen. LO was Jewish and SO wasn’t (SO did convert, although my father still wont accept her) is noteworthy.
My feelings towards my religion haven’t changed, Im anti circumcision and having a kosher kitchen and watching the more observant men has reinforced my judgements about the rigidity of this religion. Still, each to themselves. And yet I feel an affinity with other Jews.
As for limerence, its feels the distant past. Many of our clients are grappling with this condition and its impact on others. I relate and can empathise. At times its frustrating as they hold onto their fantasy of having met the one. As we know here, it can take many months, if not years for that bubble to be burst. So another gift for me, teaching be to be patient whilst I sit and wait.
Life is taking a new direction as we continue to build our couple’s and coaching practices, as our children find their own wings and we settle into a more conscious and loving way of being in our relationship. More challenges will come along, as age and health creeps upon us. I’ve decided to step up onto the leadership track of the MKP. This means putting my head above the parapet and being seen even more than I do now.
I did some profound work that accessed stuff in my shadow that had been locked away since the age of 5-6. New realisations of coping strategies I adopted at that age to survive in a family where my mother projected her hatred of the masculine onto me and my father projected all his grief and unmet desires onto me as I was his only son. I saw how my 2 elder sisters were treated very differently. My felt sense was they received tenderness and love from my mother and few expectations apart from becoming Jewish baby making machines from my misogynistic father. The irony is he got none of this – 5 female grandchildren, none of who follow in his religious footsteps and only one grandson who married out of the religion as did his mother – my sister. 3 of his 4 children married out of the religion.
My father’s back story I know well and the work allowed me to feel more compassion for a deeply broken man that lives in fear and with contempt for others that he perceives to be weaker than him, which I suspect is pretty much everybody. Its how he keeps himself safe, not having to be vulnerable. My mother’s story I’m less clear about. She hated her brother, wanted to kill him and she found her Polish father cold and emotionless. I can’t help but wonder what abuse she experienced to hate men so much and to spend so much of her life fuelled by rage.
I find it fascinating how long it takes for some of this unconscious shadow stuff to make itself apparent. Its accompanied by deep grief and tears of catharsis. This is slow deep painful work, there are no shortcuts, no magic bullets, despite what the snake-oil salesman may try and sell you. Finding a group of men I can trust has allowed me to go much deeper in my own work.
I sometimes reflect on how different my life would be had I not developed limerence?