Yesterday afternoon I had my second session with a well-respected Psychologist. The first session covered why I sought counseling, what I hoped the end result would be, etc. This session we (and by ‘we’ I mean ‘me’) talked about what memories I do have- only 1 or 2 before the age of 7. Don’t get me wrong, I recall plenty of family stories about my younger years- but that is, as they say, hearsay. At our next session we will begin using “Ericksonian Hypnosis” to help me reveal what is, clearly, hidden now. While I have some theories as to what that may be, I am trying to keep an open mind and not force anything.
I do have a few insights to share. My intent btw is to blog about the experience; although how much detail I reveal will depend on how it relates to those who are relatives. All four of my grandparents and Mom have passed on. Our Dad, my siblings and their descendants are still here; most in Ontario with a few more in the US of A. And it may be that unblocking memories reveals nothing beyond a nightmare, memories of OBE (‘out of body experiences’) or difficulty adjusting to frequent relocations. We lived in three homes across Ontario by the time I turned eight.
So- back to insights.
My recollection of my youth is of an open, sharing family. It’s undoubtedly (I think) true that the boundaries on talking about sex and many other topics were loose or at least not well defined. But I do recall a few times that suggest there were unspoken limits as to which topics could be addressed. A flashback to sitting in that old, worn, wicker chair in Mom & Dad’s bedroom in the Clarkson (since absorbed in the creation of Mississauga) townhouse. Dad was in the ‘en suite’ bathroom- shaving perhaps- and I asked about how to address the topic of Genesis (not the band; the book of the Bible) in Science class. Or perhaps it was how to discuss Evolution in Sunday School. Be that as it may, my ‘take away’ was that Dad said to use the conversation that matched the location, or the crowd. I don’t recall him emphasizing either one as ‘the Truth’. Did he just mean be stereotypically WASP (be nice, don’t stir up trouble) or that there was no specific ‘Truth’ to be had?
Some time later (not sure the precise date, but it was after the Divorce*) Mom and I heard Melissa Manchester singing the Allen and Sager song Don’t Cry Out Loud. She commented specifically on the lines
“Don’t cry out loud
Just keep it inside and learn how to hide your feelings“
commenting those were wise words, and partly how she was able to survive. At the time, I presumed she was talking about the divorce and Dad’s cheating that preceded it. Now I am not so sure. All the more so when connected to the family story of Grandma (my paternal Grandmother) taking Dad to a Doctor because he (Dad) was not speaking, well past the age most kids did (I suspect the story did at one point include a precise age, but it escapes me at the moment). The Doctor supposedly told Grandma that Dad didn’t speak because he never needed to ask for anything; his every need was met at the first hint of need (desire?). Now isn’t that a great pattern to take into later life?
My next appointment is in two weeks; the one after that late in December- working around holidays and schedules and such. As I said at the beginning, I intend to blog the process, but how much detail I reveal will depend on how it relates to those who are still here.
I feel hurt–
And the pain
of the others
Growing within me
as I try
Pain is too sharp
Love too battered
The above poem is included in my chapbook In Pursuit of a Dream
Grandma In Detail