Archive for August, 2012

Today I drew the ogan/ogham card Duir/Dair.  This card is often associated with the oak tree, strength, endurance and stability.  After reviewing the various meanings associated with this fid, I came up with the question shown above.

 

So many of the books I referenced for additional insights into this card and its meaning offered interpretations about stress, distractions, minor crises and being challenged to adapt and grow.  None of these feel right.  I’m sure they’re all valid and useful at different times but in this situation and this question, they don’t offer much help or insight.

I’ll be honest, when I saw this card appear in response to my question, I wept.  It was a chest-wracking, deep sobbing not some “tears running gently down my cheeks” type of cry.  I wanted to throw myself on the floor or bed and just give in to it – this horrible, painful sobbing.  Instead I waited until it passed and tried to calm myself down.

I asked myself this question because right now I have become the primary caregiver to an 82 year old mother-in-law who is in the early to mid stages of senility (it’s not Alzheimer’s but that’s little consolation) and a 55 year old deaf and retarded brother-in-law.  We have tried seeking assistance from various government agencies but the reality is that the mother-in-law is not on Medicaid and so not eligible for any home care services (and we can’t afford to pay for it privately)  The brother-in-law is eligible but has not been under a doctor’s care (until 5 years ago my mother-in-law was his primary caregiver) and without a doctor’s approval, no services will touch him.  I have come to realize that even if we can get home care services for the brother-in-law it only solves half the problem.  That person would not provide any assistance to the mother-in-law and so I would need to be here anyway.  It is mind-numbing, relentless and thankless and yet I have to find the way to handle it.  The only other solution would involve some type of institutionalization for one or both of them.  If that happens, I have no doubt that the separation would destroy them.  As heartless as I may sometimes sound (or even present myself to be), I can’t do that to them.  And so I’m left trying to deal with this in the best way that I can while my hubby returns to work so we can afford to live.

The 5 of Wands appearing in response to this question tells me that my fighting spirit, my contentious nature is what will enable me to deal with this.  I’m too damn stubborn to let myself be defeated.  I make no pretence to nobility or sainthood.  There are times when I resent every minute of what I’m doing and wish it would end.  Then there are times when my heart breaks for both of them and I realize it’s not their fault.  Neither of them would choose to live this way if given the option.  For that matter who would?

 

 

As soon as I saw this card appear I knew that the answer is “my father” or rather the part of me that behaves as my father did.  His alcoholism, emotionally scarred and scarring behaviors, his wounded inner psyche, all combined to make him someone who caused damage because of his need to be loved and his fear that no one really did love him.  He had a wounded heart that never healed so he medicated it with alcohol and drugs.

I have a wounded heart that I medicate with food and sweets.  Initially these behaviors might not seem as damaging and destructive as my father’s but when one adds in the fact that I have Type II diabetes, these behaviors become very self-destructive indeed.  I have often wondered if I have a death wish.  Not something conscious which would drive me to commit suicide but a quiet, deeply ingrained sense of worthlessness that makes me feel my death would end my suffering and cause no major ripples in the world.  I don’t to believe this is true but I guess on some level it is human nature to feel this way.

This situation is also complicated by the relationship I had with my father and the fact that many of the emotional scars I bear are the result of his behavior towards him.  The sexual molestation and physical abuse left me feeling worthless but defiant.  I might bend to his will because he was bigger and stronger than me but I would never give in and become my mother.  I refused to subsume my personality to his in order to avoid beatings.  That is not who I am nor is it who I want to be.  Beatings only tend to make me more determined, defiant and angry.

And yet, by continuing to behave in ways that damage my health and may ultimately threaten my life, I am subsuming myself to him.  I’ve given him mastery and control over my emotions and self-worth.  I’m accepting and embracing his self-destructive behaviors as though they are my own.  They are not.  I want to live (no matter how much of a struggle that might be).  I want to have healthy, loving and supportive relationships in my life and I won’t compromise or sell myself short in order to get them.  I am not a coward nor am I weak.  I can overcome this.  I cam beat this emotional inner demon just like I overcame many of the other challenges in my life.  In fact if my life were a movie right now Helen Reddy’s classic 70s feminist anthem “I Am Woman” would begin swelling up right about now.  As she sang, “Oh yes I am wise, but it’s wisdom born of pain.  Yes, I’ve paid the price but look how much I gained.  If I have to, I can do anything.”  That pretty much says it all.

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