Pretending I'm Dead

The other day I was in my local natural health food/vitamin shop—which I love–and I was explaining to my now friend who owns the shop that I was worried to death about my only son travelling across America and camping out in parts unknown.  I told her I was afraid he would take up with strangers, meet with tornadoes and hurricanes, and possibly fall down a volcanoe.  She said she had the same feelings when her two daughters would go off on adventures and she would have no control over their safety.

“I just pretend I’m dead,” she told me.  “If I were dead, they would do what they are going to do and I would have no power anyway–so I just pretend I’m dead.”

It made sense.  So, now when I’m overwhelmed with a feeling of dread, wondering if a bear or serial killer has gotten to my offstpring, and now his girlfriend whom I feel so very attached to, I pretend I’m dead and I could do nothing in any case.  Strangely, it is a comfort.  I have no idea why.  But, that’s in keeping with much of my vitamin store, health consultant’s advice anyway.  “Take this if you have an allergic reaction–I don’t know why it works–it just does,” she tells me often of the remedies that invariably work wonders.  Stomache problems, allergic reactions, bug bites, colds—I swear–it all just works. And, although the proprietor has an idea of why a supplement or vitamin complex may add to my immune system–she admits she only knows from experience what works and what doesn’t.

So now that I’m a partial believer–pretending I’m dead just seems a natural progression.  Let’s face it–it will be true sometime in the not to distant future anyway.  He will be on his own at the mercy of the universe–just as I always feared.  I’ve given him everything I had to give him I think, so he has to figure out the rest himself.

As any parent knows, this removal from our caretaking role isn’t an easy one.  We always want to be in control of their safety, of their success, of their happiness.  But understanding it just ain’t so may be some release from that formidable responsibility.

It may be cliche to reflect on the birds being thrown from their nests to fly or fall–but I watched a flock on the Discovery Channel the other day be thrown to their fate and couldn’t help be struck by the reality of it for us all. I wondered if the mother bird was just pretending she was dead as she threw her birdlings out of the nest.

Hidden Reasons for Exploding #Relationships

Have you ever wondered why everything you do seems to disappoint someone? Or why you keep choosing the same kind of wrong person to be in a relationship with? How about why you are sometimes triggered into an emotional reaction that seems over the top?

At one time or another in my life, I answered yes to all of the above.  After writing Replacement Child, which entailed no small amount of soul searching and honest self-evaluation, I would suggest that you might want to look farther into your past–and your family history–than most people ever do.  And, I’m talking about even with most professional counselors.  I have been to my fair share of therapists over the years, marriage counselors mostly, who never once touched on the fact that my family suffered a tragic plane crash that killed my older sister. Since I brushed aside any thought that this family history could affect my present life, so did they.  So, harboring the responsibility to live up to the promise of my killed sister didn’t come up. Or the self-identity issues that came with it.  Not until I unearthed it myself by writing my story.

I would suggest that many people may have underlying “promises” that hinder their relationships and keep them from being their full self. Even something further back in your family history may be having an affect on your reactions and internalizations of situations.  I think of my own son and how he will probably always have some impact on his personality and life from that long ago plane crash because of how my parenting was affected by it.

You may also wonder why a simple question from your spouse or partner may set you off–when they think it was innocuous. I always had an intense emotional response when my boyfriend or husband walked away in the middle of an argument, or turned away from me.  Now I know that it was a deep memory of my father’s aloof coolness toward me.

Looking deeper into your own background, and farther back into your family history may turn up some surprising parallels for you if you are in the midst of a troubled relationship, or just trying to figure yourself out.