Nov 12, 2009

Tarot Shadow Work- Repression

This week I'm going to address the second most popular coping skill...Repression or affectionately referred to as "Out of sight, Out of mind." This has got to be my personal favorite coping skill that I adopted growing up. If it was too emotionally painful, I would always stuff it so far down that if it wasn't right in my face, I could possibly get through my days without too much trauma. The only problem with this is...whatever you have stuffed,  will eventually fester and float to the surface.

Repressed memories and experiences have an uncanny ability to remain in our subconscious "Shadow" realms and will emerge in various types of destructive, often violent behaviors. Why do we put ourselves through this...? Well, speaking from personal experience, it was what my mind had to do to survive the trauma of the time but now, as an adult there is no need to continue to stuff my issues and trust me, the older you get  the harder it is to even  realize that you are repressing things...becoming an unconscious habit.

Taking the twenty one Major Arcana, I again shuffled and kept in mind memories that I may have repressed. I pulled the Judgement card which Shadow Qualities include: having a harsh inner critic, being too hard on myself, having value judgments that keep me stuck in the same place and failing to be merciful and forgive myself or others. I almost always give others the benefit of doubt but seldom grant myself the same courtesy...why is that you may ask? I think it all comes down to the messages I received from the adults in my life when I was a child. 

My mother ( for one) had a way of conveying her displeasure at my sometimes childish antics or ideas and deep down it gave me the impression that I must always live up to her adult ideal that, at best, was unattainable to me as a child. To this day I refuse to accept my limitations or I set very unrealistic ones for myself , to the point that I doom myself for failure. I tried to live up to this image that I thought would please my mother but always fell completely short of the mark and when it caused me emotional issues and anger, I would stuff it and walk it off. 

Years later, this ideal  that my mother has for me still exists and the only healthy thing I could do for myself was to lovingly remove myself from that situation. I still mourn the absence of a mother/daughter relationship but the wonderful connection that I have with my children helps to fill that void. Looking back with my adult eyes, I tell myself often that it was okay to think like a child because I was one...I did have odd ideas (from the adults viewpoint) but it's okay because that's part of growing up.

 It lifts a huge weight off my shoulders and helps me realize that allowing myself to  feel emotions is good...I would not be human if I didn't and it's okay to cry, it's okay to be angry...being myself is okay!  I won't say all of my skeletons will fall out of the proverbial closet at once but it's a great start.

1 comment:

Rue said...

There is nothing worse than thinking you don't have the right to your own person/body/emotions! I am really in awe of you and your journey of discovery.

Plus, I'm learning so much more about Tarot - thank you!