Things My Father Taught Me

My father died a few years ago…

which was a bit of a surprise because he had been so convinced of his immortality that I’d begun to suspect he might be right about it, and wasn’t as mad as he often sounded and seemed.

While it was improbable, some improbable things do happen (the world of human is full of improbable things having happened atm), and as much as we humans like to think we know everything about being human… life likes to throw us curveballs which hit us with how little we actually know about everything, our nature and the planet upon which we live – we still aren’t sure why this planet or why us, but we do love to invent theories and claim those theories are made up of facts (never argue with someone who thinks they have facts to back them and their theory up unless you want to battered and bruised and bored to death by their facts).

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I keep coming across this quote online…

it must be trending…

such an idea has been around since humans first discovered the magic of story-telling,

altering our history both personal and beyond to alter how we are perceived in the now by ourselves and others…

and found out that others tend not to check our references, if we are who we say we are or not, because who we have editied ourselves to be may suit their own edited story.

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When my father believed something he could sell it even to someone as stubborn as him (he had an incredibly hard head, which I am grateful to have inherited for many varied reasons, one of which is that I keep bashing mine and if it had been soft it would be an empty shell by now… maybe it is and I just haven’t realised it).

He was very charismatic – a by-product of his crazy perhaps?

His charisma got him far, but to get further than charisma will take you, you need more than that, something a bit deeper, darker, able to go where you shouldn’t go – he had a knack for finding ways into a person’s psyche and planting seeds there which would grow, changing the inner landscape of that person. I watched him alter the personalities (and sometimes character) of many a fellow who thought they were made out of stone, sometimes turning them into gelatinous mush… it wasn’t pretty, but it was a learning experience.

One of the things my father taught me – everyone is playing a game of let’s pretend

When I was a young child, I spent quite a bit of time in my father’s company (it got harder to do that later on, particularly once my mother made it her mission to stop us from having a relationship – partly due to her own storyline of never having had a relationship with her own father thanks in part to her own mother)…

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excerpt from Astrodienst: The 7th House by Dana Gerhardt

I have Virgo/Pisces across the ASC/DSC line. One is tidy/the other messy. One sees itself as logical/the other is a fantasist. Which one is which isn’t always as clear cut as it should be, the lines get blurred – too much tidy can cause a mess/mess can tidy things up, fantasy can be more logical than the fantasy of logic.

Chaos has an order which the human concept of order doesn’t understand or deal with well at all…

This played out in my parent’s relationship, and plays out in my relationship with myself and with others – it’s rather strong atm (thanks to current transits which are lighting up many of my natal positions).

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My earliest memories of my father involve us sitting on one of those swing-benches, rocking back and forth, staring at the limitless sky, with my father saying ‘Let’s pretend we’re pirates…’

A memory which in some ways sums up my entire relationship with my father.

The TV series – Black Sails – is like watching our relationship dynamic play out in all of its forms (with a little bit of my mother’s interference throw in – she’s the government trying to obliterate pirate rule and influence, even if it means making an uneasy allegiance with the Spanish Armada to get some scorched earth policy to tidy things up and start with a clean slate… which is never truly clean, in fact it may splatter blood everywhere – so don’t use luminol!).

One of the things my father taught me – was to swear like a pirate, eat and drink like one, play like one, think like one, wield any random thing (including words) like a sword like one, and not be conscious of the fact that I was a female (or at least not in a way that it would cause an impediment – in other words screw what society is saying, doing, telling you about your role and gender, etc, society is playing a pretentious game of let’s pretend…).

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Anne Bonny is perhaps a good archetype for Lilith in the 10th house (square Pluto in the 1st)?

while I think Anne Bonny rocks as a TV character, I related more to Captain Charles Vane in the show (he died around the point at which I decided I’d had enough of the show and listening to its pirates parley… omg what bores pirates are on that show, they never stop talking… like my parents during my childhood and later, like me in my posts)

most of my ‘role models’ in life have been male, like Sandokan, and I never saw any problem with that…

until much later on (too late for me) when I came across other females complaining that there weren’t enough good strong female role models in their childhood, and I wondered why they needed their inspiration to be strong to come from other females…

character is character regardless of the gender of the body it is in! If you like it, let it inspire you, create then become your own role model… no!?

My Barbies did not spend most of their time dressing up for the Kens… they were rather blood-thirsty pirate Barbies, their parties were all about the unfashionable survival of the weird and quirky fittest.

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Another thing my father taught me – be careful what you teach others, it can boomerang…

When my father died, I hadn’t seen or spoken to him in at least a decade. I had cut off all contact with him (and with my mother).

The last time I spoke to him was when I called him to apologise for being…

so slow to realise certain things about my mother.

I told him he was right about her… then hung up, there wasn’t anything else to say, and I didn’t want to give him the opportunity to use me against her as he had always done. Speaking to either of them always involved the other eventually – I was by then nothing more than a weapon my parents (and those close to them) used to hurt each other, or to continue the never-ending drama of endless nonsense.

Tbh, he didn’t help matters throughout the drama of being their child, of constantly being piggy-in-the-middle trying to catch what was being thrown over my head… which they claimed was mine and which I should reach for but was never mine.

He left me alone to deal with my mother from an early age, in some ways he sacrificed me to her to get her off his back (he’d never wanted a child anyway, she’d forced him to have one through deceit, trickery, betrayal – her version of this story was one of a heroic woman defeating the cowardly man for unselfish reasons, or something like that, it changed every time she told it, but what didn’t change was that she was the conquering heroine over the villainous male… and I was the trophy of that victory – a rather disappointing one but she’d make do and turn it into what she needed it to be for her).

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excerpt from tdjacobs: Lilith in the houses

I am not a conventional person – this is not deliberate. I am not a conventionally unconventional person either.

When I try to be conventional, I can make the conventional seem incredibly creepy – the polite becomes sinister, the ‘norm’ becomes abnormal, the ‘what you’re supposed to say and do’ becomes ‘don’t say and do that!’, the comfortable becomes uncomfortable, the wanted becomes unwanted, the trendy becomes an ancient ritual which simply has a new name, disguise, and still isn’t having the desired effect…

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Many of her rants and rages towards me were due to her taking out on me what he had taken out on her, or her taking out on me what she couldn’t take out on him (not if she wanted satisfaction of any sort – at least she could make me cry, hurt me, have a pain effect which made her feel momentarily powerful, and I wouldn’t lash out in return because that would prolong the process and I wanted it to end sooner than later),

and to deal with her I had to be a bitch to him (because this was the only thing which she would accept – even when she was going through one of her worship of my father phases – they never lasted, he always disappointed her and then she needed blood, his blood which she saw as also running through my veins… but she was too prissy and prim, good and righteous, to do that for herself (she had a personal image to maintain)…

which is why covert narcissists need others to fight their battles for them, and why they expend so much energy creating their ‘victim status’ and ‘save the victim’ quest for you to take on – they need to keep their hands clean, seem pristine and virginal, poor damsel in distress – send help! send a hero! (your help sucks, you’re a rubbish hero… NEXT!)

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One of the things my father taught me – is that there are many things your father can teach you, but he doesn’t necessarily need to be a part of your life, or even alive, to teach them to you.

When my father died…

the fragile peace (fraught with a certain variant of PTSD) which I’d managed to cobble together by avoiding my family of origin was shattered…

all the usual hell with which I’d grown up broke loose, found me again, with the abandon of a lost boundary…

while my father never respected the boundaries of others (why would he when they didn’t… if he promised them a reward for the trespassing…), he had some very strict boundaries of his own – those who love me follow me or get ostracised (with smear campaigns that have bells and whistles that keep ringing and alarming you and others long afterwards…)

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a different kind of pirate…

the narcissist who has nothing better to do that waste time, but they can’t do it alone… they hate alone time!

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while he was alive… the way others, like my mother, like his long term lover (who was actually a better ‘conventional’ wife to him than my mother), behaved made some sense,

he poked them and they reacted to the poke, they chased the dream and the dream kept moving the goalposts into nightmare territory, he tested their commitment to him and their delusions about him, they tried to change him and he changed them instead… and other elements of the narcissistic relationship dynamic…

but…

once he was dead… the triangle lost one of its main points, and they just seemed bitter, twisted, pointless, drama queens still trying to impress, win the favour, by fighting over him, of a king, who…

thought they were assholes,

and died convinced of that fact.

They didn’t prove him wrong (even though one of them tried very hard to do so… using me, his flesh and bones remains, to do so…).

Did he die convinced that I was an asshole too?

Knowing him… as I did and didn’t know him… it doesn’t matter… let’s pretend that we’re pirates, and then decide for ourselves what pirates actually are – screw what others think pirates should be!

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via Elsa Elsa: Pluto Retrograde – April 20, 2017

one of the things I love about Elsa Elsa is Elsa is always Elsa – outspoken, thought-provoking, and leaving blanks for you to fill with your own… what!?

I have Pluto retrograde natally (in Virgo), in the 1st house of self, trining my Sun (and conjuncting it by transit atm), and doing some other stuff… intensity is familiar to me, in some ways it’s my ‘safe’ place and space…

cruelty is also familiar – the cruelty of others, of my parents to each other, to themselves (which is mainly why they did it to others) which they learned from their own parents doing it to them (our cruelty to ourselves usually comes from those in our early years being cruel to us… they teach us how to treat ourselves and also teach us to be cruel to others as they were cruel to us), to me, of myself towards myself… and unfortunately towards others (as an offshoot of being cruel to myself and of expecting others to be cruel to me – it’s a complex and paradoxical experience).

But I don’t equate Pluto with cruelty… cruelty is what happens when the primal power is not accepted or acceptable by civilisation, by society, and its beautification of human, by Venus, by Neptune – their fantasies deny the real, the ugly, the roots, and the real becomes frustrated…

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If you worry too much about what others think of pirates, you’ll miss what you think of them… it’ll get lost like treasure sinking into the deep ocean…

like loot hidden to keep it safe from plunderers, and then you forget where it was buried and everything treasured within you… you forget it too, you may have a map but… that has to be hidden from plunderers too, and soon it’s all about hiding it all…

X marks the spot that must never be outed… look anywhere but there!

And you get so good at hiding it all, convincing yourself you have no idea where it is so you can convince others of that too…

’til one day you have no idea, all you can recall is that something is lost and must be found and you come to believe that others might be able to help you find what you’ve lost, so you have to buy into what they’re selling… which includes what they’re selling you about yourself.

One of the things my father taught me – was how easy it is to lose yourself when your focus shifts onto hiding who you are and what you really care about from others so they can’t steal, harm, hurt, destroy or ruin it for you – you ruin it for yourself instead! And then you have to ruin whatever they have for them because you have nothing else…

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My father was one of the most sensitive people I have ever met… he was also one of the most insensitive – the two are not mutually exclusive at all, they are actually caused by each other in certain instances. My father rarely if ever mentioned how sensitive he was… he preferred to point out how insensitive he was. He wanted you to see the fantasy rather than the reality.

My mother on the other hand, who never shut up about how sensitive she was, how caring, empathic, sympathetic, and so on…was anything but… her caring, empathy, sympathy… was all a superficial show to impress others, to gain gratitude, admiration, accolades, and win points in a game of sainthood. Sure, she believed her own story, all the better to sell it, dear little red riding hood… she preferred her fantasy version of herself to the real one…

she preferred her fantasy version of my father to who he really was, even though her fantasy of him caused her to experience greater levels and trials, tribulations, and pains of disappointment… her martyrdom was a vital element in her identity, the more he disappointed her the more she thrived and grew, and still thrives and grows, becoming more and more delusional yet certain that her delusion is fact…

she did the same with me but I was never really real… are children ever really real to their parents?

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One of the things my father taught me – you’re gonna have to figure things out for yourself ’cause I’m outta here…

he never really left, but he was never really there…

chasing the elusive…

sometimes you catch more than you realise!

What say you?

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14 thoughts on “Things My Father Taught Me

  1. All things on a continuum, I’d say we take the good things about our parents and make them better. And we take the bad things about our parents and make those better, too. ;-P It’s hard for me to believe children are only copies of their parents because evolution. It may take several generations to weed the wacky out of narcissistic families but overall, I believe we becoming the humans we have the capability of being. I believe we are healing the trauma of childhood, one woke person at a time. There isn’t a day goes by that I don’t take responsibility for making this world a better place than the one I was born into.

    I stopped by to say “thanks” for your post which I shared with my daughter and she spent an entire afternoon learning about Lilith in the 10th House. You absolutely made her day. Thanks for being YOU.

    Hugs,
    CZ

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    1. Thank you very much πŸ™‚

      Lilith is an intriguing asteroid to explore as she always seems to stir astrologers up when they write about her. Eris is another asteroid worth checking out, my fav info on Eris comes from Eric Francis – http://planetwaves.net/smallworlds/contents/planets/eris.html

      I agree about children not being copies of their parents. Each child takes the story of their parents, and their perception, interpretation, and experience of it and evolves it (I suppose if it can be evolved then it can also be devolved, but that’s much harder to do…?). Somewhere in some psychology or philosophy book I read that children are always a little bit smarter than their parents (something to do with the order of nature – according to humans), which apparently annoys the parents and may be why parents sometimes try to hold their children back. Then again parents also often push their children to continue ‘the story’ – be better, do better, make more of themselves to raise the entire family up a level. It’s an interesting dynamic to explore… whether any of it is actually real, true, etc… who knows πŸ˜‰

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      1. My daughter is feeling some relief after two years of transfusions and she’s finally able to read again. So thank you for the link!

        Are children smarter than their parents? in my case, I hope to God that’s true. Undoubtedly, smart kids will be mildly to extremely upsetting if they have narcissistic parents; unless the child can be used as a show pony. Quite a few people in the ACoN community have written about a narcissistic parent’s envy and the consequent suppression, or even punishment they experienced for out-shining their pareNt. And then there’s “average” kids being born into narcissistic families and not being willing (or able) to meet parental expectations. (The kid who is supposed to be Einstein without a formal education ‘cuz parents don’t believe schools should have authority over their child). You see all kinds of crazy shite in the world today. It’s probably always been like this, we just didn’t have Internet Confessionals. A godsend really. Our best hope of knowing what’s really going on in that nuclear family…kaboom.

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        1. I’m not sure if I’m smarter than my parents, really depends on the angle of perspective and parameters used for rating and judging such a concept. They were both obsessed with intelligence, accumulating it and owning as much of it as they could beg, borrow and steal. Their minds could make mince out of the minds of others, but is that really the smart thing to do and way to be?

          As N parents they did a variety number on me (I sometimes wonder what would have happened if I’d had siblings and hadn’t been the only target for their practice).

          Sometimes I was required to be a genius – my mother once caught me in the act of strumming my dad’s guitar and she stated that I was naturally brilliant at playing it. I totally wasn’t and knew it, but she was in ‘everything my child does is genius because it’s my progeny and I’m a genius’ mode. Mind you if she caught me singing I was immediately told that I sounded like a mosquito and it hurt her ears – as she was the only one allowed to sing, she’d had classical training and her voice was that of an angel (who couldn’t stand anyone else’s singing). If other people (the audience and the competition) were around then I was definitely expected to outshine others, but not outshine my parents in front of others – if I accidentally looked better than my parents then I had to be publicly crushed. If someone else tried to crush me or criticise me, then they were summarily crushed by my parents (not to protect me, but because I was an extension of my parents and therefore they were protecting themselves), unless that someone else was ‘in favour’ with my parents and was acting on their behalf or trying to impress them in a way which pleased them.

          Sometimes I was required to be a complete moron – like when my mother presented me with the poems she’d suddenly been inspired to write and they happened to be almost exact replicas of poems I had written which she insisted I give to her for ‘safe-keeping’ because I was always destroying my creations. I was expected to praise her amazing poetic skills no matter what. They also needed me to be stupid when they were manipulating me, pretending to like me or something I had done because they wanted me to do something for them, etc. That they often did the same tactic every time was not allowed to be pointed out, and I was definitely not allowed to roll my eyes while interrupting their sales pitch and ask them ‘what do you want’. I had to play dumb and delighted.

          Sometimes I was expected to be average – this was required when my parents were ‘wooing’ someone and they needed a foil, a comparison point to big-up this other person. When I was a child they did this with the friends I had – N parents love to woo their children’s friends and tend to use the ‘your friend is so much better than you’ seduction technique. I also had to be average when my parents were showing off to me how awesome they were at something. My mother once told me that it was a pity my legs were crooked, not straight, shapely and perfect like hers, as I’d never be as attractive and beautiful as she was.

          My mother used to home school me during the school holidays so that I would be super smart not ‘dumb like other people’s children’, but I wasn’t allowed to show off what I knew around her, so I couldn’t surpass her in smarts, if I did this would immediately activate a meltdown and a showing me how stupid I am tantrum and lecture.

          The expectations of my parents for me were constantly in flux, and often shifted in the course of an interaction – one minute I was expected to be a genius and the next I was chastised for that and told I was stupid. With N parents the child is a screen upon which the N parent projects whatever film is now playing, and they tend to flick from film to film, mood to mood, persona to persona – you’re whoever they need you to be and never who they need you to be.

          It’s a crap shoot in more ways than one.

          I think I’m simpler than they are. That’s good enough for me πŸ™‚

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          1. Thank you…..very much for being so honest about your family. Your parents would have been incredibly difficult because there was no consistency. You had to adapt to their “moods”, whichever way the wind blew that day. It must have been like whip-lash, never being able to “trust” their reactions until you could figure out how specific circumstances affected their behavior. I think your intelligence allowed you to see patterns and create ways to maintain your sense of self in spite of having mincemeat-making parents.

            I am acquainted with people who assume they are more brilliant than the furthest star yet alienate friends and family who are determined to be inferior. Considering we are social creatures who need relationships in order to thrive, how smart is that? An adult can tolerate someone like that but to be their child?

            What I was referring to when saying children “should be” smarter than their parents has more to do with relational wisdom—as in NOT terrorizing the shite out of kids and torturing their psyches. I wonder what human beings would be like if most people were loved in childhood, the way humans need to be loved? (bonded, trusting, loving-kindness) I watch younger generations raise their children today and marvel at how much they want their kids, and the kindness with which they raise their children. They are better educated about child development than my generation (or my parents) but they aren’t necessarily “smarter–so thanks for helping me see that. I have felt, ever since involving myself in the “recovery movement” that each generation worked out the sins of the generation before and I think we are seeing the benefit of people’s concerted efforts to encourage “children’s rights”, something that was unheard of in generations prior. That is wisdom, that is true intelligence. And yup, it really is that simple. ~CZ

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            1. One of my favourite perspectives on being human is This Be the Verse by Philip Larkin – https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/48419 – it’s a bit stark but it’s hitting a nail on the head about why people tend to pass on tortured psyche-ness.

              Maybe the way humans need to be loved isn’t the way we imagine and idealise it to be – our imagined and ideal of love, of how things should be and should have been, causes a lot of problems… like not accepting what we have because we’re assuming there’s something better which we could get, or not noticing the small and very real acts of love because they don’t measure up to our fantasy version which is bigger and louder…

              One of the things I like which is going on at the moment is the movement people are making towards appreciating the good things our ancestors did, the quality of some of what came before us and our modern times. But we always seem to do these things in roundabout ways, and maybe that’s just how things go after all everything in the universe seems to spin around πŸ™‚

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              1. Not sure what movement you’re referring to? Is this a wordpress movement or a book theme movement or am I missing something? That wouldn’t be surprising. ha!

                Larkin’s poem is dark, but expressive of what many ACoNs have experienced in their families. In my experience as a woman who chose to be a mom, there’s redemption in the struggle to love our children better than we were loved. A transformation of generational trauma perhaps.

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                1. The way I was using the word movement wasn’t the ‘a group of people working together to advance their shared political, social, or artistic ideas’ definition, I meant it as ‘an act of moving’ definition, as a general flow in society (based on trends, rumblings under the surface, and such). People seem to be seeking the authentic, the real, the genuine more and more, and appreciating roots, the organic… but we’ll see where the flow goes.

                  The planet tends to flourish after a natural trauma – some trees can only seed after a fire burns down the forest.

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                  1. “The planet tends to flourish after a natural trauma – some trees can only seed after a fire burns down the forest.”

                    Soooo…my focus on politics has created a filter without me even realizing it. This made me laugh cuz I’ve been writing about assumptions, thinking about unconscious beliefs, updating my social gender and cultural programming, and on and on. We go through numerous iterations of self-questioning throughout our lives, if we’re of the “seeker mentality”. So maybe by using your analogy of “burned forests”, it would be reasonable to suggest “seekers” are self-pruning? We periodically get rid of unnecessary branches and cut out dead spots where root rot has taken hold.

                    Your comment though, was reflective of my story and many people’s stories as we’ve willingly engaged in an essential return to our roots, where our lives began, questioning the rightness or wrongness of it all. The community we grew up in, the faith we followed, the parents we internalized as authorities; and some of us realized that a lot of what we accepted as true & inevitable, was total bullshit. Then we spent at least a decade of our lives shoveling the shit out the barn door, cleaning up the place before “moving on”. As in boots up in the ground “moving on”. (an open and honest questioning such as you are doing and so many people are doing by refusing to pass forward destructive beliefs/parenting/assumptions). At some point, and this has most definitely happened to me: we reclaim the genuine, the real, the true—which reminds me of a scripture taught in my religion-of-origin about the Last Days. And that is that there will be a “turning of the hearts of children towards their fathers.”

                    Now. I’ll bet your eyes nearly bugged out of your head by that comment because the whole of my life has threatened patriarchal rule and I am not a true believer of any religion. (am I off topic or what?!) But this scripture might describe the transformation of authority from outside-the-self (child) to an authentic authority within-the-self (adult). The problem, as is the case with human beings (at least the ones in my family) is that people take scriptures literally. I don’t know if that’s because people are thick-headed; or because it serves the system but yea, now I’m back to politics and controlling people through unconscious, unquestioned, authoritarian programming. ;-P

                    Sorry about taking so long to get to my point (!). I could have simply thanked you for explaining “movement” but was a bit taken back by my thick-headedness. And inspired at the same time! XX CZ

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                    1. You weren’t being thickheaded (and you know it) about my use of the word movement, we just interpreted the word differently (and the way I used it made it flexible), moved along different definitions of it, and both ways work πŸ™‚

                      I don’t think it’s strange to enjoy a scripture or bible story even if you’re not religious. There are some great stories in the bible, why reject them just because you’re not religious, right. If something speaks to you, explains something for you, means something to you for whatever reason, then it has value for you and is valid.

                      At one school I attended they had ‘scripture’ lessons. I wasn’t brought up religious so this was new to me and I loved it as for a child it was basically a story-telling class – I had some idea that it was religious but I didn’t really understand what ‘religious’ and religion were…. unless we venture into the ‘religion’ known as whatever your narcissist parent wants you to believe and believe only that (whatever their ‘that’ is of the moment).

                      I like your take on it. After all when we rebel against someone or something, we’re also searching for our definition of that very thing – we don’t always know what our definition is, but we often know what it isn’t. Finding the patriarch within, our inner child returning to our inner father… powerful ideas!

                      Hope you write more on what you’re passionate about – your passion is a stunning force!

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  2. IsnΒ΄t that what parents are in a nutshell? You spend half of your life defining who you are and then you realize you are nothing more than a copy of your parents. So just sit back and let the train take you to your destination, because it feels so natural. One thing is certain you can spend your whole life trying to be someone else, but it never works.

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