Category Archives: dealing with emotions

The Father Ghost of Jane Snitly by Matt Carlson

She had never really considered it. It was something that she’d just decided to do. One day Jane Snitly bought the auburn hair coloring treatment, went home, read the instructions on the box, locked herself up in the bathroom and one hour later it was done. She’d become a redhead at twenty.

On top of it all, she looked good as a redhead. It wasn’t the flashy bright red of some, but more classy, like Katherine Hepburn in the 50’s and 60’s. And so it was, she’d chosen this look seemingly out of the blue – thinking it gave her an aura of the beautiful actress. And yet, even while she looked at herself in the mirror, she couldn’t ignore the pressing images that assaulted her there…

It was a gorgeous Buick of light blue sitting outside on the street under the front yard maple tree  – to keep under the shade. It was a hot summer day in the valley. There’d been a woman sitting in the passenger seat. She was very pretty, quite well dressed and she’d come with her Dad who was now in the house. He was having a conversation with Jane and Jenny’s Mother. The two little blond girls were 9 and 12, Jane was the youngest; Jenny the oldest. The two little girls were intrigued with the woman but didn’t dare speak to her. They’d been playing jacks in the driveway.

Blue curling up smoke from the woman’s cigarette went into the tree itself – seemingly dancing with the leaves – and Jane wondered who she was: this silent friend of her Father’s. Jenny felt it too and the girls left long lingering looks in her direction while halfheartedly spinning and catching. Voices were suddenly raised within the house and Jane and Jenny knew what that meant: another argument between their Mother and Father. They’d known something was up as their Father had ordered them to ‘stay outside and play’ upon his arrival and that he’d ‘wanted to speak to their Mother alone.’ Hearing those words had created a stir in their young bellies, but they had no clue as to why.

The wailing coming from within was low at first: a kind of moaning. Was that human? They both wondered while looking simultaneously at the house where their Father was now exiting. He didn’t say anything to them except that he loved them and would talk to them soon.

Jenny being older asked,”Daddy, where are you going? Why is Mamma crying like that?” She asked while chewing on her fingernail. Her Father stopped and seemed to reconsider something. The woman in the car was watching intently.

“Honey, Daddy is going to go and live somewhere else for a while…. but I’ll come back soon and we’ll do something fun, okay?” This was a lie, of course yet he wanted to give them a warm fuzzy of some kind. A lie was better than nothing. And perhaps he’d made himself believe that his words were true. Jenny didn’t say anything and he got into the car and started up the engine.

The wailing from within the house went up a notch and Jane suddenly found herself standing in front of the running engine, standing in front of the car where her Father sat with a strange & beautiful woman. Jane knew what it all meant. He was leaving. Leaving their Mother; leaving them. Leaving with the woman with auburn hair. Her Father stepped out of the car and asked, “What is it Janie?” But a paralysis overtook the little girl and no words would come. “Honey?… Okay, I’ve gotta go now sweetie – move out of the way.” And just like that she did what was asked of her. Her Father drove away. The woman gave her a sad smile and a slight wave of a manicured hand.

“Don’t go Daddy,” she whispered as the car drove out of sight. She’d forgotten to breath for a moment and felt slightly dizzy. Jenny had run inside to see her Mother. Janie stood there for a long time. Watching, waiting, trying to figure out what had just happened. Her tears and the low moaning were suddenly hers. Her Father had left her. Had left her Mom and sister. Only a Father Ghost would remain now….

**** Explanatory Note:

Almost sixty years later, Jane Snitly (her name has been changed to protect her identity) would die of Emphysema at the age of 68. According to a certain psychiatrist, she chose this hair color because unconsciously she chose to be the woman that her Father left with. That means she wanted to be the woman he chose to be with. (To be the woman that her Father loved). At the same time, she also chose to be the Mother that her Father left. The woman scorned and angry. Probably too,  that both of these identities  co-existed subconsciously within.

That being the case,  the two inner personalities or roles were at constant battle with one another; that the Mistress hated the Mother and that the Mother within hated the Mistress…The Father reassures and helps in developing a sense of identity to children in a family. When a Father abandons his children or is absent, the child will constantly search out that Father image – an image that he or she needs in order to construct their identity. The child (and later on adult) will do this subconsciously, of course and unknowingly will set up repetitive failures with people, people that the unconscious mind will perceive as a potential Father image. This is called the Father Ghost. Many of us have a Father Ghost, though we don’t realize it. He hoovers there constantly and is played out within the people around us, especially family members or other potential father-type images. Because it failed with their own father’s, and is an unconscious functioning, it will fail time and time again. No matter if you are a perfect Father figure, the scorned child will find fault with you somehow. Until the child becomes consciously aware of what is happening (and learns to make a conscious effort to change) he or she will continue to destroy potential Father figures. It is something imprinted within and a vicious circle…Some people will find other ways of creating identity with the pathology of the Father Ghost haunting them. Some will choose to work in psychology, health services and even religion…Anything that will give them a strong sense of belonging and reassurance…

*** ‘A noted sociologist, Dr. David Popenoe, is one of the pioneers of the relatively young field of research into fathers and fatherhood. “Fathers are far more than just ‘second adults’ in the home,” he says. “Involved fathers bring positive benefits to their children that no other person is as likely to bring.”  Fathers have a direct impact on the well-being of their children. It is important for professionals working with fathers— especially in the difficult, emotionally charged arena in which child protective services (CPS) caseworkers operate—to have a working understanding of the literature that addresses this impact.

Such knowledge will help make the case for why the most effective CPS case plans will involve fathers. This chapter lays out the connection between fathers and child outcomes, including cognitive ability, educational achievement, psychological well-being, and social behavior. The chapter also underscores the impact of the father and mother’s relationship on the well-being of their children….

THE IMPACT OF THE MOTHER-FATHER RELATIONSHIP ON CHILD OUTCOMES One of the most important influences a father can have on his child is indirect—fathers influence their children in large part through the quality of their relationship with the mother of their children. A father who has a good relationship with the mother of their children is more likely to be involved and to spend time with their children and to have children who are psychologically and emotionally healthier. Similarly, a mother who feels affirmed by her children’s father and who enjoys the benefits of a happy relationship is more likely to be a better mother. Indeed, the quality of the relationship affects the parenting behavior of both parents. They are more responsive, affectionate, and confident with their infants; more self-controlled in dealing with defiant toddlers; and better confidants for teenagers seeking advice and emotional support. One of the most important benefits of a positive relationship between mother and father, and a benefit directly related to the objectives of the CPS caseworker, is the behavior it models for children.

Fathers who treat the mothers of their children with respect and deal with conflict within the relationship in an adult and appropriate manner are more likely to have boys who understand how they are to treat women and who The Importance of Fathers in the Healthy Development of Children are less likely to act in an aggressive fashion toward females. Girls with involved, respectful fathers see how they should expect men to treat them and are less likely to become involved in violent or unhealthy relationships. In contrast, research has shown that husbands who display anger, show contempt for, or who stonewall their wives (i.e., “the silent treatment”) are more likely to have children who are anxious, withdrawn, or antisocial.

THE IMPACT OF FATHERS ON COGNITIVE ABILITY AND EDUCATIONAL ACHIEVEMENT Children with involved, caring fathers have better educational outcomes. A number of studies suggest that fathers who are involved, nurturing, and playful with their infants have children with higher IQ’s, as well as better linguistic and cognitive capacities.Toddlers with involved fathers go on to start school with higher levels of academic readiness. They are more patient and can handle the stresses and frustrations associated with schooling more readily than children with less involved fathers.

The influence of a father’s involvement on academic achievement extends into adolescence and young adulthood. Numerous studies find that an active and nurturing style of fathering is associated with better verbal skills, intellectual functioning, and academic achievement among adolescents. For instance, a 2001 U.S. Department of Education study found that highly involved biological fathers had children who were 43 percent more likely than other children to earn mostly As and 33 percent less likely than other children to repeat a grade.

THE IMPACT OF FATHERS ON PSYCHOLOGICAL WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL BEHAVIOR Even from birth, children who have an involved father are more likely to be emotionally secure, be confident to explore their surroundings, and, as they grow older, have better social connections with peers. These children also are less likely to get in trouble at home, school, or in the neighborhood.13 Infants who receive high levels of affection from their fathers (e.g., babies whose fathers respond quickly to their cries and who The Link Between Marriage and Fatherhood Caring, involved fathers exist outside of marriage. They are more likely, however, to be found in the context of marriage. There are numerous reasons for this, not the least of which being the legal and social norms associated with marriage that connect a father to the family unit. That may also explain, in part, why research consistently shows that the married mother-and-father family is a better environment for raising children than the cohabitating (living together) mother-and-father family.

It is interesting to note that, contrary to stereotypes about low-income, unmarried parents, a significant majority—more than 8 in 10—of urban, low-income fathers and mothers are in a romantic relationship when their children are born.

Most of these couples expect that they will get married. One study found that more than 80 percent expected they would get married or live together. However, only 11 percent of these couples had actually married a year later.

Why they do not marry is an interesting question open to conjecture. However, as Dr. Wade Horn, Assistant Secretary for Children and Families at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has pointed out, it may be because these couples receive very little encouragement to marry from the health and social services professionals with whom they come in contact.

Fathers and Their Impact on Children’s Well-being play together) are more securely attached; that is, they can explore their environment comfortably when a parent is nearby and can readily accept comfort from their parent after a brief separation. A number of studies suggest they also are more sociable and popular with other children throughout early childhood.

The way fathers play with their children also has an important impact on a child’s emotional and social development. Fathers spend a much higher percentage of their one-on-one interaction with infants and preschoolers in stimulating, playful activity than do mothers. From these interactions, children learn how to regulate their feelings and behavior. Roughhousing with dad, for example, can teach children how to deal with aggressive impulses and physical contact without losing control of their emotions.19 Generally speaking, fathers also tend to promote independence and an orientation to the outside world. Fathers often push achievement while mothers stress nurturing, both of which are important to healthy development. As a result, children who grow up with involved fathers are more comfortable exploring the world around them and more likely to exhibit self control and pro-social behavior.

One study of school-aged children found that children with good relationships with their fathers were less likely to experience depression, to exhibit disruptive behavior, or to lie and were more likely to exhibit pro-social behavior. This same study found that boys with involved fathers had fewer school behavior problems and that girls had stronger self esteem.

In addition, numerous studies have found that children who live with their fathers are more likely to have good physical and emotional health, to achieve academically, and to avoid drugs, violence, and delinquent behavior. In short, fathers have a powerful and positive impact upon the development and health of children. A caseworker who understands the important contributions fathers make to their children’s development and how to effectively involve fathers in the case planning process will find additional and valuable allies in the mission to create a permanent and safe environment for children.’

https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubPDFs/fatherhood.pdf

OMG! What Have I Done?? by matt carlson

March 14th here in Clovis California….I woke up in Fresno (where I’m staying) and I woke up with a stomach ache. I am feeling misplaced & lost. I have left my zone of comfort on every level here. I Have left France (for a while) to return back to my roots, to reconnect. Now, I just want to go  back home and take care of the fish in the pond, take a solar shower outside while looking at the Saint Victoire, feed the birds, sing in my wooden chalet…. see some of my friends…spend some time with my other half….oops! I Wanted, Wanted, Wanted our love to be real : https://elledge.bandcamp.com/track/wanted

BUT That other half has turned out to be a monster in Borderline Personality Disorder clothes!! The lamb now a wolf has taken off his clothes and tried to eat the person who cared for him. I have become its favorite dinner and TALL TALE. I  have left to save myself, to recreate a new life here, to reconnect and to qualify people, places and ideas. I want NO REGRETS. I am full of intentions here in the land of the raisin…..OMG!

Fortunately, I haven’t had any expectations; nothing has happened that has surprised me. I learned alot living in France for 27 years and today I know and understand people: their motivations, their hypocritical ways, their words within words….As well as those that show true friendship and love. True generosity comes with NOT expecting something in return. It is not about getting something, or working out your own personal problems against someone, nor should it be a way to manipulate someone further down the road for gain…

I know when someone is being sincere with me or not.

Six weeks are coming up this week since I’ve been here and I’m still searching for my nitch. My nitch might be in Palm Springs, or perhaps even in the mountains nearby or perhaps on a tropical island….hmmmm Hawaii? Will my dogs be happy over there?

I am at the moment here in Clovis California at the PARISIEN, a French bakery http://www.yelp.com/biz/parisian-bakery-clovis… How funny is that? Maybe I could work with the owner by organizing French music concerts around his food…maybe we could organize events together….See? My mind is trying to figure out answers, trying to find my tribe. Palm Springs is a nice idea – had alot of fun there this weekend at the Indian Wells ATP/WTA tournament, with all the stars of tennis and located in a sublime place. On top of that, terrific company with a new friend orginally from Vietnam. I was treated like a king and also met up with some friends from the past, one who lives in Palm Springs….

In the meantime, I feel better after eating a French meal here in old town of Clovis, California. Funny too that name, Clovis. It’s French. Clovis was known as the first King of what would become France….https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clovis_I

 

“BE HERE” & Life At Le Pin Pastèque

BE HERE  (& Life At Le Pin Pastèque)

by mATT cARLSON

May 19th, 2014. Approximately day 3,328 at Le Pin Pastèque (the watermelon pine tree) in the south of France.

It was a blustery day: the wind rattled so much that even the screws safely secured in wooden posts trembled. Branches bended & leaves sang. Squirrels and birds huddled safely in their nests; cats in their country hotels slept, dogs too on their masters or mistresses beds. Outside hanging on the home made wall of a wooden veranda – a small square mirror. It had been rescued from the trash. Tiny red tiles framed it – though a few were missing. It went “bang, bang” and then “scrape, scrape” :  a  dance of wind & an old mirror.

A large grey  barrel sat on the dirt nearby pushed up against the wall beneath the mirror. “Gloup, gloup, gloup,” went drops of rain into the barrel. The wind had freed the drops from their pine needle prison on the plastic roof. There were always a lot of pine needles on that roof.

The barrel didn’t mind more drops joining the party, it just sat there full of water. As a matter of fact, the barrel didn’t think at all: it was only a container – left there in that exact spot to collect rain water. But it was steadfast sitting and a comforting sight. The ensemble : an outside bathroom of sorts. There was an old iron brasserie stem too (next to the barrel) used as a small table, though the marble had been broken long ago, with enough room to put a glass and a few tooth brushes. Tooth brushes that were now laying in the dirt.

With the television off, I could attend my ears to those sounds around me. An instant ago, they had been mere background noises, but now I could hear them. Joining the mirror dance, the thin door of the laundry room banged too as the machine inside shook my clothes angrily in its ever revolving mouth of plastic and steel. Outside: waves of air rolling, twisting & crashing into inanimate objects. A dog barked in the distance. Someone whistled.

Each time a new noise sounded, Foebbe and Fender (2 white Jack Russel’s) jumped down from the couch and ran to the glass front door. They jumped onto it excitedly with their front paws or in realizing an absence of anything worth discovering, would return to lie down, each in separate corners. “Of course”.

I took a deep breath. Aside from the dogs, I was alone. Of course Truc (Thing) the cat was there and the fish in the pond, but for all practical purposes, I was alone. And I desperately wanted to bring myself back to me! Back to my own thoughts – not those that were once again clamoring at my brain’s doorstep. Those were NOT my thoughts.

It was as if I wanted to read a book, but instead of the first page of a book I’d chosen, there were 1st pages of other books opening at the same time in my mind. Books from other people. “Read this one!” They yelled simultaneously, or almost. Similar to one door opening and suddenly shifting into perspective:  another door! Way the fuck too many doors- or books! I took a deep breath and with impatience yelled at the dogs to go and lie down again.

“Breath in deeply,” I told myself. “Count to four.” Wait four seconds. “Exhale,” and I did while still counting “1, 2, 3, 4″… There was no need to be anywhere. I mean, I didn’t have any obligations outside of the house, the animals, taking care of the home front kind of stuff. O had left a couple of months earlier and I had had little news.

Today I would just try and exist. To breath. To listen to the wind. I would not even try to focus on that first page of any book. I would not sing. I would not write. I would not try to figure anything out.  I would just sit here with Foebbe and Fender. Together we would listen to the wind.

“Be here,” I said .

mATT cARLSON

Solitude & Other Emotions in Paris by Matt Carlson

Fortunately, the sky has become overcast. One more day of hot, insisting sunshine and I would lose it for sure. I hadn’t moved to Paris, the city of lights & culture for annoying hot weather. Of course, many of my friends, especially in the south are ‘cloud-a-phobics’ or ‘fog-a-phobics’…the sun is their god and if it isn’t sunny, it isn’t a nice day with : “Il fait pas beau aujourd’hui” …well, excuse me, but fuck that! I love clouds, cool weather AND fog AND when the sun is constantly blinding my green eyes with it’s light, or melting my skin while trying to win a tennis match, let’s just say I can get pissed off, in spite of what people may think. Don’t poke the nice bear too often….

Add to the fact that I have to wear gawd damned sun glasses and a hat to protect my bald head pisses me off even more. Don’t I have enough crap to carry around with car keys, castle beepers (for the doors) plastic bags for my dogs and their shit (yes, here you pick it up!), money, my occasional MAN BAG:), a credit card to pay for the parking, a hanky in case my nose starts going haywire on me (thanks to indiscriminate pollen sessions by trees and car pollution)… And before going downstairs, make sure you’ve done your own ‘business’ because once out, well its’ the dogs’ turn to ‘go’ and running back upstairs with all those stupid security doors and an elevator (with jack russels in tow) – let’s just say, it’s complicated and “pisses me off”…. So, I am glad that today there are some clouds, makes me feel like I’m back in San Francisco – once upon a time, a home: before I fucked that up.

SO, this blog post is supposed to be about solitude and I see now that only anger is rattling my cage here in my half functioning brain. Well, I prefer anger over sadness and solitude (not to be confused with being alone – something i need every day). I did one of those personality tests before yesterday (even redid it once to make sure the result corresponded) and I got the same result twice! So, I guess it must be accurate with ‘their’ concept of personality “measurementing” lol – a continuous form seems appropriate somehow… I think it said I was a INTF? I’m not sure anymore…and that pisses me off too! Something about introverted, intuitive and ‘feelings’ oriented (woh, woh, woh feelings…) with a healthy slice of mentle analysis, everything was rather balanced (thanks to the gods).. Starting at 50 years of age, we need to do a computerized ‘update’ to our brain pathways cuz they get real messed up…too much bullshit memorized and classified….Have I gone off track here? Apparently, when you go into another room because you have decided to do something, and you arrive, having forgotten what it was you came in there for, well, going though that door clicks off some type of organization in your brain, and it’s normal! WTF? Well, just do stuff in one room, I guess, because you will continue getting up, going into the other room and forgetting why you went there. Accept it…well, unless you’re reading this and you’re like twelve or something…

I wanna bitch and moan about solitude, now. I hate it. AND I hate admitting to myself that I’m alone and feeling lonely. That is my pride, which has no place in fixing this particular problem. And I guess that personally,  my feelings of solitude are related to my anger. Anger about the recent break up and HOW it transpired. That my 10 year relationship with “O” (who turned on me), having been a real* as&=hole (to put it mildly)….really pisses me off.  I have not gotten over being used and the keys to my house being stolen to the glass door I hung, myself. To the door I recuperated and brought back to our ‘home’. A home which was ‘ours’, paid for by two people, now being kept at bay from me….And there/were/are other things too, important issues washed over with nastiness, lying, selfishness, pettiness….to sum it up, my being here in Paris, displaced, feeling this heavy solitude (with a touch of anger) is a direct result from what transpired between my ex and I…

So, “deal with it” – right – “get over it” – right…”turn the page” – of course….but maybe the most important thing I haven’t done is: allow myself to feel those true and deep emotions without judgement….This is most certainly the biggest key to moving on after an important break-up, whether it was six months, ten or twenty years. Allowing oneself to feel. Instead of pushing it away with, “He’s/she’s no worth it”, “I’m not going to bring myself down to his/her level” and so on. Those scripts are not going to help you heal your pain. The only way to heal is to first allow yourself to feel your loss, your tears, your anger, your frustrations….all and any of it that needs to come out, to be expressed. If you do not have the possibility to directly express those emotions to the person who ‘needs’ to hear it, then use your friends, your family, beat up the pillows on your bed, burn his/her pictures (maybe even make a voo-doo doll in their image..) whatever, be creative and get that pain out!

Once that is done, you can begin picking up the pieces of your new life….

Hit me up and leave a comment – I’m feeling lonely… ;((!