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From His Father’s Decline, de Blasio ‘Learned What Not to Do By JAVIER C. HERNÁNDEZ, October 13, 2013,  New York Times

Warren and Maria Wilhelm with, from rear, Steven, Donald and Bill, who is now Bill de Blasio, the Democratic nominee for mayor. When Mr. de Blasio was 18, his father killed himself.

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Sep 12, 2011 : WOUNDINGS

In our last meeting, I tossed out the following quote in response to one man’s statements.  It seemed to immediately capture everyone’s attention, so here it is again:

Where a man’s wound is, that is where his genius will be.
Mircea Eliade (1907-1986)

All of us carry our own unique wounding, and how we respond to it literally controls our lives.

I am not a mechanism, an assembly of various sections.
And it is not because the mechanism is working wrongly that I am ill.
I am ill because of wounds to the soul, to the deep emotional self,
and the wounds to the soul take a long, long time,
only time can help
and patience, and a certain difficult repentance
long, difficult repentance, realization of life’s mistake,
and the freeing oneself
from the endless repetition of the mistake
which mankind at large has chosen to sanctify.
D.H.Lawrence, Healing

As men, most often this wound comes from our fathers.

Every boy, in his journey to become a man, takes an arrow to the center of his heart, in the place of his strength. Because the wound is rarely discussed and even more rarely healed, every man carries a wound. And the wound is nearly always given by his father.
John Eldredge, Wild at Heart

Or we may shoulder the burden of our parent’s wounding.

Greatest burden a child must bear is the unlived life of the parent. So each man must examine, without the motive to judge, where his father’s wounds were passed on to him. Either he finds himself repeating his father’s patterns or living in reaction to them – in both cases a prisoner.
James Hollis, Under Saturn’s Shadow: The Wounding and Healing of Men

Addressing our wounding in paramount to our own person growth.

If you want to change the way you are with your sons, and your daughters, then my experience is you need to feel how you were hurt, and how you were wounded.
Marvin Allen, Wild Man Weekend documentary

In this meeting we will speak to each other about our personal wounding – what we know about it, how we have (or haven’t) dealt with it.  How our current status with our wounding affects our lives today and the lives of those we love.

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We will be meeting on Monday 5/23/11, 7:30-9:30pm

Our topic will be

dis·es·teem
– verb (used with object) 1. to hold in low regard; think unfavorably of.
– noun 2. lack of esteem;  disfavor; low regard.
Origin: 1585–95; dis + esteem

I came across this term in Guilt, Anger & God: The Patterns of Our Discontents, C. FitzSimons Allison, 2003:

Another characteristic of the civilized person is disesteem, the lack of self-esteem, or even self-hatred.  Civilization must not only restrain, it must give ideals . . . and the higher the ideals, the greater the judgment. . . Under such arduous demands, I look in the mirror and do not like what I see . . . Disesteem is the easiest of all personal factors to underestimate, and there is no one who does not suffer in some acute way from its pervasive ache.

Many point to childhood experiences, which is were we first learn our civilization culture, as the potential building blocks of low self-esteem. Were you validated as a child?  Were there expectations you felt were unreasonable or impossible to reach?  Was there a lack of discipline in your household?  Were you compared unfavorably to others?  How were your mistakes or failures handled by your parents?  Your achievements?  What feelings did any/all of these situations create in you?

Parents/elders are just people, just like us, with strengths and weaknesses – anyone raising children of their own learn this lesson.  But children can place their caregivers on tall pedestals.  To obtain ‘love’ from a parent, some of us learn some rather peculiar behavior and thinking.  Even after a parent is gone or out of our lives, we internalize the ‘lessons learned’ and they inform our behavior today.  Often this is buried very deeply in our unconscious and hard to access.

To explore your personal self-esteem issues:

  • Identify the critical voice within you?  What is its repeated message to you?
  • How do you feel in response to this voice?  What reactions does it trigger in you?
  • From whom does this voice come?  Who does it represent to you?
  • What does it mean to keep this criticism inside of you? (e.g. does this possibly represent an emotional connection with your antagonist?)
  • Do you see a ‘closed loop’ created in this type of thinking, fulfilling the very thing addressed by the critical voice?
  • Can you differentiate the critical voice from yourself?  Would it be possible to have a conversation with the voice to understand it better?
  • You developed your critical voice for a reason – to help you survive in the world.  What is it trying to protect you from?
  • The disesteem within you is not your enemy, but your protector.  Unless it is satisfied that you are safe, it will exert a forceful control over your decisions.  How can you reassure it that you are safe as you enter areas IT feels are too dangerous to explore?

I look forward to meeting with you on this topic!

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We will be meeting Monday, 1/24, from 7:30-9:30pm
Our theme for the evening will be friendship.
When we were children making friends kind of just happened. We ended up playing with the kids down the street, or the kids who attended our school. It seemed easier to find people who shared our interests, who we liked and they liked us back. These early friendships may have continued into adulthood, where they either maintained or we grew apart. But as we entered the “grown-up world” making new friends, at least for most of us got harder.  We didn’t know how to connect in that wonderfully easy way, to spend hours together just having fun and playing. As adults it’s more complicated. We’ve grown accustomed to our own private preferences, we have stronger opinions, more experience and less time. It’s harder to make shared time with work, family, and relationships. So what does it mean to make and have friends?
  • What has your experience been in keeping and making friends as an adult?
  • What does it mean to be a friend? How to do you meet new ones? Why is it harder?
  • If all these people you know aren’t friends, then what are they? What is the difference?
  • How does introversion and extroversion affect friendships? How does gender? Race?
  • How to be successful in making new friends? How to practice at being a better friend?
I look forward to meeting with you

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Things have calmed down a bit with the new addition to the family and we are going to start the men’s group meetings again.
The next meeting will be Monday 11/22, from 7:30-9:30.
The topic will be Mothers.
We already had a rich meeting focusing on fathers, so it is appropriate to include the other half.
We all have mothers, even if we never met her, we can be sure of someone carrying us in her womb for 9 months, of giving birth to us.  From this very early stage we all form a strong bond, or feel the need to form a bond with women, to connect in a deep reassuring way, to be held, loved, cared for.
We may outgrow it this desire and connection. We may set out from and maintain a distance from our mother and from women. We may look at our lives and see little connection between the relationship we have with our mother and that we seek with our partners. Others may look and see a strong echo or mirroring in who they are drawn to and who their mother is.
We may seek out partners who are nothing like mom, who give us things she never could, who treat us differently, to allow us to grow and become men. In our mothers we may have developed strong archetypes mirroring how she interacted with our fathers or other men in her life.
Questions which may stimulate thinking on the topic:
  • What is your relationship with your mother today?
  • In what ways has your mother influenced who you pick as a partner?
  • What are the things that bother you about your mother?
  • What influences in your behavior or beliefs come from your mother?
  • What memories are strongest for you about your mother?
I look forward to meeting with you

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