Thursday, September 17, 2009

My Own Worst Enemy

"The psychological rule says that when an inner situation is not made conscious, it happens outside as fate. That is to say, when the individual remains undivided and does not become conscious of his inner opposite, the world must perforce act out the conflict and be torn into opposing halves."

"On the Psychology of the Unconscious" (1912). In CW 7: Two Essays on Analytical Psychology. P. 35

I couldn't get pregnant, but something inside of me still managed to take root and grow. Perhaps it had always been there. Perhaps it had slumbered unknown, like a dormant virus lying in wait for the right (or wrong) type of stimulus. Whatever it was, it revolted me. It was an oily, amorphous mass, a sickening blackness with poisoned tentacles that invaded every fiber of me. I didn't like it, this dark creature inside, but it was mine.

When my 17-year old sister became pregnant at the end of my second year trying, it was a violent ripping of myself into contradictions. I had to be there for her, but doing so threatened to kill me.

I became the hero.
I became the anti-hero.

I showed up. I attended OB appointments. I cleaned vomit off of the floors. I bought maternity clothes. I planned and hosted the baby shower. I took the tour of the labor and delivery floor. I bought the stroller, bottles, and layette. I waited. I planned. I organized. I supported.

It was my oxygen.
It was my kryptonite.

It was an affront to the monster within, and the dull ache of my barrenness sharpened into a thousand steely knives. I didn't want to nurture it but it grew just the same, feeding on the bitter bile of discontent that I painfully choked back day after day.

At night, I cried.
It should have been me. He should have been mine.

Now, nine years later, it is me. He is mine.

He shouldn't be.

The darkness inside burns hot with a barely-checked rage towards my sister.

I don't hate that he is my child.
I hate that she isn't his mother.
It is a frightening thought that man also has a shadow side to him, consisting not just of little weaknesses- and foibles, but of a positively demonic dynamism. The individual seldom knows anything of this; to him, as an individual, it is incredible that he should ever in any circumstances go beyond himself. But let these harmless creatures form a mass, and there emerges a raging monster; and each individual is only one tiny cell in the monster's body, so that for better or worse he must accompany it on its bloody rampages and even assist it to the utmost. Having a dark suspicion of these grim possibilities, man turns a blind eye to the shadow-side of human nature. Blindly he strives against the salutary dogma of original sin, which is yet so prodigiously true. Yes, he even hesitates to admit the conflict of which he is so painfully aware.
Beneath the benevolent superhero exterior, I am angry.

How I wish I didn't feel so guilty and so sad because of it.


  1. Here reading. Love this post, but not what it's about. Sad.....very sad for everyone. :(

  2. I seriously was wondering and had a ton of questions when I came but I didn't want to bring up bad issues. Stunned by it all.

  3. I can't imagine what you have been through, but the way you describe the light/dark of it makes it seem very stressful to hold both poles.

    Is Tron suffering in any way? My thoughts are with you both.

  4. That's got to be the toughest place to be! And extremely unfair!

    This part "I don't hate that he is my child.
    I hate that she isn't his mother." makes me want to cry. It sums it all up.

    Sending you love and strength. Be kind to yourself. It is OK to feel these feelings.

  5. I don't know how you wouldn't be angry. I love my nieces and nephews almost as much as my own daughter, and to have someone hurt them hurts me. When it's someone you expect to have similar values, it's even worse. When it's someone you gave support to in order to make her able to support her son...well, I don't know what you can do with that. I guess you write about it and hope others can see what you see.

  6. Maybe 3 years into TTC, DH's at-the-time 15-year-old sister was discovered to have been skipping school every day to have unprotected sex in the basement with her BF. (They didn't want to use condoms because of fear of the wrappers getting discovered in the trash. Kids!)

    Everyone else freaked out, but I secretly thought that if she did get pregnant, I would just take the baby and everyone's problems would be solved, especially mine. Which of course is total bullshit.

  7. Oh hon...I don't know how you could avoid being angry. You know I am in awe of you, don't you?

  8. I'm crying again - you always make me cry. in part - it's the poetry and eloquence of how you write. But I also imagine it's *beyond* painful to put in the position that you're in.

  9. I want to reiterate Beautiful Mess's words: feelings are not wrong. You are not wrong to be angry, sad, whatever. I think it is amazing that you have created this blog. Amazing and smart and shows that you know how to take care of yourself.

    Such a difficult situation. If you remember, my parents have custody of my oldest niece. Not the same, but lost of complicated complications there. I get complicated.

    Hoping that this space can do for you what you need it to. I ain't scared.