inauthentic glue holding relationship together by su yun


a certain color of anxiety

i feel as though i’ve done something wrong. am on the wrong side of something.

it’s like feeling for the pain in a ghost limb. the pain is palpable but the source, the event at fault is missing.

i allow myself to sink into the feeling instead of trying to cope or distract myself from it.

puberty at 38. with the birth of my son and marriage. i say puberty to mean we are differentiating, mother-child to human-human.

i keep trying to play it off, trying to positively focus on something else, underplay it, cope. the mature, better-knowing side of me, the ‘spiritual’ grown up side of me says well, this is part of growing up and this phase too shall pass, give mother space, don’t ‘act’ on this conflict because no discussion will really help the situation when they only escalate into arguments. just gotta sit through this one. But the feeling of loss, hurt, disappointment visit me deeply in waves.

disappointed because I thought she, my mother, should be there for me emotionally as I step into motherhood. could she herself be so wounded that she is not able to be there? I’ve married and started my family here in Berlin, Germany so far away from her, she had waited for me return ‘home’ for so long. I can only imagine it as a scenario in a very sad Korean family drama film she must be placing herself in-children leaving and not returning – and I know sadness of the korean strain goes deep and is nearly unquenchable.

there is a silence into which we both project our own images of ideal mother, ideal daughter.

i shuffle through my history, and i search for a time when i allowed myself to be seen really, where she might have seen me as a person with my own strengths/weaknesses and view of this world. she knows me because she is my mother- a given. but i know there were some things i couldn’t openly be with her because opinions on certain matters would be shot down and by default be unacceptable and unimaginable for her own daughter according to her world-view.

there’s the primal connection between mother and child, but the connection that exists through the actual practice of relationship- meaning, how much am i willing to be authentic in communication and how much space can I give myself and the other to be our authentic selves – that was hardly tried.

should should should

what a relationship should be.

this is the circle i keep roaming in, because i rile myself up from thinking about how i wish our relationship to be like and count the shortcomings and past injuries. how i think a mother-child relationship should be like. and i elevate myself in moral superiority for knowing my wise little truth and shunning my mom out to be less knowing, ignorant, emotionally unintelligent.. and i perpetuate our division, our miscommunication.

and still being right does not bring peace within me.

i’m led to look into myself, what am i resisting about her which is also an aspect of me?

there’s a quote i want to share from physicist/psychologist Dr. Arnold Mindell who writes about the force of silence behind relationships.

‘In general, relationships get stuck because you see your enemies not as marginalized parts of yourself, of your intentional field, but as real people only. Perhaps your problem in relationships is seeing only one world, the Consensus Reality world, and marginalizing the others. In this CR-only world, you see yourself as a person separate from all other persons. Marginalization and xenophobia make you and the other into separate human beings. In parallel worlds, in contrast, you and your friends are not discrete people but an unknown shared field of intensity, a force creating you and others.

… by noticing the way in which relationship problems touch or in-form your body, you become aware of sounds and fields, aspects of yourself and the world around you which you have ignored or denied.’

This knowledge empowers and activates me to break out of my circle-thinking. Overly identified with our 3d human roles.. I have for so long made conflict mean eternal severance and unforgiving-ness. conflict equalling banishment. abandonment. it is time to heal this definition, to find a new equation, new experiences and outcomes related to conflict. in the cleft, I’m questioning what inauthentic or outdated glue was holding our relationship together and how we can build a new one in our shifting roles and perspectives.

this thought brings me the image of a certain art of japanese pottery called kintsukuroi where a broken ceramic bowl would be put back together with an adhesive made of gold tint.