Grieving a Lost Childhood
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MakersDozn Offline
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#1
Caution  Grieving a Lost Childhood
How do you process grief over a lost childhood? More specifically, grief over bonding and nurturing needs that a caregiver should have but didn't provide?

Especially when this unprocessed grief leaves issues from the formative years unresolved, creating a feeling of being emotionally stuck in the pain of the first five years of life?

The healing has to take place. Without this healing, these emotional wounds interfere with healthy functioning in the present, in the outside world. We're stuck, stuck, stuck. For about three years, we've been stuck. And we don't know what to do.

MDs
10-10-2012, 04:09 PM
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Tangled Web Offline
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#2
RE: Grieving a Lost Childhood
Hi MDs.
Well I can only tell you what I have been told when asked the very same question. I don't know if it is true or if it works because I haven't been able to get there yet, but this is what I have been told....
You grieve- you cry and get angry and grieve the loss, and in doing that comes an acceptance.
Then you stop asking the question why and put the responsibilty back on the person or people who didn't do what they were supposed to. And you will realize it had nothing to do with you but it all lies on them.
Then you start to nuture yourself and give yourselves the love and protection you didnt get when you were little by doing nice things for yourselves.
And teaach them, the lils it is ok to feel the love you have to give and you will protect them.

That is what I have been told..........maybe it will work, I really don't know. I don't grieve very well, actually I don't feel things very well and that is where I usually get stuck.
Hope this was helpful, sitting with you and listening.
Tangled
"You may not remember what someone says or does, but you will never forget how they made you feel" Mac Anderson.
10-11-2012, 12:37 AM
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MakersDozn Offline
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Other/All/Unsure   RE: Grieving a Lost Childhood
(10-11-2012, 12:37 AM)Tangled Web Wrote: Then you start to nuture yourself and give yourselves the love and protection you didnt get when you were little by doing nice things for yourselves.
And teaach them, the lils it is ok to feel the love you have to give and you will protect them.

Hi TW and anyone else reading,

It's not the children who feel the loss. It's me and the other adults inside.

We're the ones with the problem. Not them. Undecided

I can't nurture myself if I was never nurtured. There's a giant abyss within me, a giant hole where all the received nurturing, the bonding, the feeling of safety and security and inner strength ought to be. How can we give ourselves something that we never received?

We're sad and angry and lost.

Thank you,

Charity
10-11-2012, 11:33 AM
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mosaic Offline
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#4
Friendship/Support  RE: Grieving a Lost Childhood
(10-11-2012, 11:33 AM)MakersDozn Wrote: I can't nurture myself if I was never nurtured. There's a giant abyss within me, a giant hole where all the received nurturing, the bonding, the feeling of safety and security and inner strength ought to be. How can we give ourselves something that we never received?

we used to go round and round and round on this with our t when we were in colorado.

the hard reality is that it is never possible to go back and get what we didn't get the first time. and to a degree, that hole will always be there...

we wanted our t to give us the nurture we missed out on - our t maintained she couldnt do it (nurture us) the way we wanted, and we had to learn to recognize nurture from her in the form that she was able to give - and then take that experience to help us self-nurture.

in some ways we feel our move to texas cut the process short - and we were not able to get a good connection with the t we had here to try to continue the process.

we want to tell you it's possible to learn to do what wasn't done for you, but fear what we've written doesn't communicate that.

are you able to imagine what nurture would have looked like? what you would like to have experienced?
10-11-2012, 06:13 PM
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Tangled Web Offline
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#5
RE: Grieving a Lost Childhood
MDs (Charity), I am sorry you are going through this. I do believe you can learn to nuture yourself even though you were nutured. I am sorry you were never nutured and it does it make it hard to know what nuturing is. I try to do what Mosiac has suggested..........imagine what it should have looked liked and what I would have wanted to happen and try to do that. It isn't easy.
I am still here listening though if you want to share, vent........or just sit here with u.
Tangled
"You may not remember what someone says or does, but you will never forget how they made you feel" Mac Anderson.
10-12-2012, 12:12 AM
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MakersDozn Offline
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Just talking  RE: Grieving a Lost Childhood
(10-11-2012, 06:13 PM)mosaic Wrote: we used to go round and round and round on this with our t when we were in colorado.

the hard reality is that it is never possible to go back and get what we didn't get the first time. and to a degree, that hole will always be there...

we want to tell you it's possible to learn to do what wasn't done for you, but fear what we've written doesn't communicate that.

are you able to imagine what nurture would have looked like? what you would like to have experienced?

Thanks, mosaic. You've communicated very well. We agree with you on a rational level, but the emotional aspect of all of this is hard for us to process.

What we needed was bonding with the mother. She didn't bond with her own mother, so she had no basis for bonding with us. Some people experience this and end up doing just fine in life, but we're not like that.

So on a certain level we continue to experience life from the emotional perspective of an emotionally neglected, very young child. We don't have the tools to give ourselves what others should have given us. It has to come from someone else before we can take the reins in the process. Maybe not in the form that it should have come originally, but in some form.

Hoping that we can continue to talk about this here.

Various MDs
10-12-2012, 02:05 PM
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MakersDozn Offline
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Just talking  RE: Grieving a Lost Childhood
(10-12-2012, 12:12 AM)Tangled Web Wrote: MDs (Charity), I am sorry you are going through this. I do believe you can learn to nuture yourself even though you were nutured. I am sorry you were never nutured and it does it make it hard to know what nuturing is. I try to do what Mosiac has suggested..........imagine what it should have looked liked and what I would have wanted to happen and try to do that. It isn't easy.

TW, thanks for replying.

If we proceed only with our imagination to guide us, we have no basis by which to judge reality. Charity thought for years that she was nurturing everybody, and look how that ended up. Our inside kids (55 percent of our system) have benefitted, but most of those of us 12 and over (the other 45 percent) have not. And the more we realize the difference between Charity's misplaced ideals and the realities of our experience, the more broken we feel. Especially Charity and the other bigs, because they feel responsible.

Going forward....as we said to mosaic, we can learn to nurture ourselves, but we need to experience nurturing from a safe outside source first. We have to be taught. We have to have something experiential to believe in. Without a strong foundation, the house is doomed to crumble.

Hoping that we can continue to talk about this here.

Various MDs
10-12-2012, 02:16 PM
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Emma19 Offline
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#8
Friendship/Support  RE: Grieving a Lost Childhood
Hi MDs,
We have read thru everyone's thoughts and ideas and gentle caring suggestions. I first want to say how sorry I am that you did not receive the love ,care and nurturing you deserved as a child. I mean that from the bottom of my heart.as a little child we need that so much.
Sometimes in a good T relationship that example in some ways can be demonstrated and even learned. But it is a big process. So my thought today is maybe just start with one thing each day you could do to help nurture all parts of you or even one part of u. And then try to let that caring in. Hard to accept nurturing when it is new to you. I was just thinking this may be an inch by inch journey. And maybe receiving each nurturing act can help heal some of that emptiness.. Thinking of you as you try to move forward here. We know it is not easy. Take care MD's. emma19
10-12-2012, 02:42 PM
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MakersDozn Offline
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#9
Just talking  RE: Grieving a Lost Childhood
emma 19,

Thanks. Our therapist has been a great help in this process. It's hard for us to recognize nurturing when it's present in forms other than parent/child. We're still learning.

MDs
10-12-2012, 06:27 PM
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Emma19 Offline
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#10
RE: Grieving a Lost Childhood
We hear you..... We just want u to know we are here as you learn and we are ready to listen. Emma19
10-12-2012, 07:04 PM
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orek Offline
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#11
Friendship/Support  RE: Grieving a Lost Childhood
(10-12-2012, 06:27 PM)MakersDozn Wrote: emma 19,

Thanks. Our therapist has been a great help in this process. It's hard for us to recognize nurturing when it's present in forms other than parent/child. We're still learning.

MDs

Yeah, we understand this hole, too. We spent much of our lives confused by the incredible "mother craving" inside that always has driven us to look for surrogates. We had thought she was the good parent (though we've since been getting a more full view of our family), so why did we always feel like a motherless child? We have found that, over the years with our current T, we have been slowly internalizing the healthy nurturing we receive in that safe space--with all the respectful boundaries and positive interactive modeling of intimacy and kindness and validation that is so new, strange, and often confusing for us.

We're still a long way from being able to mother ourselves, but we have started to recognize the nurturing filtering into those deepest places and changing us in ways we couldn't have even imagined, not having experienced it before, and we feel we have a place to start in the hard task of initiating and directing that kind of nurturing inward at ourselves.

I only mention all this because I've long heard of the need to mother oneself to fill the holes left by inadequate parenting, and I do believe it's true. But I've never felt I had the tools or ability, try as I might. As you say, I felt the "need to experience nurturing from a safe outside source first." And more than that, nurturing that touches the deepest, darkest places, the most vulnerable insiders--or at least enough of them to get the idea of how it feels, how it's done. I've had lots of caring from various sources throughout my life, but none that saw or touched us beneath the walls to where most of the pain and suffering lived, to where the motherless children languished in their abandonment.

Sorry to go on so long, but this is such a good topic, one that touches on lots of stuff for us. I'm sorry it's a struggle for you, and others here.
10-13-2012, 12:47 AM
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MakersDozn Offline
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Doing okay  RE: Grieving a Lost Childhood
Hi orek,

We're glad that you replied as thoroughly as you did. And we feel validated by the fact that you understand what we've experienced.

We agree with what you said about the role of a good T in modeling healthy nurturing in a safe environment. Our T has said the same thing to us. It's hard for us to accept on an emotional level that this can happen in a situation other than the mother-child relationship, but we're trying to be open to it.

Thanks,

MDs
10-13-2012, 11:18 AM
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orek Offline
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Just talking  RE: Grieving a Lost Childhood
"It's hard for us to accept on an emotional level that this can happen in a situation other than the mother-child relationship, but we're trying to be open to it."

I get that. I guess what I was trying to say without saying it--because it can be misconstrued, and because some Ts do misappropriate the dynamic and inappropriately cross boundaries (as I've experienced in prior therapy incarnations)--is that the T relationship can create a sort of "reparenting" environment. Not if the T actually tries to step in and be a parent--out of whatever unmet need in the T herself. Not if the we expect that the T will fill that void and become that parent, though we can't help but yearn for that. But the therapy space is unique in that it is protected by clearly delineated boundaries and charged with the specific task of healing the patient, both of which work to create a safe, caring, very intimate environment that re-creates the parent/child dynamic: the patient's needs take precedence, the T provides nurturing and modeling, and some of the patient's vital primal urges get a second chance as she is seen, accepted, validated, and emotionally held in her most vulnerable states by a powerful authority figure.

It's an amazing grace and a testament to the mind's ability to adapt and heal, really. But there has to be a good, healthy connection with a skilled T. That's not easy to afford or find, sadly. And even then, there isn't always the luxury of the long years often required to develop the trust and safety needed for that kind of deep healing. But when you have it, it can be surprisingly effective and satisfying. And every T/client relationship will vary in how the healing goes, even while equally effective. I'm just trying to put into words how we've experienced this issue with our current T of seven years. It's not the same as having the mother we need and have always craved to the core, but we're pleasantly surprised at how much the relationship with her is retraining us and touching on those primal cravings, all without the intrusion of bad boundaries or enmeshment, which is what we're used to in "mothers."

I doubt any of this helps. I know you've seen your T for many years, too. Obviously it isn't hitting your mother needs in the same way, and for that I'm truly sorry. I just hope my rambling thoughts on our own experience maybe touches on something for you.
10-14-2012, 11:33 PM
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MakersDozn Offline
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Caution  RE: Grieving a Lost Childhood
Hi orek,

Our relationship with our T is a very good one with healthy boundaries. It's the best place for us to start working on learning how to meet these needs in a healthy way.

I'm only beginning to realize the depth of how these issues have affected me. Affected us. I became very angry over the weekend when I thought of how our mother gave birth to us and to each of our two brothers under complete anesthesia, when this was not medically necessary in any of the three births.

This was what was done in the 1960s. And I can't say that we wouldn't have chosen the same option had we been in her position. But I still feel so angry that she chose to cut herself off with that first experience of bonding with each of her children.

Thanks and take care,

Charity
10-15-2012, 07:20 PM
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Friendship/Support  RE: Grieving a Lost Childhood
(10-11-2012, 11:33 AM)MakersDozn Wrote:
(10-11-2012, 12:37 AM)Tangled Web Wrote: Then you start to nuture yourself and give yourselves the love and protection you didnt get when you were little by doing nice things for yourselves.
And teaach them, the lils it is ok to feel the love you have to give and you will protect them.

Hi TW and anyone else reading,

It's not the children who feel the loss. It's me and the other adults inside.

We're the ones with the problem. Not them. Undecided

I can't nurture myself if I was never nurtured. There's a giant abyss within me, a giant hole where all the received nurturing, the bonding, the feeling of safety and security and inner strength ought to be. How can we give ourselves something that we never received?

We're sad and angry and lost.

Thank you,

Charity

I don't claim to share the totality of experiences covered in this fine thread. I have some input and encouragement to give.
The expression of nurturing is dependent on both the nature of the person and the care, or lack thereof, received as a child. I wasn't loved or nurtured by anyone, except for my grandfather who passed when I was 4. I don't know what would have happened to me without his gentleness, but even he folded in f**r of my mother, who was cr*zy.

I had to learn how to nurture myself. I think I did a decent job. However, her vicious hypercritical influence has been hard to displace, as this was what replaced nurturing in her nature. I not only have acted that way against myself, but with people I care about. I finally reached a point where I had to stop it, because I loved someone that much (who won't talk to me for any one of number of reasons I've given up counting).

I replaced this acidic trait with "Be Kind." I got that from a movie, "Holy Smoke," which launched my late-life transformation.

Before then, I saw examples of good parenting in a friend and tried to internalize what was going on. It didn't work. As I discovered years later, what I got out of it was that I felt almost jealous that I hadn't been treated well as a child. That feeling completely surfaced much later in life.

I can love, but nurturing and comforting is kind of foreign to me, and takes immense effort because I often don't get much out of it. It's hard for me to connect that way. Everything we do is to some degree driven by a feedback mechanism.

I have something else to say, but want to post this now because I can lose posts easily. If my email didn't have a save feature, I'd be out of luck. It's like I'm typing, the letters can move to different lines or I lose the page altogether.
be right back,
tweeter
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Has a false bottom, a false bottom."
10-19-2012, 10:34 AM
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