Some sort of revelation... (Childhood neglect/therapy)

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Twinkletoes

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Some sort of revelation... (Childhood neglect/therapy)
« on: January 11, 2017, 03:34:58 AM »
Hi all,  I hope you are all having a good day.

Last night in therapy, we discussed a horrible dream I had last week (posted on OOTS) – my therapist said that she thought the dream represented me fragmenting part of myself as a child when I realised a part of me had to “die off” in order for me to be safe. She felt that the huge loss and sadness I felt in the dream was about the emotional loss of my mother who was emotionally unavailable to me growing up.  I hadn’t really thought of the dream that way, but it did make sense.  The rest of the session we spoke about numerous memories/stories that came up – one being that my mum tried to give me away when I was born (whilst in hospital) because I wouldn’t stop crying – I thought I had told her this before but apparently I hadn’t and she looked shocked.  We spoke about things like that I have never felt truly loved by my mum (or my dad but that’s another subject) and that I don’t have an emotional connection with her.  I said how I always wished I could go to my mum and be cuddled or made to feel better like I see in films or read in books.. my therapist said that when you are neglected as a child, you are not taught to self-soothe and aren’t soothed by mum either which leads to a lot of my issues as an adult I guess.. maybe some can relate?

Anyway, sorry, getting to the point – I wrote this note this morning:

I have a weird feeling today following counselling last night. I read a few articles last night when I went to bed about childhood emotional neglect and although I knew everything I read previously, it felt like something made more sense or like a light bulb went off.
I almost feel like it's just suddenly become clear that emotional neglect during childhood IS "abuse" and it did cause a lot of my problems and sadness that she did neglect me growing up and that it's had its effects on me.
I said last night that I've never felt she absolutely loved me or cherished me ever as a child - that's a very real and raw feeling. I've never said that out loud before.
It was almost like it hadn't really sank in or I was waiting to realise what the "real" trauma/problem was - like that wasn't enough. I thought nothing was that bad really. But today I don't feel like that.
I feel a strange mixture of sadness and relief.

I just wondered whether this resonated with anyone else? I have been in therapy for 2 years and 3 months so I am surprised that I am only just really feeling this – intellectually I knew it all long ago, of course, but today it suddenly feels real?

Any comments appreciated, thanks!

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Dee

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Re: Some sort of revelation... (Childhood neglect/therapy)
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2017, 06:16:50 AM »

I smiled when you said a light bulb went off.  Yes, I've been there.  My mom emotionally abused me, my therapist keeps telling me that and said at times she still does.  No light bulb yet.  I know it was abuse, but it hasn't sunk in.  For me it hit with my ex husband.  I didn't recognize his abuse during our marriage.  My therapist took a gentler approach with that one and we have so much more to talk about it.  She knew it long before I did.  When the revelation hit, it was like a ton of bricks.  I would say I can't explain it, but I think you know.  The first thing I did was get validation from someone I trust.

It is relief to know that you felt that way for a reason and you are not crazy.  It is sad too.  It is also a loss to be mourned.  Yet, we cannot deal with it until we have awareness.  It was a big step forward for you.

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Twinkletoes

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Re: Some sort of revelation... (Childhood neglect/therapy)
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2017, 11:31:36 AM »
Thank you for your lovely and validating reply!

It's weird how it works isn't it. We've talked about my mother's ways being abusive for two years now so I "knew" already... she has NPD and we've discussed loads of her characteristics and how she hurt me directly and indirectly yet all of a sudden it's "news!" Isn't that odd? I will see therapist again tomorrow to understand this more but I imagine she will say I understood it intellectually but no emotionally or something?

When you say there's not been a lightbulb for your mother's abuse, do you mean like me? As in you know she abused you but don't "feel" it yet, or are you perhaps in the bargaining phase of being unsure if it's true?


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bring em all in

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Re: Some sort of revelation... (Childhood neglect/therapy)
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2017, 12:14:27 PM »
I can relate to what you wrote as well. I was in therapy since 1992 before "the light bulb" went off due to working with my therapist and various readings I've done recently. Scientific studies clearly show the effects of lack of parental (especially maternal) affection and connection, especially before the age of three.

It isn't a life sentence, but it will surely take time and effort to rewire the brain and rewrite the scripts by which we live.

I'm glad we are here to share our experiences and support each other!
"I'm not gonna quit
Until I'm laid in my tomb-
And even then they better shut it tight!"

T-Bone Burnette

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Twinkletoes

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Re: Some sort of revelation... (Childhood neglect/therapy)
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2017, 12:46:58 PM »
Do you think it's part of the process then? This light bulb moment? I thought I was just being a bit slow on the uptake (me being self-critical!) but it seems that people may have experienced the same thing?! That's validating.

I now understand that due to the lack of attunement and connection from my mother,  and due to her NPD and her neglect, I didn't develop emotionally how I would have if I had a different start to life, which explains my problems - insecurity, self-doubt, fear of abandonment and in the past, getting into relationships with the wrong people - always trying to get that approval...

Now just to find out what's next?! How do we heal?

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bring em all in

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Re: Some sort of revelation... (Childhood neglect/therapy)
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2017, 03:07:44 PM »
Donna Jackson Nakazawa's book Childhood Disrupted: How Biography Becomes Your Biology explains how these childhood experiences imprint themselves on us and offers suggestions for retraining/rewiring the brain. Nick Ortner's The Tapping Solution offers a possible way towards healing. And Pete Walker's book on Complex PTSD is very informative as well.
"I'm not gonna quit
Until I'm laid in my tomb-
And even then they better shut it tight!"

T-Bone Burnette

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Dee

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Re: Some sort of revelation... (Childhood neglect/therapy)
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2017, 05:34:19 PM »

I am totally numb when it comes to my mom.  So I know it, but I don't feel it yet.  I'm just full of hate.

I think we all have our ideas of what abuse is.  So when I was abused by my ex it didn't meet my definition.  I use to sit in the driveway and cry because I didn't want to go into the house.  Still, I didn't know it was abuse, I thought it was me.  I hated things that he did and I thought they were my problem.  Two big indicators I should of recognized is when I wished, hoped, he would have an affair and leave me alone.  The other was when he threatened me to stay.  Sometimes we don't see what we don't want to.  However, when we do see it for what it was, it is incredibly hard.  To say "yes it was abuse" is powerful!

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Twinkletoes

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Re: Some sort of revelation... (Childhood neglect/therapy)
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2017, 01:21:46 AM »
Thank you for them links I will have a look at them.

I feel very sad reading your post about your ex, it sounds like you went through an absolute hell. Even as a stranger to you, well done for getting out and seeking help to recover. Remember how strong you are to have even come this far.

You are right. To say it was abuse is powerful I guess, I hadn't looked at it like that. Thank you.

Also, I totally understand what you say about having personal definitions for abuse - I think that's why I've spent the last 2 years in therapy waiting to realise what my "real" problem/issue is, when this is it. It was there in front of me the whole time and I looked at it like an unfortunate side detail.

Thank you and all the luck for your own recovery.

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Butterfly66

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Re: Some sort of revelation... (Childhood neglect/therapy)
« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2017, 12:39:58 PM »
Hi Twinkletoes

I am a little late replying to your thread but I can relate to what you call some sort of revelation,  I think I have experienced what you are saying, I call them realisations its where I experience a full connection with mind, body and spirit to something that I knew happened in the past but had never connected fully to it in the past, it feels like a new experiencing of something I have known all along.    I like you have questioned now what, after these realisations, I believe that this realisation/revelation can be the beginning of healing as you are finally able to connect to the past emotionally and mentally.  I am finding that memories start to come back to be felt and healed after realisations.

Blesssings
Butterfly,

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Candid

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Re: Some sort of revelation... (Childhood neglect/therapy)
« Reply #9 on: February 05, 2017, 05:57:26 AM »
I have never felt truly loved by my mum (or my dad but that’s another subject) and that I don’t have an emotional connection with her.  I said how I always wished I could go to my mum and be cuddled or made to feel better like I see in films or read in books.. my therapist said that when you are neglected as a child, you are not taught to self-soothe and aren’t soothed by mum either which leads to a lot of my issues as an adult I guess.. maybe some can relate?

Something psychology needs to understand is that the relationship with primary caregiver, usually mother, is the template for all other relationships. I can see it very clearly in my own life, looking back. I've either fawned on kind people and rapidly discovered they have their limits, OR I've actively sought abusive relationships. That's why I'm pitifully alone now...