Adversity & support · Child abuse · complex ptsd · Depression · grief · mental health · Mental illness · Narcissistic abuse · Narcissistic abuse syndrome · Resilience · self care · Self-reflection & self-awareness · Uncategorized

The loss of what should have been

When you don’t get certain basic needs met in your childhood, there will come a time in your future where you will eventually become awakened to these unmet needs. Although this isn’t the same for everyone, there is usually one feeling which is most prevalent for most: ”The feeling of being ripped off”

This feeling of being ripped off, because you didn’t have a healthy family or because you no longer have a family to turn to, starts a very real and painful journey of mourning.

A lot of people who grew up with abusive parents, or in one parent families, or in families where their parents were chronically ill, learned to ‘live on autopilot’. They either had to push down their feelings to keep the peace, be a confidant or carer to the sick parent or learned that they had to solely rely on themselves. Even when they were scared and had no one to turn to as children, they had to keep going. As early adulthood approached, they may have found many ways to cope with this underlying feeling of sadness or anger, by drinking too much, working too much and generally trying to find ways to numb out any uncomfortable feelings that would creep up.

When an adult child is first awakened to the reality of what really was and what now is, they somehow know that things will never feel the same again. It might be that a certain event in their adult life uncovered feelings that had been buried deep inside them and suddenly the strength that they thought would always keep the safe, slowly starts to crumble. New anxieties, fears & losses start to unfold and the world suddenly starts to feel like a scary & unsafe place.

At this early stage of realisation, when adult children come to terms with the fact that they needed so much more than what they were given emotionally, the grief can feel overwhelming. Grief for adult children is a complex emotion because so much of the loss has been built up over time and they have long learned to adapt to the constant loss of an ideal childhood. Looking into the future feels bleak and they feel as if things are only going to get worse rather than better.

Through my own journey of grief, I learned that it isn’t a straightforward process and that it doesn’t have a certain time limit. When the grief was so overwhelming at times that I couldn’t imagine a better future, I reminded myself that it was necessary for me to truly feel the sadness. When your heart feels broken you have to let it heal and healing requires compassion & patience with yourself.

Pete Walker is a truly Inspirational Psychologist and survivor of childhood abuse. His words below really resonate:

 “…the broken heart that has been healed through grieving is stronger and more loving than the one that has never been injured.  Every heartbreak of my life, including the brokenheartedness of my childhood, has left me a stronger, wiser and more loving person than the one I was before I grieved”

The last thing that is worth mentioning, is that a lot of people don’t start their journey of recovery & grief from childhood trauma, unless it is emotionally safe for them to do so. It might be that they are in a supportive relationship and a stable environment and this enables them to ‘let go’ and just be vulnerable. It might be that they have found a therapist which they feel comfortable enough to be themselves.

Recovery from the losses of one’s childhood is necessary in order to restore balance & new found hope in the future.

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What is your experience?

Love Athina ♥

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17 thoughts on “The loss of what should have been

  1. I know how this feels as I am dealing with the grief now from my childhood. I’m not sure how long this will last but right now it seems like it will last forever. I am learning how to grieve the losses with my therapist now and by learning I really mean learning because I really have never know how to grieve.

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