Saturday, May 31, 2008


Apart from to say I had a good day at the show yesterday(Micah 5th and Whitney 2nd) and feel like a bus hit me today, I didn't know what else to write. Below though is a copy of an email I sent in response to someone reaching out . I think this will suffice for my post today.

I understand how you feel, really I do. I have been there. I know that ache, that loneliness, that despair. The homesickness you feel is the need to be loved. We all need to be loved and especially by our parents. When we are not loved by them, for whatever reason, it leaves us feeling empty and bereft. More than than it leaves us feeling shame and guilt because we believe that it is we who are to blame, that is we who are unlovable. It isn't true of course but it takes a lot of work and time to understand this.

The reason you are treated the way you are is not because there is something wrong with you but because there is something wrong with your parents.

You are absolutely right, your parents are unlikely to change and it isn't up to you to change them. The person you need to pay attention to is you. It is you who needs loving and nurture and you need to find ways of doing this. We can love and nurture ourselves but we also need others. Clearly you have others in your life, like your Aunt, who is nurturing.

When we are treated so by our family, it makes it very difficult to feel nurtured or loved by anyone because we feel so unworthy. We don't trust because our primary relationship, our parents, has been destroyed by them. They are supposed to love and care for us, not make us feel so terrible we would rather not be here.

I know the pain you are suffering. I know it intimately and I suffered it for many years. However, I did get through it because I wanted to. It wasn't easy, not at all. It took much work and a willingness to really look at myself, where I came from and to go through the pain and come out the other side.

Today I am happy to be who I am. I accept my family as they are and were and I have nothing to do with them. Nothing at all. They have not changed. I don't hate them. I don't love them. I do wish them well, I don't feel badly toward them at all. But I leave them be.( I have two siblings and a father alive)

I know today that I was never the problem. That all the years of self harm and self hatred were based on the lie that I was a bad person. I was not, am not, and will not be.

YOU are not a bad person either. You are not weak, You are not stupid. You are not at fault.

You have been taught to think in a way that suits those that taught you but is very detrimental to you and your life. You can change that thinking but it cannot be changed overnight. It takes time and persistence and a little trust in somebody. The difficulty with being in your situation, just as it was with me, is that is not easy to sort out the good guys from the bad guys because the bad guys kept telling us they were the good guys! So we form relationships with people who are toxic to us. They are often just like those parents we had or have. They make us feel bad and we blame ourselves all over again.

You are worthy and lovable just because you are you. You don't have to earn it and you do not have to try to earn to love of people who clearly cannot give it.

There is much pressure in society for us to honour our parents, no matter what. It's bullshit. Biological connection with people is meaningless really. It's the love that counts. Clearly this relationship is toxic to you, makes you feel terrible. Leaves you feeling bereft and so lonely it is it almost unbearable. They have made you feel worthless and bad in your core. That is appalling and REAL ABUSE. It is possible too that in the absence of physical and or sexual abuse that this abuse of you was not conscious. That doesn't alter the effect on you.

You need to put YOU first now. No matter what. It is the only way you will learn to feel good about yourself, the only way you will come to realise that the problem is truly not you. Your parents are not capable of being different. The good news is they do NOT have to be different in order for you to feel different. You can live a wonderful life and feel good about you, be loved, love others and love yourself without them changing. You can be whole with out them. You ere a separate person to them. You can and will survive without ever having what you want from them.

It is normal to want their love and for them to value you and validate you. Of course it is. And it hurts worse than anything I know to not have it. However, there are times we just have to let go of that hope. The hope that one day they will take you in their embrace and say to you 'I am sorry, I love with all my heart and you are a wonderful person'. That is not going to happen. They cannot do that. And the reason they cannot do that lies with them. It is not because YOU have a problem.

The reason we have to let go of that hope is because whilst hope is a good thing, it can also be a bad thing. A hope such as this keeps us stuck where we are, in all that pain and misery. The day I let go of that hope was the day I truly embarked on my journey to freedom. Freedom from despair. Freedom from fear. Freedom from self hatred. Freedom from shame. Freedom from guilt. In short, it was the day I gave myself permission to find out who I was and just be that.

I no longer feel I have to please anyone. I no longer feel I have to be different in order to gain love and respect. I have only those who show me love and respect in my life. The rest I leave be.

I am old enough to be your father now but where you are is as keen in my memory as if it were yesterday. The memory of the misery and pain is as sharp as it ever was. It will always be so because it is where I came from and what makes me who I am today. The difference is that I am not living that misery and pain today, I am not mired in it. I am free of it. But it is still there, in my memory.

I have not forgotten as so many people do. They forget. They sweep it under the carpet. But it is still there. People say that children are resilient, they forget. Rubbish! We do not forget! Instead we repress the memories and the pain and we harm ourselves or others instead! These people who say 'I was spanked/hit as a child and it did me no harm', don't realise that one of the harms it did them was to make them think it is okay to hit children and thereby objectify them! We are turned into objects by those who abuse us. Our thoughts and feelings count for nothing. If we were not objectified but empathised with instead, they could not treat us like we were nothing.

So you will not forget either but you can, if you want, get through this. You can grow and blossom into you despite them. You do not need them in order to live and be you.

Take good care of you and if you want to write again, please feel free to.

As for reading, I would recommend Dorothy Rowe and Alice Miller. Miller wrote The Drama of Being a Child and Rowe has written on depression and other stuff.

As for medication, that is not my business at all. You must do what you feel is right for you and this is matter for you and your healthcare provider.


Anonymous said...

Bravo! Congratulations on the show! and feel better.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful e-mail. I wish I had read that years ago.

Anonymous said...

Great post, Colin. I wish someone had said that to me when I was a child and getting hurt.

Anonymous said...

Wow! All so true!
Much love,

Anonymous said...

Very wise. Is this person still a child living at home? If so, I would urge him or her to confide in his her aunt, or somebody else, to see if he or she could be removed from the home and looked after by somebody who deseves the honour!