My parents did not love me. They did not hold me or care for me in even the most basic ways as a baby/toddler/child/adult.
As an adult, I know how this has affected me. I struggle to connect lovingly with other people in relationships. I don’t like to be touched. I struggle to feel anything other than numb.
There are people in my life who say they love me and care for me deeply; yet, I feel empty and nothingness and awkward to their loving gestures.
Interestingly, for me, I can feel love when it comes to my children. I genuinely love them, and I feel their love for me. I am not sure why it is so different when it comes to them.
When people other than my children say they love me, I cringe as if a dagger just went through me. I know I am supposed to give a loving reply back, but I can’t, and retreat into a state of internal awkwardness.
In case you are wondering, I am married. I don’t know why my spouse puts up with my difficulties around love, touch, sex, and oftentimes being aloof.
Sometimes, the fact that I have Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) comes in handy as there are other self states within me who do not struggle with the attachment damage from my childhood.
I don’t always control which part of me is out, and thus I fluctuate in the level of connectedness I have with others. This can be confusing to people because they don’t know about the DID (or don’t understand in my spouse’s case).
There are times when I am home with the family and I find myself very disconnected from them. My spouse will ask me what is wrong, and there isn’t anything wrong, but a self state that has more severe problems with attachment is usually present.
Other self states may go overboard with love and intimacy with other people. These self states tend to like to drink and be social, which of course is not the best combination.
My adult self-states are mostly similar enough that even the people who know I have DID have trouble distinguishing between them. But there are subtle differences if one is paying attention. However, very few people know about the DID.
My therapist seems to think my attachment problems can be healed through therapy and working through the pain of my childhood. I disagree. Though I have much more insight into my attachment problems, it doesn’t seem to do anything to help change that this is the way I am.
She would say I am feeling hopeless again, as if depression or something is causing me to come to this conclusion. I don’t feel particularly depressed. My mind is actually fairly clear, and I see my thoughts and feelings about my attachment problems as a form of acceptance of my reality.
I don’t mean to be a Debby Downer, but I do think it is better to accept reality and try to live life as it is rather than chasing a mental health that will never come for those of us who have been severely neglected as children.
That is not to say we can’t have a different version of mental health based on acceptance, instead of forever chasing a higher level of mental health and living our lives in the therapy room instead of the real world.
Too many of my friends and myself have spent almost our entire lives in the therapy rooms chasing an elusive mental health that will never come.
Please don’t get me wrong. I do believe in therapy, and it is necessary for many of us to survive in the world. But, I believe many of us with severe trauma backgrounds are using up our entire lives waiting for the wellness to begin. It’s just something to consider.
Yes, get therapy help, but don’t get caught in the idea that you will get “cured” and then miss out on living your life because you spent it searching for answers that don’t seem to transform into wellness.
*Disclaimer, my therapist and others do not agree with my point of view.
Wrestling with the truth that my parents repeatedly reinforced into me that I am not lovable has turned off a switch in me that should be on to experience the human condition of love and care.
This leaves me like one of those futuristic robots who can show the slightest bit of emotion, but fall short of the real human experience.