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Emotional Dodginess...

Was lying in bed last night trying to figure out what the hell is wrong with me! I'm so hypersensitive this week. Things that don't usually bother me, that I usually laugh off are really getting under my skin and I'm wanting to crawl into a deep dark hole and never come out.

I know this has to do with Dave, I just don't know why now.

Chrissy's thread about body love really touched something deep down though. When she and others were saying how their partners love their bodies and love them, etc. I just don't feel that Dave loves me.

But then that got me thinking, because I'd had a conversation with my therapist about whether or not the boys can feel that I love them. I know I love them, and I tell them and try to show them I love them, but my parents would claim the same thing, and yet I didn't feel loved by them as a child.

Some people believe children are born with innate self-love that can, and often is erroded. I beieve children are born neutral, with neither self-love or self-loathing. I imagine it's like they're standing in a pitch black room where there is no light whatsoever, so your eyes can never adjust to see what's in the room. Through the senses neurons and synapses are created like stands of fairy lights. Lets say the love emotions are coloured in soft pastels hues, and the fear (anger, hatred) emotions are colour irredescent green. As the baby is cared for, or not, these long strands of fairy lights are laid out over what's in the blacked out room, and the more fairy lights that are laid out the better the outline of THE SELF.

Because the negative emotions are so bright and powerful, if they come to fill the room, the intensity of them becomes overwhelming, so the child is forced to lower the amount of electricty feeding the lights to dim them because the pain is too much. Unfortunately, because the electiricty feeds all the lights, it also dims the intensity of the softer pastel lights, so they are hardly visible.

So, the end result is a person who cannot or can just barely see that they are loveable. Then when someone else shows them love, they just can't see it because they've had to turn down their emotional receptors so they can cope with the expected negative emotions towards them...

I think this is what happened with me. My parents loved me, they tell me this, but though they probably showed me I was lovable in some ways, in other ways - more ways - they showed me I was unlovable in other ways. The primary way my parents showed me I was unlovable was through abandonment. When I was ten days old, I was left with my grandparents for ten days. When I was 10 months old I was left with my other set of grandparents for 10 months. I did see my parents weekly in that period, but didn't experience constant loving from them. When I was five I was left with the first set of grandparents again for 3 months. When I was 10, I was sent to boarding school for a year, and when I was 12 I was sent for another 9 months. As well as this, my father forced my mother to let me Cry It Out as an infant, which would also have felt like abandonment to me.

So, basically, it order to cope and survive this (and other things I don't like to talk about much), I turn down my emotional receptors. So, then Dave came along and showed me enough reflected love to bring my attention to those pale fairy lights that outlined the lovable me, but now his love seems to have dimmed, and because my receptors are turned down I can't sense any love from him, even if he is sending it out to me.

So, I asked my therapist how I could know if my kids know I love them, because I didn't know my parents loved me until well into adulthood, I just couldn't feel it. She told me to ask them. Ask them where they feel that I love them (where in their bodies they can feel I love them) and what that feels like. If they don't know what I'm talking about, then at least it will get them thinking about it, and becoming aware of their feelings and how they feel them, so that when I show them my love for them, they are aware of it beyond me saying it...

So funny. I started writing this blog days ago, and on the day I started writing it, I went with Jen to see "Georgia Rule", and that movie actually asks this question - how does the child know the parent loves them beyond the parent just saying it. Parents love their children, but children don't always feel that love. It's sad but true.

Comments

Stitch Sista said…
Big hugs Sif...

Again I can relate. I know my mum loves me, but I remember her telling me she didn't 'like' me and I still feel that to this very day. Doesn't help that my dad has also chosen not to have a relationship with me :(. I can see now how much influence parents have...I guess it's still a struggle to feel loveable and likeable and I don't know what I do about it...not much really...

I feel in danger of doing the same to my kids, even though I try so very hard not to make them feel less than worthy and loveable.

I still wonder how some people manage to give love when they don't feel they've received it. Like are we equipped adequately?

I think learning to like/love myself is my life's work.
Sif said…
Rach, I have told my kids I love them but don´t like them at times, and my mum definitely did that to me, too... Both of which is really sad!

I hope that by also telling my kids I like them, when I am really liking them, I can counteract some of the negative messages I´ve given them about themselves. I don´t remember my mum saying she liked me at all until I was an an (that's doesn´t mean she didn´t say it, I just don´t remember it)

I don't know how people can give love when they don't feel they've receirved it. I received love from Dave that opened me up to receiving love from my mum (primarily), ans so I do feel I've had love to give to my boys, only the bare minimum, I think, in the beginning - it was a conscious struggle for me to show love to Erik when he started challenging me at about 15 months (before that he wasn't much of a challenge and it was easy to love him!)... With luey I felt I had exponentially more love for both boys, and with Bryn the change has really been quite dramatic; the love I now feel for each boy is tremendous.

So, for me Dave opened me up enough to accept, feel and give love, and the love has doubled and tripled with time (that's the thing about love, it seems to thrive off itself, the more love you feel, the more love you feel!).

Which is probably why it hurts so much to feel Dave's love being so distant or faded or whatever it is...
clelkaje said…
Sif, I was really touched by your beautiful description of how we build our babies' self-esteem - so much so that I created an account with google to post this!

I hope you (and you Rach) can find a way to brighten your own faded lights for yourselves, and pass this on to your loved ones :)

One wa our kids know we love them is when we choose to spend time hanging out with them, and enjoying their company - and not rejecting them when they annoy us (ie. push our buttons). Though that maybe easier said than done...

Clel

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