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Shame from childhood neglect

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Pia, Nov 18, 2016.

  1. Pia

    Pia Peer Supporter

    I've gone through a traumatic event from my childhood in connection with SEP day 5. The situation was that I had been living with my father for 5 years after my parents' divorce. My father became severely alcoholic within short time after the divorce which took place when I was 9 years old. And he was very unstable and what you may call border line psychotic - untreated... No one helped me much during these years of turmoil and instability - and after 5 years when I was 14 I had to confront him to say that I wouldn't live with him anymore, I would move to my mother's and I then contacted the social services (yes, I did that myself), who forced my removal from my father to ensure that he wouldn't pick me up again (as he usually did after kicking me out when he was drunk)
    During journaling I felt a shiver down my spine and back and later the word "shame" came to me. I'm deeply ashamed of what happened during these 5 years - that no one cared for me, helped me, you could say loved me enough to secure me. This shame feels like intense loneliness. As lonely as one can get.
    Would any one of you know this feeling in connection with childhood neglect? I'm not sure how to go with this feeling - of course I feel it, let it flow and so on, but it feels basically different from other feelings. Like a big black hole inside me - I know this hole from previous therapy, but I have never known just exactly what it was. Now I'm aware that it's shame of not being worthy of care - it's the absence of care.
    I would love to hear from others knowing about this!
    David88 likes this.
  2. David88

    David88 Well known member

    Thank you for posting this. You've clarified something I've been musing about.

    I grew up in a family of emotional neglect. There was no feeling I could have that would get any regard from my parents. It was lonely. I think the shame comes because the alternative was to be angry, and that was impossible. There was no space for me to rebel in a strict and tightly-wound family. Maybe the only way to push the anger away is to think, "I don't deserve anything better." It's a mind trick you play on yourself to get through an impossible situation.

    Of course, we are worthy of care, all of us. I think the answer begins with self-compassion. We can learn to be a good parent to ourselves, the kind of parent we craved but didn't have. I've been working on that for a long time. I've made a lot of progress, but it's hard, and I'm not done yet.
  3. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Pia,

    This experience makes sense to me. You describe this with absolute clarity. "the absence of care." This can also mean the "absence of love" and this can also be experienced as "absence," hence the sense of loneliness. When no one comes to our care, there is an empty space. This is because part of us is not there. Part of our wholeness is missing. We all need support to live, and when that does not come, there is a lasting hole, or many lasting holes. Shame is also related, because of the lack of contact. Part of you thinks you were not worthy of contact, so there is shame. Also shame in wanting support, because you are exposing your need, in the face of not being met.

    The fact you have not met this depth of experience with this before makes sense. It is newer because it is deeper, and not available without some previous practice, like with a therapist.

    The best you can do is have empathy for this child in you, and your own sense of aloneness in this hole. This is difficult work, and it is helpful to have someone witness and support you. Ultimately it may be your own love, indestructible, which has the courage to meet you in this terrifying place of aloneness. We all have the gentle guidance and support of our deepest self, and it is wonderful when this support arises! Good luck, and I hope you are gentle with the process. Your wonderful intention and practice is clear, reading your post.

    Andy B
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2016
  4. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Pia,

    Here is a quote from a book by AH Almaas, which describes deep experiences of our "essence" not being supported, leads to "holes" which are filled in with material to defend against the (difficult) experience of the child. The term hole suggests an emptiness/aloneness.

    These descriptions may not perfectly match your experience, but I think they show that your experience is common, and at the same time usually not felt, since it takes a fair amount of work to experience these holes for what they are.

    Ultimately, in this theory/practice of the "holes," the missing essential aspect, such as love, strength, will, value, etc, which we were cut off from as children, emerges. In time, these qualities of our deepest self become more available to us.


    "Holes" Get Produced When You Are a Child
    One more thing about the theory of holes. As I said, the holes get produced when you’re a child. When you’re a baby, you have no holes; you are complete when you are born. As you grow up, because of your interactions with your environment and certain difficulties you encounter, you get cut off from certain parts of yourself. Every time you get cut off from a part of you, a hole manifests. The holes then become full with the memory of the loss and the issues around the loss. After a while, you fill in the holes. What you fill the holes with are false feelings, ideas, beliefs about yourself, and strategies for dealing with your environment. These fillers are collectively called the personality, or what we call the false pearl. So the false pearl is a result of losses of parts of the self. After a time, we think this is who we are. We think we are the fillers. The personality is trying to take the place of the real thing. That’s why we do a lot of work here on understanding our personalities. We study the development of our personality until we are finally able to experience the memory of the situation in which that particular hole formed.
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2016
    npoise likes this.
  5. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    What wonderful work, isn't it David? Even though this self-compassion work is not "perfect" for any of us!
  6. Pia

    Pia Peer Supporter

    Hi David

    Your thoughts on anger being a substitute for anger made me think! I don't get angry with people hurting me or letting me down - I just get sad! And then I may get angry with myself for not being good enough... Spot on! I have had anger towards my mother for not stepping in and I worked with my feelings toward her last winter during a tough depression.

    Depression is said to be repressed anger, which just makes so much sense in my case.

    Self-compassion, being a good parent for ourselves, is the way forward - I fully agree! When I made the journaling the other day, I felt compassion for myself for the first time! Ever, I think. I thougt "poor little girl, what were you supposed to do".
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2016
    David88 likes this.
  7. Pia

    Pia Peer Supporter

    Thank you so much, Andy! Both for this and the previous post about absence. It makes so much sense to me and I will dig a bit into the other bits about holes on Almaas' site. The description here about fillers and false pearl ... I feel the truth deep in my body.

    I work with a psychologist on all this as I'm very much aware that it's too big for me to handle on my own even though I've been in therapy many times in my life. Knowing that I haven't actually found the deepest level until now is really.... well, I get a feeling of being humble in a good way. Therapy, spiritual guidance, clairvoyance, meditations and what not - but the body and mind does not release until we're ready. It's time to meet myself at this level and develop true self-compassion. Thank you once more!
  8. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Pia,

    I am glad you received my thoughts. At some points in the journeys of doing psychological work, we open to our deepest nature. It is really the only part of us which can "resolve" the suffering. The ego only adds more suffering, because it is built on division and rejection, yet we only have ego, initially, to work on ego. Skilled therapists know and work with our deepest self intuitively, even though they may not be able to put it into words, or work out the specifics like Almaas. Almaas basic work was to open a way to spirit directly through being with our "obscurations" or personality/ego experiences. If you like his work, there are teaching groups in major cities.

    This basic approach, although I am not trained in his school, has served me for 20 years, and it is what I love to bring to clients, friends, and myself. Self compassion and compassion for others is probably the main thing that has developed in me, and it is never finished. It is learning to love that which I most reject in myself, and this is done through direct contact, inner intimacy. My learning/teaching may be more about the heart than Almaas' path. It is a hard, but beautiful road!

    Your explorations so far represent much of the "hard work." Congratulations! It takes great courage to do TMS work, and even more to do the work of the heart. I want you to see your courage and love! Your love reaches all the way back through time, to be with your abandoned self. Our beauty and our love is indestructible.

    Andy B
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