Abandonment then and now
by Fear and Uncertainty
Gosh so many of us struggling to work it all out. In my case, an emotionally abusive childhood with a manipulative mother who desperately wanted to be loved and sent the message that I was not good enough and an emotionally absent father who spent more time in his greenhouse and at work than with us. I became the family scapegoat. Did all their intense feeling stuff for years. They divorced when I was 10. Then the shit hit the fan and lalalala ... I’ve worked on heaps of it.
I related to ‘externaliser’ for many years ... angry, self-centred, couldn’t admit I was wrong, didn’t need anyone. That way of being has mellowed for me now in my 50’s but still needs lots more work. One minute feeling a wonderful sense of connection I can switch into mild depressive moods during a day. I recognise on one hand my contempt for people generally and also our connection and how much we all crave acceptance and love. I live a remote life alone with periods of intense loneliness. I’m an inconvenient travelling distance from my kids. It requires planning to make a visit so spontaneity is out.
The relationship I have with my three (now young adult) children is of concern to me. My fear of relationship drove me away from the community they and their father belonged to, that of their school community too and eventually out of their lives on a day to day basis. They began boarding one by one in Year 7 at the schools they’d attended as ‘day’ kids. I had moved away from the city they lived in and found all manner of reasons not to attend special events and functions at their respective schools. I abandoned them.
They are all three in their early/mid 20’s now and my daughter in particular is demonstrating how she’s been affected by me not being in her life. I was a very affectionate mother while they were with me and told them how much I loved them often (still do). Lots of praise and support and guidance too but the stress I felt during divorce proceedings spewed out in anger toward my eldest son (then 10) particularly and of course I’ve been absent since they were each 11 yrs old apart from ‘half the holidays’ until they reached 18 when they were not expected to visit me regularly.
What is most important now is how I help my kids heal the wounds I caused them so that they have fulfilling balanced loving relationships. How do I go about this? The thought of having to ‘show up’ in their lives scares the hell out of me. When they come to me it’s fantastic but inconvenient for them in their busy young lives. They are independent, smart, lively human beings with wonderful friends and they appear to be thriving. My daughter is emotionally removed when we are together and pops in a cutting comment here and there and yet I know she loves me dearly. How can she let me get close to her when I didn’t care enough to show up for her school plays and special moments during her high school years? My eldest son says he’s fine but he’s struggling with a financial debt, a decision to borrow/buy based, I believe, on needing to connect with his peers and feel connected. My youngest son seems to have dodged the bullet, well so far anyway I love them so so much.