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London

Help with abadnonment issues

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London   

I have been experiencing what I think are abandonment issues since I was a child. Here is my story. I come from a family of five, my mom, dad, two brothers and me. I am a female 32 years old. My life started out as very happy. We lived in a house with a big yard, my parents were together and I was very close with my dad. He was goofy and fun loving, took me out to the park and to the hardware store, cuddled with me – I was a typical daddy’s girl. I remember him going on a lot of business trips and he went golfing a lot. My mom was very cold to me. She didn’t kiss or hug me, often she would ignore me or be annoyed by me. This continued throughout my whole life. Then at age 11 my dad left my mom. My mom hit the bottle and by the time I was 15 she was drinking a magnum of wine every night. My mom was depressed, an alcoholic and our relationship declined. I tried to get her help, talk to her, but she denied having problems. I was constantly reminded that I was her responsibility. Even though she treated me like that, I begged for her attention, I did special things for her that she didn’t appreciate- in hopes that she would tell me she loved me, or hug me. My dad dated, and met a woman who he would stay with. My brothers and I would see him every second weekend or so. My mom had to sell the house because she says my dad blew their finances so we rented an apartment. Visits with my dad became less and less until he decided to quit his job in the government and move overseas to work. He remained with his girlfriend who he would go on trips with, and she would visit him often. My dad would come home once a year. He flew my brothers and I overseas twice, when I was 15 and when I was 17. At 16 my dad broke the news to us that he had been diagnosed with cancer and he had been declining ever since. During the entire trip, when I was 17, he was ill and I could see the agony on his face. At 19 I graduated from highschool and my dad came home for his last visit. He died later that year in Serbia. My mom was still drinking and I knew she wasn’t in a place to help me. She didn’t console me – I knew that she wasn’t able to. My dad’s girlfriend received her money from the will and left – she told us that she didn’t want us contacting her. We didn’t receive his ashes from Serbia until about year or so later, which my grandma kept in Toronto. We didn’t have a funeral. We planted a tree for him in a Toronto golf course that he had worked at when he was a child. Now I am 32 and I have a husband and two young children. Im in school to become a nurse. My two brothers are not functional adults, they live with my mom and the three of them have a lot of social anxiety, depression and alcohol issues. I continue to do special things for my mom, I pay her phone bill, I take her out for her birthday, I drive the kids to her house. She has made more of an effort because of my kids, babysitting and buying them clothes, toys. She loves them a lot. I have talked to my mom about how she made me feel as a child, what I went through emotionally and she has told me that she was depressed and because she couldn’t help herself, she couldn’t help me. I called her once crying in and in emotional despair and she told me to go and see a therapist. I just wanted her to tell me she loved me, talk to me. I have not healed and I don’t know what to do. I can step into everyone elses shoes – I know what my mom went through raising us on her own. I know my dad was unhappy. I know my brothers have had issues because their dad left. I feel so abandoned, unloved and hurt. I cant get over my dads death. Even though I have so much love from my husband and my kids, the family I was raised with has really hurt me. I have an aunt, my dads sister, who cares about me but I go out of my way to visit her, she doesn’t come to see me. I feel like I’m not worth anyone’s time or something. I have a good friend, who I have been friends with since I was 14, and she and her family have been very supportive to me – that I am grateful for. I have very good friends nd a loving husband who I have talked to about this many times. I have seen therapists, but I didn’t feel like they were helping me/could help me. I’ve been on antidepressents, I’ve learned about the stages of grief, I’ve purchased self help books, I’ve tried to change the way I think about the situation, I’ve gone over the scenarios in my head. I’m stuck. I need some advice. What can I do to heal?

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2 hours ago, London said:

I can step into everyone elses shoes – I know what my mom went through raising us on her own. I know my dad was unhappy. I know my brothers have had issues because their dad left. I feel so abandoned, unloved and hurt. I cant get over my dads death. Even though I have so much love from my husband and my kids, the family I was raised with has really hurt me. I have an aunt, my dads sister, who cares about me but I go out of my way to visit her, she doesn’t come to see me. I feel like I’m not worth anyone’s time or something. I have a good friend, who I have been friends with since I was 14, and she and her family have been very supportive to me – that I am grateful for. I have very good friends nd a loving husband who I have talked to about this many times.

Wow, it seems to me that you have already tried A LOT to care about people. It also sounds like you have some people who DO care. But you feel you are not worth anyone's time. Can you elaborate on this part?
You said you've tried antidepressants, read books, etc. You still feel stuck.. maybe talking about your issues with people you can TRUST (not the therapists, and this would be the hard part I suppose) would be somewhat helpful. Perhaps you can only begin by posting on websites like this one. I'm not sure if you can join groups in your area with regard to grief and abandonment?
IT is hard finding people you can trust though, isn't it? Can you describe any more experiences?
I am sorry about your mother. I feel similar. My mom isn't that "emotionally" warm. Few hugs or kisses. But she can be supportive. I don't know my dad either, I am sorry you lost the one person you felt close to. I feel that I am still a sensitive person (with a hardness that has developed over the years), but I do understand that trusting is very difficult. Even opening up to begin with is a challenge.

 

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London   

Hey new133 thanks for replying. I guess I mean that deep down I feel like my aunt and extended family don't really care to have me in their lives, wont make an effort to have me in their lives. I'm just a relative.They have their own children, grandchildren and families and I feel pushed aside. I feel like my dad pushed me away as well. In a child's mind you start to think that something is wrong with you. I know better now - I mean, I know that people don't intentionally want to make me feel this way. the kid inside me is feeling abandoned its really weird. Also, I never really had anyone to help me when my dad died and I'm stuck with the grief still. I needed to have that funeral where everyone gathers and asks you how you are feeling. I didn't have that closure, I felt like the homeless person on the sidewalk that everyone walks by and ignores. So then I felt like I didn't have an "ok" to grieve and I just went back to work like nothing happened the next day. I see people post about their loved ones dying on facebook all the time and I feel like they are doing it to get validation/attention or something? I get it though, people need to feel cared about during times of loss. I think you are right, I should maybe find a support group or something. I have people I trust in my life but they can only hear the stories so many times before they tell me that I need to get over it.

I'm sorry to hear that your mom is similar. It's really difficult to understand later in life that its not about you, they are the way they are. I guess some people have a harder time expressing emotion. I hug and kiss my kids to death because I want them to feel loved. I hope you had other family members who were loving towards you.

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Interesting, I don't use facebook, and yeah a social media site can be a poor substitute for grieving so I can see why you would think they are just seeking validation or whatever.
I mean, a post or two about how one's loved one has passed away isn't really sufficient when it comes to handling seconds, weeks, and months of excruciating pain.
 

1 hour ago, London said:

I just went back to work like nothing happened the next day.

That does not sound very good, I am sorry to hear that was the case. unfortunately it seems like everyone is expected to adjust with the way things are. They are supposed to fall in line in society. Try to be 'productive' and 'forget about the past.' That is just really impractical imo, because if you don't allow yourself to suffer at the initial point, it's going to come out eventually. I mean I have bottled up emotions before, and it really doesn't do anyone any good. It's not beneficial for myself or anyone I come into contact with. It should be considered appropriate in society to grieve at any time because death can really happen at any time, with or without warning.. I guess it depends on where you live and who you interact with.. the fact that some people want to cover it up and avoid the issue is kind of confusing to me... like death isn't going to stop happening just because one is feeling 'uncomfortable' with the idea. I get that some people are truly disturbed by the idea (that's how I used to be) but ever since my gran's death, I don't fear it. In fact I welcome death. Having to see another person suffer (and then just disappear as if it was all for nothing) is the worst thing I've ever experienced, to the point where it feels like an essential piece of me is gone and it doesn't matter what happens to the rest of me.
I am sorry that you feel like no one was there for you to help you when your dad died. I didn't really seek much help and I did see my mom suffer in her own way. But I have allowed myself to grieve in the sense that I have cried, I have thought about death, I have posted on this forum, I have told my one friend about everything, and I have tried to reach out. Still, I think it will take a long time to finally become the new  person that I have to be because I really can't be the same old "person" that I was... there just isn't any choice in the matter. But getting over it, that's not something I see happening, I just think we have to slowly adjust to a new reality at some point, whenever that may be..
I'm sorry that you feel like your extended family doesn't really care. Yeah, it seems like they do have their 'own' lives and maybe they're just really distracted or don't know how to reach out. But those are simply maybes and you know better than I do. As you've stated you've tried to help other people... you have done your part.. I suppose you could continue doing what you have done but I don't blame you if you just feel exhausted and don't wish to continue.
I have considered joining a group but I've been kind of busy. I've been helping my mom and doing some work, just keeping myself occupied that there doesn't seem to be time to go anywhere. I do go for long walks. and i Have been hoping for some kind of sign from her. nothing significant (i'm not even spiritual) but somehow this is the only thing I have to hold onto.


 

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London   

I'm not sure how long your loved one passed, but you could also be in the beginning stages of grief. Like how you say that you are waiting for a sign - I totally get that. When my dad passed at first I truly thought he would come back to me as a ghost, then I settled for just a sign or something and I was devastated when I realized I would never see him again. Maybe that was my way of coping. Its good that you have been able to talk about it and I think its also normal to want to keep to yourself too. In my case I just wanted someone to ask me how I was doing. something that I heard years ago helped me to put death in a different perspective: if you think of a persons life, be it someone who dies at 2 years old or 90 years old, their life was planned to be that long, so you were mean to have exactly that amount of time with them - anything more was not meant to be. I guess it just made me value that time I had, so the thought of not having him now is not as painful, if that makes sense. He was never meant to meet his grandchildren, he was meant to be there for my childhood, to show me that I was loved for that moment in time. Just writing that out helps me actually:)

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I am in the early stages. it's been 6 weeks. I somewhat accept that she's gone. But I still want a sign that's clear. There have been a few weird coincidences but nothing that makes me sure that she's "ok".. whatever that means.. I have read stories on here and on the web where people have had some kind of contact. so i still have hope.
I don't know what is or isn't meant to be. I have deja vu moments. I have lucid dreams. It's all very fuzzy though... if only I could better remember those. Sometimes there are little predictions or strange 'coincidences.' Sometimes it feels like my whole "life" is planned out because of these... as if I am a conduit.. as if I have no control. Almost as if nothing is even real.
I have been reading about astral projection. I knew very little about it until I read so many stories and I realize there is a lot out there I haven't experienced. I still know very little as I have not gone through it, but I now better understand different points of view. At the same time, I am in the dark. It's strange because my grandmother had dementia due to her stroke. It hurt me to see her suffer like this and I was (still am)so angry at how life could do this to so many people. But now it feels like I'm the one who is confused and disoriented. Like I don't know what is or isn't real. It's not mental illness, at least I doubt it, but I just feel like such an empty human being... wandering forever alone. I think she might have felt this way and that is another thing that makes me very angry.
Sorry for elaborating but I wonder if you have had these similar feelings.

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London   

His death definitely made me question not just death, but my life a lot. I had questions like why am I living? where is my dad? and that feeling you are explaining sounds like the numb/confused feeling that I felt for a couple years after he died. You are wrapping your brain around what just happened- it is still very new, like shock or something. and you seem like a sympathetic person (which is rare to find) and so how you say you are feeling her illness it sounds like a connectedness. I have that with my closest people, I truly feel their emotions sometimes. It makes me wonder what else is out there, how we must all be connected even after we die.

The dreams you're having, maybe they will become clearer later on. I have these reoccurring dreams about my dad, have had them for the past five years or so on and off. He is leaving me - saying that he cant stay for long, its this feeling I get like I cant hold on to him. And one time I just yelled at him, I let him know how I felt and I actually felt good when I woke up. I don't remember having a reoccurring dream after that come to think of it.

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I feel like the shock is fading. It was all so sudden the day she died. Not too surprising.. but still very shocking.
It's like there's nothing I can 'actively' do.
I grew up lonely so I turned out introverted, but I do feel I have that sympathy you mention, because I used to be very sensitive and emotional. Now I'm just more numb. I'm so used to life.. so sick of the recurring "events" I have to deal with. As I got older though I would obsess about how everyone is affected and how I still don't understand why suffering exists. I wonder what true "empathy" is like though, because I know there are empathic people out there.. They actually 'experience' other people's emotions... within seconds or minutes.. and I wonder how they do it. I am curious but they say it's overwhelming so I would be scared to experience that.. I don't think I can even handle myself well enough let alone experience all the other emotions emanating from others.
Those dreams are frustrating. So many of them, unsure of what she's saying or even doing. Sometimes she speaks, sometimes she doesn't (like before, she couldn't). when I asked her if she wanted to live or die she said live so i'm not sure if that was my guilt or if she will be "reincarnated" or if it's none of the above. It's just confusion. Yet it feels so real. Sometimes I wonder if I've 'projected' because I have had what I thought were lucid dreams where I would be floating in my room and everything looked the same. then I'd 'wake' up. idk..

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at this point I look for anything. her name, parts of her name, meaningful numbers like the day she died, anything that resembles her, or even 'weird stuff' like when my phone shut off for the first time and i panicked and everything. I don't believe I would see her image or anything too obvious ... but I think I just want a subtle message at least.. just to know that she is somehow OK.. if there is even another world to go into... I wanted her suffering to stop, but I wanted the goodness she shared with everyone to continue on. I still think she is so valuable, many people admired and loved her.

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