This morning I had a session with a client that has really stayed with me. This is someone I have worked with for years and my heart feels very tender for this person.
I want to acknowledge something that isn’t often spoken to: neglect. There are so many different types of neglect, that can affect the way we are able to attach for a secure relationship. When we are neglected we may form:
an avoidant type of relationship attachment.
an ambivalent relationship attachment.
a disorganized style attachment.
Those terms are all in the attachment theories, and not common to a lot of everyday people. Yet when you are born into a setting where there is no secure attachment, your system does the best it can to support you to survive. For a lot of people, when their sympathetic activation system supports them to fight, to run, to express, to cry out and make noise, this is an attempt to draw in the parent, or other being who is taking care of them, in order to develop a secure attachment. That is actually a higher frequency, enabling more mobilization. I want to speak to the fact that there are many that do not have that capacity. They have been so imprinted by their environment and they have such a lack of nurturance that they go numb and blank. Inside of that numbness and blankness there is still an excruciating pain. That’s the pain of not being caught or not being felt, or seen, or heard. Of not having the experience of somebody understanding what it’s like to be you. That is actually difficult to put words around.
Some of the words that capture this experience might be; a sense of diminishment, a numbness, an uncertainty, being awash in all of that crap that is so confusing, a bewilderment.
This emotional abuse, the emotional neglect, when there is a void there then the path home can feel like it is littered with so many brambles. Thorny brambles that just continually get in your way. To find your way to where there is someone who can hear you, and begin to see the enormity of this pain that you have lived with all your life, is really vital.
The path home is not an easy one, I’m not going to pretend it is. Yet, it is the path home. When you can find accompaniment along that path, it will ease the pain, ever so slightly. It will allow you to begin to discover what the emotions mean and where they are in your system, in your body, in order for them to begin to be released. To be able to integrate for the first time your whole sense of self. It is possible. It is a long path and it can feel so lonely at times. There are places that will welcome you, and will stay with you in an enduring relationship, as you find your way back to who you really are. This is so important, I want there to be so much support in the world for us human beings to find our way back to who we really are.