Self-Love and Navigating the Waters of Grief By Carrie H.

Facebook
Facebook
Twitter4k
Youtube133
Youtube
LinkedIn26

efb grief watersPlease join me in welcoming Carrie H. and her debut article on Emerging from Broken.  Carrie writes in a brilliant style filled with emotional honesty and compassion both for herself and for others who understand the grief we feel when we find it necessary to draw a boundary with our own families of origin. I am honored to have Carrie as a guest writer on Emerging from Broken.  ~ Darlene

 Self-Love and Navigating the Waters of Grief  by Carrie H.

 When my husband found out that his father was dying I asked him how he would make it through.  How would his sister make it?  How would his mother make it?  “Our love will hold us together”, he answered.  Wow, I thought. I watched as he and mom and sister held each other that day.  The day they knew one of their family members was dying.  In that moment I realized that love was absent from my own family of origin.  In my family, love did not tie us together, which was why getting through a dark time seemed so difficult from where I was standing.    

 When I pointed out the Truth to my parents and sister, that there had been verbal and emotional abuse, I was abandoned.  I had visions of us healing together as a family – that’s what loving families do – but I’ve had to let those dreams go over the past few months. 

 Their reaction to me revealing the dysfunction merely proved the dysfunction.  Instead of looking at their own behaviors and their role in our family dynamic, they chose to point their fingers at me and to blame me for their pain.  You see, once I stepped out of “The Matrix” – which is what I call their faulty belief system regarding love – they became very uncomfortable.  I told them that there was an elephant in the room that needed to be addressed.   I held up a mirror and they ran screaming.  In regards to the elephant in the room, my sister wants to pretend it’s not there.  If we don’t look at it, it can’t be there, right??  My father, always the spiritual bypasser, admits it’s there but says life is “just an illusion” so we are “one” with the elephant.  My mother says I’M the elephant. 

 I realized that the only way my family would accept me was as their scapegoat, as the one who caused them pain.  There is no other definition that they CAN accept because if I am okay, then why would THEY be in pain?   So one by one, I’ve had to say goodbye to my family members.  (Or more accurately, THEY have said goodbye to me). 

 First it was my mom, who sent me an email titled “The Elephant” in which she told me she had to let me go. Then there was my father, who is still in my life to some extent, but will continue to defend my mom’s actions and talk about how “sad” it is that I’m not talking to her anymore.  My father, a man who justifies his imprisonment by hiding behind spiritual quotes that were spoken by those who were, ironically, free and finally, my sister, with whom I still have a relationship albeit an inauthentic one.  “I would never do what you’re doing to mom,” she said.  You see, asking for kindness in a family of dysfunction is always met with an insane reaction.  What I’m DOING to them is asking them for respect.  

 So as my husband grieves his recently deceased father, I grieve my family as well.  I grieve the mother I never had, I grieve the father who I once actually thought of as a hero, knowing that he will never come to my defense and will live out his days in the lie that my mom is somehow the victim in all of this.  And I grieve for my sister, who remains entangled in the web of manipulation and guilt that defines the love I grew up with.  But here’s the thing – for those of us who grieve the living – we grieve alone.   My family looks lovely from the outside, a perfect picture with years worth of photographs to prove that we are “okay.”   Only those who have gotten very close know that those pictures are just a bunch of tangled lines.  Only those who have looked closely at the eyes in each photo see the sadness hidden beneath fake smiles. 

 My husband knows his father loved him, in the true definition of love.  He carries that love in his heart.  It binds them together in life and in death.  Alive or dead, his father has always been with him.  For those of us grieving those who have never loved us – truly loved us – how do we make it through?  It’s like love is the boat that my husband is on and it carries him through the waters of grief.  Sometimes the waves are intense but he is always in a boat.  I’m in those same waters but without a boat. Sometimes I get pulled under and come up gasping for air.  I have my husband and my son’s love, of course, but I don’t have the love of those I’m grieving. 

 I grieve the childhood I didn’t get, the childhood I THOUGHT I had, the actions I thought were love, the person I thought my dad was, the relationship I thought I had with my sister, the hope I had of my mother changing, the dream I had of my family healing, the future I thought we could share together, and the love I’ve never received from my family.  For those of us who grieve in hiding, we must build our own boats.  We must learn to love ourselves in the way our parents never did.  It will take work and strength to construct that boat but by the time it is built, by the time we are loving ourselves unconditionally in a way that was not modeled to us in our families, we will have a boat so strong, so sturdy, that the waves it will carry us over will be merely ripples lapping at our sides.  And we will ride in these self-constructed boats across the seas into freedom.  Freedom from the lies we were taught about ourselves, freedom from the faulty love we grew up with, freedom from the sadness and pain that came from our realizations. 

And once we reach that shore, the shore of freedom, we will be the lighthouses that can give hope and direction to others who are boatless in the stormy seas. 

 Carrie H.

Please share your comments with Carrie and I. We would love to hear from you and please consider sharing this post on social media sites too. So many will find comfort in the way that Carrie shares with such deep emotional honesty. Hugs!! Darlene

Are you aware my of my e-book “Emerging from Broken The Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing”? If you find that the subject matter I am writing about resonates with you and you would like to find out “HOW” I broke out of the oppression I lived in, this 197 page, downloadable, printable, live linked e-book will put you on the fast track to busting out of the fog and to healing. I’ve received hundreds of thank you notes from people that have bought my book. Get yours here for 9.97 through the upper right side bar or click this link~ Emerging from Broken The Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing 

Emerging from Broken on Facebook Emerging from Broken has a very active facebook page as well. Comments here are not connected the facebook page in any way.

206 response to "Self-Love and Navigating the Waters of Grief By Carrie H."

  1. By: Karen Posted: 31st March 2017

    Carrie,
    This article is an amazing description of my journey, and of so many of us here. I love the boat analogy and I think that is going to be a great visual for me to think of on tough days. It is definitely a journey to mourn and grieve the loss of our families while they are still alive. Only those of us who have walked that path can really understand, and you affirm the experience. Thanks for this article and for the honesty you gave it.
    Karen K

  2. By: Karen Posted: 31st March 2017

    Carrie,
    This article is an amazing description of my journey, and of so many of us here. I love the boat analogy and I think that is going to be a great visual for me to think of on tough days. It is definitely a journey to mourn and grieve the loss of our families while they are still alive. Only those of us who have walked that path can really understand, and you affirm the experience. Thanks for this article and for the honesty you gave it.
    Karen K

  3. By: Emily Posted: 27th March 2016

    Hi all, I’ve been reading this website and Darlene’s e-book for a long time but this is my first comment. Like everyone else here I am SO immensely grateful for this website and everything that Darlene shares. I’ve been in therapy for two years after chronic depression from the age of 9. In therapy I have found a way out of my victim role and I have connected and started a loving dialogue with my inner child. Fantastic progress. I’m also finally angry at my parents and am able to acknowledge that “yes, I was abused”, verbally, emotionally and psychologically. Now I read a lot about the need to grief in the process of recovery. Grief the abandonment and rejection. I must still be in very strong suppression because I don’t feel any sadness or grief in relation to this. The thing is I have read a lot about how people experience that grief and I’m honestly so scared of how it might hit me. I understand that I will have to go through it short term in order to feel much better and whole in the long term but I’m just so worried about what it is going to do to me.

  4. By: Beth Posted: 1st April 2015

    I realize that my childhood and the rest of my life has been in a state of mourning, which continued until after my father, stepfather, and my mother died. My entire childhood was dwelt in sadness and isolation from anyone who would care. Because my mom lived away from her family and I had no contact with my biological father and paternal family, my entire family consisted of my older brother who had nothing to do with me, my Narcissistic mother who was negligent and abusive, and my abusive stepfather. There was really nothing but loneliness.
    Somehow, in my sadness, I managed to ferret away the central core of my being, preserving it until such time as it could be free. My central core remained trapped until my mother died. She suppressed me in every way, even stating to me, ‘that I could not live in the truth until after she died’. And, it was true, I didn’t really begin to embrace the truth fully until after she died. She had so much power over me, that she was capable of separating me from myself and my life.
    This is the comment that stood out the most to me. Grieving my missing family as a child kept me in a chronic state of grieving and depression. Now, that my mother died, I am free and the final grieving is over!
    “ … I grieve the childhood I didn’t get… the actions I thought were love… the hope I had of my mother changing, the dream I had of my family healing, the future I thought we could share together, and the love I’ve never received from my family.”

  5. By: UniqueCyn Posted: 30th May 2014

    “I realized that the only way my family would accept me was as their scapegoat, as the one who caused them pain. There is no other definition that they CAN accept because if I am okay, then why would THEY be in pain?”

    This is wonderful. It explains why my mother never liked me.

    She got knocked up at 18 disappointing her critical judgmental parents, and married my unenthusiastic father who later became an alkie. There was no money for many years and she had this baby who seldom slept and who cried alot and actually had NEEDS. She’s never been one who could cope with problems (altho she thinks she’s very deep, wise and competent and is quite a know-it-all).

    So she was in pain, and she couldn’t blame herself (she’s perfect, dontcha know), and couldn’t blame my father upon whom she was financially and socially dependent, and couldn’t for some reason be angry at her punitive, judgmental parents–so she blamed her pain on the baby who was more trouble than she expected. Her pain was because of me, therefore, it could only follow I caused her pain and I had to be controlled, squashed and manipulated. She was just trying to manage her pain.

    Poor mom, right? No. Selfish, immature, cruel, damaging, dysfunctional mom.

    She’s had 50 years to work it through, and never did. Denial, squashing, blameshifting, invalidating, stonewalling, demeaning, and manipulation has always worked–and she’s not giving it up. Even though she knows how she hurts me, even though I’ve cut off all contact with her. She chooses her dysfunction–and in fact has escalated it (because my noncompliance and cut-off has increased her pain/humiliation).

    She’s been told that there’s a better way, one we can find together in therapy–but she chooses her dysfunction over her only daughter and 2 of her 3 grandchildren. She’s lost half her family (we are a small family) but she will not budge.

    The only person who will be with her in her old age will be my brother–and he was raised the same I was. He’ll do the conventional thing: call once a month, show up for a couple hours on or near the holidays, provide superficial social support–and NO emotional support.

    She’s going to be very lonely.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 31st May 2014

      Hi Uniquecyn
      Welcome to EFB!! Sounds like you have found the right blog! Glad you are here,
      hugs, Darlene

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.