How Do I Grieve My Loss Of Self?
G'day from Australia. I am a little scared, but here goes...
I am now 50, and feel as if I have just discovered how much I abandoned my inner child.
I come from a physically abusive childhood at the hands of my father, and Mum did the best she could, though her sense of self is minimal. Mum, after enough abuse to herself and us, finally left my Dad. I was 7. My brother David was 9, Chris was 6 and Mark was 4. A courageous thing for a woman to do back in those days. She never received any emotional or financial support from my Dad.
I have only ever seen him (Dad) at my brothers' funerals. All my siblings have now died. All young deaths. I was 16 when David died. He was 18 and drowned. He had been drinking (though that is never raised). It was a traumatic time, it took 5 days for them to find his body, which was lodged in a crevice, just 20 feet under the water. It still hurts. I miss him. He was for a period of our lives abusive to me. He just copied what Dad had done, I guess. And David, I know realize, must have been in so much pain himself.
2 years later Christopher, died. He was 17. He wrapped himself around a tree coming home from a few drinks at his local pub (I still to this day do not know if alcohol played a part in his accident, guess I could find out, hey). It was so soon after Davids death, I am not sure if I ever touched grief with Christopher's death, though as I type now, the tears are there.
Some years later, Mark, the baby of the family, my Mum's last remaining son, my last remaining sibling, was leaving his local pub (in Sydney), with 2 of his mates, they crossed the road, and Mark being a tall strapping man was leading the way. It ended up being a hit and run. Mark was in the Intensive Care Unit for 2 days, they performed brain surgery, but could not stem the internal bleeding in his brain and his brain stem had snapped, as well as other injuries.
He remained on life support, until they harvested his organs. I could hear the sound of the helicopters at the hospital, I made the assumption that that may be the recipients. They harvested his body and at the same time they performed transplants on 5 people. When they took Mark away for the surgery, he still looked so alive, warm, beautiful. He was only 29 years young. He still looked so alive.
I get so trapped in my grief. More often than not, when people do find out, hear about the deaths/losses the most common comment is "Your poor Mum". Yes, I could not agree more. Though you know, and as I write this, I feel the familiar lump, gasp in my throat, the shame at feeling this, but you know, I just would like someone to say to me, "Gosh, that must have been terrible for you".
There was a great deal of messy business after Mark's death, being a hit and run, and major complications etc. with extraditions (stories within stories) and I got caught up in pursuing justice within an imperfect justice system.
Today, I still ask myself if I shall ever heal.
Learning, realizing that there is a loss of self...at the hands of an abusive, dysfunctional childhood...the awareness that my first major grief was the loss of my innocence...the inner child appears to be so wounded...and in such need of love....but it just hurts so much.
I want to heal and grow. I want to help myself and in turn help others, though at times it feels like one step forward and three steps back. I feel as if I am selfish and full of nothing but self-pity, and it permeates my present moment.
I intellectually know that the past is past, and to live in the present moment is the key. Though knowing it intellectually and being and living it emotionally, physically and spiritually are different places.
How do I grieve the loss of self and all that is associated with not wanting any more pain?
Response from Dr. DeFoore
Hello Patrina, and thanks for telling your story here. Your losses are great...there are no words that even begin to measure the amount of grief and pain you must feel over losing all three of your brothers. Your pain has nothing to do with your mother's or anyone else's. It's yours, and you know it better than anyone.
Honor your pain...it is a reflection of the love you had and have for your brothers. I strongly encourage you to use this page on the grieving process to process each of your losses (of your brothers).
And regarding your loss of innocence, I have two recommendations. First I recommend that you get a copy of this CD/audio download on Nurturing Your Inner Child. Second, I strongly encourage you to use these imagery processes for emotional healing to address the childhood abuse you experienced.
It is very clear to me that you are a very fine person, Patrina. After all you've been through, you express compassion for your father and brother who abused you. Now it is time for you to turn all of that compassionate focus on yourself. You are worthy.
Do this for yourself, and the goodness in your heart. You will heal, and be able to do all that you choose to do.
My very best to you,