Q I don’t mean that I have no friends, I have several. I also have a loving partner and kids. The problem is, no matter who I’m with or what I’m doing I still have this underlying feeling of flatness, and dullness. It’s like a feeling of sadness, of waiting, and of being shut down and alone. I know I felt like this as a kid but I’d have thought it would have gone now that I’ve disowned my abusive parents and started my own family. I wish I could be free of this feeling, but how?
A I suspected that you’d had either a neglectful or abusive childhood as I started to read your e-mail – and so I wasn’t surprised to read that comment.
I don’t know what type of abuse you suffered but it will inevitably have left an imprint upon your developing psyche, your soul and your sense of yourself and what you should expect in life.
I know myself that those old ‘core feelings’ which sum up our childhood do still linger around in adulthood. They lurk in the background whilst we are busy being in ‘role’ and carrying out the activities of our everyday lives.
It’s in the quiet moments of stillness that we reconnect with those old core feelings – which is why so many people actively avoid ‘going there’ and distract or self-medicate themselves to quickly change their thoughts and feelings.
Nothing wrong with that. There is a multi billion dollar personal development and coaching ‘industry’ built upon shifting our thoughts, focus and physiology.
No one wants to wallow in the core feelings!
As you rightly state though – they don’t vanish. Our inner child still feels them and no amount of tapping our bodies, hypnotherapy and NLP ‘quick fixes’ helps the inner child to process and release their stuckness and pain. In your case this feels like a dull aching loneliness – despite having loving people around you.
For others their CCF (core childhood feeling) might be fear, or anger, or despair, or incompetence, or inadequacy or feeling unlovable.
All of these are the feelings of a wounded and depleted inner child. A child that wasn’t treated well enough for them to feel better about themselves.
You have already taken the first big step – acknowledging your own core childhood feeling. Identifying and naming it also helps to loosen its grip.
The next step is in expressing the reason for the CCF…what you did and didn’t get in childhood that has left your inner child ‘waiting in the wings’ and feeling alone in the dark.
I suggest you write this down – but please remember that you may need some objective professional help to support you emotionally (as unexpected things might surface and unsettle you).
This is a process which needs to be taken slowly and sensitively.
If it was your own son or daughter who was in distress you would I’m sure take your time to get to the bottom of it, find the cause, make sense of the feelings and emotional reactions, and sensitively express and release them.
And I have no doubt that you’d ensure that no-one else is allowed to ever re-create the feeling in them again. (As they grow older they’ll realise that no-one else actually can ‘make’ them feel a certain way, and that we have a choice about how we respond and what we believe…but as children we are like sponges that soak up the bad feelings in the family and then blame ourselves for feeling bad too.)
There are some free resources on my website (below) and I have inexpensive self-help courses available called ‘How To Sort Yourself Out – without therapy!’ which will help you to make sense of your early experiences and help to re-parent and heal your inner child.
If you wanted my help one-to-one or within one of my coaching programmes, then these are also available to you.
I’m here if you need any help.
Maxine Harley (MSc Psychotherapy)
www.maxineharley.com – where you’ll find a page of FREE RESOURCES which may be of interest to you to understand and escape from your core childhood feelings which still have a hold over you.