Thank you for your responses to last month’s article! All very encouraging! I even ran into a subscriber who asked, “When’s the next article coming out?”
So, finally, here it is.
I recently became aware of how my own unrealized effort to control and protect myself was blocking the reception of love that my little wounded heart was desperately crying out for. I’m writing about it in the chapter: “What Gets in The Way: Finding the Link Between Childhood Wounds & Unwanted Adult Behavior.”
Here’s an excerpt from that chapter:
It was someone else who came and picked me up! (I was experiencing myself as a hurting and flailing little infant trying as hard as he could to make his emotional pain go away.)
This experience unfolded during a recent phone conversation with my mentor whom I had called to ask advice about a financial process to provide ongoing care for my wife and manage all the emotional stress I was going through about it.
It didn’t take long for the overwhelm to shut me down.
That had been happening a lot in the past 3 years. It triggers a powerless feeling inside of me like the alone, disregarded attachment pain I experienced as a little boy. It turns my brain off. I can’t think. My head feels like it’s in a vice and I get desperately scared that it will never go away. At that point, I either run away to escape, or lash out in anger at whomever is near me.
That’s when the phone conversation turned into a therapy session and my mentor asked, “Jesus, where is that pain coming from?”
“I wasn’t wanted?” was the questioning thought that came to my awareness. (I had never gotten the impression that my mother was against me. Perhaps she just wasn’t prepared for her first pregnancy, but that’s what came to mind.) Sixty years later she called one Sunday evening from her out-of-state nursing home to express, “Douglas! This morning in church I noticed all the young mothers loving and kissing on their babies and I realized that I never did that to you when you were little. I wish you were a baby again, so I could.” That honorable and amazing admission clarified and validated a big painful piece of my story. (My mom is one of the people I am dedicating this book to!)
Attachment pain is brutal. It pangs at the heart of our basic need—to be wanted, delighted in, enjoyed, and loved on.
That’s what my naked little infant must have been flailing and churning about trying to make his pain go away. Even at an early age, the natural survival part of my brain was desperately reacting to make that happen. No wonder I developed so many self-absorbed, preoccupied, and addictive compensating behaviors.
”You don’t have to do that, little Dougie,” my mentor tried to console that hurting little part inside of me. “You don’t have to make that pain go away. It wasn’t your fault that it happened, and it was never supposed to be your job to figure out how to make it stop. No one helped you with that back then, so let someone else do it now.”
And that’s when He came to pick me up…
My first impression sensed His big wet, sad for me, tears drip on my chest. Then He leaned over to gather me up to console me in his arms. It was difficult for me to stop flailing and churning. It took a while for Him and my mentor to quiet me enough to let myself lay my head down on His chest.
To this day, the quieting process is still hard for me to do. But now I know it comes from the desperate control and self-protection I developed early on to make my pain go away.
That’s why it is so important to figure out:
What Gets in The Way: Finding the Link Between Childhood Wounds & Unwanted Adult Behavior?
I’ve had to learn to share my frustrating and overwhelming feelings with others to get regulated and to feel validated enough to override those flailing and churning behaviors to make myself feel better.
That kind of awareness is why I’m compelled to write about this stuff. I hope it encourages you in some way.
Thank you for reading!
If you have a response or any suggestion, please send it.