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Can the Emptiness Left by Loveless Mothering ever be Filled?

24 Jun

Dear BR,

If a mother never bonds with her child and the child grows up with a certain emptiness and lack of love, from not having that maternal, nurturing love, what would be the most helpful CD to help heal those wounds?  I suffered a lot of abuse growing up, but the pain of not being loved is the one that most negatively affects me. 

Teresa

Dear Teresa,

The lack of that early, maternal bonding is very hard on people, and most experience a kind of deep, underlying sadness – and as you note, emptiness - that becomes the subtext for their lives, even when they’ve managed to construct very productive and full ones.  That empty feeling is hard to shake.  But there is much you can do.

The first thing I suggest is that you congratulate yourself on being able to achieve what you have, under circumstances that might have crushed others. There is a kind of everyday heroism in this, that you very possibly take for granted.

Secondly, you are absolutely right in thinking that guided imagery, meditation, and other self-soothing methods are just the ticket to learn to give to yourself what you were not given as a kid.  You can slowly and incrementally learn to fill yourself up using these wonderful tools, although it’s important to be patient and steady with yourself and not expect immediate results.  You may always have a little empty, yearning spot deep down inside. Or you may not.  But you can definitely ameliorate this pain with guided imagery, meditation, affirmations and other tools.  

I like the imaginal process of setting up a relationship between your current, adult self and your inner child, so you can give your child self what she needed back then.  It took a while to find them, but we now have 2 excellent titles that do just that.  The first is Nurturing Your Inner Child by Dr. William De Foore; and the second is Inner Child Healing by Dr. Emmett Miller.

Of my recordings, I would start with General Wellness, mostly because it doesn’t ask you to think of loving people from your life (which might catapult you into sorrow that could slow you down for a bit) or the Affirmations CD.  

Another possibility is, to just go right to the most intense healing imagery we’ve got, which is Healing Trauma. Regular use of that imagery should make a dent on that empty place.  You are the one who knows how lightly or deeply you want to take this.

And finally, if you haven’t been doing so already, you may also want to consider athletically developing your spiritual side, which, when all is said and done, is the most potent, surefire way to fill up this empty place.  Many people find that, just by working with imagery and meditation, they wind up on that path anyway.  Opening the heart to its own vast generous energy is the way we make up for the love we didn’t get from others.  But I suspect that, if you’ve gotten this far, you’ve been accompanied and assisted by the “invisible forces” anyway, with or without your conscious awareness.

So good luck and all best wishes,

Belleruth 

Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award