Grieving a painful childhood.

Posted by on Jul 14, 2015 in childhood trauma, grieving, loss | 2 comments

Pearl Jam -Rearviewmirror-

In the Adult Survivors of Child Abuse (ASCA) “Survivor to Thriver” manual, step 14 invoked an emotional reaction I wasn’t expecting, catching me quite off guard.

Step 14: I am able to grieve my childhood and mourn the loss of those who failed me.

As I read my journal entry with my group, tears sprang into my eyes, fogging up like a window when you breathe against it.  My throat caught, resulting in stuttered, multiple pauses as I struggled to speak out loud what was written down.  I haven’t had that kind of reaction in a long time, and I’m thankful it happened. In the reaction came a release that my soul knew I needed, and a lesson of patience.  Continuing to read, taking courage in each staggering, hitching breath, while wiping away tears.  Each word, each sentence letting go of a little bit more anger, a little bit more grief that has been held within me for so long.

I find I am hesitant to write the truth about my own upbringing due to the fear of potential lashing out against me from my biological mother, who was also my main abuser.  There is still a pit-in-your-stomach clenching, and instantaneous rapid heart beat.  It’s not because of what she’ll say, nor is it out of fear of being hurt, it’s what she won’t say.  Surprisingly, it’s the painful hope of ever hearing her say the words, “I’m so sorry I hurt you.

These words will most likely never come, and I’ve almost fully accepted this fact.  What probably could come is some form of heated denial, or psychological transference technique – making it my fault, and how could I say such things.  I think that is what stings the most in this stage of my own healing journey – knowing that she may never acknowledge her accountability in her past actions and words.  There is always the small chance of enlightenment, and true soul finding, but I can’t let that hope consume me.  In order to find my own peace, I had to make the choice of quiet resolution.

Letting go of the concept of having a “normal” parent, and a “normal” healthy relationship where communication comes easily and openly is one of the hardest steps to take, but it’s necessary when dealing with someone who has mental illness.

This was my journal entry that released some much needed pain, allowing me to mourn the loss of the parent that failed me.  I’m sharing it in hopes that it will help another survivor, and perhaps show a similarity in the experiences and truths of childhood abuse.


“I always picture my inner little girl with her arms outstretched to the sky.  Her face is radiating joy, while she twirls in circles as the sun warms her face.  Then when I would actually get in touch with my inner child, she would be huddled in the darkest corner of my spirit, arms to knees, head down, trying her best to become invisible and silent.

I don’t know how to ride a bike, I wasn’t allowed to play outside.

I don’t know how to swim.

I don’t know how to interact with people in large groups of people.

I feel constantly scared and unsure of my own voice.

I say I’m sorry way too much.

I can count on one hand the “good” moments of my childhood.

My memories consist of fear, pain, survival, and being alone.  I watched the world outside go on with its daily ebb and flow, never knowing how much I was suffering behind the glass window.

I didn’t exist.

I was told daily that I didn’t matter.

Everything I felt was wrong, and that my birth into this place was to only bring suffering to others.

I wasn’t hugged.

I wasn’t given smooches, or snuggled, or comforted when I was hurt.

I was her voice in public, from when I could first form sentences, because she was too afraid to talk.

I was the victim to the many ugly voices in her head.

I wanted a normal mother.  I wanted the Gilmore Girls.

I let it go when I realized she didn’t have it in her to be a mother.  I accepted that she learned and suffered herself, and did not have the capacity to understand.

I grieved. I mourned. I accepted.

I said good bye to the concept, and came to peace with the reality.”

It’s been almost 14 years now since I told my biological mother good bye in real life.  The song “Rearviewmirror” by Pearl Jam says it best.  I did edit one expletive word.

“Tried to endure what I could not forgive.
Saw things clearer
Once you were in my rear view mirror.
I gather speed from you (messing) with me
Once and for all I’m far away
I hardly believe, finally the shades, are raised”

I hope that in reading this, you are able to start considering putting your past in your own rear view mirror. There comes a point where it’s necessary, and healthy to let go of what we wish it was and could be, and accept what is.  Start finding your own answer to step 14 – I am able to grieve my childhood and mourn the loss of those who failed me.  If it hurts too much, please do this with the help of a trusted counselor or therapist, as this can be a very difficult process to go through.

Always remember – You are NOT alone.

Blessings to you,

Heather Durling, The Phoenix Gathering
“One Starfish At a Time.”
Proud Member of ‪#‎WUVIP‬

Copyright 2015 The Phoenix Gathering. All Rights Reserved.

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