I think there’s something seriously wrong with me
What makes you say that?
I don’t feel love like I’m supposed to. I hear how other people talk about being in love or feeling about their children and I don’t have that inside me.
Tell me more?
Well, I know that I do love – but it’s like I know it in my head more than I feel it. Most of the time there’s a sort of hole, a gap, an emptiness where I think the feeling of love should be. So for instance, I look at my partner and I know I love him – but I don’t really feel filled up with love. I have had times when that’s happened and that’s how I know it’s not there most of the time. I can mostly handle it. You know, we’re adults. I act lovingly and he loves me and that’s good enough. But the worst is when it comes to the children because I feel like I’m missing out on something really special and I wonder if they can sense it and if it’s messing them up.
Everyone talks about this love they feel for their children. Yesterday I heard someone say she’s very guarded about loving and being intimate with someone and I was so excited. Someone who feels the same as me! Then she said, “Except for my nephew. When he’s around I just melt. My heart opens in spite of myself. I love that boy so much!” I just wanted to cry because I don’t have that. Not even with my own children. So there must be something seriously screwed up in me.
What a painful situation… Tell me, you said you’ve felt love sometimes with your partner. Have you ever felt love with your children?
Well, you know how it took me a long time to get over the trauma of my first child’s birth. She was born a blue baby and when I saw her I thought she was dead. Part of me just checked out in that moment and it took me about a year to start becoming present to her emotionally. I had a deadness in me. I hid it well – but now I understand that was a big part of the post-natal depression and anxiety I had.
Lately, with the work we’ve been doing to focus on the things that feel good, I’ve been more able to really stay in the good moments for longer and I have often felt this rich warm love for them. It does feel less in my head and more in my feeling place. Less forced. Before, I’d think, “I should be feeling love for them. What’s wrong with me?” Now I ignore that thought if it comes and turn my attention to what does feel right and good. Very soon I can feel myself opening up to the feelings and some of that good feeling is love.
So is it true that there’s something seriously wrong with you?
Hmmm… I suppose not really, hey? Maybe I just reverted to an old pattern of thinking there. I actually can feel love for them now, more than ever before.
You heard what that woman said and you used it to judge yourself negatively. Is there any other way you might have used what you heard?
Ugh that’s hard. Let me think… I suppose… maybe I could have heard what she said and recognised it as something I want for myself? I could have seen how it is possible, even in someone who has issues about letting herself love. Maybe I could have seen how happy she looked when she talked about how she feels for her nephew and then joyfully reassured myself that I am also on my way there. Because it is true that by keeping my focus on what feels good about the children and me I have felt more in my heart lately than ever before. Maybe I’m just learning. Maybe I shouldn’t compare myself to people who already know how to do it.
Does that feel a bit better?
Yes, I feel more compassion for myself. More open to love – even for me.