Holey

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Inner abuse creates perpetual pain because it leaves us holey.

Holey means riddled with emotional holes.

The holes are unmet needs.

How does this happen?

First, notice how it’s supposed to go:

We’re supposed grow up in a family healthy and nurturing enough to meet our basic emotional needs.

Those needs are the Four A’s: attention, acceptance, approval and affection.

The 4 A’s are the components of love.

If we get enough of these components, we fill up in childhood, just like kids fill up with good food.  

And we enter adulthood feeling like reasonably solid people, reasonably valuable and lovable and (this is critical) able to love ourselves. 

Which means able to feed ourselves the same emotional food — attention, acceptance, approval and affection — we got from our family.

On the other hand:

If we grow up in a dysfunctional family — one burdened by abuse, addiction, mental illness, overstressed parents, or parents who dislike each other or their children —  several things happen:

~ We grow up hungry, with unmet emotional needs that appear as holes in our confidence and self-esteem.

~ We grow up ashamed, having concluded that we’re unworthy of emotional feeding.  If my family didn’t love me, our Inner Kid reasons, I must not be worth loving.  (That’s how inner Kids think.  Like real kids, they think everything is about them.)    

~ This shame makes us bury our true self — our Kid — out of fear that others will also find it unlovable.

~ We bury the Kid by keeping it in the closet, so others remain won’t see how needy we are.  (Emotional neediness, the Kid believes, is a sin.)

~ And we bury the Kid by being mean to it, sending it abusive messages (Your feelings don’t matter, etc.) that perpetuate both its neediness and its shame.

~ Finally, we don’t give the Kid what it needs most: our own attention, acceptance, approval and love.

The result of all this is a lifetime of holeyness and emotional pain.

Part 5 of a series on monkeytraps and adult children. 

Read part 1 here.

 

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4 responses to “Holey

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