Through counseling I am learning more about myself and the deep seated reasons behind my difficulties in communicating how I feel.
Understanding where it is coming from and why is helping me to learn healthier and more productive ways of communicating, without coming across as judgmental, demeaning, condescending, or angry.
I have an emotionally ignored little girl inside my head who is unconsciously trying to protect herself from the painful feelings of abandonment and emotional neglect.
When she feels vulnerable, she puts up a wall to block feeling that pain, but feels resentful because that wall also blocks feeling loved by others.
She cannot risk being vulnerable to that emotional pain of abandonment again, even though it is the only way to fill the void of loneliness in her heart.
When that wall is put up, she projects the anger from that deeply felt resentment to those who trigger the pain of abandonment vulnerability.
That wall is also reinforced by extreme independence, because you can’t be hurt by those who abandon you if you don’t depend on anyone to be there for you. The flip side of that is denying myself the love and deep connection that comes from allowing people to help me, show kindness, share trust, accept mistakes, and trust in forgiveness.
The wall is there because I was abandoned when I trusted my parents to be there for me.
My needs, wants, and desires were not as important as others, and I was expected to handle everything on my own because the needs of my younger siblings always had more priority.
My thoughts and opinions didn’t seem to matter to anyone.
There was no one in my life who gave me any individual attention or validated any sense of importance to me other than what I could do to help meet the needs of everyone else in the family.
The only ‘individual’ attention I got was negative when I did not provide the help that was expected or when I tried to demand that my needs should take priority over others.
My ignored inner child came to the conclusion that I was not important enough to justify individual attention and didn’t deserve the love I craved, or I would have gotten it when I was most vulnerable.
She concluded that the wall was necessary to protect me from feeling the emotional pain of abandonment, and not harmful since I didn’t deserve love or attention anyway.
But the shame felt from feeling the void and loneliness in my heart, regardless of the rationalization of being undeserving, has been the resentment and anger I project to others who trigger fear in my inner little girl of feeling the pain of abandonment again.
Codependency, low self esteem, perfectionism, extreme independence, over explaining/justifying my opinions/feelings, and extreme guilt over demanding any attention to my needs are the way my inner little girl copes with those fears.
Unfortunately those defenses are at the expense of ever filling the deep void inside of me that craves love from others. Those feelings are minimized until shame over how lame that is to do to myself is triggered by someone.
Furthermore, the intensity to which I invest myself into caring for others needs, as a protection from having to risk feeling abandoned or face how unworthy I am of emotional attention or consideration, is unfairly setting up that person for the projected wrath of shame from my inner child.
Eventually something will trigger her resentment over all that investment never having an effect on the deep void inside her.
Those resentful feelings will be rationalized as projections to the other person as anger for multiple reasons:
Because I was giving up so much of my needs, wants, desires for the other person, they should see this as showing how much I love/care for them.
The reason it is not seen or felt as such by the other person is because it was always self-serving to try and fill the empty void in me.
It is impossible for me to give to others what I do not have inside to give myself first. Those acts that I deemed selfless are actually interpreted as selfish or self serving and do not feel the same as loving unconditional kindness by others (regardless of the intent I thought I had).
This ‘misunderstanding’ is at the root of nearly every relationship problem I have had with people.
My resentful and confused inner child usurps my rational and enlightened adult self with every interaction I have with others, and I have been completely unaware of how this comes across to others.
My deep need for love, acceptance, importance, etc makes me come across as inappropriately needy and intense.
Feeling undeserving of love, acceptance, and importance causes me to feel like I need to over explain to prove to others that I actually am deserving of respect/consideration,
- or that my opinion on something should be validated,
- or that despite me being initially unworthy, I can rationally convince people with facts and logic that I am important, and worthy of love/respect,
- or that I am actually smart and my opinions are validated by additional evidence I am providing (over-explaining, repeating myself, talking about what I know/observe/think that is validated by other reputable sources, because I alone am not a worthy source for anything of value).
Having my feelings/emotional needs ignored as a child denied me any validation of my feelings/emotions. I never learned how to express those feelings/emotions because I just had to bury them without ever learning how to properly deal with them.
As a result, I never felt accepted or understood, and that it didn’t even matter to anyone that I felt this way.
My inner child knew it should matter to someone, and I believe that is where my intense need to be understood and resentment from being misunderstood comes from.
I have to learn to properly identify, own, and communicate my feelings to others. This has been further complicated by my reactive behavior that projects unconscious defensive/resentful feelings I have buried, leaving people confused because my expressed actions/behavior do not match my words, and I have not been able to see this.
It affects first impressions of me that have confused and hurt me later, not understanding how anyone would think of me the opposite of how I actually see my rational and kind adult self.
The emotionally needy and ignored inner child is desperately trying to prove she is worthy of the love and attention she craves, but is ashamed about feeling that way and terrified that if anyone knew how insecure she really is that they would abandon her.
She tries to fill that void herself, but the defensive wall of codependency, perfectionism, and intense independence prevent healthy relationships from developing because I need to fill that void by loving myself before someone else can feel loved by me and that their love is felt and accepted by me.
If I expect others to fill that void, I will drain them to the point of exhaustion and still not be satisfied, and blame and resent them for abandoning me (or prevent abandonment altogether by avoiding any risk of feeling vulnerable again, but blame others for my loneliness and isolation).
The past year of my life has been spent learning how to heal my inner child, forgive my parents, and let that other shit go!