When I was pregnant with my first, I remember going to watch a movie and as I felt her move inside my body, a magical feeling surfaced, one that I had not felt for so many years. That feeling was love, and it scared me. So much so that I immediately felt pain and fear. And I pushed that euphoric feeling of love away. Since then, this has happened quite a few more times when I have looked at my children and husband.
This love bubble rises through my stomach and as soon as I feel its presence a sharp pang of fear and pain follows. Up until now, finding my voice in the aftermath of childhood abuse has been a focus. And now, at this stage of the healing I see a new goal. And that is allowing myself to feel love.
I understand why the love and pain co-exist. Children in abusive homes never blame their parent. Instead, abuse is internalised. It must be my fault: I’m not good enough, I’m not loveable, I am stupid, I am dumb. A child will always blame themselves. In this experience, any love felt toward the parent becomes toxic. Always trying to please, or in my case, playing along with twisted little narcissistic games that I was too young to fully understand.
I have been switched off from love, I believe, in an attempt to protect myself from imagined fear of abandonment. And now this no longer serves me. There are two precious kids that need me to be open to the experience of love. As much as it hurts, my mission is to let love in. To feel it, allow it to wash over me and through me.
To let that little tortured girl who exists in the cells of my body, know that she doesn’t need to be afraid anymore.