lonely/distant feeling about childhood

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tea-the-artist

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lonely/distant feeling about childhood
« on: October 28, 2016, 11:40:40 PM »
Every piece about my childhood that I remember, small scenario, I can see myself just alone. Not really interacting with my parents in affectionate ways. I can just remember being around them for "important" things like mom doing my hair or being lifted up to blow out birthday candles. Being driven to school. Even when we had family trips to Disney World, I just don't remember any affectionate stuff. We had fun times, that would make us look like a happy family.

Even going to malls and shopping in holidays (a fond memory because my dad worked at a game shop and my mom brother and I would shop and it "felt" really warm), I just have this "distant" feeling about it. There's some things I remember, like hanging by my dad's arm as he lifted me, my mom painting my nails (maybe age 3 or 4).

My earliest memory is when I was around 3. I just don't... Ugh it just feels like more evidence that I wasn't ever properly loved and cared for. I hate that I can't remember. Even as I got older, I can't remember any hugs or kisses or any real bonding except with my brother (and we bonded more like friends who played together, rather than close family that played and loved each other). I know my parents both had jobs and had to have me babysat up to when I was in 1st grade (then I would wait in "The Office" place at our apartment complex at the time till I was 11 until my brother came to pick me up after his school let out).

Like.. I really was alone a lot. Not even by my own will at those times I don't think. I just had to be away from my parents for hours until they came home or picked me up. And even after then, they'd be in their room or I'd be in mine doing homework.

I don't think I hate myself for not remember, just.. hate the fact that not much is coming up to mind. Maybe I'm scared and sad and upset about verifying that I really was emotionally neglected and abandoned (I mean I believed it, but maybe I believed it because I felt obligated to since physical things lasted up to middle school, and emotional abuse wasn't noticeable until around middle and high school ages). All the recent saying "We love you" and "I love you, you know that?" just never felt real. It just felt like a word. That maybe I knew the meaning of in TV show families that I adored (like "Parenthood") but never in real life.

I don't know. I felt so content today and now I'm so upset because they all really thought providing for me financially and taking me to school and buying me food and clothing and toys was enough to qualify for a healthy love. But it's just not and that doesn't even anger me it just makes me feel so small and sad I cried writing this entire thing.

I remember the one time my brother had detention when he was in high school, and I waited for so long for him to come get me, and he never showed. I cried so much that day until my dad came to get me.  And now, I can remember as I got older, every time my dad was late to picking me up, I would start tearing up, feeling forgotten and abandoned (even in high school).

And now it seems like I've just never really felt a part of anything. Even in the newspaper clubs I was in in high school and colleges. I never felt like anybody's real friend, despite being friends. Even with my best friends, it took so long to feel a part of their group, as newspaper crew and also as best friends. Even now I still feel distant about it. Like all that was just fake. And any sign of abandonment I'll just isolate myself so it won't hurt so bad... Even here, I feel like I just drift in and out, but not really a part of any thing.

it's strange, the past few months whenever I daydreamed about moving out, I never see Myself interacting with friends or other people. Just, alone. On a roof or by a lake or at the beach late at night. I don't even like being alone and yet I constantly isolate myself.

I've been having a lot of realizations lately and it's just sad because they don't even know. How could parents who work hard to provide for their children so they have food, shelter, clothing and an education and proudly tout that parental horn, how could they ever even realize they skipped right over love and affection? How could they really ever know. It's almost no wonder I don't respond (respond well or respond at all) to comfort and validation except with an auto pilot smile and gratitude.
--edit
at least on the bright side, I've realized why it's upsetting when I think about people being "too busy" to contact me. sounds familiar, feels familiar (except now it just triggers a good ol' EF of intrusive self-invalidating thoughts)
« Last Edit: October 29, 2016, 12:05:33 AM by tea-the-artist »

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sanmagic7

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Re: lonely/distant feeling about childhood
« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2016, 12:07:34 AM »
i can so relate, tea.  we looked like a great family, i had friends and cousins who wished they could be part of m family.  but the touch, the words, the hugs, the affection was missing, and no one saw that.  my mom was a stay-at-home mom, but her obsession was a clean house.  she was obsessed about her kids on one level, but there was never any evidence in the living room that there were any kids in the house at all.  however, we could've eaten off the floors. 

when you don't get that feeling of belonging that comes with being 'gathered in' as i like to call it (come here, you look like you need a hug, or, honey, what's wrong?  come sit next to me and tell me about it) i think it's difficult to find it outside of your family.  you weren't wired for that feeling, so it's hard to just find it at random. 

i do believe that you can discover it as you keep putting your feet in the water, reaching out to others, and allowing them to reach out to you.  i want to gather you in right now, give you a big hug and tell you it's all gonna be all right.  i wish i could.  but, know that you're not alone with this problem.  it takes time and a willingness to let people in, even tho it's a feeling you're not used to.  small steps, dear tea.  small steps.

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tea-the-artist

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Re: lonely/distant feeling about childhood
« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2016, 08:29:19 PM »
when you don't get that feeling of belonging that comes with being 'gathered in' as i like to call it (come here, you look like you need a hug, or, honey, what's wrong?  come sit next to me and tell me about it) i think it's difficult to find it outside of your family.  you weren't wired for that feeling, so it's hard to just find it at random. 

the strange thing san, is that I "feel" like I did. In a way I guess. I found really great people, especially in the last few years who have yet to dump me but only lately have I realize that I just don't "feel" the love and care. The last times I saw them, and many times before, if it was for hours, I would feel fine up until parting ways for another get together. I dont even know how to explain it really, I mean two of them are offering me space to live so I can move out, like that's how much they really care and are concerned. I guess we don't talk too much about the really really emotional stuff. They've only seen me cry twice and that was just 3 years ago. So maybe I really haven't found that place like I thought I have :'( this really sucks..

i guess in a logical way I'm glad to know I'm not alone in a lot of the ways I feel, but it's still really hard not to feel alone despite being aware you and possibly others feel the same too.

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Face

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Re: lonely/distant feeling about childhood
« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2016, 07:40:02 PM »
Hey tea-the-artist,

I am also in the same boat. I teared up reading your story, because its very familiar. I really know that feeling and it can be really hard sometimes, remembering that you aren't alone, forgotten, bad or wrong. I agree with the idea of thinking of it as all small steps, of becoming that person for yourself, so that you are always loved and safe, in that way.
I like to think of it as finally coming home, to my self.
 :spaceship:

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sanmagic7

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Re: lonely/distant feeling about childhood
« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2016, 12:10:25 AM »
i have recently discovered that i have a condition where it's difficult, if not impossible, to feel my feelings, or be able to verbalize what i'm feeling.  not being able to feel being loved and cared about fits in there, even tho i have people in my life who love and care about me dearly and deeply.  i just can't 'feel' it!  i know it's there logically, but that's it.  so, yes, i've felt alone, by myself, on my own for most if not all of my life.  i know this started for me before i was 2, with my emotions being neglected or not allowed 'stop crying or i'll give you something to cry about' but never wanting to know what was causing my distress in the first place.

it's a strange feeling to be non-feeling.  i floated thru most of my life like that.  rarely ever felt fear, so i did things that other people thought were brave and courageous, but i just thought they were something to do.  no emotions attached.  i've begun working on it, and can now feel fear, sometimes way more than i wish!  but, i'd like to feel those good 'warm fuzzy' feelings that others talk about.  i think that would be great.  best to you with this.  i think there's a way out.

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tea-the-artist

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Re: lonely/distant feeling about childhood
« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2016, 05:02:16 AM »
I agree with the idea of thinking of it as all small steps, of becoming that person for yourself, so that you are always loved and safe, in that way.
I like to think of it as finally coming home, to my self.
 :spaceship:

Hey Face, I think that's a really interesting and nice way to think of it. i'd like to be able to one day. i don't like this drifting feeling.

i have recently discovered that i have a condition where it's difficult, if not impossible, to feel my feelings, or be able to verbalize what i'm feeling.  not being able to feel being loved and cared about fits in there, even tho i have people in my life who love and care about me dearly and deeply.  i just can't 'feel' it!  i know it's there logically, but that's it.  so, yes, i've felt alone, by myself, on my own for most if not all of my life.  i know this started for me before i was 2, with my emotions being neglected or not allowed 'stop crying or i'll give you something to cry about' but never wanting to know what was causing my distress in the first place.

it's a strange feeling to be non-feeling.  i floated thru most of my life like that.  rarely ever felt fear, so i did things that other people thought were brave and courageous, but i just thought they were something to do.  no emotions attached.  i've begun working on it, and can now feel fear, sometimes way more than i wish!  but, i'd like to feel those good 'warm fuzzy' feelings that others talk about.  i think that would be great.  best to you with this.  i think there's a way out.

San at first when I read this, I wanted to say that this couldn't be me because I always have seen myself as emotional and sensitive. But reading your comment over I wonder if my feelings (in my short adult life) have actually been tied to the present at all. I'm thinking of TV shows and movies that hit hard "at home" but in reality they made me emotional over my past. Video game endings where characters and their friends will "meet again some day," it hit hard because it felt like abandonment (I cried when my friends graduated college, feeling like I'd never see them again even though at the time we lived 10 minutes apart). My summer web series art commission, I almost didn't take it because "To do and be in art, I have to be good at it," like my dad told me when I was in high school.

So now, it really does feel like I'm just detached or something. Floating around. Any reactions to someone is me feeling how I must have felt as a child (and teenager). I mean, I can function "in the present" like for work or chores or messaging friends, but really.. am I really just floating around? I don't even know what that means (other than another thing to journal about) for my recovery.

Sometimes I think I feel those fuzzy feelings when I see certain things but it always only lasts a couple of seconds and I forget the feeling. :Idunno: this is so strange...

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Fightsong

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Re: lonely/distant feeling about childhood
« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2016, 09:00:02 AM »
I think of this as a kind of  autopilot dissociation. I'm not going to fall into the trap of labelling your experience as a 'thing' or a 'symptom'; thats just how Ive come to see it for myself.  I  could never quite put my finger on it - the kind of  not-presentness of it that you describe. Until recently.   And the lonliness or emptiness it engenders. I think you end up 'missing' so much of whats going on her and now, by simply not being there. Its an excellent way of not having to deal with feelings -  which we perhaps have no template for managing or are afraid of in some way - likely learnt in childhood, or feel ashamed of having / feel guilty for having. Awareness of this 'distance' from reality is a bit of an a-ha! I think. Or it was for me.   Although it might not feel really quite the same as say an EF or a panic attack I think the same kind of grounding techniques can help - what sounds can I hear? What can I touch and how does it feel under my hand? What colours can I see, name them? And  touching your body - here is my head, my face, my hands.

But clearly to be effective you have to have recognised that you have 'gone'. Right? Thats the tricky bit.

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tea-the-artist

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Re: lonely/distant feeling about childhood
« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2016, 05:46:06 PM »
Honestly Fightsong, labeling parts of my experience as "dissociation" has been in the far far deep back of my mind for the past year now. I've been reluctant about it because I don't feel "out of body" or like I'm watching myself and things happen as if I'm just above myself or as if I'm watching things like in a movie (but also reading that it was tied to BPD, which some things I shared in common, but not all things. and that sort of made me even more reluctant about calling anything I experience "dissociation").

Like, it's hard to grasp and hold onto those warm fuzzy feelings san mentioned, because my feelings and thoughts drift off to the past, I've realized. It's so hard to not explain it and have it end up sounding like possible dissociation because in a way I do feel like I'm just kind of doing things in an autopilot way. So far I've got really no clue when it starts and ends. If it ever even has ended.

Though, recently I've been realizing how much "missing" I've been experiencing. It's kind of scary now that I think about it. I don't focus on the really fun time I had hanging with friends, but rather, the feeling of dread and abandonment when we leave each other (and I realized also recently that this stems from emotional neglect and abandonment since early childhood). Even holiday dinners (which haven't been enjoyable since I was maybe 10), I focus on potential dangers that replicate what happened in the past, and not what's actually going on. Even if I'm "perfectly calm"-seeming.

Its an excellent way of not having to deal with feelings -  which we perhaps have no template for managing or are afraid of in some way - likely learnt in childhood, or feel ashamed of having / feel guilty for having. Awareness of this 'distance' from reality is a bit of an a-ha! I think. Or it was for me.

Haha for me it's kind of an "oh no!" rather than a-ha! To realize my feelingless-ness is scary... Whether or not it's dissociation. The distance is scary, realizing it's there and not just a "not paying attention" is scary too. Even as I write this I don't even exactly "feel scared" but.. I don't know how to explain it. Logically, I know that's a scary thing. But I don't feel it emotionally.

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Fightsong

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Re: lonely/distant feeling about childhood
« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2016, 06:21:43 PM »
Its Ok Tea, it doesn't have to have a name, that's what I was saying. Its not always helpful. But it sounds like you don't want it be dissociation but suspect it is? Am i reading that wrong?

Do you 'know' when you 'aren't there?' / 'are on autopilot' ? / have 'drifted off'?  Can you say at the time ? or just afterwards? Or is it just all the time? Can you remember what made you have your 'oh -no!' moment?

What does the place you drift off to look like or feel like?

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tea-the-artist

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Re: lonely/distant feeling about childhood
« Reply #9 on: November 07, 2016, 09:27:37 PM »
Nope Fightsong, you're reading it right. I've suspected it for a while now but I'm wary I guess because I was nervous about what it'd mean for my recovery (like thinking I'm progressing, but not actually?). For me, with mental illness, I just always want to make sure everything is real, that I know concretely what I'm labeling is 100% what I'm experiencing. Not having access to therapy really prevents that for me, but CPTSD is the only thing I've been sure about.

Only every now and then, usually if someone's talking to me, I feel kind of distant. I can carry the conversation just fine, but it feels weird, like we're speaking to each other, but I don't "feel" that. I can laugh to funny things they say, and I can say funny things that will make them laugh too. But most of the conversation is kind of.. I'm leaning to say "blurry" or "fuzzy" like I heard it and can respond, but it just feels like I'm a bystander or I'm someone else sitting a table away but eavesdropping on the conversation. Like I'm not a part of it, but logically I know I am? If that makes any sense at all.

I noticed recently when my mom's talking to me, and she's sitting and I'm standing, I tend to sway around a bit. Or if I'm alone in my room, I'm often sitting and swaying and "doing nothing." Sometimes I'll kind of drift out of it or get distracted by something to snap me out of it, other times I think I can catch it, and in my mind I'll say things like "Hey stop that!" or "Stop faking! Stop pretending to space out or whatever you're doing!" It's weird.

Usually after get togethers with friends, I get that distant feeling too. I can recall some of what we talked about or did (though sometimes I forget details or get them out of order), but it doesn't feel like I was there.

Sorry to make this so long, but I just thought. A few months ago, my mom was trying to comfort me after I had said something to my dad, getting myself in trouble. I was mostly nonverbal, and she said something about if I knew that everyone loved and cared about me and I shrugged and just that whole (very long) conversation/mostly one-sided, I couldn't feel that comfort. I don't know if it relates to dissociation, but the things she said, I just didn't feel it. I know it has to do with past neglect, and that ruining my ability to truly believe people when they say good things about me, but when I hear it or read it, it's like suddenly I'm distancing. Almost like "Who are you talking to?" like I'm not the person she's speaking to. I know what she said, but the words didn't affect me.

If I can describe the "place" at all, it must be transparent. Wherever I am, I know it's there, either in my room, a store, wherever. It feels like a replica of where I physically am, but feels like I'm floaty or daydreamy. I'm not sure how to describe.

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Fightsong

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Re: lonely/distant feeling about childhood
« Reply #10 on: November 08, 2016, 08:52:47 AM »
Tea, your second paragraph here is very familiar to me. Its part of what I struggled to call / not call dissociation. I wanted to label it but feared labelling it would 'mean something' - i.e. something bad. I sort of both really wanted it to be something concrete and also really didnt want it to be that if you know what I mean.

Its been a big part of my recent realisations and I am sad I have 'missed so much' really. Ha - Ha Fightsong has a terrible memory, lalala, actually its sad. I was drifting off for some self protective reason. Like you say this is quite a constant  / daily experience.

Recently I have been more comfortable with the idea that it probably is a kind of dissociation, but that thats okay - it took a while struggling against it actually - reading about kinds dissociation and telling myself thats not what happens to me sometimes and at other times 'holy cow thats what happens to me'.  I think the first time I was really 'aware' that I'd 'gone' - was a big eye opener.  (It was only like about 2 weeks ago just to show you how 'new' I am to this crap). I thought right I'm going to try some of this grounding stuff and back I came.

I also have times - less often when I actually feel in a bubble - like I am 2 steps behind myself, watching the events take place - i can interact with people if asked a question directly for example but I'm not really there and time kinda slows down.  I know what triggers this now I think and am beginning to understand it.

Someone might come along in a minute and say that this sounds nothing like dissociation and Im fine with that, Its what happens to me and that's that.  Good Luck Tea .

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tea-the-artist

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Re: lonely/distant feeling about childhood
« Reply #11 on: November 08, 2016, 05:08:59 PM »
Thanks for the luck Fightsong :) I have a lot of those "hey wait that happens to me!" and also those "well that doesn't happen so it can't possibly be me at all 100% not me!" moments.

Wow I'm glad I'm not the only new person to it possibly (after a year you'd think I might be closer to knowing by now..). I think that's where my problem may be, being unable to spot it, and then unable to know when to try grounding techniques. I think very most of the time I feel just a half step out  of myself. Or just an behind myself. Like a certain part of Me is doing the work, but the ME Me is behind and catching up on the feelings and emotions (and even then it's difficult to really "feel" or catch up at all).

It's all very new indeed but I'm going to keep documenting what I can and trying to make sense out of what I'm experiencing.

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tea-the-artist

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Re: lonely/distant feeling about childhood
« Reply #12 on: November 08, 2016, 08:22:15 PM »
oh no.. :'(  I just remembered something again. I've been looking through the Inner Child board and came across someone saying "Love that little girl you remember... Can you pick her up in your imagination?" and I really thought about that image and what it might feel and look like for me but.. I can't.

I can't see any child at all  :'( :'( I feel even more upset. I remember this time long ago when I was I think in elementary or middle school. There was this photo of my brother and I (we're 5 1/2 years apart) at one of our first homes, in the backyard in snow. He's waving at the camera and I'm a little ways behind him, looking down trying but I guess trying to follow and catch up. And every time I saw that photo I got so teared up and wanting to cry. Right now I'm struggling to keep it together writing this(my work is so lax but I don't know why I bother trying to write here instead of at home).

I still don't know why I was upset. I can see the photo clearly in my head though. Maybe I felt like I was being left behind in the photo. i don't remember that day at all (I must have been 2 or so. I'll have to ask my mom). I really don't know. I seem to remember a lot of feelings dealing with childhood, but it's so hard to get the image of her. Maybe it's because I don't look at baby Tea and Little Tea pictures often at all. Maybe it's just my overall bad memory.

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Fightsong

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Re: lonely/distant feeling about childhood
« Reply #13 on: November 11, 2016, 11:06:22 AM »
Oh Tea, don't worry about not being able to bring little tea to mind. Its not an instant thing.  For me once the child  appeared it was like - 'woah - there a child sitting right there '-  a really clear image , and then the child would 'appear'  from time to time. First just standing there, never making eye contact, and then gradually looking up, connecting with me, talking, raging even a few times. But before 'appearing'  it was just an idea,  a theoretical thing.  I don't know if it is the same for everyone - probably not I guess. And all that inner child stuff feels properly wierd and corny when you being it. But 'little tea' might become clearer if you pay attention them / make space for them to come/ let them know you are ready and willing for them to come.  They might need to learn to trust you first. After all they've been hidden away a long time. They might not feel safe yet.

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sanmagic7

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Re: lonely/distant feeling about childhood
« Reply #14 on: November 11, 2016, 02:13:47 PM »
it sounded to me like you found an image of little tea in that photo.  behind.  not the center of attention.  so small and trying to fend for themself in the midst of all that snow.  that may be what resonated with you in the quote 'love that little girl.  can you pick her up in your imagination?'  maybe that's the little tea that could use your love, your gentle, caring touch, your attention, your warmth, would delight in being picked up in your imagination.  just a thought.