Can you mourn what you never had?
That feeling of emptiness, of something missing, of there being a dark hole, a void where something once was.
Mourning involves loss, traditionally the loss of another person in your life and the more important that person was, the closer the relationship with that person the deeper and larger the hole, the darker the void when we loose her, him.
People instinctively understand the how damaging, how traumatic the loss of a parent can be to a child. How that trauma can follow him or her. People understand that even as an adult that loss is never far away.
People instinctively understand that grief is a very normal reaction in these circumstances. They understand the damage loss can cause the pain that fills the void left behind.
But it is this idea, that grief, the pain and damage, are inextricably linked to, require, loss that makes it so difficult for them to understand how a survivor of child abuse feels, how a child abused by a parent feels. It can’t be grief can it? Where it’s the loss, of a person or relationship? Yes ther it’s pain but it must be something else, a mental health issue or attention seeking. And as an adult surely its time you, the survivor, came to terms with it.
After all how can you lose what you never had, never felt, never knew?
Maybe its because we see, saw, how parents should be when we were children, maybe the society we lived in taught us to expect parental love, parental protection or maybe nature built into us the need and the understanding intuitively of what a parent should be for a child.
I don’t know the answer. I do know the child, the small boy, the young teen sitting on his bed crying because he needs his mother to hold him and tell him it will be ok. I do know the boy scared to tell his mother he is unwell in case she reacts badly, I do know the boy terrified that his mother will let ‘THEM come and take him away’. I do know the boy who knew, who instinctively understood what he needed, what he was being denied what that void in his soul was.
I do know the boy who locked away his memories of being abused but could never find a box strong enough to lock away the grief, the pain the fear of never having a mother he should have had.
So can you grieve for something, somebody, you never had? Maybe you don’t like the idea of it being grief, maybe you want to give it another name. But understand it is real, it is there and it is soul destroying.
No it isn’t a mental health issue, no it isn’t a personality disorder and no it isn’t attention seeking.
It’s not losing something you never had, it’s never having something that is intrinsic to what it is to be human. It’s not suddenly having a void in your soul, it’s never ever having known what it is like to not have that void but knowing that others do and that being without that void is inexplicably wonderful .