Healing Family of Origin GriefBy Dr. Margaret Paul
September 25, 2023
Do you feel stuck with old grief about not having had a loving healthy family? This grief may be about how you are treating yourself now.
"I am always craving to be part of a healthy family," said Cathy, one of my clients. "The need feels insatiable. I know that I need to grieve the fact that I didn't have that, and I do. But I can't seem to grieve enough to heal this. How do I heal it? Can I heal it?"
Many of us did not come from a healthy family. We did not receive the warmth, safety, stability, support, and affection that we needed. We did not feel loved. Many people try to heal this by creating their own loving family, giving to their children what they always wanted from their parents and never received. While this is a wonderful thing to do and can result in much joy, it may not heal the longing for a healthy family of origin.
Obviously, we can’t go back and redo our family of origin - at least not on the outer level. But we can do this on the inner level. When someone longs for what they did not receive in the past, it is because they are not giving it to themselves in the present.
We all have the opportunity to create the family of our dreams on the inner level.
We have the ability to become the mother and father to our inner child that we always wished we had.
What does this mean?
"Cathy," I said to her, "think about that little child within - the part of you that craves to be part of a healthy family. See if you can feel compassion for that part of you, the part of you with the insatiable need. What does that part want that she never got?"
"She wants to feel safe and loved. She wants to know that she is never alone - that mom and dad will be here for her when she is sad or scared. She wants to be held. She wants to laugh and have fun with her parents and be hugged by them all the time. She wants them to care about her feelings."
"Yes, she wants and deserves all of that. Do you want to give that to her or are you hoping that someone else will come along and give her what she didn't get?"
"Yes, that's what I've been hoping. But so far no one ever does it right!"
"Since you are the one who knows exactly what she wants and since you are the one who is always with her, why don't you want to be the one to give her what she needs?"
"How old is the part of you who is saying that?"
"Is it the responsibility of a 15 year old to take care of the child?"
"No, but there is no one else to do it."
"So you think someone else can do it better - that others are more capable than your 15 year old? My experience is that most people don't take very good care of themselves - like your parents didn't. Why would they want to take care of you when they don't want to take care of themselves? And what makes you think they even can when they don’t know how to take care of themselves?"
"Yeah. Well I guess that's the problem!"
"Cathy, put your focus into your heart and open to learning about what would be loving to you. Invite love and compassion into your heart for your child who wants so much to feel loved. Imagine your guidance with you, holding you, bringing love into you. You are not 15, and you are not alone. The ability to take loving care of yourself is here, right now. You just need to move into the intent to learn and you will learn how. And when you do it, your grief will be gone."
The grief about the past is now. It is about how you are treating yourself now - right now.
It’s likely about the fact that you are continuing to treat yourself the way your parents treated you. As you practice Inner Bonding and develop your spiritually connected loving adult who can love your inner child, your family of origin grief will heal.
Join Dr. Margaret Paul for her 30-Day at-home Course: "Love Yourself: An Inner Bonding Experience to Heal Anxiety, Depression, Shame, Addictions and Relationships."
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Begin each day with setting your intention for the day. What do you want? Do you want to walk in love, peace and joy? Do you want to be present in the moment, connected with yourself and in oneness with Spirit? Do you want to be kind and compassionate? Creative and productive? Open to learning each moment? Think about who you want to be and set your intention for the day - out loud.
By Dr. Margaret Paul