Even as a very small child I can remember feeling love and recognising its significance. I recall having an overwhelming sense of joy within myself. I have no memory however, of what inspired this feeling but felt confident even then, of its value. It was Freud that first recognised the three year old child as capable of real love and real rivalry.
For this particular three-year old however I only knew what I felt. A few years later around about the age of eight or nine I heard Nat King Cole singing ‘When I fall in love”. I knew then there was someone out in the big world waiting for me to love and who loved me. A dreamy child, I existed inside myself creating a world in my imagination far better than the world I lived in. I told stories about love, to my dolls and played games about people losing the one they loved and crying. One in particular was about being lost at the railway station, a child looking frantically for its mummy. I was sad, and I think that I was desperate for someone to love and notice me. Of course in retrospect I can see how lonely I was back then and what huge abandonment issues I had because of the way we lived as a dysfunctional family. My father repeatedly beating up my mother whilst my brother and I were reluctant witnesses, often bundled out in the middle of the night to avoid one of their confrontations in his drunken violence. I would wake up on many a morning staying with this or that relative hearing second hand that my mother and brother had taken off somewhere in the quest to find a job presumably to escape from my father. Because I was so little I was left behind and came eventually to decide that I was a hindrance to her, that she didn’t love me as much as my brother. I also made the decision that if I was a very good girl and didn’t ask for anything she might take me with her in her search for employment. I was twelve years old before she finally made a complete break from my father and I felt fortunate that she remembered to take me with her. However in all of that she didn’t fare much better when the next man she went into a relationship was a compulsive gambler who had no sense of responsibility having already left a wife and daughter of his own behind in order to be with my mother. A major decision I made was that I was of little value and could easily be overlooked.
The way we lived as children and the relationship behaviours I observed caused me to become distrustful of relationships, it affected my view of men, however the love I had felt so early as that three year old was to hold me in good stead when I did eventually find the healthy relationship after several mishaps.
I have worked as counsellor/psychotherapist both with individuals and couples looking at how their histories affect the way they live. Seeking out how the decisions we make about ourselves, others and the rest of the world guides us when these decisions are negative towards destructive relationships, we do this in order to replay our history over and over in the vain hope of finding a healthy ending.
However whether we ever recover from the early rejection is another matter. Maybe what happens we compensate as we become more emotionally literate carrying a little rucksack of defences in order to get through life.