During someone’s early years, they may have generally been able to express themselves. So, while they may have had to lose touch with certain parts of themselves, they won’t have had to completely lose themselves.
Alternatively, this may have been a time when they were generally unable to express themselves. As a result of this, they will have had to become estranged from themselves.
A False Self
In this case, they would have been forced to create a self that had very little to do with who they actually were. This would have meant that their behaviour would have typically been defined by the needs and feelings of others as opposed to their own.
Parts of their personality and some of their interests would then have been covered up and been unable to see the light of day. What this would have done is allowed them to be accepted by one or both of their parents.
A Massive Loss
On one hand, then, they would have lost themselves, but, on the other, adapting in this way would have allowed them to survive. At this stage of their life, they had absolutely no control over what was taking place. The option wasn’t available for them to change their parent or parent’s behaviour or to find another family that could provide them with what they needed.
As they were powerless and totally dependent, their main priority was to survive and therefore, losing themselves to be able to achieve this aim was the least of their worries. Ultimately, they desperately needed their parent or parent’s attention, acceptance and approval.
Nevertheless, losing touch with themselves and becoming someone else didn’t allow them to be truly loved and accepted. Instead, what was provided, however minuscule and insubstantial, was for the role that they played.
Now, many, many years will have passed since this stage of their life but that doesn’t mean that they will now be connected to themselves and freely express who they are. If this is so, it will mean that their needs and feelings, parts of their personality and some of their interests will continue to be submerged.
If they were to reconnect to their needs and feelings, and this won’t necessarily be a straightforward process due to the different defences that they are likely to have in place, they could gradually find that there are parts of themselves and numerous interests that they have long been estranged from. Once they reconnect with them, though, they could wonder how they ever forget about them.
For example, they may have had to lose touch with their sensitivity, extroverted side and even the loving side of their nature. As for their interests, they might not have been allowed to do something because they were seen as the wrong sex, what they wanted to do may have been seen as being bad or shameful and/or and gone against what their parent or parents wanted them to do.
Finding What Was Lost
By engaging in this process, they will become a more whole and integrated human being and be able to live a life that is deeply fulfilling. Facing up to how things were and how they were deprived of what they needed and wanted can cause them to come into contact with a lot of pain.
Thus, this will be a time when they are grieving unmet childhood needs, and this is not a linear process. But, by working through this pain, they will truly be able to let go of their past and move forward.
If they are carrying a lot of pain, they might need to reach out for external support. What this support will do is allow them to go where they wouldn’t go by themselves.
This is something that can be provided with the assistance of a therapist or healer. Once they get stronger and start to develop or embrace their own presence, they will have the ability to do this work by themselves.
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Oliver JR Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 26 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.