August 08, 2007


Reparenting and Attachment

I have sunk into a really sticky, dark trauma spot that needs to be processed. Unfortunately, I'm in limbo-land until I can get more private alone time. This won't happen until a week from Thursday, when my son starts back at school.

I asked my T, "Can't I just keep rocking the baby? That was so much more enjoyable." The "rocking-the-baby" I referred to is a reparenting/attachment exercise I've been working on with my T. I'm hopeful and optimistic that it is possible for me to reparent my wounded inner child parts. Up until now, however, I haven't done any of this work for myself before the age of three.

I'm convinced that I never experienced any healthy attachment or bonding with my mother. I believe I bonded with my twin, but not to the woman who birthed me.

You see, my mother had already tried to leave my psycho father when my older brother was just a baby. A neighbor, who was spying on my parents at the request of my maternal grandfather, had witnessed my infant brother flying out the front door of his house, at the hands of my father. Luckily, he landed on the grass in the front yard and received few injuries. But, that was enough for my mother to leave my father. I guess the woman did have motherly-type protection instincts, at least at one point (maybe just for male babies, I don't know).

The way she always told the continuation of this story is like this: So, she moves back in with her parents, away from the psycho child abuser. But, then--as if punished by God or Satan--she finds out she's pregnant again. To add insult to injury, she's pregnant with twins. She's still in the town where my grandparents lived when she gives birth to me and my sister. My father did not come to the hospital to visit my mother or us.

Then, for some mysterious reason (Christian-induced "family" obligation, to get away from my over-bearing grandfather, who knows), my mother reunites with my father. She then proceeds to move six hours away from everyone she knows to set up house in a new state with my father for his new teaching job. Now she's stuck, alone with no support, in a new state with three kids in diapers. And the daily house-of-horrors abuse scenario mushroomed from there. It took this woman almost eight more years to finally divorce the monster who was my father. My theory is that it took physical abuse directed at her to finally get her to take action. I don't think it had anything to do with his abuse of us kids. She allowed him full visitation rights as part of the divorce--never fought it or questioned it as far as I know.

Anyway, it seems obvious to me that I never bonded with this woman. There was no healthy attachment that took place. Part of the challenge, I'm sure, was the fact that we babies were twins. There were two of us and we were huge. We each weighed in at over eight pounds at birth. Shouldn't that be in the record books somewhere? Almost seventeen pounds of baby! Yowzer! My mother always blamed us for the "fact" that she just couldn't lose weight after that. Hhhmmmm, I don't think you can logically blame 300 pounds of obesity on "baby weight."

We were an unwanted, unplanned birth...and there were two of us! My mother always acted like we were some kind of cosmic "double-whammy" punishment and curse.

One of the goals with my reparenting is to convince my child parts that, unlike my birth mother, this mother (me) believes children are a blessing. Children are adorable, precious treasures who are to be cherished, protected and loved.

So, I bought myself a doll. It represents the infant me. I rock her and I sing to her. These are the words I wish someone had said or sung to me after I was born. These are the words I comfort myself with as I attempt to reparent my infant self:

You're my beautiful baby girl
You're an angel in this world
You're adorable
My beautiful baby girl

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Healing the inner child is an important part of trauma recovery as is coming to terms with our parents when they weren't there for us like we needed them. Glad to see you posting again. Good luck on your path.
For me, attachment to my daughter came before she was born and grew stronger than eve imaginable once I had her. I can't figure out how your mother (and mine) didn't have that. Were they not born with it? Did they stifle it? Ignore it? I don't know. I just know it wasn't there.
Glad to "see" you, too, Karma. And I always wish you the best of luck on your path as well.
Enola: Yes, I keep telling myself that I know how to do this--this re-parenting--because I did it with my own child, my son. I, too, felt quite attached to him before he was born and consider the day of our birth experience one of the most wonderful, extraordinary days of my life. I cannot fathom why our mothers didn't have this for us, their babies. We did deserve it, I know that. It was about what they couldn't provide, not about what we didn't deserve. I'm just glad that we were able to provide healthy bonding and attachment for our own children. This is just one way that survivors CAN thrive! ;)

Good for you! This is also a tool I used. Eventually I got to the point where I could just imagine holding and rocking and loving the child I'd been but the doll made it concrete in the beginning. I could look at the doll and see that every child deserves to be held and loved--maybe even me.
our bonding started once we knew we were pregnant finall ywe had a chance to look after soemthign we had never had a chance to before.
We are so so sorry for your pain to you all very sorry
Yes, April: you're right--EVERY child!

Thanks for the hugs, JIP. I'm sorry for your pain, too. I wish I could take all the pain away for every unwanted and abused child.
Ah, what a sweet song you made up for your younger parts. They're lucky to have someone so willing to nurture them.

I've often thought that if my mother had been the victim of sexual violence (rather than her kids), things would have taken a different turn. She could easily look the other way because (and I cringe to think this, but believe it's true) we kids were there to take up the slack as far as her "marital duties" were concerned.

I never bonded with my mother either. Some women seem to be missing some inherent component in their maternal instinct. I don't know if that's from their upbringings, or what. But I do know that I bonded with each one of my 5 sons before their births--so it can't be simply that my mother didn't get her needs met as a child. Neither did I, and I love my kids to death.
Thanks, Beauty. Yeah, thank God those of us who didn't get our needs met as children are able to still love our own kids.
Dear marj

First we hope this makes it onto your blog, we have had problems posting comments...we too had to learn to love our littles and we even went so far as to let jM hold our littles and for us, inside to hold and protect them and rock them. it does make a diff because they needed to know that our bigs would protect them and really do care. to be honest your mother sounds just like ours, and we seem to be saying that to a lot of people, moms are a big problem in multiples lives.

sorry we have not retried to comment before now

peace and blessings


Im trodding through similar waters myself at the present. Havent found the right words to post just yet but I wanted to tell you that Im sitting right there with you.


Yay, Keepers! You can comment again.

Cassie and Keepers: I'm sitting right there with both of you friends,with safe hugs and comfort!
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