ACoAs: Loneliness in Childhood (Part 1)


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I’VE BEEN PUSHED DOWN SO LONG
I don’t know if I can get up!

PREVIOUS: What ACoAs Know & Don’t

ARTICLE: Louise C. Hawkley & John T. Cacioppo, University of Chicago

Def. of LONELINESS (L)
• Sadness resulting from being forsaken or abandoned
• Feeling a strong sense of emptiness, yearning, distress and solitude, from an inadequate quantity or quality of social relationships
• Social pain — a psychological mechanism meant to alert people of being too isolated, which can motivate them to seek social connections
• Dejected or desolate by the awareness of being alone, without companions. Separation between persons or groups
✶ Loneliness is a natural phenomenon, since humans are social creatures by nature. Too much of it is crippling.

QUOTES
• “…..the distressing feeling when one’s social relationships are perceived as being less satisfying than what is desired….” See article above
• “Loneliness, and the feeling of being unwanted, is the most terrible poverty.”  Mother Teresa
• “What loneliness is more lonely than distrust?” George Eliot
• “Anger is a manifestation of a deeper issue… and that, for me, is based on insecurity, self-esteem and loneliness.” Naomi Campbell

CHILDHOOD CAUSES of L.
1. “NORMAL” Stressors
L. is an inevitable result of any form of abandonment.
The following are some of the things all kids can experience growing up – the key to how well they survive is whether or not they’re helped thru these difficulties with accurate information & appropriate emotional support. If not, these events can leave long-tern scars.

Consider the Loneliness of….
Abuses:  being bullied by a sibling, at school, on the playground, in the neighborhood, mistreatment by school or religious leaders
Deaths: of a parent or other important family member, a beloved petblack boy crying
Limitations : Learning disabilities (ADD, Dyslexia…), being poorer than others, not having social skills
Losses: divorce, BFF leaving, falling out with a friend, loss of favorite family member, teacher or neighbor…
Major changes : birth of one or more siblings, one or more moves
Positives: looking ‘different’, being smarter than most others, having a special skill, having more things than others

2. FROM DYSFUNCTION in the Family
In general :lonely gil in rain
• Feeling unloved & unworthy of love, even if they said they loved us
• No one could be trusted, was reliable, consistent, honest, direct
• The sense of not belonging anywhere & that nowhere was safe
• Little or NO COMFORT from anyone, & ultimately – feeling unwanted!

Unhealed ACoAs are fear-based, & the loneliness of daily childhood abandonment underpins all of our fears! And it’s that abandonment (Ab.) loneliness that is at the root of our neediness.  We’re starving for the physical, mental, emotional & spiritual nurturing we didn’t get – & are still longing for, whether we admit it to ourselves or not.  We’re slowly dying inside from the lack of warmth, concern, touch, protection… especially when we were tiny.
FEEL the loneliness in you! Even in Recovery we are so often focused on the blatant abuses we lived thru that we don’t even notice the cruelty of daily neglect.

a. TO FEEL SAFE
Consider the Ab. loneliness of….
…. having to hide from parents, siblings, other relatives, neighborhood kids, baby sitters…. because they’re bullying & beating on you; subjecting you to unfair & unusual punishment, verbal & physical attacks, sexual abuse, teasing, unneeded enemas, sadistic mind-games, not allowing you to have your feelings (“I’ll give you something to cry about!”)…. & no one is really protecting or helping you.
• You’re carrying the constant terror around all by yourself & waiting for the other shoe to drop. Where do you go for safety? Under the bed, or table, in the closet, the neighbor family, in our room, at the library, sports? Someone may know what happening to you, but they can’t intervene & you’re still trapped with the abusers.

Consider the Ab. loneliness of….
…having to constantly fend off boundary invasions, mental & physical.   It may seem like you’re not alone (someone’s always around – in your face, in your business, in your space…), so how can you be lonely? But they’re not really WITH you, at all – rather: at you, using you, controlling you.
It was all about their neediness: getting into every nook & cranny of our body & mind, watching us all the time, fussing with our looks, clothes, actions, even our facial expressions (look ashamed, wipe that look off your face….). OR it was about dysf. ROLESCompetition / ‘one-upping’, between parent & child, between siblings – for skills, attention, knowledge, friends….

Consider the Ab. loneliness of….
…. having to play out a Toxic Role to serve the family sickness:
— only allowed to ‘use’ a small percentage of yourself & having to hide or cut off the rest
— never having the freedom to find out who you really are as a whole person
— not being able to develop at your own pace & for your own benefit ….  (See posts on Toxic Roles)

NEXT: L. in Childhood (Part 2)

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