Friday, June 06, 2008

The core wound

I don't normally do this, but I'm going to mention and promote A.J Mahari's blog. I've been researching articles on abandonment, as I feel that this is one of the major difficulties I've been struggling with for most of my life. I know this stems from childhood, the way I was raised, but I don't think I've ever put into words how deeply and profoundly my relationship with my primary caregiver (mother) has affected me throughout my childhood and well into adulthood. The resulting emptiness that I carry inside of me, something that so constantly eats away at me - that is causing me so much heartache and grief.

A.J. Mahari has written several articles on the issue of abandonment. But this is a good one to start with.

She starts:
It is the core wound of abandonment in those who have been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) that is the source of insecure or non-existent attachment that leads to the toxic and unhealthy ruptured relationships that have at their centre emotional enmeshment and an insatiable need for love.

This explains so completely what has happened to me:
The primary relationship, in essence, the first love relationship of your life - the relationship with your mother - is ruptured when primary needs are not satiated. It can also be ruptured by neglect, anger, abuse, inconsistent and/or incongruent parenting. It is this ruptured relationship that impacts the pathological relating seen in and experienced and perpetuated by those with BPD that only continues to recapitulate and reenact this most traumatic loss and the feelings of helplessness and abject terror that accompany it. This repetition compulsion of the original core wound of abandonment sees the borderline cast anyone that he/she tries to relate to into the role of the person (mother, caretaker) that generated this unresolved and traumatic pain.

She explains the cycle of dysfunction so familiar and common amongst people with BPD:
The truth of the matter is that when you have BPD, you are conditioned by the very pain that you are in that you do not know how to cope with, and feel that you must avoid at all costs, to continue to choose the pain and suffering. For many, if not most with BPD, this is truly what is familiar to you. It is what is known. In the absence of a known identity it feels safer to continue to abdicate your personal responsibility and re-play out your original core abandonment wound - and the helplessness associated with it.

I like the way she calls for taking responsibility as an adult. It's too easy to blame others for the way we are, for the things that have been done to us, but I definately agree that change can only happen when we decide to do something about it. It is within our control, even when it doesn't feel like it.
However, now, you, and you alone are responsible, as an adult, for your life, regardless of your past. When you can admit this, sit with this and understand this, you can then make new and different choices to recover from your past.

The thing is, I've taken responsibility. I've admitted this, and I'm sitting with it, and I do understand it - I'm just not quite sure HOW to get rid of that emptiness and continued "insatiable need for love".

It is a relief to know I'm not alone in this. But it is indeed a "core wound". It is a wound of the soul.


Clueless said...

Oh, Polar Bear such a profound subject which is at the core of a person with borderline personality is that attachment or lack of a secure one with the primary caregiver, usually the mother, where that black hole lays. I do/did everything to cover it up. Now, it is here before me. The neverending ache in my heart. The one that makes me feel like I'm going to or I want to die. The wound that seems unsoothable. The one that brings gutteral sobs. You know, I have no idea what this is all about.

Just kidding. Everyone who stays in the journey long enough will encounter their own black hole. You can't make it go away and you can't fill it up because it is insatiable. My therapist always tells me just to be with it. Which always makes me either cry or go away and leaves me raw and vulnerable. Basically, we have to grieve the toughest thing ever, that which was not there, but was "supposed" to be. If we grieve, the hole is smaller and we can fill it with good/healthy things. I am taking this on faith because I've only experience it a little bit. All the things I do and think are defenses so that nobody even myself will feel that hole. But, I do know that if you continue on the journey it will get better. Right now, I go back and forth with feeling that is taken slowly, so that I am not overwhelmed. *hugs* and tenderness on our journey. By the way, it really sucks big time!!! I hope that was helpful and not just a bunch of words.

Anne said...

Acknowledging and believing it is the hardest part, but you're right, things don't just magically fall into place when you do. It's more work, and for me (not being borderline, but with major abandonment issues for a long long time) it was about learning to give myself that love I craved from others. And clueless's therapist is right about just being with it - accepting it and knowing that somehow the intensity of it will pass. Take care in there.

Clueless said...

Tag! Go to " for information


Wandering Coyote said...

The concept of continually gravitating towards the familiar, even though the familiar is pain etc., is something I've read about before. And I think it's so true. We are afraid of unknowns, and if unknowns are happiness and joy, then we fear what we desire most. The paradox of it all is a really hard thing to bear.