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Can I master my inner pain

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  • #394464
    Liz
    Participant

    Hi.  I am new to Tiny Buddha and have spent a long while reading your forums which are painful, inspirational and heartwarming.

    My own pain comes from being childless.  I am now 67 and have tried to accept the fact for more than 45 years that I will never know the joy of my own family.  I have no friends or siblings in the same position and therefor feel that nobody TRULY knows my pain.  A very very long time ago a colleague said to me that “actually you can have a really good life without children ” and she was right.  I have had a good and happy life.  I have a loving husband, we have travelled, we have a lovely home by the sea and in truth want for nothing material.  But inside my heart I will never come to terms with the loss.  My neices and nephew now all have their own babies and being the admiring aunt eats me up every time a new family member in placed in my arms.  I had hoped it would get easier with time but, in fact as the years  march on it gets harder, and the prospect of going into old age with no close family terrifies me.  My husband, I am sure doesn’t know how I feel but we never talk about it.  I know he would get angry and say something like “its about time you got used to it”.    He has children and grandchildren from a previous marriage.  I recall an incident when his grandchildren were small being told by their “other granny”………”don’t try to pretend that they are YOUR grandchildren, because they are not”.  I fear i will take this to my grave.

    #394486
    Tommy
    Participant

    Grant me the peace to accept the things I can’t change,
    the courage to change the things that I can change,
    and wisdom to know the difference.

    #394490
    Peter
    Participant

    Hi Liz
    I have quite a number of friends in the same situation. coming to terms with what cannot be so your not alone.
    My own situation is being single with no children which is not quite the same but I can say. I’ve had those nights of anxiety wondering what if, if only… The most painful state of being is remembering a future that can never be.

    Can you master this inner pain? Yes. I think a place to start is to honor your experience of loss as it is a loss. Will this pain of this loss fully go away? Maybe not but by honoring what you feel you may discover that you don’t have to clink to the experience of loss and can let it flow.

    Not being able to communicate your experience of loss in a safe way with your husband may be part of the reason this loss hurts so much. Anita I think may be able to help you with that.

    #394521
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Liz:

    I am now 67 and have tried to accept the fact for more than 45 years that I will never know the joy of my own family” – meaning that you believed at 22 years old that you will never have children? Was it a medical event, at 22, that made it impossible to get pregnant and give birth?

    You don’t have to answer, of course. Not this question or any other. Answer if you choose to answer.

    I have no friends or siblings in the same position and therefor feel that nobody TRULY knows my pain” – I wonder what your pain is truly about.

    I have had a good and happy life. I have a loving husband, we have travelled, we have a lovely home by the sea and in truth want for nothing material. But inside my heart I will never come to terms with the loss” –

    – Do you mean that you had a good and happy life on the outside/ materially, but not on the inside/ emotionally?

    Being the admiring aunt eats me up every time a new family member is placed in my arms…   I recall an incident when his grandchildren were small being told by their ‘other granny’…’don’t try to pretend that they are YOUR grandchildren, because they are not’” –

    – reads like you are angry, that you feel cheated out of happiness, envious of your nieces who are mothers, angry at your husband’s ex-wife for rubbing it in your face, so to speak, that you do not have children and grandchildren.

    The prospect of going into old age with no close family terrifies me” – if indeed your life was good and happy on the outside/ materially, but not on the inside/ emotionally, it may be that as you observe the natural deterioration of the material body, aka aging, you are becoming more focused on the unhappiness inside. Is this the case?

    My husband, I am sure doesn’t know how I feel but we never talk about it. I know he would get angry and say something like ‘it’s about time you got used to it’. He has children and grandchildren from a previous marriage” – He is aging too. His heart is aching too, as he experiences his own aging. The fact that he has children and grandchildren does not shield him from emotional pain. Just as if you had children and grandchildren, you’d still be in pain.

    Nobody TRULY knows my pain” – what is your pain truly about? I would like to know.

    I am aging too, but my pain is not about the fact that I don’t have children and grandchildren. Much of my pain is about the sorry state of the world, climate change, rising autocracy, Ukraine being perhaps the beginning of World War 3. Scary things. Personally, I think that it’s a good thing that I didn’t bring new people into our world, with so much unnecessary suffering happening and yet to come.

    anita

     

    #394530
    Liz
    Participant

    Anita,  thanks for your reply.  I guess it’s hard to quantify exactly what the pain is.  I suppose that as one grows up you just assume that having a family is automatically going to be a part of lifes journey.  The fact that it took so many years of hoping and disappointment to finally come to the realisation, albeit very slowly, that I was never going to have children, took its toll.  By the time we had lost all hope, we were dismissed as being too old to adopt.   Imagine trying to avoid any situation that twists the knife that extra bit, other peoples babies, magazines, adverts, TV, films etc etc….those years were long and hard.  Very expensive treatment came to nothing  and so in defeat and as some sort of “comfort” I treated myself to a very special and very expensive kitten of a breed I had a real soft spot for.  I loved Ben from the moment I picked him up, but within five weeks he was dead, the result of aggressive breeding.  He broke my heart.   I can say that when I look back on my life I have  worked hard and enjoyed the comforts that hard work affords but there will forever be that missing bit.  Yes, envious is probably a good word if not a little harsh; cheated out of happiness, yes, when it comes to seeing the joy that children can give. The natural deterioration and aging is something that I have no control over, other than being responsible for my health and fitness the best I can.    My own mother died only last year BUT, and this is a HUGE BUT,  the final 15 years of her life would have been utterly miserable had she not had me running around after her and spending every last ounce of my resilience making sure she wanted for nothing.   Following a very messy failed suicide attempt she became totally reliant on me, until she was eventually taken into care, but her demands didn’t stop until she took her final breath. As an annexe to that episode of my life you cannot imagine my disgust and  disbelief when I found out that my brother had “schooled” our mum on how to commit suicide, but she bodged it and paid for it for the rest of her ljfe.  My brother remained untouched by the misery and heartache he had engineered.  If and when I can no longer care for myself there will be no one looking out for me.  I agree with your observation about bringing children into a world on the very edge, but that is the here and now and it was not so 45 years ago.  I can honestly say that reading this back  and thinking back over some very challenging years, I am utterly amazed and thankful for the fact that I have never succumbed  to poor mental health, although the current world order is testing my resolve, along with millions of others.  I have told you some things that I have never aired before to anyone.   That in itself is quite cathartic.   So thank you.  Liz

    Liz

    #394531
    Liz
    Participant

    Tommy thank you.  The Serenity Prayer in forever etched in my mind.

    #394533
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Liz:

    I have told you some things that I have never aired before to anyone.   That in itself is quite cathartic. So, thank you” – you are welcome. I am honored that you felt comfortable to share this with me, I really am! What you shared deserves my full, focused attention, something I don’t have at this time, it being 3:05 pm. I will be back to your thread Tues morning, in about 15 hours from now. Take good care of yourself!

    anita

    #395466
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Liz:

    I apologize, I forgot to return to your thread… for 10 days, and I regret it. I have no explanation as to how I forgot other than that it must have been very busy in the forums on March 8.

    In your three posts you described your life as “a good and happy life“, having “worked hard and enjoyed the comforts that hard work affords“, traveling and having a home by the sea, wanting for nothing materially. And you have a “loving husband“, but emotionally, you feel pain about being childless, and you feel alone with this pain because none of your friends and siblings is childless. The pain is intensified because at 67, “the prospect of going into old age with no close family terrifies me“.

    * You shared that your husband has children and grandchildren from a previous marriage, but clearly, you do not consider your husband’s children and grandchildren as your close family.

    You shared that long ago “very expensive treatments” to get pregnant failed, and that by the time you lost all hope to get pregnant, you and your husband were “dismissed as being too old to adopt“.  You then found some comfort in treating yourself to “a very special and very expensive kitten“, Ben, whom you loved, but he died within five weeks of you having him, and your heart was broken.

    You shared that you took care of your mother for the last 15 years of her life. After she tried to commit suicide (“a very messy failed suicide attempt“), “she became totally reliant on me“, as you spent your time, from about age 51 to 66, “running around after her and spending every last ounce of my resilience making sure she wanted for nothing“. Eventually, she was taken into care, but “her demands didn’t stop until she took her final breath” last year.

    At one point, you found out that your brother “has ‘schooled’ our mum on how to commit suicide“, but she botched the attempt and “paid for it for the rest of her life“. You felt great disgust and disbelief about what he did, but he “remained untouched by the misery and heartache he had engineered“.

    My own mother died only last year BUT, and this is a HUGE BUT, the final 15 years of her life would have been utterly miserable had she not had me… If and when I can no longer care for myself there will be no one looking out for me” –

    * More of my thoughts: I don’t know your brother’s motivation or motivations behind suggesting to your mother how to kill herself. It was definitely irresponsible (and illegal, I figure), to teach an old woman who was not in her right mind how to kill herself. But what was his main motivation? To help her avoid further physical pain (suicide as an act of mercy), or did he want her gone so that he could feel better. Maybe he had your well-being in mind, wanting you to stop running around after her.

    I don’t know. I can’t ask you these questions and receive answers right now because we are not communicating at this time, but I hope that you will be reading this and tell me what you think.

    If he indeed “remained untouched” by her messy suicide attempt and how it negatively affected her and you, if he seemed and felt indifferent, it leads me to think that he was very angry at his mother, and for a long time, ever since he was a boy.

    *** A child’s years long, ongoing anger at his mother is never an indication that there is something wrong with the child, but an indication that there is something wrong with the ways the mother treats the child.

    You wrote that being childless you feel “cheated out of happiness, yes, when it comes to seeing the joy that children can give“, and you referred to being childless as the loss: “Inside my heart I will never come to terms with the loss“.

    It is a possibility, and only a possibility, that your brother and you were cheated out of happiness by a demanding mother, one who was demanding not only in the years before her death, but before, when you and your brother were children. It is possible that she robbed you and him of the joy only a good childhood can give.

    It is therefore possible that the loss you were referring to is the loss of a joyful childhood, one that you did not have. Maybe you invested so much time and effort in those 15 years trying to earn the love of an aging, unloving and demanding mother. In which case, the loss is a mother’s love that was never there.

    * The absence of a mother’s love => the absence of a joyful childhood.

    I would like to communicate further with you, and I will make sure that I will not forget to reply to you again!

    anita

    #396370
    Hermione
    Participant

    If it could be any consolation, let me share my story. I was raped under the promise of marriage so brutally that I had a miscarriage. I cannot bear children and hence the trauma lasted for 10 years. With the help of anita here, I am quite out of it now and have come to terms to being single and childfree for the rest of my life. While I was battling for my life in the hospital, one nurse told me that “Jesus never lets anyone be LONELY”. I believed her and I am leading a wonderful life now. I followed the golden rule below to come to terms with my life:

    Embrace hate – when someone intentionally hurts you saying “other granny”………”don’t try to pretend that they are YOUR grandchildren, because they are not” – just back answer feeling love and nothing but love in your heart. They just want to see tears in your eyes and hence they are teasing you. You have to reply as, “Yes! They may not be my own grandchildren but I still do love them as my own”.

    #396378
    HoneyBlossom
    Participant

    I’m really sorry for your pain Liz.  I had 2 aunts who circumstances prevented then from marrying and having children of their own, but they were such an important part of our family.  One did when I was still a child, but the other passed in her 90s just a few years back.  I can tell you that she changed my life for the better – much better, and I a m eternally grateful.

     

    The “other granny” sounds to me that she was jealous and felt threatened, that she sees genuine affection these grandchildren have for you.  I was only able to have one child, and he and his partner have chosen not to have children. So I did get to have a child of my own, but it seemed to go very quickly.

    Fortunately for me, whilst my income is modest, and I don’t travel, I have a little home of my own.  I live alone with my 2 dogs who are like little children to me.  My son and I live quite a distance away. We only get to see each other a few times a year but speak on the phone for a short while each week.

    I bet that you are a very especial aunt and that they all love you so much. I did become a great aunt in the last year but haven’t gotten to meet the little one yet as my famiIy are all interstate.

    Aunts c a n be special and so are many step-parents and step-grandparents – and those kids most likely j u st see you as granny, not step-granny.

     

    #396390
    Liz
    Participant

    HERMOINE AND HONEY BLOSSOM

    Thanks for the positivity that shines through your responses.  The “other granny” is very possessive and I can well imagine that she would prefer to be in control of the children,  now grown and making their own way in the world.   My neices also now have their own families and I do indeed have a good relationship with the ever growing band of great nephews and neices.  Reading how you both have come to terms with your situations is inspiring.   I know how fortunate I am to have a strong and happy marriage and the comoany of a soft and VERY LOVING dog.  No doubt you both recognise that there are times when the emotions just creep up on you from nowhere.  I wish you both well and again thank you for your responses.

    #400562
    anita
    Participant

    How are you, Liz?

    anita

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