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How do you cope without nurture?

(14 Posts)
Spanishrain Sat 09-Apr-16 06:05:41

How do you cope with the longing for nurture? One of my therapists once said it's like learning to live with a disability, you learn to accommodate it. I don't think I'll ever feel truly happy/at peace/relaxed because I long for nurture. I had an horrifically abusive upbringing and cut off all my (very small) family as a result. I then married and divorced a very disturbed/abusive man. I now find myself in my middle years, never really having had much experience of what it must feel like to be properly loved and nurtured. I imagine how nice it must feel to have a loving mother, someone to admire & fawn over you. How nice it must feel to have a family of positive supportive people. I've no idea how I keep going sometimes. I try to cultivate a wide circle of friends but there is always a hole in my heart from all the neglect in my life. How do you cope without nurture, when all you have is yourself?

Buzzardbird Sat 09-Apr-16 06:13:10

I think you have to be pragmatic about it. You get what you get and you have to get on with it. Sometimes it gets you down and you feel sad but the rest of the time you manage, like everyone else. One thing I am greatly aware of is that no-one is as perfectly happy as you might think they are. I hope you get to meet someone lovely and feel some of that adoration but I wonder if people like us don't love ourselves enough for anyone else to feel that way about us?

FrancisdeSales Sat 09-Apr-16 06:55:39

I have come to my own concludion that most spa style treatments are a form of mothering for grownnups. If you can afford it I woul get regular deep relaxing massage which will help with the lack of physical nurture. I find various spiritual contexts also help - my only caveat is it should be free. Such as sitting in a peaceful church. You can pay to go on a spiritual retreat and many are very reasonable. Swimming, saunas all help.

daisiesinthespring Sat 09-Apr-16 07:06:28

That's a really interesting way of looking at it, Framcisde

OP I've no useful advice to be honest as my position is in some ways similar flowers I don't think you can be too pragmatic about it - yes, that might be the outward face the world sees if you like but inside you of course it must hurt.

Buzzardbird Sat 09-Apr-16 07:11:43

You see the spa thing wouldn't work for me because I know they don't really care for you, they are being paid to do it. Now if a lovely partner fussed over you, that would be different.
I think religion must be a comfort...but it's not for me.

I sound a bit 'black and white' don't I?

It's all a 'front'.

Geekology Sat 09-Apr-16 09:06:04

I had a similar childhood and am at the stage of life now where I'm reflecting on exactly that.

I think I both yearn for nurture and yet I'm scared of it too. I'm still learning to nurture myself. I have been thinking about therapy and it's capacity to nurture (and I've had a ton of therapy, though not in it now). I was having exactly Buzzards thoughts yesterday, about therapy, and whether I should go back to it - but I don't want nurture that I've paid for, now I want it from relationships in which I can give as well as receive freely.

It's hard though. My 'front' is that I don't need anyone.

RiceCrispieTreats Sat 09-Apr-16 09:45:59

You nurture yourself: practice giving yourself praise and support, and kindness when you stumble.

You cultivate mutually supportive friendships.

You develop an attitude of gratitude for what you do have.

You avoid relationships where you feel the urge to "prove" yourself and gain validation from the other person.

You go easy on yourself for all the flaws and gaps you know you have: they are part of you. Don't reject them, but also don't let them rule you. You can accept that hole in your heart and allow it to be there, but don't let it guide your decision-making, iyswim.

Practicing meditation or some other form of contemplation is also helpful.

And you accept that all of this will take time and practice, and you may never get a perfect result. But know that every person you meet is also struggling, in their own way. Be kind to yourself.

DraughtyWindow Sat 09-Apr-16 11:06:10

Couldn't agree more Rice. Learn to nurture yourself. I have no living family, and I can't begin to imagine what you felt as a child. Sometimes life deals us cruel blows, but you need to try to surround yourself with people who lift you up, not drag you down. Do you have any close friends? Any DC? flowers

Daydreambelievers Sat 09-Apr-16 12:57:37

I agree,if you have had an abusive childhood it is vey hard to love yourself.I also find it so it very hard to discuss my past with anyone.I'm very lucky in that I have a loving husband and little boy,but I think people like us never feel good enough.Also when you are completely cut off from your family I find it's hard to have close friends as there are so many questions you don't want to answer.We should be proud of ourselves in how far we have come and yet we are so full of sadness it's very hard.

Imbroglio Sat 09-Apr-16 13:10:44

This can be really difficult. I have a huge tendency to beat myself up and blame myself for all sorts of things, but with support from a counsellor and friends and reading around the subject I have developed some strategies which work for me. This is what I do if I'm having a bad day/time:

- I try to pause the negative thinking and namecheck how I am feeling (eg I feel lonely. I feel sad), and remind myself that I've felt like this before and that these feelings come and go. This is my 'wound' making itself known.

- I remember that the reason I didn't get the nurture I needed lies outside of my control. It started before I was born. It has been perpetuated by people who are more badly damaged than me.

- I resolve to break the cycle. Sometimes this involves doing something nice for someone else. Even if its just posting a supportive message to someone on here, or donating a few things to a food bank.

I'd endorse what others have said about taking care of yourself, eg finding a meditation class or doing an activity you enjoy and which is good for your well-being.

Also - you are not alone! There are so many people who will identify with what you say.

RiceCrispieTreats Sat 09-Apr-16 13:20:01

yy on name-checking feelings as they arise: it can stop you getting lost inside those feelings.

And then you can kick in the self-nurture by telling yourself that it's normal to feel like that, but that it will be ok.

HandyWoman Sat 09-Apr-16 19:11:42

Absolutely agree with Imbroglio and RiceCrispie I've been working with a psychotherapist for nearly a year on looking after and nurturing myself. It's changed my life. And it's very do-able. Prior to that I think on some level I was always looking to other people to validate me. But not any more.

My therapist says each and every one of us has only ourselves to look after us. And I think it's true. If I can do it, anyone can (with the right sort of skilled help).

JerryFerry Mon 11-Apr-16 09:01:58

The spa thing doesn't work for me at all. I never feel cared for and if someone tries to care for me I feel very uncomfortable. Being rubbed and wrapped in seaweed or whatever is just irritating.

I have come to the conclusion that there is no fix, just acceptance. Some people have love and others do not. So I guess it is nice to know that others relate.

Guiltypleasures001 Mon 11-Apr-16 09:20:38

Learning how to love value and nurture yourself, provides a blue print for others to follow thanks

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