Why do certain things make me so sad? Attachment issues?

  • 10 Replies
  • 1386 Views
*

lindentree

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • 33
Why do certain things make me so sad? Attachment issues?
« on: June 03, 2018, 01:06:48 AM »
I have an almost two year old. He is a blessing (and a hoot) right now. He got stickers from the dentist and seeing him get so happy putting them on himself made me feel sad. Not for long but I felt a real sadness (my counselor has helped me work on getting feelings to a more proportional place in terms of intensity and duration and it's helped a lot!). Is it because it's such a simple thing to find joy in and my NBPDm often invalidated things and essentially made be a very polite, mature little woman instead of delighting in the simple things of childhood?

It's the same sort of sadness I feel when I watch a movie or show (which is rarely now that I have a toddler!) and there's a scene where someone goes crazy or is all alone and abandoned. For example, final episode of latest season of Better Call Saul - I wept harder than I had in two years. The character's mental illness isolates himself from his one living family member and he ultimately (spoiler alert) kills himself and having a manic episode. Perhaps those are triggers because I've had anxiety attacks usually related to my mom's gaslighting or disassociation when I was teen and picked up some fleas that make me think I'm crazy.

Are these just attachment issues? I ask my husband if things like that make him sad and he was relatively supportive but said no, they don't make him sad (I truly wanted to know if anyone else felt like I did at these things). Can someone out there share if they've felt sad at similar triggers, like mental illness in movies or things relating to their kids? Or help me understand why isolation/abandonment/my baby boy feeling special with his stickers makes me feel so (temporarily) sad/depressed?

I have a privileged upbringing with my HFm and nurturing but enabling father (they're now divorced). I've had counseling for five years basically related to my understanding my mom's PDs, learning to validate my feelings (I had to learn that feelings are not bad although they appeared so with my NBPDm because she had no emotional regulation and always acted on them immediately, 0-100mph style), and basically give grace to myself and others. Having my first child brought my mother's issues to a head but thankfully with the support of this forum, my awesome hubby, counseling, and books on N/BPD, we had boundaries for the first time and went LC and we are so much happier!

I just want to understand why stickers make me sad. Thanks.

*

looloo

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • 1457
Re: Why do certain things make me so sad? Attachment issues?
« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2018, 10:27:30 AM »
“...I felt a real sadness (my counselor has helped me work on getting feelings to a more proportional place in terms of intensity and duration and it's helped a lot!)”

Lindentree, I love what you said above, because I think the intensity and duration of our feelings really encapsulates so much of what many of us struggle with—and what PDs seem to be unable/unwilling to address.

As far as feeling “sad” when witnessing simple joyful moments of a child?  Sure, I feel similar at times like these. Not always though.  And I’d probably describe the feeling as more “wistful”. Kind of that longing for a better past :-\
“If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they'll kill you.”  Oscar Wilde.

"My actions are my true belongings. I cannot escape the consequences of my actions. My actions are the ground upon which I stand."  Thich Nhat Hanh

*

Malini

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • 1533
Re: Why do certain things make me so sad? Attachment issues?
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2018, 10:55:18 AM »
I think we all have our personal triggers, many of which we may share with others on this board, but what triggers me might not trigger you.

I feel, with respect to my sons, I had lots of moments of sadness, at moments that should have been joyful and at times where I should have been rejoicing in the fact that I had broken the cycle of abuse and not revisited all my toxic upbringing on my kids.

I realise this sadness was for me. Sadness for little Malini who didn't get the unconditional love and validation she deserved, little Malini who was running a household, counselling her Mom, dealing with an alcoholic dad by the age of 10. Seeing my kids being kids, with no care in the world, rejoicing in little pleasures (blades of grass, pebbles, ants)  made me sad for all I didn't experience as a child. So maybe this is a new grieving process that you have to go through ?

I think it's helpful to bear in mind that as much as we may be triggered by the things that we experienced growing up in a toxic and dysfunctional environment, we can also be triggered by things that this environment robbed us of. Two sides to the same coin.



"How do you do it?" said night
"How do you wake and shine?"
"I keep it simple." said light
"One day at a time" - Lemn Sissay

'I think it's important to realise that you can miss something, but not want it back' Paul Coelho

'We accept the love we think we deserve' Stephen Chbosky

*

Learning2Bfree

  • New Member
  • *
  • 14
Re: Why do certain things make me so sad? Attachment issues?
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2018, 11:13:44 AM »
I completely agree with Malini.  I have had many of these same experiences.  I think there is a deep yearning inside from the child inside, who still wants the experiences of nurture and comfort that he never got.

Not long ago I had an experience with my T., who does Somatic Experiencing work (which is, in my opinion, the most effective work for recovering from traumatic experience, be it from childhood like mine, or other sources).  She was doing a very simple exercise of approaching me, and also moving away, and having me say what my experience was in my body.  I would get uncomfortable both when she came in too close, but also when she pulled away.  She noted that this response pattern stems from very early development, pre-verbal, baby and toddler years.  I said I have no recollection of that time.  She said she can't imagine it was much different from what i do recall.  If you google recreations of Mary Ainsworth's "Strange Situation" experiments, which I did, you can see what happens with children with ambivalent or poor attachment with parents.  It is exactly what my T was talking about.

The deep, somatic, pre-verbal memory lives on in us, until we can learn how to care for it in the present moment, by letting ourselves really embrace and experience ourselves in the present as we are.  Somehow, leaning to embrace the present with care, heals the unmet needs from the past.  When I get those feelings of loss and longing, it helps to not run away or try to fix them.  It helps just to really validate, hold, care for them.  Helps even more if another person who understands can also be there to help hold and validate and witness.  I don't know why it helps, but it does.  It does not make they old ache go away really -- but it transforms it from hurt and longing and sadness into a rich form of compassion, compassion both for myself and for all who have suffered like I did.  Oddly, compassion is empowering -- it is not pity.  It is a recognition that knows how to recognize, hold, and transform suffering into a rich form of loving kindness and care.  Once I'm there, I don't feel so bad anymore.

*

Danden

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 162
Re: Why do certain things make me so sad? Attachment issues?
« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2018, 11:28:49 AM »
I don't get sad at those moments, but I get anxious and resentful.  I see my kids having a more carefree life than I had and I worry they may not have the "grit" to make it in the world.  I was a child who had to take care of herself and make her own way in the world, without much support, love or validation.  This made me strong and a fighter, though at the cost of feeling safe with others.  I worry that my kids may be "soft" and self-indulgent.  I don't really know how a life is lived or is experienced when one feels loved.  So in that sense I feel I can't relate to my kids' experience of life.  They have friends, boyfriends/girlfriends, sleepovers, school plays, sports, summer camp and all their fun activities in life.  I had none of this and had to make my own fun, and I was usually alone.  I feel like I am providing these things to them, and supporting them in life and maybe I don't know what I am doing.  Maybe I am hurting them by doing too much of this.  Maybe I am stupid for doing this, cause it will make them soft.

*

Malini

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • 1533
Re: Why do certain things make me so sad? Attachment issues?
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2018, 11:43:01 AM »
Danden - without hijacking this thread, I just want to respond to your post. A few years back a friend and I were discussing our brutally dysfunctional childhoods and like you, saying, well it made us tough to deal with the real world, it made us strong, it made us fighters and trying to turn the whole awfulness of it into something positive. I too worried that my sons would be ill equipped for the real world. Luckily DH was present to interject and question why I would ever wish the same sort of childhood on my own children. Let children be children and rejoice in the fact that the have a better life than we did.

In hindsight I was in fact  ill-equipped in many ways to deal with a 'normal' world and an easy target for PDs. By breaking the cycle and loving my kids unconditionally, teaching them about boundaries, by nurturing their self esteem, by being a 'good enough' mom, willing to question her behaviour, apologise when wrong and striving  to do better,  I feel I have equipped  them 'well enough' for life.
"How do you do it?" said night
"How do you wake and shine?"
"I keep it simple." said light
"One day at a time" - Lemn Sissay

'I think it's important to realise that you can miss something, but not want it back' Paul Coelho

'We accept the love we think we deserve' Stephen Chbosky

*

carrots

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • 608
Re: Why do certain things make me so sad? Attachment issues?
« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2018, 06:15:56 PM »
I think it's helpful to bear in mind that as much as we may be triggered by the things that we experienced growing up in a toxic and dysfunctional environment, we can also be triggered by things that this environment robbed us of. Two sides to the same coin.

 :yeahthat:

There are certain situations, which really seemed pretty harmless or even pleasant, which have triggered sadness and/or emotional pain. Like for Malini, it's me who's sad for Little carrots who didn't get that these good things as a child. I did get better eventually and am no longer so triggered, not for so long and not so deeply.

*

truthseeker4life

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 121
Re: Why do certain things make me so sad? Attachment issues?
« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2018, 08:52:55 PM »
I have this too. Especially when my daughters were younger than 5.

It was grieving for me. Grieving. At not being able to be the mom I wanted to be.

Sure I was breaking the mold. Halting the dysfunction.

But having an emotionally absent, mentally ill father and a depressed, anxious, parentifying, verbally and physically abusive n mom left me sucked dry of ? normalcy and ? intrinsic joy I think.  She used me as a therapist and made me the parent when convenient which my sibs still hate me to this day for.

So when my kids were being kids especially when little i think I disassociated a lot. I knew I should feel more present in the moment than I could. I can't explain it.

Like somehow I knew people from more healthy families didn't feel as I did. They were operating from a full emotional tank and I was on fumes. Going through the motions.

Feeling joy in the moment is work for me (still) as I was conditioned to see the bad or at least be ambivalent like my mother was.

I hear you!

*

lindentree

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • 33
Re: Why do certain things make me so sad? Attachment issues?
« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2018, 12:03:26 AM »
Thank you all for your input. It was helpful to many of you mention the idea of grieving aspects of childhood that we didn't have. On the outside I was privileged (upper middle class, "well-rounded" educated, etc.) and with HFNBPDm no one had a clue how toxic and verbally abusive things were in our house but all of you input makes my feelings of longing/sadness validated, whether you have similar triggers or not. Thank you all.

There is nothing in the world like becoming a parent and knowing that you are doing things differently than your PDm. I'm so thankful for the privilege. I love my son for who he is and not for what he makes me look like. He is not my identity. But he is so precious.

*

carrots

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • 608
Re: Why do certain things make me so sad? Attachment issues?
« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2018, 03:37:20 PM »
On the outside I was privileged (upper middle class, "well-rounded" educated, etc.) and with HFNBPDm no one had a clue how toxic and verbally abusive things were in our house

Me too, highly educated parents, money etc but lots of verbal and emotional abuse and some other stuff too. There were people outside the family who saw it actually but couldn't or wouldn't speak up. Though it's possible nobody know just how toxic things were.

*

marizabet

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • 853
Re: Why do certain things make me so sad? Attachment issues?
« Reply #10 on: June 12, 2018, 12:37:06 AM »
On the outside I was privileged (upper middle class, "well-rounded" educated, etc.) and with HFNBPDm no one had a clue how toxic and verbally abusive things were in our house but all of you input makes my feelings of longing/sadness validated, whether you have similar triggers or not. Thank you all.

There is nothing in the world like becoming a parent and knowing that you are doing things differently than your PDm. I'm so thankful for the privilege. I love my son for who he is and not for what he makes me look like. He is not my identity. But he is so precious.

This pretty much sums up my childhood and how I feel about LO. When my mom says things like how independent and happy LO is, I think to myself part of it is her personality but H and I are also trying to raise her very differently from how we were brought up. We try to let her be herself and want her to be an emotionally healthy person who trusts us and feels safe with us.