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Attachment Rupture with Caregivers

Your mom may never be who you want her to be. Your father may never be who you want him to be. Your caregiver (s) may never be who you want them to be. This is not your fault. You are not responsible for them.

I know it aches. I know the realization of this can elicit so much loss- lost hope, hurt, betrayal, rage, sadness, or confusion. There’s so much grief involved in this- the loss of the expectation of a relationship you wished for or envisioned, the loss of a primary support network, the loss of having their support in meaningful times in your life- graduations, weddings, births of children, deaths, and even just the daily mundane parts of life- wanting to receive advice on relationships, career decisions, etc. 

There is so much attachment rupture when we don’t get what it is we needed growing up on large scales- when our emotions are neglected, dismisses, judged, silenced, punished. It feels like you have no one to turn to. 

Then you might find yourself as an adult still trying to fit your parents into a mold that does not fit them. Still trying desperately to receive their love, even if it means sabotaging yourself to please them for their conditional love or abandoning your boundaries.

It is not your fault. It is not your fault that your caregivers did not and could not give you what it is that you needed from them. They themselves are stuck in their own traumas. This is when it is important for us to practice intolerant compassion- holding compassion for the pain they may carry while also setting boundaries for self-preservation. It is important for us to draw the line in the sand and make peace with the reality that they may never be who we want them to be and this is not a reflection on us (even though it affects us). Maybe this means that you walk away from them. Maybe it means that you still engage with them without the expectation that they will be anyone different- but who they’ve already shown you they are. 

It’s a hard choice to make. It’s a painful realization. The sooner we make peace with it, the more space we create for our healing and thriving.

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