Left all alone with our wounds where do we go? When the ones we turned to for help have failed us where do we go? We can only turn back towards ourselves but we have problems if we cannot trust a mind within that can also turn against us, for those of us who suffer with an inner persecutor and then attract those who are only too happy to persecute us not knowing the true depths of our pain or wounds we are in grave danger there within our own heads filled with voices of others and of society that do not always speak the truth and often may not even see our true self or struggles.
When I witness someone struggling with this dynamic it breaks my heart but it also reminds me of the many times I found myself in exactly this situation. Some people will oh so eloquently tear us to shreds, telling us how we are failing them and ourselves when the truth is they just do not know what we are fighting or struggling with on any day. Being led to believe that we are less thank=, that we are not good enough, that we don’t deserve empathy and kindness and care hurts us deeply. It can wound our self protective instinct and the true self always has a protest and has to hide it deep within or else it comes out sideways, in the worst case we turn it agaisnt the self in self harm or possibly even suicide.
My current therapist often quotes British analyst D W Winnicott to me when she says “anger or delinquency is the last cry of the true self”. Our authentic self needs to live even if that self is subverted and distorted to other forms of expression and it is only us who can stay with our reactions and make sense of them from deep within the self (but only if we have developed sufficient ego strength which is not a given but must be formed as result of healthy development.) Since dissociation is a huge part of developing ego splits offs of parts of us from conscious awareness others could not bear it is not easy to hold all of this alone, nor hold onto our own reality and sanity or self integrity in the midst of it. And this is the reason why a lot of us need a lot of help and one of the reasons why when the person we turned to for help fails us we suffer a double extreme dose of pain and hurting and frustration. That person let us down and often they may have turned it back around on us, blaming us, this may echo what parents or siblings or teachers or other care givers did to us when young and it takes work to get out from under it.
Ideally we would have a loving adult self within as a centre of consciousness that could help the child in us when we were struggling but this part of us is only birthed through the parent’s help and if they could give it we need to look elsewhere for it. When therapy failed me I looked to certain others such as Margaret Paul who recommended this inner bonding process to me, but it was still necessary to find a better therapist than the ones I had before who had their own limits and hidden dependency issues they transferred and played out in our therapy relationship.
Ideally for those of us with lots of attachment wounds we need to find a very skilled therapist with good boundaries but also one prepared to extend themselves a great deal for us. I was told this on advice of someone who acts as a teaching therapist and has been a psychotherapist in practice for over 40 years. We should not be blamed for having a ‘difficult’ reaction to being abandoned once again in therapy or emotionally in other ways. We should not be led to believe we did something to cause it by being ‘too extreme’ or ‘too sensitive’ (which is an accusation often used on people with BPD). No matter how old we are the inner child in us deserves empathy.
I don’t think anyone with serious attachment wounds ever lashes out deliberately to hurt others. They are lashing out due to an empathic failure of some kind occuring. The accusation may be that in lashing out we are causing harm to the other person and lacking empathy for them, there may be some truth in this, because a wounded inner child cannot see that everyone has limits and differing degrees of depth of psychological understanding. The most we can understand is that others do their best, just as we do, it can be however that their best is not good enough for us or helpful for us at that point in time and in worst cases it can cause extreme damage. Then the relationship needs to be let go with no accusation on either side, unless the other is trying to blame us for just being who we are and vice versa. But we will still be left with a lot of pain and confusion inside that we need positive mirroring to work through.