Learning to Grieve for the Little Boy or Girl Inside


When You Feel Alone…

Learning You Are Not Alone

David is 25 years old and currently lives with his mother, Kathleen.  David suffered abuse at the hands of his mother when he was between the ages of 5 and 8.  When David was 8 mom had to send David with his maternal grandmother to live.  David learned later in life that mom went to rehab for several months; however it took mom two years to regain custody of her son.  David resumed living with mom at age 10 but never really understood at the time why she went away.  David felt things got better because mom was no longer physically abusive and she no longer acted mean or funny.  Mom was not perfect though she did her best to make amends, without ever really talking about the past abuse and neglect she inflicted on David during the years she was using drugs or absent from his life.  

David soon grew up.  He moved out once when he was 19 years old to live with his girlfriend, Shanda.  At first, David and Shanda were getting along great.  Then David began to act mean and abusive, verbally and emotionally, towards Shanda.  The verbal abuse was David calling her names and making her feel bad about herself.  The emotional abuse was David pursuing her during arguments, banging on doors when she would try to leave the room, or calling her names to belittle and degrade her.  Often he did not know why he did it himself. Eventually, David was asked to move out by Shanda, so he did.  

David then moved in with his best friend, John.  David and John had a falling out but no one knows what it was about because David won’t talk about it.  David sometimes sees John in passing.  They will acknowledge each other in passing and maybe have some small talk; however, there is no connection outside of that with his ex-roommate and best friend.  Even when other friends let David know John has asked about him, David will just shrug his shoulders and change the subject.  After living with John for about six months, David moved back in with his mom.  

David has been living with his mom since then.  David is now 25 years old.  David has a new girlfriend, Michelle, of 2 years and feels things or going good.  However, if you talk to Michelle she will say she cares a lot about David but he is often distance and he does not seem to ever let his guard down.  Michelle has stated this is why she finds it hard to really get close to him. Though David has talked about marriage, Michelle has stated she does not desire to marry him.

Mom stated to David that he is not ready to move out and be on his own because he is way too immature.  She stated she much rather he stay with her.  Mom expresses needing his support.  On the surface David and mom appear to have a good relationship; however, all their conversations are superficial.  David remembers all the abusive things mom did when he was a kid and he feels guilty for many of the thoughts he is having in reference to how his mom treated him during his childhood.  Particularly, since his mom has been pretty good to him for many years after the abuse.  David feels he should just get over it and even his girlfriend says he should just let bygones be bygones.  Though David says he agrees, the thoughts keep resurfacing.  David is often depressed and moody but never can understand why he is so depressed so often. His girlfriend has expressed she can not listen to him talk about his past any longer and David does not feel he has anyone else to talk to.

David eventually seeks therapy as his girlfriend stated she believes he needs help because he appears to be depressed and he is too old to still be living with his mother, in her opinion. The girlfriend expressed the mother only wants David around to fill a void for her.

During David’s first few sessions he talks a lot about his failed relationships and the regrets of those relationships.  He doesn’t understand why he has such a hard time getting along with people, especially people he genuinely cares about. David expresses his fears of getting married and having children because he believes he would not be a great father.  He then begins to talk about how he feels his father was never there for him and he felt abandoned by the absence of both his parents.  His mother was there physically but never emotionally.  His mother also was not physically there for two years of his life.  David gets to the point where he can openly say in therapy he doesn’t know how to forgive his parents and he doesn’t want to repeat their mistakes.  David longs to have loving lasting relationships; however, through therapy he realizes he has been sabotaging his relationships due to the fear of others getting too close to him, only for them to let him down in some way.  Once David is able to recognize what he has been doing and why, he realizes he can change how he addresses his relationships.  David begins to realize he can start by changing the relationship with his mother and his father.

Learning to Grieve

Learning to Grieve

Initially, David wanted to know how he could change a relationship with a man he never knew and still does not know, his father.  David realized, through sessions with his therapist, it was the idealized relationship living in his head he needed to change.  David also realized it was the pain of abandonment, resentment, and anger towards both parents he needed to resolve in himself.  He soon realized it wasn’t about changing the people around him; it was about changing how he perceived his past situations and acknowledging what happened to him was wrong, not fair, and most importantly not his fault.  David soon began to feel good about himself.  David realized he needed and wanted to grieve for the little boy David who suffered so much. When David, the man, was able to  grieve for David, the little boy, he realized he was no longer the little boy who had no options and no one to protect him.  

When David begin to feel good about himself others begin to feel more comfortable around him; which had a cyclical affect, David became more and more comfortable with who he was as a person; thus, he could begin to allow others to be themselves around him without trying to make them change in order to meet his needs.  David soon begin to learn how to meet his own needs and live a fulling life.

David had to realize that he had to grieve for all the losses he suffered as a child.  He had to acknowledge his childhood was traumatizing.  Once David was able to accept these truths, he was able to accept them as being real; and, accept them as being what happened to him and not what happened as a result of who he was as a child.  David had to realize he played no role in his childhood regarding what was acted upon him.  David had to realize as an adult he does have power and control; however, his defintion of power and control was inaccurate.  He was basing his definition of power and control on what he learned as a child which was clouded by abuse and neglect. When David was able to reconcile this and talk it out, with a non-subjective participant, he realized how much of his adult life he was wasting on shame, guilt, or anger.

If you can relate to David’s story and you are still stuck in a place of unhappiness, turmoil, shame, guilt or anger then seek help.

David is not a real person.  Though his story may resemble a person’s real story it is fictional and meant to show how all people can grow and be happy despite past trauma. 

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by For Me Talk Therapy/Rosemarie Reid