Psycho-Babble Psychology Thread 695580

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Meeting a nurturing/mothering need

Posted by littleone on October 17, 2006, at 15:26:05

I had a very important and hard session the other day. And it went very well. I did real good. Talked a lot and stayed there the whole time. Didn't get lost in the fog. Did really well.

We talked about why I have found several interactions and relationships so dissatisfying. I was able to admit to myself and my T exactly what a satisfying interaction would have looked like.

Basically my young part goes in hoping for some close and nurturing mothering and instead the other person only really interacts with my adult self. So the young part is left feeling dissatisfied and upset.

We ended up talking about what it would be like to have some close and nurturing mothering from various people and how this need could be filled in a healthy way.

He suggested having an aunty hold me and read me a story. I mentioned how antiga uses a teddy or doll as a tangible representation of her young self and then nurtures that (he thought was a wonderful idea antiga).

I've learnt various ways to soothe and comfort myself, but I'm at a bit of a loss as to how to get the nurturing/mothering need met. What healthy ways have you guys found to address this need?

Also, has anyone ever tried (as an adult) going back to a parent or other adult and requesting a child like interaction?

I must admit that this all feels very bad and wrong to me. I had always thought that the idea was to identify that you have this need, then understand how you are trying to get it met in your life, then you have to learn ways to get by without it. But my T doesn't seem to agree with that.

 

Re: Meeting a nurturing/mothering need

Posted by madeline on October 17, 2006, at 19:36:44

In reply to Meeting a nurturing/mothering need, posted by littleone on October 17, 2006, at 15:26:05

Here are a few strategies that I tried that worked for me.

I went out and bought a therapy doll. Well, actually she is more of a stuffed bear, she's so cute with a little hat and an outfit with buckles and zippers. She's interactive! I took her to therapy with me. And slept with her for years. I still have her.

I bought toys and played - a lot. I colored and played "hello kitty", watched cartoons and ate candy and did all that stuff. I would do it in my house where I felt absolutely safe.

When I was able, I would visualize myself as a little child right in the middle of the abuse. I would then visualize myself as the adult I am now helping the little me. Comforting her, protecting her and telling her that she is beautiful and amazing. I developed a true sense of gratitude toward both the little me (for keeping me alive) and the adult me for continuing to live.

I don't know your particular situation, but for me reaching back to my parents was a no win scenario. They were simply unable or unwilling to give me what I wanted as a child OR as an adult. Based solely on my experience, I wouldn't try to reach back to your parents or another adult.

What I think I was describing above was my attempt at self-soothing and integrating the little me that needed nurturing into the big me that was capable of providing that nurture. It's almost as though what you need now as an adult, no one can provide for you, you have to give it to yourself.

So I say give yourself permission to be a kid again, nurture yourself like mad and enjoy it.

I still play, but my toys are now crafts and I love it.

Hope this helps.

Maddie

 

Re: Meeting a nurturing/mothering need Ľ littleone

Posted by TherapyGirl on October 17, 2006, at 20:30:33

In reply to Meeting a nurturing/mothering need, posted by littleone on October 17, 2006, at 15:26:05

I can't say it better than Madeline did, LittleOne. She has really good strategies for parenting yourself. And I think a lot of us have to do that because it's really hard to get people to give you, as an adult, all the things you might have missed as a child. BUT, I have tried some of the things Maddie mentioned and they do work. I have also gotten enough nurturing from my T to fill some of my needs. Not all of them -- they're too old and too deep. But enough of them.

Good luck.

 

Re: Meeting a nurturing/mothering need

Posted by LindenblŁte on October 17, 2006, at 20:49:58

In reply to Re: Meeting a nurturing/mothering need Ľ littleone, posted by TherapyGirl on October 17, 2006, at 20:30:33

Every once in a while, (2x a year) I see my mom.

Sometimes she feels like being a mother. The last time I saw her, she told me that she regretted that we could never do more "mother-daughter" things when I was growing up.

So, I let her be a mom and hug me a couple times a year. The last time, I actually felt a little comfort in her hug. She's really soft. She has a very cozy embrace and a soft bosom. She's the most comfy hug I ever had, and I never realized it until a few months ago. :'(

I would only go to a person to have this need met that is going to give you what you need. If you go to them- feeling little and vulnerable probably-- and they are not ready to give that to you, it will hurt bad (in my experience)

I wish I could have more moments like that with my mom. Geez. I'm crying now. you got me missing the nurturing that was so rare and precious in my childhood.

:'''''(

I have lots of ways of being a kid (my marble roller-coaster that I bought at a toy store with my friend comes to mind!) but being a kid is not the same as being nurtured, in my (less than ideal) experience.

-Li

 

Re: Meeting a nurturing/mothering need

Posted by littleone on October 17, 2006, at 21:51:06

In reply to Meeting a nurturing/mothering need, posted by littleone on October 17, 2006, at 15:26:05

Thank you for your replies.

I've done some of the things that you suggested as part of learning to soothe and comfort myself. And I find them invaluable. They do help the young part a lot to cope with emotions especially.

I guess I see the nurturing/mothering need different to that. I guess nurturing/mothering is the behaviour and the actual needs met would be the need to feel loved, the need to feel accepted, the need to feel a sense of belonging and others that I'm having trouble articulating.

I'm not really sure that you can get those things from self soothing.

And I have a lot of trouble mothering myself. Maybe because it wasn't demonstrated to me. I can organise things so that the young parts are able to do young things they enjoy and find helpful. But I can't really nurture them as such. I just don't know how to do that. I don't know how to talk to them (or anyone for that matter) in a nurturing and compassionate way.

I'm sure you guys would be able to see that from the way I post here. I think that's one of the broken things inside me.

 

Re: Meeting a nurturing/mothering need Ľ littleone

Posted by muffled on October 17, 2006, at 22:36:34

In reply to Re: Meeting a nurturing/mothering need, posted by littleone on October 17, 2006, at 21:51:06

> I've done some of the things that you suggested as part of learning to soothe and comfort myself. And I find them invaluable. They do help the young part a lot to cope with emotions especially.
>
> I guess I see the nurturing/mothering need different to that. I guess nurturing/mothering is the behaviour and the actual needs met would be the need to feel loved, the need to feel accepted, the need to feel a sense of belonging and others that I'm having trouble articulating.

*like unconditional acceptance???

> I'm not really sure that you can get those things from self soothing.

*I think mebbe it helps to accept and love all your parts.
>
> And I have a lot of trouble mothering myself. Maybe because it wasn't demonstrated to me. I can organise things so that the young parts are able to do young things they enjoy and find helpful. But I can't really nurture them as such. I just don't know how to do that. I don't know how to talk to them (or anyone for that matter) in a nurturing and compassionate way.

*Its weird, I can sometimes nurture my irl kids, i think I am anyways. And sometimes I just not there for them...
My inside kids...well...I treat them mostly ok. I got one thats making me nuts. She proly could use nuture, but sometimes I just hate her :-(
So I wouldn't say I was the queen of nurture. I only have been able to even SAY that word recently. That and 'needs', don't much like that word either...
>
> I'm sure you guys would be able to see that from the way I post here. I think that's one of the broken things inside me.

* I hadn't noticed that. But I miss alot of stuff.
If it IS broken, then it can be fixed. There is likely a whole lotta other sh*t all mixed in and thats why its so danged hard to figger this stuff out.
Nice to see you posting littleone.
Take care,
Muffled

 

Re: Meeting a nurturing/mothering need Ľ littleone

Posted by frida on October 17, 2006, at 23:00:52

In reply to Meeting a nurturing/mothering need, posted by littleone on October 17, 2006, at 15:26:05

hi..
I have the same need...

my mother never protected me when the abuse was happening and so I ached for a mommy and for that unconditional love and acceptance all my life.

i still haven't been able to find ways to self-nurture..but I've found certain things from people I care about do fill that need a little bit.

My T fills that need a little bit...though the little one in me wishes she could just hold me and let me rest on her lap for hours, i wish she could hold me and let me cry and just hear her say You are safe...I care about you..it's ok...
like a mommy would comfort a child.
But she does fill that need a little..with caring gestures...and sometimes when she talks to me.

Another person in my life fills that need a little bit too. I have a physical T, that my T recommended. I've found myself crying and she has held me and rocked me and that truly made me feel as a little girl found in the moment after I was hurt. I feel like a little girl with her and I allow myself a little to be vulnerable, having her hold my hand and give me that kind of comfort is really soothing.

and self-soothing...I'd say it helps the little girl in me when I play with my pets or cuddle with them... and if i let myself play..make a jigsaw puzzle, make a drawing...things like that.

hope this helps a bit

and i hope you can find ways to nurture the little one in you that needs safety and love.

Frida

 

Re: Meeting a nurturing/mothering need

Posted by Daisym on October 18, 2006, at 0:36:02

In reply to Meeting a nurturing/mothering need, posted by littleone on October 17, 2006, at 15:26:05

****I must admit that this all feels very bad and wrong to me. I had always thought that the idea was to identify that you have this need, then understand how you are trying to get it met in your life, then you have to learn ways to get by without it. But my T doesn't seem to agree with that.****

I'm not sure you can really feel nurtured until you give yourself permission to need it and get it. I have the same problem. I asked my therapist today if my parts and pieces would ever grow up. He said probably not all of them, because we all have little kid parts in us. He and I have been working on a character called "the super-needy, super-hero." It is his attempt to show me that I can be super needy (for him) and still accomplish lots of other things. I think my therapist would have made a fabulous mommy.

One of the things I did awhile ago was work on a friendship with someone who is quite a bit older than I am. She is older than my mom by about 10 years. Somehow she feels so safe, I even let her hug me. Is there anyone in your life that you can go to like that? I do have an aunt, but I didn't want the family ties to complicate things. I talk to my therapist about this friend so he can remind me that I have her and it is OK to call her and ask for support. It has taken FOREVER for me to be able to do that. But it is a close the the mom/nurturing as I've ever felt, outside of therapy.

What can you do to help your adult self accept that your younger part has these needs?

 

Re: Meeting a nurturing/mothering need

Posted by madeline on October 18, 2006, at 8:03:52

In reply to Re: Meeting a nurturing/mothering need, posted by littleone on October 17, 2006, at 21:51:06


> I guess I see the nurturing/mothering need different to that. I guess nurturing/mothering is the behaviour and the actual needs met would be the need to feel loved, the need to feel accepted, the need to feel a sense of belonging and others that I'm having trouble articulating.
>
> I'm not really sure that you can get those things from self soothing.
>
> And I have a lot of trouble mothering myself. Maybe because it wasn't demonstrated to me. I can organise things so that the young parts are able to do young things they enjoy and find helpful. But I can't really nurture them as such. I just don't know how to do that. I don't know how to talk to them (or anyone for that matter) in a nurturing and compassionate way.

****I think the key here is developing empathy for yourself and that is hard. Deep down I'm sure you do know how to do this, you just probably can't communicate what you need to yourself. While I was developing this skill, I focused first on the basic things: Do I feel safe? What would it take to make me feel safe? Do I have enough to eat? Is it the right stuff to eat? Am I physically comfortable? What would it take to make me that way? Am I bored? What would I find stimulating?
I made lists, practiced a lot of trial and error and finally found a way to satisfy those basic needs (food, safety, comfort, activity) that worked for me.

When you think about it, this is exactly what a mother does when confronted with a crying baby - she has to try several things before she figures out what is wrong. But the basic things are usually the culprit.

Once I got these basic needs settled, I could then tackle the bigger issues of acceptance etc...

> I'm sure you guys would be able to see that from the way I post here.

****In all likelihood, we won't know anything until you tell us. It's not that we are bad people, it just that we won't know. Being able to effectively communicate what you need is so important. Thank you for letting us know.*******

>I think that's one of the broken things inside me.
**** I'm not sure it is broken (implying is once worked and now doesn't), it might have never been there in the first place and you know what? That's okay. That means you get to make it into exactly what you want it to be.

 

Re: Meeting a nurturing/mothering need Ľ littleone

Posted by Anneke06 on October 18, 2006, at 10:12:07

In reply to Meeting a nurturing/mothering need, posted by littleone on October 17, 2006, at 15:26:05

This is something I've worked on a lot in therapy and in life. My mom was so un-nurturing (is that a word?)...I don't have any memory of her hugging me or holding me or saying anything emotionally caring. And I was made to feel bad for wanting it.

Anyway, to make a long story short, I've found that there are multiple ways to fill those needs. My T is one of the very touch-oriented t's and that's been great for me. She has held me when I cried, hugs me often, and sees the need for being held as one that is very valid and important to be met by people we can trust.

That's the tough part, in my experience. Figuring out who we can trust and making the leap to sharing our needs with them. I was blessed with a friend who is about my mom's age who knew me as a child/teenager, and who was always very sweet and caring towards me. At a point in my therapy, I wrote to her (we had been in touch sporadically over the years) and told her things that were going on in my life when she knew me, including some CSA. I told her that I needed someone who knew me during that time to KNOW what was going on. She responded in ways that have been so healing for me and we've since gotten together in person and there is always time for hugging and holding and loving that little girl. She even sends me little things just for the little girl part of me. (and I'm in my forties...) It's sweet and lovely and has helped me get some of those early, early needs met.

That being said, I had prepared myself for the possibility that she might have responded in a very different way and I knew that I had my therapist there just in case that happened. (although I was fairly sure it would be a good response....I was really careful about who I chose to share this info with) And, in fact I had shared it with another person who never responded and that was kind of awful-feeling.

I guess this was a long way of saying that I think it IS possible to get some of those nurturing/mothering needs met as an adult. But, I also think it's important to find ways to mother yourself. Like some of the other responders, I've worked a lot on recognizing when my little girl needs me to stop and listen to her or spend time with her or when she just needs a cup of hot chocolate! It felt strange and weird and sometimes just plain wrong at times, but now it's becoming second nature and it really, really helps.

Hang in there...those early needs can be incredibly strong and painful and well...as my little girl says, "really, really yucky"

 

Re: Meeting a nurturing/mothering need

Posted by littleone on October 18, 2006, at 20:31:26

In reply to Re: Meeting a nurturing/mothering need, posted by littleone on October 17, 2006, at 21:51:06

Thank you for all your thoughts. Each time I try to respond to everyone individually, I close up shop and want to run and hide, so itís a bit safer if I respond to everyone all at once today. Please know that all your posts held valuable information for me and all were appreciated.

I do believe that my T partly meets these needs. He brings a lot of these positive mothering qualities to our relationship. A lot, but not all. I guess Iím wary about counting on him for this too much. It would be too easy and wonderful to turn each session into a mothering exercise. But I donít think that would be helpful. I think that would then get in the way of doing the hard work of therapy.

I think this was part of what I was looking for in my art T. A separate person I could hire to mother me on a regular basis. I didnít really want the art T for his insights, etc. I wanted him to be caring and encouraging and get on the floor with me and help me draw and be real interested in me and what I was doing.

I think I still prefer the idea of paying someone to do this rather than ask an aunty or my mum. I have a big issue around not wanting to be a bother to people. I think that would get in the way of things if I involved my aunty or mum, cause me to pull back. If Iím paying someone, I still feel like a bother, but figure Iím paying them to put up with me so itís kind of okay as long as I donít push my luck.

But in a way thatís kind of a shame really. My mum has been trying really hard to improve things between us. She wants things to be better. But itís just not working for me because sheís interacting with the adult. So it would be real nice if my own mother did the mothering instead.

Nice but bad. Nice but bad. Think it would be much safer to hire someone.

Li, my mum has never been a hugger, but all of a sudden about 2 years ago, she just started hugging other people and me. Iím still not used to it. Throws me right off balance every time. Kind of freaks me out a bit. I canít enjoy it yet. Even though your mumís hugs donít come often, Iím glad they bring you such good things.

Muffled, I think unconditional acceptance is part of it, but thereís still more too it. For me, I feel like being encouraged is a really big deal. Like I need someone to help me along.

I guess I can see that self soothing would meet these nurturing needs to a degree. The way itís accepting and caring for the parts. And trying to make things safer for them. I just donít think Iím able to take the nurturing far enough.

Frida, daisy & anneke, itís great that you guys have a safe adult who helps you with this. That kind of astounds me. I tend to think the other person would be resentful of having to take on a mothering role when they arenít your mother. And yet that doesnít seem to be the case at all in your examples. Blows me away.

I guess another worry about going to an aunty or my mum is that I suspect reading a story or whatever once or twice wouldnít be enough. Itís something that would have to happen for some time, isnít it? I guess until you could internalise it? I donít know. When you go to your safe people and have this need met, is it then satisfied for some time, or does it just make you want it again even more?

And daisy, I love the super-needy super-hero. What a wonderful idea. So I take it the super-hero is a separate character that shows you whatís ok and is someone you can kind of aim to imitate? Or is it actually a character inside you? Iíd love to hear how this has been brought into your sessions (eg is it someone you both work on visualising, or do you draw the superhero). I guess Iím asking how your T brings the superhero to life and incorporates it into your sessions.

Also, Iíd love to hear more about how you are able to ask your friend for support. You said it took FOREVER to be able to do that (I can definitely relate to that). How did you work up to it, how did you first ask her, how did she react, etc? Asking for support has been totally beyond me so far. I wonít even call my T between sessions.

Madeline, yeah, I think you hit the nail on the head. Develop empathy for myself. I liked your questions and how you made lists around them. It feels very scary for me which means itís probably real important. Especially the bored part. Thatís a big trigger from my childhood. I think itís closely linked to my need for encouragement. I think I need to do some important work with my T around this.

Mind you, I think Iíll have to mindful of not just putting in ďdoingĒ things in my lists. Iíll have to work hard to try and put in ďtalkingĒ stuff in there. Try and build that up a bit.

Thank you all for letting me talk through this. I had been so worried babble would criticise me and my T for trying to work out ways to meet this need. Thought it was wrong and bad to attempt to meet it. Youíve all helped me a lot.

 

Re: Meeting a nurturing/mothering need

Posted by littleone on October 18, 2006, at 20:33:08

In reply to Re: Meeting a nurturing/mothering need, posted by littleone on October 18, 2006, at 20:31:26

Ugh Ugh Ugh. Iíve just realised. Iím mothering my parts the same way my mother mothered me. Just trying to do things for them or provide their physical needs. Not talking or interacting with them at all.

Ack. Obvious I know. But still. Iíve found it so sad that I was so alone growing up and even my own mum never wanted to interact with me. Pushed me away. And now realising I do the same thing to my young parts. Ugh ugh ugh. Nasty.

Iíve known before that I do this. But itís like working in the therapy spiral. Come round to the same insight again, but at a different level in the spiral.

Feel like inside is broken rubble after an earthquake. Donít want to be nasty. But I donít have words for them.

 

Re: Meeting a nurturing/mothering need Ľ littleone

Posted by muffled on October 21, 2006, at 11:28:51

In reply to Re: Meeting a nurturing/mothering need, posted by littleone on October 18, 2006, at 20:33:08

> Ugh Ugh Ugh. Iíve just realised. Iím mothering my parts the same way my mother mothered me. Just trying to do things for them or provide their physical needs. Not talking or interacting with them at all.
>
> Ack. Obvious I know. But still. Iíve found it so sad that I was so alone growing up and even my own mum never wanted to interact with me. Pushed me away. And now realising I do the same thing to my young parts. Ugh ugh ugh. Nasty.
>
> Iíve known before that I do this. But itís like working in the therapy spiral. Come round to the same insight again, but at a different level in the spiral.
>
> Feel like inside is broken rubble after an earthquake. Donít want to be nasty. But I donít have words for them.
>
***:-(
I was sorta like that with my irl kids :-( I work hard to make and effort to intereact with them. And I am always rewarded. My kids are wonderful.
When they were babies I would take them to visit a friend who LOVES to talk and talk. I did this so they could hear lotsa talking cuz I talked so little, almost not at all :-(
I am doing better with my irl kids. I talk more.
And this has helped me SO MUCH with my inside kids. Cuz our inside kids ARE kids.
I am very fortunate and blessed in SO many ways.
Keep WORKING at it littleone. It took a decided very conscious effort for me to interact with my kids inside and irl. I STILL struggle. But its worth the effort.
Take care,
Muffled


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