Heartache. Heartbreak.

Rejected by someone you love. Betrayed by a trusted friend. Lied to by the one person you thought you could rely on. Any of these can cause heartache.

The more time, energy and emotion you have put in, the greater the pain. The more you believed in that person’s integrity, honesty or commitment, the more you are likely to feel that you will never trust or love again. Giving your all can result in an extreme case of complete heart-break.

As a young woman I went in search of my mother who had abandoned me as a child. Although she’d never physically been there for me as I grew up, she had been a daily presence in my mind. She was my flesh-and-blood after all. My desire was simple – to have the opportunity to meet the woman I had cherished in my heart for as long as I could remember.

Nothing could have prepared me for the agony that ensued. I learned my mother had a new family and that she had explained my absence by telling everyone that I had been killed in a car crash. It didn’t matter that I was alive and ready to pour out the special love I had treasured. To this woman I was dead.

Every fibre of my being wanted to meet her and touch her just once. But in reality there was no other option but to give up the search. You can’t change the past. You can’t open a door that is well and truly shut. And you can’t make anyone love you if they don’t.

The question for me was ‘How to heal my broken heart?’

Of course, initially all I wanted to do was curl up with my vodka bottle. Alcohol was my hurt healer then. It aneastheized the torture of abandonment and cut me off from the real world. But it did nothing to heal my heart.

A broken heart results in a broken being. The world that previously existed shatters into a thousand pieces of hurt, fear and loneliness. For a time nothing makes sense. Whatever you had assumed was the case, wasn’t. Whoever you thought loved you, didn’t. And there is nothing at all you can do about it.

Being lied to, led on, rejected can lead to such a fear of abandonment that you put up physical or emotional walls. They may be the only way to keep safe from future threats. Or like myself you can take it to the ultimate level – the fear of attachment. You feel so burned by the world that you detach on every level.

For me it was a terribly dark place to be and eventually I was left with two options: fix my broken heart or die of it. When I removed the alcohol I was left with such a void. Facing the truths of my past were unimaginably difficult. The emptiness I felt at that time was unlike anything I had ever experienced.

With a huge amount of genuine and caring support I gently and hesitantly allowed my heart to heal. I filled it with faith. I filled it with forgiveness. I filled it with hope. I filled it with joy.

Eventually I learnt how to attach and trust. And when anyone hurts me today I can draw on my experience. I can deal with the misery, the anger and the frustration on my own terms. My strength comes from the depths of my scars.

Heartache and heartbreak are part of life. But now I have the ultimate antidote for pain. For today my heart is filled with love.

Top image thanks to Sharon Cummings of the terrace gallery  http://www.etsy.com/shop/terracegallery?ref=pr_shop_more                                       Middle image thanks to Selina Farmer of the Mazzy Blue Studios http://www.etsy.com/shop/MazzyBlueStudios?ref=seller_info&atr_uid=0                                                     Bottom image thanks to Slodive.com

61 thoughts on “Heartache. Heartbreak.

  1. Pingback: The Gift of Gratitude. | The Hurt Healer

  2. Pingback: Heartbreak – one day u will be able to move on « Thoughts n Things

  3. I am on the other side of the coin, my adopted daughter will not have contact with me. After years of emotional and physical abuse, it came to head and by her choice she left my life. People support me or try to support me by saying, she should be gone, she hurt you, she was convicted of assault, etc, but she is my daughter. I love her, my heart is broken and I want it to heal so badly. I have forgiven her in my heart and myself for not setting healthy boundries, she has not forgiven me. Her emotional abuse has taken it’s toll, her vial words echo in my mind daily, spinning, churning exploding. She has wished I was dead, wished I will get cancer, convinced friends and their families, teachers that I was crazy. Looked into my motherly eyes and spoke the words, I have never respected you.
    I believe her, I want to be her mother, she needs to have a mother, she doesn’t want me. Broken seems to be an understatement.

    • Your daughter has completely broken your heart which is why you still hurt so terribly. You’re right in that broken doesn’t seem a big enough work to describe your pain. Rejection is so difficult to overcome. Her words are still a daily torture for you, that is clear. Could I suggest you take a look at my other post The Secret of Serenity? You may find some words of encouragement.

  4. Another very moving post, Carolyn – I love that your willingness to tell your own story seems to create a safe place for others to tell theirs as well.

  5. Hi Carolyn,

    Most of us have experienced heartache and got rejected at least by someone, the key is to learn to forgive and start looking for the best solution possible so we stop the pain and anguish. Thanks for sharing

  6. My name is Carolyn too. I think you were brave to search for the truth. When you found out the truth, you found the story of your beginning. Parents can only begin you. The rest is up to you. Looks like you found a mother in you. If your mother stayed it would not have been any different. She would have emotionally & mentally abandoned you everyday anyway. Like my Mom/Dad did me. I lived with extreme physical, emotional abuse by my parents living in there house. It was like they left me every day. I feel for you and I’m glad you have changed the story. That old story was about your Mom. Not you. Thank you for your authenticity. You are a warrior and survivor. God bless you. Lots of great love coming to you.

    • Thank you Carolyn for sharing your story. I am so sorry that you have had such a traumatic childhood. Your comment that ‘it was like they left me every day’ is so poignant. I’m sure many others will be able to relate to that experience and it shows that even if a parent is physically available, they can damage a child through their emotional abuse. I do hope that you have found peace and wish you continued healing. Love to you too!

  7. Wow! So honest!
    “I filled it with faith. I filled it with forgiveness. I filled it with hope. I filled it with joy,” Now THAT is a recipe for Heart Success! A healed heart leads to an abundant life! Thanks for your posts Carolyn

  8. Hi Carolyn,

    You have been through so much in your life. Your journey amazes me, and it is inspiring to read your story and sense that you have and and will continue to heal. Again that idea that we cannot control other people comes to mind, and we have to let go. What other choice did you have? I’m so glad that you found recovery and that you have a loving family to support you. Take care and have a great day!

    • Your comment about letting go is a great point Cathy. Once we accept that we couldn’t and can’t control others it actually makes the decision about what to do so much easier. It’s not easy to accept but once you let go you can live your own life! 🙂

  9. Wow, Carolyn. This was both heart-breaking and uplifting all at the same time. I saw parts of myself in this one (men hurt too, but don’t tell anyone….it’s a secret).

    • Thanks Pat. The artists are always credited at the end and if you click on the photos it does link to their work. The artists I use very generously give me permission to use their images and they have their own story to tell!

  10. Carolyn, I hardly know what to say that hasn’t already been said… I read through all the comments to you and by you. I can’t imagine the heartaches and heartbreaks you have gone through and overcome with the power of God’s love and blessings… how else could you overcome and shine so for others? Sharing your story has been a blessing to me and I believe for anyone who reads it… you are an amazing light in this world.

    • What humbling comments Pat!It lifts me up so much when someone tells me my story has blessed them. That’s one of the main reasons that I share, in the hope that others will be able to relate. 🙂

  11. Oh my Carolyn. I scanned through all the comments and so many people have gone through so much heartache in their life that only with the intervention from God hearts can be restored. I kept thinking on all the aborted babies somehow; women don’t respect the life that has been born out of them any-more. How sad that is. I am soo soo proud of you that you are reaching out and touching people’s lives with your beautiful life as it is right now.

  12. This is another beautiful article that I’m going to share with a friend, Carolyn. I can only imagine what it felt like for you, to know your mother had killed you in her heart. I don’t think there can be a deeper pain than that… and to see how God brought loving restoration through that… and filled you with all the anti-dotes of joy, peace, love, and strength, so that now you don’t have to fear future rejections…. that is so powerful! I love reading your inspiring articles!

  13. Carolyn,
    I can’t believe you went through this. How old were you? Did you ever end up seeing her?
    Your writing is so beautiful because you’re sharing a part of yourself. Your website is one that will really help a lot of people. I really loved reading it though my heart was aching for you!

    • Hi Betsy,
      I was 3 years old when my mum left and I never saw her again. It wasn’t until I was 26 that I tried to find her but she didn’t want to contact. She had already ‘killed me off’ in her mind so there was really no point. Thanks for your comments and support!

  14. Thank you, Carolyn for such a beautiful and inspiring post. I especially loved when you wrote, “Heartache and heartbreak are part of life. But now I have the ultimate antidote for pain. For today my heart is filled with love.” It is amazing how much more enriched our lives become when our hearts are filled with love.

  15. Thank you for touching our hearts with your story. I can sort of relate as well. My mother gave up custody and contact with my brother and I when I was 11. Although I have no hard feelings this experience has definitely shaped who I am.

  16. Carolyn – thank you so much for being open and vulnerable in sharing your story. I can relate in some ways – I grew up in a single parent family, my mother gave up custody (and for a long time, contact)… It is certainly a character forming experience.

  17. Thankyou so much forf sharing of your heart! As I read your story and others in the comments, I realize that we are all on this journey together, and we can draw strength from each other…

    Thankyou to everyone who shares, and even those who may not share the details, but do share the same heart! Peace and Love!!

  18. Carolyn … WOW, the first thought that comes to mind is “so I am not alone!”. and the second thought is … “shew, I am not sure my experience was as painful, or as raw as your’s was”, so Thank You for sharing, it must have taken a lot to put it out there. My sister and I faced rejection, not because my father lied about us to his family, but because his wife knew about us, but never expected us to be a reality in her life. To this day, I have two half sisters that found out about us via facebook, and since then, they have never even said hello, or acknowledged our existence. Family is an essential part of who we are, but they do not define us. As for you Carolyn, you could definitely teach your mother something about being a person of substance, and being decent to others. Take care, and happy healing, I’m grateful for the love you now have in your life. x 🙂

    • Thank you so much for sharing your story with me. It’s always wonderful to feel a connection with someone through my writing. I can’t believe the insensitivity of some parents. Rejection in childhood can affect anyone deeply well into adulthood. Yet so much pain could be avoided with just a little insight.
      I love your comment that we do not have to be defined by our family. It took me a long time to realise that!
      Thank you for your kinds words too 🙂

  19. Carolyn, I cannot imagine how this would feel. You are so brave not only in dealing with it, but baring your soul with an authenticity that is sadly lasking in many of our top speakers and message-deliverers. Thank you for sharing this.

  20. Carolyn, whenever I read one of your posts, I am so touched by the raw emotion that I can feel from your powerful words. I am continually amazed at the persistence of the human heart and you illustrate this in your life so beautifully. You are someone who has taken responsibility for her life and you, my dear, have struggled out of that place of pain and have created a new life of beauty and wonder. Thank you so much for sharing your story.

    • But isn’t worth learning a different way. People will always let us down. We don’t have to go down with them. Don’t deny yourself happiness because of the mistakes of others 🙂

  21. “My strength comes from the depths of my scars.” Wow! That’s right where I am, too, with something going on in my life. I feel the same way… and that love is what overcomes pain! So, so true. Thanks for another great article!

  22. Oh, Carolyn. So beautifully written. For me it was my father. 🙂 It hurt but not as much as it did for you. I had a very loving Mom who was equal to more than two parents. My father left 2-3 months before I was born, left for the US to pursue higher studies and settled there, marrying an american soon after. And did not care to communicate with my Mom. I know how hurt she must have been, but… 🙂 it must have hurt even more that I look almost exactly like him. The fact that her in-laws physically abused her helped get over that, in a weird way. Mom was married at 13 and I was born when she was 17..5 yrs old – we returned to my maternal grandmother’s house when I was two. Which was really the best thing to happen to us.

    Life, after we’ve dealt with the pain, is what we make it. We have the choice. That really doesn’t mean it is easy, does it? And then, we meet all the people who let us down and walk away.

    Hugs – we’re stronger for having gone through what life serves us.

    You should write a book, Carolyn. I can imagine how wonderful that would be.

    Love, Vidya

    • Thank you Vidya for all your encouragement and kindness! I appreciate it even more knowing your own story of overcoming adversity. But you are so right in that we have a choice. We have a choice to heal. It isn’t easy but the alternative is to spend a life full of bitterness and resentment. Life is too short for that 🙂

  23. Thank you very much Carolyn for sharing this part of you. Sounds to me like your mother is the one that losses.
    You say she has a new family and lets everyone believe you have died. The truth be known she can not forgive herself for what she did, otherwise she would admit the truth. She knows she is wrong. I am proud of you and feel very sad for her.

    Love can hurt very much and I believe we have all been there one way or another. I have 3 brothers that have rejected me. It is a very long story, and i forgive them for making the choices they have made. One day they may or may not regret there choice, but it is ok.

    We grow stronger when our hearts get broken and we become a better person, because of the pain.

    i always remember to leave the door open for love, so i don’t miss anyones love when the door is knocked on. Love is what heals our pain and makes life worth living everyday.

    I am blessed for have met you on the internet. Thanks again and always take care. you are needed to share your wisdom.

    • What a heartfelt response Debbie – thankyou! I’m so sorry to hear that you are separated from your brothers in this way. And as you say, your door is always open to love. That’s wonderful!

  24. That’s my story except it was my father. He abandoned me mentally and emotionally. I really did forgive him though. We still don’t have a good relationship but we are workin on it. Thanks for this post. It really hit home

    • So sorry to hear that you were abandoned by your father in this way. You are clearly a strong and loving woman to have been able to forgive him. Love and blessings to you Carrie 🙂

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