Searching for love.

file000329683077Many of us spend our lives searching. You can be dissatisfied with what you have and you covet the things you think life owes you. But you may be misguided. Especially if you are searching for love.

“The sweetest of all sounds is that of the voice of the woman we love.” ~ Jean de la Bruyere

It’s always amazed me that even after all the years of heartache caused by my mother abandoning me and being told time after time that it was my fault she had gone; all I wanted was for her to love me. And to be able to return that love.

I knew that I hadn’t been loved as a child but it didn’t stop me wanting it. When my mother left it was as if she had taken my heart with her, leaving an emptiness that I couldn’t understand or escape. With each year that passed, the void grew and so did the feeling of loneliness and despair.

My thinking became distorted. With no-one to reassure or guide me, I came to believe that if I could find the woman who had brought me into the world,she could give me the love I had been missing. Then of course my life would be transformed. Because if my mother loved me then other people would love me. Simple.

Except that attachment and loss are not simple at all. Tracing a missing person involves so much more than locating their whereabouts. And going through life searching for love is complicated and painful.

“A joyful heart is the inevitable result of a heart burning with love.”  ~ Mother Teresa

In lieu of my mother’s love I tried looking for comfort in work, money, alcohol and relationships. Yet the more I failed to find what I was looking for, the deeper I sunk into depression and self-loathing. I thought too little of myself to entertain the idea of looking for a love that was genuine or precious.  So I ended up accepting any hint of love that came in my direction. Love in disguise would fill the gap until I found my true love. Until I found my mother.

But the agonising truth was yet to be faced. Sometimes the person we are looking for doesn’t want to be found. For me that concept was unimaginable. I had been prepared for difficulties once we had reunited but I never believed that she would reject me again.

One of the hardest decisions of my life was having to stop the search for my mother. I had invested so much time and so much emotional energy in tracing her, but she had killed me off in her mind and I no longer existed.

My heart told me that it was impossible. That my mother had to love me because I was her daughter. That she would understand that I needed her love to fill the void. I needed her love to make me whole again.

My head though told me something completely different. My head told me she had ruined my life. She was the cause of my depression and addiction. She owed me.

Unfortunately the choice to pursue someone doesn’t entitle you to their attention, respect or affection. You only have control over yourself and you can’t determine or demand how anyone else should react.  And it was no different for me. I could plan every move and dream of the perfect love, but I had no authority over my mother. She had her own plans and dreams. They didn’t include me and I had to accept that.

It took many years of recovery to get to a place of forgiveness and peace of mind about my mother. Today I don’t even know if she is alive. It doesn’t matter anymore. That particular journey has ended.

Yet like many things in life it is only when you’ve come to an ending that you find the beginning. As the door to my mother’s love closed forever, the opening to a new life began.

Difficult as it was to acknowledge my mother’s decision, it was an event that served as a catalyst in my life. I had to to be realistic in my expectations of others and allow them to make their decisions without judgement.And I also stop looking to someone else to fulfill my destiny and choose my own path.

Past the excruciating pain of rejection came the cognition of taking responsibility for my own well-being. I had been searching outside of myself to find the love that I needed, the reassurance I craved and the acceptance I desired. I had been looking in wrong place.

“Love is the beauty of the soul.” ~ Saint Augustine

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Faith led to me to look inside my own heart,mind and soul. My disbelief and apprehension was overcome by the desire to find the love I had sought for so long. Gently but passionately, the truth emerged. Everything that I had been searching for was already within me. Waiting to be released.

The search was over.

79 thoughts on “Searching for love.

  1. Beautiful post. The love that we always needed is ours to give ourselves when we our adults. Most of the time people’s parents are incapable of giving them the love and the protection the child deserves. The child then grows into an adult, but rages against his childhood and the person’s life becomes about reacting to one’s childhood. Hence, for you it was trying to constantly find that love that you never received as a child.

    Loving ourselves and giving ourselves that is the first step to being free and authentic.

  2. Hi Carolyn,

    My mother left me as a child. She gave me to my grandmother and would come in and out of my life only when she did not have other things that were better. I spent most of my life in a dysfunctional relationship with her until one day I just decided that she was never going to love me the way that I needed to be love and gave up. I still have a relationship with her but I don’t view her as my end all be all anymore. Thank you for sharing your story. Looking for love within has been the greatest gift that I have given myself recently.

  3. Thank you for sharing your story of searching for your mother. It is difficult for me to imagine your pain because I still have my mother to love and behold.. she is 92 1/2 now. I am so happy for you and proud of you for being able to release your search. Even for those of us who have not had to physically search for our mothers, we also must take responsibility for who we are and not place blame on those we love. It is so easy to see their faults and then believe their faults have caused us to have the same or similar faults. Taking personal responsibility is a very freeing experience.

    • How lovely that you have your mother in your life. What an amazing age she is. All that wisdom! And you are so right Pat, it’s learning to take personal responsibility that frees us. No one is accountable for our own happiness. Thank you for taking the time to share.

  4. I am so glad you came out of those feelings of desperation. Try to focus on those who do love you and care about you for certain! Somehow, though, I know you must be a little stronger now that you have started to realize you are more than a woman without a mother, you are you. I`m glad there are other people that have found that emotional power, instead of completely crumpling during the painful times!

  5. Carolyn, truly a heartfelt post, with so much wisdom within it. I cannot imagine a mother abandoning her child (though sometimes unwittingly there are many ways to do that), because I had a most loving mother and grandmother. So whenever I hear experiences such as yours my heart feels so much sadness for the loss of such a treasure.

    So much time has gone by since your mother chose (for whatever reason) to leave you behind, and truly though it has been so fresh in your own memory and heart of her not wanting you, you really cannot know for sure that she never wanted to contact you again. I can only imagine the guilt she must have had over the years, and as the years progressed perhaps it became harder for her to contact you…after-all, how does one really explain why you left your child behind at a time when they needed you most. This of course is only one scenario…you may be right in saying that she never wanted to contact you. But I believe for most humans, as they age, their lives haunt them more, and the mistakes they made in the past seem now foolish and regrettable. Many believe there is nothing in their power to do to rectify it.

    On the brighter side, and I am by no means diluting the pain you’ve been caused, you have discovered something that probably 90% of the human race never really discover, and since you’ve worded it so beautifully, I’ll quote you here…”Everything that I had been searching for was already within me. Waiting to be released.” What you discovered was the love of the Eternal Being, a love eternal, unchanging, always in the now moment, as cooling as a soothing balm for all your wounds. And that balm healed you where no medicine or human could reach – deep within. And it healed you from inside out.

    No matter if your mother is still here on earth or not, you can speak your love over her. You can tell her that though you cannot truly understand her leaving you, you can understand that there are times in a person’s life when they feel outside of themselves for some reason, and that makes them do things that in a normal sense they would not have done. Perhaps she suffered from postpartum depression, which can last for a long period if not addressed. So whenever you think of her, just simply say, “I love you”, and leave it at that. The vibration of your love will reach her no matter where in the universe she is. And love can never fail.

    Thank you for coming to visit me, Carolyn…it was a nice surprise to see you.

    Blessings for love abundant,
    Marianne xo

    • Hello Marianne,
      Thank you so much for your wonderful reply. I think you make a really interesting point about mothers who can be physically present but unwittingly emotionally abandon their child. There are many people I know who could relate to that!
      It is a blessing to have been able to heal from the inside out, because as you say, so many people never really discover that they have the power within. It doesn’t make it any less painful, but it does mean that the healing is eventually complete.
      As you can imagine I have thought of many reasons why my mother left and it took me a long time to realise that knowing the ‘why’ she left was never going to change the fact that she wasn’t coming back and didn’t want to know me.
      I’m not sure I could even say that I love her and leave it at that, because I have now left her where she left me and that is okay. I can wish her love from this distance, as I would wish anyone to have love in their life. We all deserve that 🙂
      Blessings to you. xo

  6. Excellent post Carolyn! I really appreciate your honesty and vulnerability. It’s so true that regardless of what relationships we have on the outside – we still have an inner need for unconditional love… I believe that when we can start to give that to ourselves that gives power to the healing process. Thanks so much for sharing your journey.

  7. Heart breaking and yet so full of promise – another beautiful post, Carolyn. I loved this part, “Yet like many things in life it is only when you’ve come to an ending that you find the beginning. As the door to my mother’s love closed forever, the opening to a new life began.” You have traveled an incredibly difficult journey and come out so whole – you are an inspiration to all of us. Thank you for sharing, “Gently but passionately, the truth emerged. Everything that I had been searching for was already within me. Waiting to be released.

    The search was over.”

  8. Carolyn, big hugs, my dear…this post is a testament to your strong, resilient, amazing spark and light…that realization that you came to is an inspiration. You can only want what you don’t have…and now you know that you have it…where it counts…inside. Beautiful post….

  9. There are certain relationships we presume are sacred. Immutable. That of a mother for her child is one of them. Or so we think. So many other things you would have been able to comprehend and let go of so much faster, Carolyn. But that one is a game changer. Thank God for that tiny spark of self love …

  10. I absolutely loved your story. Thank you for being so open and willing to share.:) I am so happy for you that you were able to find a light at the end of the tunnel in the darkness. You sounds like a very confident and powerful woman! Cheers to you!:)

  11. Oh Carolyn, my heart is filled with love and my headd, well you may not want to know where my head went (smile). The ability to realize we are loveable, regardless of what else may have happened, is the biggest challenge and, I believe, brings us the biggest reward. For when we get to that point, we are back were we belong: loving ourselves and then accepting the love of others when it comes. It is odd, isn’t it, that we look outside for the confirmation and yet it is only from within that we can truly be love. I spent a lifetime (and my mom was there) trying to prove I was loveable. It has taken work and constant vigilance to keep going back to that core.

    Thank you for stepping into the core of your loveability…it wasn’t an easy journey, that I know and I, for one, am certainly glad you took it.

    always remember… you are loved, you are loving and you are lovable

    • As you say MamaRed it is odd how we look outside for love then it’s there inside all along. I’m glad you have made the journey and found your inner love too! Thank you for your kind comments and support!

  12. Powerful post, Carolyn. Reading it I kept thinking of this Camus quote: “In the midst of winter I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.” So glad to know you found your own invincible summer within.

  13. So sad when a parent is unable to give love to their child. I commend you for being able to write about it and for making the decisions you have. I’m sure YOU are a better mother because of it all.

  14. “It is only when you’ve come to an ending that you find the beginning” That speaks volumes. While we continue the fight w.our own efforts, we hurt ourselves! How wise it is to bring it to Jesus and let Him take care of it. THAT releases us to live life… Thanks, great post. xox

  15. Carolyn, what a beautifully written piece. Your story is really remarkable. My wish for everyone in pain is to learn to love themselves the way you have. I have no doubt you have and will continue to help many people. Bless you!

    • There are so many people that have been hurt as a result of their parents actions Leslie, but it is possible to move on and recover. Thank you for your kind comments and support Leslie!

  16. Thank you for sharing your story, Carolyn. I was lucky to have been raised by my grandparents as my mom left when I was just a few weeks old! She left town! Later on, I did find her but there were no feelings there, either way. I can understand that you wanted to find your mom…so did I BUT it was not worth the effort! From when I read and know about you by connecting online, you’re a caring, beautiful woman and you did that without “her!” Pat yourself on the back for that! Sending you much love and blessings.

  17. You drew me right in, Carolyn. At first I wanted to cry for you, but I just knew that there had to be a happy ending because of what I have learned about you. And there was just that, a happy ending.

    Love doesn’t have to come from the popular and conventional sources. Your story proved that.

  18. Hi Carolyn, as always, another beautifully written (from the heart) extract of your life! Being able to put all that hurt behind
    you is amazing and has made you the wonderful, strong person that you are today! I am a firm believe that people who are
    able to put their past demons behind them become strong and well adjusted people, often who can help others (as you do)!
    As you have said holding on to a negitive past can ruin what could be a happy future and in the end maike you a throughly
    miserable person. It must have been awful for you to have never have had the relationship you craved for with your mother,
    but i know that it will make you have an even more special relationship with your children! I was lucky to have had a wonderful
    caring mother who i miss deeply since she passed away 2 years ago.. But i try to live my live my life to the full
    since thats what my mum would have wanted me to do.! take care Carolynx

    • Thank you so much for your encouragement and your loving comments. And you’re right about the special relationship I have with my children. They are so precious and I’m blessed with a special relationship with both of my daughters. I love the way you are living your life to the full as that is such a wonderful tribute to your mum. She would definately be proud of you! xoxo

  19. Oh Carolyn, I felt your pain. Like you, I have tried getting in touch with a father I’ve never seen. You’re right about what if they do not want to be found? Should we waste our lives pursuing something doomed to be futile? I realized early on that it is far far better to cherish what we have. Loss is inevitable. So are memories.

    You are such a fabulous writer and I am eagerly waiting for your book, Carolyn. Hugs. Love you!

    • Thank you so much Vidya for your heartfelt comments and sharing. I wish I had realised early on like you did that it is far better to cherish what we have. Searching for something that we can never find is indeed futile and the sooner we realise that, the better!

  20. The fact that your mom had love issues towards you, it’s not your fault but her issue. It definitely had a huge impact on you but this made you stronger. It will be completely healed when you realize that you are your own mother, you nurture yourself. This post is really inspiring, thank you for sharing it with us!

  21. Another beautiful post. It paired well Michelle’s at Rising Woman on her dad’s passing… Both powerful messages on the beauty and gift of forgiveness.

    I especially liked:
    “Sometimes the person we are looking for doesn’t want to be found.”

    This was a valuable lesson learned for me too.

    Thanks for your work! (Hugs!) Christy

    • I agree with Christy about Michelle’s post. Very powerful! Learning that someone doesn’t want to be found is a tough call. But I do think knowing the truth is better than not knowing at all.
      Thank you for all your support Christy!

  22. Thanks Carolyn for your words. They can help many others. i did have my mother even and I felt loved by her; I also felt that I could not please her. I was lucky enought to have the chance to talk to her about this when I was an adult. She said that she thought she was teaching me by always telling me I didn’t do something right. She always wondered what it was like to have a mother, because her mother died when she was 4 years old. She was also raised by a very religious and stricked father. Her childhood was not much of a childhood and she ended up leaving home at the age of 15.

    No mother is perfect, but when the child knows they are loved and feels that love everything works out. Love is the big ingredient in life. The more we give the more we receive.
    Thanks again for sharing
    Debbie

    • Thank you Debbie for your insightful comments and for sharing your own experiences so openly. You hit the nail on the head when you say that love is the big ingredient in life. What a wonderful phrase!

  23. I don’t think it would be possible for most people to understand how the world is changed if a child loses a parent’s love – you write very beautifully about your own experience, Carolyn

  24. What a lovely bittersweet tale of love lost, love recovered, love received. I really enjoyed how you wove this together – you show us the vulnerable part where you hurt, where you craved, where you sought past what your mind eventually brought to you. You searched not only high and low for the elusive love of your mother, but you searched your heart at the same time. You have shown us that there is a never a finality to things, especially where love is concerned…it’s never cut and dried.

    But the most revealing and important message in your wonderful post is that what we need, what we long for, what we seek for completeness in our lives is not found in the externals, but is found within. With faith as a guiding light, we see that what we seek has always been there. The treasure is inside us, not found on lofty grounds or sacred sites. The sacred site is us, living, breathing and loving.

    Thank you for sharing this.

    Blessings,
    Paul

    • What beautiful comments Paul. I love this ‘The sacred site is us, living, breathing and loving.’ Faith is an internal experience that is revealed in our daily lives, it is really nothing to do with ‘lofty grounds or sacred sites’ as you say. Thank you so much!

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