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When You Feel Unwanted

The thing about toxic positivity that angers me, is that it is thrown at people who are vulnerable and trying to make sense of current pain.

When someone is reflecting on past pain (after years of not knowing why they have a deep internal war) and they are met with “You need to stop living in the past,” it’s not just that the statement is dismissive, but it was a moment they fought for.

A moment to understand how to connect two things that have been torn apart, and if they (the memories) can be sewn together with compassion and understanding, it can lead to healing that pain.

The topic of estrangement tends to strike a chord in the most unwilling people who aren’t curious about what they are about to say or what damage it could cause.

“But, she’s your mother.”
“Family is everything.”
“They did the best they could.”
“But, they’re your family.”

I wish there was a way to limit toxic projections. A safe word, a rope you can pull that splashes water on their heads, or even a magnet that pulls their lips together, where for a moment instead of projecting there was silence, curiosity and space for the estranged to speak their truth.

Here’s what you would find:

So many who become estranged did so after years of being the only one in their family who was telling the truth about abuse going on in their home.

So many who become estranged did not know it was abuse because it was the only behavior they knew. They became estranged because they are adults and understood (for the first time) that the abuse would never end.

So many who become estranged thought there was something they could do to make their family come together and they lost more time trying to make that happen.

So many who become estranged have never heard an apology over abuse that left them with intense daily struggles with their minds and bodies.

So many who become estranged have struggled with a sense of belonging because the people they wanted most, let them go because they tried to heal.

And, I would hope these statements could help silence the chattered mind who thinks it’s ok to blurt out projections on someone already hurting.

That unwanted part.

The part where you live with the rejection of family, or the dismissed invitation to join you in healing–it’s bitter.

Any childhood trauma survivor who has dealt with abuse knows the complexity of growing year after year and the complex parts of your relationship with self growing harder to manage.

Not because you aren’t a good person, but because no one has explained the trauma and showed them how to find relief.

Then, that person finds the courage to come face to face with those hard memories and they fight, and grieve, and heal and on the other side of that, the people who hurt them are gone.

Those people could not manage the words that were said. Those people would not entertain that you needed them to stay so you could know your healing matters.


This prickly pain from our hurt parts that spreads fast and looks for proof and presents it on top of other hurt:

“It was your fault that you couldn’t handle the abuse better.”
“Everyone else is fine. You were the problem.”
“You should have never spoken up.”

There is a heavy space where victims of abuse live, agreeing that they deserve it to keep the only people they know close to them or regret speaking their truth with the unknowns of who really loved them without conditions.


The story.

The pain.

The truth and its prickly aftermath.

Isn’t that the fear many have?

I am unwanted if I …

I am unwanted when I …

In order to be loved, I need to …

Unwanted lingers.

I could have…

I should have…

That complex pain of wanting people and also not knowing how to connect without fear.

I believe community and relationships play a key role in healing. And, I applaud all those out there who are doing it on their own.

But, I want to challenge the unwanted narrative.

Unwanted because of speaking your truth? Yes.

Unwanted because of not being lovable? No.

Unwanted is a feeling that so many who were the first to speak out have felt.

The complexity of people, including us. Wanting one another and refusing truths.

This is no fairytale, but I had to make a list. I had to think of all the places I feel wanted. The places that touch me and are different from the pressures of being who someone else wanted me to be.

And, I am sharing this list so you can see the things that may make sense for you, and you can add to them.

For you. You are wanted:

By the mountains
By the sunsets
By the quiet
By the stream
By the day off
By the stranger’s smile
By the younger you
By the neighbor’s dog
By the fresh air
By the sunrise
By the good book
By the afternoon nap
By the summer blooms
By the seasons change
By the comfy bed
By the breakthrough
By the peace
By the evening walk
By the park bench at the square
By the strangers waiting to find you who do not need an explanation.

I am not being toxic with positivity when I say we are all wanted. I am being hopeful and realistic, that there is much more that wants us, to stay in places that keep causing us pain.

I’m glad you’re here.


*****My online group will open registration one week from today. We are currently working through the topic of shame. To check out the details and be added to the waitlist click here.



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