It kind of seems like, after I have held the feeling long enough, something becomes clear about it. I suddenly think, “This is called loneliness. This feeling is loneliness. I know what this is.” And it helps to know. I don’t know that I am lonely in the present, but this is a memory of very, very intense loneliness—the loneliness that comes from being unable to bond with or connect to my primary attachment figure. I think it helps to have a name for it. It becomes something I can talk about. It gives me a degree of cognitive control over it. Not actual control, but like I can manipulate it. I can imagine it. I can transfer for it via my imagination to another person. And it isn’t so scary. It isn’t just wanting to die and punish myself or having thoughts about never being worth anything to anyone else.

This feeling is loneliness.

I have also been thinking that much of the cycle is the stages of grief: denial, anger, sadness, depression. The suicidality that comes over me is anger—a mix of anger and despair. I have realized this. It’s like little-person anger, where it is unfocused and has no particular target, because I was little. I just feel mad and want to hurt someone.

Sometimes things feel unreal. I feel unreal or C feels unreal or the situation feels unreal. A week ago, I was walking home and I began to feel like it’s all unreal, and it occurred to me I had a sense of a switch being flipped, as though I had done something that made it start seeming unreal to me. Maybe I had stopped feeling or something, but it was though “not real” was a way of describing this thing I had done. So that is denial.

The one missing is bargaining. Anyway, the problem with a child’s grief for an attachment figure is that the attachment figure is necessary. You cannot just come to terms with not being cared for. You need the care. It is like coming to terms with not having food. You might feel like giving up for a while, but you have to go out there and look again, even if there are lions prowling around and you are scared. I had to keep going out there and trying to get some warmth and care from my parents, even if they were abusive and scary to me.

The trauma is repetitive, because you have to keep trying.