There are other parts to this. They are so painful, it’s really difficult to explore at all, but I am going to think it helps to try.

I have been thinking about Aisha. I have been thinking it helps to hold her close, because I felt loveable when I was with her.

I have been thinking that for a child with abusive parents who don’t know how to connect to their child, normal care feels like a miracle. I have been thinking that when you are on the other end of that miracle, it feels very special. Just like those very touching videos of abused dogs responding to caring humans for the first time, it’s pretty amazing to be on the receiving end of a child’s gratitude at being cared for after an infancy of neglect and abuse.

So Aisha was a part of something very special, just as I was part of something special when C first began to respond to me. It’s not the same as an ordinary parent-child relationship. It’s something a bit different, and it’s very powerful.

I left her house, and as a little one, I think I constructed it to mean I am not really loveable and being loved is not allowed. I was not allowed to grieve the loss of that relationship, and so I think it ended there. It was never integrated with other knowledge I had or other experiences. It basically did not fit into the same life. I think my task as adult is to construct it differently, so that my parents’s indifference and abuse can fit into the same life as Aisha’s love.

But that means a lot of pain. It means digesting a lot of loss and sadness. It’s hard.

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