The more you cared, the greater the sense of loss and more intense the painful feelings of grief.
We can form deep emotional attachments - to pets as well as people - and losing those strong bonds creates an emotional agony, and even ill-health.
Many a widow or widower has soon died of a 'broken heart' - to become re-united with the love of their life.
Attachment theory has been around for decades and focuses upon the emotional attachment created between a parent - or other care-giver - and a child.
This relationship sets up the template for the child's future. It literally wires their brain and determines their expectations of how others will treat them, and the quality of the relationships they will form, and how they will experience losses in their life.
We can leave childhood feeling secure or insecure – the latter including a tendency to be anxious and needy, or to actively avoid close relationships.
For those of us who had a troubled and unhappy childhood contaminated by difficult or even toxic parents, their departure or death can feel like a huge relief, like a heavy weight lifted from our chest.
We still might grieve for the happy childhood we missed out on, but not for the person or people who made our lives so painful and difficult to endure.
An early loss of something that is harmful to us is really a blessing and a relief.
To get a visual image of the strength of the emotional attachments in your life, draw a spider's web around an image or picture of yourself.
Then plot the people in your life on this web – family members, friends, work colleagues, neighbours etc. - placing them closer to you if you feel a closer connection and attachment to them, and further away if that bond is weak, forced, or disliked but tolerated.
Those furthest ones away from you would be relatively easy to live without. Perhaps you'll choose to discard these from your web now rather than later, and to replace them with new and closer connections.
You might also choose to work at bringing in closer some of those valued attachments that have grown weaker or more distant through time or misunderstandings - and consider how you could reach out to them again and renew your emotional bonds.
Having fewer but stronger bonds is worth much more than having many weak or unwanted ones.
Cherish and enjoy those quality connections with people who give back to you with their time, attention and care.
The downside of having these loving attachments is of course the pain and grief of losing them.
That emotional pain won't be as bad as not ever having experienced the enjoyment of their company, and of having great memories with them to recall - which can re-energise and amuse us for years to come.
Maxine Harley (MSc Psychotherapy) MIND HEALER & MENTOR
www.maxineharley.com - Where you'll find a page of FREE RESOURCES to help and guide you to overcome a troubled childhood and difficult or toxic parents... please see www.maxineharley.com/free-resources
You'll also find online self-help guides/courses – the main one being '3 Steps To Sort Yourself Out – without therapy!' which you can read more about here - https://maxineharley.com/3-steps-to-sort-yourself-out-2/ (£37 – or only £27 if you use the discount code TENOFF at the checkout)
www.maxineharleymentoring.com -Therapeutic self-development mentoring for women who want to understand and manage their emotions, boundaries and behaviours – and to stop the past from interfering with the present and future in their home and working lives
www.the-ripple-effect.co.uk - Ten online self-help workshops (only £27 each) – helping you to help yourself with Psycho-Emotional-Education. The ten online workshops are entitled:-
'How To Be Happier'
'How To Be More Confident'
'How To Calm Down & Think Straight'
'How To Balance Your Mind Body & Weight'
'How To De-Stress Your Life'
www.qpp.uk.com - A new and unique therapeutic method - designed to reveal, review and revise any unhelpful sub-conscious beliefs which have been getting in the way of your physical, emotional and psychological well-being.
You can change your life in 24 hours when you change your S.C.R.I.P.T. (c) - Sub-Conscious-Rules-Influencing-Present-Time