Jamaica Gleaner


- Kim­berly Goodall GLEANER WRITER

WE ARE all dif­fer­ent and shaped by our ex­pe­ri­ences. Who we are to­day is shaped by past in­ti­mate re­la­tion­ships, be­liefs and per­sonal trauma – rape, abuse or the ef­fects of poverty. These can leave us with un­re­solved feel­ings that af­fect our cur­rent and fu­ture re­la­tion­ships.

For 45-year-old Daph­ney Brown*, her par­ents sent her and sis­ter to live with rel­a­tives, as they could not af­ford to care for all of their four chil­dren. While Brown went to live with an aunt, her sis­ter, Celvia was sent to another rel­a­tive. Brown was phys­i­cally and emo­tion­ally abused while her sis­ter seemed to have been given ‘the world’. Celvia seemed to have had a happy life went on to have a hard-work­ing hus­band and beau­ti­ful chil­dren. Un­for­tu­nately, Brown could not have chil­dren.

She felt less than her sis­ter and that she was not wor­thy of love. Though Celvia would try to make her sis­ter feel loved, when Brown asked her for her sec­ond daugh­ter, Celvia re­fused.

Fast-for­ward 14 years later and Brown has not for­got­ten her sis­ter’s re­fusal. She caused her to lose her job and home. Brown thought this would bring her hap­pi­ness but still feels a void and con­tin­ues to find ways to make her sis­ter’s life a liv­ing hell.

Child­hood ex­pe­ri­ences play a ma­jor role in the per­sonal growth of in­di­vid­u­als, and, ac­cord­ing to re­la­tion­ship psy­chol­o­gist, Dr Sid­ney McGill, “A lot of times, our per­son­al­ity type, the stage of our trauma, our per­spec­tive of hurt and what we go through as chil­dren up un­til we be­come adults, con­trib­ute to the way we grow and form bonds (in­ti­mate or pla­tonic).”

Dr McGill notes that, for per­sons who have been hurt to the de­gree that Brown has, they can end up treat­ing per­sons the way they feel about them­selves. They feel like they have no value, so they do not place a value on any­one else.

Build­ing and main­tain­ing a re­la­tion­ship is im­por­tant in per­sonal de­vel­op­ment. Dr McGill notes that, when you are un­able to love and be loved, you be­come a dan­ger to your­self and oth­ers. He ex­plains that when a per­son has lost their power due to abuse, they have a ten­dency to hurt oth­ers so they can feel in con­trol and feel like they have re­gained some power. In the end, they are alone and drown in an ocean of pain.


The ocean of dam­aged love is the place where those who have been hurt dwell and the ques­tion we all ask is, how do we help the bro­ken-hearted and pre­vent the bro­ken from break­ing the whole­hearted?

Dr McGill ex­plained that per­sons who are nor­mally bro­ken need the pain in their story to be heard. They need a con­stant lis­tener, some­one who will give them the at­ten­tion they need to be taken se­ri­ously. “Nowa­days, we take per­sons’ hurt and feel­ings for granted, in­stead of be­ing some­one who will lis­ten and be of help,” notes Dr McGill.

McGill con­tin­ued, “These per­sons need psy­cho­log­i­cal en­quiry, a con­stant re­cov­ery process and, more im­por­tant, spir­i­tual in­ter­ven­tion.”

Fi­nally McGill notes, “This is your life, stop blam­ing oth­ers as you also play a part in your re­cov­ery and pain. For­give your­self and for­give oth­ers so you can re­build your life.”

* Name changed

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