Missing Mother

Releasing the Pain of Childhood Abandonment, Neglect, and Rejection

The Two Faces of Sadness

I have never met anybody who came from a severely dysfunctional family who was not sad. (women express it more openly, men frequently cover it up with anger).  Sadness is not necessarily the same as depression. Depression is a heavy “thing” sitting on top of you. Something is pressing or pulling you down, and there is no escape. Your heart is a black hole. You are stuck. You don’t have the energy to move, physically or mentally, and everything you do takes a tremendous effort. At some time it lifts, and you feel better.

Sadness is more subtle, like grey dust, or a darkish liquid that permeates your whole being. It is always there, tainting everything you think, feel, or do. Unlike depression, this sensation is so familiar to you that you often forget it is there, or that there can be life without it. There are individual triggers that bring it to the forefront – a painful memory, a specific song, or watching a little girl interacting happily with her mother, while yours mostly yelled at you. There is a chronic feeling of loss and grief, even if you don’t know exactly what this loss or grief is about.

This does not sound like a place where anybody would like to be, but there is another side to this feeling.

As spiritual teacher Burt Harding states: “All spiritual seekers have a deep sadness.” If you are frequently sad, just let this sentence sink into you. All spiritual seekers have a deep sadness. This feeling, as uncomfortable as it is, is an indicator that emotional (and sometimes physical) pain and suffering is a call to go deeper, in order to find the truth, to discover who you really are as Soul. Sadness shows us that we are not there yet, but that we are well on our way.

The German poet Rainer Maria Rilke put it this way: [These feelings of sadness] “are moments when something new has entered into us, something unknown; our feelings grow mute in shy perplexity, everything in us withdraws, a stillness comes, and the new, which no one knows, stands in the midst of it and is silent.”

Looked at it this way, you may be able to make friends with your sadness.