May 18, 2012

{Inner Missing} Part One

[This is an excerpt—shared here in two parts—from my upcoming book, The End of the Fairy-Tale Bride. Extracted from a chapter titled "Longing To Be Loved," part two of "Inner Missing" will be posted next week.]

Diana’s sensitive nature was part of her astrological makeup since her sun sign was Cancer, the sign of the nurturer. Did Diana’s sense of compassion—captured so poignantly while she was in the public eye as Her Royal Highness—grow stronger out of her sense of emotional lack in her childhood? Was it a way to help compensate for that deep longing? That “inner missing” may have been part of the impetus for her compassionate nature, but family accounts in Rosalind Coward’s Diana: The Portrait, published in 2007 to honor the tenth anniversary of Diana’s death, say that her caring nature was a natural inheritance. Not only seen by her family as a duty of the privileged, but intentionally taught to her by her mother and through her father’s example, Diana developed an innate nature of being helpful to others all through her life. What the world saw in her compassionate acts of kindness as a beautiful princess came naturally.

“‘Diana was brought up to touch people, which she did,’” her mother Frances Shand Kydd shared in Coward’s book, “‘...and also she used her eyes to look at people directly. She was really interested in people.’” Her compassion, caring and tender mothering were natural, yes; but it came from a complex mind and a big yearning heart with a hole to fill.

Part of the irony is that the life of the woman “brought up to touch people” became a lifelong quest to be touched! Touched in such a way that it would squelch her sense of deep neediness and desire to be loved, hugged and comforted. When a child as sensitive and kinesthetic as Diana is denied physical affection and touch—or at least her remembrance was that she didn’t get the affection she really needed in the aftermath of her mother’s absence—it is no accident that the “touchstone” of her life (no pun intended) becomes about loving touch. In fact, her way of touching—compassionately ungloved, bare-handed even to the “untouchable”—became the world’s touchstone, a bold criterion for a new world vision.

From my view of Diana’s life, it seems she took that child’s longing for deep affection and attention into her adult life and attempted to fill it from the outside, sometimes with the illusion of love and intimacy—fairy-tale symbols of love that may excite for a moment, but don’t feed the soul. Through touch, however, Diana found the essence of herself and began nurturing her own spirit.

Diana didn’t receive the affection, love and attention she longed for in her marriage (or perhaps it was as much a function of not being open to the kind of affection, love and attention her husband was able to give; or perhaps she was not willing or able to give the kind of affection, love and attention her husband wanted in a wife.) Whatever combination it was, there was a communication gap and a whole passel of unfulfilled expectations! But when she didn’t receive the love she thought she wanted—at least to fill her broken heart—her biographers report that she brought other romantic relationships into her life. And often her choice was not driven by the best discernment, or how Jungian analyst Damien Doorley described one of the princess’ archetypal roles: “the lovely, privileged girl with a habit for dodgy blokes.” ~

[This is an excerpt—shared here in two parts—from my upcoming book, The End of the Fairy-Tale Bride. Extracted from a chapter titled "Longing To Be Loved," part two of "Inner Missing" will be posted next week.]

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