I used to think I didn't care. When I had DD, however, I kept thinking (and keeping thinking): how could she do it??? How could she just walk away??? Sometimes I have nightmares that I forget DD somewhere or have failed in my care. I guess there is a lot of underlying crappola that I haven't dealt with over the years. The loss exhibits itself somewhere...
I know exactly what you are saying, and I feel the same and have felt the same way since having children.
I think I've gone through three phases in life with regard to parental abandonment and neglect.
Phase 1: The first phase was devastating in a way that manifested itself physically. This was when I was a child and could not provide for myself yet. Having parents who abandoned and neglected me caused many problems during that 1st phase: hunger, lack of schooling, limited and zero opportunities, not having a winter coat, and being cold, etc. During this phase I was almost always cold, hungry, lonely, and felt very unloved.
Phase 2: I think phase 2 was when I was an older teenager, then a college student, and then early adulthood. I was finally able to slowly begin shedding the layers and layers of baggage, and begin to fend for myself so some physical needs started to be met. As a teenager, I could finally get a job and earn my own money, so for the first time in my life I had food most of the time, bought my first pair of brand new shoes, and started working out a plan to go nowhere but up. College and early adulthood for me was a wonderful time, full of opportunities that I had never earlier experienced, including having basic needs met and not being hungry and cold.
I saw myself as an island, as a person who could be completely independent, meet all my own needs, and never be neglected again. I excelled at this, but it was all false. People aren't islands.
I met my own basic needs, but unfortunately I spent pretty much all my extra money, time, and energy trying to pull the rest of my family out of their self-inflicted problems. That turned out to be a huge waste in every way.
Phase 3: In phase three, I became a mother. Even though the physical manifestations of abandonment and neglect were long gone, the emotional ones came again to pay a visit. I realized I wasn't an island. I had a baby, and other issues related to parenting and small children, and I needed help. And there was no one to count on.
It was devastating to see other mothers who could balance their life and motherhood so much more easily because they weren't islands. They had a network or village of family who could, and wanted to help.
I was and am still very sad when I see other grandparents who are so lovingly, willingly, warmly, and functionally involved with their grandchildren.
There are examples everywhere I turn of this. And it is always shocking and hurtful that loving families come naturally for some people. It all depends what family you are born into, and that is so very random.
My DH says to get over myself, stop feeling sorry for myself, let it go, etc. I don't think he truly understands. It's not feeling sorry for oneself.
It is far deeper and far more aching than that. You don't know it unless you've lived it. I've found this thread to be refreshing because all of you have experienced similar things in life, and seem to have much the same perspective.
I know what you mean about dreams. I have dreams where I think, surely there must be someone I can count on, I'm just not thinking clearly or thinking hard enough to come up with that person.