The Orphan Heart

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I Felt Unlovable, Unloved, Unaffirmed, Inadequate, A Misfit Without A Dad – A Story For All Ages

I am an American World War II orphan child born without a father in June of 1945. My dad was killed in World War II before I was born and my mother never remarried. Therefore, I didn’t have my dad around to affirm that I was like him, that I was lovable, and that he loved me. I didn’t have strong male images in my life to teach me what it meant to be a male child. My grandfather was a strong willed Polish immigrant, who ruled over his house of 10 kids with an iron hand. Even though I loved my grandfather dearly, I always had an intense fear of him and the day that I would do something to make him very mad. Unfortunately, that day came as my grandparents watched over me while mom went out of town. I hid in the barn where grandpa couldn’t find me until my mom came to get me. How was I to know that grandpa’s kittens couldn’t swim on top of the water in the rain barrel?

My aunts have repeatedly told me how much my mother loved me when I was a child even after she received the telegram in April of 1945 that Dad was killed in action. I don’t remember my mother being a hugging and loving person that affirmed that I was lovable and that she loved me. In my mind, our relationship is what I will call the Karen Carpenter parents syndrome (from the movie), where the parents feel no need to tell the children how much they are loved because they just know. They don’t need to be hugged and kissed as part of that love.

I always knew I was different in some ways from other kids. I never wanted to socialize. I just wanted to be left alone in a corner all by myself. Probably because I didn’t have my dad around to play with me. I did well playing in a corner of a sand box by myself while the other kids played on the opposite side. From what I remember, I was always doing things for my mother that ended up proving myself to be worthy somehow. I took dance and ballet lessons, for what purpose no one can tell me why to this day. It wasn’t my decision. Mom would push me to be the best. I later became part of a dancing duet at the age of seven, and a star of the dance school performing on stage. Thus began the part of my life when I became a perfectionist and overachiever to prove that I was lovable and worthy of love.

It was 1950 that mom developed breast cancer and started her fight for life. During the next five years she wasn’t around much. Most of the time, she was in and out of hospitals undergoing surgeries or treatments that made her ill. I was cared for by my grandmother and my aunts. Learning how to play sports and do guy things just wasn’t part of my childhood. By the age of seven or eight, I was able to take a city bus to go to the YMCA for swimming classes and general swim. I didn’t fit in well, and the other kids didn’t seem to like me much. I was getting used to being a rejected unlovable person. I felt that I must become perfect. I must prove to everybody in the world that I am worthy to be loved and justified to be a person.

Then in 1955, my mother sat me down in grandma’s living room and told me that I must decide where I want to go live if she should die. I screamed and screamed that I didn’t want to go anywhere, but mom said I must choose. The one place I did not want to go and live was the only option my mother gave me. Before October 7 of that year, I was taken to the hospital to visit my mom. The scene in the movie “Terms of Endearment” where the children are taken into the hospital room to see their dying mom for the last time still tears me up. That is what happened to me. That was the last time I saw her alive. She gave me a hug, and then she gave me a curse. She said, “Go live with your aunt and uncle, be a big boy, be a good boy, study hard, and become a doctor.” It took 53 years before I was able to grieve my mother’s death. At the funeral, I shed no tears and I made up my mind that from that time on I would feel nothing. I had been betrayed and abandoned. There was no one left I could trust and no one to love me. I firmly believed that my aunt and uncle didn’t love me. No one cared about me. I just had to take care of myself. My safe and secure home was ripped out from under my feet. I had begun to develop an orphan heart/orphan spirit.

High school can be one of the most devastating times in a teenager’s life especially when it comes to affairs of the heart. Especially for an orphan that has not been well prepared with a solid foundation for love, relationships, and intimacy. Unfortunately, I allowed myself to be vulnerable for which I paid dearly. My relationship with girls was a disaster. I was again rejected and felt sure that I was unlovable. I swore for the second time that no one would ever hurt me this way again.
I had no one to turn to. There was no one I could talk to. I was all alone, with no one to help me but myself. No one loves me. My aunt and uncle don’t love me. Girls don’t love me. Kids in school don’t like me. I screamed out at God that he was doing nothing for me in my life and didn’t love me.

Unfortunately this affected my personality, my social life, my psychological feeling of self worth throughout my adult life. Never feeling loved in any relationship, always thinking that people didn’t like me, striving for perfectionism to prove I am worthy of being a human being but never being perfect enough, never allowing anyone to get close enough to love me, looking for love in all the wrong places, never liking myself or feeling lovable, and never able to experience intimacy. I was fortunate to discover later in life that all of this is known as an orphan heart attitude and develops from not having a physically or emotionally present father.
It wasn’t until I had a life changing experienced of the love of the Father that I set out on my own inner healing journey. It wasn’t until I had an experiential encounter of the Fathering heart of my God that I finally felt loved, lovable, affirmed, at peace, and finally knowing who I really am. Christian Healing Ministries was a major part of this journey.  Now retired and in full time ministry, I have written a book about it to help other people of all ages. “My father, My Son, Healing the Orphan Heart with the Father’s Love.   Now available from Christian Healing Ministries  and Amazon.com



I was fatherless. Were you?

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Orphan Heart manuscript in progress.


I am an American World War II Orphan born in June of 1945.  According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, there are 183,000 of us.  Although the precise numbers of World War II deaths are impossible to determine, these represent one set of figures for the number of deaths that occurred. These figures include military and civilian deaths where these were available.   The countries were: USSR, China, Germany, Poland, Japan, Yugoslavia, Rumania, France, Hungary, Austria, Greece, United States, Italy, Czechoslovakia, Great Britain, Great Britain, Netherlands, Belgium, Finland, Canada, India, Australia, Albania, Spain, Bulgaria, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, Luxembourg, and Denmark.  The total was approximately 56,150,000 people.  Thousands more were slaughtered in the trench warfare of World War I.

Therefore, the possible number of forgotten fatherless orphans that has occurred in the world from these wars is astounding.  Some orphans have felt characteristics of an orphan spirit that encompasses a deep dark black empty hole of missing pieces in our lives.  For them, this was the consequence of war.  World War II caused a paradigm shift in the spiritual culture of the world due to the lack of a father’s influence in the home caused due to the deaths of soldiers.  This created an orphan heart/spirit/spiritual orphan circumstance that changed future generations.  However, every fatherless orphan, whether male or female, may feel the same orphan spirit, orphan heart.  The number of fatherless homes continues to increase from generation to generation. .  Even children who have absentee fathers for whatever reason can be affected by the same characteristics of an orphan heart. 

Today more and more children are growing up feeling fatherlessness.  More children than ever are in fatherless homes or those that have physically present biological fathers are without a father emotionally.  Not only is this true in the United States but it is also occurring through out the world.  Millions of children today are feeling they do not have a place of security, protection, comfort, and identity.   A place where they receive a purpose and destiny in their lives.  A place where they receive encouragement and affirmation.

16 million children were newly orphaned in 2003.  Wars orphaned or separated 1 million children from [1][1]their families in the 1990’s.  2-5% of refuges worldwide are kids living without parents.  17.5 million are 0-5 years old, 47 million are 6-11 years old, and 79  million are 12-17 years old.  87.6 million are in Asia, 43.4 million are in Sub Saharan Africa, 12.4 million are in Latin America and the Caribbean, 1.5 Million are in Central and Eastern Europe.  800,000 pass through Americas foster care system each year.[2][2]  UNICEF estimates the number of orphans at approximately 210 million.


My dad was killed in WWII before I was born and my mother never remarried.  Therefore, I didn’t have my dad around to affirm to me that I was like him, that I was lovable, and that he loved me.  I didn’t have strong male images in my life to teach me what it meant to be a male child.


 I don’t remember my mother being a hugging and loving person that affirmed to me that I was lovable and that she loved me.  Rejection can even be felt by children of well-meaning parents who fail to hug, touch or express affection.  In 1955, the one person in this world who loved me sat me down in grandma’s living room and told me that I must decide where I want to go live if she should die.  My mother was dying of cancer.  October 7, 1955 she passed away.  


At the funeral, I shed no tears and I made up my mind that from that time on I would feel nothing.  The orphan spirit was now developing stronger in my life.  I had been betrayed and abandoned. There was no one left to love me and no one I could trust.  My safe and secure home was ripped out from under my feet.  I had begun to develop an orphan heart.


 If you grew up fatherless or had an emotionally absent father during 1940-1990, and experienced any of the following characteristics, email to me your story to possibly be included in my book.  ellenandbruce@earthlink.net. 


Our trust in parental authority and in others is lost.

We develop a fear of receiving love, comfort, and admonition from others

We close our hearts to intimacy

We develop a “my way or the high way” attitude

We become controlling in our relationships

We enter into an emotional isolation.  I will not allow you to We believe that no one cares about us. 


 No one can fulfill our needs.

Passions: We are lonely and insecure.  We seek to fill these needs through other means that often develop into additions to food, alcohol, drugs, sex, pornography and what ever else comforts us.

Position is achieved when we win the approval of others.  We constantly seek affirmation that we are worthy, have value, and are accepted by others.  We have a need to fit in.

Performance often leads to becoming a perfectionist.  In order to feel good about ourselves, we constantly have one more thing that we must do.  .  If only we had a better job.  If only I lived somewhere else.  If only I could run away.  


People in our lives are there for only one purpose and that is to fulfill all our needs.  

We seek to control emotions, people, or circumstances in order to never be hurt again.



[1][1] Nordic Journal of African Studies 11(1): 93-113 (2002)

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