I was waiting in a line with my one-year-old in a mei tai. A nice elderly couple started talking to me and cooing to the baby, tickling her. The man, in particular, paid special attention to her, and his wife kept saying "Oh, grandpa, you're boring that poor baby!"
And I just burst into tears, right there, in that line. I couldn't help it.
It occurred to me that this perfect stranger paid more real, positive attention to my child than my father has to both my children in the 4.5 years that I've been a mother.
And I was just so sad. I was so close to asking these people to adopt me.
I told my aunt this. She hugged me. I feel kind of "adopted".
I've become so much more vulnerable lately. I "didn't need" love before, or hugs, or attention. I was "strong". It was all so sickly sweet and sentimental to me. But it is only the narcissists' fake displays that are syrupy and sickening. The real thing also exists. And it's truly nourishing and wholesome.