What If Your Inability To Receive Is From Past Trauma?

Kelly Martin childhood best friend aged four

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Before I begin todays podcast, I wanted to say thank you to those of you who listen to my podcasts, because this may be my last podcast for some time.

If you would like me to continue creating podcasts, email me at kellymartinspeaks@gmail.com so I know that you want to continue tuning in.

And now onto today’s episode which will explain the reason why I may be taking a sabbatical from podcasting.


What Is Valuelessness?

So today I am going to talk about something that I became deeply triggered by recently, the subject of  ‘valuelessness’ and how it relates to how we are receiving in life. This receiving can come in the form of money, abundance, feedback, communication and connection, acknowledgement and appreciation.

For many years now I have been working so hard to inspire others through my writing, my books, my podcast, my social media presence and more recently the radio station I set up that is now off-air Peace Within Radio.

What I have learned over the years is that I have delved deeply into my own value and also where I may be feeling ‘not good enough’, trying to understand what makes me tick, what holds me back, what blocks (or lack of blocks) may be preventing me from reaching those I wanted to reach and in exchange allowing a fair receiving of abundance, joy and acknowledgement for what I do.

Now I know we don’t give to others to get, or ‘do’ to receive from others, but there comes a time in life when you take stock of your giving and doing and see something isn’t quite right here. The amount of energy I put into, for example creating this podcast involves preparing it, researching, editing it, producing and marketing it so people know it is available, takes a good chunk of my time each week and that is just one of many things that I do for free most of the time.

And after reading a section of a book by a writer and psychologist Chuck Spezzano, on the topic valuelessness I was shocked by how much a message he shared spoke to the heart of my life experience for around 39 years. I say 39 years because through his teachings I remembered a trauma in my life that happened when I was 4 years old that I had thought was no big deal, but looking at it, all other events that were similar happened because of this one event.

He says about valuelessness:

“Valuelessness is a core feeling of the unconscious mind which is so painful that we feel as if we are totally worthless. Valuelessness is closely linked and tied in with guilt. Much of this feeling comes from places where, as a child, there was a traumatic family happening, and we blamed ourselves, left our centers and went into sacrifice. But this just increases the feeling of valuelessness. Typically, we compensate for this feeling by becoming practical and hard workers to ‘prove’ that we are useful and not merely decorative. But all of this ‘proving’ our worth doesn’t allow for very much receiving. The receiving it does allow for is lost in paying off the stress of working so hard. Many times, people will have spent a whole lifetime working hard and doing useful projects. Then they come to the end of their life and feel it was all valueless.”

A part of this message was:

If you intuitively ask what earlier situation brought on the feelings or situation showing up now and imagine yourself back in that situation, you will see the Light within you reconnecting you with everyone in the situation. Ask your Higher Mind to return you to that center of peace, innocence and being, where grace can pour through you to help heal the situation. 

I sat down the day after getting this message and asked myself what experience was it that produced an experience of valuelessness in me? I had already addressed the headmistress who made me feeling like I had embarrassed the whole world, I had dealt with my mother turning her back on me when I was a teenager and giving me the silent treatment whenever I needed support and was emotional. I had gone over so many things in my life to get to the bottom of all of this inability to receive and then I saw it flash in my mind’s eye, this old strip of photographs that you take in one of the passport photograph booths, where you may have seen people having fun in them.

Early Life Trauma and Loss

little girls playing

This photo was of me and my first ever best friend at the age of four. We were smiling so powerfully; we both had our arms around one another hugging each other and I felt this overpowering feeling of loss.

I had blocked out the friendship, but I could remember this image of this photograph vividly. I think my father had taken us to the airport to watch the airplanes take off (a favourite childhood pastime of mine) and we had had our photograph taken.

So why was this traumatic? My first best friend was the first person I trusted and loved unconditionally outside my family. My best friend got me, she was quiet, like me and we just got one another so deeply. We were like sisters.

Unfortunately she was taken away to live somewhere else with her parents, but neither her parents or my parents felt it was a good idea for either of us to say goodbye.

So how on earth could this relate to not receiving?

Well, from that moment on something in me switched into survival mode.

Something inside me said ‘Kelly you mustn’t be valuable enough if she has left’. I had been totally abandoned in my little 4 year old self’s mind and from that moment all the deep feelings of ‘I’m not good enough’, ‘Nothing I do matters’ ‘People don’t stay’ led to a lifelong experience of people pleasing which I learned to mostly let go of in adult years once I became aware of this.

This experience also led to me carrying a deeply embedded failure story for a lot of my life.

Over-Giving and Over-Working 

What I did from that moment on was over-giving, over-working, because a big part of me believed that if I could just go that extra mile, people would see I was valuable, I was worthwhile, essentially, that I was good enough. If I just kept working really hard, eventually the world would notice that what I did mattered.

It didn’t matter, because my own sense of valuelessness was still there at the core of my being and it was running the show.

I worked hard on letting go of the cloak of invisibility so I could be seen and heard, and I am being seen and heard more now, but I did not look at whether what I did was appreciated or acknowledged or needed.

And this reflected in the lack of feedback, the lack of acknowledgement, the lack of receiving back that came my way. I was giving and giving and very little was coming back.

From that moment of childhood trauma dominoed many similar events.

The headmistress who said I had embarrassed the whole school because I hadn’t put my flowers in the right place on the stage at age 7, this event was not showing this valuelessness, but the fact that my mother and aunt who came to that school show, knew my headmistress had told me I had embarrassed the school and did nothing about it, they did not march down the corridor to stand up for me. When I said ‘don’t say anything’, because as a 7 year old I felt the shame and fear of what would happen, the adults in my life should have taken charge anyway, but they didn’t. Their lack of support made me feel I was not valuable enough to stand up for.

The huge number of friendships I attracted into my life, with women, where I put my all into the friendship, deeply committed and loyal, making the effort to spend time with them, they did not do the same for me, were distant, aloof, disinterested and not valuing our friendship as much as I was. In many ways I had this deep expectation that they would leave me anyway and many of them did in school years. I became the outsider, with no close friends and because of this I learned in adult years to let them go, before they walked away, to protect my 4 year old’s heart.

And yet protection can be a wall that blocks out the pain but also does not let the good in (like I mentioned in the previous podcast on life roles).

Little Feedback

I can see how many situations I attracted into my life to prove my lack of value and how many projects I put my all into that did not receive the ‘people support’ necessary to keep those projects going. The most recent being Peace Within Radio. I didn’t receive feedback until after I made the decision to close the station, not during but after.

My whole life I had been compensating for this feeling of valuelessness by working so hard to make a difference, to be counted and while I received some feedback, most of the time it has been negligible to nothing.

I had been trying to prove my value so much that my giving had become almost a fight for my own existence. ‘Look here I am, I exist, look at everything I am doing’ and while it may sound pitiful, I can fully see now the patterns I have carried.

I think there comes a time in our working lives when we have to ask if what we do is working. And for me in some areas it is not working.

Facing this experience, allowing myself to reconnect to my inner child from when I was four and talking to the grown-up best friend in my mind’s eye, I am learning to forgive and to bring love and peace into that situation now. Instead of the photo being black and white, I now see it in full colour, and it feels light instead of filled with loss.

In life we often spend a lifetime peeling away the layers of who we thought ourselves to be, until we see where a lot of the pain and wounding stemmed from that perpetuates an unsatisfying life.

And this is my moment of realisation.

Starting To Make Balanced Changes

receiving love, feedback money

So as a start I’ve started to make changes in what I do now. Posting less on social media, those areas where it can feel like I am literally pissing into the wind. And I am focusing on those areas I love to do still, which is writing my blog and potentially Facebook LIVE videos (which I have already cut back to fortnightly, due to lack of comments or engagement) and so I am left with my podcast, where I am making the decision to possibly take a sabbatical, for however long I don’t know.

If enough listeners get in touch I will continue, because to continue, like anything, we need to know it’s worth doing or working. It’s not worth my time or my energy to continue anything that is not giving me feedback that it’s of value, because I am human and like anything, if we are filling our lives with anything that no longer works, we are stopping the new coming in to fill that space that is already overfull.

I like sharing as inspiration comes…but I must take care of my energy now and start giving in the right balance.

Thanks for listening to potentially my final episode.

Email me at kellymartinspeaks@gmail.com if you would like me to continue.

Bye for now, until next time, whenever that may be.

Check out the latest posts at Kelly Martin Speaks

Kelly Martin
Kelly Martin

Kelly Martin, author of ‘When Everyone Shines But You’ is a dedicated writer and blogger who fearlessly explores life’s deepest questions. Faced with a decade of profound anxiety and grief following the loss of her father and her best friend Michael, Kelly embarked on a transformative journey guided by mindfulness, and she hasn’t looked back since. Through her insightful writing, engaging podcasts, and inspiring You Tube channel Kelly empowers others to unearth the hidden treasures within their pain, embracing the profound truth that they are ‘enough’ exactly as they are.

Find me on: Web | Twitter/X | Instagram | Facebook



  1. September 12, 2019 / 10:34 am

    Hello Brave lady

    I understand. I accepted transience as part of my life. That people and relationships were fleeting things. And with that a sense that I was only good enough if achieved according to a certain set standard. The bar was ever so high. And with that there was a whole lot of “Why can’t you love me for me?” and “Why do you love others/ show love to others over me?”. And I suppose the biggest crime was in telling me that writing was not going to pay the bills. That I would not become one of those writers whose books meant something.

    I acknowledge it. It has shaped my existence. I’m not sure if I accept it though. And that has bothered me for years now. And I am not able to have those conversations to get proper closure. Even if I play them out in my mind, I’m not sure they would be a true representation. Memories colour your world.

    But… my value and so too yours should not be determined by external factors ~ like doing things for the sake of being seen or loved or valued. And that is why I completely understand taking these steps to move forward. Do what is best for you right now, not what you think your audience might be able to give you… I know its hard. But I also know you are strong!

    I’m actually super excited for you. Making space for new things in your life is liberating. And you never know the surprises life will direct towards you. I hope they are good and fulfilling.

    It took me a long time to know my worth. And yes, I do sometimes forget it in those dark tumultuous moments. i hope to that you will find that balance. Many blessings to you.

    • September 12, 2019 / 1:49 pm

      Thanks so much Taryn. With conversations with the past…all I can say it was very freeing. Going into the first time you felt these feelings. Talking to the people involved, by saying exactly how you felt from it all and letting the soul of that person speak to you. And letting love God, Goddess.. whatever feels right for you to fill that space. Yours will be unique to your, but it’s really worthwhile doing. I am finally starting to appreciate me, it feels so freeing. BIG HUGS

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