‘I’m terrified of abandonment’ Davina McCall opens up on her troubled upbringing, her relationship with her mum and the lessons she’s learnt

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  • Davina McCall has been very open about the difficult relationship she had with her mother in the past, as well as her battle with drug addiction.

    When Davina, now 52, was just four years old, her mum, Florence Kock, abandoned her, and the TV presenter has opened up about how she’s only recently managed to address the knock-on effect this had, thanks to a series of hypnosis sessions.

    Davina had some hypnotherapy prior to a TV show she was filming – where she would go sub-1,000 metres under the sea – as she wanted to make sure she wouldn’t have a panic attack about being abandoned while she was underwater.

    During the session, the hypnotist asked her, ‘When did you feel abandoned?’ and Davina revealed her answer.

    ‘Actually, the first time that I realised I was at my granny, Pippy’s,’ she recalled, in an Instagram Live with her followers. ‘My mum left me and said she was going on a two week ski trip, but she didn’t know how to tell me she wasn’t coming back. That’s how she put it to me and hoped I’d forget. I was four.’

    ‘A sense of relief’

    Davina’s mum left her in Surrey with her grandparents, while she was off living in France. Explaining further, Davina continued, ‘I remember the time, I was in the kitchen and I looked at my granny. I thought, “I feel terrible, my mum hasn’t come to pick me up yet. She’s still looking after me, she must think it’s such a pain in the bum having my granddaughter here and still having to look after her.”

    ‘Actually she loved having me there, but that’s how I was playing it out in my head.’

    Davina went to visit Florence in France, but she was dragged around nightclubs and left on her own aged 12, with a stranger having to take her back to her mum’s house.

    Davina has previously confessed she actually ‘felt a sense of relief’ when Florence died in 2008. She did not attend her mother’s funeral, but she did forgive her for the years of abandonment.

    Finding peace

    She said, ‘I imagined her in the hospital bed, and I imagined these shoots of light going from my palms, all over, across the world, to South Africa, to the hospital where she was and going into her heart.

    ‘All I kept saying was, “I forgive you. I forgive you. I forgive you”. ’ She said her mother’s refusal to show her affection left her ‘catatonic with grief’.

    ‘I tried so hard… time aftertime, I kept thinking, “This is the bridge”,’ Davina said.

    A learning curve

    Davina also recalled the hypnotist asking her what she would like to tell her younger self if she could.

    She explained, ‘I just said, “Well, I can’t tell her it’s all going to be OK. Like, look what happens in my life!” [The hypnotist] looked and said to me, “But look at you now!” And I went, “Oh yeah, it is all going to be OK.”’

    Davina also said she believes that the hypnotist ‘shifted something inside her that’s never gone away’. She added, ‘That fear of abandonment, it just went.’

    Moving forward

    These hypnosis sessions have also changed her outlook on life and she wants her children, Holly, 18, Tilly, 16, and 13-year-old Chester, to understand what happened to her and learn from it.

    Revealing what she’d tell them, Davina said, ‘Don’t fear hardship. That is the greatest lesson that I have learned in my life and I have been in the toughest of times.’

    She finished by explaining, ‘And secondly, I’d tell them – I’m actually saying this for myself now – that it’s all going to be OK.’

    Well said, Davina!