In writing the book ‘I Am Not Listening (but tell me anyway)’ it has become quite clear that we all have this fragile inner child. Many adults have already sent me mail to talk about their own damaged inner child.
Healing can happen at any age. Healing can happen at any given moment. Our inner child is a part of our whole and often it still does not understand why things were the way they were. This confusion, often, creates inner turmoil we hide from the world, being far beyond the years of hiding under beds or in the closet because there is a “monster” out there. Long after we stop sleeping with a flashlight tucked under our pillow, our inner child still fears the dark. We do not talk about our inner child because s/he is in our past and no longer a part of our now. At least this is how society has taught us to be. What if that inner child is still a part of us? What if no one is going to come save us when we cry in the night? What if we are finally big enough to save ourselves but do not know it because society does not talk of these things?
Few of us have perfectly healthy inner children. Our Parents had a heavy hand in this as their Parents before them had a heavy hand in their own emotionally unhealthy inner children. We are not going to worry about our Parents right now though. Why? They are big enough to save themselves if they wish. We will take care of our Parents to the best of our ability but it is now up to us to reparent our own inner child.
To reparent our own inner child is not to revert to drinking only formula or forgetting our wonderful potty training skills. It is validating that s/he is within us and has needs that were not met. It is that moment when we realize important truths which have formed our own views of the world. Once we realize these important truths, we now get to decide to accept them or make a different decision then we reparent ourselves accordingly.
This morning I awoke with an amazing thought which helped sooth many issues within my own life. Of course, I have a less than perfect relationship with my Son. I had a less than perfect relationship with my own Mother. Fighting as hard as I could against being like my Mother, the fact is this is all I had ever known. I did not know how to be a different type of Mother. This is not an excuse but it is a very nice beginning point. Of course I have issues regarding money, my Father was a poor man regardless of how much money he had in the bank. All I knew was being poor and confused as to why it was this way when the ability was there to have a much better life.
In all great losses, be it a childhood, death, lost hope or anything else which feels like loss, it is not necessary to “suck it up” and take it like a man or woman. No, in fact we need to acknowledge that loss and give ourselves the room to grieve it. There are 5 to 7 stages of grief (depending on who we listen to). To circumvent any of these stages is to halt the healing only to revisit the stage to begin again from where we stopped. If we were told as a child to just ignore it and get over it, this was incorrect. Our inner child had just as much right to go through the stages of grief due to not being allowed what was dearly desired as adults do when losing something important to themselves. If that inner child did not grieve, the process was simply stalled but it is still within us waiting to be healed.
It may seem that our inner child is not listening, but tell him/her anyway because we are worth the effort to heal ourselves in order to be the Parent we wish we would have had.
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Photo credit: copyright Susan Colong who lovingly donated this amazing photo for our book I Am Not Listening (but tell me anyway)