Rescue the inner child

ImageYesterday, I was listening to someone speak on the radio about what they thought made us human.  Featuring in his rendition was the importance of a family bond of unconditional love.  He talked about his wonderful relationship with his mother – his confidante, advisor and facilitator and, most of all, his greatest supporter.

I must confess to finding this kind of talk quite triggering.  It highlights the massive gap in my life caused by having such an appalling relationship with my own mother.

There was a time when people would have thought we were quite close.  However, that apparent bond was based more in her possessiveness and obsession with getting everything her own way.  Our opinions were never valid, only hers were important.

I must have only been 7 years old when I asked her, “Mum, was I a mistake?”.  This was a tragic train of thought for a child and came from her consistently telling me “I wish I never had you”, whenever I misbehaved.

She paused before answering.  I can still see it in my mind; her looking out the window, me waiting with bated breath.  I always did love her and craved her approval, as well as her love.  A child needs that bond.  It is the building blocks to an emotionally and psychologically balanced future.

Eventually, she answered, “You weren’t a mistake, but you weren’t planned either

She had a short fuse, “You break the patience of a saint”, she would scream as she beat my sister and me with the slipper.  My sister always got the worst, wearing a skirt meant her legs often had swollen whelks in the shape of a slipper sole.  As long as we played quietly, we were less likely to feel her wrath.

I thought everyone was leathered by their parents, in fact, I envisaged them being subjected to much worse because Mum would constantly tell us that we were from the best home, with the best parents.  I was living this split existence; apparently, it was the best, but in my heart, I knew it lacked something important.

Maybe I have a stronger spirit, but I did rebel, while sister reacted differently; she went within herself and even stopped going out to play with friends.

“That’s it”, Mum would say, “I’m getting you put into a home for bad boys where they beat you with canes and belts”

The intention was to frighten me into submission, but I would kneel by the bed at night and pray to God that I would go into a childrens home.  From a very early age, I wanted to be as far away from her as possible.  Nothing much has changed.

Yesterday, something made me realise that my inner child is entombed in a traumatic childhood.  The anger and resentment feels just as potent as it did back then.

I need to find a way back to rescue that traumatised inner child.

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40 thoughts on “Rescue the inner child

  1. Gel

    Yes, You were tortured and brutalized in your childhood…in my opinion. That was not healthy nurturance that was coercive controlling behavior by your mother. Though I’d guess that your mother was trying hard to do her best. It makes me wonder what awful things she had to endure as a child too. But now this is about you and what you need.

    I wish for you to find safe and patient, caring people (therapists and friends) who can be by your side as you open up to heal your traumatized inner child.

    I believe we can never redo the past but we can find the loving caring wise help we need to heal in the present – and I wish that for you with all my heart.

    Brave of you to write this.
    Thank you.

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    1. Cat Post author

      Thank you Gel. Yes, Mum didn’t come from a good background, but with violence and alcoholism. It would be nice to eventually find forgiveness, but I think I first need to heal that inner child. It’s a terrifying prospect for my therapy, I hope I can have the same courage as some of my fellow bloggers, like you.
      Thank you for commenting, Gel, always appreciated.

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      1. Gel

        I just want to add that finding healing for your inner child is most important over finding forgiveness for your mother. I’ve worked a lot on forgiveness. My observation is that I can’t MAKE myself forgive. I believe that forgiveness is a gift or a result of doing the work on myself. I think it’s admirable to WANT to forgive and to try to. But again I think it’s not something to make happen. I think some people believe you have to forgive first. Maybe it works that way for some people….goodness knows there are a zillion ways that healing happens….I just don’t think that for survivors of abuse that you should have to forgive the abuser first. That can almost feel like more abuse – putting their needs first. Anyway I just wanted to say that and for you to give yourself all the space you need for the inner child work.

        xx

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        1. Cat Post author

          I’m afraid I don’t feel enough compassion for my parents to be focussed on forgiveness. I think it is something that happens in conjunction/maybe even secondary with learning to love ourselves. I have pondered forgiveness many times and have never been convinced of its necessity for healing.

          Thank you, Gel, your connection has been very supportive

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      1. Cat Post author

        Yes, I take phto’s on my phone, not a very good phone, but the pics look good for a 5mpx. This was taken on a cold foggy morning in London and I particularly loved how it captured the droplets on the branches.

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  2. panikikubik

    I couldn’t expressed this better myself. Thank you for sharing.
    I grew up with a very dysfunctionel mother and it haunts me in every step I take, it affects my selfesteem, my realtionships, everything -and maybe my panic disorder just is rage from that little girl inside who never felt safe and love.
    Great post. You are brave and you’re going to make it.

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  3. Mandy

    Cat, just that you can put a bit of the horror you experienced into words make me believe you will save that traumatized child. I see it. I really do. Such work you are doing to rescue him . . .thank you for sharing this.

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  4. Vin

    I really hope you can save your childhood self, you are incredibly brave and resilient to be writing about it – you have such great potential for a full recovery.
    Although I didn’t have the best relationship with my parents growing up, reading stories like yours breaks my heart. huge hugs.

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  5. gloriamidwife

    I don’t know what to say, but I wish I could hug you. Thank you for sharing. I know writing it all out means you’re waking up old memories.

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    1. Cat Post author

      Hi Gloria, yes, writing can dredge up old emotions, but, unfortunately, it is all part of the healing journey.

      Thank you so much for taking the time to comment

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  6. Ellen

    Yep, same here. In my case an actual child comes out in therapy, who doesn’t understand adult life, who is full of fear and hurt and anger, all undigested still from the past. I wonder if it’s the same for people who are not dissociative? It is freeing for me to be able to let that out, but it took a lot of work to get to the point where I could. All good luck and courage to you.

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  7. Susan Irene Fox

    You can do the parenting now to that inner child. Treat him well and love him. Give him permission to make mistakes, to not be perfect. Give him grace and mercy. And maybe a new kitty to snuggle with. 😉

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  8. fotosandi1

    Well written story, the fact that you went through this hurts my heart as i have a similar story but with my dad and these stories are deep. So telling and helping others will slowly heal yourself of all the wounds, not that you will forget it but it gets better. There are so many children going through this and nobody knows or maybe they do and won’t tell or can’t get help, I wished that i could save all the children.

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  9. Athena Brady

    Hi Cat, sorry I havent been to visit in a while. I have been up an down to see my little gorgeous grandson, (will post an update & photos soon) helping my daughter move and now my youngest sons wife is pregnanct, great news. I see you have won a well deserved award which could not have happened to a nicer guy, well done. A heartfelt post raw and honest. As for your inner child you have started the dialogue with him through your writing and I think you are allowing yourself to listen to him, for the first time. (As you know I have and still am going, through a similar journey.) This step you have taken is monumental and you have shown incredible bravery, yes it is tough, yes some days you may want to stay under the covers and shy away from the world. It takes as long as it takes, be patient have faith in yourself, know you are love for who you are by us all. I am proud of you and you are always in my thoughts, you can and will do this.

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    1. Cat Post author

      Hey Athena!! Lovely to hear from you. I’m pleased to hear everything is going well for your baby grandson. I hope everything goes well for the new pregnancy!

      It hadn’t occurred to me that perhaps I was starting dialogue with the inner child. In past therapy, the pain was too much to bear. I can only hope I have gained enough strength and knowledge to face up to it this time round. I have 18 month therapy ahead….hopefully I can be brave enough to explore.

      Thank you so much for commenting.

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  10. Priceless Joy

    I am truly sorry to hear about the abusive and controlling mother that raised you. Such a devastating thing for children to have to experience. My dad was physically abusive to me when I was small and emotionally abusive all my life. I would like to give you some suggestions that will help you heal from those memories. 1) Love yourself. Truly love yourself and know that you are a perfect and wonderful human being. 2) Forgive your mother. I know this is difficult but the truth is, by forgiving her, you are not “releasing” her from her guilt. You are releasing “YOU” from being her victim. I have learned that as long as I have hatred and bitterness toward something someone has done to me, yes, even my dad, I continue being the “victim.” Also, as long as I feel sad and depressed over having the childhood I had, or having the dad that I had, I continue being his victim. It is not an easy thing to do, but I believe if you continue writing about it and keep trying to forgive and forget, one day you WILL accomplish it, and it will be magnificently freeing.

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    1. Cat Post author

      Forgiveness is a huge ginormous word and it is certainly something I will work towards. I totally understand what you say about being the victim; it is something I am becoming more aware of.

      Thank you, Joy

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  11. rootstoblossom

    I understand every word of this, you are not alone, and are definitely a lovable human. Yes we lack that unconditional parental bond, and yes it will always be a hole. But you can get past it and fill your life and soul with love and joy in other ways. It starts with hope and self love. You need to give yourself the unconditional love you should have had as a child. No wonder you are still hurting, those are some of the worst words I could ever think of to say to an innocent child and it won’t be easy to get them out of your head and allow them to fade. Keep talking about it, you’re doing great. xx

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    1. Cat Post author

      I like how you say “get past it” rather than heal or change it. Your comment has made a light bulb ping inside my mind. You’re right, that hole will always be there. Maybe I’ve left it vacant because it has been filled with so much hurt and anger. Perhaps it is about filling it with other things, like love and joy.

      I really appreciate your comment, thanks

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  12. Simon Edgley

    The only words I have found from hours and hours of searching that have given me some help are:
    Let go, or be dragged down.

    One cannot forget nor forgive beyond a certain level of hurt, nor should one. All one can do is move on and make sure never to do them same to others.

    If only it was as easy to do as to type.

    As for helping the Inner Child I’d suggest something like a big bag of Lego, a big bag of weed and a big box of old records….

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  13. The Midnight Thief

    I completely understand how feel. My parents aren’t my favorite people to be around. I wonder why parents choose to engage in actions that will leave their kids angry and filled with resentment towards them…

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