Tuesday, August 05, 2008


Breathe deeply in and out for a few breaths. Close your eyes and relax. However, it's not a good idea to fall asleep while sitting at your computer.

This has been a busy week already. Therapy on Monday - a very difficult session in which I've been suggested that I comfort my inner child who didn't have much of a childhood. The concept of the inner child is a difficult one for me, especially since I have very, very few live memories of three years - 7-10 and not much until 11. Actually, I guess there aren't many memories before age 7 either...a few incidences that are isolated from daily life. I was alone so much of the time.

then Dad went back in service when I was 7. A good bit of responsibility fell on me as my mother and brother made the crop that year - we had 23 acres of great farmland - grew wonderful cotton - usually rated good with a few middling ratings occasionally when we had to use a mechanical cotton picker. I remember things, not daily life, not events. Except, of course, the daily life events at which I failed at age 7 - like cooking dinner for Mom and David, peeing in my pants because I had walked from school to avoid a kid who taunted me and I couldn't get into the back door of the building where Mom worked.

I don't remember feeling. Life just was. Now I'm told that this child never had a chance to have a childhood; she had to grow up too soon. She never got the love and care that she needed, nor the praise or very many of those positive things that keep us going. They tell me that my defiant attitude comes from having to fend for myself and feeling that no one cared. And, they didn't...at least not in ways that I needed them to care. They said they did. They acted as if they didn't.

So, I'm supposed to talk to this child. And, I feel foolish. I would have to dissociate in order to talk to the child I was. I know the right words to say to kids nowadays that have been through some of the lack of loving care that I went through. I can comfort them. But, how do you comfort a child that no longer exists?

I can look at me and say, "I'm sorry you had a rough childhood. You should have had better food, more encouragement,...." But, so should a million other kids who grew up to be fine people without being in therapy and needing food to comfort themselves, or hoarding to make them feel safe. Why am I the one who eats too much?

Tonight Ibought yarn and stuff at the Goodwill Thrift Shop (now called the Goodwill Family Center) - yarn that I don't normally use, all donated by an older woman who was obviously a hoarder. Boxes and boxes of yarn, a hundred packages of needles, various sewing accessories in multiples of twos, threes and tens. I understand.

But, I still don't understand how I'm to talk to or write to this supposed inner child who was deeply hurt (I don't deny that) and carries this hurt yet (don't deny that either). They tell me I deserved better. Deserve is not a word that I use very much...not sure that any of us deserve anything. Lots of things would have made my life better and very different. I didn't have them. Now, I'm supposed to go back and comfort that child who didn't have them.

Maybe all I really have to say to that kid are two things: "It wasn't your fault." (don't think I ever thought it was) and "You made it anyway." (not the best way possible, but you're alive and they are dead - you have received many wonderful things and known oodles of great people - you've done lots of good deeds and loved everybody - that's making it, kid!) Living well is the best revenge. The ones who hurt me didn't live well and some of them are dead as a result of their poor choices; I am living well, and I am alive even though I've made both good and bad choices. You, the child, chose to live; and here we are, living well, blessed and graced.


Cynthia said...

I liked this post. Your inner child is enjoying life, its grace and blessings, esp. the touch and color of all the yarn.

shallotpeel DonnaB said...

For over a year now I have been trying to help my partner go back & reassure her little selves that a better time was coming, that there would be people who would love her, that she was right to do whatever she could to cope as a child since children have no power, and, yes, to love her little selves. I don't think it has required any dissociation on her part to do this. It didn't & doesn't seem weird or silly or 'out of body' or like that to me, when I refer to one of her little selves, or when we together speak about them, etc. If either of us can help in any way, holler, babe.

And, hey, we didn't even always have enough to eat when I was very little. I am haunted by memories of fear & worry at one place we lived when I was 3 where we were far from any of our large extended family. I was too young to know but the move there to a job wasn't working out & there was little food to eat. It was very cold. I was very fearful of the tall snowdrifts up against the porch & steps. (I was not known for being afraid of anything or worried about anything when I was very little otherwise.) Mother confirmed for me later that there was one can of cling peaches that she was holding onto for me, in case.

Kate Morningstar said...

I was afraid of everything, and I don't remember much about my childhood. Like you, specific events, but not day-to-day stuff. And I don't remember day-to-day stuff in my adulthood either.

I have never been able to do inner child work. It makes me feel like an idiot. I did learn some things about my family -- I don't know how my parents could have been any different, given how they were parented, and the one grandmother whose childhood I know anything about, had an abysmal one.

Screw my childhood. It's gone. My adulthood has had bad times and bad feelings and behaviour in it. I can't change that either, except for doing my best to repair what I damaged. Today, I can deal with. I can do my best to act well today, and then maybe my future won't feel so bad.

I do sleep with my little brother's teddy bear, or with mine, or both. That's not about inner child stuff; that's about comfort now -- I'll trade 'em in for an adult human being if the right one ever happens along.

Prayers, Sharecropper.

PseudoPiskie said...

I had what was probably an almost idyllic childhood and I don't remember that much of it. I don't really care to unless I need to explain an odd reaction to myself. It took me years to resolve my feelings for my mother. We had little in common other than blood and I never quite measured up. Somewhere along the way in my faith journey I learned to accept her and love and take care of her as my mother but she was never a friend. She's been gone for two years but her influence interrupts every once in awhile especially when I think or do something which would upset her.

May we find a way to make peace with ourselves!

God loves us one and all. Really.

Lindy said...

If working with your inner child were easy everyone would do it. And a lot of people can get away with not doing it. Some can't. You just have to decide how badly you need to.

You'll be OK ShareCropper. I believe in you.