One of the exercises I did just this past week, was to write a letter to my inner child. It turned out to be quite an enlightening experience.
It’s part of the Courage to Heal book that we are slowly working through in weekly sessions. On a quick side note, I had my doubts because that resource comes from the female perspective of healing from abuse. Me being a male, I wasn’t sure how much I’d be able to take from it. Boy was I wrong. It’s an amazing resource. Also unbelievably frustrating only because you are confronting your feelings. I find it pretty easily to relate to many of the survivors in there, which is both comforting and scary. Anytime I have to confront my past it’s stressful and painful, but I know the end justifies the means. At least that’s what she keeps telling me.
Anyways, back to the inner child thing. Here is what I wrote out in the letter:
I’m not even sure how to write something like this, to write to an inner child inside of me? How in the world do you do that? I don’t even know how to relate to that kid anymore. I feel like I’m talking to myself, which is ok because I do that, but I’m talking to someone who can’t answer back. Or so I thought…
Here it goes….
I’m willing to sit down and write to you, even though I’m not quite sure why. I somehow know that you still exist when I sit there and think about it.
- You are in every flashback I have.
- You are the one that I think about who was bullied in school.
- Who wore those clothes everyone made fun of.
- You wore a retainer for so many years and got laughed at.
- You are the one who had to go to those learning disability classes, and get made fun of by the other kids once they found out.
- You are the one who also had to be there when your parents asked your teachers over for dinner in elementary school, and you had to endure that ridicule from the other kids because you were somehow kissing up to the teacher.
- You had to wear your hair all boring and dumb, and it wasn’t like the cool kids wore theirs.
- You had those brown shoes that people laughed out, that said B.A.S.S. on the bottom, with those brown and tan woven shoe laces. Those shoes would squeak when you walked, and it sounded ridiculous.
- You had that ugly brown corduroy suit that was too big, and the shoulders would stick up when you sat down, and people would laugh.
- You couldn’t take pre Algebra in 8th grade because you were too dumb.
- You couldn’t handle even 1 class with Mr. C, that teacher in 7th grade because he was too tough and you were a wimp. You constantly avoided answering questions in class at all costs.
- You had to ask your parents to pick the nice teacher in elementary school because you didn’t want to get your feelings hurt by a teacher that was strict, even though other kids were fine with him.
- You kept going back to the guy who sexually abused you, time after time. I don’t even know how long it lasted. I can’t even place the exact age other than 10-12. You kept going to his house because he had a mini bike and because he was cool. He had the cool haircut, the cool clothes. He had that comb in his back pocket that you always thought cool kids carried around. You did whatever he said just to ride that stupid mini bike. It wouldn’t have been so bad if you just let him do it once and then you never went back. I could probably make sense of that; I could be OK with something like that happening if you had just run away, told someone, or just never going back again. But nooooo, not you. You to go back for more and you put me where I am today. A guy who’s been divorced twice, a guy who’s insecure, has no self esteem, who’s afraid of sex, who can’t date without pulling away from someone. A guy who has flashbacks, and lives with a past that most people don’t know and will never know. Thank you very much for that, you’re a real pal there kid…way to go!
There you go, that’s how I feel about the inner child that went through all of that trauma growing up. Pretty hard on him huh? I wasn’t sure how that would work out when I started, but as it turns out it flowed pretty quickly and easily.
Is it unfair to blame him? That’s what “Wise Mind” would say, that yes, it’s unfair to blame him. It’s not his fault that instead of Fight or Flight, he Froze, Dissociated, and into auto pilot. He was only a kid after all. Was he really dumb because he isn’t good at math? Is it his fault his parents dressed him weird as a kid?
I don’t see things in Wise Mind though, at least not yet.
I live in Emotional Mind most of the time, which isn’t healthy, I get it but that’s just how it is for me right now. So since I see things in that way I have a tough time forgiving this kid for what happened, or cutting him much of any slack at all quite honestly.
So now this week I have to work on Wise Mind, and re-write that letter to him using that frame of mind, and see if it turns out any differently. Then compare the two in the next session and work through my feelings.
This should be good…
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