The inner child in us never stops longing for sweetness, for connection, for joy, for passion for a deeply vibrant life.
I probably can’t speak for everyone but in my own life and especially more recently after a period of tapping into my young self’s longing for attention, understanding, love, empathy comfort and support and grieving all the ways in which it was absent in the course of my growing up I have become aware that that child and her longing lives on in me, has lived on in my throughout all the years of my addiction and recovery.
Just a moment ago I had a powerful experience of seeing my inner child in my mind’s eye. In my imagination I took her little hand in mine and started to cry and I had a powerful realisation of how far she has had to travel on this long journey of coming to consciousness and recovering, not only from my own history but the history of my two parents two, both of whose inner children struggled too.
I thought of how over so many years the love this little girl was most longing for was mine, the adult self who grew but was also wounded in lots of essential ways, and driven my unmet needs and hungers in to some fairly devastating experiences. I understood her deep loneliness in a family that was devoted to pursuing externals at the expense of a relationship with an inner life and with each other at a truly intimate level and the painful consequences of that. That longing in me drove most of my addiction.
In the past few months I have been experiencing a lot of anger at my mother and two siblings who are still alive. I have been angry for the hurts, for the lack of empathy. I know my anger is valid as it came out of unmet needs but it was not realistic as all of my siblings were wounded too. Today I read the following reading which really helped me to understand this. It is from my daily reader : One Foot in Front of the Other by Tian Dayton. it says:
My siblings and I grew up with (alcoholism – my mother was the adult grandchild of an alcoholic). This disease became part of how we related to each other…..When our parents dropped the ball, we stepped into that void by trying to take over responsibilities our parents were ignoring. We grew to have way too much power over each other. We took advantage of each other’s vulnerability as often as we helped each other through, and that made our relationships very confusing. We formed traumatic bonds living in the trenches with active addiction. We weren’t really young together…..As I get healthier, I can see this more clearly, and that hurts, but it also liberates me from feeling beholden to anxious and ambivalent bonds. Today I can learn new styles of bonding. I can take what was healthy and carry it forward as I release the unhealthy parts. ..
This reading helped me so much to understand the complexity of what I have been dealing with over these past years. My surviving sister has suffered from bi polar disorder for some years. In some of her manic states she has said the most painful and hurtful things, at a time I was undergoing so much grief and pain from my marriage ending.
When the pieces have fallen apart for her, on four of her hospitalisations I have been there for her but I have feel so angry and deep ambivalent at times about having to play this role for a sister who has hurt and from whom I have never received true empathy and nurture.
Today I realise I can give a little to this relationship, but not everything and most certainly not at expense of myself because the return is not great. I give because I still feel the love that is there, but I am suffering as I long for healthier more nurturing relationships with women in my life who have a greater depth of understanding, care and empathy for me. In the end I will only find those relationships, though to the degree that I hold the hand of my inner child and listen deeply to her about what she really needs to be whole, healthy and happy.
Today when I saw my younger self she was with a lion. I have often had to roar like a lion when I was being abused emotionally by my sister. I needed that lion’s roar and strength to keep me safe but deep inside the lion was bleeding heart that suffered too from being hurt. I had work to do with feeling that hurt and learning about where it came from, roaring was not enough. I had to learn to step away, to take my courage, to be with my inner child when she was in need, not to always pass the responsibility off, most especially to wounded or wounding others who will not care for me and love me. In the end it is my responsibility to take care of me and find those who care.
I must say I had one of those profound moments just this morning when I felt this inner bonding with my inner child. I had just had two conversations one with my sister and the other with my mother. I learn so much when ever I have any interactions with either of them lately, I feel more peace, more understanding, less hurt it’s a sign I am separating myself in some way from the enmeshment that has keep us bound and struggling for long years and that I have worked through a lot of the feelings.
For today I need to nurture myself, to give myself good things, to be aware of the child in me who loves the dog, loves to sing and dance and needs joy and happiness in the day in order to feel the wholeness of her own being.
Carl Jung has said that the divine child is that part of us that is most deeply spiritual and connected. To be in touch with it is to be in touch with an aspect of essence which is so necessary to our wholeness as emotional and spiritual beings on this planet. This is the truth I feel most deeply within me today and need to share. As I see my inner child she is radiant and the most essential part of who I am. From me she needs, care, attention, love, empathy, respect, containment and caring discipline. And she needs a place to sound forth her song and dance her dance, in the unique way only she knows.