To be the adult or to be the child

I awoke feeling very vulnerable today.  The harsh extremely hot days had surrendered their hold on us later yesterday.  The mercury dropped about 10 degrees by early evening and rain fell.  Today I awoke to a very cool, fresh sparkling sunny day, but sitting outside on the deck in the sun with little Jasper hip to hip by my side I began to feel so many things, sadness, vulnerability, as sense of how it is the most natural thing in the world to want to be close to others and how impossible that was for me growing up in my family which was busy, busy, busy and much, much older.

There is a lovely reading in one of my Al Anon books, I cant find yet, but it speaks of how in recovery the person realised she had lost a long time ago the connection to the little child within her, who looked upon rainbows with joy and awe and cried her eyes out when the dog died.

This week in a body work session which starts with a time of talking it was like I was almost looked down on for this part of myself. I was expressing the longing I had had to be close to a sister.  “Did you notice how when you said that your voice became high and you sounded like a child?”….???  Yes and isn’t that a good thing.  I know why it might not be, if we still have the broken hearted childlike longing and direct it towards the wrong relationships it can be damaged.   When I told my other therapist about this interaction yesterday she only said “Ouch!!!”

What happens to us when we have to grow up too fast?  When we cant depend on anyone?  We turn within and we also become strong which I am sure is a good thing on some level, but if the un-nurtured child within us is still powering on and not realising how sad we are how can that be good?  To me it seems the genesis of co-dependence.

I have known for some time that there was never a soft place for me to fall when I really, really needed it.  This week as usual my Mum tried to deny this again.   I know it comes out of her own programming. As a little child she was so lonely without siblings and a mother who was gone at 6am and again at 5 pm, leaving her alone (while Nana worked).  At the age of 13 when her mother wanted to send he into live in domestic service my Mum got out and got herself an apprenticeship.  She worked and worked and worked.

Last year I found some letters Mum wrote when my older sister married and moved overseas to live when I was 3.  The letters were all about how tired Mum was, how hard they were working and how I was really a bit of a bother and a nuisance as I needed attention.  How surprised she was that when I went on a lovely holiday where I could be with others and do fun things I was really happy and not a bother at all???  Feeling quiet angry as I am writing this.  She just didn’t “get it”.

It may not be her fault, but I needed more.  Inside me there is still that lonely girl who is a lot like my Mum in many ways.  I learned to go off alone and try to cope alone.  I did not learn how to ask, how to be vulnerable.  I worked hard and was an excellent employee until addiction took me down and I stopped working so hard to begin to recover.  Didn’t go down well with my husband.  I was trying to heal a very old pattern.

When I was sitting outside in the sun just a moment ago I was thinking about how the child we were and who still lives inside of us may be the most authentic part of us that gets covered over by an adult with all these responsibilities.  The implication in our society if you don’t grow up and be super responsible you are a bit of loser, but is that really the truth?

Carl Jung believed in the archetype of the divine child.  At one point in a breakdown he was having he spent a lot of time playing and building things from stone.  He formed the idea that the divine child within is the one that is connected to wholeness, to the present moment, to feelings, sadness, joy, play and so many other things. John Bradshaw has picked up on this idea with his concept of the Soul Child, which he believes to be the most soulful part of ourselves.

It seems to me that while this part of us is an essence many aspects of it live in the lower more primal brain structures which hold our earliest sensations and experiences, not always easily translated into words.  As we heal and learn to connect with this part of us we try to access this part of the brain through meditation and non dominant hand writing.  It seems to me that this part of ourselves is the sensation feeling, deeply attuned creative part of us, not the hyper rational adult.

We most certainly need a functioning adult to take care of us from within ourselves.  It seems to me we need both a good mother and a good father in side to nurture us, however I feel that all that is most lovely in us at times comes from the inner child.

Some people speak a lot about the wounded child.  Most certainly that part of us is a very strong aspect when we have gone through wounding experiences growing up. If it runs our life we can be full of pain, and yet that part of us, too, needs love and understanding.  It needs good boundaries.  It needs to be held and comforted when we are hurting, as I have been today.  It needs to hear that not everyone will hurt him or her as he or she was in the past.

The strong Leo energy in my own chart (ascendant, North Node and Uranus there)most certainly means I have work to do with connecting to the child within.  Its part of why I love to write about it in my blogs.  This strong energy opposes every personal planet I have in Aquarius over in the sphere of body (6th house) and others (7th house).  I can spend a lot of time living in my head and trying to make sense of life and relationships and this isn’t a bad thing, but I need to remember that at times I just need to use my senses and touch base with those tender childlike feelings and needs that I had to bury so long ago.  I have a deep fear around reaching out due to my Saturn Moon, but it seems my work is in reaching out to those true people with whom I can most deeply connect.

It takes time to develop the emotional intelligence to know who these people are.  As was mentioned in part of a quote I posted in my last post, when we first start to feel our true feelings they are very tender and raw.  Due to the law of the repetition compulsion we will reach out to the wrong people and we will get hurt again.  But that hurt will teach us something, our vulnerability will tell us what is healthy and good for us, as opposed to that which hurts, then our adult will be able to put up healthy boundaries.

If the wounded child is hurt or hurting we can talk to her or him and see what his being triggered for us.  Recovery gives us this capacity to be present and to bear with things.  We can sit with the child and ourselves, hold her hand and not be as reactive and lash out in pain which is the first impulse of the wounded child.  We can explore one feeling to see if it hides deeper layers of other feelings.

And my hope is that as this work progresses we all re-connect with the child if we lost touch with him or her long ago.  That child does not need to be shamed or admonished only to be loved and understood and helped to grow.  It can inform us with the help of our adult, what is best for us.

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