Meeting My Inner Child

23 09 2009

It really does sound like a bunch of psycho-babble hooey. Reparenting your inner child, what a crock!!! That’s what I thought at first, my little inner child can go climb a tree, or not. I think I’ll just ignore her, like she was pretty much ignored her whole life. Then I went to ACOA and got this itty bitty pamphlet that had me sobbing for my teeny tiny younger self. This was the excercise: Go through old pictures of you and revisit that time in your life, reimagine what life was like for that little kid.

This was not an easy thing to do. It was painful and extremely disturbing. Not the memories, I mean I don’t have one of those childhoods that make your hair stand on end. I wasn’t molested or abused, just ignored and belittled. The thing that disturbed me the most was the fact that the pictures of the school aged me,6 and up, I looked at with complete and utter disgust. I looked at the first grader with the messy head and wrinkled shirt and thought, “You didn’t take good care of yourself then, and it set the pattern for your whole damn life.” The picture of me on mythirteenth birthday, eyes red from crying, staring listlessly to the side as everyone tried to get me to smile for the camera,, I thought, “God, get over it, you are so weak.” The picture of me at my highschool graduation, “You’re so fat and ugly. ” Me sitting on a fountain in front of my university, ” I bet you never thought you wouldn’t finish, you never finish anything.”

Scary right? But when I saw the pictures of me as a tiny little girl, four years old on the swings, a baby on my dad’s chest, I started to cry and I had such compassion and love for this little girl. I wondered how on earth my mom could’ve never loved me when I was so cute and so sweet and so innocent. I mean, when I was older (6yrs old, yeah right) I knew better and could take care of myself. But so young? I hadn’t had time to mess up yet. How come she didn’t love me? I’m not asking. I know that she did and does love me, but these were my thoughts when I saw these pictures.

Reading up more on the subject, I have read that your inner child stalls emotional growth when you are abandoned and go into survival mode. One thing I realized about the timing between 1-5 year old me and 6+ me was that my mother stayed home with me when I was a baby till the time I started kindergarten. When I began kinder, my dad lost his job and she had to start working, she became a teacher. I remember my mom coming home so drained, so tired of kids that all she wanted to do was sleep and for us to shut up. If we ate homecooked meals they were from my grandmas and she never really played with us.

At school though, her and her kids would do the funnest things, pop-up books, big paper mache dinosaurs, cooking experiments. She was one of those teachers that twenty years later kids come back to her and thank her for being the biggest inspiration in their lives. I remember I would try and point this out to her sometimes and she would say, “I was meant to be a teacher, I wasn’t meant to be a mother, I’m an unnatural mother.” And that was it.

It turns out, that that was what her mother told her, “You are an unnatural mother, you’re not going to be a good mother.” And she passed that thought onto me. When I got married one of the first things she said to me was, “Don’t have any kids, you’re too selfish. Wait at least five years until you’re sure your marriage is going to work out.” Real positive thinking right. This is a curse that I am most definitely NOT going to pass onto my children. It’s bullshit. How can you tell someone who is holding their newborn baby that they are an unnatural mother. No wonder she always pulled away. She was afraid of failure, and now it is her biggest regret. She did fail. Her worst nightmare came true. She became her mother.

My job before I become a parent is going to be reparenting this little five year year old girl that felt abandoned, that didn’t feel loved. I have to see her through God’s eyes and not the eyes of a mother who was told that she wasn’t a good mother so never tried to be. It’s going to be hard. I realized this when I was at a bible study recently and one of my best friends was braiding this little girls hair. I got so damn jealous. OF A SEVEN YEAR OLD. I thought, she doesn’t need that, she’s spoiling that girl. No wonder that kid is such a brat. She’s not really a brat, she’s a cute kid, that gets alot of attention since she is so cute and so little and that makes my little five year old really sad, because everybody just sees this twenty-eight year old who needs to take care of herself. I haven’t quite figured out how to be loving and stop the voices of constant criticism for the little child that I was, but I believe I am on the right track at least. And now I know why I love to color and eat so much ice cream too. Self discovery is a wonderful thing!

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