Someone who ordered my booklet, Caring for the Child Within—A Manual for Grownups asked how my relationship to my Inner Child had changed over the years. I see there has been growth.
When the abuse memories came and I was getting to know my Inner Child, she was like a real adopted child, one who has been traumatized. She needed so much attention and tender care. I had to learn how to like her and love her: a sad, weepy child is not always what we wish for. So it was a time of sitting and listening, learning how to be a loving parent and how to value the Inner Child’s being exactly the way she was.
Just like an adoptive parent, I also needed to learn how to set limits. I made time for her every day, just listening, and also time for art work where she could be free to draw dark images or light ones, real objects or color patterns. But I needed to develop a little bit of healthy distance, not to be consumed by the Child’s terror and hopelessness, nor taken over by her enthusiasms.
Has my Inner Child grown up? No. Now I feel she’s even more free to be childish and silly and sad and scared. But she’s become more secure in those moods and in knowing that I love her. And I’ve learned to be a much better Mommy for her—willing to listen to the sad and scared parts without shrinking away or trying to talk her out of them, able to handle the quick switches in mood. It feels like a real relationship, one that I still sit with every morning.