Good Girl, Bad Girl

Those assigned family roles can lead to some pretty tough times for our Inner Children. We carry them long after.

After fifteen years of my being the Good Girl, my younger sister Kathy came into the web. I was in junior high and doing all the right things academically. Her role was entirely different. Partly it was looser, since our parents had aged and had found their lives. Kathy took on the creative part, dancing and doing art, then dropping out of high school in the age of sex, drugs, and rock and roll.I was sometimes envious of her freedom.

But it was a revelation, when she was about 25 and I was 40, when she said to me, “I’m the brat of the family.”

“What?” I’d never thought of her as a brat.

“Yeah, the brat. What else could I be? According to Mom and Dad, you were perfect, always the achiever. So I got to be the Bad Girl.” And indeed, she had played that role out pretty far before she found a new path and completed a GED and then several years of college, to become a highly-paid engineer.

Yet still when I visit at her home, sometimes Kathy literally slaps her own hand and says, “Bad girl. Bad puppy.” Her Inner Child is still convinced she’s bad and unworthy, just as mine is convinced I haven’t tried hard enough. Each of us has had tremendous dues to pay in our roles of Good Girl and Bad Girl.

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