I have been continuing to read the book, “Healing the Child Within” by Charles Whitfield. While we know that physical or sexual abuse is usually blatant and undeniable, the author has compiled a list of other common characteristics of troubled or dysfunctional families. In cases where there has been more subtle forms of abuse or neglect, we can still have the same issues that are caused by more blatant abuse. But with more subtle abuse, we may not understand why.
So, to help identify other ways that our Inner Child may have been wounded, the book provided the list below. Of course, this is not everything that can potentially by hurtful or even destructive but it does reference some things you might identify with. And, as the book says, “While discovering some of the conditions here may feel uncomfortable, it can start the way out of our suffering and confusion.”
There are 10 listed as follows: 1.) Mistreating 2.) Inconsistent 3.) Unpredictable 4.) Arbitrary or Erratic 5.) Denying 6.) Having 1 or more secrets 7.) Disallowing feelings 8.) Disallowing other needs. 9.) Rigid 10.) Chaotic
“Other characteristics of troubled families may include a variety of neglect and mistreatment. Reading about and reflecting upon examples of mistreatment or trauma can help us to find our Inner Child. Also helpful is hearing others tell their stories of mistreatment or trauma. but one of the best ways to begin validating our own mistreatment or trauma is to tell our own story in the company of people who accept and support us and who will not betray our confidence or reject us.”
So, what is my point in sharing all this? Simply put: if you are experiencing thoughts or behaviors that are a hinderance to joy in your life, look at the list. If you didn’t go through blatant abuse, there still may be wounding that you experienced that has saddled you with unwanted baggage. Do you relate to 1 or more things on the list? Then your Inner Child probably needs some healing and nurturing. The first step to that end, is to get your story, as you come to understand it, out in the open. As the author said, find a safe place and share. Once you begin to do that, healing can begin. But the first step is to give your Inner Child a voice.
To be continued…..