Your inner child is your first-born daughter, if you’re a woman, and son if you’re a man. Your inner child will be with you when you die. At the end of the day, you’ll want to have your integrity intact, and your arm around that child.
Through “role-reversing”-putting yourself in someone else’s skin-you learn x-ray vision. This x-ray vision will help you cultivate compassion for others and, ultimately, for yourself.
Bear in mind that the pain your parents passed on to you, most likely, was passed down to them first. Imagining their lives, their parents’ lives, going back into history-this is where compassion for your parents begins, and forgiveness.
When hurtful things happen to us or those around us as children, there was nothing we could do but go into survival mode. As adults, we can revisit what happened with wiser eyes. It takes courage to go back to dark places, but revisiting these events and rescuing that “child” is what allows us to move from understanding ourselves to knowing ourselves the path to living fully.
We treat ourselves the way we were treated as children. If we were never listened to, we don’t listen to ourselves as adults. When we can identify ways we were mistreated, we can decide if that’s how we want to continue to treat ourselves. Sometimes we have to give ourselves permission to outgrow our patterns.
Dorothy Baldwin Satten, PhD
I believe that who your parents are, where they were when you were born, what their lives had been like, whether you were the first child or not, whether you were wanted or not, and details surrounding your birth have great bearing on your identity and life.
I was born in England in 1947. When I was two months old, I came to the United States in an ocean liner with my parents. I enjoy saying, “I came to America in a drawer.” Suddenly, I, who seem American in every way, have an unexpected story to tell. My mother told me that she made a little bed for me by removing a drawer and placing it on the floor of our cabin.
My coming to America story usually leads to other stories about my parents, how they managed to survive the Holocaust as Jews in Poland, and how they wound up living in England after the war.
So, my identity broadens from someone who happened to be born in England, to someone who would never have been born if the German Nazi’s plan for the extermination of the Jews had succeeded.
Arizona Family Therapy Client
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