Vulnerable, raw, fearful. That generally describes how I felt as a child growing up. Yet even after years of breakthrough and healing there are occasions as an adult when I hurtle backwards in time and my thoughts are of that of an overwhelmed eight year old or a terrified teenager.
It doesn’t happen very often, but when it does my whole body numbs. My mind goes blank. My emotions however run riot. Any sense of serenity escapes me and even my faith feels as if is beyond my grasp. Thankfully today I have experience of recovery and psychological strength to draw on. I can remind myself of how far I’ve come and how far I have to go. I can reach out to others who in turn can remind me of my worth. And my faith which never leaves me becomes bright and forceful in my life again.
But as a child dealing with abandonment and abuse I had no way of knowing how to deal with the hurt. And no adult to help guide or reassure. I often wished that I could have written to my inner child during those trouble times. those times. It could have read:
“Dear little one,
When your mother left you never to return – it wasn’t your fault. When your father made you into a commodity for himself and others – it wasn’t your fault. You don’t have to go through the rest of your life carrying the burden of guilt that was not yours to carry. Put down the shame and walk away.
The words spoken over you that left you believing you were worthless and unlovable were lies. You are precious. But don’t go trying to replace the love you should have had by seeking out a mother who will reject you further, or from other men who will abuse you again.
The letter didn’t exist for me as child but all the same, I survived. My journey through life continues to both challenge and amaze me. Sober, peaceful and fearless is how I would describe how I feel today. But sometimes I need to reassure myself as I would a child. Today the letter reads:
“My loved one,
Hold on, Keep strong. Everything’s going to be alright.”
Yes, it is.
Images thanks to the amazing Katie m. Berggren