One weekday afternoon I sat on a swing behind a public outdoor theatre. I was contemplating the question of what to do with my inner pain due to abuse or neglect for which I had no memory. I had asked a therapist that I had met in recovery whether or not I could do emotional work in areas where I had no memories but only suspicion of abuse. She told me that she did not know.
In particular, I had almost no memory of the father that had walked out when I was two years old. My mother told me that he did not want children. She had somehow talked him into having my sister. However, I was a mistake that came along a year later. She had let him leave without pursuing child support, because "he wouldn't work" and because she "loved him and didn't want there to be any hard feelings." The only memories I had of him were once on his shoulders at the St. Patty's day parade, and one weekday noon being introduced to his friends in a neighborhood corner bar.
I had heard some people in recovery talk about their 'inner child.' Quite frankly, it sounded like some kind of fairy bullshit to me! I feared and naturally avoided anything that had to do with feelings. In fact, I was nearly completely unaware of the many ways I had of shutting down my real feelings when they tried to surface. Above all, I was a talker. I took great pride in my ability to articulate myself. My very wounded ego needed something, anything, to bolster itself up with, so that I could at least look like I knew what the hell was going on. I secretly fancied that my magnificent mind would eventually save me from my insane life and misery. However, I came to realize that I extensively used words and particularly intellectual language to avoid my feelings.
While sitting on the swing, I decided to take a chance with this inner child thing. What did I have to lose? I couldn't imagine my life getting much worse. So, I took a good look around to make sure no one was watching, and then said:
"Okay little buddy, what did it feel like when your daddy left?"
My mind immediately began to wander and I forgot what I was doing. Then within 10 or 15 seconds, I spontaneously began to scream and cry. Something within me knew that it was the voice of the hurt child I was in the past and had remained until the present. It felt incredible to finally get this first hint that there was a way for even me to heal, and that it was, of all places, already within me. My whole life up to this point had involved the very strong belief that I had nothing within me that I needed to survive. More than 5 years would go by before I would begin to believe that everything I needed for my healing already existed within me and that all outside help merely played the role of the midwife is assisting the birthing and rebirthing of my True inner Self.