A survivor I follow on social media posted recently about seeing childhood photos of themselves but not recognizing the child in the photo. Not remembering the hair style, clothing, or even their own figure.
It got me thinking.
I’ve had very similar experiences. Looking at photos of myself as a child and not recognizing the little girl I see. Not remembering my hair cut, or the clothes. I remember once being rather startled at my weight.
My memories of the first 17 or 18 years of my life are fragmented and few due to the constant and long-term abuse I went through. Followed by 20 plus years spent in a comfortable emotional and mental dissociation which pretty much guaranteed my memories are either buried deep, or wiped away and completely forgotten.
Over the last three years through counseling, I have struggled to comfort my inner child despite the grief I feel as I let my emotions run free.
I hear often that the key to healing is to give my inner child everything she missed as a child; to listen to her, love her, and provide the things she needs. I need to help her learn her worth, to embrace herself, to validate who she is so she can emerge with confidence.
This is hard.
I don’t know my inner child. I don’t really feel any connection to her. The adult me processing my trauma understands the concept of “inner child”. I understand the need to love her and I want to protect her, but I’ll be completely honest – it’s hard to give her what she needs when she and I are still very much strangers.
Add to this my struggle with developmental trauma and I’m flailing in the wind trying to figure this out.
This is a connection I am still working on in my healing process, and it seems to be quite the challenge for me.
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