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.
I Know That Feeling
I’ve had very similar experiences when 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.
My Inner Child
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 one of the most integral parts of 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 hers, and to validate who she is so she can emerge with confidence.
This is hard.
Who Was I?
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.
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The same thing happened to me. I looked at a picture my aunt sent to me and I had no idea who she was…it was little me. I didn’t recognize a thing…the hair, my face…nothing. It haunts me to this day. I am also totally on the same page as you with regards to healing my inner child…I just can’t connect. It’s so hard for me.
I recently found a bunch of very young childhood photos of myself; I didn’t even realize I had them. Looking at myself as a child is so complicated,p. I tried studying the backgrounds to see if I could jog in my memory but it’s all just gone …
It makes me sad sometimes.
I study photos too to see if they will give me something too. My mind keeps it hidden from me too.