Re-Parenting My Inner Child: A Christmas Story

On the night I went to my very first 12-step meeting, I had an experience with God I will never forget-- because in that moment my attitude toward myself changed forever. It was 1996, and I had returned  home from the meeting with a Christmas Tree as a surprise for my children.  Their dad had left over a year before, for Hawaii, and I had all the care and responsibility of homestead and children a lone woman could handle!  I was very tired.  As I tried to saw off the base of the tree, and get it all set up in its stand, it fell over on top of me again and again! After countless toppling, I was fried and furious, and screaming at the tree in front of my poor children!  I then calmly told them they had to put themselves to bed that night--it wasn't their fault that Mom "lost it", or even the tree's-- but it was important for me to go directly to my own bed and take care of myself.

There was no excuse for my behavior. I was just way too tired. Ashamed. Hating myself.

When I got into bed, I picked up a book that said that I had to love myself..  Now I was really mad! I cried out to God in tears and anger, "How many books tell us to love ourselves!  How is it done? I hate myself now, and I am so angry with You!" In that moment I heard His Voice. The Lord of Christmas told me to stop beating up my "little girl" inside.  He loved me through all the years of my life, and every time I hated myself, I was hurting that innocent girl. The one with the chip on her shoulder. Who wasn't going to recover as long as I treated her badly. She would just grow up feeling rotten about herself--give her a break!  What I heard went right to my heart, and in that moment I stopped hating myself, and the years of anger I had with God faded away, as well.  The tears poured out, and my soul felt cleansed.

We are adult children.  Most of us had to play a "grown-up" role as part of our childhood, and now as adults we seem to need to re-parent those inadequacies we feel in us which constitutes that "inner child". I literally feel myself "shrink" inside when I feel inadequate in a given situation with another adult.  That's when little Sharon comes forth.  I have learned from my own experience with God, not to beat up on myself when I "do it wrong", because I beat the little girl up in me as well.  She doesn't deserve it. She never did. She is just a child and part of the "whole" me that God loves through and through. So when I feel this way, I try to treat her with kindness, give her strokes--that is "loving myself" as God does. It's a fact that God loves the "fallible" grown-up woman, but it is easier for me to treat myself well by considering the little girl.  Under all the anger and resentment lurks the broken-hearted child.  Let her cry.  Let the heart feel how broken it is.  It's so much better than getting so angry or fearful that I hate myself later for it. And there is no room in an angry heart--for anyone.

Faith and Love have "leapable" qualities.  It is my prayer that you will experience some of those leaps in your recovery this Christmas season!

Love, Sharon C.