My Inner Child was My Self Image



Self Image Inner ChildI had an image of a little girl in my mind and I dreamed about her often. She was a little over two years old; she had a dirty face and it was tear streaked. She wore a little white sleeveless dress, a rather fancy dress which barely covered her bottom; the dress was old, now dirty and grimy, tattered and torn and her legs were filthy, scratched and bruised.  Her little black patent leather shoes were scuffed and her ankle socks were dirty and droopy. Her dark curly hair was messy and matted and from her hand dangled a sad and ripped little teddy bear with the stuffing hanging out one side. She didn’t speak; I got the feeling that she couldn’t speak. She had no voice. She had a haunted kind of empty look in her dark eyes. I wondered why I had these recurring dreams about her and often saw flashes of her in my mind. 

In the dreams I also saw her surroundings; she lived in a very dark and dirty attic. There was a broken window which let a small sliver of light in, but it was also cold. The floors were bare and littered with broken furniture and broken toys. There were no blankets, no creature comforts. It was dark, cold and barren.

There were other rooms in that attic, there was a room full of cribs, about 5 of them all in a row, but none of them had sheets or blankets on them.  The place looked as though it had been suddenly vacated, and someone forgot to take the little girl with them.  The whole vision screamed of abandonment. She haunted me.

When I was in my forties, I told my therapist about her and for the first time in my life I realized that she was actually me. She was me at that same age. What had happened to her I wondered and why the heck was she living all alone like that, dirty, cold, unloved, unfed, unprotected and abandoned. My life in actuality was nothing like that. I had food, shelter, clothing, warm blankets, good food, parents, friends and toys; But the little girl was my “self image.”  She is how I felt about myself. She is how I saw myself and the questions I had about her became about me;  “how did that happen, why have I come to see myself that way?”  

In a way this was another beginning. I was able to realize that for me to have this kind of “self image” something really awful must have happened. I knew some of what “it” was, but a lot of what I knew about I thought was “normal” and much of it I had tried to put behind me. I tried to do positive thinking but it wasn’t working and I realized that I was blaming myself for my past and I mixed in feeling like a failure for not getting over it.

I started to go and visit the little girl that was me,  in that cold dirty attic. At first she didn’t respond to me, she huddled in the corner, cowering from me, and I saw her as separate from myself~ just as I always had.

She didn’t trust me, just like I didn’t trust myself anymore either. I had neglected her in the same way as everyone else had. In some ways, I blamed her for what happened to me as though it didn’t happen to her ~ its logical that I would blame her/me, if you consider the other posts I have written about being convinced that I was the problem and the problem started when I was that age.

I had to stop blaming myself. I had to understand what happened to ME that caused me to see myself and my self image that way. I had to become very gentle with myself, find compassion for myself, and then find ways to accomplish emotional healing with myself.  I did spend time talking to that little girl; the little girl that was me. My time with her was intentional. My time with her was about building trust and self love and although when I was “with her” I saw her as separate from me, it was never far from my mind that she was me.

She never did speak to me, but eventually she let me wash her face, brush her hair and get some warm clothes on. Eventually, she let me wrap her in a blanket and hold her on my lap. Eventually she let me comfort her while she cried. She let me care for her. One day she took my hand and we walked out the door; we took one last look around, then together we descended down the long staircase and we left that dark cold attic ~ we walked out into the bright sunshine and fresh air, no longer separate but as one.

Please share your thoughts if this post has impacted you in any way,

~ because there really is gold at the end of the rainbow

Darlene Ouimet

39 response to "My Inner Child was My Self Image"

  1. By: Mandy Posted: 5th October

    Wow this was really empowering (one of my favorite things to find is empowerment!)I had a reoccurring nightmare since I was little too! I could never figure out why the heck am I having this nightmare? It had a sweet little girl with her hair all curled pretty and she was wearing a little yellow dress with those little lacy socks and black patent shoes. It always started calm and serene and she was sitting on a wooden chair with her legs dangling reading a card. There is a woman standing near by watching her. Then loud crashing noises and a dark figure would come and take her away her heart would be racing and she could never scream or call for help. Then when it was all over it would go back to the serene yellow calm and start all over.
    It wasn’t until I started to deal with the sexual abuse and felt safe enough to let this out that I realized the dreams meaning and connection. As I have worked thru “The Courage to Heal” workbook, my counsellor gave to me, I learned about this inner child and realized that she was me and I could protect her and do what should have been done for myself a long time ago. I have a picture of my abuser carrying me when I was small. I am crying and reaching out to my mother who is snapping the picture. I keep it as a reminder of why I am choosing to take this journey of healing. Because that little girl needed saving and now I am her and have the power to do that! So everytime I feel like avoiding the work I need to do to stay on the healing path I look into her eyes and see the secret she had to keep and know that she doesn’t have to do that anymore because I am that little girl and I am free!
    I am so proud of all of us who choose to stand up and do our best to carry on thru this journey!
    Love Mandy

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 5th October

      Sorry it took me so long to answer the comments in the blog today ~ I am having internet problems this week. We are working on getting this fixed!

      Hi Mandy!
      Your story is so similar to mine Mandy! I realized that I could be the one for my inner child too; I could be the one that nurtured, protected, respected, comforted… it was strange and really it ticked me off that I had to be the one to do this… but as I went along I realized that NO ONE else CAN do any of this for me and I have the rest of my life now!
      Thanks for this post Mandy, you comments are empowering too!
      Hugs, Darlene

      Hi Bongo,
      Welcome! I love how others are sharing the “little girl inside” stories ~ sharing in this way gives so many others permission to realize the child vision inside of themselves too. I learned so much about myself, and my history, when I realized that this child is how I SAW myself ~ that this was how I regarded myself. As abandoned and unloved. Hurt. I am not sure why she wants to know your name Bongo, but I do know that when I was in the attic with “my little girl” she didn’t know who I was at all.. she saw me as a total stranger and I had this total sense that I knew what was going on, but she had no clue.
      Thanks for sharing, and for being here,
      Hugs, Darlene

  2. By: Elizabeth Posted: 5th October

    I was just thinking wouldn’t it be neat to see all the inner children and hear what they all have to say and hear their wisdom. What an interview that would be.

    I remember being 5 with pigtails.There’s a pivture of me on our bunk beds, at this age. I am in pj’s and a sweater and my eyes are alert and sparkling.I am bright looking and to me at that time I look happy. I notice my sweater is also buttoned from bottom to the top and my arms are tightly wound around myself.

    At this age I had anxieties of the dark, but I was angry when my parents hit me or were yelling at me. I think because I was the one who rebelled I got most of the bad attention.Standing up for myelf got me more punishment.

    I am trying to view my inner child as a friend who is still trying to tell me something. What the child needs to know is that she is safe, loved, heard, and has a place to live that is safe from intruders of any kind-physical or emotional.I think ‘safe’ is the big one right now.

    I love all of the comments I read here.

  3. By: Amira Posted: 5th October

    Lynn–thank you so much for your reply! I think thats my biggest problem in healing, the shame and never knowing if I am “normal” or “ok” and always second guessing myself because for so long I thought I was “crazy” and now that I am starting to learn that other people have the same (or similar) experiences, thoughts, feelings, actions etc. from abusive situations, I dont feel quite as bad, I still feel really embarrassed sometimes by some of it, but this morning after I woke up (I read your reply last night) I realized that I have not had ONE single nightmare since I started sleeping with my pacifier and last night I slept for an entire 6 hours without waking up (I havent done that without sleeping pills ever that I can remember) and I said “it makes me feel good and I am finally sleeping, so who cares what anyone thinks”. Thank you!!!

    Terri– you wrote “I also have this inner child or other me . It’s been called Dissacociative disorder, Sorry Spelling, I used to have moments when I would just totally shut down, didnt know then that I was actually leaving it happened at times of severe stress. Once my repressed memories began to come back it got worse. I can actually feel myself “leaving” now. I started feeling her emotions and reverted back to her whenever my memories of the abuse began to happen.”

    I never connected these two things, I have always “shut down” and “left” and sometimes I knew it, and sometimes I didnt…and it got so bad that I would be “gone” for very long periods of time, and when I started therapy for my abuse issues, I told my therapist about it and really started trying to “stay present” (thats what she calls it) and it is the HARDEST thing I have ever done in my life and in the beginning even thinking about sex would cause me to want to shut down and feel the 5 year old girl fear and emotions and all that and I would literally shake and cry and be so afraid, just from thinking about sex, not even talking about it…hell I still cant talk about it, even in therapy I try to avoid talking about it. I dont even use “normal” words for genital body parts, I use made up child words for them because I panic when I think about the “real” words. So I can relate to the “shutting down” and having feelings and emotions and thoughts like a little girl when you get stressed or upset…I do that ALL the time, and it totally freaks me out….and I dont know how to explain it to my husband, so I just tell him that when it happens I feel like a little kid and I dont know why, and I guess maybe thats good enough. I cry every single time Im with my husband in that way, just because its so hard feeling good and bad at the same time and I dont know how to process it any other way. It sucks, but everyone says its a process and you have to to go through it to get out of it.

    Hmmmm….an inner child expressing herself outwardly, through clothing, emotions, thoughts, behaviors…..what to call that?

  4. By: Terri Posted: 5th October

    I also have this inner child or other me . It’s been called Dissacociative disorder, Sorry Spelling, I used to have moments when I would just totally shut down, didnt know then that I was actually leaving it happened at times of severe stress. Once my repressed memories began to come back it got worse. I can actually feel myself “leaving” now. I started feeling her emotions and reverted back to her whenever my memories of the abuse began to happen. I have a poem posted in the poem section on here all about my feelings of guilt and shame for leaving her with all my emotions. During a therapy session i told her how sorry I was and how guilty I feel. We are merging slowly together . I still call her “her” during sessions and not me. but its a process just like anyone other and I will bring her home one day.

  5. By: Lynn Tolson Posted: 4th October

    I can identify with you, and you are all brave to be sharing your innermost thoughts. If I recall correctly, John Bradshaw, author of “Creating Love” and “Homecoming” was one of the first to develop the theory of the inner child. His books were enlightening in terms of “self-help.” As for teddy-bears and pacifiers and such, I still (OMG I am saying this out loud) I still…. rock myself to sleep. On the news just the other day I heard that rocking is called a “rhythmic motion disorder.” Seems every little thing is a disorder. When I was very little, I would rock on the couch so that the back of my head hit the back of the couch. My mother got all disturbed and took me to a pediatrician thinking I was “autistic.” So, I have an assortment of rocking chairs throughout my house. I could have come close to making an X… for the inner child exercise. An X or an O. X, cross me off the face of the earth, O fill me up because I am an empty space. Yes, true, too, that in times of stress the new coping methods we learn go out the door. Don’t beat yourself up, they already did that. xxoo Lynn

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 5th October

      Hi Eric,
      Welcome to the blog! I can totally relate ~ it is such a process and each of us is unique and yes, we are all at different levels and stages. I love that we can all come together, sharing ideas and feelings too; These comments bring us all closer to our destination and I love all the different aspects each person shares. There are many pathways to wholeness and healing. I like the visual of many paths, leading to the same place of freedom!
      Thanks for being here!
      Hugs, Darlene

      Once again, thank you for sharing the depth of your own experience. I know how much these kinds of comments give other people permission to accept themselves too and to accept unique ways of coping and dealing. Thank you,
      Hugs, Darlene

      Hi Terri,
      I can relate to your comment; once I recognized certain things that caused me to “leave” I also became aware of leaving. I also felt guilty because in my case I realized that I blamed this small child for causing the damage in the first place.
      Thank you for sharing your process,
      Hugs, Darlene

  6. By: eric esko jalonen Posted: 4th October

    very thot provoking and intense stuff here, with many similarities throughout i see. regardless of our gender, religion, colour, type of abuse, etc… we all go thru similar symptoms and journeys of recovery; the human spiritual condition.
    art therapy for me is amazing, i too was in a group where i didnt do what everyone else did.. in my opinion they all drew or coloured from their minds.. while i drew from my soul.. and my picture triggered evry1 in the room, including one facilitator, into anger and persecution… the only guy not triggd was a junior facilator who saw something completely different than the rest..
    point being, we were are working on our human spiritual growth that had been stunted by abuse or neglect, and we were all at different levels , or steps, on that journey.. no one better or worse, just where we were supposed to be..
    my level of self awareness, and self disclosure was different than theirs, bcus mine had to be, in order for my path to proceed..
    my intergration process with my little me has been ongoing for years, and i think that its my last big chunk of work that is holding me back, keeping me stuck, as it is, but thats a judgement on myself, a self fullfiling prophesy too,… i know there will always be more work to do, and what worked last week, or last month,last yaer, or 10 yrs ago, may not, or in my case, wont work anymore.. recovery for me has been an evolution of practices as my honesty and humility has deepened; as has my desire to live and paradoxically my risk behavior when not in recovery mode.. the closer i get to freedom, and continue to self sabotage, the closer i get to death; but for the grace of god… whats that saying.. cleansed thru fire..
    the journey continues

  7. By: carol Posted: 4th October

    thanks for your comments darlene,
    it still feels like an act but i think that is because i am in the practising stage rather than the ssecond nature stage, i forget how tiring it gets when your head knows how to do something yet you still react the old ways sometimes. i try not to beat myself up over my slips n slides much as i get that i really hadnt done the work needed to progress. it really weird cos it still like looking at someone else doing the work, yet i know that when i get to the top of that waiting list i will be ready to do the work whether i am ready or not, because i know i have a safety net now, where as before i only had a few people who i could speak of such issues, thanks to you and christina’s OSA i have lots of people now. thanks for the understanding and connections

  8. By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 4th October

    Hi Amira,
    I can relate to this, I had to “grow up” and lots of the time I grew up on the outside”, as you describe. There were things that I had to do to support myself. What you describe here is really part of the re-parenting process that I so often talk about. I had to go back and practice being safe as a child. I bought a certain type of running shoes that the kids were wearing at one point in my process… I even wore my hair in fluffy pig tails, (and my girls were in fits of giggles over that!) I did stuff like this too. I think that like Carol says, whatever works, and it is ALL GOOD if it helps towards the bigger picture of recovery on this journey to wholeness.

    Thanks for sharing, these are GREAT comments!
    Hugs, Darlene

    Thanks for sharing that about your teddy all of that. This isn’t so uncommon, it is just that we think it is so we don’t say anything! Tell others sets us free and it sets them free too! This is great!
    And about your other comment regarding the slide; you are saying some very wise things lately! Excellent, thanks!!!
    Hugs, Darlene

    Hi Jackie,
    My goodness, hugs for the little girl. The good news is that you know about her! With awareness we have a place to begin.
    Hugs and gentle squishes,

  9. By: RageWithinMe Posted: 4th October

    My “little” is a 5 year old girl, standing at the edge of a lake, beneath a tree, she is barefoot, it’s the 4th of July, and she is wearing a little yellow sun dress. The dress is worn and dirty, and so is the little girl. Her hair was very short. She looked around at all the families that were gathered at the lake for barbecues, and felt sad that everyone was happy and there were children running around. She looks over toward the picnic table and her family is packing up to get ready to leave. She sees her siblings helping to pack up the picnic. The mother comes down to the water’s edge and stares at my “little” with a hateful look on her face. She tugs my “little” to the end of the dock and pushes my “little” into the water and as my “little” struggles to stay above the water, she sees the mother staring down at her, grins and walks away. The panic sets in, the little girl cannot swim. She thrashes and her mouth fills with water as she tries to let out a scream. Nobody at the lake notices and she is still thrashing trying to keep her head above water as she watches the family car drive away. Nobody saves her, she ultimately succumbs to her death sentence and she drowns, but nobody ever finds the body.

    This has been my “little” for as long as I can remember. In reality, I was the youngest. I was a “mistake”. I was rejected by my mother. I was abused by her. And my father could not do a thing to make it stop. I am terrified of water that is deeper than chest level and I have always been afraid of water.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 4th October

      Wow, thank you for sharing this with us. This is a powerful account of the self image within.
      Something about your post really pulls at me. I had a lot of water analogies in my therapy process.. I could really relate to “drowning” and the feeling of being overcome by water, being dragged under, being helpless and powerless, choking …. I have had visions of people holding me under or pulling me under and laughing at me.
      Thank you for being here and for posting this comment… I appreciate it.
      Hugs, Darlene

  10. By: Jackie Posted: 4th October

    The little girl in the dark woods within is dirty and stares off. She huddles in a corner of the round hole dug as a grave and to no avail will she look up to anyone of us 🙁

  11. By: carol Posted: 4th October

    i am 42 and still suck my thunb and twirl my hair when i upset tired or stressed, i also have a teddy bear which i creid into at night when things got too bad n i had noone to tell. having something that gives you comfort is not a crime or stupid, it is giving you something secure to work from. use the pacifer for as long as u need to, take that time to heal and grow. hugs

  12. By: carol Posted: 4th October

    thanks darlene,
    that recovery discovery slide isnt fun, especially as just when you think you have done another memory pops up for you to recover from. some are lil blips but there has been at least 3 meltdowns where ive had to tailspin out of control to regain control at a higher point on the slide/ladder/ road. i have found sometimes that it the only way to actually change, is to go thro the process without missing the meltdown n uncontrolability of my self and how i coped, so i did relearn how to cope so the next time i statred sliding downwards i could check the rate of descent even if i couldnt stop the descent from happening

  13. By: Amira Posted: 4th October

    I always wonder about this part of myself. This “inner child”, do we all have one? I dont know mine if I do. Lynn posted about when she was at a workshop and they were asked to draw pictures of their inner children, and i remember doing something similar in therapy once.

    The therapist asked all of us to draw how we saw ourselves, not necessarily our inner child, just ourselves….and I just drew a tiny black “X” in the corner of the paper, and cried for an hour. Thats when I realized that nothing was the way it was supposed to be. I didnt even see myself as a person, much less a positive anything, and like Lynn, other people had pretty pictures of themselves in pretty clothes and with hearts and all these other things, and it made me feel really screwed up….but I knew it wasnt true, I knew that I was “something” and that I had to be more than just an “x” even if it was just to myself, so I started to work on becoming a person, if that makes any sense.

    I recently did something that sounds so crazy to me, and it makes me feel really like something is so wrong with me, but my therapist (and other people in my group therapy agreed with her) says that its ok, especially if it helps me….but I started sleeping with a pacifier at night….and it really seems to help. I dont know if that is me connecting with my “inner child” that i dont know, in some way…my way of “comforting her”. I dont know. I never seem to “feel” my age, I always feel like a little kid trapped in a grown up body.

    I even started wearing really bright clothes just because it makes me feel good, just like a little girl would do. When I started therapy, I realized that I had only three different items of clothing, I had grey tshirts, black yoga pants and blue jeans, and that was all I owned. and I realized that it reflected how I saw myself and that if I was going to learn to like me, I had to like the way I looked on the outside and dressing like that didnt make me feel good, it reinforced my hatred of myself….so I stopped doing it. I dont know what other people think of me when I am out places, they always stare at me anyway because of my hijab, so I dont know what they really think, if its my outfit (I always match carefully because thats important to me) but its really bright, like lime green shirts with a pink hijab with sequins on it and blue jeans and a pink and lime green purse….so I dont know….but I enjoy it, so I guess thats all that matters right?

    Anyways, I dont know if this makes any sense or relates to the “inner child” thing, I guess maybe I feel like I am being my inner child rather than having her in a dream or a vision or a memory or whatever.

    One thing that kind of scares me is that I know I have a lot of anger in a childlike way. There is a quilt in my therapists office made by several different child sexual abuse survivors and the one that resonates with me the most is by a 5 year old girl…and she says that she is a person, and she is not just a hole…and that really means something to me….its very angry and very vehement and strong and Im so glad she was able to say that so young, and I feel like that is inside me somewhere too….and it scares me to think I have anger like that.

    Anyways I am going totally off topic now. Thank you Darlene and everyone else for your posts, they always mean a lot to me and I appreciate them very much!

  14. By: Maggie a/k/a grace2244 Posted: 3rd October

    Am in awe at the similarity of recognizing a little self throughout your life. I had a 5 yr old little emerge when I was 5 yrs old. I know the exact date because a television show triggered her out (said in retrospect). Somehow I knew not to tell anyone about her. But she stayed 5 while I grew up. I too was in my 40s when I confessed to a therapist. We worked with her as if she were an alter although I had no other overt signs of having DID. It was a very emotional experience when she integrated into me. We both thought the other would disappear or die. That didn’t happen. She resurfaced as a healed adult several years later showing me her job. She was a little protector who took over consciousness to keep me safe from remembering.

    Several days after she integrated, my wide awake nightmare that began the journey of identified DID occurred. She was my beginning of healing. In hindsight, I also think it prepared for what was to come…that any part who blended, merged, or integrated did not die or go away. A very good lesson to know. Such pain and grieving when I knew it was about to happen. Thank you for sharing the story of your known little self.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 3rd October

      Hi Christina
      This brought a small giggle from me! Yes we were told we needed to feel
      better about ourselves… but no one ever told us how to go about that. I
      tried everything.. affirmation… etc.. but until I got the root of the
      problem, there was no changing how I felt about me. All those other things
      work now! ~ Because I believe them !
      You know Christina, the transformation in my self esteem astounds me too! I
      sometimes feel like I’m dreaming, like is just so great now… Thank you
      for your compliments on my work, and as you know I admire your work too! For
      any of our readers who may not know ~ Christina is the co-founder of the
      website “Overcoming Sexual Abuse” and I encourage everyone to check that
      site out too!

      Hi Carol,
      Wow from my side too! This is a very interesting and encouraging comment! I
      am so excited being able to sit on the sidelines this last few months, and
      watching your grow Carol! Keep up the good work, and I love your expression
      ~ “the recovery discovery slide” !! Sounds FUN!
      Love, Darlene

      Hi Paulette,
      Wow, this is a wonderful story, thanks for sharing it. I love hearing all
      the different ways that we come to healing and recovery! And yes… it is a
      lot like opening a long awaited gift! Excellent way to put it!
      Thanks so much for being here and for your heartwarming contribution to this
      hugs, Darlene

      Hi Sherrie,
      Thank you for sharing this part of your story today. You reminded me of a
      few things I had forgotten about! And yes, lets be examples of dealing with
      feelings ~ to our families and our friends. I agree, there is a lot of power
      in being real!
      Hugs, Darlene

      Hi Maggie,
      Thank you for sharing the piece of your own journey! I love to hear what
      works for others ~ I did not do any formal integration work and my merging
      was more like suddenly realizing “hey ~ I am not split there anymore!” but I
      really like to hear the way that it happens for others and the hope that
      these stories inspire in others. OH and I love to read stories like this
      about the progression of recovery! It is so important to realize and accept
      that the process takes time!
      Thanks so much Maggie, I am really glad you are here!
      Hugs, Darlene

      P.S. Just as a side note to the readers, it is common to be just as afraid
      of having to live with parts of ourselves, as we are of losing them; I quit
      going to therapy after being diagnosed in my twenties with DID because the
      therapist told me that “killing off an alter” was not an option… I was
      absolutely adamant that I was NOT going to keep one of my personalities
      around ~ so I was more worried about having to keep all the parts, then I
      was about losing any back then! Darlene

  15. By: Paulette Posted: 3rd October

    I loved this post and reminded me of something that happened to me recently too. I recalled a vision God gave me ten years ago. The vision was God Himself on His throne and He was holding a little girl of about 3 years old. She was vulnerable, incredibly heartbroken, abandoned, neglected and He was comforting her. As I watched Him affectionately comfort her, He looked up at me and in that moment I knew that the little girl He was holding and comforting, was me. I started sobbing, and then He said to me, “I am your Father … and I will never leave you or forsake you. I love you, and nothing you ever do will ever change that.” But what He said had much deeper meaning. In essence He was saying that He is all the parent I will ever need my whole life; that when He said He’d never leave me or forsake me, it was as though He was saying, ‘I will never ever, ever, ever, ever leave you, not ever, no matter what.’ And when He said that there is nothing I can do that will change how He feels about me – He was saying He loved me and valued me for me.

    Thinking of this vision has helped me to re-parent myself. I can see myself now as God sees me – I see myself as someone who needs affection, real love and acceptance, who needs people who are patient with her … it has really helped me to love myself because it allows me to see myself as God sees me … and He knows me better than anyone else. And He loves me deeper and wider than anyone else as well. In His loving arms is a beautiful place to be. So happy that it is He who defines me and I get to discover the me that is the real me. It’s like opening a long awaited and anticipated gift, slowly and carefully. Each tear of the wrapping or pulling of ribbon reveals more of gift’s beauty. And it makes it feel just a little bit like Christmas every day. :o)

  16. By: Sherrie Posted: 3rd October

    I remember being a little girl when my mom first taught me to suppress my feelings and I don’t hold her accountable :-)… Now, of course she didn’t realize what she was doing, because she wasn’t aware. I’m sure a lot women can relate to going through a certain problem when you were younger and being… told, “oh that’s nothing, you haven’t seen pain yet.” It doesn’t matter how old you are, your feelings should be acknowledged and our young women should be taught this at an early age, because as they get older they began to suppress who they are as women out of fear of complaining or being judged. “Oh! I will deal with this bad relationship a little longer because I don’t want people to know I failed.”, “I will stay at this dead end job because I don’t want to seem like I’m better than this or better than anyone else.” The truth is “YOU ARE”. Instead of teaching how to suppress your feelings, we should teach how to deal with them. I pledged today to never suppress my feelings for anyone not when it comes to my life.

  17. By: carol Posted: 3rd October

    this echos some of the thoughts i have had the last few days. i have dealt with so much of what happened, but never the detail of what has happened. it was always as if it had happened to someone else when i had flashbacks or new memories, mmm now i think i am gaining the strenghth to try and merge the social and the behind the door person into just one person, me carol.
    i have gotten on a waitin list so will keep doin as im doing til then, i havent given up im just resting whilst i can, cos i know it gona be hairy once things start to change onthe recovery discovery slide

  18. By: DragonHeartSong Posted: 3rd October

    Darlene, thank you for sharing this. Your abundant wisdom, coupled with deep insight and compassion, leave the reader aware of the many choices available to all of us. In each moment, our thoughts shape our reality.

    Your willingness to offer acceptance and love to the scared-but-beautiful young girl within you is to be applauded. It takes courage to come “out of the attic” with those parts of ourselves that are the most wounded.

    Your self-acceptance and compassion towards your own soul are to be commended. Bravo!

    _/|\_ Namasté

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 3rd October

      Hi Ravin,
      Good to see you here! Glad that you liked my post! Hugs, Darlene

      Hi Fi,
      That was so much like my own experience when I first started “visiting” that little girl in the attic. But it got better as I grew stronger.
      Thanks so much for sharing.
      Hugs, Darlene

      Hi Elizabeth,
      I am so glad too! Thank Elizabeth, Hugs for you!

      Hi DargonHeartSong
      Thanks for these beautiful compliments! I am so glad to have your here!
      Hugs, Darlene

  19. By: Christina Enevoldsen Posted: 3rd October

    Thank you so much for sharing this. Whenever someone told me I needed to feel better about myself, I felt like screaming. I already knew that! I just didn’t know how to change that.

    I tried positive affirmations for a long time. I had little notes posted everywhere—on my bathroom mirror, in my journal, at my desk, in my car. But no matter how many times I repeated them or imagined those things to be true, they felt like lies.

    Eventually, I discovered my shame was keeping those positive thoughts from penetrating. The shame acted like a security guard, keeping the good things out. All of the abuse filled me with shame. No matter the weapon of abuse—a hand, a belt, a penis or a voice—the real weapon was shame and I was covered in it. The act of abuse continually spoke to me: “You’re trash and deserve to be used and discarded.” or “Nobody cares that this is happening to you because you’re not worth protecting.”

    Through the shame, I perpetuated my own abuse. I continued where my abusers left off. Shame was that little voice inside me that argued with every accomplishment, every compliment, every kind gesture, any affirmation of my value.

    The way I evicted the shame was to confront the lies that the abuse told me about myself. Then I nurtured my inner child the way you described. The transformation in my self-esteem astounds me. I love myself. Now, my positive affirmations aren’t external. They aren’t something I need to ‘put on’; they are natural and come from within me. They are my native language.

    Thanks for always bringing out so much truth. It resonates so strongly within me and I always read something that I can identify with.
    Hugs, Christina

  20. By: Elizabeth Posted: 3rd October

    This is so touching, and I felt like crying as I read it. I’m so glad
    you and this little girl found each other again, Darlene. Powerful post.

  21. By: Fi MacLeod exNicholson Posted: 3rd October

    I see a hurting lonely little girl hunched up in the corner of a dark room with her chin on her knees and her face hidden, she looks a picture of misery, she doesn’t trust no one, she’ll let me sit in the room with her as long as I don’t speak or touch her, sometimes she’ll move a little closer to me, but I’m there on her terms, occasionally she’ll lift her head and glance over to me and I see a tear stained face and very frightened eyes

  22. By: Moreheads/Ravin Posted: 3rd October

    Great post! 🙂
    Always awesome to see how someone can learn to be self compassionate. Kudos.
    Our kids are very much part of our system, we have tried to give them internal care and compassion, but we also contend with internal abusers who have not given that identity up.
    Thank you for putting your experience into words.


  23. By: Lynn Tolson Posted: 3rd October

    After years of therapy and even after facing the truth of my store, I went to an “inner child” workshop. One of our exercises was to draw our selves as an inner child. We were given crayons and could use as many colors as we wanted, and assign symbolic meaning to the colors, such as red for fury or green for peace. Some women drew self-portraits with word balloons, some drew round figures, some drew just facial features or only body parts. Some drew hearts on their chests, some with hearts outside their bodies. One had migraines as a kid, and drew barbed wire around an image of her head. I drew a figure complete with head, neck, torso, limbs, etc. I was stunned at the “finished” drawing. There was nothing. The entire figure was empty. And in a color that blended into the paper. Invisible. Trying to hide into the walls so no one would know my secrets. I was shocked to see that after all that inner work, my inner child was still missing. I’ve since done more inner child exercises, and I am happy to report it filled with hearts, peace symbols, and a word balloon that says “I Am.” You are too!

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 3rd October

      Hi Splinty,
      Yes ~ I was a child victim, and I didn’t see it that way at all. I didn’t realize that I saw myself that way either. I will tell you this though, as an encouragement, I don’t see any of it the same way anymore. I don’t have that self image now, it is more of a memory that I recall. I have changed that self image, ~ but what I was trying to get at in this post is that I still saw myself that same way well into therapy, until I realized the lies (that I believed about myself as a result of actions and words of others) that got me to that point of seeing myself that way.

      Hi Nicole
      I was angry with myself too, although that anger was buried very deeply. I think I related it more to being “angry with my body” then being angry with “me” but once I realized that the anger at myself was because I believed that I had DONE something wrong in the first place to deserve abandonment, (etc.) that was when I was able to begin to rebuild.

      Hang in there Nicole! This is the most difficult, agonizing things I have ever done; reliving and overcoming the abuse and mistreatment, and taking my life back, but it is also the most worthwhile thing I have ever done!
      Love Darlene

      Hi Lynn,
      This comment made me think about how long it really took me to put this post together! (well to write it not so long, but to figure it all out took years) It is such a process. I told a few therapists about the girl in the attic, and I knew she was me, and I had even started to sit in the room with her, way before I realized that this was how I saw myself. I can relate to your statement “my inner child was still missing”. There was this point that I reached in therapy when I realized that I had NO identity. There was none there, I was just empty. I freaked out.. I didn’t think I could find a new identity, (which is what I thought I was looking for) but in doing the work that I did, I was able to find my “real identity” and started to feel like I had come home to myself. It was profound and unexpected because I also realized that I had been running away from the self that I blamed for everything that had happened to me, for most of my life.

      Thanks for your comments Lynn, and for your honest sharing about your progression with inner child work! I know that others are going to relate to what you have shared too! AND You have reminded me of a few other things I forgot about!
      Hugs Darlene

  24. By: Nicole Posted: 3rd October

    Great post! I am dealing with this right now in my life. This is a very very hard issue for me. I still see me and the little girl as separate people. I have not befriended her at all. I am angry with her but I have no reason to be. Its all so very confusing and makes for difficult times and agonizing therapy sessions. Thanks for your post Darlene. I soaked in every word and have lots to think about. ((hugs))

  25. By: Splinteredones Posted: 3rd October

    Scary. I just wrote something very similar about an hour ago. Empowerment whenthere are so many littlevictims inside us is not as easy as it should be. I see your little girl Asa victims, right? And no matter where I find myself as an adult, dealing with these raw realities…blows. Great post!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.