When I first started to recover from childhood sexual abuse, I was working with a spiritual shaman, Johanna Burkhardt, and I was always referring back to my childhood. My childhood was where most the problems in my life took place. My childhood held more trauma, held more turmoil, despair, and haunting memories than anything from adulthood did, at least at this point in time. (And to stay positive, I am sure it will remain that way.)
I started to realize the abuse that took place in my childhood had haunted me for years. Haunted every decision, haunted every relationship, every fear, every move, it haunted everything. I couldn’t trust people, I couldn’t depend on people, I couldn’t let anyone know who I really was. It caused so many problems, I never realized it until about 8 months ago, when I found out I was pregnant after making the same stupid mistakes. (If you want to read more about this story, click here.) That’s when I realized so many things. One of them being I needed to heal my childhood. I would never be able to move on and let go unless I healed my childhood. During that time, I didn’t quite understand what it meant. I just knew I needed to focus on my childhood. (This may not be the case for everyone. Some people are able to fill their cup enough and forget about the past. More power to those people! That’s great! I’m not one of those people.)
So the journey of healing my childhood began. I was working with my spiritual shaman, Johanna Burkhardt and my therapist by this time. Each time something came up from my childhood they would tell me to connect with my childhood self. I was like what?! WTF! How do I that? And why does it even matter? And why are we referring to her as a separate person?! That’s weird! Well, as the months went by I learned some important things about my child self, I want to bring to your attention. The truth is, you can’t recover from childhood sexual abuse or any type of abuse as a child until you heal the child. Now that may not be easiest thing to do. But the more you understand your child self, the more you can help her. The more you can let go and move on.
And here is why your child self is important:
Your child self endured the pain. Endured the trauma. Not necessarily you, who you are right now. Which means a lot of your behavior, habits, and thoughts are directly associated with your child self and whatever pain you endured during that time. In my case, starting at 4 years old I learned being used as a object is how men treat women. Those thoughts and taught behaviors carried on through my adult life. (This a little extreme. At 4 years old we really don’t know that. But certainly that connection makes sense when you start addressing where you learned things were okay.) Once you understand your child self is holding onto the pain and things from the past you can slowly start to understand and address certain feelings, fears, and triggers.
Your child self is keeping you safe. Because your child self endured such trauma, the habits, the fears, the negative thinking, the triggers etc. are mechanisms to keep you safe. However those ways are unnecessary now, especially if you’re healing. All those safety mechanisms are keeping you from healing. She doesn’t want you to be vulnerable but you know it will help you. She will hold you back. Being aware the fear is from your childhood and not your present will make recovering less of a battle.
Addressing her will help you recover. This might sound a little crazy, but seriously writing letters to my child self has changed the game. I would write to let her know she’s safe and things aren’t going to happen to her like that again. I appreciate that she’s keeping me safe, but everything is going to be okay. The more and more I wrote her and addressed her, the more I was able to slowly let go. Which helped the healing process. I recommend writing to her, talking to her, meeting her meditation, whatever you like, to be able to address her in a loving respectful manner. This might sound a little crazy, but remember she endured the abuse. She needs the love, attention and compassion. Which is essentially what you desire, now.
Your child self just wants you to remember what it’s like to be a child. I didn’t really know this until I was pregnant. At first I was freaking out. But then I realized I had an opportunity to almost relive my childhood in a positive manner. I know my child is safe and the cycle won’t repeat. I would see my child self running around and playing. As I have gotten closer to delivery, my child self has really wanted to come out and play. In a positive way. Making it easier to adjust to having a daughter and recognizing I cannot pump my daughter full of my fears. And almost recreating my childhood will help me recover and heal more. Remember to embrace your inner child. It’s fun-just a little side note.
If you ignore the damage your child self went through, you will never recover or heal. You really do have to address the devastation, the fears, the worries, the problems, the heartaches, etc. before you can really recover. You will always have a haunted presence in your life. It’s like something always there reminding you of the abuse. Until you can love, respect, and address that child, you won’t be able to move on. So embrace her. Because she loves you unconditionally, as I have learned.
Addressing your child self is an important part of the recovery process. I truly believe addressing, loving, and embracing your child self is one of the best ways to recovery and healing. Because you’re dealing head on with fears and struggles that were brought on from conditioned responses. As an adult, if you want to recover you gotta heal the child first so you can set the child free. Otherwise the child will always keep you trapped in fear and negativity.
Want more on recovery from childhood sexual abuse? Click here.
Want more on recovering from childhood sexual abuse that’s a little more involved and the perfect start to the recovery journey? Click here.
Like to journal, and want to journal to recover? Click here.
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