February 18, 2005
February 18, 2005

The Child Within

Transactional analysis informs us that we have a child within you that feels our joy and our sorrow. Sometimes the sorrow is so traumatic that our inner child convolutes itself into a monster that preys upon ones own mind.

There are minor ways that animals and humans do this. Our dog showed his loss of our presence when we returned home after a vacation by turning his head away from us. My son, who was 3 weeks short of one year when I brought home my daughter from the hospital after she was born, did the same thing. He would pull my face to face his and then deliberately turn his face away. He did that many times and I had to comfort him. Or the phenomena of feeling that someone was no longer your friend and you rush to be the first one to end the relationship. A wife who feels neglected or abandoned by the husband that prefers TV or the computer to her presence becomes enraged. She wants his attention so dearly that now she is ready to divorce him. The logic of this must be thought though to conclusion. Instead of using creative ways to bring about a closer relationship which she desires, she is now discarding the relationship altogether. This is even a greater trauma when it affects a child who has not matured to understand how to handle these very strong emotions.

In all of the above situations the pain of feelings abandoned became a need to stop the agony by refusing to engage in the situation again. A very primal reaction. The problem is that the individual is unable to forget the hurt and continues to suffer, even more greatly than before. In some cases, the anger is no longer toward the targeted person who is not in one’s life, but toward oneself. The bitterness, especially in youths, becomes a revolt against all adults who they perceive as controlling. The normal need to be independent is a double edged blade that redirects their behavior against themselves with antisocial behavior. The desolation which they feel becomes lost in a drive to obliterate the anguish in any way that is available whether it is done with legal or illegal substances. If, illegal drugs is the issue then the means to pay for them leads to other antisocial and illegal means. Loving parents want quick turnarounds and offer medical help rather than ferreting out the initial cause and solving it. In all cases, paying attention with caring listening skills and a show of unconditional love is needed to reverse the process before it becomes so embedded that the scars may never be erased.

If left without repairing the damaged ego, the self esteem becomes so demoralized that self hate develops for the abhorrent actions. On the heels of self hate there may occur a number of self inflicted wounds such as: hurting oneself, not feeling worthy of being happy or being loved, (or if love is accepted - picking a mate that society has discarded) and/or illegal or antisocial behaviors.

When a person does not accept him or herself then they can not imagine how anyone could love them. This is a downward spiraling process that leads to any possible negative consequence that can be accomplished.

Offer family counseling. Get involved. The way to show your love is to listen. Stop lecturing and try to see the problem from the point of view of the person. Then the person can be redirected, and not until then.