Growing up with addictive parents was nothing less than challenging and every bit traumatizing. I had to grow up way too fast and missed out on a normal childhood. I’m not spontaneous and it’s difficult for me to have fun. I was stunted as a child and as an adult I’m trying to unlearn what the abusive adults in my life taught me—about life and about myself.
I’m very hard on myself. I punish and berate myself over everything. I strive for perfection. However, that’s unrealistic—no one is perfect—but I still strive. I suppose some habits are just hard to break.
I stifle my inner child. She’s always frightened and I don’t want to nurture her. She’s just too demanding. And I think I’m ashamed of her. I know I shouldn’t be. None of what happened to her was her fault. But when you are super-responsible, everything’s your fault.
The more I heal, the more I feel, and all the more anxious I become. There are days when I wonder if recovery is even worth it. Even with not knowing, I will continue to work on myself. And maybe one day I will reach in and touch, love and nurture my child within.
I found my child within today,
For many years so locked away,
Loving, embracing, needing so much,
If only I could reach in and touch.
I did not know this child of mine,
We were never acquainted at three or nine,
But today I felt the crying inside,
I'm here I shouted, come reside.
We hugged each other ever so tight,
As feelings emerged of hurt and fright.
It's okay, I sobbed, I love you so!
You are precious to me, I want you to know.
My child, my child, you are safe today,
You will not be abandoned, I'm here to stay.
We laughed, we cried, it was a discovery,
This warm, loving child is my recovery.
-Kathleen Algoe, 1989