My Inner Child was My Self Image

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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: jen Posted: 9th February 2013

    Love to all we are building a brave new world!! We survive the past and most of us have to wait have waited a long time to make sense of all the sad and bad things in our lives. I’ve only just just started my journey and already feel stronger and happier than I have in along time whhoo hoo and I,’m told it just get’s better and better.
    Everybody sharing their stories is helping me believe that there IS more…..THANK YOU AllXxxxxxxxx

  2. By: Allie Posted: 8th November 2011

    Sounds like me at 5 or 6. Something to think about.

  3. By: Yana Posted: 9th November 2010

    Hi,

    I am finally truly connecting with my inner child and she is a little girl 6 yr old or so. Purple sailor’s outfit that tattered and dirty–she’s outgrown it a little. She lives in a dark room, hard floors, cold, no light, dirty matted hair, tear stained cheeks, scraped & cut in some places, she sleeps on the hard cold floor and there she has drawn graffitti all over the walls but it is too dark to tell what it is. And when I first connected with her two weeks ago she was in shock so to speak. There is no talking and she didn’t let me hug only she leaned up against my chest. Those two weeks have been the only two weeks I have felt some sort of peace for 20 plus years. I’ve woken up every single day trying to fix myself since my early 20’s (I’m now 44 yrs old) something was never quite right–every kind of therapy and body work. My husband left for a trip this past weekend and that abandonment I feel every time he leaves is next to unbearable and I was unable to protect her again. She now has shut down and feels to be a complete broken heart– I feel my heart physically in pain. She is just laying on the floor and no response–sounds weird but Cesar Milan (dog whisperer) is sitting with her and I’m able to sit near her feet. This is the most difficult material I’ve ever gone through. I’m working with a trauma guy that helps a little over the phone. I just wanted to share.
    Thank you, peace, Yana

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 10th November 2010

      Hi Yana,
      Thank you for sharing your inner child work with me. I also tried for over 20 years to “fix” myself ~ the process does take time =) I have never had a third person in my child vision work, so I have no idea what that might indicate. I hear you about feeling “her” broken heart. I felt that too, it was the first time I felt a deep compassion for myself, especially when I realized that she was me. I had disconnected myself so totally from myself that this work was like the bridge I was building back to myself.
      Hang in there Yana; I am glad that you are here.
      Hugs, Darlene

  4. By: Fi MacLeod exNicholson Posted: 5th October 2010

    I don’t really know about myself as a child either. There were no photos in our family. I find it hard to remember being a child and find it hard to imagine myself as a child – what I looked like etc. There are huge chunks of my childhood that are blocked out of my memory. I’m 44 and sleep with a teddy bear and have loads of cuddly toys around my flat. I was not allowed toys when I was a child. I don’t know who I am either but I’m beginning to get glimpses of the real me who’s been hidden deep inside all these years. I think young, I dress young and I’ve always looked younger than I really am. I feel like I’ve never really grown up. I feel like I’m a child trapped in an adult’s body.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 6th October 2010

      Hi Tracy,
      None of this is bad or weird at all. It is common actually, it is how we cope and how we have learned to deal. About rambling, I used to use that word to put myself down, to tell myself that no one was interested in what I was trying to say, but what I found out is that in the “rambling” I was working out things for myself. I was taking a chance on self discovery, I was validating myself and each time I did it a bit more, I empowered myself a bit more. PLEASE feel free to say what ever you want to say here, because it ends up being whatever you need to say. This is how we find out who we are. I understand the fear… but the reality was not as scary as the fear of the fear was. =)
      Hugs, and thanks for being here!
      Darlene

      Hi Fi,
      I didn’t know who I was either, and I didn’t have much memory of childhood, (I have written most of the significant ones in this blog already! and some of those came in adulthood) I still have many missing memories, but I don’t worry about that anymore, because I remembered enough to realize where my belief system came from, and some of those huge lies that I believed about myself. I remembered enough to start there. My self discoveries came later in the process for me… realizing who I really am, who I was “meant” to be, came as a result of the work I did ~ as a direct result of discarding the lies that I had held onto about myself for so long. That is why I am so passionate about doing this work! I found ME on the other side of broken!
      Thanks for being part of my journey!
      Hugs, Darlene

  5. By: Tracy Posted: 5th October 2010

    I don’t really know about myself as a child. I don’t remember much of any of my childhood, aside from vague memories. I see pictures of myself as a little girl, and it’s like she’s a whole other person. Even as a teenager, while I have have more specific memories of stuff that happened, a lot of it is still a haze, like it happened to someone else. Is that bad or weird? I don’t know. But I get flashes of nightmares like memories that are so scary I don’t want to remember them. I don’t know if that is at all related to the inner child or not – but I wonder if a few of my hold-backs to childish behavior is related? Like I still sleep with a teddy bear, and suck on my thumb when stressed out, and I like to color to relax. I don’t know, I feel like I’m rambling. I guess that’s why I don’t know who I am, if I don’t even know the child I was.

  6. By: Bongo Posted: 5th October 2010

    I’ve just recently become aware of “the little girl” It seems she likes to write in rhymes, and she doesn’t see life .. she see’s dark and death… I see her in a corner..long black stringy hair..dark torn and dirty dress.. no shoes..scars on both arms….tears on her face…she’s scared..and she wants to know my name..Why would she want to know my name??

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