Healing Childhood Wounds, Individuating Your Psyche

Do you feel guilty talking less than favorably about your parents? Admitting that our parents angered, hurt and neglected us threatens our sense of family loyalty. Can we dare find fault with the people we’ve held in the highest regard? Addressing childhood wounds creates emotional separation between the child’s idolized versions and the reality; our parents are human and have imperfections.

We usually begin to individuate in adolescence when the psyche rises with a vengeance pushing to function as its’ own entity. And over the course of our adult life as the self evolves and matures the motivation to sort through the pains of the past resurface.

This week I worked with three wonderful women who all spoke candidly about their parents’ shortcomings and how their confidence and self worth were stymied. Healing childhood wounds includes feeling a full range of emotion. Forgiving is not about forgetting what happened and carrying on. It is acknowledging and giving credit where it is due; to our parents for their efforts doing the best they knew given the times, circumstances and given the level of their own conscious awareness. And we owe our self credit enduring and preserving through emotionally deficient and depleting times.

Our sessions brought back a defining moment in my own life. I hope by sharing this story and others you will feel courageous enough to speak out about the hurts you have endured. And when the time is right seek the counsel of a professionally unbiased person to help you redeem a broader perspective of family that includes your perspective.

(Naomi, my mother sitting next to my grandmother raising coffee cup)

The day my mother died my father gave me a letter from her. She died of cancer when I was eight. I think he read it with me first but as he handed it to me I remember staring at it wondering why it was typed. Something felt wrong: the words and phrasing didn’t sound like my mother. And the typo Xs stuck out like a sore thumb. For years I read and re-read the letter haunted by my intuition that this was not the original letter. My mother was a writer and everything I remembered seeing was hand written. For eight years I questioned my father. “Is this the original? “Why did she type a letter to me? Does someone else have my letter?” And for years my father coveted the truth until my sixteenth birthday when he presented me with the original letter telling me he thought I was old enough to have it.

I was furious, beside myself! I exploded and then I withdrew refusing to speak with him for months. How could he withhold the one link I had to my mother, the one thing she left especially for me? How could he edit the sentiment from her letter changing her words to his? How could he lie straight faced for years without remorse? How could I ever trust him again?

It was the first of many uprisings which unleashed an inner force. My intuition became a powerful ally. When I went into therapy a few years later I realized that my father was tying to protect me. Inadvertently he was also protecting himself. My father was a man who struggled with his emotions and had great difficulty dealing with intense ones. My mother’s letter was filled with the passion and pains of a thirty one year old leaving her child and life behind as she prepared to die. Dealing with this and raising me as a single parent was too overwhelming. The world of “my daddy and me” crumbled. In its’ place another relational structure was built; “my father and I”.

I welcome your comments and questions. You can post them directly on my blog or email me: Stephanie@of2minds.com If you want more information about me and the services I offer as a Personal Life Coach click on the Services tab in the upper right hand corner of this page: http://www.stephaniealt.com/ or visit my website: http://www.of2minds.com/

“Fine-tuning your intuition safeguards your future and opens doors to the extraordinary.”                      Stephanie Rachel Alt, MS

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