My husband and I are nurturing our inner children because we both had difficult childhoods. It is never too late to re-parent yourself.
Our parents weren’t perfect. There is nothing about being a parent that means someone is competent at it. Often they just continue doing the same stupid thoughtless things that were done to them. They don’t magically stop being a selfish, needy, or controlling person the moment they become a parent. So they end up raising children who are broken because they were broken.
Our childhoods weren’t entirely bad. There were trips to cultural events. Education was encouraged. We had homes to live in, and food to eat. But how to be human? How to deal with emotions? That was too hard for our parents. They didn’t know how to do that, so they couldn’t teach us.
They did the best they could with what they had. They didn’t know there was more to being an adult than paying the mortgage and serving dinner. They weren’t intentionally neglectful or abusive, but the damage was still done. And it still has to be undone.
I’m grateful that we both were aware enough of our weaknesses to decide to never have children. We didn’t want to continue the cycle. Slowly we are learning ways to heal ourselves. We are re-parenting ourselves.
One thing that helps is that we have teddy bears. They have names and stories about them. We have tea and cookies every Sunday evening with the bears, and afterwards we read a children’s story out loud. This may not be what adults usually do, but it is healing.
I’m starting to think that everybody should keep their teddy bears. Maybe there would be less substance abuse if people didn’t give up their bears. We all need something to hold on to when times get difficult.
There is a lot that is hard about being an adult who didn’t have a healthy childhood. There aren’t a lot of instructions on how to heal your inner child. There is a lot of shame involved. It is hard to admit that you need help. You have to learn how to grow up backwards, filling in the pieces as you go. But it is important work, and you can do it.