Even though I don’t like the term “inner child” I tend to use it quite a bit. It just sounds so “woo-woo” out of touch with reality (whatever that means). I tend to also use inner self, true self, high self, and little girl, which really aren’t much different. It’s not that I’m ashamed of acknowledging her/him, it’ s that these terms are so new-agey. Nonetheless getting to know my self is very real and a relationship that deserves more attention.
The day after the argument with my dad, I remembered something he told me about his own childhood. He grew up very poor in El Paso and said that when ever he was given or came across a toy it, his father would take it from him and sell it. It happened so much that my father eventually found a spot along the river where he would bury the things he found. Once, he found a chick decided to sneak it home. His father was angry but allowed him to raise it. One day my dad came home to find that his dad had given his chick to an uncle who ate it. The same thing would happen when my dad brought home a goat that he raised as a pet.
In remembering these stories I found a way to relate to him. Him giving my dad to my sister is the same as what his father did to him. I know he did not do this to hurt me and I’m sure he isn’t aware that him doing this would hurt me. He did what he had to do just as his father did what he had to do to survive without regard to how it might hurt his son.
I told this to my therapist and realized that what was happening was (bear with me) my little girl was feeling compassion and empathy for his little boy. Then it also occurred to me that I was now able to see my father as a wounded child. That I understand.