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Saturday, May 28, 2011

How to Grow Your Self Back Up

  When we’re little, things happen. Most of us harbor scars of one kind or another from our childhoods. One of the funniest things I ever heard was my twelve-year-old son when he accidentally stumbled upon his naked mother scooting from hot tub to laundry room to grab a towel.  Aghast he yelped, “ Oh my God … I’m scarred forever.”
  My Dad was a bit of a tyrant and had the habit of looking over my shoulder as he bit his tongue cursing at every errant move I might make. It was nerve wracking and to this day if someone looks over my shoulder I cannot for the life of me so much as write my name.
  Once in a while someone will give me a dirty look. It may be at a traffic light, or in a crowd at the mall. I’m not sure exactly where it comes from but I know it’s tied to feeling physically threatened as a child. I will immediately become fighting mad.
  Sometimes I make a mistake on an IRS form or forget to pay a quarterly tax. The moment I realize the mistake my heart jumps in my throat, my hair raises up on the back of my neck and a sweat breaks out at my temples. Somewhere along the line I did something that left me feeling very guilty … and it lingers just beneath the surface.
  The thing is … what do you do with all of this? Do you just swallow it? Well I have learned the hard way that if that’s all you do then it just builds up until one day it comes out sideways at your kids, the family pet or some poor clerk somewhere.
  So finally I went to a shrink and just asked. She gave me this book with a little kid on the cover dressed in his father’s business clothes. They were just hanging on him all jumbled up at the floor as he stood there with this forlorn look on his face. At first I found it mildly humorous but that kid stayed in my mind.
  Now when these little scenarios crop up and my emotions begin to bubble to an inappropriate degree; I think of that little boy. The book suggested that a person needs to parent that little boy (or girl). You need to let him know that you’re going to take care of him and everything is going to be ok. He needs to know that this is just an ordinary occurrence and nobody is going to hit him or take away his freedom. You’re a “grown up” now but even though it’s cliché as “all get out” that little boy is still alive and well in there and he needs your help.

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