A conversation from Adult-me to Young-me ~~ the little girl who bravely fended her way through and survived an emotionally neglected upbringing. The little girl who hides, fearfully within me ~~ whose keen interest in avoiding “rocking-the-boat” for fear of the ensuing reprisal has influenced relational bonds throughout her and my life.
Hey, little girl ~~ yes, you, with the blonde pigtails ~~
No need to look away. No “stranger danger,” it’s just me — or you, we’re all grown up now.
You can take a closer look, I am you. I am the adult you. This is what you’ll look like when you grow up! Pretty cool, huh?
I’m guessing that we’re, you’re, around 6-years-old now. I wanted to talk to you because I know things can be very scary and confusing for you right now and I know that no one is talking to you about what is happening and what you’re feeling and that is not a good feeling.
Mom and dad fight a lot. I know, you love daddy so much and you love mommy so much too, but mommy is so mean to daddy and then they fight with each other and even though he’s your older brother, Sammy is little or no help to you, I know ~~ I’ve been there.
Right there as a matter of fact, right where you are, where we are ~~ I remember this spot very well. It was one of my favorite hiding spots when mom and dad fought at the beach house, it’s okay to stay there ~~ you are safe there.
Even though I’m much older now, I remember things, a lot of things. I know you have been going through so much of this loud, scary, crazy stuff alone, but I am here now and I can and I am going to protect you. When you are afraid of what’s happening or are unsure of yourself or what to do, you can just stand up quietly and go behind me — yes, hide. You don’t need to speak, when necessary, I will speak for you. You don’t need to do anything, when necessary, I will act on your behalf.
You’re going to be okay, see? See me? We did it!! You’re going to get through all of this weird, scary, angry stuff. At times, it may not be easy to feel happy or not feel scared, but that’s okay. You are not supposed to hide those feelings or try not to feel them. Those feelings are totally normal considering everything that you are hearing and seeing.
And hear me ~~ look at me ~~ no matter what you hear, or think you hear or no matter what mom or dad or especially Sammy tell you ~~ none of what is happening is your fault.
Also, pay close attention to this, it’s important. The stuff that Grandpa did ~~ don’t look away ~~ I know what Grandpa did and I know what Grandpa said. Now I’m telling you that Grandpa is a liar. You are not a bad girl and you didn’t do anything wrong, GRANDPA did.
Do you understand me?
If anyone knew what Grandpa did he would be in SO MUCH trouble, but not you. Don’t believe what he said to you ~~ that Grandpa was a very bad boy with you. I would tell you to never let anyone make you do that or anything like that again, but I know it isn’t going to happen to you, to us, again, so I won’t bother with that.
But right now ~~ you need to forget all about that, let go of it, you didn’t do anything wrong and you’re not bad at all.
Once upon a time I sat right where you’re sitting, taking in but not understanding most of the words that were flying around me every day. For all of the wrong things that I heard and didn’t understand, there were words, important words, that I never heard but I would have understood:
I love you, good job, you look pretty, you’re a good helper, you’re smart, you’re funny, great picture, good story, let me help you, let’s sit together, read together, be together. We are family.
I didn’t know it at the time, just like you don’t, but I grew up and now I know. I know what I didn’t know and I understand how badly I missed out by not hearing those words. I missed out on my childhood. I was robbed of my innocence and the sense of being loved unconditionally. I was deprived of the support and community of family. So, while I can’t give you back what we didn’t receive, I can and am going to tell you that you are a beautiful little girl. You are funny and smart. I can see the whole room light up when you smile. I know for a fact that you’re a very good girl. You are a good listener and a very nice person. I love you.
I wish that I had grown up knowing how precious and special I really was. Sometimes the people we need to hear that from are just too busy in their own minds to tell us what they should and what we need to hear.
You are not alone anymore.
I am here. You don’t need to be scared, I got this!