Christina, one of my patients, recalls how her mother would leave her working and sleeping with the maids. Away from the rest of her siblings in the house.

“The more I tried to please my mother, the more she’d put me down. All throughout my childhood, I wondered about this: I felt like an ‘insect’ rather than my mother’s child,” laments Christina.

Christina is a 50-year-old adult now. A wife and mother of 3 grown up boys. But she still feels like an “insect.”

Although she looks naturally pretty, she rarely appreciates what people say about her. Mostly she hardly looks people in the eyes.

Somehow, Christina figures that she is that way always. Her life today is safe and comfortable, but it’s barren and emotional destitute.

The “inner child” contains memories, images, and feelings of your childhood. Both conscious and unconscious. What is consciously remembered and what’s repressed or forgotten.

When a child is abused, traumatized, or deprived, the “inner child” splits from consciousness when being abused. But it carries repressed anger, rage, hurt and fear.

As you grew into adulthood, the repression from childhood and “splits” from consciousness remain. Even now, as an adult, you still have inside you the child you once were – your wounded inner child.

Healing the wounded inner child involves telling the story in therapy. Why is telling the story important?

Dr. Charles Whitfield eloquently explains,

“We begin to see the connections between what we are doing and what happened to us when we were little. As we share our story, we begin to break free of being a victim or a martyr, of the repetition compulsion.”

Healing Christmas with Mom and Dad

This 2013, I’ve a healing, happy Christmas.

After years of distance and misunderstanding, 3 kids, 3 countries, 14 years in the pastorate, books written and TV appearances, a doctorate degree, miles of missionary journey, multiple changed lives in my psych clinical work, countless mistakes, and learning a thousand smiles, I’m reunited again with my 79-year-old Dad and 78-year-old Mom in the Ortigas family condo this Christmas time.

My Dad and I have hours of sharing. Mostly, with tears and reminisces from him! Before, hurt as I was for years, I can’t see him. I was focused on me. Now, by God’s grace, I’m able to “defocus,” see him better and more completely – his wounds, his dreams, his longings, his hopes. I could go on and on, but a point is that I feel the miracle of God’s love and forgiveness in my life that now I can embrace my Dad, accept and love him as he is.  Chasing down the shadow, I found my Dad — and my self.

I say the same with my Mom. One place where I frequently ran across hidden issues in my much younger years was my desperate tries to avoid being under her control. She came from a poor home and deprived background, which clues me to some of her powerful drives. So, when I’m already older, as soon as I realized I still get stuck, it’s not about her but about me. This makes room for me to have a better relationship with my Mom. And have all sweet smiles with her!

Healing and freedom is being able to choose whoever and whatever you want to be at any moment of your life.  I had hidden wounds from my own parents for so many years. And suddenly, here they were inside me, just as clear as day. The shock of discovering this leaves me in tears. Yet, they’re healing tears, because I choose to love, forgive, and be my own hero — healed, whole, free.