The Return of The Inner Child

But was he ever really gone?

Last week, I drew more comics in the series about the inner child who becomes real. There is something rich in this setup. When I was very little, my nervous system got shell-shocked as it met the social dangers of my family. It did what made sense for it to do at the time and seized my thoughts and actions in an effort to minimize distances and salvage whatever attachment was available to me.

Making myself sweet and charming wasn’t exactly on the menu for me, but my over-pumped amygdala did its darnedest to keep me saying and doing fewer things that would push anyone further away.

I generalized this principle and took it with me into a bigger world that I imagined to be equally treacherous. The following decades were choked by an uncomfortable daily hyper-vigilance that neared panic.

Up until recently, my fear-fried inner child wasn’t out and about much and instead operated covertly from the shadows. Now, that my healing journey has led somatically inward, I’m getting an in-depth look at how ever-present these burned-in childhood feelings still are.

This is what I’m after in these comics. My first recent effort (above) shows the inner child berating his adult with erroneous conclusions and self-judgments he thinks are still useful.

This next one addresses the complexity of the whole inner child relationship. I’ve been urged to go back and imagine myself as a loving parent to my young self. But I don’t always know how to do that. I’m also not positive that even works. But I suspect that mini-me has the emotional information I need to separate the past from the present. Perhaps my child is actually here to guide and parent me.

It’s a challenge to move toward the crap my child is shouting at me, but it is the best way I know to really understand and feel the origin of my self-doubt. Once upon a time, questioning everything I thought and did actually made sense.

As did heading off the pain of feeling invisible and unseen by trashing myself first. Not only did this prepare me for the coming pain, but it gave me a critical sense of agency in a world where it was up to me to hammer myself into a better and more likable form.

I don’t know. Maybe it’s all just too damn dark for comics, but I’d sure like to find a way to laugh at it. And learn what it has to teach.

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