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Patricia Struntz

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Member Since: Apr, 2010

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Blogs by Patricia Struntz

Inner Child Gone Missing
4/25/2010 9:49:46 AM

It wasn’t until I was enrolled in a personal growth retreat that I discovered something deeply unsettling: my inner child had gone missing. With each exercise in which we were to close our eyes and visualize our inner child, I was left with a blank screen. Panic was building in my heart. With effort I could conjure up the scene proposed –a garden, a director’s chair –but no child. I was too embarrassed to let anyone know and endured these sessions hoping no one would notice. No one did. As the week progressed, others were experiencing joy as they gained a clearer picture of their unique talents and gifts. My own heart was breaking.

One afternoon during an exercise meant to help us to confront people in our lives that had hurt/blocked us in some way, I faced off with a man who was to play the role of my father. He understood that my father had been cruel and abusive so he adopted a surly, snarling, contemptuous voice when he spoke to me –but he could not hide the kindness in his eyes. I couldn’t pretend anymore, couldn’t feign the part and obediently follow the script to success. Bolting, I ran across the room but was stopped by the trainer. Crying hysterically, I told her nothing was working. He was too kind to be my father. And I could never see my inner child in any of the exercises. She told me to stand absolutely still and close my eyes; that my inner child was there. The whole room became silent as she instructed me to look carefully into the emptiness. And then I saw her.

She was standing half hidden in the shadows, her face turned away from me. She looked about eight years old. I exploded into another spasm of tears as I described what I was seeing. Call to her, I was told. I did but she did not move. Call to her again, I was encouraged. It seemed then that she turned slightly, but her face was still in the shadows. Reassure her that she is safe, that she doesn’t need to hide anymore, said the trainer. Hold out your arms to her. As I held out my arms I watched my inner child step from the shadows and move toward me. Suddenly she was in my embrace, literally, as a fellow participant on her knees become child-sized.

My inner child was found that day years ago and is with me still, integrated yet enjoyably free to be experienced as my whimsical self, my unpretentious identity, my uncomplicated thoughts. Unforced, undemanding, unaffected and full of joy, she is alive in and is ME.

Child abuse casts a shadow the length of a lifetime. Herbert Ward

In 1983, April was proclaimed National Child Abuse Prevention Month by the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. It is a time to raise awareness about child abuse and neglect. For more information visit http://www.childwelfare.gov the Child Welfare Information Gateway website, a service of the Children’s Bureau, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.


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More Blogs by Patricia Struntz
• Old Memories and Young Hopes - Saturday, February 19, 2011
•  Inner Child Gone Missing - Sunday, April 25, 2010  



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