My inner child holds many belief systems. Most of them are unhealthy. Of course, it’s not her fault. She came by them honestly. Every belief system came with strong evidence of it’s veracity, especially to a small child with black and white thinking. While many beliefs came from experiences, some were statements repeated by the adults over and over. And those are the most warped.
One of my least favorite (and hard to admit) beliefs came in this way. I have mentioned my mother’s need to “keep me safe” as her motivation for enabling my abuse, but she had other justifications as well. At some point during her own horrific life of abuse, she determined that it wasn’t that bad. She decided that if she could cope with the constant rape that she could have whatever she wanted while doing very little work. If she could put up with the men in our family and their desire to rape children, they would take care of her. She wouldn’t have to work. She wouldn’t have to put forth effort in life. Her parents, and eventually her husband, would be there as a safety net as long as she maintained the secret.
Don’t get me wrong, she didn’t make it up. She was taught this thinking. And it makes sense in my family. Everything comes with a price. Nothing was unconditional. If you get something, you give something, no matter what your age. She was raped repeatedly as a child and was rewarded with a lifetime of spending other people’s money. She has shopped every day of her adult life. And she has always felt justified.
Standing in the Way of Progress
This belief was transferred to me. I think it was one of the ways she tried to justify what was happening to me. She wanted to make sure I understood that there was something in it for me. Needless to say, when I chose to step away from the family, there was substantial dissension from my inner child. She was expecting something in return for all of that abuse. She was expecting a lifetime safety net. She was not expecting to work hard in this life because she had already done her time. She had already experienced the worst that life had to offer, so now she was supposed to coast. If she didn’t feel like working, she could just live off the parents. After all, they owed her. After all, she had a secret they didn’t want anyone to know. So coming out as a survivor of child sex abuse and trafficking ruined all of her plans. There was no more golden ticket. There was no more financial security.
But in reality, there never was a golden ticket. My parents were liars. And this lie was like all the other lies that created the warped belief systems. They never intended to give me a dime. Of course, there would be expensive gifts and trips to Disney World for the grandchildren, but that was just a part of the perfection mask. That spending was to keep up the perception that we were an awesome family.
Breaking Through the Old Pattern
Now I am faced with this part of me that doesn’t want to put forth effort. This part kicks and screams whenever there is work to be done, money to be made. I have always pushed through it. I have always convinced her to do the work, especially lately because the work is so important. But she still wants the easy way out. She still wants her compensation for a childhood of pain. And it isn’t coming.
It is never coming. The work must be done. There is no other way to be free but to establish a life without any ties or expectations from the abusers. So I negotiate with her. I try to give her downtime to rest because while she can’t coast through life, there is recovery time needed. I give her time to express her emotions and release them. I let her know that I will take the lead in the work effort. A child should never be expected to carry that burden. And I work to make a living doing what I love because all children have a dream.
Some want to be firefighters, police officers or veterinarians.
But I just wanted to stop the abuse.
And that’s what I am doing.
For me and others.
And I know, deep down inside, my inner child can’t argue with that.