Don’t be fooled by me.
Don’t be fooled by the face I wear
for I wear a mask, a thousand masks,
masks that I’m afraid to take off,
and none of them is me.
I searched for the book I’m talking about today for about five years. It’s one of the classics that I haphazardly tossed away in one of my infamous purges. There’s another one that was used in one of my college classes that’s as important (Bradshaw On: The Family) but I won’t discuss it further today except to say that several weeks ago, I bit the bullet and ordered them both. (I will be talking about Bradshaw’s at a later date!)
Today’s offering is a book I not only devoured in the 1980s… I never forgot it or the author, which is odd for me. I’m one of those people who always forget names… never faces… but names, yeah. You could be Jim or Jack or Devon, for all I remember. But you have brown eyes, a freckled nose, or a scar in your right eyebrow. That, I will remember. Anyhow, I’ve talked about the author of this book a few times on this blog already. That tells you all you need to know about how important he is to me.
To me, Healing the Child Within by Charles L. Whitfield, M.D. is the pivotal work about the subject because I believed it healed me. Looking back, it certainly changed my life and gave me insight into why I do those things I do but not even Whitfield would be so bold as to claim a healing (a’la Thank you, Jesus!).
Okay, what do you need to know before you read further or run out and buy the book? Only this…
The last three days have been emotionally and physically hellish and speaking of “biting the bullet”… culminated in my ripping – not gently or otherwise biting or pulling, but RIPPING – my fingernails to the quick.
It hurts to type and my hands look like shit. I’d share a photo but even I have my limits.
Also, here I am cussing, so you know I’m still depressed, which in hindsight may not have been the best time to crack these two books open but there you are.
Also, last night we watched one of the funniest and best “mental health” movies of all time: What About Bob? All I’ll share about this is that the phrase, “Baby Steps” kept running through my mind… and I even woke up thinking it. Obviously, I’m not the only one to take the phrase away. A simple Google search led me to this spectacular article about Bob’s Baby Steps by Nick Ortner – the Tapping guru.
Being the sensitive soul I am… I was reverted right back to the lovely years of my first marriage and is it any wonder that today during our afternoon nap (it’s a day off for my husband and me) I dreamed of that old house I thought I’d stopped dreaming about… and once again, my parents were there building a gate in the front yard. No shit, I’ve had a half dozen dreams about this house (where I lived before I moved to Canada) and my parents, usually cleaning or building something. I mean, c’mon, it would be (perhaps?) normal to have dreams of my late ex-husband, our children, our cats, and dogs… but my parents? What the heck are THEY doing there? They never lived there and truth be told, we usually went to their house, not the other way around.
But yeah, I digress. Except NOT, if you’re catching my meaning.
Child within? Family? Baby Steps?
For crying out loud, could it be any clearer?
I thought I’d dealt with all this already!
Let me share an important quote in the book that sums of my life quite nicely:
Past losses and separations
have an impact on
current losses, separations, and attachments.
And all of these factors bear on
fear of future losses and
our capacity to make future attachments.
Identifying an ungrieved loss is
a beginning of getting free
of its often painful hold on us.
It’s written like prose in the book ^^^^^ which is why I centered it. Kinda like a poem, you know. About grief. Again. Still.
Given my propensity to linger on such strong feelings… Makes sense, doesn’t it?
Here’s something from page 116 that makes sense, too. I’m sharing the first five of 34 statements in A Personal Bill of Rights By Charles Whitfield. If you want the rest, you’ll have to buy the book:
1. I have numerous choices in my life beyond mere survival.
2. I have the right to discover and know my Child Within.
3. I have the right to grieve over what I didn’t get that I needed or what I got that I didn’t need or want.
4. I have the right to follow my own values and standards.
5. I have the right to recognize and accept my own value system as appropriate.
This book is pure gold, folks.
It is filled with exercises, charts, narratives, definitions, symptoms, and examples from the DSMIII and other highly respected references.
As for me… I have more work to do.