Healing the Inner Child
When doing inner healing work, we tend to take on many different roles. Like detectives, we’re conducting an investigation on the origin of internal processes. Before undertaking an investigation, we need research to fully understand the problem.
As my own personal ghost of Christmas past, I guided myself through the haze of forgotten memories that held the key to changing the present and illuminating a brighter future. My mental health and self-love journey first began out of the need to fix myself. Now I understand that what I achieved was much more than that.
The beginning of April marks one month since I officially started making calls as an Investigator for the COVID Tracing Team at UNLV. In this field there is terminology used to describe different aspects of an investigation. We first begin an investigation with a “pre-investigation.” In this step we try to gather as much information on file for a person under investigation (PUI). This helps us know what to expect during a call and ensures we get all the information we need to complete a thorough investigation.
In trying to figure out why growing up and even today I had a difficult time connecting with others, I conducted a “pre-investigation” on my childhood experience. The goal was to find the root source of my low self esteem, negative self image, nonexistent self confidence, and poor self worth.
My first initial thought on the theme of embodiment was the relationship I had with my body. What I experienced as a child not only affected my self-esteem and self-image but conditioned me to want to lose weight, as all fat people are told to do. “Just lose weight,” they’d say. If only it was that easy.
I’ve always been on the heavier side and people around me would never let me forget it. Growing up, my parents always had pet names for me like “mi gordita” that highlighted yet another way, I was different from others. I knew they never meant any harm, I understood it was just a pet name, and there would be times when I wouldn’t react. How was I supposed to react anyway?
My parents would try to reassure me by telling me,
“ You know it's just a nickname, right?”
“ You know we love you, regardless...”
Regardless of what? That I’m fat? Thank you for your brave service to the world.
In the moment, as a young child at the age of five, maybe six years old, I wasn’t thinking much about their remarks. You don’t know what you don’t know. It wasn’t until years later when I chose to embark on my mental health journey, that I began by taking inventory of all the negative beliefs I had about myself and I realized how these experiences in my early life impacted me years later as an adult.
When thinking about the origins of a negative self body image, I also thought about all the inner child work I was doing with my therapist. In these sessions I came to realize that I embodied the many characteristics of an insecure attachment style.
Avoidant Attachment Style
Now, I’d like to start off by saying that I love my parents, a lot. Taking care of an entire human being, is one of the hardest things one can do in life. Had my parents decided to give up on their responsibility of taking care of me, I’m not sure where I would be today. For their sacrifice, I will always be grateful.
But in trying to heal the inner child, I came to recognize all the ways that my parents failed me. Fat phobic comments, lack of physical affection and touch, physical and emotional neglect, to name a few. All of these experiences contributed to an avoidant attachment style.
However, when I originally learned about the attachment styles sometime in 2019, I was still a business major, and I had just begun my mental health journey. At this point in time I was looking for resources to help myself feel better anywhere I could find it. I probably stumbled upon the topic of attachment styles while conducting a google search for causes of low self esteem and low confidence.