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Ask Dr. Meg: Can I Heal the Little Girl Inside?

Ask Dr. Meg: Can I Heal the Little Girl Inside?

Dr. Meg,

What are your thoughts about healing the little girl inside, when both parents were horrifically abusive in many ways? After 55 years I ended the relationship with my mother. She was still doing her emotionally abusive stuff and literally, it makes me sick. I enjoyed this blog so much because you basically nailed it. I think troubled girls seek trouble to get any kind of attention.

In His Love, 

Ready for Healing

Dear RFH-

I am excited for you! Yes- you can be healed from the pain of abusive parents. It takes hard work, deep trust in God and a good friend or two to pray for and support you. I have personally seen it happen many times.

First, get a copy of Dan Allender’s The Wounded Heart. It is about women who have experienced sexual abuse but many of the principles and effects of different types of abuse are similar.

Then, I encourage you to do a few things. Find a good counselor (or friend) who is willing to sit with you and begin some important exercises. I personally feel that it is important for you to go back into your childhood and remember different times when your mother or father let you down, hurt you, said something mean, etc. Picture that beautiful little you and ask how she felt then. What did mom or dad do to her and how did you as a little girl respond when they did? If this is too painful, have a qualified counselor do this with you but if not, ask a friend to revisit your past with you.

The point is to: see that little girl, stop blaming that little girl for doing bad things (even though she didn’t- she felt that way because mom or dad always told her she was bad) and then embrace her. Look at pictures of her. Talk to her. Tell her how sad you are that no one saw how badly she was hurting and tell her that you are here now and you can help. You can re-grow her up, if you will.

This sounds odd, but it is important in helping you integrate her back into your whole self. Abused children feel angry with themselves, they feel shame because they were “bad” and they really dislike themselves. Now is the time to face her, hold her and heal her. You can do this.

One of the most helpful exercises that women who have a strong faith can do is to revisit childhood memories very specifically and invite God back into them. See your mother screaming at it. Look at the little girl when your parent made a horrible face, hit you, whatever. Then, picture a strong and loving Jesus walking into the room, picking you up and carrying you out. See yourself in his arms as He turns His back on your mother and father and takes you away.

God loves that little girl so much and he wants you to love her too. Once you do these exercises, then you must forgive your mother and your father for being so horrible to you. This takes time but as long as you refuse to forgive them, they hold power over you. Break that power!

Then- you must forgive yourself. This sounds ridiculous but most abused children harbor hatred toward themselves for “stuff they did wrong.” It is misplaced, but you were a child when the feelings came. Then, you must forgive others- your relatives for not protecting you- and God for failing to keep your parents away from you.

Here’s the best news. Once you begin to heal, the hurt begins to lift off of you, forgiveness releases you from the toxic power others have over you and you begin to feel free. Forgiving others opens the door for you to feel the presence of God. And there is nothing in the world as sweet as this. You can do this.



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