Step Seven

I can sense my inner child whose efforts to survive now can be appreciated.

This step involves turning inward, away from the violence and pain of your abuse, to reach inside to your inner child and begin learning how to nurture and develop this vulnerable part of yourself. This is both a grieving and healing step, because what you give now to this child will be restorative and fulfilling and will form the foundation upon which you can build other changes as you work the later steps. This is also a step that will help you recognize and acknowledge your childhood efforts to survive the abuse.

By now, you know pretty much what happened to you, who did what and how you felt about it. It is now time to continue the work you began in Step Five by forgiving yourself for any of the millions of reasons that you may have used to blame yourself for the abuse. Working this step means further identifying and challenging these inaccurate and outdated notions and modifying your perceptions, based on your new understanding of your childhood experience. Along the way you need to appreciate and validate yourself for having survived the abuse. As you accept what happened to you and who really was responsible, you will inevitably become more and more accepting of yourself and the child within you.

As you develop self-acceptance, you may notice that your relationships begin to improve. Accepting yourself may make it easier for others to accept you. If you haven't yet had this experience, you will be pleasantly surprised. Allow yourself to share these new feelings about yourself with people you care for and trust. Look for acceptance and understanding, and if you don't get it, ask for it. Let this vulnerable part of you explore being dependent and intimate with someone and see if you can feel trust starting to build. If you feel afraid, try to figure out why and share your thoughts with this person.

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Survivor to Thriver, Page 79
© 2007 THE MORRIS CENTER, Revised 11/06