THE BLOG
05/31/2016 02:10 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Awaken Ye Inner Children!

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In his obituary of John Bradshaw, a guru of the recovery movement ("John Bradshaw, Self-Help Evangelist Who Called to the" Inner Child,' Dies at 82," NYT, 5/12/16), William Grimes makes the following observation "Until they learned to seek out and heal the hurt child within, he said, most adults stumbled through life, expressing their pain through self-destructive behavior and entering into unhappy love relationships with similarly damaged partners, each hoping to find in the other a loving, approving parent." Bradshaw who coined the notion of the "inner child," is the kind of mass market personality whose ideas one might give short shrift to, particularly if you're feeling inundated with good intentioned homiletics of the Codependent No More variety. But Grimes' paraphrase makes a lot of sense no matter how sophisticated the therapeutic paradigm you subscribe to. It falls under the rubric of unfinished business and it's understandable why certain loose ends which are not only painful to deal with but seemingly too problematic to be resolved are something that even the most sincere seeker for inner peace and contentment might readily avoid. M. Scott Peck's The Road Less Traveled, is another piece of popularized psycho-spiritualism; it's the road "more traveled" aka denial that the mass of men are prone to take where coming to grips with painful childhood issues is involved. When you think about it Bradshaw's idea makes lots of sense. You have a way of looking at the world that's molded when you're very young and if those perceptions, for whatever reasons, are created by childhood trauma or at least pain, you may find that the defensive behavior you've learned produces negative results in adult life. Childhood wounds, of the psycho-sexual variety, are not the kind that easily heal.

{This was originally posted to The Screaming Pope, Francis Levy's blog of rants and reactions to contemporary politics, art and culture}