Monthly Archives: August 2018

Evidence of children


The child is in me still and sometimes not so still.

~ Fred Rogers

Yesterday I argued with a family member.

We’re not especially close.  (The argument, in fact, was just an exchange of angry texts.)  We don’t see each other often, and I’m not especially concerned about what this person thinks or feels about me. 

So I was surprised at the strength of my reaction to the fight. 

I was upset.  I felt like crying.  I was also furious.  I couldn’t stop raging, replaying the argument in my head over and over.  I was also confused.  What this my fault?  Was I missing something?  Nor could I stop imagining what would happen if we were to resume it in the future.  What would I say?  How would X answer?  How would I feel?  

I did this so much I couldn’t sleep.  I  mean, at all. 

So at 3:40 AM I’m lying in bed and wondering Why the hell is this happening?

And my smarter self answered,

Because you feel like a kid.


This happens every day in my therapy office.   It’s just not me it usually happens to.

It happens to the wife who hates her husband and is desperate to end their marriage but looks at me helplessly and says, “But I don’t know how to start.”

To the mom whose daughter bullies her and to whom she cannot reply because she’s afraid she’ll lose the girl’s love forever.

To the husband who vents endlessly in therapy about his wife’s drinking but finds her anger so unnerving that he has never said a word to her.

To the adult son so desperate for his father’s love and approval that he bites his tongue whenever Dad launches into a racist political harrangue.

To the boyfriend whose fiance makes all the couples’ decisions unilaterally but who doesn’t complain for fear she’ll break their engagement.

To the nurse who’s afraid to seek a better job because of how scared she gets in interviews.

To the teacher who’s worked herself into chronic health problems by overworking and never saying No to any demand. 

To the therapist whose need for clients to like her is so great that she regularly extends their therapy hour, reduces her fee, comes in on weekends, and takes crisis calls at all hours of the night.

I could go on, but you get the picture. 

I imagine you’ve seen versions of it yourself.

Maybe you’ve lived those versions.

Anxiety.  Terror.  Sadness.  Helplessness.  Bewilderment.

Regression to the most vulnerable emotional state you know.

Evidence of the kid you carry inside.


First in a series about inner kids, adult children and control addiction.

Watch this space.



Kids + wounds + lessons: An invitation


The way we were treated as small children is the way we treat ourselves the rest of our life.

~ Alice Miller


Dear friends and fellow monkeys,

I’m inviting you to share your responses to an upcoming series of blog posts.

The posts will be about adult children*, which is the subject of a book I’m writing.

The premises of this book are that

1. Every human being carries a child inside them.

2. Every inner child gets wounded.

3. People who bring these wounds into adulthood are what we call adult children.

4. We are all adult children.

5. This means we all carry three kinds of wounds:

~ disorders of identity (confusion about who we are),

~ disorders of feeling (confusion about how to handle our emotional lives), and

~ disorders of relationship (confusion about how to deal with other people).

6. We can heal these wounds by relearning how to be healthy human beings.

Of course, none of these ideas is particularly new.  There’s been a stream of books about inner kids and adult children and emotional healing since the 1970s, many of them excellent. 

But mine (working title: Monkeytraps for Adult Children) will be the first to organize these ideas around the theme of this blog and of all my books: control addiction.

In the coming weeks, I’ll explore them in posts that will eventually become book chapters.

How can you help?

Give me feedback. 

People who work with me or read my first book know what I mean by feedback.  It’s a communication skill I teach in group therapy. 

It’s not just offering opinions, criticism, judgment, diagnosis or advice. 

Instead it’s an attempt to go inside yourself and answer questions like

How do I relate to what I just read? 

What memories came up while I was reading it? 

What was I feeling? 

What am I feeling right now? 

That’s right.  An emotional response, not an intellectual one.

What’s in it for you? 

Several things, I hope. 

Giving feedback can help us identify our own unfinished business and unhealed wounds.

It may even bring long-buried issues and needs into awareness.

It can also help us to identify and express feelings which, if left unaddressed, might cause anxiety, depression or other problems.

Hearing feedback can help reduce a sense of isolation, guilt and shame by illuminating our commonality with others. 

Then too, I’d hope anyone who shares feedback here would derive satisfaction from knowing they contributed to a book whose aim is to help people heal emotional wounds just like theirs.

I’ll publish the first post shortly. 

Please consider joining the conversation.


You can share feedback publicly or privately. 

Public feedback can simply be posted in the Comments section following each blog post. 

Private feedback can be sent to me at



*What’s an adult child?  See “Inner kids and adult children.”

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