In posting this week’s excerpts from my book Ragdoll Redeemed: Growing up in the Shadow of Marilyn Monroe, I am reminded of the developmental challenges of children who feel safer attaching to things in nature, animals and soft toys like tattered ragdolls. I was luckier than some children in that I had the consistent connection of my beloved grandmother and the watchful eye of my older brother even though both were either too scared or too young to protect me from abuse.
In terms of, The Faces We Live, and the Internal Family System Model (both metaphors for roles or aspects of our eventual personalities) the parts of us that become hardwired into our developmental processes, it becomes apparent why I developed parts that became hyper-vigilant (manager part), dissociative (firefighter) and alcoholic (firefighter part) preferring to “hid out in the woods” for safety (exile parts).
Esteemed author and expert on attachment and intimacy, Dr. Karen Walant says, “Very early on, children are generally taught not to disclose to others when feeling “weak” or scared, “needy” or alone. Many of the emotions we felt in childhood – what people call the “negative” emotions – we were taught not to share. So, we sought comfort from blankets, pacifiers, and teddy bears, and we learned not to seek comfort from our mothers, our fathers, our family. As we got too old for blankets and teddy bears, we turned instead to other comforts – food, alcohol, money, etc. As adults, we struggle with holding our emotions within because we fear that by sharing our inner souls with others, we will – as in childhood – be discounted, dismissed, or denied.” Dr. Karen Walant