Inventories – In the Beginning (Part 1)

family portrait 

where I come from, the pluses & the minuses!


REGARDING Family Inventories: We need to start at the beginning of our life – what was happening inside & outside that effected us.

Doing inventories (charts in near-future posts) helps to become familiar with the patterns of thought & action burned into us as kids, so we can start to see why we think & act as we do in the present. Until this is clear we stay confused & full of self-hate, always asking “What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I get anything right?”

We are damaged, not defective, so we can heal
Our early experiences do not have to condemn us to a permanent state of ‘dis-ease’. Under all the defensive layers every person has their own fundamental personality, housed in the Natural Child, who in ACoAs has mostly been ignored.

• Accurate inventories take into account that we’re the product of combined forces:
Nature: our genetics, & who we are natively, with a specific set of characteristics – mostly suppressed, but never destroyed
Nurture: how we were raised – the specific culture, language, religion & parenting style of our home & community (in Part 2)

• Most people don’t remember their first few years of life, although a few do. In any case, all our early experiences, even those we lived through before we could talk, are still in our unconscious & in our physical body

If those circumstances were stressful or harmful – we need to clean them out by accessing them (as well as later-life trauma) in order to heal.
All the fear, anger, loneliness & desperation of our infant & toddler self may seem ‘forgotten’, which makes it hard for most people to acknowledge that such emotions ever existed. But they do remain locked in our nervous system, & affect us in subtle ways our whole life

• All our pre-verbal energy impressions (Es) are harder to access – but not impossible. The way to get at them needs to be visual & experiential, which includes dreams, drawings, visualizations & experiential therapies such as Gestalt, Primal & Core work Brain Gym….. Using these techniques helps us re-experience those sounds & physical sensations, even without having a complete ‘explanation’ for them

EXP: When one client was asked to picture her conception, at first she was resistant – how could she possibly know what happened? But with some deep breathing & quiet, she gradually formed an image of her parents lying side by side on a bed, as a small spark of light floated towards them – her life-force arriving!

Pre-Birth: All humanpregnancy stresss are affected, long-term, by positive or distressing events a mother experiences while pregnant. For ACoAs, our mother may have suffered one or more of these while carrying us:
• a major illness, accident or crime
• alcohol &/or drug abuse, food allergies, medications
• death of a loved-one, lengthy separations, divorce
• long-term fighting, or physical & emotional battering
• living thru a big move, natural disaster, war….

Birth: this is traumatic at best, but some of us also had:
• an especially difficult birth, causing us injury in some form, almost dying (breach, cord around the neck, not enough oxygen….)
• and/or our mother was given birthing drugs, which got passed on to the us directly, made us sluggish, prone to illness, chemically depressed, immune deficient …..

A possible result: If a temporarily drugged infant is at first unable to respond to the mother in its first few hours or days of life, an unhealthy parent will take it personally & reject her child at the crucial time they should be bonding. She will consciously or unconsciously blame the baby for the lack of connection & love she wants, which will create a life-long wound between them & often results in ongoing child abuse

NEXT: Inventories – Beginning #2


No one acknowledged the suffering. They said it was just being ‘difficult’!

PREVIOUS: Emotional Needs & Innate Resources

DMT: I’m not a poet but wanted to include this one I wrote in 1975, as it reflects the emotions & sense of futility of a young person – a suffering GoA (grandchild of alcoholics), long before recovery, who was always searching for answers & healing. Eventually I found the validation, guidance & comfort that brought Recovery!


Forgive me! I cried.
At every turn I wished I’d died
at birth, as near I did.
Strange thoughts drove through my child’s mind:
I closed my eyes & saw infinity!
Why am I here? What is my kind?
Am I insane?

Forgive me! I seem weak,
and yet I cannot help but speak
to everyone I meet
in marketplaces & on streets –
thus twice did strangers catch me up
and carry me away – well nearly.
Then caution dogged my every step,
but never ‘dearly’.

Forgive me! I Whispered.
Had I really erred so much?
Why all that poison guilt?
Was I an empty vessel to be filled
as my masters thought & willed?
Too much to know, no one to help!
Fear to anger on my lips had grown.
Be still! I moaned.

Hear me!
I then began
to scream the pain without a plan –
blindly striking all.
No one to guide, no one to help
in clearing paths & scaling walls.
Silent or blazing, to lose or to win,
the heart, without knowing, fought to be twin
to a worthier mind.

NEXT: Excellent Inner-Child MOVIE