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Chapter 13. How The Old Pain Got There A... > Exercise: Childhood Messages

Exercise: Childhood Messages

Directions: This exercise focuses on three important grief feelings—anger, sadness and fear. Imagine yourself back in your childhood. See how much you can recall of your early childhood messages from parents or other adults about feelings. Was it OK to be angry, to cry or to be afraid?

1: Under the Childhood Messages column, briefly state what you recall hearing as a child about each of the feelings—Anger, Sadness/Crying and Fear.
2: Then rate how much you still behave according to the old messages.

FEELINGS CHILDHOOD MESSAGES CURRENT RATING

(How much message is still in effect?)

10=Very Much Very Little=1

____________________________________________________________

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Anger: _______________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Sadness/crying: ________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Fear: ________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________

Completing the Childhood Messages Exercise will help you gauge how aware you are of the current effect of the old messages. Not all of the messages you received can be recalled, but they still may influence you, whether you know it or not. Unfinished business around old losses for which you were not allowed to grieve will be stored in that internal pot of stuff that has been filling up over the years.




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