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The Lost Child

There’s this little girl I want to kick in the shins.  I hate her.  She’s a whinging, snivelling, whining, horrible little girl who is dumb, stupid and cowardly.  She was selfish, arrogant, outspoken, over-emotional, over-sensitive, rude and difficult.  She made all the wrong decisions, at the wrong time, with all the wrong people and for all the wrong reasons.  She didn’t know how to be nice, she was always jealous and plotting, saying nasty things, thinking nasty thoughts and trying too hard to ingratiate herself with the very same people she was offensive to.

She did things that would bring shame on herself and her family.I loathe her deeply for that.  She is not someone I would like to be friends with and I went to great lengths to avoid being with her.  She was socially isolated by others, but didn’t have a clue why.

She was always told to “learn to behave” without being told how to behave or why she wasn’t behaving or even what good behaviour was.  I have no sympathy or empathy for her.  She was lost and it was her own fault.  She should have been “better behaved” and then none of this would have happened.

I am not in touch with that little girl.  There is a separation gap between us that is so wide as to be unimaginable and yet so small, I sometimes think she is right next to me, touching me and I recoil from her reviled touch, it disturbs me greatly.  I shun her even though she lives inside of me.

The adult in me finds it difficult to communicate with the lost child, but in order to live my life more fully I need to get to know her.  Who was she?  Why was she lost?  Where is she now?  How do two people who live inside each other become so separated?

I need to listen to her innocent voice with mindfulness, without judgment and with compassion.  She needs to feel warmth and empathy without someone telling her what she “should have done,” or “could have done.”  What’s done is done.

I could start off by listening to her say she did the best she could with what she had, which wasn’t much.

Most of all I need to forgive her.

I need to reconcile with her.

Shake hands with her.

Make peace with her.

Give her a hug.

Give her a long cuddle.

I need to learn to love her.

For who she was.

And for who she is now.

Because she is me.

The Lost Child

Sonia Neale

Sonia Neale was recently awarded the Inaugural Barbara Hocking SANE Australia Fellowship to study and research Borderline Personality Disorder overseas in the USA, Canada, UK and Ireland. Her previous Psych Central blog was called Therapy Unplugged. She is the author of two books, The Bad Mother’s Revenge and Death by Teenager, both published by ABC Books/Harper Collins. She lives in Western Australia, is married with three adult children, has studied psychoanalytic psychotherapy, has a Certificate IV in Mental Health and is studying for a Psychology/Counselling degree. She currently works as a peer support worker in the mental health field. Please email her on davson at

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APA Reference
Neale, S. (2010). The Lost Child. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 29, 2020, from


Last updated: 19 May 2010
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