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Excerpted from Homecoming by John Bradshaw. Copyright 1990 by John Bradshaw. Excerpted by permission of Bantam Books, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.  HTML and web pages copyright by SpiritSite.com.

"I was 40 years old and I had raged and screamed until everyone--my wife, my stepchildren, and my son--was terrified."

John Bradshaw, Homecoming, Part 2

The more we know about how we lost our spontaneous wonder and creativity, the more we can find ways to get them back. We may even be able to do something about preventing this from happening to our own children in the future.

How Your Wounded Inner Child Contaminates Your Life

I couldn't believe I could be so childish. I was 40 years old and I had raged and screamed until everyone--my wife, my stepchildren, and my son--was terrified. Then I got in my car and left them. There I was, sitting all alone in a motel in the middle of our vacation on Padre Island I felt very alone and ashamed.

When I tried to trace the events that led up to my leaving, I couldn't figure out anything. I was confused. It was like waking up from a bad dream. More than anything, I wanted my family life to be warm, loving, and intimate. But this was the third year I had blown up on our vacation. I had gone away emotionally before--but I had never gone away physically.

It was as if I'd gone into an altered state of consciousness. God, I hated myself! What was the matter with me?

The incident on Padre Island occurred in 1976, the year after my father died. Since then I've learned the causes of my rage/withdrawal cycles. The major clue came to me on the Padre Island runaway.

While I sat alone and ashamed in that crummy motel room, I began to have vivid memories of my childhood. I remembered one Christmas Eve when I was about 11 years old, lying in my darkened room with the covers pulled up over my head and refusing to speak to my father. He had come home late, mildly drunk. I wanted to punish him for ruining our Christmas. I could not verbally express anger, since I had been taught that to do so was one of the deadly sins, and especially deadly in regard to a parent.

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