Jeff,

I also have a difficult time grasping the concept of the little kid inside of me. Like you, I hid my abuse for 40+ years and was unable to make friends or be close to anyone other than my wife. There were periods of time when even we weren't even close.

In my mind, the little Dan in me ceased to exist after the abuse. My childhood ended and I was forced into another world where I isolated myself and withdrew from those around me. I have little or no recollection of the years prior to the abuse or following it.

So, to answer your question, I think you need to honor him and mourn him. He was someone who you knew long ago and has left to live in a better place. I personally don't think you can ever connect with that kid inside. We are the walking remains of his existence. Be kind and caring to your children and your grand children. Love them and hold them as you would Little Jeff. Let Jeff live through your life and the lives of your family.

I am sure this probably doesn't make any sense, but I think you have to believe that a part of Little Jeff is in each of your family members. Don't be afraid of them, you aren't toxic to them and they need you.

Dan