Rocket Man: The Inner Child
I saw the film Rocket Man recently, the story of the little boy who became Elton John. It was told beautifully, and at times brutally, as it needed to be.
When we are feeling stuck, there is often a part of us which suffered such pain as a child that we cannot bear to recognise it any more. In Reg Dwight we see a child rejected by his father for being “different”, who consequently disowned his essential self, managing to manifest his creative genius only on condition that it was gilded with flamboyant costumes shrieking the message “This isn’t me”.
As Elton progressed in therapy the rigout came off, culminating in a very moving moment when the adult and child parts of the psyche were able to re-integrate; this was symbolised by the adult Elton hugging the child Reg. Hence the term “inner child”, used by psychologists to define the part that has become rejected and stuck.
It was hard to watch the early scenes where Reg’s father clammed up against him, deriding as “weird” the talent in his son which ironically came from himself, the only person in the family who shared Reg’s feeling for music. We were left with an image of this same father in later years, hugging his two younger sons while coldly detaching from Elton. Why did he make this difference? Probably because the two younger sons didn’t have a musical talent, while Elton did. It’s a sad truth, but a common one, that parents reject in their children that which they deny in themselves.
If you’re interested in knowing more about the inner child, check out these books:
John Bradshaw: “Home Coming: Reclaiming and Championing your Inner Child”
Stephen Wolinsky: “The Dark Side of the Inner Child: The Next Step”
Alice Miller: “The Drama of Being a Child”