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A Philadelphia Park to Heal Your Inner Child (and Irritate the Narcissist)

Being in a new city can feel isolating.

Being with a narcissist can feel like you are in an emotional pandemic.

I had visited Philadelphia many times and lived nearby, but now I was living there and it was new, exciting, and as you'll see, illuminating. If you feel isolated because of the Pandemic or, because you are in a frustrating relationship, please keep reading.

Picture this. Spring. The early 1990's.

I stretched. The sounds of the city, including the clip-clop of the horse-drawn carriages, would awaken me into motivation to begin the day, in spite of being quite stressed in an unhappy relationship. More on that later.

Itching to go outside and experience the freedom and intimacy that only Philadelphia can offer (in my humble experience), I balanced my freshly poured coffee in my favorite cup in one hand and holding onto the overstuffed tote bag filled with books, a notebook, a carefully wrapped cream cheese bagel and carefully walking down the long staircase of my quaint apartment building.

I recall stepping outside onto the sidewalk at 4th and Spruce, watching everyone scurrying to call cabs, walk with intention and you could feel the energy of the workday beginning. I was in my early 20's, interning with Trudy Haynes and working with Mike Nise at Dancin' On Air and then, Dance Party USA. I was surrounded by creative, intellectual people, lots of young aspiring "stars" and on paper, I should not have felt lonely or isolated.

The city wasn't the problem, my relationship was, or should I say, my relationship with myself. The city was the solution and Three Bears Park, steps from my apartment, I would come to find out was the cure.

Three Bears Park, on Delancey Street, is enveloped by cobblestone streets and historic homes.

I felt transported in time.

While I loved so many aspects of the city, this was a little corner of my world that wasn't on the tourist map for anyone it appeared. I would meander there and sit with my books and notebook, with the intention of dreaming up a future, in the quiet briskness, sipping that coffee.

What ended up happening though, is that as the neighborhood would wake up, nannies would venture out with their charges and I'd watch them as they'd huddle and talk, the children laughing and playing. There was a different energy.

I would not be able to focus on my planning or work but felt transported into the lives of the people I would watch. Every now and then the parents would join in the play and you could see the children's faces just light up.

Later, I'd tell my boyfriend about the beauty that I observed around me.

Talk about salty.

He said the people were "too rich, too full of themselves, too showy", when in reality they were simply too kind, down to earth, and inspiring.

Being a naive young woman who came from a loving home, I wasn't versed in narcissism yet; but I soon learned that he felt threatened by the growing friendships I was making, some of which are still close to me today.

Those days my inner-child began healing and I began to understand my worth. I credit this gem of a park with at least part of that process. I moved away from working with television and writing, to working as a therapist to help others live a life that they desire. These days I do not take clients really, but have a Youtube channel and two podcasts, and enjoy writing.

So, without rambling any more, I've got some tips for you.

  1. Go to Three Bears Park. Sit on a bench. I've been there as recently as 2018 and it feels like time has stood still. Here's the link for information.

  2. Think about becoming a member.

  3. Ditch narcissists in your life. They love to isolate you, they will be envious, pretend to be sick, do anything to try to keep you vulnerable or "duped"

  4. Watch the video below; it's all about how narcissists handle isolation, which isn't pretty!

  5. Comment below --have you been to Three Bears Park? Have you left a narcissist?

  6. Share with someone that needs to find their inner-child, bring a child to the park or, irritate a narcissist.. because apparently beautiful parks filled with fascinating and warm people are not the narcissist's dream afternoon :)

Pheeling Phine,



Hey! I'm Michele Paiva, licensed psychotherapist, and finance therapist and Pheeladelphia is my view of Philadelphia as a therapist. It's a little bit Philly and a little bit "feelings". I hope it brings you comfort always. I'm going to highlight people and places (including therapists!) who I think would make you pheel phine. :)

3 random things about me.

  1. I love tofu and feel it's the best food ever (prove me wrong)

  2. I have an I Dream of Jeannie memorabilia collection.

  3. I raise butterflies for release and think there's nothing cuter than monarch larvae.

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