I couldn't even say the word "inner child" without cringing just a little - but it's getting a little easier. I am independent woman. I am a mom of 3 beautiful teen boys. I am married 22 years and have a home to care for, responsibilities in my life that take up a good portion of my days - what do you mean "healing or parenting the inner child?".
In the past year something big surfaced out of the hard year I had. Something surfaced from inside of me - almost like waking up a huge part of my past that laid dormant for over 30+ years.
With a lot of working through and talking to my therapist over this past hard year, we both feel working with "inner child healing" will be a huge step out of this stuck place I have been in.
I have turned to advice from people who experienced this kind of healing; good friends who are also therapists who frequent my blog that specialize in this. My best friend Tracy who is a therapist and deals with a lot of inner self-healing. I have read and read so many books on inner child healing that my head is about to explode with so much information and all signs lead to "this is what we need to do".
Not that I didn't trust my own therapist about this kind of work, but I wanted to know more about it; learn more about this healing. I wanted to hear others experiences around it, and my therapist and I worked hard to learn more about it together - and we both decided this is what we are going to do, work hard together on this.. "this is why we make a good team, this is what makes us a good team of 6 years" he said.
But I am still hesitant - or was.
Yesterday in session was the first day we moved into it. My therapist was gentle, he was safe, and created a place in the room for me that felt safe, and inviting and a place where no harm or consequences would be the result for anything needed to be spoken.
We worked with (right hand left hand writing) - and much to my wonderment - there was something there - a new kind of trust.
What I have learned about healing the inner child is replacing the old beliefs, the old lies with new beliefs and truths. It's important to tell the story of the abuse from "child" aspect, not the adult. The adult part of me wants to filter, protect, swallow emotions, keep guarded.
I have read about inner child healing being done with adults way in their 50's and so on and healing took place. Therapist around the world saying how courageous it was to enter into a part of that self is not childish yet very adult like - taking care of your own inner child.
One of the things I said yesterday in session was "I am so tired of my past, the inner self, the inner scared child dictating what I can or cannot do" - like:
- When I need something, something shuts off that need inside and not allowing me to ask for it without guilt.
- If I want a hug, I can only have a hug if I put a shield around me and numb. I will hug, but it's for others, not allowing myself to feel for me.
-When someone tells me something, that inner part of myself wont allow myself to believe it without a lot of convincing.
- If I want to try something new, the past always says "NO it's dangerous", and never allows me to taks risks.
- If I want to reach out to others and say I need you, the past and the inner self says "no way, your independent, you don't need anyone"
- If I feel emotions and start to cry, the inner self says "you know where that led you your whole life, you show emotions, your weak and vulnerable".
Sometimes I want to just scream on the inside and say to the inner self "SHUT UP and let me do what I want to do!", "maybe I want to take chances with my life" "maybe I want a hug, maybe I want t cry, maybe I want to try something new without your pathetic routines you have kept me in for over 30 years".
A part of this "inner child" and "parenting the inner child" work is doing just that. It's replacing the old beliefs with the truth. It's restructuring my thoughts so that my past doesn't dictate what I can or can't do; giving me the freedom to try life on without the constant fear of what happened to me then vs what is happening now.
It's about relieving the child inside and saying "listen, it's okay, thank you for protecting me my whole life, but I got it now".
A part of this inner healing work is about retelling the story from the inner child and allowing her to be supported and heard so that I CAN move on as the adult.
Everyone has an inner child, every single one of us. But when that child you were, was abused, neglected or rejected severely, that inner child lays dormant inside holding onto the life it had and doesn't grow.
I was an adult at a very young age, and I shut down that inner part of me and this is the life I lived - always in fear, living life according the old beliefs.
Yesterday in session we took the first step in working with that very hurt and tender part of my inner self and it was liberating to see and feel, at the same time very painful; pain I can't explain.
but the one quote that I keep in mind is this
"The only way out is through"
I wonder what my life would be like making my own decisions without having the past dictate what I can or can't do. I wonder what i am capable of outside living with the old beliefs and the old lies.
I am sure there is something big waiting for me on the other side of this, and I can't wait to see what that is.
It's scary, it's sad, its hard, but I have wonderful support and I am worth it - "she" is worth it.