Loving My Inner Child

“We are weak whenever we are disconnected from our Inner Child, abdicating responsibility for ourselves and acting from the fears and beliefs of the ego.”  -Healing Your Aloneness

 

A Course in Miracles states that “The ego is particularly likely to attack you when you react lovingly, because it has evaluated you as unloving, and you are going against its judgement.”  This means that your ego believes that you are an unloving person and as long as you believe that, your ego has control over you.  If, however, you awaken to the fact that you are loving and lovable, the go will attack you because it fears the loss of power over you.  Your ego has spent your life convincing you that you must be hard to be powerful.  We’ve yet to learn that the most powerful defense is the defenselessness of softness and love.

I have been learning how to self-talk my ego, aka my Adult self.  Last week I released a lot of emotion by sharing a lot of stuff with my therapist that had been building up inside for awhile.  I finally let go and dug deep…I was able to let go because the feeling of keeping it all bottled up inside finally became more overwhelming than the belief that I could do it alone (ego).

So now, my Inner Child is ashamed.  She is cowering and she is scared because now someone knows some of her secrets.  I am having to make a conscious effort to lovingly accept her feelings and to acknowledge her fears.  I struggle to tell her it is okay to feel her own feelings, but that she doesn’t have to fear having a witness anymore. My usual Adult response would be to tell myself to get over it….which leads to anxiety and worry.  This was before I realized that fear inside of me was my Inner Child.  Now that I know who it is, I have compassion for her.  I am trying to tell her that as these walls of secrets get torn down, it’s okay.  The rawness is scary.  And she wants the walls to go back up…that’s what she knows.  But I keep telling her that maybe the walls will never have to go back up, and that by tearing them down everything will be better.  Hell, it’s all a brand new concept!

I am trying to react lovingly toward myself and so my ego is attacking this love.  The ego is so used to being in charge.  The ego has helped me through many traumatic times…and it was my ego protecting me because that’s all I knew what to do.  Now that I am learning new skills, well, it’s complicated!  🙂

Brief moments in time when I sit still and reflect inward I feel so very good about tearing down a wall.  It feels lighter.  I feel happier.  I am learning to love myself.  I am strong when I am connected with my Inner Child. My ego is no longer in the drivers seat.  My faulty wiring is being re-wired.

Advertisements

Let Your Heart Break Into a Million Pieces

When sadness breaks open our heart, we become fully human.

By having the courage to touch  our own pain and suffering, we can touch and feel the pain and suffering of the entire world.  We see:  your suffering and my suffering are the same.  Suffering is a common thread that unites all of humanity.  From recognizing this simple truth, a profound feeling of interconnectedness can arise.  This sense of interconnection can bring about an unspeakable joy.  It can ignite the wish to bring happiness to all others.

http://alwayswellwithin.com/2011/03/26/why-sadness-is-the-key-to-true-happiness/

They Love Me for ME

Today I wrote a letter to a lady that is in one of my support groups.  Friendship is a very new concept for me.  I have only recently started to learn to love myself.  The more I love myself, the more I realize what parts of me I have squashed to fit what mold I think my ‘friends’ want me to fit.  The more I let go and trust this process of nurturing and loving myself, the more I have been drawing towards me the types of people I have always yearned for in my life.  The stable ones.  The trustworthy ones.  The ‘real’ ones.  The ones that are not afraid to be vulnerable.  The ones that embrace communication.  The ones that love me for me. 

These new found friendships are two fold.   They leave me with something deep and meaningful.  But they also ask of me truth, vulnerability and love. 

i_went_back

Below is the letter I wrote to my friend,

I want to take a moment and share with you my gratitude.  Today I feel as if I made my first major step to stop fighting this process. I realize that to share and to be vulnerable and to remove my layers of armor is to heal.  I finally understand what you mean when you say to sit in it.  To feel it.  To accept it. 

Each time I have a significant breakthrough, you have been a part of it.  Your words of wisdom guide me.  Your bravery pushes me.  Your belief in me lifts me up.   Your support gives me strength. And I am thankful for you.  Much of what I have learned in the short time I have been doing this work, I have learned from you. 

Thank you for opening my eyes to my inner child.  Your free expression of love and compassion toward your little girl has shown me that it is okay to be curious of her and has helped me on my path toward embracing my own inner child.  I chose this card with a Momma Meerkat and her baby on it because I feel it embodies where I am today with my little girl.  She isn’t hiding in fear behind me anymore.  She is standing confidently holding my hand as I look forward toward what lies ahead for the two of us.  I know now that I am strong enough to protect her.  Your friendship and guidance has helped show me the way, and I thank you for it.  Your thoughtful answers, your continued hard work on yourself, your openness of your struggles, and that inner goodness and peace you exude gives me hope.  Thank you for being my friend.  Thank you for showing me what friendship is. 

What Does all this MEAN?

Today I came home and hit the punching bag. Only after I physically exhausted myself and caused myself some pain from hitting the bag was I able to release like…2 micro sized tears. When all I FUCKING WANT TO DO IS RELEASE THIS EMOTIONAL FLOOD THAT IS RAGING INSIDE. I have been conditioned to not show emotions. I have been conditioned so that tears is a sign of weakness and ridicule. I have been conditioned to feel shame for crying. So I learned to not feel. I used my power over my feelings to believe I was winning. It was all I had. It was all I had control over.

Now that I am in therapy working on ‘feeling’, I can feel it inside. I can feel it in my shoulders. I can feel it in my chest, in my jaw, in the way my body will tense and sweat during meditation exercises. I can feel a bubble, a wave of ‘something’ that is churning inside. And God, all I really want is to let it out. I want to be awash with ‘whatever this is’. I don’t want it to be a story anymore. I’ve told the story. Now I want to feel the story so I can heal fro the story.

How do I start to heal from this? I want to own my baggage…not it own me.

So much inner conflicting emotions churning inside as I work toward allowing myself to feel my past pain. Growing up feelings were not meant to be felt. Mom was the only one allowed to feel emotions and hers were extremely volatile. I was a child that was seen and not heard. I was a child that was emotionally berated during daylight and sexually abused during the night. With my mother I grew up feeling whatever emotion allowed me the quickest and safest exit. If I thought crying was what would help, I would cry. If I was supposed to act happy, I would act happy. Her emotions called for strict adherence and nothing else would be tolerated. She ruled the roost. She was borderline. One second she would be lying on the ground in the middle of the yard telling me she hated me and wished I had never been born. Another minute she would be walking the perimeter of the yard stating she was trying to go home. Another minute she would be chugging bleach or swallowing a full bottle of medication. Yet another she would be sobbing into my arms and wailing she needed me more than anything else in life. That if she didn’t have me she would be already dead. All this by the age of 9 or 10. Previous years I don’t have real memories of..they are just fuzzy.

Here steps in the hero, my pedophile father. Shhhh, be quiet and go to your room and be a good girl so mommy doesn’t get mad. I’ll be there as soon as I can. I played with my toys, read my books, colored and drew into the dark hours of the night. Sometimes he would come and other nights I would tuck myself into bed. When he did come he would sit next to my bed with a chair from the dining table and tell me wonderful fantastical stories about Michael and Marcy, two almost Harry Potter like characters that he had made up. Sometimes he would tell me bible stories and other times he would sing bible songs to me. Sometimes he would comfort me if I were crying because I “had done something wrong” in mommy’s eyes. As he rubbed my back he would touch me. And he’d rub my front. And the young years are fuzzy. I really only remember when I would start to clinch my legs shut as hard as I could and tuck my arms in at my sides. I must have been around 12-14 at this point. I think it was only then that I started to realize something wasn’t right. I don’t remember much before that. I remember the one time mom was gone (I was 15 or 16?) and I was taking a Sunday nap in bed with my father and he touched my breast and I instinctively turned away from him. I think that’s when I started to keep from being in situations with him. And I think that’s when he stopped. He was never a man for confrontation.

I was such a confused little kid. Not only did I have an emotionally fucked up mother, a pedophile father, but I was so confused sexually as I was gay and living in the Bible Belt of the Deep South. I was different from every other kid I knew in so many ways. I went through my childhood living in the clouds of dissociation. I don’t think I was ever present. I used sports as an outlet. And I was good at them because I was so immune to pain I could run and play through anything. My parents never came to my games or meets. The few times my mother did, she would get angry at me saying I didn’t spend enough time with her and I’d end up bawling in the car on the ride home. This even happened while I was in college at rowing regattas.

Then she finally did end up succeeding and taking her own life. I wasn’t able to get their in enough time to save her. Here I was, the daughter who when visiting home for christmas break she would send away in tears saying she was disowning me and that I would never hear from her again…and here I was the daughter who felt she couldn’t get their in enough time to save her. I was pulled to both extremes my whole life.

SO WHAT DOES ALL THIS MEAN?? WHERE DO I GO NOW THAT I AM ACKNOWLEDGING IT?? What do I do with it all?! How do I make sense of the un-sensible? What do I do now? How am I supposed to feel? What am I supposed to feel?

Struggling

I am really struggling here. My feelings are here. They are telling me that they want to be heard. They need to come out. I need to feel the tears and the pain and the fear of that little girl. Except I have been programmed for so long to not show emotion or to feel it. I am ASHAMED to have a feeling.

This morning I meditated. I wanted to get in touch with my little girl. She has been so sad and she needs me. I meditated in the bathroom which is where whenever I am feeling scared or heightened with feelings from the past, it’s where I hide. I took my stuffed animal too. And I laid their and worked on clearing my mind and just asking her what is going on. She told me she is so confused because she liked what daddy did. she’s ashamed of wanting him to rub her back at night. She doesn’t understand anything because growing up that’s what she thought was okay. No one told her otherwise. She is confused about what her feelings should be. How to make sense of them. Lying their getting in touch with my little girl I could feel what her body would feel. How he would rub my back with me lying on my stomach first. Then I’d flip over and he’d rub the top. When I got to that part my whole body physically curled into a ball. Everything got scared. Everything shut down. How did she feel as a child with this? Is this the feeling she wanted to have but couldn’t? Did she want to curl up into a ball and tell him to stop? But she didn’t. I think she somehow shut everything down. No feelings, no thoughts, She turned her body and mind off. Even typing this stuff makes me physically nauseous.

With mom she had to emotionally shut down. For some reason mom played a sick mind fuck game. She would berate the little girl. She would tell the little girl that if she wanted to go out and play with her friends then that was fine. But it meant she didn’t love her mom. Or the little girl would come home from school and mom would be crying and telling her she was all she had. That if she didn’t have that little girl she would have killed herself long ago. That that little girl was all that was keeping her alive. I remember being a little girl and just standing beside mommy. I remember that I would hug her. And tell her I love her. But then I remember her being angry. She would talk about how her life was shit and that she would be better off dead. And if my room wasn’t clean then wait til daddy got home. Then I’d have to pull my pants down to my ankles and grab my ankles with my hands and be spanked until I cried. Even as a little kid I can remember not knowing what I did wrong so not crying. Because I had nothing to cry or feel sorry about! I would draw mom pictures. I would do all I could as a child to keep her happy. I would write her letters. I would make her breakfast in bed. I cooked dinner and I cleaned. Dad would tell me that I needed to be a good little girl and stay out of the way when mom was in one of her episodes. Then dad would put mom to bed then come put me to bed. I remember on Saturdays I didn’t do what I think most kids would do when they woke up…I would sneak to the bathroom and sneak back to my room and read a book or draw until they got up. If I ever did sneak into the living room to watch cartoons I would keep the volume down so low and I would be scared that I would wake one of them up. I never made a noise. One time I took one of our kittens outside to show my friend and it ran away under the trailer. Then I was crying and I went inside to tell mom she got so angry at me she railed back to slap me and I flinched and then she just yelled at me.

Everything was so volatile. I feel it at an adult. For example yesterday a friend asked me what was going on because she saw I was picking my skin. I felt blank inside. Like I knew I needed to say something but didn’t know what was the right thing to say! What to say…what to say? What am I SUPPOSED to say? What’s the right thing to say? Mom was such a mind fuck because sometimes she would sit me down and actually tell me she was sorry for getting mad at me and I would be able to share with her how it made me feel. So I would get to be honest. Then she would take what I said later and turn it into fuel against me.

It was engrained into me at such an early age to not have a feeling. I didn’t even get to figure out what feelings were to be able to know what feelings I was ignoring. I lived in constant fear of what was to come next. I lived in constant fear that my mother was going to die. I lived with my father being my friend. But also being my abuser. I don’t remember everything. Certain times in my life are completely blocked. I notice most of the blocked memories have to do with when mom would be in a hospital or in a treatment center and it was just dad and I at home together. If I remember the lesser things, him doing things with his hands…what am I blocking out that is more?

Why Do I Sabotage My Healing?

I feel like I sabotage myself. I am starting to notice a cycle. I do good intense work in therapy and on my own. Then I struggle to stay present and mindful and not dissociate. Then I beat myself up about taking time off from working the program. Then I binge drink for a night. Then I spend the whole next day and week counter acting the voice inside that is trying to beat me up for my actions. The voice tells me I suck. That I am horrible. That I am better than getting drunk. That I am weak. That I am a failure. And I have to spend an extensive amount of energy to combat the voice. And so my cycle continues. I know I subconsciously drank yesterday because I first was extremely anxious. Secondly because my cousin met me for dinner. And thirdly because I have been doing so much good work, but the more I delve into my past to understand my present, the harder it is.

I come from an extremely dysfunctional family. I’ve only met my cousin a handful of times and the last time I saw her it was for dinner over a year ago. She’s 11 years younger than I am, and from the handful of times I’ve spoken with her or seen her, I see some of me in her. I see our family and the pain it has caused. I see someone who has been given an extremely tough life and has made it the best she could. I see someone who loves her mom despite the pressure she puts on her. I see a young woman who had to learn as a child to be the strongest one in the family. The rock. I see a mom who is putting too much responsibility on her daughter. I know deep down I don’t know the full story and I don’t know why each does what each does. But what I do know is that I feel extreme empathy towards my cousin and I feel a fierce protection for her. And I am sad for what she has had to go through in her life. I see her and I see me, and when i step back and look at how I feel about her, about protecting her…I can then say, well, this is your life too. You went through many of the same ordeals…different story but same outcome. A child that was not allowed to be a child. The parallelism causes me pain inside. And with emotions being such a new thing for me, I am confused. And the emotions are painful. The thoughts and memories are painful. So I drank last night as a way of not dealing with my thoughts and feelings. By drinking I only postponed my feelings and emotions and added more on top! I checked out from the world for a day and now am beating myself up about it.

I went to my first Coda meeting today. Their were about 15 people in the room. I didn’t say anything. I went because I needed to go somewhere and I needed to not feel alone. I didn’t speak to anyone. I just needed to be around people who were struggling too. People who at least were attempting to become better versions of themselves.

Last week at Together We Heal support group, one of the members said she thinks I am ready to tackle the real hard stuff. I was asking them how did they get over the fear of sharing the hard stuff with their therapist. I’m so afraid of trusting her with ME. One of the things she said was that you can never plan. You can think you can, but you can’t. You can do all the homework all the journaling and all the prepping, but bottom line is when it comes to taking the plunge and sharing what’s inside, the feelings and pain, you just have to do it. My thoughts and feelings are coming faster and faster and I can’t ignore them anymore. I tried last night by drinking. But they are still here. I’m sad. I am not happy. I am depressed. I have more anxiety. I’m blindly going down this road hoping that at some point it will get better. I think I’m starting to realize that each time I sabotage myself and each time I drink I am standing still on my road. I am not moving forward. And this depression and sadness will last longer. So if I don’t drink and if I take a look at why I have urges to drink, then I can get to the other side of the road faster.

I went to the beach after the coda meeting. It was nice sitting at the beach. I realized that I was at the beach to prolong coming home and having to be in my house by myself. But i realized that that is okay. I realized that sitting at the beach isn’t wasting time. It’s healthy. I am being alone with myself and with my thoughts. And I’m not drinking. Or eating. Or doing anything addictive that keeps me from processing. So I have the beach in my toolbox…I just need to make it more of a priority.

II’m also sad today because my friend had to put her dog Endie down today. Endie was my favorite dog. I’ve known Endie for like 6 years. I went and was with my friend for a little while. I gave her hugs. Told her I loved her. I can feel my heart and body shutting down. It has no feelings about Endie even though it does want to have feelings. It wants to be sad. It wants to cry. it wants to be emotional. I’m going to go do a mindful meditation focusing on curiously looking in at what the body is feeling. And I know I continue to ramble here because I am afraid of my own thoughts as i attempt to fall asleep.

My Amygdala Goes Apes%&$

My therapist asked me to think of a specific situation from my childhood and to share it with her. Then we tackled the feelings that came up from the idea of sharing a dark secret. I didn’t share the secret, the situation is still tucked away in my own mind, but we verbalized the feelings surrounding the idea of sharing. This is what it looked like.

“Tell me about a situation in your past that includes your dad””

What happens to my body:

1) My amygdala goes apeshit.
2) Sweat profusely (shirt gets soaked)
3) Headache
4) Body extremely tense
5) Fidgety
6) Take glasses off so can’t see T/facial expressions (a protective mechanism…a way to disconnect)
7) Body wants to curl up into a ball
8) Adrenaline courses through my body
9) Stare at the floor
10) Hands clench into fists
11) I feel like I need to wring my hands out or stand up and shake out my legs
12) I want to cross my arms and un-ground my feet from the floor

What thoughts are in my mind:

1) If I share a painful memory it will be made to be a part of me.
2) Fear of judgement from my T.
3) Fear of trusting my T to know how to guide me in a safe and healthy environment and not to fall into a flashback.
4) Trust that my T will bring me back to the present before letting me go until meeting next week.
5) If I share a secret, it is not mine anymore.
6) Secrets are meant to be kept. I was taught to never tell. I fear a reprimand if I tell.
7) I want to hold on to my secret. It is a part of me, even if it is an unresolved part.
8) Fear of rejection.
9) Afraid to be vulnerable.
10) Afraid to relive it.
11) Afraid to not be in control.
12) Saying it out loud makes it real.
13) I’m afraid of what feelings it will bring up.
14) I’m afraid of my inner child.
15) I live my life in rational mind and am working on getting in touch with emotional mind. To be in emotional mind while also KNOWING what is going on (rational mind)…it’s extremely hard for me not to negatively judge myself.
16) My own judgements of myself are extremely harsh.
17) By telling a secret I am showing weakness. I am showing that I can’t do this alone.
18) Sharing a secret is the equivalent to taking off a piece of body armor and opening myself up to attack and failure.
19) I feel shame

When the secrets happened, I was a child who survived by disconnecting from her feelings. I was shut down. I don’t even think I was ever taught healthy feelings. Each time the secrets happened the child shut down and flew away. Now I am asking the adult to feel what the child had to squash for so many years. It is all confusing. And painful. I am so confused. My mind doesn’t know what to do…it’s always been in charge. Feelings were never felt. Now the feelings are surfacing and the mind and body is having to learn how to process them.

It’s like teaching a dog that has been locked up in a cage its whole life to come out of the cage. What work I have done has helped me past the extreme cowering in the back of my cage part. Now I am ready to tentatively stick one paw out…but jesus fucking christ I am scared shitless.

I feel so fragile. Like my processing could cause everything to come crumbling down around me. I need to remember I have worked extremely hard to get to where I am today. I am healthy and thriving. I am brave and courageous. I am strong. I have tools in my tool belt to help me through tough times. I have meditation. And I have a support group. I am a survivor. And I can survive this.

Mindful Meditation

While doing my mindfulness meditation over the past few days, I have noticed an almost acute painful ball of panic/anxiety sitting deep inside my chest. I work on acknowledging it, I work on using a ray of light to have that anxiety leave my body, I have even put it on a conveyor belt and dropped off into space because it is not needed. But it still persists. What does this persistence mean? I have been having nightmares that are very vivid almost every evening. I am having trouble falling asleep. I ask my inner child if it is her, what she is feeling. I kind of wonder if it will take many meditations to get to the bottom of the anxiety and panic. The more I focus and gently probe, the more I understand that the panic is my inner childs. She lived night and day with it and didn’t have a name for it. It became her normal. Now that I am trying to get in touch with her, and as she slowly learns to trust me, her repressed feelings are pretty overwhelming. I use my distress tolerance skills to distract myself during working hours and do my best to use my DBT skills at home so as not to use alcohol as a numbing technique. That only takes me farther from the truth. I’m thinking I am finally in that limbo place of change and healing. I don’t know how long it will last. I am choosing not to resign myself to it, but choosing to know this is where I am at, and it may last awhile, but it won’t last forever. I want to feel happy again.

What ’tis this feeling I am feeling?

I think I’m depressed. Why? Let’s list the signs

I have not been riding my bike.
I have been sleeping in.
I have been drinking more.
I do not feel happy.
My anxiety is higher.
My self confidence has decreased.
I am worrying more.
I do not want to do my mindfulness exercises.
I do not want to exercise.
I am having nightmares.
I was triggered and had a panic attack in group therapy on Thursday when someone brought up suicide.
I often feel on the verge of tears, except I can’t cry or let it out.
I am having flashbacks.

Why am I feeling this way? I think
Because Moms 57th birthday would have been last Tuesday. Since Monday I have been unhappy.
For the first time I attempted to use my DBT skills to allow myself to feel feelings and not dissociate or stuff them back into a box. I cried. I tried to sit with the feeling of sadness and ask my little girl what she needed and what she felt. She felt extremely sad. She was sad that Mommy never played with her. That Mommy was scary and volatile. The more I ask my little girl what she is feeling, the more I feel…well, I guess the more I FEEL. I’m realizing that as a child I was not allowed to feel feelings or process them, and now my wiring is all messed up when it comes to feelings. I feel like I am stuck in limbo…I’m able to kind of skim the surface of feelings, but I can’t seem to get to the bottom of them. Or to let them go. My body still instinctively shuts down the brain and body when a feeling emerges. Because that’s all it knows how to do. But I am working so hard to re-wire this pathway! My brain knows my body is feeling sadness, but my body won’t release the sadness.

What do I do now that I am feeling this way?
So I’m stuck. And I don’t know what to do…I don’t know what my next step should be. I don’t know what tools I am supposed to use here. Am I supposed to use distress tolerance skills to distract? Or does that mean I’m ignoring and not processing the feelings? Do I use mindfulness skills to work on calming the brain? I have been using meditative exercises and breathing exercises and they do help with the panic and worry, but the feeling of deep sadness is still their. I want it out of my body so much! At least a little bit of it…just a really good sob fest and I think I would feel some relief. I read a mindfulness exercise last night that spoke about sitting in the feeling and saying what if this feeling lasted forever. What if this feeling of sadness was with me for the rest of my life. Would I be able to tolerate it? And yes, I know I could. But I’d prefer not too. I think it was talking about realizing that a feeling can’t hurt you. It’s just a feeling. And it was about radical acceptance. To radically accept the feeling and let it go. Let it be. I don’t know. I’m just a confused lil girl at the moment. Though I feel good about this…I took time before work to journal and try to get some of whatever it is inside out. So now I get to distract and go to work. Here we (me and my lil girl) go!