Thursday, March 27, 2008

Inner Child Work

As I think of myself as a child, these are the images that resonate with me. Pretty easy to see the theme.

What do these images say to me?

Shame. Wanting to disappear. Sadness. Loneliness. Confusion. Isolation. Fear. Denial. Pain. Trapped. Darkness. Self-Protection. Anguish. Silence. Secrets.

Inner Child work is something that has escaped me for the entire journey of my process to date. I remember doing an exercise when I was in a SA Group Therapy. I had to write a letter to my IC. I attacked it in an intellectual way. I wrote what I thought I was supposed to. Certainly better than admitting I was not ready for that step. They told me that was the next step in the checklist, dammit, I was going to get it done! I wrote and re-wrote my "script". I "performed" it in the group, giving appropriate pauses and emotion. It was meaningless to me.
Still today, IC work doesn't make alot of sense to me. I struggle sometimes with believing that the way I am currently really stems from all that happened so long ago. I struggle with the belief that there is really a child version of myself within me. And that I can communicate with her. I've never been able to before. Which, of course, could be for a multitude of reasons.
I thought, perhaps, as a bridge to doing some IC work, I would think about how I'd treat a young girl if I found her in the way I imagine my inner child must be. I imagine I'd find her huddled, stone silent, not making eye contact. She is barely breathing and, if she's crying, I can't tell because she's working so hard to not exist in this moment. Clutching her favorite doll, Doris, and a worn green blanket. Face covered, trembling, wondering how to make herself invisible. Uncomfortable, terrified, unable to be touched or consoled. Confused, ashamed, feeling wrong and just wanting to be left alone. Wanting to return home. Because she's used to the status quo at home. It may not be ideal but she knows how to navigate it. All of this.....this is unfamiliar and it's overwhelmingly threatening.
What would I say to this girl? I'd speak softly, slowly and gently. I'd introduce myself. I'd treat her with the utmost care, compassion and patience. I'd recognize her unspeakable fear and pain. I would ache inside for what she must be feeling and I'd long to find the words to coax her out of her shell so I could help her. I'd ask her if I could get her anything. I'd ask her if she knew where she was, how she got here. I'd assure her that she could trust me and I'm here to make her safe. I'd be sure she understood that she was under no pressure to talk to me until she was ready. That she's not in trouble; she did not do anything wrong. But that I'm here. And I care about her even though I barely know her. At this moment in time, she is the focus of my world and I will move mountains to make her safe and secure. She can trust me. I won't hurt her. I will do my best to understand her, to listen to her at any time she feels so inclined to open up to me and to explain to her what is happening and why. I will recognize that her small world has been flipped upside down and I would endlessly reassure her that everything will be alright now. That I am a friend she can trust and I will see her through to the very end; until she is content, healed, safe....and until she no longer needs my help to be free from the prison of her abuse. And I'd wait for her to feel the sincerity of my words and open some communication.


Rising Rainbow said...

It sounds to me like you've found the right bridge.

Enola said...

I'd scoop up the child at the first sign of disaster, whisk her away and protect her.

I get stuck after that.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I too would feel those things and have those compassionate responses if I could see my inner child(ren.) If I saw any visible child in that emotional state, my heart would melt.

When it comes to my different personalities who are still children, it's a different story. I want them to just buck up, keep a stiff upper lip, etc--kinda like I had to do during most of my childhood.

I have the hardest time even acknowledging that they exist, much less that they need my help. Well, I suppose if I allowed myself to be aware of them to any degree, I'd have to admit to the extent of the abuse which made their creation necessary in the first place.

What a merry go round!


Angel said...

I've been working on the whole inner-child concept myself. Realizing how much and how long I have hated her. Wanting to bury her away and keep her silent. I'm learning to comfort her, but it is hard and I have a long way to go before she is healed. I wish you much luck on your journey.