Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Inner Child #3

"Inner Child"
Afraid as a child.
Still I am afraid.
On edge as a child.
Still I am on edge.
Emotionally neglected.
I grew.
To scold and neglect myself.
No other example to follow.
But slowly I wake up to take responsibility.
I give myself now the nurturing that I have always deserved.
It is not the lack of nurturing from the past that
makes me suffer now,
but the self nurturing I deny myself of in the present.
by Rita Loyd

More from my research (in black). My comments in red. This is my continued effort to accept that I really do have a wounded inner child and an attempt to reach out (reach in??) and help "her" to heal.

What is the unfinished business of the "Inner Child"?
From growing up in a dysfunctional family, emotional maturity was stunted. This failure to mature left the "Inner Child" unfinished because we:
Grew up too fast.
Became small adults; little ``moms'' and ``dads.''
Were either over responsible or overachievers.
Were emotionally vulnerable. For some reason, this phrase makes me angry. And it sparked yesterdays post about "The V Word"
Were not given a chance to grow and mature in a normal sequence of events.
Put on a public mask or image to stifle our child-like needs.
Repressed joy, vision, and feelings.
Still have an inner child waiting to grow up and take its proper place.

I can agree with all of the above until that last one. Why is it SO hard for me to accept the idea that this exists? I go back to the supposition of the Catch-22. I can't believe in it because I can't connect with "her". I can't connect with "her" because I don't believe in it.

I think the one I identify with the most is "Were not given a chance to grown and mature in a normal sequence of events." I feel like my entire childhood was disconnected, discombobulated, agitated. I feel like I walked on eggshells, maneuvering my way through the mine field of my family. What would set brother off is not the same thing that would set that father off and then I have to put on the happy mask and pretend nothing is wrong in front of my mother. Not to mention that we never knew how to act in front of my father so it was like waiting to get a read from him to see how the mood was before making a move. I have to imagine this was exhausting for a child.

How does the "Inner Child" come into being?
The "Inner Child" comes into being by:
A denial of true feelings.
A denial of the person we are.
Trying hard to live up to others' expectations.
Holding back our child-like responses, while we provide adult like responses to stress.
The fear of being found out about how we really feel.
Insecurity in the midst of chaos, confusion, or the vacuum of repressed feelings.
A sense of obligation to always look good and be good.
Inexperience at being loved for who you are rather than for what you do.
Not being given the role model of how to enjoy life and to have fun. Always having to be serious about life.
A lack of encouragement to broaden our scope of vision about the potentials' in life.
*1* The stress of staying vigilantly in the here and now' so that we stay in control and the walls didn't come tumbling down around us.
Never being given or taking the freedom to play and act childish.
Not being given role models of how to take pleasure out of the little things in life.
*2* A compulsive drive to fulfill our role in our family. Not recognizing that we can make choices in our lives to make it what we want it to be.
Continuing even now to follow our compulsive role(s) rather than choosing to change and be free from the restraints this compulsion creates for us.
*3* Silencing our "inner child'' and guarding ourselves, retreating behind masked barriers.
*4* Feeling that it is not safe to grow up, to accept love, or to share feelings.

Well, there are a few in here that strike me. Actually they are all something I can associate with on some level. But the ones I want to comment on:

#1: "The stress of staying vigilantly in the here and now...." Really? I thought that was what we avoided. Isn't that what dissociation is all about? Avoiding the here and now? Going anywhere else in our minds? This one confuses me.

Jumping ahead to #4: "Feeling that it is not safe to grow up...." I think I felt more like it was not safe to stay a child. That I HAD to grow up in order to deal with the situations at hand.

#3: "...retreating behind masked barriers" Oh how I can equate to that one. Masks were my life. Virtually a chameleon, I was. While I could make myself fit in with anyone, anywhere....I never ever felt like I belonged anywhere.

And finally, #2: I wish I could remember when this conversation took place as I'd love to find my notes about it. "A compulsive drive to fulfill our role in the family" I had a T appointment that addressed this once upon a time; those are the notes I'm referring to. I remember T telling me how my role varied from person to person in the family but that, with my father, one of my roles was basically to perpetuate the chaos and the anger. This is something that carried over into my life until not that long ago....the need to exist in crisis mode.

1 comment:

Enola said...

I dissociate but I am also vigilant about being in the here and now. I dissociate to stay safe. But I am vigilant about always being aware of where I am, where people are in the room to me. Except DURING the abuse. Then it wasn't safe and I escaped by dissociating. So in other words, the vigilence kept me safe to a point - then I dissociated.