Working with the inner child: illuminations and release
I’m nearly finished with my Inner Child Therapy. It’s been more than 10 weeks now and it’s been illuminating.
It wasn’t as scary and traumatic as I was picturing it but it has been eye-opening and sometimes heart-breaking. I’ve had numerous “aha” moments, things I would’ve probably never known haven’t I done the work.
In a way my realisations were more simple, and perhaps even quite common, than I have expected.
Nevertheless, it’s been mind-boggling.
The two main themes in terms of what I received or didn’t receive from my parents are described below.
From my father:
My father was busy and occupied with his work. His work was his escape. Things were not rosy in our household and he would often bury himself in his responsibilities. That led to him being emotionally withdrawn and often incapable to see and acknowledge his daughter. He would be there but at the same time he wouldn’t be. For her, he would almost be like a ghost. She would reach out but would find only distance and absence.
As the little girl that I was, I would interpret it as not being worthy of his attention, time and love in general. I would get sad, feel lonely and would shut down within myself. Also, him being unable to see me, meant he wasn’t capable to see my talents and gifts as well. This has transpired as me believing that my dreams and desires aren’t worth pursuing.
The result is that I believe that I’m unworthy and undeserving of people’s love and attention. I feel lonely and I feel like I carry a big load of sorrow in my heart. I also don’t believe in my talents, never taking time to explore them. I believe my dreams and desires to be undeserving of pursing.
Also, I missed his guidance, his encouragement. I feel lost, confused. I had to learn the hard way, make way too many mistakes and hurt myself way too much. On top of that I was passed the idea that the world is an unsafe and lonely place and you can’t trust anyone.
How I cope with all this ? I shut myself away from everything and everybody, I isolate myself. I don’t like myself and I abuse myself by putting myself down or being overly critical to myself. I also become judgmental and critical of others, perhaps even jealous.
In the ideal scenario, had I received my father’s unconditional attention and love, I would have believed that I’m a person who is worthy, lovable and deserving. Also that my desires, talents and dreams are worth exploring and pursuing. I would have guidance and support. I would trust myself and others and the world in general. I would live my life with my heart wide open towards whatever it brings me. I would love and accept myself unconditionally.
From my mother:
My mother was unhappy in her marriage and suffered from depression. She had suppressed and masked her feelings but in moments of crisis her pain would come out in outbursts of rage and hatred. Often she would pick up on her daughter looking for an outlet for her emotions. Or she would put the blame on her, unable to see her true qualities. She would also be emotionally withdrawn and somewhat narcissistic. She would be unavailable when her daughter needs her.
As a little girl, I would want to make my mama happy and would take whatever she projects onto me. Of course, in reality that isn’t very effective and my innocent desire to help my mother only brought me anguish. The pain wouldn’t stop pouring and I would be suffocated by her unhappiness. I would lose myself in her sorrow.
How I coped with it? In attempts to protect myself I would hide my true essence and light. I would become only a shadow of myself. I would fear that being my full self would wake up anger and resentment. I would shrink and become invisible, trying to survive.
Also, when a baby, my mother wouldn’t always be near me or respond to my needs. I would find myself soothing myself and not knowing whether she would come back. I would become anxious and worried, unable to relax and receive. I would fear losing her attention and love and being abandoned.
The result is that I feel severe insecurity (I never attached securely when a baby). I feel the world is unsafe place, I fear being abandoned or experiencing loss. I have deep-seated anxiety, also inability to receive. Often I am unable to relax and experience joy, believing the feeling won’t last for too long. I live my life in fear – closed in and protective.
In the ideal scenario, had I received unconditional love and consistent reassurance, my worries and fears would have been transmuted by my mother’s nurturing presence. I would trust the world is a safe place to be and I wouldn’t be afraid of being abandoned or of loss in general. I would live my life with my heart wide open, courageous and trusting. I would be open for receiving love and support. I would be able to feel joy and not fear the impermanence of the moment. I would be grounded and secure.
Now that I can see clearly my childhood traumas, I want to release the pain. I don’t want to hold on any of it any longer. But I had to dig it up in order to let it go. I do not regret that I’ve spent the last three month unearthing unpleasant feelings and saddening memories. I’m ready to let go of all of it and design a life aligned with my truth.0
Thanks Laina, your words mean a lot to me. Love to you <3