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#199957 - 01/17/08 03:18 PM The Process/Inner Child
frost Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/15/07
Posts: 1377
Loc: Eh?
Hi Everyone,

Okay it's long. I can't explain all of this quickly.

This last week has been a real trial for me. I crashed hard earlier this week and for all those whom I have spoken to during my darker moments, I just wanted to let you know I've resurfaced and have finally leveled off a bit again. Thank goodness. Now I have some thoughts to discuss.

I think I am getting really frustrated with the process of healing. My therapist tells me that I am not in charge, my inner child is in charge of how quickly everything is processed and dealt with, since he is the one that was hurt.

I have to say, as someone who struggles with dissociation, I have a lot of trouble with referring to my inner child in the third person. There have been moments in time when I've had no trouble with it, but for the bulk of the time, I am finding a tendency of trying to avoid that.

The flip side of that, my therapist believes that I have been failing to acknowledge that inner child for an excessive amount of time. When I do take the time to recognize that inner child, I also can easily acknowledge that this is detrimental to my recovery. I also find that the times I do acknowledge him have usually been coinciding with my breakthroughs on this path.

Inner Child.

I'm so torn on the subject. Part of me fears acknowledging the inner child for a genuine concern that dissociative troubles might increase. Part of me feels that this inner child stuff is merely clinical to get us to recognize specific child-like aspects of adulthood. Part of me feels like the therapy world makes up the inner child as a way of charging clients $140/hr for prolonged periods of time. Finally, a part of me feels like there is some serious truth to this, and I do need to just drop all of these other beliefs and run with it.

You know I can't just leave it at that. I'm now going to dedicate a paragraph to each of those opposing views. I really need to dig in to this... I'm honestly not trying to offend anyone here, I just need to get it said as I have times where all of these things run through my head.

About "fearing the inner child because it might lead to dissociative difficulties in the future". Basically, this partly comes from experience, and I suppose part of it is pure paranoia. I guess, some background information: I dissociate. Everyone dissociates to some degree... But I have had times where I've really lost myself in it. About 5 or 6 years ago, when my abuse issues were really starting to surface in adulthood, I had big struggles with dissociation. It took a long time to get to a point where I've, for the most part, established the ability to stay in the present while I dissociate. I fear acknowledging the inner child because of this history. I don't want to go back to the days of old where dissociation was seriously interfering with day to day life. I don't want to be out of control. It seems like giving the inner child breath and status would feed into that? I would appreciate any thoughts on this that are out there.

"The inner child thing is merely clinical to get us to recognize child-like aspects of adult hood". I'll expand on this by saying how important it is to, 'play'. To Play, doesn't have to mean playing with legos and little cars. They can be adult things as well such as taking in a good movie, going for a long walk or hike, hobbies, or just relaxing with friends. I am fully aware that without 'play' and appropriate balance between work and personal time are things that can lead to disaster in one's life. I find I oftentimes minimize the 'inner child' to be a way of explaining this importance.

"The therapy world makes up the inner child as a way of charging clients $140/hr for prolonged periods of time." I'm quite certain this is largely driven by paranoia. I suppose for me, its that due to events of the past, I know and understand how fragile and delicate something like the mind actually is. I want to make sure that I'm doing what is best for ME. What this boils down to, is that I want a healthier life. I want a healthier mind. I don't want to piss around with things that aren't going to get me that in the shortest possible amount of time. I am genuinely interested in true unleaded healing. I spent some of the most gracious years of my life in a great deal of pain because of childhood sexual abuse. I see it like this. For every day that I spend hurting and in pain, that's a day that I don't get to spend in a happy healthy frame of mind. I have goals. I don't want to be anyone's long-term patient. I just don't want this to occupy any more of my life than it has to. I feel as though it was unfairly brought upon me and that the life I was meant to live is out there, somewhere. I sometimes feel like acknowledging the inner child is going to make it so that I have to go through centuries of therapy and tons of stuff just to work out all of the hurts and pain that the inner child holds. Some things that have come up in therapy have seemed really trivial. I'd like to think I don't have to 'work through' the trivial stuff but that just seems to be what happens when you delve into the inner child world. Isn't there a point when we look back on these things as adults and recognize that certain things were just trivial and we can laugh about it now? I dunno, I think this is turning into a ramble. I would really appreciate the professionals on the board to jump in on this one and give me some feedback.

Lastly, "there is some serious truth to this, and I do need to just drop all of these other beliefs and run with it". If I may be jovial for a moment here, perhaps this is the 'inner child' part of me that feels this one! As I mentioned above, I've noticed that the times that I have acknowledged the wee lad inside, have been fairly close in proximity to my breakthroughs. I guess I'm looking for the proof to back this up. I guess the whole point of this post is I'm looking for validation on the inner child thing and that it can truly be more helpful than harmful for me.

Come to think of it, I think I might just send this to my therapist for her input.

Anyways, for me I find I am standing at an impasse within my brain. To subscribe to this inner child stuff, or to continue as I have been in fear/skepticism about it. I'm not sure what to do with all this. That's why I'm starting the discussion. I need input, I need feedback. I hope everyone knows I didn't write this to piss off a bunch of people. I just needed to get the opposing views out that exist within my own brain.

I think I'd type more but I'm shivering and need to adjust my environment So I'm going to do that now. Plus, this is getting hideously long. I'll be surprised if anyone actually reads down to this point. But, if you know me at all, you know I have to explain myself thoroughly or else, why bother explaining at all? \:\)

Cheers all,
I look forward to any replies anyone ventures to give.
~Brian

_________________________
Boom!

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#199978 - 01/17/08 04:31 PM Re: The Process/Inner Child [Re: frost]
Scoutvictim Offline
Guest

Registered: 06/04/07
Posts: 434
Loc: St. Louis, Missouri
Brian,

First, let me say I think we are kindred spirits. I am the same way about my posts. Just look back and you can see we both wish to explain ourselves to the fullest. Sometimes to the disservice of our readers and their time. I know I do this as a leftover from my journalism classes. Who, what, where, when and why. If someone reads our posts they won't have to try and figure out what in the world is he talking about. (see what I mean... \:D )

I'm with you brother.

Now onto the subject at hand.

Wow...... I so understand your fear/mistrust of this whole inner child thing. I'm sure you remember the WOR session where we were supposed to "let the child out to play". Well I really felt like I was acting, just to please the facilitator. I didn't want to seem unwilling, but it just didn't hit home for me.

To this day, I still doubt little Carl is inside of me. Although, every morning when I wake up, there is evidence of his presence. I still sleep with a stuffed animal (a puppy dog named Randy), who is always on my bed, next to my pillow. He has been THE one constant companion in my life for almost 20 years. (I had others before him)

So, I can't wait for people to reply to this post, positive or negative, and believe me I will be watching.

An "inner child" skeptic,
Carl

BTW... hmmmm... could my puppy be my inner child????? I named him, Randy more than 20 years ago. For those who know me well, Carl is my middle name. I use it in my everyday life, but Randall is my given first name. HMMMMMM... another issue for another thread.




_________________________
Shawn and Ben will always be in my heart....

Happiness is like peeing your pants; Everyone can see it, but only YOU feel the warmth.

Peebles, Ohio WOR alumni, Oct. 2007

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#199987 - 01/17/08 05:24 PM Re: The Process/Inner Child [Re: Scoutvictim]
GateKPR4 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/28/07
Posts: 955
Loc: North Carolina, USA
I'm kind of skeptical about the inner child issue. On one hand I acknowledge that I have memories all the way back to being in diapers but that is part of me . There is not two of me there is only one and I remember good and bad things. I don't think I disassociated but I used to day dream a lot. I do believe in acknowledging the pain I felt as a child and working through and moving past that pain. I'm not going to spend my life in therapy or in any other type of recovery. I have spent 20 years already on recovery not to mention a good portion of my income. I do believe there is a state of recovered and that is my goal. My inner child is just my memories of my childhood. There is no integration because there is no separation I am one!

_________________________
I'm a normal person dealing with abnormal experiences.
The greatest discoveries we will find within ourselves.
Ricky
__m_τΏτ_m__
|| || || || || || |

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#200026 - 01/17/08 11:21 PM Re: The Process/Inner Child [Re: GateKPR4]
tartugas Offline
Board Member
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 02/11/07
Posts: 513
Loc: NYC
Brian and Carl (et al),

As one of the more consistently long-winded posters over my time here on the boards, I just wanted to jump in at first and say there is never any reason for us to doubt or question the length of our posts here. If we need to write a novella length post to figure something out... well then by god that's what we need to do. We're not being charged by the words here (although maybe that would help the revenue stream...), so write it out, whatever you need to say.

Okay, that said... onto the inner child stuff -

This debate really resonates deeply within me at this very moment. A few weeks ago I had a breakthrough that I've been trying to figure out how to share here with you guys. And it has a lot to do with my inner child. I think I may start a new thread to discuss my thoughts so as not to attention away from your excellent questions.

By way of setting the scene - I do sincerely believe that we all carry aspects of our child selves into our adult lives. We live in a consciousness that is constantly analyzing the present both on it's own merits and in relation to our pasts. For example, if I hear a great song from my youth on the radio, there's a part of me that really enjoys the present sensation of hearing a good song, but there's also a part of me that is somehow transported back to a special moment in time I associate with that song. The inner child is, to me, another way of referring to the past self that inhabits our memories and sees the present experiences we have in much the same way it saw the world back then. We never truly lose our memories. Even if we don't have the pictures, or names, or faces in our heads, the very cells of our body still retain the imprint of certain experiences.

Re: Fearing the inner child - I think it's very easy to buy into the mistake of seeing the inner child as something "other" than our true selves. The derision that the very label "inner child" brings up in some circles is a demonstration of the ease with which most people "break up" with their past selves. Given your personal history of dissociation, Brian, I can also understand that you have an additional level of concern here. That said, I would suggest that instead of thinking about the ways your inner child is different from you, it's important, if not imperative that you find the ways your inner child is actually a part of who you are. No one wants to go through life with the emotional maturity and intellectual savvy of a 5 year old, but that doesn't mean that that 5 year old doesn't have some very important feelings that still need to be acknowleged - especially if they never were in the past.

Re: Inner child and adulthood - I'll bet if you look around you you'll actually see a lot of people are a lot less mature than they would like the world to think they are. In point of fact, it has always seemed to me that the adults who've forgotten how to be playful and free spirited, who have given over all their faith and their energies to living up to some kind of standard of "maturity" that they let other people define for them, those adults are usually the most immature, and the most hurtful of all. I think there are a lot people who would do a lot better if they had a little less grown up in them and lot more child. Besides, who doesn't like to goof off and have fun?

Re: Inner Child and therapists - Let's face it, there are a lot of "professionals" who are themselves so insensitive and unaware that they probably do grasp onto labels such as "Inner Child", "Bi-Polar", and "Depressive Anxiety" and twist the actual meaning of those labels into what ever they need them to be to fit their relationships with their clients. It's a sad truth, but they are out there. That said, the misuse of a term by someone, even someone in authority, doen't automatically negate the value, or the original meaning of the term. If you find that your T is labelling you more than helping you, then it's definitely time to find a new T. Each one of us is a uniquely special individual with talents and gifts to share with the world. Any therapist who is not actively engaged with you in trying to help you discover, build up, and share those things which make you you is not a good therapist.

I'm a big fan of the inner child, as you can see. And especially my own now that I've found a way to refocus some positive acceptance and define what it means to be my own parent (i.e. I am the parent in this moment of my past child), and how I can do a better job of parenting that past me. This begins to go into some of what I want to put in the new thread though.

The last thing I want to add here is that, for all the good that the image of the inner child does for me in my work, I think it's imperative to understand that the inner child does not exist in the same way that I do in this moment. The child who saw the world very differently at 5 years old is no longer around physically. And all of my efforts at finding out a way to honor and repsect and love that 5 year old are not attempts to bring him out of the depths of my unconscious for a good cry. Maybe that works for some people, but I'd much rather learn how to do a better job of being the 33 year old me. Learning how to be a happy 5 year old wouldn't really do me much good right now. But I do think that part of being a healthy and well adjusted 33 year old is learning how to be respectful, kind, and generous to 5 year olds everywhere we find them, especially if we find them still residing in our hearts.

Chris

_________________________
"I am not a mechanism, an assembly of various sections.
And it is not because the mechanism is working wrongly, that I am ill.
I am ill because of wounds to the soul, to the deep emotional self...."
Healing D.H. Lawrence

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#200038 - 01/18/08 12:49 AM Re: The Process/Inner Child [Re: tartugas]
weapher Offline
Guest

Registered: 12/10/07
Posts: 60
Loc: Oregon
I have been dealing with the "inner child" with my therapist for the last 5 weeks. Each time we delve into the issue I explain to her how foreign it feels to, as described earlier, talk about me as my inner child third person. I understand her approach but it seems a bit silly to me.

On that note, I do believe we tend to favor a side of our personality and live in that emotional state more than others. Once I began this inner child work I found that I was living in the protected, insecure, angry place in my life... more like a young child or teenager. As I work through this I am beginning to live in the more consistent, "adult" place and am able to be less anxious and frustrated about everyday things. I still have not played legos with little weapher, but I have had times where I know I was falling into old "child like" patterns and i had to talk myself back into adulthood.

Is this "inner child" stuff, or just learning to move beyond the pain and struggles that come from being abused?

Not sure where we will go with this but is is helping whatever she calls it.

I did find an excellent site that I have been going through regarding this on my own. It is free! I have done many of the steps to healing the inner child and it has truly been effective for me.

It is called growing down. It basically helps you grow down to the age of abuse and get back up to adulthood in a healthy manner. Might be worth a look and it is a lot less than $140/hr.

http://www.coping.org/innerhealing/content.htm

weapher

_________________________
Facing the struggle makes you strong.

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#200126 - 01/18/08 06:06 PM Re: The Process/Inner Child [Re: weapher]
tartugas Offline
Board Member
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 02/11/07
Posts: 513
Loc: NYC
One other thing I wanted to add about the inner child question, is that I 'm really not a fan at all of trying to "go back", or "relive", or "reprocess" any of the experiences of abuse or hurt that be at the very heart of the inner child's pain. While I respect and honor everyone' right to choose what works best for them, personally I prefer to stick with a method that gets me to focus more and more on living in the present. I think there is a tremendous value to getting to know one's inner child better. But I think it's more important to get to know out own inner child in the same way that we would try to get to know any child.

_________________________
"I am not a mechanism, an assembly of various sections.
And it is not because the mechanism is working wrongly, that I am ill.
I am ill because of wounds to the soul, to the deep emotional self...."
Healing D.H. Lawrence

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#200130 - 01/18/08 06:44 PM Re: The Process/Inner Child [Re: tartugas]
PeaceSeeker Offline
New Here

Registered: 01/16/08
Posts: 11
I hope no one minds a newbie jumping in here...this is the first thread I have felt inclined to respond to.

I went to a week long workshop last summer, the climax of which was a psychodrama in which I "found" and fought for my inner child. I consider it a major turning point in my recovery.

As a child, I learned that I should feel ashamed of myself. I learned to trust no one, and to never, ever be caught showing emotions. I learned to keep my pain a secret, and to become invisible. I learned that I was only on this planet to serve the needs of others.

As I've grown up, I've learned about the adult world. I've learned what it means to take care of someone...if I had a 5 year child, I would do a great job taking care of him or her. I would make sure they ate 3 times a day, went to bed on time, etc, etc, and would make sure they felt emotional and physically safe and secure. I would take care of them the best way I knew how...I would do research and be the best parent I could. They would know that they were safe with me, and could relax and be a kid, knowing I would be the adult.

Yet...I don't do those things for myself!

Finding my inner child, and standing up for my inner child, and taking back my inner child were the first steps I've taken towards seeing that I am worthy of being taken care of, and that I in fact am capable of doing the caretaking. I have this image of myself, dressed like a Samurai warrior, rescuing myself as a child and fighting off anyone who would dare hurt that child. It has helped me to trust in myself. I found the perfect picture of myself as an 8 year old, and spent considerable time looking into my eyes from back then and crying, and knowing from now on I'll be safe.

I think being able to see yourself as a child allows you to love yourself in a way that might not be possible when you see yourself as an adult. It's easy for me to hate and loathe myself now, but how could I hate an 8 year old child?

I too am EXTREMELY skeptical of all this stuff. I think it's normal to feel skeptical of everything and everyone...look what happened to me when I trusted.

I'm really learning an incredible amount from this site...thanks for helping me to think these things through. Wow alliteration. I apologize if everyone already knows and assumes this stuff and you were talking about something completely different.


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#200133 - 01/18/08 07:11 PM Re: The Process/Inner Child [Re: PeaceSeeker]
GateKPR4 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/28/07
Posts: 955
Loc: North Carolina, USA
Originally Posted By: PeaceSeeker

I think being able to see yourself as a child allows you to love yourself in a way that might not be possible when you see yourself as an adult. It's easy for me to hate and loathe myself now, but how could I hate an 8 year old child?


I can see that \:\)
I think your view could work for me.
Thanks

_________________________
I'm a normal person dealing with abnormal experiences.
The greatest discoveries we will find within ourselves.
Ricky
__m_τΏτ_m__
|| || || || || || |

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#200165 - 01/18/08 11:17 PM Re: The Process/Inner Child [Re: GateKPR4]
frost Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/15/07
Posts: 1377
Loc: Eh?
Guys,

This is potentially the longest reply in MaleSurvivor history. I am first going to explain my current thoughts on the subject, then I will reply to each one of the men here who have offered their kind (and very appreciated) words. I'll say straight away that I was impressed by the conversation that resulted in this thread. I think it's a very important topic and I'm glad it has been discussed as it has.

So, where I'm at now... I have done a lot of thinking about this subject since I originally posted this topic. As well, I had the benefit of consulting my therapist about it today. I actually just printed off this thread after I wrote it and brought that to her. She had a read over and thankfully wasn't offended \:\)

In discussing it with my therapist, I think I've made a decision of my own... we explored the topic. Basically, all of these conflicting arguments were boiling down to fear and paranoia of the process. As I explained in my original post, I am basically terrified of losing any form of control over my mind. Especially in reference to my struggles with dissociation and effectively losing control... I am afraid of going there. This also ties in to my lack of trust. I feel as though I can trust my therapist, so long as I'm in control. This actually ended up leading somewhere very interesting which I might discuss in this topic or perhaps a new topic all together.

Something about Little Brian that my therapist also clarified for me is that when dealing with trauma we need to deal with the thoughts and feelings that surrounded that trauma. In this case we need to essentially recognize and validate the child that was hurt on the child's level because if we try to throw a bunch of adult-level logic and reason at a hurting child, it simply won't be understood. This doesn't mean reliving and re-experiencing the trauma to appropriately deal with it, it just simply means recognizing what that child, what I, went through and how that child, how I, felt about it at the time.

What I'm learning is that there is a lot more sadness, hurt, and anger than I imagined possible. I'm actually rather surprised now that I survived at all. The emotional trauma that is there is close enough now to the surface that I think I'm getting a pretty clear picture of it. It's ugly. I can't believe how skewed my thinking was as a child. The things I had to worry about when interacting with people. The conclusions I made are staggering. I find I am deeply fearful of having to face these feelings and thoughts now. Perhaps fearful of undoing these things as they are there for my own protection. I fear leaving that protection behind, even though my adult mind knows that they are detrimental to my ability to lead a full life.

Also, to expand on a lack of trust that I mentioned a few paragraphs back, this does tie into the paranoia I mentioned. I've always been a fairly skeptical person, especially when it comes to other people. I'm not sure what fuel drives this but I have a pretty good guess it comes from the abuse. While doing EMDR today, a few words floated to mind, which I think tie into this. I'll quote what I said now. It both disturbs me and is somewhat discouraging to think I've been carrying this around for 20 years. "I feel safe only with those who don't want physical contact or touching from me... I never want to be touched again."

I uttered these words amongst EMDR treatment and when my therapist read them back to me, I was completely stunned. Processing these thoughts now as an adult I am just floored at the kinds of emotions and feelings I was dealing with as a kid. It explains a lot though... and this is good. I think I have a lot to work on but at least I've got a good place to focus my attention right now. So that's essentially where I'm at with this subject today. I think I'm a lot more at peace about the whole thing. What's better is my therapist is on the exact same page and knows my feelings about it.

I guess what I'm saying is that, being skeptical is okay. It's allowed. But understanding that it was the child who was hurt and as such I need to heal the child -- that makes sense to me. I can do this all by being a functional adult. This is good news.

Next up, there were many very thoughtful [and very lengthy] replies. That being said, I'm going to do what I always do and respond to each one of those in a solitary post. I want to firstly thank all of those who responded with their own thoughts, feelings, and background information on such a subject. I was happy to see such a range of opinions. Interestingly enough, I think I agree with all of them. I guess that's the good part about having conflicting thoughts about a subject, you get to agree with all points of view. Ha.


Roger,
I really liked what you said about the dollar signs and maybe a new car. As turtleman (Chris) said in his reply, it's a sad truth but these kinds of therapists are indeed out there. I'm personally glad to have found a therapist who seems to actually give a damn about what she's doing for me. It's always good to recognize, too, that there are good and caring therapists out there as well. The jokes about them just aren't quite as funny though!

I totally know what you mean by wanting to 'kick his lil butt'. I have spent a lot of time being angry at the little me for 'bringing the abuse on myself'. I spoke with my therapist about how angry I was at myself (little me) for this and when she fed it back to me as "beating up the little kid who didn't do anything he wasn't supposed to" and quite blatantly challenged me on it, I felt really bad about it. I'm finally recognizing now how hurt he (I) was by the abuse.

You really have a good sense of humour Roger. "As I matured (I used this word loosely for lack of a better one)". It so perfectly describes the 'maturing' of an abused child. Quite simply, they do mature in terms of physical prowess, and knowledge and memorization... However when we're abused I believe we actually stop growing emotionally and instead of those emotions, we fill that void with coping mechanisms and self-protection so that whatever traumatized us in the first place, doesn't get to us again.

You said it perfectly that we no longer need those mechanisms and it's time now for better ways to deal with things and how true it is "Old habits die hard and some with much discomfort". Ain't that the truth? Now here I am stuck with all of these coping mechanisms and defenses and they aren't doing me a damn lot of good. Getting angry at myself for having these defenses in the first place isn't going to get me anywhere. I've got to understand why they are there in the first place. I think that's what I'm finally starting to comprehend now is just how much effing pain and anguish there was.

I have to ask you after posting such a thoughtful and agreeable post why on earth you would write that you "could just be full of s**t too"! Roger! You've absolutely no need to dismiss your comments as being invalid. You and I both know that as children, we spent ENOUGH time feeling invalid. You are valid. You are worth the while bud, don't doubt yourself.


Carl,
I'm honoured to be considered your kindred spirit \:\) I have no doubt that the reply I'm in the midst of writing right now is indeed a disservice as I see it gaining considerable length and I've only made it to the second reply of the original topic!

It's funny you should mention the WoR's "Shame Busting" session. I was thinking a lot of that night as I wrote the post. I couldn't figure out exactly how it connected in to all of this, but I think you nailed it on the head. During the Shame Busting session I, too, felt really out of my element. I pushed myself through it and while certain parts of it did feel like people pleasing... There was a certain... what's the word for it... refreshing... aspect to the activity. It really puzzled me and the bond I felt with my 'buddy' for the exercise was very intense. It was as though a part of me was just waiting and waiting and waiting to just 'play' innocently as I occasionally did in childhood. It was empowering and I'm glad I did participate. If I were to attend the WoR again though, I have my doubts I would participate in Shame Busting again. While it was an intensive experience that forged a really great bond, It was exceptionally uncomfortable for me as well certain parts of it triggered sheer panic within me.

As I said earlier, I think its perfectly acceptable to be skeptical. That's just what we do as adults. I too now feel that there is no separate entity within me known as Little Brian. Rather its a collection of thoughts and feelings that are stuck in motion as a result of intensive and misunderstood trauma. I most certainly agree with your point.

I love the part about Randy as well. I would suspect that, if you chose to assign your 'collection of thoughts and feelings' a body, Randy might just be a suitable candidate. Can I ask though why you don't go by your first name? I don't know if you had a chance to read it but some time ago I posted a thread entitled "The Name's Brian, and I'm taking my life back". In that thread I talked about how I had been uncomfortable using my given name for a very long time and was finally reclaiming what was mine. It was a good moment in time. It's when I finally started signing my posts with "Brian" rather than "B". Kinda off topic, but just curious if you might have had similar reasons for going with "Carl" instead of "Randy". \:\)


Rick,
I just want to say, I really appreciate you. When you highlighted that there was simply not two of you... How you put it at the end too, There is no integration because there is no separation I am one!" was a really powerful statement.

That's essentially how I'm feeling today. I feel safe in recognizing Little Brian in that I am not referring to a third entity that is somehow separate from the adult me. There is great truth to the fact that they are just different aspects of a single person. Further to that, how you mentioned that you do believe in acknowledging the pain you felt as a child... I've said it a few times now, but it's worth saying again. I'm *finally* starting to acknowledge and validate that hurt and pain that I felt. It's one thing to acknowledge that we were abused, but it's another thing to own up to the feelings and thoughts and pain and hurt surrounding it. I think as boys and men we all too often try to put on the 'tough guy' persona and make like we're better than that. I know this is a struggle for me. I just want to deny that I hurt -- that much.


Turtleman, Chris,
I admit... As I was noticing how seriously long my post had become, your name came to mind... and it made me feel somewhat more easy about the length. Thank goodness we're not charged by the words here. I would surely be broke in no time. What I'm finding is that, after being silent about the abuse for 20 years, I have LOTS of words about it. I'm just glad that there are guys here at the site who will actually take the time to read through all of these words and come up with meaningful replies such as the ones here in the thread. You guys have no idea how much it means to me. [Actually Chris, I'm guessing you do have an idea!]

"We live in a consciousness that is constantly analyzing the present both on it's own merits and in relation to our pasts"

Damnit Chris, I sure hope you're writing a book. You have an incredible way with words. I think this describes to a tee where I've settled in here after my therapy session this morning. As I've mentioned in my replies to the other guys who spoke up here, I also couldn't agree more with "We all carry aspects of our child selves into our adult lives". To reiterate, I think a big part of my child self I've brought into my adult life is quite simply... My defenses and coping methods. This became a big subject during EMDR therapy today.

I am so appreciative that you took time to actually speak on, and validate every single aspect of what I was saying. Thank you for taking the time to do so... It's truly helpful.

RE: Fearing the inner child. This directly ties into something my therapist was talking about today in that, she avoids the term "inner child" because of these such connotations is carries. In addition to that, she referred to the 'inner child movements' and things that are happening in the world. She asked me if I felt there was any difference between saying "Inner Child" and "Little Brian". My reply was "Same Shit, Different Piles". But I see now the term, "Inner Child" does indeed carry with it specific connotations that I wasn't previously aware of. All the while, I think that misrepresentation of the separate entities is the part that I fear the most... and somehow it had gotten all jumbled up in my mind and that eventually led to the original topic being posted.

I too feel my additional level of concern is warranted due to events of the past concerning dissociation. I will take your words to heart when you say "it is imperative that you find ways your inner child is actually a part of who you are". Today has been a big day of that and I think I'm getting some peace about it. Further to that, I think my fear of dissociation is diminishing. I have to reassure myself that dissociation was a coping tool that I relied on. Now that I'm healing, I no longer need to return to that, consciously or subconsciously.

RE: Inner child and adulthood. You're definitely on to something here. As I read this I was dawning on the various jobs and positions I've held at various companies. I was thinking about my bosses oddly enough. How true it is that the bosses who knew how to be more goofy, jovial, and childlike whilst still keeping a balanced mind on the business seemed so much more successful than the ones who seemed to have something, perhaps maturity, to prove. That being said, I'm going to keep telling and laughing hysterically at fart jokes until the day I die. I don't think this is an unhealthy thing by any stretch.

RE: Inner Child and Therapists. I personally have found a therapist whom shares my view on labels and such and quite simply... she doesn't use them! I really don't want to be labeled. I don't want a diagnosis, I want to feel better. I can diagnose myself; I was sexually abused. That being said, I do have an inclination that I could benefit from getting treated for depression. It might help prevent such hideous crashes like early this week. Though if it weren't for the crashes, would leveling off and returning to normal still feel good? Thus far my therapist is meeting all the requirements as laid out in the "Consumer's Guide to Therapist Shopping" article found on the site. This is most certainly a big plus for me. You might have noticed how many times I've mentioned her guidance in this reply alone. I have a lot of respect for her.

Interesting what you say about being your own parent. During my crisis I phoned my therapist and she challenged me whilst on the phone and said, "What can you do right now to take care of YOU". I had no effing clue! This leads me to believe I'd be a pretty abysmal parent and self parent if I had dependents to look out for. While I would love to have children of my own by now, I'm sure glad I'm getting all this rubbish sorted out beforehand. This way when I do have a 6 year old of my own, I'll have to keep myself from smothering them with respectful kindness \:\)

Thank you for taking the time to write out your thoughts. What a great post!


Weapher,
That website that you linked to I think is one of the key things that got me started on this tangent of mine. It's a very well explained site full of good information but all the while I was reading it I was having all these conflicting thoughts. Now that I've made peace with that, I ought to go back and re-read that site and see if it goes over a little better this time.

Thank you for sharing your experience in dealing with your 'inner child work'. Today I went through something that I think is similar to what you described as "finding you were living in a protected insecure and angry place in your life'. I observed infinite sadness and anger associated with it. I found it was a constant mixture of the two actually. When Little Brian was sad, I was angry. When Little Brian was angry, I was sad. It was an interesting paradox but I am sad for how angry he was and angry for how sad he was. I'm confusing myself here... but hopefully you get the idea. I hope that I can start to find some reprieve from this ever present state of mind.

I agree with you in that, whatever its called, I think it is most certainly a helpful concept. I mentioned in my original post an observation that the times I've recognized my inner child have been fairly nearto my breakthroughs. I suppose for me I just needed to really explore this in depth prior to embarking on it and trusting my therapist with it. I've gotten a pretty damned good head start here today, that's for sure.


PeaceSeeker
I am SO glad you felt so inclined to submit a reply here! You said a tonne of really great things with your reply, so well done!

I think life lessons learned in childhood are quite similar for most men who have been through such things. All over this forum there is countless references to all of the things you mentioned... Shame, lack of trust, hiding emotions, secrecy, and even invisibility and a downright skewed sense of self existence.

For me, I have found that I don't seem to feel comfortable in the 'adult world'. It all seems so foreign to me, as though it's something I have to learn where some people just seem to naturally function properly. I have a sneaky suspicion that's something abuse takes away from us. Oftentimes along with it goes our ability to in turn care for ourselves as any functional adult should. Granted, there are other reasons that this could be lost somewhere along the way, but in the present time and context, this makes sense to me.

Looking back at my own progress, I do believe I'm at the point where I have found what I am comfortable enough with to refer to as an 'inner child' or 'Little Brian'. I have been slowly learning self acceptance over the past year and I believe today was very big for me, I think I found true reason and desire to stand up for him (myself). I love the mental picture you painted with the samurai warrior \:\) Reminds me of the black karate-suit pajamas I had as a kid.

I also really took in what you said about seeing yourself now and finding it easy to loathe one's self. However not being able to cast the same loathing and hatred on, for example, a photo of that little kid when he was just 8, or in my case, 6 years old. That's big. I'm glad you posted it. I think I'm going to take another look at the photos from my childhood. See if anything different appears while I browse thru them.

So good to see you're getting much from the site. It's been a great resource for me. You've absolutely no need to apologize... Your thoughts were an excellent addition to this thread.


Everyone:
If you're still awake, and still actually reading this... thanks for bearing with me through all of these thoughts. This has been a great discussion and I thank those who posted and welcome any more thoughts that are added to the pile. Once again, you've provided me with validation and simple sweet assurance that I'm not alone. That's so truly special, so relevant to me. I can't thank you enough.

How appropriate is it that Secret Garden's "You Raise Me Up" is the song my iPod chose at random as I concluded this reply. *sigh* This site, and the community surrounding it, gives me so much strength...

~Brian

P.S. I'm about to hit "Submit". I wonder if this will set any records? \:\) \:\) \:\)

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Boom!

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#200167 - 01/18/08 11:34 PM Re: The Process/Inner Child [Re: frost]
Freedom49 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/30/07
Posts: 2723
Loc: Washington State


Brian,
I deleted this earlier and now I am sorry I did. Hence I will repost.

Ok I am not a professional but I do have some thoughts on this that I have developed over the many years I have dealt with my CSA issues.

First let me say I share several of your views. You may or may not be paranoid but lets face it when we enter the office of most therapists with this they gotta see long term dollar signs and maybe a new car.

To address the concept of "inner child" let me be honest here and say there have been many times I have wanted to find my inner child and kick his lil butt for giving me grief while I am trying to work or carry on with my life.
I think I understand it this way. There is a part of my makeup that has been damage/hurt when my mind and emotions were young and immature. During this time of attack to protect itself it did some hiding and withdrawal. It put walls around itself to protect it from getting hurt again. As I matured (I used this word loosely for lack of a better one) or at least got bigger and had more life experience in protecting myself, I should have no longer needed the mechanisms that my younger mind put into play to protect me. However, not understanding what has happened I continue to revert when stressed or when something appears it is going to stress me in the old familiar way, to the ways in which my younger mind protected and comforted itself.
Now I do not need those mechanisms anymore I actually have better and more socially acceptable ones at my disposal but as they say old habits die hard.
Reaching and retraining the "inner child" to use the new, better, and more socially acceptable ones is what I see the goal of therapy.
Now having said that I must confess this is a lot easier said than done. OLD HABITS DIE HARD AND SOME WITH MUCH DISCOMFORT. First we have to understand what the hell we are doing that is so bad for us now as adults and what we need to do that is better.
Second, with that understanding comes the memories of WHY we are and did do that and what we were protecting ourselves from. Hence, the painful, sometimes unbearable memories that surface.
Third, we have to start putting into practice the skills we have learned as adults that will help us cope with the stress and disappointments that adulthood brings us. We have to stop using the old comforting habits and protective reflexes that stood us well when we were little boys but are so self destructive when we use them as adults. Trying to use them as adults has left a wake of destruction in terms of lives, relationships, financial and who knows what.
This inner child concept to me was simply a tool the therapist and self help book writers used to connect us with the behavior of self preservation and self comforting that we did as little boys under attack to the destructive things we do as adults for the same reasons. When we feel we can't handle something or feel under attack again whether that is real or imagined.
Of course I could just be full of s**t too. However, I have survived at a better pace when I have looked at it this way. When I am in chat or PM with someone I often refer to this concept of the inner child, lil guy etc. because it is used so often and everyone seems to relate to that.

Finally, I don't know Brian if this answers your (long) question but maybe it will help someone else that wades thru all this.

Love ya Brian,
hang in there.

Roger
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Edited by Freedom49 (04/08/09 03:23 PM)

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