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#465135 - 05/09/14 06:54 AM Understanding the inner child
sadclown Offline


Registered: 02/27/14
Posts: 57
I have seen a lot of reference to the "inner child" through my reading on CSA and even my T has mentioned it a few times now. I have seen some threads here refer to it and I have heard it mentioned in chat. Obviously, its a thing and apparently has some credibility, real or imagined. My question is, simply, what the heck are you all talking about?

That kid is long gone- I can't give him the hug he needed (you know- the kind of hug that doesn't turn into sex), I can't give him the pat on the back, the "good job, buddy!", the adult role model, advice of years he doesn't yet have. I can't take away or prevent a single beating, a single cruel word, a single misplaced blame. I can't take away one hungry night, one lonely afternoon, one night of crying, one moment of sheer terror, or one second of sexual pain. These things all happened, they are done. At my age, I can take solace in knowing I will never get molested again, but I can't undo it or off-set it, or protect kid-self because he isn't here anymore. He doesn't exist- I'm a grown up now and I think, feel, and react in different ways than when I was a kid because I am not.

This isn't the first time I have been told something in this process of recovery that I didn't at first comprehend but later did, so I am not discounting that this is a valid idea. I was hoping that perhaps some of you could lend insight. The idea as far as I understand it at this time seems very bizarre and more like psycho-babble than actual healing.

That is not to downplay, invalidate, or discredit anyone's own experiences; I just don't quite understand and if you do have experiences you can share with me to help me understand this I would appreciate it
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My Story

"There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed"- Ernest Hemingway

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#465137 - 05/09/14 08:23 AM Re: Understanding the inner child [Re: sadclown]
peroperic2009 Offline
Moderator
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/09/11
Posts: 3600
Loc: South-East Europe
Under therapy that I went trough "inner child" how I see it is considered as some image of memories and feelings that are coming trough imagination when I would look back in my distant past. It is not something that is easy to reach, there is a need for safe environment, to be relaxed and in appropriate mood in first place. It is not something that is planned in advance but rather something that has suddenly emerged and that I was exploring trough one period of time (how I see it, what is he feeling, what does he like, what not, what would I grown like to tell him etc.).
I've found small boy left aside in loneliness that has built world of imagination where he was living freely comparing to his reality and I felt good when attached with him. Off course that inner boy doesn't exist in reality, we are talking about therapy, emotions, memories, symbols and images...
That was my experience, I hope some other members could share theirs as well.

Pero
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#465138 - 05/09/14 09:50 AM Re: Understanding the inner child [Re: sadclown]
KMCINVA Offline
Greeter
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 1550
I too explored the inner child. For me I was told my inner child was wounded and I had "exiled" him from my daily building. He lived within and was exiled to a time and place that only knew the abuse and could only see love through the acts of the abuse. I did not know this part existed within me. I thought I was whole. But as we explored I came to know the child within, was at war with me. For I had deprived a part of me the love of others and of myself. I began to understand why this part of me felt special to the abuser and those that abused me. It had a life of its own when I would retreat. It took time for me to accept this part of me. I guess I exiled the child as a way to deny the abuse and what it had done to me.

Learning to love the child within helped me to love myself and understand denial of part of me was destroying me.

I do believe we all have been parts to who we are. For many abuse victims we fragment ourselves at the time of the act. Some are able to accept, others deny this part of us to avoid the pain of the abuse and sadly others are constantly in internal war. The inner child did not die as I grew, it was a part of me that I did not allow to grow. It was stuck in a time and place I did not want to accept. Acceptance of this part of me has aided in healing and minimizing and hopefully eliminating the need to dissociate or use unhealthy coping mechanisms to escape from emotional pain, triggers and memories of the abuse. Denial of part of us and the past is a dangerous thing, at least for me.

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#465148 - 05/09/14 03:10 PM Re: Understanding the inner child [Re: sadclown]
Jay1946 Offline


Registered: 08/08/13
Posts: 76
Loc: Miami, Florida, USA
Interesting post.

I've always felt like I had an emotionally hurting 13 year old inside me ("an inner child"?) that has unfulfilled needs and whose development froze, in place, at some point in time. Yet, another part of me matured into an adult, married, with children and grandchildren and a well established career.

Many times I've asked myself why do I want to go back to my childhood and adolescence when as an adult I have fulfilled so many of the dreams I had in my youth...or have I?

I've recently began a new round of therapy to explore these issues and hopefully, as you guys describe, "get in touch with my inner child". Wish me luck!
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Jay

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#465149 - 05/09/14 04:17 PM Re: Understanding the inner child [Re: sadclown]
don64 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/09/13
Posts: 577
Loc: St. Croix, USVI
Hi Sadclown,

The damaged early places in me are the places that run my life, completely. They wrote the scripts in my brain at the time of damage, and are usually unconscious. So, I'm not even aware that those early experiences of the horror of the abuse I went through are what determines most of my life experiences. A big clue for me was I was so unhappy, so depressed, suicidal, an alcoholic, addicted to anonymous sex, and the list goes on. Years of therapy, medications, and I didn't even begin to remember the abuse from my father until age 53 and the abuse from my mother at age 63.

I began to do some regression work in my mid forties and attended a retreat that involved re-birthing and rewriting from birth to age twelve.

This all, over decades of therapeutic work set the stage for what I'm doing now. Moving back to the feeling level of my infant self, where the substantial damage to my personality was done. So now, as I move into the emotions of my damaged infant self, who only knows attack, attack, attack, I'm able to allow my infant self to express the feelings of terror and attack while not acting out those feelings in the real world. Difficult and new for me. My infant self had to write a brain program that prevented me from feeling the pain and terror I sustained. I had to be able to not feel the horrors from my mother because I was dependent on her for survival. The pattern of my life of aggressive dependent abusive relationships in all aspects of my life was established in infancy.

So, when I talk about my inner child I am talking about real time today now energy that is still trapped and attempting to run my life. It is only in bringing my damaged early infant self into consciousness, and allowing those feelings of helplessness, hopelessness and horror and rage to surface and release while holding my infant self in safety, that my infant self can heal. In other words, not play out the paranoia and fear in the real world. As those buried feelings surface, release, and for the first time not create a self-fulfilling prophecy, my infant self can chill and grow now in real time in a safe and healthy environment. As that happens, all of me shifts into a much healthier place. It is a lot of work.

Don
_________________________
Divine Law is not judgment or denial of self truths. Divine Law is honoring harmony that comes from a peaceful mind, an open heart, a true tongue, a light step, a forgiving nature, and a love of all living creatures. Jamie Sams & David Carson, Medicine Cards

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#465150 - 05/09/14 04:18 PM Re: Understanding the inner child [Re: sadclown]
Cthulhu Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/13/13
Posts: 134
Loc: Cascadia
SC,

I don't get it either - and I am resistant to it in many ways.

I don't get what my "inner child" is, but I do, in my case, know I hate who I was as a kid. My T asked me what I would do if 12 y/o me was in the room. I said I would boot kick him in the face... My T seemed to think this was unreasonable and out of character.

So in my case, I needed to work on not hating who I was and developing a more nuanced understanding of rightful blame for shit that went down. Instead of emotionally understanding that people did X,Y, and Z to me because I was an awful person who deserved it, moving to understanding that as a kid I developed poor coping and social skills because X, Y and Z was done to me. Basically my T has been nudging me to re imagine who I was as a child and move guilt away from him(myself) and onto the greater situation/people around me.

I am not getting in-touch, communing, talking or whatever to some "inner child", but I am toying with the major themes and concepts from my childhood through imaginings of myself as a child. As you noted, "he doesn't exist", and nor will he ever get to exist again, but imaginations of him, at least in me, exist, and in theory they affect some of my major concepts of self.

Maybe this helps, maybe not. Either way I hope you are doing well and something on this thread provides you some insight.


Edited by Cthulhu (05/09/14 04:20 PM)
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ďwhat matters most is how well you walk through the fireĒ
-Charles Bukowski

some context

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#465161 - 05/09/14 08:04 PM Re: Understanding the inner child [Re: don64]
Jay1946 Offline


Registered: 08/08/13
Posts: 76
Loc: Miami, Florida, USA
Don:

I'm amazed at the power of childhood memories. They drive my ill advised behaviors (addiction,fetishes)that are out of character with my adult self.

I;m just trying to figure out what is it that my "inner child" is trying to go back to, to recreate or relive in some form.
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Jay

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#465175 - 05/10/14 06:10 AM Re: Understanding the inner child [Re: sadclown]
don64 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/09/13
Posts: 577
Loc: St. Croix, USVI
Hi Jay,

For me, it is not an issue of what my "inner child" wants "to go back to, to recreate or relive in some form." The issue is my "inner child" is severely damaged, and the damage has run my life. It has required 44 years of acquiring tools. But, as I have been able to work down to the feeling level of the early damaged me, I now am able to use these skills to safely allow my early self to release the feelings while keeping all of me safe and not continuing to repeat the pattern of abusive relationships. That was all my early child knew to do, and kept recreating abusive situations until the past 6 months. I am now able to re-parent my young self and allow me to re-grow in safety, with nurturing, with love. It is still early in the process, but I can observe my thinking changing from negative and defensive to curious and open. Pretty amazing stuff.

Don


Edited by don64 (05/10/14 06:15 AM)
_________________________
Divine Law is not judgment or denial of self truths. Divine Law is honoring harmony that comes from a peaceful mind, an open heart, a true tongue, a light step, a forgiving nature, and a love of all living creatures. Jamie Sams & David Carson, Medicine Cards

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#465177 - 05/10/14 08:17 AM Re: Understanding the inner child [Re: sadclown]
txb Offline


Registered: 02/03/13
Posts: 181
I used to think this was a load of BS. I really hated the idea. I hated myself back then, and had no interest in going back or pretending to be nice about my 10 year old self. Iím kind of converted now though.

I think this might be a novel, sorry!

My therapist kept asking me to write a letter to myself as a child, but I could never do it. I hated him and had nothing nice to say to him. The turning point was when I had a flashback dream of a time where I had actually wanted my abuser to do stuff to me. When I woke up I hated myself. I wrote pages and pages about how much I hated myself and about how stupid I was for going downstairs to where he was, or even how stupid I was to be there in the first place and that I was sick and weird and deserved everything that happened to me.

Later Iíd injured myself and had to go to hospital for help. (a pretty normal thing for me really). While I was waiting I overheard a conversation where two parents were trying to comfort their two kids. The one who had been injured and the other one who was distressed about it. I have no idea why, but somehow this did something to me. I started thinking about the incident from earlier and discovered that it wasnít me. He set me up, he knew what he was doing. He totally tricked me. And the reason why I went downstairs for a drink of water was because Iíd been told not to drink water from the bathroom. Apparently itís different to water from the kitchen..? I have no idea if this is true. My dad has told me many wacky things that Iíve later found out werenít true. But anyway, because I was a good kid I was just doing what I was told.

I started thinking about myself as a kid more and hating him less. He started to feel more like a separate person to me. I still refused to write the letter my T wanted me to write, but eventually I decided I would do a written conversation. I wrote that I was sorry Iíd been so bad to him, but that I was going to protect him now. I HATED writing it.

I could have just wrote back Ė ok, thanks. But when I picked up the pen I kind of instinctively started writing without even thinking about it. My kid wrote back that he hated me. That Iíd treated him worse than anyone else ever had, and he was really disappointed with how I turned out, that I sucked as a grown up. That I was really pathetic because I cried all the time and he never did. And I didnít even own a dog. (One of his lifeís ambitions.)

I was kind of like, hey Iím trying to be nice here, you donít have to be such a brat! But I think he did have a point and it seemed like the whole thing was going to be harder than I thought. I had some more conversations with him and heíd always be sitting in this grassy hollow where I used to play sometimes as a kid. Itís where something abusive almost happened to this little girl I was playing with by her older cousin. Eventually I got him to move out of there to somewhere safer.

My T then recommended this book to me, called Rescuing the Inner Child by Penny Parks. I do NOT recommend this book tho. Itís really dated, and maybe ok if you are a woman. But several times it makes reference to how males who are abused can become abusers. I donít like reading abuse stuff so Iíd asked my girlfriend to read it with me, and it triggered her to have a huge breakdown over her own abuse stuff. I suppose the actual therapy that the book recommends is fine. Basically itís writing letters between you and your child. Your child writes about something that happened, and then you write back to them as an adult, explaining to them how it was wrong and trying to comfort them. You are supposed to do this over and over until you actually believe it.

My kid was obsessing over something that I never really classed as abusive. The same guy I mentioned above also tried to do things to me. I was 9 he was about 13. I would always try and fight him off. He never really did anything, just attempted to. So since it was a lot less scary than the other things that happened to me I decided to try this letter writing thing with it. It kind of upset me a bit, but overall it REALLY helped. It seems pretty much resolved now.

Next part of the therapy was to write a rescue scene where you as an adult come in and rescue your kid. I was very much against this. Itís not like it can really happen, it just seemed kind of pointless. It wouldnít cancel out what happened. But I think itís more of like, a metaphor, or something? Rather than you just trying to re-write history so bad things didnít happen. Itís maybe more about you saying, Iím an adult now, Iím in control of what happens to me. I can handle stuff. I think..?

So I wrote the rescue. Itís probably overly violent and threatening considering the perp is a 13 year old. But he deserved it. The book says itís totally fine if your abuser gets murdered in the process of rescuing your child..... It also says that when you think of the abusive incident again you will also think of the rescue too. This has been true for me.

Iíve used the same process for some kids who bullied me when I was 11, and also with a teacher who was a complete jerk to me and it helped a lot. Iím not sure I can go any further with it though. Like to the really bad stuff that happened to me. And I still have a lot of dislike for my 13-15 year old self. The kid is fine now. Iíd really like to continue with it, because I think it can be healing. Or at least resolve things a bit. Like make them feel over with and in the past.

I have plenty more to say about it, but since this is my longest post here ever Iím going to shut up now. I could have just made this simple and said that I think itís totally fine if you donít get it or donít want to do it. Itís just another way to do things, but not the only way. Some things are right for some people and not others. Maybe the idea might grow on you. Or maybe not. Itís definitely not something you HAVE to do.

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#465179 - 05/10/14 08:43 AM Re: Understanding the inner child [Re: sadclown]
On The Fringe Offline


Registered: 09/21/13
Posts: 326
Loc: Southeast USA
Inner child or adult child work is what brought me here. I was dealing with things in my past, and the way I stopped maturing as a person once things spun out of control.

I too had self hatred for not growing up perfect. I thought I was wrong to the core, but I was just damaged.

It did help me to toss off the false guilt and shame. Some would say Thais the most important step.

I highly recommend it. It worked for me. All part of stopping the inner war and learning to accept myself.
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I feel more like I do now than I did when I got here.

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