Peeking through the cracks

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I did something this week that I haven’t done in over twenty years. It was both intimate and disturbing.

I was nestled on a comfy spot at my regular coffee shop while the rain belted down outside. With the gentle hubbub of voices and steam drifting off a mug of green tea, I felt brave and strong enough. I decided to have a conversation with my inner child (which I’ve included below).

Why does that seem like a big deal? Well, I didn’t exactly know she existed. I realised I had deep pain and wounds from my childhood but I hadn’t really embodied it as part of an inner child. Instead, I had just assumed that this was who I was… cracked and disfigured like an old mug that had been sloppily glued back together to hide the imperfections.

Glumpty-Dumpty had a big fall…

My view changed this month. In the last session with DS (my therapist Deep Soul), I acknowledged to him that I was made up of false selves. I wept because I had read about the concept of the authentic self and didn’t know what was real for me and what I’d put on for the sake of others. I really wanted to know who I was before I had to hide.

Since I started seeing him a year ago, DS has been able to extract bits and pieces of “real” me. He has had conversations with the wounded parts and enabled me to grieve. This is part of why I deeply appreciate his presence in my life. Anyway, I left the session with a mission and feeling connected to DS. Then it came about that we wouldn’t be meeting for two weeks. This was bearable until my dad couldn’t make a planned lunch on Father’s Day. The mixture unleashed devastating disappointment, abandonment issues and sadness.

A blogger (SpaceFreedomLove) kindly suggested in a comment that I nurture my wounded child in this time and listen to what she needs to feel better. I think she called it re-parenting! I really had to grapple with this concept. Firstly, it felt unnatural to think about my own needs without thinking of others’. I either felt guilty or like I would be punished for being so selfish. That’s some messed up thinking but I accept that it’s a conditioned part of me that I can work on. Secondly, there was a constant battle with the critical inner voice that had the ability to annihilate self-compassion and nurturing.

This voice said it was “stupid and New-Age” to speak to something which I was making up and which didn’t have a physical presence. But my curiosity and aching need to resolve the pain drowned out the voice. I took a lot of deep breaths and gently looked inwards to ask this child what it was feeling and needing in the moment.

Mini-Jay is in the house…

I wrote down the questions and waited for the answers. Here is the conversation that followed:

– Are you there?

Yes

– What do you need?

Accept me. Enjoy me. Give me the chance to breath. Don’t fight me. Protect me. Shield me from pain and hurt.

– I sense a lot of sadness inside?

Why are you only acknowledging me now? After all these years of shaming, pushing my needs down and ignoring me. How would you feel if someone locked you up for more than 20 years and chose not to look at you?

I’ve sat here in the dark, crying out for help. When my cries went unanswered, I sobbed and screamed. Still, no one came. So I stopped. I retreated to one corner of this cage and crumpled. Every now and then I would stand back up and try to call out again for food, nourishment, company, acknowledgement. Anything. That was not good enough. You came inside and kicked me back into the corner. Imagine how that feels. Sadness does not describe it. I am not sure I exist. I am talking to you but I don’t know if I am real. I need time to process this.

——-

I was taken aback by how devastated I was inside. Disbelief and shock vibrated through every cell. Instead of retreating from these feelings, I tried to ride through the discomfort. What followed was bliss. The scary wave dissipated and was replaced with calm. Just acknowledging and listening to this inner truth has shifted something.

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16 thoughts on “Peeking through the cracks

  1. velvetmp says:

    Nicely done. Brave of you. It’s a good time for you to parent her. As spacefreedomlove well remarked. Yay !

    • Jay says:

      It makes a lot of sense that we need to provide ourselves with the love, patience and understanding that our parents may not have provided for us! I suppose before we can get there, we need to feel we are deserving of that attention. It’s a lifelong journey 🙂

  2. Penny Lane says:

    You are very brave to do this. My therapist had suggested the same but I’ve resisted it, not sure why perhaps the same reasons you had initially. I hope to get to where you are at x

    • Jay says:

      Thanks for your confidence in me. It is encouraging and perhaps I came across braver than I feel! But I understand your resistance. Everything in good time. In a way, just being accepting and patient with where you are is re-parenting in a sense. I’m rooting for you x

  3. Wow, thanks for sharing!! I’ve never thought of doing this before. I saw a quote floating around facebook recently that really spoke to me: Who were you before the world told you what you should be? I am trying to find the answer to that question, but not sure how yet.

    • Jay says:

      That quote is powerful and a very good starting point for those of us trying to uncover the authentic self. Although we may not yet know how to get to that end goal, it counts that we have left the starting block and are trying different things out x

  4. Jay! I am so proud of you, I have little cartwheels going on in my heart again! What a huge step! It’s really sort of mystical and otherworldly to hear you describe your vision of your inner child as crumpled up in a corner of a prison cell. I had precisely the same vision! I remember having such a vivid and powerful introduction to my inner child. It felt like I was hallucinating, though it was probably more like having a nervous breakdown. I saw my inner child huddled up and sobbing in the corner of a prison cell, as her jailers, one cold and manipulative and the other cruel and humiliating, screamed and spat at her for being irritating, inconsolable and defiant. At one point, I even saw my husband walk into the cell to comfort me while my therapist reached in to hold my hand through the bars. It came as such a revelation for me to realize that I was the one holding myself prisoner, that all I needed to do was unlock the door and hold that little girl in my arms, love her, hear her, and give her comfort. As you said, it was a profound shift and it gives me so much joy to know that another wounded soul has been set free.

    • Jay says:

      What absolute synchronicity that your inner child presents in the same way. Your vision sounds truly terrifying and I am so glad that you were able to work thought it and come out in one piece.

      Again, thanks for your joy and concern. Your support has been invaluable. I am still tripping and stumbling but at least it feels like my inner child is out on bail at times. X

  5. P.S. I posted a little something for you on my site, too!

  6. […] my fellow wounded child, Jay. Your post Peeking Through the Cracks reminded me of this lovely Japanese […]

  7. I’ve had similar experiences, surfing that wave of emotional jhgurshufhu … (I couldn’t come up with the right word, but randomly bashing at the keyboard made sense, too!)

  8. the feeling of feeling made up of false selves is a very deep and grounded in feeling. your journey is freeing -thanks for sharing

  9. Paul Mahlum says:

    I am impressed by this inner work you have been doing. From personal experience I know how difficult it can be. I really enjoy how you write about your therapy and about your inner experiences.

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