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?
– 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.