JUST THINK, I COULD’A HAD A ….
no, not a V-8! …a lot of Love!
PREVIOUS: Toxic Rules
Q: What is the one & only source of self-esteem?
A: Unconditional LOVE (acceptance, regard, respect, mirroring…)
EARLY: Heard it a million times or not, it’s not a platitude or trivial
• The child’s brain develops it’s pathways using repeated experiences. If those experiences are disparaging, punitive, painful, limiting – then that becomes the norm for us as adults
• Children look to their parents to tell them who they are and how they should act (guidance & mirroring). If the messages are negative, then the child’s self-image will be negative
Healthy Parental Love… (acoa website SiteMap, pgs 4, 18, 33, 62)
… doesn’t mean giving the child everything it wants. Boundaries are imperative!
… doesn’t mean sacrificing everything for the child. Kids need to see parents having a well-functioning life of their own – they can emulate
…. is provided by a ‘good enough’ parent, not a perfect one. Kids need to know they too don’t have to be perfect. Unconditional love is unconditional, not idealistic
NOW: Since ACoAs can’t change how we were raised –
• We need to find all the possible ways we can develop self-esteem in the present. RECOMMENDED: “Compassion & Self-Hate”, Dr.T.Rubin
• It’s not easy to change the old messages because we have to form new pathways in the brain & the old ones are very deeply etched. That’s why repetition is so important
• The most successful way to change is for ACoAs to learn how to communicate with and comfort the WIC. We have to become the Loving Parent & Healthy Adult most of us never had. RECOMMENDED: “Recovery of Your Inner Child” by Lucia Cappacchione
• Having 2-way conversations with the IC needs to be daily! Do you only talk to people you live with (have lived with) once every few months? It doesn’t have to be complicated or clever.
• At first you may find yourself very resistant, making excuses, think you can’t…. Yes – it’s a new language, & like learning any new language, it takes time, practice & practice. Don’t let the Negative Introject stop you from creating a better life for yourself!
• The statements listed below are sometimes called affirmations or mantra & there are many ACoAs who are comfortable with them. It’s ok to use them if they do resonate, since they ARE true. Whatever works to heal us is valuable
• It’s also true that since early years our IC has heard platitudes from family, relative, religious communities, school… which didn’t mean much to us because it wasn’t backed up by ‘right-action’. They were a substitute for genuine communication & genuine emotional connections
• That’s why other ACoAs feel frustrated with pre-packaged affirmations since they just don’t address our specific experiences & personality. We were SO unseen & unheard that now we feel a desperate need for all communication to be accurate – down to the smallest word ! We prefer to create our own sayings, which are in exact response to our negative voice & represent genuine caring for the WIC (suggestions in following posts 2b & 2c)
• Keep in mind our IC is very smart, & won’t tolerate b.s. Don’t say: “I’ll always take care of you… be there for you… every thing’s going to be alright…” and then forget to talk to the kid for the next weeks or months, let the Bad Parent take over, not take proper care of yourself, let others walk all over you or keep on people-pleasing…. ! We need to become trustworthy to the IC in order to be worthy of the IC’s respect!
EXERCISE: Write out one of your Toxic Beliefs
• Then create as many counter statements you can think of. Put it aside, sleep on it, & go back to it the next day (or when you can) & see if you agree with your ideas, or have come up with others.
• If you’re completely stuck, you can ask someone trustworthy for possibilities. Sometimes watching how good parents on TV shows talk to their kids can give us good ideas. BUT – try it our yourself first.
EXP: Neg – “ I can’t do anything right!” Pos – “You / we can do some things very well, somethings so-so & some not at all. If you want to know how to do X we can try to learn it. OK, Little One? Ask yourself & the IC: What would you have liked to hear back then – & now?
NEXT: Healthy Rules (Part 2a)