PREVIOUS: Acceptance #2
POST:“Ego States – Basics“(Adult, Parent, Child)
TOPIC: Loving Parent <–> Inner Child dialoguing, as a TOOL for Recovery/ healing.
For ACoAs, the GOAL of this process is to shift the WIC’s focus away from believing all the harmful, distorted & untrue things it hears from the Introject – to stop the Child from relying on that voice for it’s identity & way to function in the world. We need to woo the WIC away from the PP & redirect it’s attention to our Healthy Adult & the new Loving PARENT. To do that we use written & verbal dialogues, gradually replacing the harsh voice which originally created our self-hate.
EVERYONE has inner dialogues all the time – it’s called self-talk. We argue pros & cons, debating: “Should I or shouldn’t I?”, we obsessively argue with a ‘real’ person about something that bothers us – but only in our head, we hear the ‘voice’ of our parents or a religious figure scolding or lecturing…. AND no one thinks that’s crazy. SO – why not conversations with our younger self??
A common Q about talking with the Inner Child: “Is it supposed to grow up, go away or what?”
ANS: We want to heal the wounded child & bring forward the Natural one, which is our essence. Then they get ‘folded into’ the other 2 E.S. to make a whole person. (Review: Ego states – ADULT Part 2)
FORMS of SELF-TALK
a. Most of the time we think in the ‘I’ form, which is either the Adult ego state
or the Inner Child, positively or negatively.
● If the statements are positive “I’d rather not do that – thanks all the same, I need more sleep, I’ll study for that exam today…” that’s the Healthy Adult, OR “I want to see that movie, I looove my cat, give me some more ice cream, I don’t want to be around that —, it doesn’t feel good….” you’re hearing the healthy Child
● If the statements in the “I” form are negative, harsh, painful…. then we know it’s the Wounded Inner Child (WIC) who is in self-hate or hopeless mode: “I can’t do anything right, no one likes me, I can’t stand being ignored!, I’ll never get anywhere – I might as well give up….”
b. However, when we talk to ourselves in the “You” form our Inner Parent is talking to the Inner Child, probably without realizing it.
● If the statements are positive, then our Loving / Nurturing Parent may say: “You can do it, you’re so smart – I’m proud of you, I know you’re in pain & I’m here with you, you’ll do better next time….”
● If the ‘You’ statements are mean, discouraging, judgmental… we know it’s the Introject (PP / Bad Parent) talking to the Child part of us: ”You should have known better than to —, You could have done that if you’d tried harder, You blew it, you — !, You’re in trouble now! You’re so stupid, No one’s ever going to like you” ….
ACoAs: Notice that our self-talk is rarely if ever positive*, supportive, congratulatory…. Instead, ACoAs have perpetual internal toxic voices, with either the PP haranguing the WIC or the WIC attacking itself, in agreement with the PP. Some of us have a fairly well-developed Adult (from life experience & native intelligence) but only use it at work &/or to benefit others. Most of us are skating by on the WIC’s version of an Adult – which is very limited & full of CDs (cognitive distortions).
Even when we have a competent Adult ego state, we are still missing the Good Parent – the main thing we’re trying to create with this tool.
*POSITIVE: only thoughts or actions (T.E.A.) are positive OR negative – helpful or harmful, encouraging or discouraging, useful or wasteful, valuable or worthless, producing growth or stagnation….
● However, EMOTIONS (Es) are neither + nor –, they just exist as energy.
When Es are labeled as negative it automatically implies they are to be gotten rid of, or at least suppressed. This is a very harmful message, since the Inner Child houses most of our Es (with the Parent holding the rest – love, patience, positive pride, compassion, pleasure….). If we say some Es are bad then we’re saying a fundamental part of our Inner Child is bad! This point of view is Self-Hate, a form of child abuse we learned in our family
It tells us we:
— were never comforted as kids when in pain, so those emotions were unbearable because we were left alone with our suffering
— were blatantly taught that Es are bad, weak, crazy, stupid, to be made fun of….
— never learned that there are appropriate ways to deal with & express Es, so that we can have our feelings without hurting ourselves or others
CHALLENGE – To overcome our resistance to caring for our WIC. The gradual willingness to use this tool comes from :
● being sick & tired of being sick & tired – especially of the PP voice – when it becomes more painful to do things the old dysfunctional way
● having enough Recovery to FEEL love & compassion for our younger self, especially considering what we’ve been thru
● learning how to talk to the Child correctly & wisely
● having enough growth to tolerate whatever memories & emotions come up
● giving up – at least somewhat – the demand that others take care of us! & admit we really are capable, AND can ask for support when needed.
NEXT: Resist Talking to the Inner Child (#2)