I JUST DON’T HAVE TIME
to stop & talk to the kid!
PREVIOUS: Talking to the Inner Child (Part 1)
POST: “How to Dialogue with your I.C.”
When ACoAs in Recovery are asked “why don’t you talk to your Inner Child at all, OR if you do occasionally, then why not every day? ” – the most common response is “I don’t know” – with a lilt & a shrug. :). We know we’re supposed to but we have so many ‘reasons’ for not doing it!
● It feels silly, stupid, fake, self-conscious
ANS: It’s going to be awkward in the beginning – like many new things. The awkwardness is a form of resistance, from the WIC &/or the PP. If you keep at it – correctly – it begins to make sense, becomes more natural & automatic
● It feels ‘schizophrenic’
ANS: This term is mistakenly used because schizophrenics hear voices & sometimes talk to themselves. Schizophrenia is a devastating mental illness based in defective brain chemistry, with hallucinations & delusions. It has nothing to do with various Ego States interacting internally, which are normal conscious aspects of a whole personality.
NEVER apply it to the process of talking to the Inner Child.
● I’m just making it up
ANS: Review the posts on Ego States. They’re real. First we need to learn about the various voices, how they sound, what their point of view & purpose is. With enough information & practice you can begin hearing the difference between them
● I don’t know who’s talking
ANS: As stated in Part 1, “I” statements are either from the Adult, if it’s a logical thought, or the Inner Child, especially if it’s self-deprecating or self-defeating. The “You” form is the Parent voice, either mean or kind.
Remember that when you have strong emotions it’s definitely the Child.
Some of us hear the WIC very easily, some only our rational voice, some mainly the bad Parent. Writing out dialogues using both hands helps to differentiate the ego states
● I don’t know what to say
ANS: Naturally! Because we constantly talk to ourselves with judgments & self-abuse, we won’t automatically know the healthy way to communicate. Obviously, we weren’t taught to speak kindly to ourselves, much less pay attention to what we actually think & feel. So changing the way we do that is definitely a new language.
— It has to be learned, from a good teacher, workbooks, listening to people anywhere who talk to their children appropriately, with respect, patience & warmth. When ACoAs hear what a reasonable & respectful Inner Parent can say to the Child, many of us remark: “Wow, that makes perfect sense, but I would never have thought of it”.
● I never get a response
ANS: Our Inner Child (Natural & Adapted) is all our historical ages, from birth on, so when we connect it can be with the pre-verbal child or one of the older ages. Once you connect, the IC will talk a lot!
— The youngest one won’t have words to respond, only emotions & sensations. Pay attention to what your body & imagination is telling you. — HOWEVER – most of the time we don’t get a response (assuming we’re actually trying to illicit one!) because the child doesn’t trust us yet – we haven’t proven ourselves consistent or safe. Do you make an effort to communicate regularly, & with compassion? OR do you sound like you original parents?
REALITY – if we are persistent in talking kindly, realistically to the kid & asking it Qs, eventually it will respond, even if it takes months, but only if we’re persistent & loving
● Taking to the kid doesn’t work – I’m still in pain
ANS: Most ACoAs have a strong belief in magic! We think things should take very little time, that we should get things we want right away, that everyone should be nice…. AND we think that recovery will work fast, even if we don’t put much effort in. Soooo, “If I talk to the kid when it’s hurting the hurt will stop right away!” Right?
Sometimes it does, most of the time NOT. The immediate goal of this tool is to be with the child THRU it’s suffering, so it’s not alone. Some ‘piles’ of emotional pain will take longer to dissipate than others, depending on how much has been accumulated (a lot from the past – the size of a car wreck, OR a little in the present – the size of a stubbed toe, a paper cut…) vs. how much has been siphoned off by doing emotion work.
● I don’t have time / it’s too much work, takes too long
ANS: This is the same as saying you don’t have time to eat – ever. If you don’t nourish your body you get sick & eventually die. AND if you don’t feed you heart, mind & spirit with attention & love, you starve your essence. So no matter how outwardly successful you may be, your sad lonely, hurting part keeps gnawing away at your insides. As long as we ignore the kid, especially the wounded aspect, our damage runs our life! If you want your life to function better, this tool is an absolute must!
— Written dialogues using both hands does take time. If you’re serious about your recovery you’ll find a way – somehow. You know that you make time for the things you really want to do.
— BUT you can also be dialoguing in your head throughout the day – no matter where you are – in the bathroom, on the bus, waiting in line or on the phone, before you go to sleep…. ALSO, sometimes it’s enough to just mentally pat yourself on the chest, letting the kid know you’re thinking of him or her in a caring way.
NEXT: Talking to the I.C. (Part 3)