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 which 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 –
• It’s not easy to change the old messages because we have to form new brain lines, but the old ones are very deeply etched. That’s why repetition is so important
• We need to find all the possible ways to develop self-esteem
BOOK: “Compassion & Self-Hate” ∼ Dr.T.Rubin
• The most successful way for us to change is to learn how to communicate with & comfort the WIC, becoming the Loving Parent & Healthy Adult most of us never had (the “UNIT“)
BOOK: “Recovery of Your Inner Child” ∼ Lucia Cappacchione
• 2-way conversations with the IC needs to be daily! It doesn’t have to be complicated or clever. Do you only talk to people you live with (have lived with) once every few months?
• 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 & more practice. Don’t let the Negative Introject stop you from creating a better life
• The statements listed are sometimes called affirmations or mantra. ACoAs who are comfortable with the familiar ones – can use them if they resonate, since they ARE true. Whatever works to heal is valuable
• However, many of us have heard platitudes from family, relative, school, religious communities, school… which didn’t mean much because they weren’t backed up by ‘right-action’. They were a substitute for genuine communication & genuine emotional connections
• That’s why some ACoAs are frustrated with pre-packaged affirmations, since they don’t address our specific experiences & personality. We were SO unseen & unheard that now we have a desperate need for all communication to be accurate – down to the smallest word! – called “exquisite empathy”
We may prefer to create our own sayings, in exact response to our negative voice & represent genuine caring for the WIC
• 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 must become trustworthy for the IC to listen & believe us!
EXERCISE: Write out one of your Toxic Beliefs
• Then create as many counter statements as fit.
Put it aside, sleep on it, & go back 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, ask someone safe for options. Sometimes watching how good parents on TV talk to their kids – can be good models.
BUT – try it out yourself first.
EXP: Neg from WIC – “ I can’t do anything right!”
Pos from Good Parent – “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)