ACoAs – Set GOALS to MEET NEEDS (Part 1b)

lots of ideasPREVIOUS: Getting needs met (1a)

SITE:Understanding Self-Sabotage


1. GOALS (cont.)
Needs – review ACoAs Manipulating Self & Others – #1
In order for us to get our needs met we must first identify what those are, have internal permission to pursue them, & then search out & use as many resources as are available to us to take care of ourselves. We can not wait for or depend on others to meet our needs – others are only supposed to be support & company on our life’s journey – not substitute parents!

While we may not always know what we want to do “when we grow up”, taking any positive action can get our engine started – especially if the activities are things we have been interested in since childhood but never pursued. Taking a class or joining a ‘topics’ group (such as in MeetUp) may lead us to new ideas, possibilities & friends or mentors. Setting goals is a fundamental part of getting our needs met, first the cognitive component (idea), managing our anxiety (emotions), & then taking the necessary actions. (T.E.A.)

Most ACoAs either :no needs for WIC
— have great difficulty making decisions – we aren’t allowed to know or admit what we really need & want, can’t afford to risk making a mistake lest we get punished, & we want to avoid being disappointed yet again
— OR make them impulsively, without considering the results – the possible consequences to ourselves or others – also based on childhood brain-washing.

• So many of our childhood needs were not met – correctly – which left us with the clear message that we’re not supposed to want or need anything for ourselves! Even if we did get some Physical ones (roof, food, clothes, schooling….) – which was a plus & allowed us to survive – the good things were undermined by all the neglect & abuse in the other PMES categories, especially Emotional. And for many of us even the P category was contaminated by beatings, incest, lack of basic provisions….

• This damaging background has created a great dilemma for us, a double bind that keeps many of us stuck:
a. we’re not allowed to have needs, especially emotional ones, BUT
b. we still have them ALL – can’t get rid of them no matter how hard we try to ignore & suppress them!
EXP: As mentioned in another post, a newcomer to Al-Anon figured out in a 4th-Step meeting that her belief was: “My biggest character defect is my need for love!” WHY? because she grew up feeling unloved, yet still desperately longed for it. Wasn’t it foolish to want something she was sure she had no right to & would never get?  (See “Unrealistic Expectations”)

what goals?• To have deliberate, conscious goals is not easy for many ACoAs – even for those of us who’ve achieved some success in career, yet subtly recreate the family patterns in both work & personal life.

Our experience in childhood was of endless ‘sameness’ – the same drinking, the same unfairness, the same neglect, the same loneliness, the same terror…..
Ironically, most ACoAs are best at what we like to do the least!

As Adults we’re still trapped in the hopelessness of ever being able to reach our TRUE goals, whatever they may be. For many of us, the idea of possibilities was not part of the mental vocabulary in our family:
— we didn’t have the option of using our imagination for ourselves, except maybe as a way to escape the pain we were constantly in, AND
— we used our creativity to figure out ways to keep our parents, siblings, mates, children… from total self-destruction

This makes it imperative to remember “I know what I know”, since we have our own native wisdom! The Healthy Child has always known a great many things which never got acknowledged or have been too painful to remember. So now the Good Parent can listen to our still small voice, & help redirect the decision process to get the best results. See RIGHTS & Self-esteem

Robert Sharma’s 5 Steps for Goal Setting
1. Celebrate: write down – in detail – things you’ve done in the past year you can appreciate yourself for. What are your big as well as small achievements?

2. Education // 3. Clarification  // 4. Graduation // 5. Visualization

NEXT: Goals to meet needs  (1c)

Fear of Commitment – RECOVERY (Part 1)

I’ll commit to it whole-heatedly

PREVIOUS: Fear of Comm. – ACoAs #6

SITE: FoC Workbook: How To Overcome Fear Of Commitment

HELP: Free Relaxation scripts
NLP “Anchoring to overcome Commitment phobia


4. CHANGING the RE-ENACTMENT (Point #2, Parts 2a-d)
If passion & love fuel a desire to commit to something, why do ACoAs avoid it like the plague? Following Toxic family Rules, the WIC’s terror, & long-term depression numb us to passion.

Of course many ACoAs are passionately committed to one thing – not getting abandoned! That’s the WIC’s main goal in life, whether by clinging or by isolating. ACoAs are more focused on feeling safe than on getting love. We can’t feel truly saloving parentfe until we thoroughly care about ourselves, but giving up S-H is an uphill battle.

• Each of these fears is a direct outcome of an unsafe childhood. So all of the ‘corrections’ will inevitably have to do with developing a Loving Parent to help the WIC heal, so it can gradually start living in the present (using book-ending & other tools….), instead of stuck in its unhappy past.

a. AbandonmentBY gradually, patiently allowing yourself to connect with the backlog of original pain, eliminating S-H by getting it in every cell of your physical & spiritual body that the pain you grew up in was not caused by you!

b. CompromisesBY understanding & accepting that bending a little, when it’s not SO important, allows you to not break (rigid vs flexible tree)
c. Leaving Family
BY forming alliances with a variety of groups that are working towards: mental health, spiritual growth, social progress, sharing a passion & having fun

d. Losing Control BY keeping track of your own emotions & motives, so that your Adult is in charge of your actions, not the PP or WIC. Then others cannot control you

e. Mistakes BY understanding that all humans make mistakes, & that mistakes are how we learn

f. ResponsibilityBY knowing what’s your responsibility to self & a few others, & what is NOT. Each adult is responsible for themselves. You are not their Higher Power

g. S & IBY developing your own UNIT (Loving Parent + Healthy Adult), which the IC can totally depend on, instead of our wounded family

h.TrappedBY using your boundaries & choices to decide who, what or where to stay with, or when it’s time to leave

i. Truth – BY being surrounded by others doing the same FoO work, so you can gradually drop your denial, & mourn your losses

j. Vulnerable BY finding out your needs & using them to form strong boundaries – but not walls

SUGGESTION –  using a tool of NLP
a. Choose a phrase about commitment with the strongest FEAR attached to it for you. Use our own words.
EXP: Relationships mean too much responsibility.
• See the sentence out in front of you, in the air or on a blackboard – so it’s outside of your brain
• Then, say each word with one breath between them. Then again with 2 breaths, then 3, then 4 then 5. Stop.

b. Reverse: choose an opposite phase that you want to grow into – using your own words. EXP: “Relationships bring me peace & love”.
Then say it with the same breath sequence as above – 1-5 between each word.

Rinse, lather & REPEAT each day, for a month. Notice & record any changes & improvements in your thinking &/or emotions

❇️ Then pick another phrase & do the same. EXP:
✦ “Commitment to ME means losing family” —-> “Committing to ME means I’m never alone”
✦ “Trusting any Higher Power means obliteration” (see Part 2) —-> “Trusting my H.P. means permanent support”

c. PICTURE the near Future You with the new belief – as you’ll be maybe in a year from now. Give it a name like “Safer Me” / “More Trusting ME” / “More Relaxed ME”……
• Visualize every aspect of that Future You – where you’re living, the friends, great job/career, income…. & challenges you’ve successfully overcome

• See Future You as your mentor & ask it what are the best choices to make now to get there
• ARRIVING: When you find yourself living in the new belief, remember to send love & encouragement to the past you. This will bridge time & space, further reinforcing the effectiveness of this exercise.

NEXT: FoC – Recovery 2

ACoAs ‘FEELING SORRY For’ (Part 3)

but my first responsibility is to my own!

PREVIOUS: “Feeling Sorry For” #2

See ACRONYM page for abbrev.

1b. For OTHERS – Negative

FEELING SORRY for oneself can be healthy or unhealthy.

HARMFUL, from others :  When we express genuine pain, we often hear cruel reactions from ‘authorities’, family or so-called friends (some 12-step members, religious communities, various self-help gurus / books) :

“Get off the pity pot , You’re JUST feeling sorry for yourself , Don’t wallow in your pain , Don’t live in the past , That was a long time ago , Are you still going on about that? ….”

These comments come from someone not working to heal their old wounds (even in Program), but instead are clinging to & protecting their own defense mechanisms & don’t want to be reminded of their damage.

we have our own version of “feeling sorry for”, in 2 forms.
a. Negatively (self-pity) endlessly rehashing old traumas, as a way to:
• not care for ourselves – stay in damaged-child modeself-pity
blame others, instead of focusing on what we can do now
• stay in the anger – which is ‘safer’ than feeling the pain underneath
• not have to grow up & ‘leave home’ (S & I) — escaping the responsibility of being in charge of our life.

b. PositivelyFirst & foremost, we need to have great compassion for ourselves – for what we endured as kids, & also as adults. Feeling sorry for & comforting our WIC is NOT selfishness, as we were told. Gaining the trust of our WIC is the only way to heal.

As kids, our suffering was ignored or punished & we were expected to suck it up. Even then, ‘they’ said we were being a baby, too sensitive, over-reacting, making things up, being crazy….
This has left us with a tragic inability to be kind & understanding toward ourselves!  We’re as unsympathetic as our family was – indeed, just as cruel in the way we talk to & treat ourselves! (Self-Hate)

SO, ‘healthy’ feeling sorry for – ourselves- includes:
gain WIC's childrenclearly understand exactly what happened to us in childhood. As long as we can’t identify & acknowledge it, we’ll keep repeating it
• having others validate our experience, without blame or judgment, because we never got the right kind of mirroring growing up (a crucial aspect of our damage)

• go over & over the traumatic events of childhood in order to get to the emotional pain which they caused – to be able to process it & get it out of our body
• cry & rage & mourn – in safe places, with safe people – so we don’t have to carry it around anymore or take it out on others

➼ These can take a long time, because there’s a huge backlog of pain which we can’t access quickly or easily – & our resistance to change.

EXP:  Rob was working on connecting with his Inner Child for several years.  While sharing in an ACoA 12-Step meeting, he suddenly visualized his kid sitting on the floor, hunched over – with knives sticking in him, all over. That’s what all that early verbal abuse had felt like! Rob started to cry.

In that moment he saw & felt the terrible distress his kid was in but which he compassion for WICwasn’t allowed to object to or express. As his Loving Parent self, he was able to feel a great rush of sorrow & compassion for his younger self. After that he couldn’t be harsh with the kid any more (negative voice coming from either the WIC or the PP).  It was a turning point in his recovery.

• Remember: The only source of self-esteem is unconditional love. Having a strong, positive identity means treating ourselves with loving kindness, patience & perseverance. We do need to ‘feel sorry for’ our wounded part – the real-life child we were, who suffered unfairly & alone thru endless days & nights, in our home, school, church & neighborhood – without people noticing, caring or helping!

• If we – as the Loving Inner Parent to our WIC – can feel genuine sorrow for what we endured, through no fault of our own, we can begin healing those wounds.  The child part of us is waiting to be heard!

NEXT: Fear of commitment- #1

Double BINDS – Tools (Part 10)

THERE IS HELP AVAILABLE – all I have to do is use it!

PREVIOUS: Double Binds (Part 9)


😓 Remember the old Gershwin song “Someone To Watch Over Me”? Maybe no one ever did truly watch over you, so you didn’t learn to do it for yourself. NOW is a good time to start – by learning to be the Loving Parent you never had.

While we can’t stop being afraid of making changes in dealing with D.Binders, we can take some preemptive actions.
Before talking to / spending time with a difficult person, you can plan ahead to reinforce yourADULT& PARENT ego states, so that your WIC doesn’t take over when around them :
• get enough sleep the night before, & eat healthily
• take more time to get ready, leave enough time to travel, wear something comfortable
• call a safe person for support. Take a friend with you, if possible
• talk to you Inner Child before the ‘event’ to prepare him / her. Do the first half of book-ending
• remember – you are NOT the crazy one
• know that you cannot be perfect, because humans aren’t!
• do some rage work, if possible, to go with less pent-up rage & frustration
• pray for guidance & inner peace (see Part 12)

✦ It’s not you: You are not stupid or crazy. DBs are crazy-making, setting you up in a no-win situation by a damaged /abusive person or system
✦ Trust your gut: If you ‘feel’ something’s wrong, believe it! & if necessary – check it out with someone you trust

✦ Believe in yourself: Be aware of your own power to break free & the intelligence to get out of the dilemma, so you don’t slide into one of the co-dependent roles – Victim, Rescuing the S, or become a Perpetrator
✦ Question the statements: If what you’re being told is self-contradictory, AND you’re supposed to act on both, you know the whole communication is flawed & not to be honored

✦ Threat of or Real punishment: Be sure the person can do you actual harm. You may already have experienced how they react when you don’t fall in line with the craziness, & you survived.
INVENTORY: What form did it take? How did you cope? What was the outcome? What kind of actual power do they have over you in the present? Do they pay your bills, are they in charge of your employment ……?

If not then you definitely have the freedom to ignore the mental games they’re playing. If they do still have some control over your life, you can use suggestions in other posts

✦ Redefine punishment: Yes – the S may get angry & say mean things – but once you believe you’re a good person & you “know what I know” they’re not dangerous to your spirit.
To a child, all forms of abandonment on any PMES level feels intolerable (‘death’) . Besides physical abuse, it includes disapproval, verbal abuse, being ignored & deprived…. But you are no longer a child.

✦ Meet your own standards: Since all DB choices lead to punishment – if you must choose – give yourself permission to pick the side of the bind that fits your personality & circumstances, even if others around you don’t agree
✦ Change the focus: In some cases, you can successfully shift attention outside the double bind (DBs – Part 5b)

✦ Look for allies within the situation: Adults need to go elsewhere for approval, respect, kindness… since the S is not willing or able to provide these. In the medical example (DMs, Part 4b) maybe someone in the doctor’s office can encourage & validate you. Don’t let your fear & shame isolate you.

✦ Get external support: Look for people, groups & activities that help you feel strong, resilient & creative – so you can breathe!
Keep searching until you find outside witnesses or authorities who will believe you & understand the problem

✦ Walk away: It’s a big world AND you have options now.. Teach your WIC that you can get your needs met in abuse-free ways. Keep looking for them using your UNIT.  (MORE….)

NEXT: DBs  (#11) – Uses


catching myself

PREVIOUS: Patterns of Mistrust #2


“TRUST” comes from the German word “trost” meaning ‘consolation’, which implies feeling comfortable. In this context it’s relevant to remember that ACoAs almost never felt comforted growing up.
It’s one reason we were never able to trust! And now, as adults, we don’t realize how much we still need to be comforted, so we’re ashamed when we feel vulnerable, needy & ‘feeling sorry’ for ourselves

Genuine trust is first & ultimately foremost about being able to trust ONESELF, a quality we cultivate via our thumbsUpTrue inner Voice. As an adult, it’s trusting your own judgement, knowing from experience & mindfulness that you will get what you’ve asked for – rather than being afraid & hesitant

A major factor for trusting others IS picking the right person, location, opportunity… that suits us & is do-able, staying away from those that are not.
While there’s a certain level of risk because people & life can be unpredictable, if we’re emotionally balanced, it’s possible to be confident enough to handle setbacks & disappointments

• ACoAs need & want safety above all else – even more than love – neither of which our parents provided enough of, so we believe we’re not entitled to it
• But we can’t feel safe if we can’t trust. AND we can’t trust as long as we’re flooded with Self-Hate! The Al-Anon preamble says “…..we will love you until you can love yourself”.

Healthy trust is not about who or what others are. This is hard for ACoAs to internalize because of co-dependence & S-H.  ACoAs need to find people & / or groups that are safe enough to help us heal so we can become kind to ourselves (via the Loving Parent) & trust that “I know what I know!” (via the Healthy Adult)

Assumption: ACoAs usually think of trust only in the  POSITIVE – ‘I can rely on X…… I can expect Y to…..’, which is true but only unrealiablehalf the story, & encourages Over-Trusting

Balance: Healthy Trust also includes knowing who & what is NOT reliable. The characteristics & patterns of Damage are just as predictable & consistent as those of Health, but will only cause problems.

• We can trust that a specific person will continually abuse or disappoint us, based on their consistent pattern of behavior (patent, ‘friend’…)
• We can trust that a specific location will usually be unsuitable or dangerous (bars, some neighborhoods….)
• We can trust that a type of event is the wrong one for us……

Once we know what to look for we can see it all around us, & depend on the outcome to be harmful or just a waste of time – without having to be hit over the head each time!

EXP: If you’re not paying attention when you go into a room & sit down on the first chair that looks comfortable – you may be shocked & maybe injured if it collapses & you land on your butt – because you assumed all chairs are equally well made & sturdy

🍋 Yet that’s what ACoAs often do with people & situations – we don’t pay attention or evaluate who or what we’re getting involved with.  Many times we accept friends lovers, jobs, pets, invitations, apartments …. without asking: “What do I want? Is this something I’m interested in? Does this suit my needs or fit my personality?
AND: “What is this person/place telling we about themself?”

TRUST (T) is valid when:
• we’re clear about the ‘rules’ of T – rather than being in fantasy
• the prerequisites for T exist – we’ve done some due-diligence
• we assess who or what does NOT warrant our T – so we don’t waste time & energy on them
• we experience a positive outcome from trusting the right person or info (feel fia-colorcalmer or relieved / get the introduction we heard about / receive the  promised money / enjoy a shared experience ….)
EXPFaith – the trust-er believes that their chosen path is pre-ordained by a Higher Force, so whatever happens is fated & therefore welcomed. This removes a great deal of worry about the outcome of faith-based decisions will be, whether successful & joyful or unpleasant & tragic.

NEXT: Healthy Trust (Part 2)

“INNER CHILD SPEAKS”, re-posted (Part 2)

to listen or talk to me!

PREVIOUS: Child to Adult Monologue (#1)

SITE: “Love Your Inner Child


WRITER: Marie T Russell (1996) publisher of InnerSelf Magazine. Reprinted in full, as is. 

The child cries out:  “You told me that it was not a-prop-riot-e behavior to dance in the street, or to sing with the birds, or to talk to the new people that I discovered on the street – you call those people strange-hers. You told me that it’s not appropriate to be playful & childlike, that I had to act your age. Well, I’ve got news for you. I’m an Inner Child & I’m eternally young… so my age is whatever I choose. And today I choose to be five years old. So it is okay for me to sing & dance & love everyone I meet, because I know that God loves me, and that I am loved by everyone because God is in everbad inputyone.

“Do you know what is not appropriate? When you frighten me with your grown-up mixed-up beliefs. You have a picture of the world that I do not like, & you try to frighten me into doing what you want by telling me about your picture. Well, your picture is all wrong! Do you know why?

Because your picture has a nasty God in it that punishes children & He gets very angry when they make a mistake. Well, my God loves me & loves you too. And my God does not frighten little children. Instead He provides birds that make music, fruit trees for food, sun for light & warmth, grass to roll in & lay on, animals to play with, & lots of other good things.

“Your picture is just a horror movie that you made up, & I don’t watch horror movies. So if you insist on watching a horror picture, keep me out of it. Don’t even tell me about it. I don’t like to hear yucky stories. They make my belly & my heart hurt.

“But if you decide you’d like to watch and live a beautiful love story with me, then simply switch channel to the Inner Child channel. You and I can get to know each other, then we can have some fun as well as some love & peace together.

“You probably don’t even know where I am. Well, that’s because I’m scared of you and I’ve been hiding. I would suggest you tame me, just as if you were dealing with a scared kitten. Just imagine that your Inner Child is a scared kitty hiding under the bed. What do you do? Well, maybe you start talking gently, lovingly to it even though you can’t see it. And then maybe you bring it a saucer of warm milk (for me a saucer of unconditional love will do), then back off a little & keep talking softly.

“After a while, I may peek around the corner to make sure that you’re really for real & won’t judge or criticize me again… after all, you’ve done that a lot. If I feel that you are really ready to love me & be nice, I’ll come out & we can talk & play.

“Another way that you can get in touch with me is to listen to what you call your intuition. Lots of times that’s me telling you what would be great for us. So the next time you feel that it would be good for you to go for a walk, or sing out loud, or dance… pay attention. That’s probably me making my presence known. The more you spend time doing the kind of things I like, the more you’ll start feeling me there, & enjoying our time together.

“And keep taintuitionlking to me. Soon you’ll start hearing me. You see, I talk very softly cause I’m little and sometimes I’m scared of you cause you’re big and you talk loud and gruff. So listen softly, and then you’ll hear me.

Remember that I love you & really want to spend time with you. I know that once you start spending time with me, you’ll be much happier. You’ll find yourself singing & maybe even taking silly little dance steps in the street. The people around you will start smiling for no apparent reason when you walk by, because their own Inner Child will recognize me & will also pop up to the surface.

“Can I come out and play? I love you a whole bunch! I hope you’ll come visit often & invite me to hang out with you a lot too! We can really have a great time together, you and me.”

With Love, 
Your Inner Child

NEXT: ACoAs & Playing, #1

“INNER CHILD SPEAKS”, re-posted (Part 1)


if only someone would listen!

PREVIOUS: Talking to the Inner Child (# 5)

SITE: Inner Child POEM


NOTE to MEN: While this monologue by the Inner Child is clearly a girl talking to her female adult-self, the thoughts & feelings are just as valid for your little boy saying it to your adult-man, so please substitute ‘HIM / himself’ where it applies. You may not want to sound quite as mushy in places, so find the words that suit your own style, always keeping it positive, respectful & kind.

COMMENT: You may notice that the ‘Adult’ being talked to in this writing sounds sometimes like the Bad Parent & sometimes like an OK but weak Adult. Neither is fully the Healthy Adult / Loving Parent ego state (the UNIT) we’re aiming for. However, it’s also true that the child doesn’t always understand how adults think or what motivates them, but much of that can be explained with patience & love.

WRITER: Marie T Russell, (1996), publisher of InnerSelf Magazine.   Reprinted in full, as is.

The INNER CHILD SITS & WAITS – patiently for the adult to notice it, to talk to it. It wonders how many more nights, months, or years it must wait. It asks “How can I get her attention? How can I get her to talk to me, to listen to me?”

It thinks back of its past experience with parents & teachers, remembering that many times, to get attention, one had to be ‘bad’ or naughty. That always did it!. So it wonders… if I’m the Inner Child, how can I be naughty tp get the attention of my adult self?
The child, trusting her intuition, does what comes up.

The child cries out: “It’s me! I’m here crying out for you. I need you. I love you. I can be your partner, your helper, your guide. All you need is to start acknowledging my presence. Stop ignoring me. Stop pretending you’re all grown up & past ‘that’ stage. Come back to earth. Come back to being present in this body – after all it’s the only one you’ve got, & it’s all ours. Yours & mine. The Inner Child and the Adult.

“I’m the part of you that you’ve hidden inside – the sensitive one, the caring loving one, the exuberant one! That’s me! You’ve become the serious one, the one that has no time to play, to simply be. You’re the busy one…. wanting to do better, to improve, to advance your growth, your career, your relationship…. I simply want to be – mostly joyful & happy.

“It’s OK to be sad now & then, but I don’t like to stretch that stuff out. I feel it, let it out, & move on! The adult that you are seems to enjoy mucking around in that stuff. Not me! I’m a child, & I want to play & enjoy life. I don’t believe we’re here to be miserable. I think some miserable people made that up so everyone would be miserable like them. Well, I don’t buy it! I trash that thought!

“I think that God made us & God loves us, & surely wants us to be happy! After god-loves-meall, don’t all parents want their children to be happy, deep down? It’s just that because they have buried their own Inner Child, they think that ‘happy’ means having a good job, a big house, secure income – all that stuff.

Inner Children know that is all crap. What’s important is the love, joy & simplicity. We don’t need fancy toys. We just need a loving lap we can sit on & feel loved. Then we can make up toys as we go along…..

The child cries out: “You adults make it so complicated! Give us a KISS. Yes! K.I.S.S. Keep it simple silly! Look inside yourself, invite your Inner Child to come out and play.  Tell it that it’s OK – that you won’t scream at it anymore, won’t tell it to go away, or tell it that it’s not behaving appropriately.
A-prop-riot-e-lie. That’s a big word that I learned from you. I know what a prop is. I know what a riot is. I know what a lie is. All those words together just don’t make any sense to me. Except that maybe behaving appropriately is a lie which becomes a prop for a riot. Did you ever think about that?

NEXT: Part 2 of “Letter from the Child”

Why RESIST talking to the Inner Child? (Part 2)

love the kid
to stop & talk to the kid!

PREVIOUS: Talking to the Inner Child (#1)

POST: “How to Dialogue with your I.C.”


🗣 FORMS of Self-Talk (Part 1)

Putting off talking WITH our Inner Child (inconsistently OR not at all) is another example of the insidious delaying tactic many ACoAs are plagued by. It represents resistance to self-care, either from the WIC or PigP.
Many times we put off taking actions, even ones we would like to do, because we can’t make a decision. Our thinking is thoroughly confused by having several conflicting points of view about something & we don’t know how to parse them out. Which one is right?

🔸 This hamster-in-the-wheel thinking can include :
🗣 the real ‘voice’ of a mentor, friend or relative, ➕our own —hamster wheel
• the PigP, society’s rules & religious beliefs as CDs
• the WIC’s fear, hopelessness & self-hate
• possibly the Healthy Child’s intuition / wishes
• sometimes even the rational Adult voice….
…… all at the board meeting in our head, vying to be heard & trying to win over the others

When this happens on a regular basis it does NOT means we’re crazy. It DOES mean we don’t have an clear sense of our own identity & permission to ‘know what I know’.

However, as we connect with our True Self – our general human rights &  specific needs – we can separate out the various internal voices, choosing the one most fitting to us & the current situation, via the healthy Adult. The others we ignored as irrelevant, incorrect or harmful

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!

✳️ MAIN excuse
for refusing to talk to our Inner Child is:
⚠️ I don’t woma & circleswant to connect with the pain that will come up: “I hate the kid – it only causes me trouble. It’s always messing things up for me! I want it to go away because it hurts when I do let it surface, AND I’m terrified I’ll uncover some deep dark trauma I can’t handle”

ANS: Re.causing trouble’ – as long as we ignore that younger, hurt part of us, it’ll keep jumping up & down, & biting us in the butt. Only when we consistently dialogue with the WIC will it stop causing us problems
Re. fear of ‘uncovering – actually, we already know all our deepest darkest horrors. Originally we had to shove it under a mental carpet or lock it away in the dungeon of our subconscious, but we never really forgot the main events.
What we’ve resisted knowing / feeling is how truly abusive & damaging our family was, & so we ‘cope’ by cutting off & distracting ourselves.

Re. the Pain – We can only fully face early trauma when we have enough self-soothing skills via a good Inner Parent, a decent support system for guidance & comfort, & internal permission to feel all our Es without S-H.
❗️AND – not all our emotions are painful. We also feel excitement, pleasure, enjoyment, relief….

With Recovery comes a deeper, clearer understanding of what happened TO us & why! We must believe in our bones that we did not cause our damage, which will allow us to go deeper.
It takes a certain amount of healing to tolerate re-feeling the backlog of old pain, which is provided by Ego Strength : “the ability to maintain emotional stability while coping with internal & external stressors”.

In any case, (whether able to face old pain or not), we need to develop a rapport with the Child, which means talking with it throughout the day about anything & everything – the weather, the colors we like, what we’re going to do after work, what book to read or show to watch…. No topic is too trivial! It’s time to heal our sad little one & the angry teen, & only love heals. Information is important, but love is the medicine.

NEXT: Resist Talking to the I.C. (Part 3)

UNIT: Healthy Adult/Parent (Part 3)

PREVIOUS: Healthy Adult & Loving Parent #1



3.  BUILDING the UNIT (cont)

❀  Everyone’s INNER CHILD combines emotions, experiences, memories & thoughts from childhood. It’s made up of:
• every age & developmental stage we’re lived thru
• our interactions with family, school, friends, religion…
• our version (conscious interpretation/ ‘understanding’) of all the people who were important to us, good or bad
• what we picked up from them subliminally.  Kids are very intuitiveego states

Depending on the content of a voice, we’re hearing from:
❧ a good parent or a bad inner parent
❧ a healthy child or a wounded inner child
❧ a sane adult or a fake inner adult

The 1st in each duality are soothing, informative, helpful, humorous, even spiritual

The 2nd causes us great pain, a feeling of hopelessness or futility….. & some of those voices are louder, carry more weight, are meaner….than others

❤️ We need to be talking WITH the kid every day, as often as possible, about everything – no matter how trivial.
It can be about what you feel like eating or wearing, what someone is doing, the colors around you – anything from : ‘It’s time for bed, now…” , “No, we can’t go there today – not enough time” – to – “I can tell something’s bothering you. How are you feeling?”…

It never has to be a big deal. You can do it on a bus, in the bathroom, walking down the street… Yes, the written version takes a chunk of time, but not the everyday chit-chat

DON’T WAIT until you’re in a crisis, to start. If you haven’t already established a good link with the kid, & then something upsets you – you will not have the UNIT available to handle it.

?? How often do you talk to anyone you live with or see every day? Only when there’s some difficulty?
The more you interact with your kid —-> the stronger the bond —> the more you prove your reliability —> the more the UNIT can take care of things & make your life WORK!!

⬇️ UNIT conversations with the Inner Child ⬇️

♥  Week before an operation:
IC: ‘I want a new red blanket to take with me to the hospital’
LP: ‘OK, honey, let’s go shopping.’
In the store:
IC: ‘I want that one! ‘ (the most expensive)
HA: ‘We only have $– to spend on this.  We need some money for groceries too’
LP: ‘I’ll get you one of these – the smaller one. We already have 2 red blankets at home – & yes I know they’re old!”

Sensing the WIC’s anxiety:
LP: “I know you’re worried & scared about the procedure. I’ll be with you the whole time & Jerry’s picking us up afterwards.”
HA: “You know I trust this doctor.  We’ll be ok.”
IC: (Pouts but understands)

Waiting to get on a plane
IC: (A little antsy but not talking)
LP: (Noticing, waiting – knows kid is not afraid of flying, so it can’t be that)
IC: (Not saying anything but seems concerned)
LP: (Finally gets an ‘image’ of the issue) — “OK, OK, I’ll take you!”
(Kid doesn’t have to ‘go’ but is worried about needing the bathroom on the plane before seat belt light is off!
They go to the restroom & the kid is happy.😘

After a social gathering with casual friends
IC: (In a lot of pain) “They don’t like me, I talked too much, no one came over to me afterwards, I can’t go back there, I know they’re saying bad things about me …
HA: OK, I hear you.  But what we know about these particular people is that they have shown ways that they like you. You’ve talked a lot before & they’re still nice to us”
IC: “Yeah, but…”

“Yes, we aren’t their age or have the same core beliefs & not in their inner circle, but that’s not a negative reflection on you – or them. It’s just a reality. Different is different, not bad.”
LP: “Honey, the bottom line is that you are who you are & not everyone fits with us. That doesn’t make you undesirable.  We have to find places that suit all parts of us – the mental Adult, the feeling kid (You, little one) & the spiritual Parent.
IC: Reluctantly “OK”. It took a few days, but the pain went away.
*The next time at that same gathering  – everyone was as friendly as usual.   (“See, honey?” >”I know”)

NEXT: Healthy Adult/ Loving Parent – #3

UNIT: Healthy Adult/Parent (Part 2)

Adult is  = the good Dad
Parent    = a good Mom
&  Child  = little ME


POSTs: Why resist talking to the Child?
Bookending with the IC

🦻🏼 WHY you may not ‘hear’ the IC 🦻🏼(cont)
1. Being ‘kid whipped’!

2. The Introject:  Some people mainly hear the Bad Parent voice – in the form of ‘shoulds’ & judgments, about themselves & others (you know who you are). They’re the ACoAs who know it all, are controlling, bossy, demanding, pushy….  channeling the Introject! (“Ego States – Parent #4“)

• So – when you’re with such a person, you’ll be talking to their PigP.
EXP: When Mike asked: “Hi, how are you doing?” He got back: “None of your business!”Screen Shot 2015-07-19 at 7.14.30 AM And when Sara thought about writing a book, she heard inside “Who do you think you are?”

• It can be very enlightening to dialogue with the PigP, to find out more about it’s point of view, what it’s telling the kid all the time, what it wants, what its concerns are…. so we can counter with truth & logic! 🥺

a. Read & re-read the extensive list of characteristics of each Ego State
• Print 2-3 copies, & keep 1 each where you’ll see it every day – bathroom mirror, bag, tablet, cell….
• Little by little – write something about each characteristic  = what you think it means, how you do or don’t use it, how you see others doing it…
• Pick 1 characteristic of the L.P. & focus on it for a week.  Use the same Qs as in your writing, as you go thru each day of the year
• Take notes about your observations & talk it over with trusted people. Ask for suggestions & feedback on how to improve

The UNIT (HA + LP) needs to interact with both the NC & the WC :
• Get IC dialogue-writing workbooks, & practice until it becomes natural. Listen to “Self-Parenting” videos
• Watch how kind, loving real-life or TV parents talk to their children  (especially when the kids mess up!)
• Visualize holding your WIC & NC – what do they need & want to hear? what would you have liked your parents to say to you?
✶  Make sure to leave time for the kid to answer, comment, feel, react… It’s not a dialogue if you do all the talking!

👥 The UNIT has to consistently be in play. As grownups, we have to prove to the WIC we’re worthy of being in charge, since the ones who raised us were not.
As kids we had to either hide or be super-kid, but all of us were on our own. So now – developing a functional UNIT is the only way the kid will trust us enough to turn over its power, the only way to show the WIC is Safe & Valuable!

This is done by the UNIT’s healthy internal communication + appropriate external actions – which takes time & dedication to develop.  Our ONLY job is to take care of our Kid. If we do – everything else falls into place.

b. Actions to develop the ….. ADULT ES :
• catch S-H thoughts & stop them as soon as possible
• do drawings of how you feel emotionally
• learn about your damage (WIC #1 post)
• learn healthy ways of thinking
• read everything about your issues & about growth
write some of your thoughts down every day
• try things you always wanted to do (school, travel, move…)
• listen carefully to kind people & copy them
• talk to smart, sane people regularly
• stick with the winners (others on the same path)

….& the PARENT ES:
• daily dialoguing with the WIC & the NC
• do more good things for yourself
• do less bad things to yourself
• hold your Kid, pat your chest, sing, say soothing things
• let yourself cry & do rage work as often as needed, but only in safe ways
• practice standing up for yourself, say what you want & don’t want
• stay away from people who consistently cause you pain
• nurture a spiritual life that suits you
✶  If you do your best to follow some or all these suggestions you will see improvement & get lots of satisfaction!

NEXT: The UNIT- #4