Inner Child Healing - How to begin
by Robert Burney
to a page of
The Mobile Friendly version of the Joy2MeU Web Site of Spiritual Teacher, codependency counselor, author, Robert Burney and Joy to You & Me Enterprises
Robert is a pioneer in codependency recovery / inner child healing
and the author of the Joyously inspirational book
The Dance of Wounded Souls
"Recovery involves bringing to consciousness those beliefs and attitudes in our subconscious that are causing our dysfunctional reactions so that we can reprogram our ego defenses to allow us to live a healthy, fulfilling life instead of just surviving. So that we can own our power to make choices for ourselves about our beliefs and values instead of unconsciously reacting to the old tapes. Recovery is consciousness raising. It is en-light-en-ment - bringing the dysfunctional attitudes and beliefs out of the darkness of our subconscious into the Light of consciousness.
On an emotional level the dance of Recovery is owning and honoring the emotional wounds so that we can release the grief energy - the pain, rage, terror, and shame that is driving us.
That shame is toxic and is not ours - it never was! We did nothing to be ashamed of - we were just little kids. Just as our parents were little kids when they were wounded and shamed, and their parents before them, etc., etc. This is shame about being human that has been passed down from generation to generation.
There is no blame here, there are no bad guys, only wounded souls and broken hearts and scrambled minds."
(Quotations in this color are from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls)
Inner child work is in one way detective work. We have a mystery to solve. Why have I have I been attracted to the the type of people that I have been in relationship with in my life? Why do I react in certain ways in certain situations? Where did my behavior patterns come from? Why do I sometimes feel so: helpless; lonely; desperate; scared; angry; suicidal; etc.
Just starting to ask these types of questions, is the first step in the healing process. It is healthy to start wondering about the cause and effect dynamics in our life.
In our codependence, we reacted to life out of a black and white, right and wrong, belief paradigm that taught us that is was shameful and bad to be wrong, to make mistakes, to be imperfect - to be human. We formed our core relationship with our self and with life in early childhood based on the messages we got, the emotional trauma we suffered, and the role modeling of the adults around us. As we grew up, we built our relationship with self, other people, and life on the foundation we formed in early childhood.
When we were 5, we were already reacting to life out of the emotional trauma of earlier ages. We adapted defenses to try to protect ourselves and to get our survival needs met. The defenses adapted at 5 due to the trauma suffered at earlier ages led to further trauma when we were 7 that then caused us to adjust our defenses, that led to wounding at 9, etc., etc., etc.
Toxic shame is the belief that there is something inherently wrong with who we are, with our being. Guilt is "I made a mistake, I did something wrong." Toxic shame is: "I am a mistake. There is something wrong with me."
It is very important to start awakening to the Truth that there is nothing inherently wrong with our being - it is our relationship with our self and with life that is dysfunctional. And that relationship was formed in early childhood.
The way that one begins inner child healing is simply to become aware.
To become aware that the governing principle in life is cause and effect.
To become aware that our relationship with our self is dysfunctional.
To become aware that we have the power to change our relationship with our self.
To become aware that we were programmed with false beliefs about the purpose and nature of life in early childhood - and that we can change that programming.
To become aware that we have emotional wounds from childhood that it is possible to get in touch with and heal enough to stop them from dictating how we are living our life today.
That is the purpose of inner child healing - to stop letting our experiences of the past dictate how we respond to life today. It cannot be done without revisiting our childhood.
We need to become aware, to raise our consciousness. To create a new level of consciousness for ourselves that allows us to observe ourselves.
It is vitally important to start observing ourselves - our reactions, our feelings, our thoughts - from a detached witness place that is not shaming.
We all have an inner critic, a critical parent voice, that beats us up with shame, judgment, and fear. The critical parent voice developed to try to control our emotions and our behaviors because we got the message there was something wrong with us and that our survival would be threatened if we did, said, or felt the "wrong" things.
It is vital to start learning how to not give power to that critical shaming voice. We need to start observing ourselves with compassion. This is almost impossible at the beginning of the inner child healing process - having compassion for our self, being Loving to our self, is the hardest thing for us to do.
So, we need to start observing ourselves from at least a more neutral perspective. Become a scientific observer, a detective - the Sherlock Holmes of your own inner process as it were.
We need to start being that detective, observing ourselves and asking ourselves where that reaction / thought / feeling is coming from. Why am I feeling this way? What does this remind me of from my past? How old do I feel right now? How old did I act when that happened?
One of the amazing things about this process, is that as one starts to become more aware of our own reactions, we also start to become more aware of others. We start seeing when the people in our lives are reacting like a little kid, or adolescent, or teenager, or whatever. The more we become aware of their reactions, the easier it becomes to stop taking their behavior personally - which then makes it easier to detach from our own reactions and observe ourselves.
It is an amazing, miraculous process, that can help us to change our relationship with our self, with other people, and with life. Becoming more aware, becoming conscious of a new way of looking at ourselves and life is the beginning of a process of learning to forgive and Love our self.
A detective always looks at cause and effect. By becoming a detective, solving the mystery of why we have lived our lives as we have, we can start to free ourselves from our past. By doing the inner child healing, we can start to learn how to really be alive instead of just surviving and enduring.