The truth about our childhood is stored up in our body. - Alice Miller
We carry our childhood into our adulthood.
Adulthood is an extension of childhood, not a replacement.
The scared child or teen still feels things immaturely whether or not it makes sense to our adult self.
The adult self may try & rationalize the feelings. This is rarely helpful
What is helpful?
The practice of taking our inner child by the hand and holding them in a feeling that out body first felt alone.
When we are children, we experience a lot of insult and criticism and are punished for feelings that we cannot control. We disconnect from ourselves to avoid being disconnected from our caregivers.
The pain of that was unbearable as a child but now as an adult as we attempt to reconnect to our true selves, we may feel all the rage and grief arising.
We could not bear it then, and it may feel to our psyche that we cannot bear it again. We may feel anxious, desperate, distrustful, or numb.
A helpful practice is to simply notice that a stress response has been activated. Our beautiful nervous system has chosen fight, flight, freeze or fawn over and over again in an attempt to keep us safely connected to others (or true to ourselves.)
We can thank our inner child for keeping us safe as we remind them that our adult self can sustain the big feelings now as they guide us towards integrating the past, so we no longer live in the past and the past no longer dictates our present.
Eventually, as a defense mechanism, the pain no longer registers as pain, but as routine.
The more we are held in our feelings the more we can hold them ourselves.
Said a different Way
When we don't experience being safely held in our feelings growing up it makes sense that we may struggle feeling safe with all our feelings as an adult.
We may feel ourselves numbing them or feeling them so deeply that we feel like we are drowning.
Our adults were most likely not holding out on us. If they were not held in their feelings and their parents were not held in theirs, it makes sense that the unconscious cycle continued.
Through repetition, we soften or harden cycles. It is possible to learn how to hold ourselves and our children through all the feelings. When we are aware of our patterns, we can soften the cycles we don't want to repeat and strengthen the ones we do.
I am so excited and grateful to be doing this work.
We are not alone.