quieting the inner child
I struggle with the inner voice to my past everyday; the inner voice being the past beliefs of all that I was told, all that I believed, and all that I was abused into.
Everyone has that little voice of reason inside of them, you know, It’s that gut feeling, or voice inside that allows us to weigh out hard decisions or choices.
That inner voice that warns us that something doesn’t feel quite right, a second guess, a doubt, or a fear. Well imagine living with that every day – welcome to my life.
For me, the inner voice is my past, and it keeps me from doing anything without a 2nd, 3rd or even 4th guess – TRUST WHAT?
The inner voice is the child I was when I was abused. I was abused sexually from the age of 5 till I was 11, but the beliefs and the inner voice is the 9 year old, because that is the age I came to the understanding that what was happening was not right, and “hey, this is not right, this doesn’t feel right anymore, they are hurting me, not loving me”.
That is the age I started to fight inside and knew deep deep inside that this is not what a child should be doing or going through. This is the age I started to fight them off, and this is the age I started to plan the “how do I tell” – and I did tell at the age of 10.
The 9 year old child inside today is the past and the beliefs that no matter what anyone says, it will have it’s say before I can rationally be what what is vs what I hear.
When someone says something, I have to hear it 2 or 3 times before I even consider it to be true or right or true. There is always that voice inside of me that doubts everyone’s intentions – there HAS to be a motive, how can anyone do anything for me without there be some form of abuse attached to it.
As the adult today over 40, married, and who has 3 beautiful boys of her own, I know I am no longer in that abuse. I know I am not being hurt, but that little voice inside of me always makes me take a step back in fear – because nothing is safe.
There is a good side to that, but there is also a bad side to that; or as my therapist would describe it – “a blessing and a curse”. The blessing is, it allows me to have boundaries and walls that are needed.. the curse is it allows me boundaries and walls that are not needed.
When someone tells me “I care about you” the inner voice of the past say “at what cost?, whats in it for you?”.
When I am told I am supported, loved and cared for, that small voice inside says “yeah but, what if, are you sure?, maybe I am not good enough”.
This is a huge obstacle for me in my healing and always has been. It has been helpful at times, and other times it has gotten in my way from accepting the beautiful things that people offer me.
“Caring for your inner child has a powerful and surprisingly quick result; do it and the child heals” – Martha Beck
Sometimes my therapist and I will smile and laugh at it, and say “what a pain in the ass this 9 year old can be”. But it truly shows just how DEEP these wounds are. I was so abused that it indented my own beliefs. It took away my own ability to have a sense of self.
It took me years to trust my own husband. Granted I am married now 21 years, but the first thing I told him when we first started dating was “if I have to ask you for permission for anything, this is not going to work, we will both be level”. My husband is wonderful and we have a wonderful relationship. We both treat each other equal, and he is one of the safest people I know – he is my best friend.
It’s not just about trusting others, it’s about believing and accepting that someone would invest their time, love, care and energy on me without a price. I never had unconditional love, it was always conditioned as a child.
Conditioned meaning sexual favors = love, hitting = love, taking off my clothes ans touching me = love, belting me over and over on my legs till they were scarred and bleeding = love. To get love, I had to endure, and at 9 years old I came to realize this is not what love is.
The pain of my fathers good friend Bill showering me with gifts, love and attentiveness for months until that one day when he got me alone in the bathroom with the door locked … can’t say I saw that coming – and a wound was created for the rest of my life. A wound that would forever remind me that gifts given = a scar I will never forget.
This is one of the biggest reasons why I struggle with dependency, because to become dependant on someone is to be vulnerable. To be vulnerable requires me to quiet the past and the inner voice inside that tries to warn me that danger is ahead. To quiet down the inner voice is to take risks, and that taking risks is a fear without warning.
To be dependent on someone is to be captive, owned and chained to another person – when in the past I knew the only safety was myself. I only depended on myself as a child; that’s all I knew.
Sometimes in therapy my therapist will tell me something big and important, and he will pause and say “wait, what did the 9 year old hear?”. because he knows my past that lays deep inside of me.
As a child I lived looking through cracks in the door. I lived knowing every single creek on the stairs that made a noise. I knew every door, every corner, and every small space I could crawl into to not be found. Sitting on the toilet and going to the bathroom as fast as I could watching the door in fear there would be a small little crack of being watched.
All I had was my inner voice – “no, don’t take those stairs, go around the back because they will hear you”. “NO it’s not safe to go outside of the bedroom yet, they are watching you”.
Today that inner voice still resides in me. It doesn’t allow me to have open arms to all the love around me without TRUE self belief that I am okay and I am not being hurt by accepting.
Today in session my therapist told me something that was so big and honoring… and I knew I would struggle with the voices of the past on the way home in the car.. I knew I would struggle with the old beliefs and the past.
So on the way home I had an argument with myself and I WON. I silenced the past and said “NO this is what I heard and this is what I am going to believe”.
I silenced the LIES from my past for a good couple of hours. I said to the inner voice from my past “NOT this time, I can accept this support and love without you warning me because – I am OKAY, and what you are trying to tell me vs what is really being said to me I CHOOS TO BELIEVE.
Now, this is not to be confused with any kind of personality disorder, I don’t have any of that – I know I am the 40+ year old adult today, married and has 3 boys – it’s about the OLD beliefs of my past that acts as a voice to my now. The past is so DEEP and WOUNDED that it’s hard to move out of those old beliefs.
The beliefs being that I have to 2nd guess everything until I finally let go and believe I am LOVED for just being ME – no motive, no sex, no pain, no manipulation. The beliefs that I have to take 2 steps back and observe before letting anyone even close to me. The beliefs that no one will ever love me unless I give to them.
This is and has been a work in progress – however there comes a time when I have to let that inner voice of reason go and let myself decide what is safe, and to also let myself be hurt and realize this hurt is not the same as that hurt (meaning the past).
it’s a challenge everyday. It’s hard, but I am healing and I am trusting, and I can connect, hold a hand, hug and accept a lot more than I could 6 years ago.
I am reading this book called “healing the inner child” and it’s about how to heal the child who was hurt so that you can be allowed to be FULLY the adult today. Its a process, but a fulfilling healing process.
I can’t wait for the day when I wake up to where I can be in charge of my own decisions and fears, and loves and take those risks on my own.
just like tonight writing this blog – it was a huge risk, and I will silence the inner voice and make the decision to share this with everyone who loves an cares about me – unconditionally.
February 27, 2013 at 10:28 AM
Hello dear Karen,
Thank you for trusting and sharing yourself so fully. I know it takes a long time to find or create the safety to let yourself be seen and heard. I think you are right that it is a long slow process to get free from the pattern of walls that protect. I have my own process that is similar. I can understand with my rational mind that the old stuff is not happening anymore but the patterns of protecting myself keep happening.
The old beliefs are built in and are now reflexes and that is the first thing that operates. That is why I’ve had to learn to pause. And listen for a new response that is based on the present reality.I pause a lot.
I know you’ve been careful about what you write about your past and the abuse. That seems very wise and self caring. So as I read this I felt extra caring towards you and proud of you for all the work you’ve done that has led up to being able to speak your truth. I did also feel emotions of anger and pain about what you went through, that you were so hurt and that awful feeling of being stunned that other people could hurt a little girl the way they did to you.
I hope that by getting this out, being heard and loved, that this will help you move further along and perhaps those reflexes to hide for protection and to measure every situation for danger…I hope that will quiet down and you will get to live out loud, all your lovey self.
I’m guessing that you writing this will help others too, as it has helped me.
Sending love and hugs!
February 27, 2013 at 4:14 PM
GEL, Thank you so much! Every once in a while I get this courage to write in detail about the abuse.. it doesn’t happen often, but when it does it’s healing and has meaning to that healing.
It’s not easy living with that inner voice of the past.. but that is what the healing is about.. each day it becomes less loud. Some days are harder than others.
It’s amazing what scars and wounds can do to the inner belief. it happened at the core time of my life when self worth was being determined and learned.
I am glad I have a great community of friends I can share this healing with.. I hope I can give just as much as I receive from this
Thank you Gel
February 28, 2013 at 8:49 AM
I know we’ve only just met but already i have so much respect for you because i understand how difficult the healing journey is and how hard it gets at times. It sounds like you are making fantastic progress and reclaiming your life back bit by bit and I feel honoured, as a new person to your blog, to be allowed to share the process with you
sending lot of safe hugs, if safe hugs are ok ?
February 28, 2013 at 12:26 PM
Thank you Jules…. safe hugs are okay YES and thank you … I am glad I met you as well 🙂 we are all a great group of “survivors” …
Thank you for coming to my blog .. and I am honored to have you here as well.