It has become more and more apparent to me lately how childhood and the inner child up to about age 7 carries so many of our issues and deep feelings forward into so called ‘adulthood’. These emotions, needs, longings, attachment patterns and so on rule us subconsciously from within, often without us really knowing how or why until we hit a big wall or loss in adulthood that triggers us into some kind of collapse, depression or breakdown.
Here is where our inner work starts to unpack the past that is still running us unconsciously from with and as my chiropractor pointed out to me yesterday we often fear the overwhelm at times or think to ourselves, “why is this rising up again, I thought I had dealt with it.” But the truth is the past wont let us go until it is integrated, acknowledged and worked through by us. The past and its influence needs to be known by us because otherwise it runs us. Once we bring the inner child in us out of the shadows into the light of day we can begin to see more clearly how we have not ever really been adults at all, living consciously with inner awareness.
I got a bit of a shock looking at my dog this morning and thinking how much having him was about my own inner child issues. I think I also needed to learn how to take care of another being and at times I have transferred so many of my childhood issues onto him. For me it is so important that all of his needs are met because so few of my needs were met in childhood. And an animal is also such a soothing presence to have around us when we are healing because they will stick with us in deep, lost, painful, angry, lonely places when often others cannot or will not. But at times I also get frustrated having a dog when I feel the split between what I need to do in the moment and what I feel he might need.
Over the past few years I have really felt my lost, confused, lonely inner child from childhood come out of the shadows but also amongst those sadder inner characteristics I also see within her and within adult me spunk, intelligence, deep feeling, intuition, compassion and sensitivity emerge as well. These are characteristics to nurture and support and they have emerged more once I have begun to see how the first feelings I mentioned above covered over the others.
I had some moments of great insight when I woke up this morning. I saw how emotional uncovery and recovery work has made me quite self centred and self focused. I think this kind of focus is necessary for a time when we are working deeply on our narcissistic issues and injuries from the past. I was thinking this morning about something that is spoken about a lot in the AA fellowship, self centred fear. The fear of not getting what we want and need, the fear of others running over us or blocking our expression in some way, the fear of never having enough or being enough. These fears are very real and may come out of the shadow experiences deep in our childhood in which all of these things happened to us. But what I am also seeing lately is that when I stay more centred in a feeling of abundance, the feeling that not everything needs to centred around me and my needs in others lives I am freed up for a much happier and more purposeful life.
When I see that I can often meet my own needs from within then I am in a freer place to reach out and extend the love I feel inside for others to others, which is very different to walking around all the time with the feeling that I am empty inside and don’t have anything to give and must be filled up by other’s attention, validation, recognition or acceptance.
All of those feelings of wandering and looking outside, lost and alone are starting to recede a lot more now that I have acknowledged my deep grief around never getting what I really wanted and needed in my family. Coming out of denial and peeling back the layers of the onion that formed around my deeper issues has been a very, very long slow and drawn our process. And I have learned increasingly that I can dwell within my aching heart until the pain transforms into something more bittersweet.
I went out on an outing with my Mum yesterday. And for the first time I saw very clearly the inner child in her, the one who got no attention ever, was pushed behind the back door literally and then had to learn to survive on her own. We had gone out with a family friend who has known my Mum for years and she said to me after we dropped her off. “God she is so fiercely independent.” “Yes, I said it comes out of her childhood.” She passed a lot of it onto us, her children, the hidden dependency needs got thrust into the shadows and have dogged us . I thought then of my Mum not as the mother who didn’t ever give me much of what I needed but of the mother who tried her best to the limits of her capacity. I felt really sad but I also felt an inner acceptance. I knew my pain was real and that in the end there was no cure for it but to feel it and acknowledge it so that I can go forward. I no longer want to be an endlessly self obsessed person. I know that my joy in life in future years will be based on what I can give rather than on what I receive because within me I receive everything when I know, love, understand, nurture and accept myself warts and all totally from within.
I will not exhaust myself with care giving but I will no longer just stand alone as I was conditioned to, because as a human I know now and my deep pain has taught me how much I need connection and long to give and connect from a whole hearted inwardly in touch place. I think this is always what I have wanted and seen as my life purpose. Now I am just more in touch with it since the pain of my past is integrating.