Steve started very powerful theme for Group at the beginning of this year — our “inner children”.
More specifically, dealing with and healing our inner child. He tells us that no one ever grows up; adults are simply big kids. Or rather, we harbour a child inside all of us.
Our “inner child” is the part of us that has yet to heal from the hurt and baggage and all that unfinished business.
This topic came up, appropriate to what the three of us ladies were facing. And it incidentally coincides with his upcoming book (second in a series — first one found here). You can see his writing on “inner children” on his blog here.
I meant to write immediately after the first session was over. Because it was so powerful. But I was obsessing with finding the right words. Nonetheless, I’ll detail it right now.
Finding her and naming her
During the first session on our “inner children”, Steve asked us to give our inner child a name. It can be the name we were referred to most when we were children. If it was a name with bad memories, or, if you were not referred to by any name per se growing up, you may give her a new name.
This experience was really new to me. I think it was really powerful; something shifted within me. I was moved with this new knowledge. A light bulb came on. Naming our inner child does help to solidify the existence and realness of our own inner child. And we will refer to her when speaking about her.
A and I named our inner child really easily — they were our pet names when we were children, what our family used to call us. Hers was “P” and mine was “L”. But J struggled. The names she was referred to had bad connotations. And she could not come up with a new name. Till today she has not really “named” her inner child yet.
We were asked if we could visualise her. And if each of our inner child was present at the session.
To me, this was super mysterious. I did not know what this all meant. I felt as if we were to “summon” our inner children from… god-knows-where???
Then, I had a vision. L is in a red dress, with doll-hair. She is hiding in a trash can, with the lid closed. Funnily enough, this trash can was shiny and looked new.
Steve said if L is in hiding, I can try visualising that I open the trash can lid and say hi to her.
Steve told us that the adult us can parent our inner children and provide for them where our own parents failed to. This was also a paradigm shift to me.
- We can meet our own unmet needs during childhood ourselves now as adults.
- So far it is hard for me to imagine big me and little me, and big me “caring” for little me. But I hope to get there someday.
- We have to tune in to see what our inner child is asking for, and parent her accordingly. So far, I have problems doing this. I don’t really have “a sense of” L yet. Or maybe I am subconsciously ignoring her existence.
Crying in threes
There was a point J started to tear. She said it was a big deal that she could cry in front of us. She never felt safe enough to do so previously. I’m glad her walls are starting to crumble. She talked about the shame she carries.
A then said the adult her wants to hold little J and not let anyone near her hurt her. To hold her for however long it takes. And then the three of us were in tears. I joked that Steve’s expertise was to make women cry!
Artful expression — minus the control
Steve said something we can try is to take crayons and draw out emotions with our non-dominant hand. This is akin to art therapy. If we cannot verbalise, drawing helps. And using our non-dominant hand is to lesson the control and probably mindfulness, and simply express ourselves without restraint.
He said we could email him our pieces along the way before our next session.
I was excited to try this out. But I did not manage to do it. In fact, none of us did 🙁
BUT I bought crayons on the day of the latest Group. I’m at least equipped now 🙂
There were a lot of emails exchanged amongst the three of us, since there was no Group for three weeks. There were times I cried in public reading these emails. The tears just start flowing uncontrollably.
During this time, I found a picture of myself as a little girl. Tears immediately welled up. I could not look at her. It felt as she and I are not the same person!
Whenever triggered, I always cry. Steve said before crying is due to sadness. I never knew if crying could be cause by anything else. But since he has said so, then so be it. I seem to be containing much sadness :”(