By February 10, 2013 Read More →

LETTERS TO LOVEFRAUD: On a healing path with my inner child

Editor’s note: The following post was written by the Lovefraud reader “Adelade.”

The first epiphany of my recovery from the exspath’s damage was when my astute counselor identified my “shame-core.” In that same session, it was suggested that I read Healing The Shame That Binds You, by Bradshaw. Since I was grasping for any and every lifeline, I undertook this suggestion with a tenacity that, even in retrospect, still astounds me. I needed answers and my counselor rather shoved me in that direction, mercilessly. I use the term, “mercilessly,” because it seemed harsh at the time, but it was a truly caring and merciful shove.

In a nutshell, my “shame-core” was a system of beliefs that caused me to feel that I was unworthy of love, undeserving of acceptance, and wholly invalid. Why and how this core of beliefs was formed isn’t as important as the work it took (and, still takes) to dispel those flawed beliefs. The work is not pleasant or comfortable.

Hello “inner child”

Meeting my “inner child” was one of the hardest exercises in recovery that I have undertaken to date. It was as grievous as any story that I’ve read on this site, or heard in the news, where an innocent child has been deliberately damaged beyond recovery by an adult. Although this was an emotional exercise, it was very, very real in the sense that the child that I was had, indeed, been wounded and impaired by the actions of adults that I was obligated to depend upon. I was meeting that part of myself that was unwashed, unkempt, hungry, frightened, lonely, terrorized, and ridiculed. I was meeting that part of my personality that had suffered what no child ever should, and it was wholly dreadful.

Back and forth dialogues with my inner child

The “inner child” work has resulted in a dialogue with myself, on occasions. When I am reacting to triggers, the dialogue begins. Although it’s not the name of my “inner child,” I reference this dialogue process with the character in Tolkien’s The Hobbit novel and Lord of The Rings trilogy named “Smeagol.” It’s a back and forth discussion between a ranting, demanding, and confused child, and a rational, fact-based adult. My “inner child” often throws tantrums of wants, and it is my job to speak objectively to that screaming and kicking child that we can’t always have what we want, but that she will be provided with everything that she needs.

My “inner child” does not receive corporal punishment. Nor does she receive ridicule for expressing her wants, her fears, her hopes, her dreams, or her true needs. These are things that she experienced in a literal sense, and there is no room in this arduous work to repeat past hurts with cruelty. At times, I grab her shoulders and sternly tell her, “Stop it. Stop this and look into my eyes. I am not going to abandon you and leave you hungry, cold, or fearful. We’re going to get through this, together. I still love you without conditions you are deserving and worthy of love and acceptance.” And, I take this child into a strong, reassuring, and meaningful embrace.

Inner child feelings are real

Sometimes the “inner child” will apologize for her tantrum, and other times she doesn’t. She’s not obligated to apologize for her feelings, because those feelings are real, even if they aren’t based upon fact, and my love and acceptance of this child exists without conditions. Expectations are quite another matter, and are expressed without emotion, anger, tedium, or ridicule. And, oddly enough, the expectations are typically met.

The character of Smeagol had options. He could have chosen to do the “right thing,” stand accountable for his choices and actions and turn his back on his addiction to the Ring of Power. But the “Gollum” personality was more persuasive in its arguments. The psychopathic language and manipulations of this personality are crystal clear in Tolkien”˜s writings.

My “inner child” could have easily remained wallowing in fear, hunger, filth, and self deprecation for all eternity if I had ignored it and allowed it. But, my experiences with various sociopaths throughout my lifetime have taught me one singularly painful truth: I DID have choices, even if I didn’t know about them. The fear-based thinking and decision-making of my “inner child” obliterated all options with high-strung emotional reaction, and any recovery that I make will be inspired from this simple fact: I don’t have to live in fear of ridicule, abandonment, dismissal, or invalidation, ever again.

Good, and not-so-good, days

This, above all things, has been instrumental in minute-by-minute recovery. Some days, the recovery is actually notable. Other days, there is no progress. But, the days of recovery are beginning to increase in length, duration, and intensity. The “bad” days are becoming simple reminders that I will be in recovery for the rest of my days.

On the healing path with my inner child

I certainly —most certainly have moments of supreme doubt, crippling fears, extreme anxiety, and self-sabotage. Of course I do. I’m a human being and it’s “allowed.”

Today, instead of beating myself up and re-affirming that I “don’t deserve” progress and recovery, I remove the emotion from the equation and tell my screaming, kicking, spitting and scratching “inner child” to stop, listen, and recover. Those boundaries are firm, in place, and my “inner child” is responding to common sense, objective observation, and my own limitless love and nurturing.

This translates to my real-life interactions in that I am not obligated to tolerate a second of toxicity from any other human being because my “inner child” is “feeling” unloved, unworthy, unfed, unbathed, invalidated, abandoned, or ridiculed. She has finally learned that those are simply “feelings” and that she is, in fact, loved, worthy, fed, bathed, validated, not abandoned, and never ridiculed. My “inner child” is beginning to realize that she doesn’t need to seek the approval and acceptance of anyone other than mine because she is me, and I am her. We are one and hand-in-hand on a truly amazing healing path.

I was very taken aback and angered by the tone of some of Raggedy Ann’s comments on the first thread I saw her post upon. I can see absolutely why her posts can come across as inflammatory and / or unempathetic. However – and I have directly addressed this to RA – I have a very close friend with Asperger’s Syndrome and after reading a few of RA’s posts and raising this with her RA did post that she has had a diagnosis of Asperger’s. Until I read up extensively on AS I was frequently at a loss to understand why my friend would communicate in the way he did. I recognise – and again I have said this directly to RA – many of the characteristics of AS in RA’s posts. I’m not sure that assuming RA is a psychopath and / or that her intentions are malevolent is appropriate or necessary. But again, I do understand why her posts can be baffling and can provoke anger, they have in me too. But we aren’t all neurologically wired the same way. It MAY be the case that RA simply communicates as she does, without intended malice. I want to make a plea for that possibility to remain on the table as I know how my friend has been ostracised throughout his life.

I initially read the RA post on my phone and the reversed text came up as unreadable code. I now , having read it on my desktop, am convinced that RA simply meant to say to BBE, you still are that happy spontaneous child and you can reconnect to that child and by doing so in some way eradicate the interim years. Yes, I can see that RA in using the backwards text has chosen an unconventional way to express the point, but I see no malice or game playing here, myself. BBE can bring this up with RA himself of course if he feels the need to.

TeaLight, I used to be an AOL Chat Host back in the days when internet communications were in their infancy. That makes it about 18 year ago. The main thing that I have learned about internet communications and myself, personally, is that there is a distinct lack of visual information and vocal tone. Add that to the fact that anyone can present any persona that they wish with a relative cloak of anonymity, and there is a “virtual borscht” of people who use online venues for purposes that you and I (and, most people) cannot fathom.

Because most of us present truthful representations of ourselves, we “believe” that others are just as honest and forthcoming with us – one of the flawed beliefs that allowed me to be so easily targeted by the exspath.

I’ve altered my beliefs to reflect “facts” rather than “feelings.” I know a number of people who were diagnosed with mild-to-moderate Asperger’s, and the majority of these adults take great pains to address their conditions.

Whatever is going on with RA is not my business. My business is to protect myself from toxicity, regardless of any diagnosis. It is possible for someone who has been diagnosed with Asperger’s to present a sincere apology if the crippling social issues associated with their condition have caused another person to feel uncomfortable or were interpreted as rude, etc. I’ve seen it and experienced it both in “real life” with face-to-face interactions, and in online interactions with diagnosed Asperger’s.

For me, personally, I am not obligated to sort through someone else’s issues, especially when one person intentionally hijacks any thread and produces outrage, discomfort, and attention. I’m not recovered enough to entertain this, and I know it. I am still easily triggered by article topics and, sometimes, responses. I know my OWN limitations and I’m simply choosing to avoid the toxicity, regardless of WHAT the cause might be.

I come to this site to learn and, hopefully, to give back, not to defend my positions or allow anyone to make me “feel” obligated to explain myself. I’ve done enough of that throughout my lifetime.

Brightest blessings

EDIT ADD: To clarify the cloak of anonymity that the internet provides, there was a man in the AOL Chat Room that I was moderating who had been diagnosed with cancer whose wife had just had a baby, and he underwent a bone marrow transplant – at that time, it was a VERY dicey procedure and laptops were still an idea-in-progress. Throughout these months of his ordeals, many of the Chat “regulars” sent this man money and gifts because he had made frequent and vague references to his financial situation.

One evening, he was talking about this bone marrow transplant that had been performed only the previous day. One of the other “regulars” made a comment that he was posting on a computer after such a harrowing procedure. The man replied that he had been released to return home, and there were many speculations and questions about how any surgeon would allow a transplant patient out of the hospital with possible tissue-rejection, infections, etc. All hell broke loose and many of the other “regulars” were defensive and outraged that anyone would question this man, given all that he had endured, to date.

A couple of months after this exchange, this fellow simply disappeared from the Chat. A short time after he vanished, I received a telephone call from the FBI demanding all of my AOL Chat Logs because the “man” had actually been a WOMAN living in Denver that had developed several AOL profiles of men and women and had been found murdered in her apartment.

I gave up the Chat Host thing, for good, after that.

Tea Light ~

I don’t think anyone is diagnosing here, simply stating facts about what has been said and the manner in which it was said. Just because we are on a forum that deals with issues surrounding sociopaths, does not mean everytime we call someone out for inappropriate, unacceptable behaviors, we are labeling them a sociopath.

I live with autism every day. I am raising my grandson. He is diagnosed with high functioning autism, and has many Asperger’s characteristics. I am teaching him, and I strongly believe, that his diagnosis may be the REASON he does some of the behaviors, but it can never be an EXCUSE for those behaviors.

By the way, did I miss something here, has RA stated she has Aspergers? If not, I repeat, I don’t think any of us have any business diagnosing anyone with anything. I do think we have every right to stand up for ourselves and say I don’t appreciate what you said or the way you said it.

Truthy. I have the greatest respect for you and you are not, as you say, under any obligation to sort through any one else’s issues. Much love x

Hey Tea Light ~

I read my post to you and it may have sounded a little “snarky” or short, I did not mean it that way, at all.

I have made my statements directly to Raggedy Ann also and requested that she simply leave me alone. I don’t play games and I don’t like people who do.

I honestly didn’t know she had mentioned Aspergers, I did also recall her mentioning several diagnosis in some of her many posts. I agree with Truthy 100% – it is not my job and certainly not my desire to sort through anyone’s issues. I prefer, at this point to simply ignore.

Thanks for responding and taking the time to look up the other thread.

Milo, great work on that thread re: the flagging up of WAVE. I didn’t take your post as short at all, so no problems! Have a good day x

So, anyone doing any “inner child” work?

I am appalled at the attacks going on directed towards other posters. I have deleted some comments.

It is no one’s business to label anyone with anything.

Please remember that we have one rule at Lovefraud: We do not attack other commenters. I have seen numerous attacks recently and it must stop. Anyone who continues to engage in attacks will be banned. And I mean anyone. Some people have already been notified privately.

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