One of our photographers on the Grateful for challenge sent in the photo below of his mother. What he had written for it to be included on this weeks ‘grateful for’ actually felt like a topic on its own. I felt inspired with his words, they felt powerful and there was clear intention about forgiveness, using gratitude. It made me think of my own parents (above, featured photo), Inner Child work and the challenge of forgiveness.
I am attaching a photograph of my mother, it was taken when she in the RAF and well before I was born. It was only given to me this year when I went to see my late brother’s partner.I know that it is simple to say that without her, I wouldn’t be here, but it is a fact. I have done some soul searching over the last few days and although she had her faults, she was still my mum. I have some fond memories of her before the demon drink took hold and I know that she cared for me and protected me when I was younger, so, it’s time to let the bitterness go and just be grateful for her being my mum.
Words are powerful, and its really taken me a long time to understand this concept. By understand, I mean absorb it and start talking more positively. I found the hardest person to talk positively about was me.
I know I am not alone in this struggle as I have sat (and walked) through 540 client hours to date. Transactional Analysis (TA) really helped me challenge the relationship with myself (Free Your Inner Child) and is behind the work I do with clients in my Inner Child Therapy Groups.
Briefly, the negative self-talk comes from years of negative talk about or to me by adults in my childhood. As a child, I didn’t have the prefrontal cortex part of the brain developed until my teens, therefore I didn’t have adult logic to filter out what was true or not.
As an adult I do, but first I had to catch what I was saying to myself. Not as easy as it sounds. The other week someone mentioned to me that they had arthritis and I responded that Louise Hay attributes this dis-ease to self critism. ‘I don’t criticise myself, I think I am a Queen’ joked this person. I smiled and challenged ‘what you never say…’oh you idiot’ when you do something wrong?”. ‘Oh yeah, of course. Everyone does that’. OK – if you do this, that is self-criticism.
In TA this part of us is called the ‘Critical Parent’. In a healthy state, it is constructive and has an element of a risk assessor – which is actually useful. It may challenge us for self development or keep us employed or out of prison for example. In an unhealthy state, it is verbal abuse. More so, it creates your world in adult hood – this can lead to clinical depression.
The Critical Parent is in cahoots with our Adapted Child part within. The healthier state of the Adapted Child, knows how to behave in society and obeys the law, has a code of ethics and stays within the lines (within reason). The unhealthy Adapted Child believes the negative self talk and has rules to obey. This part can ‘act out’, or ‘act in’ behaviour – which may be to say or do hurtful things to others, or to self. My Adapted Child had to stay and listen to people talking at me, and obeyed a rule that it is rude to walk off. This part of me was strong, so it meant I allowed people to talk at me to the detriment of my own self. One person talked at me from 2pm until 7am – yes you did read that correctly. I missed a nights sleep and a rare night off from not having to look after my foster daughter, one I had planned for some quality time with me at home. Again, I know I am not alone when I give you this example.
Choosing to forgive a parent or parents, who have abused (and abuse includes a parent using a child to get their adult needs met) is a challenge for a lot of us as it means forgiving self too. Do we deserve forgiveness?
Hear what it is that you are saying about yourself. Challenge the negative self talk. Ask if its true? It is helpful? Is it kind? Is it something you can change about you? Would you say this to a friend?
Following instinct, I contacted my first husband a few years ago my intention to clear the air of any ill will. I had not connected with him for a decade and I still had his hurtful comments in my head and continued to say them to myself long after I cut contact with him. I thought, believed even, he still meant every word he had said back then. Now in his forties, he apologised for his behaviour in his twenties, and I accepted the apolgy, actually a lot quicker than I thought possible. The thing that hit me was that he did not think those things anymore, but I did. So I had to forgive myself if I was going to step out of this.
That experience taught me that I could do the same with the parental voices in my head. For those of you, who may never get the apology from a parent (or from a ex-partner) for whatever reason, the power to stop the abuse lies within you not them. Hear what it is that you are saying about yourself. Challenge the negative self talk. Ask if its true? It is helpful? Is it kind? Is it something you can change about you? Would you say this to a friend?
If we can get to a place of gratitude we have accomplished recovery. There are always positives from negatives. We are the only ones that can heal our wounded inner child and begin to champion them. This is a second childhood if you will, not one that is dubbed ‘the mid-life crisis’ but the one where you do feel your feelings, and one where you can use your imagination to creative wonderful things. One where you ask all your questions and are in wonder at the world. Once we can do this, we can also appreciate that our parents were wounded children too. You may have to dig deep to find the positives and the gratitude, but if your inner child knows you got you, you are parenting you, you will get there. If you choose.
Furthermore, in doing this amazing piece of inner work on you, you are also helping with healing woundings on your ancestral line (s) and perhaps this may heal the wounding for more souls than just yours. In doing your inner work, you are helping to reduce what is being played out on the world stage. How amazing are you.