"What we feel is our "emotional truth"
and it does not necessarily have anything to do with either facts or the
emotional energy that is Truth with a capital "T" - especially when we our
reacting out of an age of our inner child.
If we are reacting out of what our emotional
truth was when we were five or nine or fourteen, then we are not capable
of responding appropriately to what is happening in the moment; we are
not being in the now.
When we are reacting out of old tapes based
on attitudes and beliefs that are false or distorted, then our feelings
cannot be trusted.
When we are reacting out of our childhood
emotional wounds, then what we are feeling may have very little to do
with the situation we are in or with the people with whom we are dealing
in the moment.
In order to start be-ing in the moment in
a healthy, age-appropriate way it is necessary to heal our "inner child."
The inner child we need to heal is actually our "inner children" who have
been running our lives because we have been unconsciously reacting to
life out of the emotional wounds and attitudes, the old tapes, of our
(All quotes in this color are from
Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls)
In my September article here, Emotional
Discernment - taking power away from the fear, I talked about learning
to take power away from the emotional minefield within.
"By starting to use some emotional discernment
to recognize that the feeling of life and death urgency is not reality
- it is just a feeling - we can start to take some power away from the fear.
As we start taking power away from this mutant variety of fear, we can
start to see ourselves and the situation with more clarity so that we can
begin to disarm the emotional minefield within. We can start taking
power away from those "buttons.""
"I will talk about the emotional discernment
that is involved in disarming those buttons in my November article."
As things unfolded I ended up doing something
a little different for the last two articles, so this is the one I promised
- better late than never.
The emotional buttons / mines within us
are what I refer to as the inner child places. I talk about inner child
work in the inner child healing section of my site.
What is so important in doing the inner
work is to start learning to have some discernment at how we relate to our
own inner process. To start realizing that these inner child buttons
- like the critical parent voice - are just parts of our psyche, they do
not define who we are.
When one of our inner child wounds is activated,
it feels like our total being - our total reality. It feels like
the feeling we are experiencing is our total truth. It is not.
It is a part of us reacting to a wound from the past that we have not known
how to heal. In order to take power away from that wound it is necessary
to bring it to consciousness and own the feelings involved.
We all have a set of basic, core wounds
attached to certain issues, such as: abandonment; betrayal;
rejection; feeling discounted and invalidated - not heard or respected;
feeling unlovable and unworthy; etc. The nature of codependency
causes us to repeat patterns - to be attracted to, and attract to us, people
who will recreate our core wounding.
So, we have the core wounds and then a bunch
of similar wounds piled on top of those initial buttons because of our
history. When a wound is triggered, that feeling of being rejected
or abandoned has a great deal of power because we have experienced it so
many times in our life. There is nothing shameful about being wounded.
It is not because something is wrong with our being - it is because we
learned to how to relate to our self in childhood from people who were wounded
in their childhood.
In our codependency, we reacted to extremes.
The overreact or underreact, blame them or blame me, dynamics of the disease.
Thus when a wound is triggered, when someone steps on one of our internal
emotional mines, we either explode at the person whose behavior has recreated
that wounding - or we stuff it to keep from overreacting. Either
way, we are not doing anything to heal those wounds - and we are being emotionally
dishonest in the situation.
Once we develop some detachment so we can
observe our reactions with some objectivity, we can start practicing some
discernment. We can start to get in touch with the five year old
or the thirteen year old or whatever, that is the key to disarming that
By accessing the wisdom to see that our
reaction is coming from that inner child place, we can start building a relationship
with that part of us that is based upon love instead of fear and shame.
We can start owning how painful our childhood was, and begin doing the grief
process work that we need to do to release some of the stored emotional
energy relating to that wound.
We can start owning those different parts
of us by: taking a conscious look at what our experience was and
validating that we had reason to feel the way we did; consciously
owning and affirming that we were wounded then because our parents were
wounded - not because of any inherent defect in our being; allowing
ourselves to cry for that child that we were, and/or do anger work if that
is what is appropriate; and start making amends to that part of ourselves
by developing a loving, nurturing relationship with the child within us who
is still trapped in the feelings from that time.
We can start being our own loving parent,
by owning those inner child places within us. By stopping the abuse
and criticism from critical parent voice, and learning to relate to our
emotional wounds from a place of compassion and love, we can become an
empowered adult who has choices in life. We can stop reacting and
start having the ability to choose how to respond - response ability - to
life situations and other people from a mature, spiritually aligned, empowered,
recovering adult perspective.
It is possible to take responsibility for
the things we do have the power to change - our own attitudes, behaviors,
and feelings - and change our relationship with the things we do not have
the power to change. That is the key to developing some serenity,
some inner peace, in our lives.