I came across this article and thought it informative. For one, I have been doing inner child work recently and re-parenting. I had never realized it was called re-parenting and more so its importance! There are a few words in trauma work that I would like to pay attention to: assumptions, lens of perception, inner child work, and re-parenting. Now, I wouldn't say I have the full expertise on trauma work - its root cause, symptoms or the answers, but I am learning as I go along this journey, reading up on the experts' articles and research, as well as looking into my own work dealing with trauma.
Our past shapes who we are now, and I couldn't agree more with my friend when she said this. We all grow up going through life's experiences, and that includes big or small traumatic life events. It could be experiencing grief and loss, being rejected or laughed at, bullied, made fun of, betrayed, or even accused for something you didn’t do. At a young age, we may not know how to articulate what we are feeling nor identify it. All we know is that the event made us sad, in pain (hurt) or angry. Understanding the hurt we feel, putting it into words, feeling the loss or perhaps the pain in our tummies like a blow in the gut or in our chest - that sudden emptiness or longing, is not easy for any infant or child. It could also be that the adults have no idea how to elicit it out from us or maybe they are not equipped to help us process those sad, painful or hurtful events. Perhaps they are not able to give you the care and attention that you need either due to physical or emotional unavailability or understanding. What about feeling unsafe and afraid, perhaps there has been violence at home, or a parent leaving after having a argument, and you feel afraid and sad suddenly, but you are not quite sure why.
The stress of that incident puts you in a survival mode. If you read about stress and it's flight, fight or freeze syndrome, this would be a freeze phase If all these negative experiences do not find a way of being released from the system, it will find a way of manifesting itself sooner or later. We tend to be quite good at repressing emotions and "forgetting" an event - it is usually kept in the unconscious. However, the body will always remember the experiences as it is. Emotions that are suppressed for a long time, will have a way of getting your attentions as it wants to be released for good. It may manifest itself in a physical way as an illness, ache and pain or emotionally / psychologically - feeling lousy, sad, depressed, anxious, disturbed, angry etc. It could be a situation you are currently facing and it seems to get the most out of you, causing you to be irritable, drained / tired, anxious, angry or depressed.
Let's talk about the outcomes of these traumatic events, where a child learns to "cope", survive or / and eventually represses the emotions. Survival is an important skill that is learn from the time the infant is born. If he (I am selecting the gender with the least alphabets to type out) is hungry, he cries. If he doesn't get the attention he needs, he will think not the world is not a safe place and he has to take care of himself. He makes its own assumptions. You wonder, at this age, how do they make these assumptions? That is what it is, assumptions because he doesn't know any better. Perhaps the mother was cooking or in a bathroom or is doing her laundry and is unable to attend to him immediately. This baby grows up with the lens of perception that he has to take care of himself, he can't depend or trust anyone. Think of the behavior it creates - people pleasers, insecure, perfectionists, trust issues and more. Interesting isn't it? That's another blog for another day.
So, how can we change these assumptions we have made for our selves that we believe in so deeply that it could be a stumbling block, or cause the many physical manifestations in our bodies. The mind, body and spirit are interconnected, if one is down, it does affect the other. There are different techniques out there that connects people with their past traumas and core beliefs, and elegantly enables them to transform them into supportive platforms for their lives. When we do inner child work, it is going back into that situation and remembering the trauma that our younger self was facing and we sit with them and work with the situation releasing the trauma from the event using a technique called Emotional Freedom Technique - a tapping method, so that these trauma / events / perceptions no longer cause a current day reaction or be a stumbling a block. In re-parenting, it means to sit with your inner child, to help him/her process the emotions, give him/her what he/she needs for that moment; tell him/her that he/she is not alone and you are always there for him/her. It is what any healthy parent would do for a child. Sometimes, all he/she needs is a hug. Visualization / imagery would be useful here.
It is a challenging work to see and feel the pain of the past that have been kept hidden in the subconscious for a long time, however when the stress is released from the body, and you could then process the event from a more constructive and compassionate view, you will feel a lot lighter. Most importantly, you won't be reacting to the same situation in the future. That saying, you must remember that the older we get, the more work we need to do. It is the amount of years, and months of negative (and positive) experiences + stress that you have collated. So, be patient, brave and inspired to keep working on yourself so that you emerge as the better you! Continue evolving and transforming each moment, each day.
We are indeed a product of our past learnings and the events we have lived through and that is what makes us wiser and stronger. Learn to practice kindness and compassion on your self . Re-parenting, inner child work and self love is an important work we need to do for healing our fragmented selves.