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#427724 - 03/11/13 04:31 AM Who/What is the inner-self/child?
si Offline

Registered: 08/11/12
Posts: 46
Loc: Utah
I hear about the "Inner-self" and "Inner-Child" a lot but I don't know what to think about those concepts. It seems the Inner-Self is who we used to be before the abuse, or someone that we're supposed to be healing. It seems to just be a nicer word for describing the pre-victimized self, and therefore someone that we should've been but someone we wont be because of the abuse. By trying to connect with that Inner-Self then hopefully we can become that person we were before the abuse, or become someone "normal".

It seems that the Inner-child is our emotional baggage we carried as kids, but we personify that baggage in the form of our kid-self. It seems that the idea of connecting with our Inner-child is actually us connecting with that emotional baggage which would include fear, shame, guilt, confusion etc. By connecting with those emotions, and having those emotions personified into our kid-self, we are able to look at and feel those emotions from a different perspective, and ultimately deal with those feelings of hurt by interacting with out kid-self.

I'm not sure if my interpretation is correct, but this is how it seems to me from reading forums and chats. I struggle with this though, because some of us were really young when CSA occurred. My Inner-self or Pre-Victim self was 4 and younger. How am I suppose to find my "true" self, or someone I should've been when that person died off long ago and I don't have enough memories to guess how he would have grown up. I can connect with the Inner-Child because I can personify and feel the emotions, but I struggle with the Inner-Self concept.

I became a victim at that age, and grew up with those emotional scars as if proof of being victimized. I can sprinkle sugar on it and call myself a survivor not a victim, but what's in a name? I'm this victim/survivor and will always be, I can't go back in time and change events. However I can improve my situation, I just don't know how. It seems connecting with the Inner-self is the best way, but that just doesn't make sense to me.

Thoughts anyone?

#427725 - 03/11/13 05:05 AM . [Re: si]
Life's A Dream Offline

Registered: 08/25/11
Posts: 886
Loc: Bouvet Island

Edited by Life's A Dream (04/21/13 10:41 PM)

#427728 - 03/11/13 06:51 AM Re: Who/What is the inner-self/child? [Re: si]
traveler Offline

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 4166
Loc: resettling in NE Ohio
i think it may be different for various people. i have never seen a description or formula for how it is "supposed" to work. for me - i have several past versions of my yonger self that i have different feeling for. i have never been able to form a continuous time-line along which i can see them morph into one another. they are each quite distinct and separate. these are not like multiple personalities - but differently-defined self-images that are like photos of various stages of my life.

the youngest is about 5 - pre-abuse - still innocent, carefree, happy, untouched and perfect. i feel an awe and wonder and nostalgia toward him - because he seems so far-off, inaccessible and unknowable. he is separated from me by the years, experiences and a disconnection caused by trauma. i have a hard time even remembering him - though there are a few isolated memories from his time. i have never wanted to connect with him because i have felt that i would pollute something pure by contact with my damaged state.

the next is the terrified 6-8-year-old crying for the loss of his mom's affection, the terror of the step-dad's raging violence, and the mysteriously confusing feelings of wrongness, fascination and repulsion from being exposed to sights and sensations he was not ready for. for him i feel compassion, regret, and a protective resentment towards those who beat him, verbally savaged him, and refused him the intervention he deserved. once i "saw" him, i had no problem in empathizing with him and connecting emotionally.

then there is the 11-13-year-old - precociously forced into sexual maturity, objectified, exploited and savagely attacked by bullies. for him i at first felt disgust, contempt and rejection. my biggest leap of healing related to these inner children was when i was able to recognize his painful and toxic self-loathing and begin to accept, pity and love him. that was a difficult step - but did my present self a lot of good.

i have never had conversations with these younger versions of me - as i have heard some do - though i did once write a letter to my past self - of a list of things that i wish someone had told me when i needed the comfort and guidance of the knowledge, understanding and insights that i have gained through my journey and the beginning stages of the healing process.

so - for me - it is a matter of self-acceptance and self-cherishing and self-nurturing - that is helping to make up for some of the emotional deficits in my past. it's almost like an interior self-parenting or mentoring, in a way.

hope this helps. i'm sure others will see it differently from their experiences - and i hope they will add their perspectives.

"My experience has shown me that I all too often tend to deny that which lies behind, but as I still believe, that which is denied cannot be healed." Brennan Manning, "All is Grace - A Ragamuffin Memoir"

#427733 - 03/11/13 08:02 AM Re: Who/What is the inner-self/child? [Re: si]
SoccerStar Offline

Registered: 10/15/12
Posts: 929

I think you are right when you describe it as "interacting with and confronting the emotions felt as a child." If the abuse is over and you can functionally go out and get a cup of coffee, then modern life isn't really the source of your problems - rather, the fear, shame, confusion, disgust, etc, all are experienced as felt / remembered from childhood. And confronting them means confronting and validating yourself at your most helpless and powerless.

Personally I thought it was all a crock, until I'd stabilized enough to feel normal-ish but would plunge into mindless terror upon every thought of when I was attacked. Those were really, experientially the feelings of a child. Integrating them into an adult mentality, if for nothing else than being able to use adult-functional calming / reassurance mechanisms, is tricky. Workin' on it.

My story

"Don't think it hasn't been a little slice of Heaven just because it hasn't!" --Bugs Bunny

#427767 - 03/11/13 05:56 PM Re: Who/What is the inner-self/child? [Re: si]
bodyguard8367 Offline

Registered: 05/16/12
Posts: 1159
Loc: ""

Edited by bodyguard8367 (02/26/14 09:31 PM)
Edit Reason: SILENCED


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