When it comes to therapy, there are hundreds of different modalities and philosophies on treatment, and this last two weeks my therapist and I have tried a new one. I’ve heard about Inner Child Healing from friends who had done some work in that area, but it always seemed a bit “hippie dippie” to me. You can’t change the past, only learn from it, so going back and “talking” to my childhood self was never something I thought about.
I started the session feeling intensely awkward, and my therapist walked me through some breathing techniques in order to get me into a relaxed state. She then tried to build a scenario where I was walking up to a child on a path, and as I got closer, I was to realize it was myself. Here I was at 33 years old, trying to envision myself talking to my 5 year old self. I have ZERO concept of what I looked like at 5. I have pictures of course, but to have to think of it on the fly was tough. How many of us actually remember a random day i the park when 5?
It was interesting to say the least, and I felt unsure during any times that silence seemed to break. My therapist would tell me to let her know when my inner child wanted to do something or said something, and I began to fear that I was being too quite for too long. Perhaps my 5 year old self should learn to speak up more. She only said one thing….”He hurts me.”
Ironically I don’t remember my father being abusive at that point in my life, but I don’t have any specific memories from that time to begin with. I remember there are things I definitely enjoyed, but I can’t recall actually doing them. For instance, I know I loved going to the park after it rained. I wander around the baseball infield looking at animal tracks, trying to guess what came through the park. But I don’t have any specific memory of doing this.
Out of nowhere, “I” changed. I went from 5 years old to 9 out of the blue. I could care less about finding foot prints in the sand, and just wanted to climb trees, run around and go crazy like a typical 9 year old. I could barely keep up with this “me,” as she always seemed to be 10 steps ahead, and moving on to the next thing before I finished the first. I was an active kid who didn’t care about anything and who’s only desire was to run away and escape. My therapist thought this indicated some very important moments in life, and I told her this age was when the abuse began in my memory. This is when after an intense argument, horrible words about what a terrible person I was or how I was ugly/unlovable/fat/lazy (take your pick) and/or possibly some physical violence, I was then forced to sit with my father. I was forbidden to leave the house and sometimes the room. I had to sit with the man who told me how worthless I was and watch him enjoy his day. So when I had the chance to escape, I would. I made up make-believe games where I was taken away.
I joined Peter Pan and the Lost Boys on trips around Neverland. I explored the islands in the middle of the lake by myself after school. I pretend to be a runaway orphan living in the woods, making friends with the animals, and I NEVER wanted to go home (unless I had to use the bathroom. lol.). All the games I played involved escaping life and my home in some way.
The second time we tried this therapy, she asked me to envision myself older. She wanted me to see myself as a teen. That “me” was quite….outspoken. She definitely had a lot to say, and it was mostly about me. She was pissed. She didn’t like that not only did she have to hear horrible she was from dad, but she had to hear it from me as well. I didn’t say nice things. I wasn’t her friend, and I was mean to her all the time. If it wasn’t dad telling me how worthless she was, it was me, and she didn’t appreciate it. She was definitely indifferent towards me and didn’t really want to hear how I was sorry, how I would protect her, etc. She wanted me to prove it.
These sessions I’m still on the fence about. I’m not really sure what to think of them. It hasn’t helped my self talk, except now I guilt myself for those nasty thoughts I have about myself. 12 year old me must be pissed. Lol. They did, however, give me insight into why I was the flighty 9 year old and the pissy teen. It was interesting to try these new modalities, and perhaps we’ll continue it at some point. If anything, it gave me insight into myself rather than healing past issues. That alone is valuable.
Have you tried any interesting therapies? Is there anything that helps you heal old wounds?