As I tried to think of a title for this article, I had a little battle going on inside my head. While part of me was trying to be creative, another part wanted me to be logical. Yet another part was just critical of all the ideas anyone else came up with. And then someone said, “I’m ready to play, let’s take a break!” Sometimes it’s amazing that we get anything done.
There are times when the voices inside get so loud it can be hard for us to hear the quiet, loving voice of God. Sometimes we may even mistake those voices for the voice of Truth.
Mary Steege writes in her book, The Spirit-Led Life, “This kind of internal dialogue is not the exception, it’s the rule. It isn’t specific to those who experience traumatic events of childhood neglect, nor is it unique to the realm of the mentally ill…it is the norm in human makeup. It’s not pathology; it’s part of being human. It’s who we are; it’s how we come.” According to Internal Family Systems, having parts is not the problem. The only problem comes when those parts become shut down or try to take over. Then we either lose a very important piece of our self or chaos reigns.
How often do we try to exile a wounded little part of our self? It is so much easier to blame them, shame them, or just make them go away than it is to give them a safe place to tell their stories. Isn’t it the way with all relationships? When someone is hurting and not handling that pain in the most mature and healthy way, it is difficult to stay present and listen without judgment. Yet that is exactly what we need to learn to do with those voices inside. You see, they need to be loved.
They are us. WE need to be loved. So we have some choices. We can continue to reject our own parts and look to another to be the voice of the good, loving parent. Been there. Done that. It didn’t work very well. In the first place, it opens us up to becoming dependent and vulnerable in ways that can easily be unhealthy. In the second place, we cannot REALLY receive someone else’s love until we decide that our own parts are WORTHY of being loved. As long as we continue to shut them down or shut them up, we will have a battle inside. We will not be able to open our self to the love of another or the love of God because we are functioning from the belief that we do not deserve to be loved…at least that “bad” part doesn’t.
When we do not allow our parts to have a safe, loving environment in which heal, we become our own abuser. We take over where a previous abuser may have left off. Mired in the belief that we are bad and undeserving of good things, we perpetuate the cycle of victimization upon our self. When someone else comes along and treats us that way, it mirrors the inner beliefs we hold and thus we find it acceptable. Maybe even comfortable. Even if it does hurt.
How do we move out of that pattern?
That has been the topic for the last 8 episodes of Beyond Abuse Radio. We have been talking about lots of tools and theories to help us heal those inner children. Mike Garner joined us for two episodes sharing the technique he has developed to help the “inner kids.” First he shares about the technique and how it works and then, on the second show, he actually brings someone on and does a role play to demonstrate it. You can listen to them here and here.
On two of the episodes we discuss a couple of tools that are specifically prayer based. One is called Theophostic Prayer Ministry (listen here) and Share Immanuel with Chris and Jen Coursey (here), two things that I use in my practice and on myself. Both focus on inviting God into the conversation and asking Him to show us our false belief system and then speak His truth to us.
We also were privileged to have two master therapists on the program to share the tools of their choice in addressing our inner wounded parts. Juanita Ryan talked about Integrating our Fragmented Pieces (right here) and Donelyn Miller did a show on EMDR( listen here).
Last night’s show was nothing short of life-giving. Mary Steege talked about Internal Family Systems and the way this tool is being used for healing not only of individuals but in communities as well. You can find that show here.
Whew! It has been an amazing series, and we’re not even done yet. Coming up are two more episodes with even MORE tools. Matt and Fawn Bradley will be talking about Attachment Treatment (June 26th) and then Fawn will be with us again to discuss Neurological Reorganization (July 10th).
All this is to say that you are NOT ALONE! We all have inner conflict to some extent and there are so many ways to help us find peace and wholeness. The goal is to learn how to heal the internal polarizations inside and bring all of our parts into harmonious relationship. We can create an environment of love, acceptance, and good communication, becoming our own good parent. We can learn the skills that perhaps were not modeled for us when we were young. We can stop listening to the false beliefs inside and start a new pattern of unconditional love and acceptance for our self. And maybe, just maybe, it will flow through us into the lives of our loved ones around us. Is it time to find a new way to relate to yourself and others? Listening to this series might help you explore the tools and support to do just that.
Another resource is the four hour, low-cost workshop I will be doing in Scotts Valley on August 2nd called Creating Healthy Connections. It’s all about helping you to move into thriving connection with yourself, others, and God. Find new options and resources to help you learn communication skills to create healthy intimacy, know when to choose to trust, understand skills for creating secure attachments, and more. You can learn more here.
If you are ready to move beyond survival and thrive you might want to check out the Living from the Heart course. You can fill those longings for deep, authentic relationships and spiritual depth as you grow in your awareness of what motivates and restricts your thinking, feelings, and actions. This course will move you beyond self-protective patterns into relating heart to heart. It is nine months full of weekly instruction, group coaching, and daily exercises providing that safe place to heal from the past and build the thriving relationships you were created for. You can find out more on this page.