Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Inner Child

Special thanks to Anonymous for sharing this:

What is the inner child?

I guess I think of it as the real me- how I really feel deep inside.

Because I have learned to negate my feelings, sometimes how I feel is initially a mystery to me. But the feelings are there if I want to tap into them.

I just stop and ask myself "How do you really feel?" or "What do you really want?" or "Does that feel right?". I take a minute, or longer, to reflect. Often I get an answer right away. Other times, it takes longer. I give myself permission not to answer at all but this is usually not the case.

I think practice has made me more proficient and cut down the time it takes to know what I feel. I think that in the past I knew what I "felt" but let other things cloud it. I let fear, shame and guilt interfere with the normal process.

I talk to my inner child anytime, all the time, whenever. He always hears me.

I used to cry for "no apparent reason". But there is a reason. A big, important reason. I respect that even if I don't immediately understand it. And I am still coming to grips with the sadness. A sadness so intense and overwhelming that, as a child, I had to erase and deny it's very existence.

I don't minimize those feelings anymore. They are there for a reason. Accepting that has helped me to explore and understand them.

Good luck.


Check out the Orange County ACA website at: Orange County Adult Children

Monday, April 28, 2008

How To "Cope"

Kudos to Rick for sharing his discovery of with us.

This site:

Includes all kinds of help for dealing with issues and stress in your life including:

Tools for Handling Loss
Tools for Personal Growth
Tools for Relationships
Tools for Communication
Tools for Anger Work-Out
Tools for Handling Control Issues
Growing Down: Tools for Healing the Inner Child

There is a ton of useful info here. For example, under "Tools For Relationships" you will find these topics:

Establishing Healthy Boundaries in Relationships
Handling Relationship Barriers
Handling Conflict
Productive Problem Solving
Handling Fear of Rejection
Handling Need for Approval
Improving Assertive Behavior
Overcoming the Role of Victim or Martyr
Handling the Use of Power and Control
Handling Competition
Goal-Setting in Relationships
Handling Intimacy
Handling a Fantasy Relationship
Handling Forgiving and Forgetting
Creating a Healing Environment
Helping Another Recognize the Need for Help

Thanks again Rick, for sharing this wonderful resource with all of us!

Check out the Orange County ACA website at: Orange County Adult Children

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Don't Trust. Don't Talk. Don't Feel.

Don't Trust. Don't Talk. Don't Feel.

I have repeatedly read that this is a common dogma in dysfunctional families. I have only recently come to realize how this directly affected me in my own upbringing. Sometimes these three sentences are presented in a different order. For me It starts with trust.

Don't Trust.

Children by nature tend to naturally trust those around them. Not trusting is a behavior learned from the repeated experience of having that trust violated.

I learned through numerous demonstrations that my parents were emotionally untrustworthy. Their reactions were often belittling, critical, judgmental and shaming. Thinking that you are not good enough is a huge emotional burden for any child to carry.

Since emotional support was inconsistent, I learned not to depend on it being there. I stopped trusting it and this lack of trust lead me to stop sharing emotionally. Sharing feelings in my family was not always safe. I felt it better to never share than to continue taking risks that could yield painful results.

Don't Talk.

Keeping my feelings to myself was the only option. As a vulnerable child, I had no one safe to share them with. This ostracized me and made me very lonely but my survival depended on it. My parents probably had no clue how disconnected I was. They were too wrapped up in their own dysfunction to notice.

The pent up resentment this created in me only became apparent to them much later when it materialized as bad behavior and especially, teenage rebellion. They had no idea where it came from and chalked my acting out up to adolescent angst.

Don't Feel.

This is a Catch 22 situation. The pain of not being able to trust or share openly those closest to me caused me to shut down emotionally. This was my only protection. Shutting out the pain also means closing down to other emotions as well.

Learning to shut down early and often has lead to dire consequences later in my life; Difficulty connecting with others, social anxiety, lack of communication or a sudden inability to articulate feelings, not being able to trust, being suspicious of other's motives, self imposed isolation.

The catch is, because I shut out my own feelings and everything associated with the problems that precluded it, I became unaware that I had done it. This makes realizing there is even a problem difficult and tracing back the cause a challenge. If feelings don't exist, as I had convinced myself for so many years, how can there be a problem?

I am grateful to be able to see this as clearly as I do now. Just getting to this point has taken a bit of work. I am no longer just wallowing but have defined this problem and identified the cause. That has given me some serenity.

Thanks for listening.


Can you relate or would you like to share a reaction? Please post it by clicking on "Comments" below.

Check out the Orange County ACA website at: Orange County Adult Children

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Understanding The 12 Steps

Resolving some of the mystery surrounding the 12 Step recovery process. One man's insightful, compelling opinions and interpretations of The Twelve Steps from Sobriety TV.

Step One:

View More 12 Step Videos Online

Check out the Orange County ACA website at: Orange County Adult Children