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What Is Inner Baby Work?

For a number of years now, I have been doing inner child work, and the term ‘inner child’ may have been something I first heard when I read one of John Bradshaw’s books. I think that his books are terrific.

Anyway, when I first started doing this work I would get in touch with the parts of myself that related to when I was a small boy and, as time has passed, I have got in touch with even younger parts of myself. During these times I have felt like a baby.

More than One

I say ‘parts’ in both cases as I haven’t got in touch with the same part each time I have done this work on myself. This is why I don’t believe that there is just one inner child or one inner baby within me, or anyone else for that matter.

It is usually out of my control as to whether I connect to a child part or a baby part within me. What usually happens is that a wound ends up being triggered within me and when I connect to this wound, it will either be a child part or a baby part.

Another Angle

When I think about these parts, I often see them as being split-off parts. What this means is that whenever I experienced trauma as a child or a baby, a part of me ended up being pushed aside.

But while this stopped my system from being so overwhelmed that I was wiped out, it meant that it wasn’t possible for me to operate as whole human being. I ended up becoming more fractured as time went by.

Two Memories

One thing I have remembered is being separated from my mother when I was born and being left shortly after. Connecting to the pain I experienced during these moments was not easy, but it was good to cry it out.

I have found that there are many layers of pain within me, though, so I haven’t been able to process it all in one go. However, by doing this work on myself, I have been able to let go off a lot of pain and to become more integrated in the process.

Over to You

After hearing this, you may think that inner child or inner baby work sounds like a load of rubbish. Then again, you may have been doing this type of work for a number of years already.

Conversely, you may sense that you are carrying a number of split-off parts within you, and that these parts need your attention. Getting in touch with these parts is one part; another part is being able to hold the space so that they can speak out.

Final Thoughts

If you find that you are unable to connect to these parts without being overwhelmed, you will probably need to reach out for external support. A therapist or a healer, for instance, can hold the space so that you can go where you wouldn’t go by yourself.

With their presence, you can start to work through the pain that is within you and to gradually become a more integrated human being. After a while, your presence should grow, giving you the ability to hold the space for yourself.

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“Happy”

We all want to become better, happier people, and we work pretty hard at it. The marketing world keeps reminding us that we are not even close to our potential and holds up endless images of perfection that reinforce that idea. The solution advertising offers is a better appearance, more friends, accomplishments, public recognition, power, etc. We are programmed into being defined by external factors.

Additionally, self-help resources are everywhere. There are seminars, healers, books, lectures, and retreats, much of which can be helpful. The message is “if I had more of ‘___________’ I would be a happier person.” This includes wisdom, the tools on this web site, less pain, etc.

What we really mean when we say that we want to be happy is that we would like to experience less anxiety.

The “Abyss”

Many, if not most, of my patients would test out just fine on a psychological test. But chronic pain will still take you down anyway. It creates extreme anxiety and frustration. I define “The Abyss” as:

                                                      Anxiety x Anger x Time

The Abyss represents an unspeakably dark area of your brain. My patients can’t express it with words. I spent over seven years in a severe burnout. My experience also included chronic pain in several areas of my body. I experienced an intense burning sensation in both of my feet, tinnitus, multiple areas of tendonitis, migraine headaches and crushing right-sided chest pain.I didn’t know why I was having all of these symptoms and all the testing was normal. I eventually lost all hope. I “pre-tested” every millimeter of the pathway outlined on this website, mostly by trying multiple approaches that didn’t work. Suffering from chronic pain is far removed from happiness.

Paradoxes

The DOC process is paradoxical. The harder you try to get enough of the tools to “fix” yourself the less likely you are to be successful in becoming pain free (or happy). It is critical to understand that you have to enjoy your day with the idea that your pain or your life circumstances may never improve. In other words you must learn to enjoy life with what you have—NOW!

If you are waiting for more wisdom, more re-programming tools, more money, a nicer spouse, better-behaved kids, or less pain before you can fully engage in your life, it’s never going to happen. It is life’s ultimate paradox. The harder you try to “fix” your life and yourself, the less likely you are to enjoy it.

We also forget how illogical it is to think that all of the variables in our lives are going to align so well that we are going to finally be fulfilled. And if it could happen, how long do you think it would last? Think how much energy we spend trying to control so much. Yet, we don’t give up trying.

The Reverse Paradox

Then there is the other side of the paradox. The more you can enjoy your day in light of your current life circumstances; you will then possess more energy and creativity to create a life that you desire.

Enjoy Your Day-Today

An Exercise

I often do an exercise with my patients. I look at my watch and point out that the time is X and you have Y number of hours left in the day. I ask them to make a decision to enjoy the next number of hours regardless of their circumstances, including the pain. A major key to solving your pain is to step fully into the life you want, with or without the pain.

When I was in the middle of my own intense burnout about 10 years ago, I had to make ongoing decisions to just enjoy the next 15 minutes. I’m serious. I had to make a conscious effort every 15 to 30 minutes.

My ongoing challenge to myself and to my patients is, “Enjoy your day—today.”

Enjoy Your Day-Today

 

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