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Therapeutic Work with Your Inner Child
Abandonment is a huge hurdle for everyone involved in addiction. For the individual in active addiction, family, friends, jobs, pets, children and the self are all left behind. For children and adult children of addicts, they suffer from abandonment issues resulting from emotional and physical neglect from the addict. All too often, these individuals exhibit codependent behaviors and unwittingly enable the addict through their desperate efforts to stop their loved one’s destructive behavior from continuing or repeating.
It doesn’t matter which category a person may fall into in recovery. It is necessary for everyone enmeshed in the situation to begin a search and rescue effort to go back and retrieve themselves. Who they were prior to their pain—their authentic selves – and the person they have potential to be. One way of doing this is doing some therapeutic work with your inner child.
Tapping Into the Inner Child
The child within is actually the one who experiences the neglect and is the most negatively impacted by the abandonment. Ideally, this process will be aided by a professional counselor, therapist, spiritual guide or life coach, who can determine your individual needs and guide you, accordingly.
Once you have chosen your category of help, it is important to determine how disconnected you’ve become. You may be asked to return in your mind to a time before the first heartbreak, trauma or painful event in your life. You may even be encouraged to conjure an image in your head of yourself anywhere from a day to a year prior to that moment.
Note: Being unable to recall a time prior to the first traumatic experience is not uncommon, especially with regards to early onset traumas and blocked memories. If you are unable to do so, simply return to a safe or happy moment in your childhood, even if it is just a flash or fleeting.
Once you have returned to that moment in time, begin to observe yourself as that child – the one who has yet to experience pain. Become inquisitive about your inner child. Ask him or her a few important questions: What are your dreams? What brings you the most joy? What kind of person do you want to be? What kind of person are you now?
Write down the responses. Then, begin to ask the same questions to your adult self – the person you are today. Note any differences.
The more variation that exists between the responses of the inner child versus the adult self, the more work that is needed to search for and rescue your authentic self. Once that process has begun, you are on a path of spiritual and emotional recovery – the healing, grief and forgiveness processes necessary to prevent relapse, self-sabotage and codependency.
Toshia Humphries is a Texan freelance writer, artist, life coach and talk radio co-host of Girl Power Hour on Blog Talk Radio. She has been writing for two decades and possesses three degrees in counseling and psychology with a focus on addictions and women’s studies. She is also the creator of Threads Locks & Rock—a performance art show which utilizes personal experiences and stories to inspire each show and its performers, healing and empowering them and audience members alike. Much of her work is fueled by her own life experience and education.