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From Inner Conflicts to worthiness & belonging

Introduction

When we are internally divided, we often feel awkward and out of place. This can lead to unpredictable behaviors, sudden mood swings, and seemingly irrational reactions, commonly referred to as "acting out."

The Story of April's Mother

I've coached a young lady called April. I shared the story of April's mother. She often advised her daughter, April, not to emulate girls who were always dressed up and dependent on boys. Yet, at times, she'd express her own regrets about her life choices, emphasizing the importance of finding a reliable man. This left April feeling confused and torn between being independent and seeking support. 

The Role of Sub-Persona

Regardless of gender, everyone has sub-personas or inner roles influenced by internal patterns. When these patterns are not harmonized, they can lead to various life challenges, be it in relationships, finances, health, or career. Recognizing these patterns is the first step towards understanding and healing.

The Origin of Inner Conflicts

Why do we sometimes feel torn between different desires or actions? It's often due to the conflicting beliefs held by our sub-personas. These sub-personalities can be understood as different thought patterns or belief systems that get activated under certain circumstances. While they might contradict each other, they don't lead to the extreme multiple personality disorders depicted in movies. 

Understand Inner Conflicts through Inner-Child work

Inner Child Work is a therapeutic approach that acknowledges the profound impact of early life experiences on our adult selves. Rooted in diverse frameworks like attachment theory, somatic therapies, Jungian Shadow work, Internal Family Systems, and psychodynamic theories, this approach believes in the inter-connectedness of our past, present, and future.

At its core, Inner Child Work posits that our younger selves, with their unique experiences and needs, continue to exist within us. As we mature, these younger parts don't simply vanish. Instead, they influence our reactions, especially when faced with situations that mirror past traumas. These reactions, often intense and seemingly irrational, are cries for attention from our wounded inner child.

Our parent's and family's internal conflicts pass on to children as well.

“Good children are defined as meek, considerate, unselfish and perfectly law-abiding. Such rules allow no place for vitality, spontaneity, inner freedom, inner independence and critical judgment. These rules cause parents, even well-intentioned ones, to abandon their children. Such abandonment creates the toxic shame I’ve been describing. - John Bradshaw

 

16 Inner Conflict Roles 
  1. Pleaser: Seeks acceptance by prioritizing others' needs.
  2. Rescuer: Feels compelled to save others, often neglecting self.
  3. Restless: Constantly seeks new experiences, rarely content.
  4. Chaotic: Thrives in disorder, fearing stability might lead to stagnation.
  5. Controller: Driven by a need to dominate situations and people.
  6. Avoider: Evades conflict and unpleasant situations.
  7. Hyper-Vigilant: Always on guard, anticipating danger at every turn.
  8. Star: Seeks attention to mask inner pain and shame.
  9. Rebel: Pushes boundaries, often just for the sake of being different.
  10. Under-Achiever: Holds back potential due to fear of outshining others.
  11. Hyper-Independent: Relies solely on oneself, avoiding dependence at all costs.
  12. Offender: Uses offense as a defense mechanism.
  13. Victim: Feels powerless, often seeking sympathy and support.
  14. Perfectionist: Strives for flawlessness, fearing any form of criticism.
  15. Hyper Rational: Analyze and optimize everything to avoid being vulnerable
  16. Hyper Achiever: Constantly seeks validation through achievements.
The Master Role of the Inner Conflicts is Toxic Shame

Unless healthy shame that helps us to know that we can make mistakes, get help and set healthy boundaries, toxic shame gives rise to distorted thinking. The distorted thinking can be reduced to the belief that I’ll be okay if I drink, eat, have sex, get more money, work harder, etc.

The inner toxic shamer uses statement start with ''You should'' instead of ''Would you like to?''.  The inner toxic shamer not only judges ourselves, it also judges others. 

The Influence of Culture and Social Programming on Our Roles

Our cultural background and societal norms play a pivotal role in shaping the internal roles we adopt. From a young age, we are subtly taught what behaviors are acceptable and which ones are not, based on the cultural and societal values we are surrounded by. For instance, some cultures may prize stoicism and suppress emotional expression, leading individuals to adopt roles like the "Avoider" or "Controller". Conversely, in societies where individualism is celebrated, roles like the "Rebel" or "Star" might be more prevalent. Additionally, societal programming from media, educational institutions, and peer groups further ingrains these roles, often reinforcing stereotypes and expectations. Over time, these external influences can create internal conflicts, as individuals grapple with aligning their true selves with the roles their culture and society have prescribed for them.

How would it look or feel like after integrating these internal conflicts?

I AM-ness: Embracing Authenticity

Drawing inspiration from John Bradshaw's teachings, the journey of self-integration begins with a profound sense of "I AM-ness". This is a state of self-awareness where one recognizes and honors their true self, free from the roles and masks that were once worn to fit societal molds. It's a declaration of self-acceptance, where the individual no longer feels the need to fit into predefined roles or meet external expectations. By embracing this "I AM-ness", one steps into a realm of authenticity, shedding layers of pretense and embracing their genuine self.

Worthiness: Recognizing Inherent Value

Building upon the insights of Brené Brown, the next phase in this journey is realizing one's inherent "Worthiness". In this state, individuals believe in their intrinsic value, understanding that they are deserving of love, respect, and kindness irrespective of achievements, failures, or societal labels. This isn't about external accolades but an internal recognition that one's worth isn't tied to anything external but is a birthright.

Belonging: Finding Genuine Connections

Brené Brown also speaks to the power of "Belonging". In this integrated state, instead of seeking external validation or fitting into societal boxes, individuals find communities and spaces that appreciate their authentic self. These connections are genuine, deeply fulfilling, and are based on mutual respect and understanding. It's in these spaces that individuals truly feel seen, heard, and valued.

 

 "When you start to love yourself, the whole world starts to love you.

How to integrate internal conflicts with inner child work?
  1. Awareness and Acknowledgment: Begin by recognizing the presence of internal conflicts. These might manifest as recurring patterns in relationships, persistent negative self-talk, or emotional reactions that seem disproportionate to current situations.

  2. Identify the Origin: Trace back these patterns to their roots. Often, our internal conflicts stem from childhood experiences, family dynamics, or past traumas. Understanding the origin provides clarity and context.

  3. Connect with Your Inner Child: Through guided meditations, journaling, or therapeutic sessions, visualize and connect with your younger self at different ages. Engage in conversations, ask questions, and most importantly, listen.

  4. Reparenting: Offer the love, understanding, and guidance to your inner child that they might have missed out on. This involves comforting them during distressing times, setting healthy boundaries, and providing validation.

  5. Emotional Expression: Allow your inner child to express suppressed emotions. Whether it's anger, sadness, or fear, create a safe space for these emotions to be felt and released.

  6. Challenge and Replace: Recognize the beliefs and narratives that the inner child holds, especially if they're based on past traumas or misconceptions. Gently challenge these beliefs and replace them with healthier, more nurturing narratives.

  7. Consistent Check-ins: Inner Child Work isn't a one-time process. Regularly check in with your inner child, ensuring they feel safe, heard, and loved.

  8. Seek Professional Guidance: Engaging in Inner Child Work can bring up intense emotions. It's beneficial to seek the guidance of a therapist or counselor who can provide support and direction.

  9. Celebrate Progress: Recognize and celebrate the milestones and progress you make. Every step towards integration is a step towards a more harmonious, authentic self.

  10. Practice Self-compassion: Throughout this journey, be gentle with yourself. Understand that healing is a process, and there might be setbacks. What's important is the continuous commitment to self-growth and integration.

 

 

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