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Daniel L. How to treat the inner child

Discussion in 'Ask a TMS Therapist' started by mike2014, Feb 3, 2016.

  1. mike2014

    mike2014 Beloved Grand Eagle

    This question was submitted via our Ask a TMS Therapist program. To submit your question, click here.


    I don't normally post questions, but thought the answer to this particular question could benefit so many, especially from a qualified Therapist.

    There seems to be differing views on the forum and within books as to whether one should be angry or loving towards their inner child. Would you be so kind as to advise which approach one should take?

    Thanks kindly,
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 12, 2016
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  2. Daniel G Lyman LCSW

    Daniel G Lyman LCSW TMS Therapist

    You are 100% right in that there are differing views here on the forum (and in the mental health field at large). Why? Because 1) different things work for different people, and 2) sometimes with an inner child (just as with an actual child) we have to be compassionate, and other times we have to be angry.

    Generally, however, I don’t encourage people to be angry towards their inner child. I DO encourage people to be angry with their inner bully, which is a different way of conceptualizing what’s going on. Some people respond well to the idea that the child can actually be a bully. The part of your brain that tells you to be fearful is bullying you into stagnation. That’s when you can take a strong stance and fight back. Imagining being angry with a child doesn’t help much, but imagining fighting back against a bully feels much better.

    On the other hand, the part of you that may not have received the nurturing it needs to build resilience often times needs a more compassionate stance. Think of how you would treat any other child. Sometimes it’s important to take a strong stance and not give into the screaming of the child, and other times it’s important to tend to the child’s needs.

    How do you know the difference? Well, that’s entirely up to you. Try them both, and see which feels right. In some cases, you’ll want to take care of the child, and in other instances, you may want to stand up to it, as it tries to bully you into thinking and feeling a certain way.

    I know that my response is not what makes a TMS person feel at ease (we want definition, not vagueness), but it’s an important part of the process to learn to trust your gut discover what works for you.

    Also, this is a perfect time to hear other people chime in and talk about what works for you as an individual!

    Any advice or information provided here does not and is not intended to be and should not be taken to constitute specific professional or psychological advice given to any group or individual. This general advice is provided with the guidance that any person who believes that they may be suffering from any medical, psychological, or mindbody condition should seek professional advice from a qualified, registered/licensed physician and/or psychotherapist who has the opportunity to meet with the patient, take a history, possibly examine the patient, review medical and/or mental health records, and provide specific advice and/or treatment based on their experience diagnosing and treating that condition or range of conditions. No general advice provided here should be taken to replace or in any way contradict advice provided by a qualified, registered/licensed physician and/or psychotherapist who has the opportunity to meet with the patient, take a history, possibly examine the patient, review medical and/or mental health records, and provide specific advice and/or treatment based on their experience diagnosing and treating that condition or range of conditions.

    The general advice and information provided in this format is for informational purposes only and cannot serve as a way to screen for, identify, or diagnose depression, anxiety, or other psychological conditions. If you feel you may be suffering from any of these conditions please contact a licensed mental health practitioner for an in-person consultation.

    Questions may be edited for brevity and/or readability.

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  3. mike2014

    mike2014 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Daniel,

    Thank you kindly for taking the time to answer this question.
  4. Sienna

    Sienna Well known member

    I agree with treating our inner child with love and compassion. But when speaking to our "pain/symptom". maybe it is more effective to be more authority.

    There was a great post on a girl speaking to her inner bully as a "gremly or dworf" saying: I know what you are doing, I have discovered your secret and I am coming for you. I no longer need your trick, since now I am aware it is all due to tms, my repressed emotions.. and I am taking care of it, you you better go somewhere else"

    It worked wonders for me.
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  5. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    I distinguish what parts are activated and expressing inside me by sensing into my body. The body does not lie. And your perception/discernment improves with practice.

    Treat the Inner Critic or superego with force, anger, and a feeling of protection for yourself and your Inner Child. The body may feel a stab, or contraction, an actual pain with the attacks. Most importantly the clue there is listen for "attacks" from the Inner Critic:

    "You're weak and will never cure TMS." "Only babies cry." "You're not good enough." "You're too weak to assert yourself, and this makes you wrong." "You are not lovable as you are." "You need to fix yourself to be acceptable." The diminishing, self-rejecting voice --or attack-- is the key to identifing that you are dealing with the superego/Inner Critic.

    Your skilled response can be BACK OFF! Then sense in and notice if you are still under "attack." Your response should be to ignore, disengage, defend. You want to disrupt the typical relationship between the powerful Inner Critic and the hurt, victom, pleading, excuse-making child response. You summon your life force in defense of your right to be exactly where you are in the moment.

    The Inner Child needs attunement, empathy, love. When you are hurt, afraid, sad, anxious, in short, when you can sense a form of suffering that needs comfort, then provide this to yourself as best you can. This again can be felt in the body. Attune, listen, provide support with kind words to your Inner Child or self. We have longed all our lives to be understood and contacted in our suffering. Not so much because we can ever make the suffering goe away. It is more about finding a companionship in our suffering. Or revealing a companionship. Our own loving companionship. Some people can feel this as presence of God, or a personal contact with the Source, attuning to them. This is beautiful, but it is not necessary to feel the benefit of self empathy. Most importantly this takes practice and attunement, to establish a new response to our suffering.

    Both of these parts need specific attention/responses in order to work with TMS psychodynamics, so this is a wonderful question/discussion. Typically, we are very used to rejecting ourselves, overtly or more subtley. We took this on in our development in an effort to stay within the field of love of our caregivers.

    Attuning to the background action of self-rejection is very important, so that you are not allowing a rather constant "acting out" on your Inner Child by the Inner Critic. So many people go to the SEP and the TMS Recovery Program, and being new to this kind of exploration are amazed at how they've been treating themselves with rejection all their lives and took it for granted. How must the Inner Child feel (now we're right here with Dr. Sarno's theories) about being put down for their desires, needs, and feelings? Also, the Inner Critic's main job is to distract you from the content or feelings underneath. So disengaging from it is important for exploration.

    These are my two favorite inner aspects to work with, so I love exploring this. Both aspects, worked with skillfully give us a direct rout to reclaiming our strength and love inside.

    When you are being frightened by symptoms, perhaps by Alan's Inner Bully, you may find either way to work effective. You can be with the Inner Child or self which is afraid. Or tell the pain/ mind body to BACK OFF. My discussion is more about the Inner Child and superego/Inner Critic, which voices/feelings can more clearly be defined and discerned, in my opinion, than the perhaps broader inner aspect of Alan's Inner Bully. This is a confession of my incomplete understanding of Alan's Inner Bully.

    Andy B
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2016
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  6. Susan1111

    Susan1111 Well known member

    @mike2014 thank you for asking this question. I find the topic very interesting. I relate to an inner child that might feel hurt or vulnerable but I've never given thought to a bully. Andy the way you phrase inner critic made a light bulb go off. Interesting that you relate the type of pain to which child it is. Food for thought. Being hard on myself is the critic? I can see that.
    I have called TMS a journey into me.
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  7. Fabi

    Fabi Well known member

    One of the most healing, courageous, hurtful, heartfelt pages of my journal came out directly as a message to my inner child. In it l constantly wrote "l know" ."l know what happened, what you vwent through, how you felt, etc. I keep it as a two pages size of my journal which is totally different. I made contact. We made contact. I acknowledged her, her long covered suffering. I don't know exactly what triggered it. It is a life changing experience, though the pain l discovered seems endless today.
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  8. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Fabi,

    You describe a very sacred experience, which I think I know. Thank you. I have not seen a post here describe this experience with such heartfelt awe. Your "I know" is so direct. So deep.

    To actually approach our deepest pain, and bear the tenderness, the hurt, and all the obstacles that tend to thwart our vulnerability is a very courageous event. It takes great courage to hold our inner child so intimately, and through this, feel the child's hurt.

    The 'endless pain' I am curious about. If this is emotional pain, then my words ahead may bear witness to your experience. This pain may be something that more contact with your inner child, as you did before, will soothe. Something occurred, I believe, in which there was a union inside. Although this union may not seem to exist right now, it is still there underneath. This union is one of love, which is indestructible, and also is not always felt consciously despite its presence. You may be suffering this pain partly because with a greater capacity to love (and a greater courage), the pain can become more conscious. A stronger container has been forged, which you may not feel directly. I hope you are patient, and hold your pain with tenderness.

    I feel very tender, and close to my own heart reading your post. Thank you.

    Andy B
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  9. Fabi

    Fabi Well known member

    I am going to edit the whole answer because it is very unclear. My small tablet device made a mess.


    It took me a few minutes to read and re read your post. Thank you . You seem to have understood what I have gone through.
    I still find it difficult to believe l was there with her, she is here with me at all times

    I say "endless" because as you described before, our inner negated child needs soothing for many things so all these months l have been remembering and feeling things differently! If in the past l tried to pretend it didn't make me angry or sad, now l know it did and it does, so my attitude is different, and the pain is old and new at the same time ! Does it make sense?

    Yesterday and today I laid my two hands on my chest and said "I am here. Easy honey"
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2016
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  10. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    What a wonderful reunion. Everything you write makes sense to me. The new and the old pain. The desire and capacity to be right with yourself. I am honored to read about your experience. How wonderful for you to share your tender heart on this forum. How tender and sweet for you. Your inner guidance and capacity to love is taking you on a beautiful, painful journey. You are fortunate.
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  11. Fabi

    Fabi Well known member

    In a different post I wrote about my experience on Tuesday having a MRI for my jaw. My inner child appeared the minute the machine started making noise. I was aware I needed to calm her and assure her I was there with her, l knew she was scared, and thanked her for letting me know. The following morning at the moment my alarm clock went off I was dreaming I was riding on a bike with a flat tire in the front wheel, then a woman's voice started talking to me, in English, which is not my first language, she said "Everything that has been done with effort will have to die, to be let go" . She was still speaking but interrupted but my alarm clock. The message got through. I will have to stop all action or thinking done in a state of effort.
    I have met my inner child and my inner wise old woman.
  12. bennet

    bennet Peer Supporter

    I had a very similar experience while journaling. I found the inner child, in a way I never had before. I felt a presence of myself as a child, living on in my body, in a very profound way. And I kept writing, "It's ok, I can take care of us now. I can take care of us. We got away. We got away. I've got you now. I can take care of us." Since then I've worked on changing my internal dialogue, replacing the inner critic with the parenting I should have had. I'm learning to parent myself.
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  13. Fabi

    Fabi Well known member

    Bennet, actually my work with the inner child has not finished. A few months ago, I started a body mind activity called Biodanza (it´s in Spanish because it was created by a person in Chile) and next Sat there will be a whole day of living work for the inner child. I know the activity is in the US with another name and simmilar phylosofy
    I suggest everyone who has met his inner child to try an integration in the body-mind structure, not just in the head. The integration of all of what we are, all the parts, including the body, will provide effects we can´t imagine. Good luck!
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  14. Cheryl

    Cheryl Peer Supporter

    Thank you for this! I needed phrases to soothe my inner child. I have been telling her that we are safe, she is safe, which has been helpful but I needed more. I love the assurance that "I can take care of us" gives. And just "it's okay" is simple and soothing.
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