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Self Acceptance and the Inner Child/Parent Dilemma

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Davideus85, Apr 6, 2021.

  1. Davideus85

    Davideus85 Peer Supporter

    It seems the core solution behind TMS is largely self acceptance. When I see my image on a live camera feed when doing zoom meeitngs, or hear a recording of myself, I instantly have to look away or stop the recording. It bothers me to the point where I literally have to run away from it. This is running from yourself, which is at the essence of what causes TMS. The solution, of course, being self-acceptance. The things that make up who you are on a psychological level, i.e your feelings and emotions and thoughts about yourself, are the things your brain is trying to protect you from. Put another way, your brain is trying to protect you from yourself. You are the threat. It is a psychological auto-immune disorder! The only solution is to quit running, quit avoiding yourself, and face what you don’t like about yourself, in a way that gives your brain the message that “It’s ok, you’re safe, you are OK as you are”. Or, put another way, you have to realize you are not a problem to be solved. You may have to make changes to your behavior, or form new habits, but the changes made are not to your very person. That implies that shame is the vehicle driving your change. Shame is in many ways the driving force for TMS. What could be more threatening and dangerous to you than “You are not OK. You are a fundamentally flawed being” ? First, it implies there is no solution, that you are doomed to be in this “Not OK” state forever, because one cannot actually change who they are. So while part of your psyche, consciously, desires to change to be someone else (someone accepted and liked by others) there is a part of you that is unconscious that is enraged by this demand to change. You have an inner child that has the need to be accepted and loved for who he is, and that child is never going to go away. So, to be a psychologically healthy human being, everything that is done (self improvement and changes) needs to somehow come from a place of self-acceptance; I am pursuing this new career because it is something that brings me genuine joy, NOT because I am motivated to be loved by others and receive praise and acceptance. Everytime I take an action from a place of lack, there is an incongruence between who I am and who I am trying to be and I am subsequently enraging my inner child. So my inner parent is demanding change by heaping shame on you and the inner child in response is in rebellion to that idea. The question is, how on earth do you mediate between the two (as the adult) ? How to satisfy the demands of both?
    Sarnie, tgirl and Idearealist like this.
  2. miffybunny

    miffybunny Beloved Grand Eagle

    You definitely hit on the core theme that drives TMS, and which will ultimately propel you out of the TMS mechanism. My favorite quote is by Shakespeare, "To thine own self be true." When we don't live in alignment with our own values and needs, repression and dissonance ensues. That punitive voice of the super ego which usually stems from childhood and messages we internalized from our caregivers, must be talked back to. It's like the scene in The Wizard of Oz when Dorothy stands up to the huge projection of OZ on the screen and calls him a big bully. In that moment, she becomes empowered and realizes that the answers were within her all along. Home was already within her. Recovery from TMS is simply a reconnection with one's true self. It means being in your own corner and your own best friend....reparenting that inner child who may not have received the unconditional acceptance. We don't need to hustle for our worth. That's a lie that was imparted to you and your brain tells you. You are worthy simply because you exist. It's inherent and our birthright. The false beliefs we carry around in our head is what creates the mental prison. Change the beliefs and you are liberated.
    Sarnie, Lizzy, Balsa11 and 1 other person like this.
  3. FredAmir

    FredAmir Well known member

    Excellent posts Dave and Miffy!

    It reminded of when my daughter was showing me a picture of me on her phone and I said, "Wow! I look even better in picture." She burst into laughter. Since, as you mentioned, people are unhappy with their looks or sound of their voice.

    So what happened to me to like my looks and voice.

    When I took my first college psychology class at the ripe old age of seventeen (LOL), I learned the power setting goals and developing good habits: mental, emotional, and physical.

    One of the mental and emotional habits I focused on, being seventeen and very self conscious of my looks, was to look at myself every morning in the mirror, while smiling and with complete confidence tell myself that I was the best looking guy on campus. I knew that if I kept this up for 21 days or more, my self image and feeling toward myself would begin to change. And it did. I began to like myself and my looks, in a healthy way way, and had more self-confidence.

    Very simple strategy that if done daily and consistently can transform one's life.
    Balsa11 likes this.
  4. Davideus85

    Davideus85 Peer Supporter

    That's an excellent analogy. How Dorothy is on this quest the whole time to find home when she already had it in her. As with all the other characters are looking for things they think they lack (A brain, courage, heart) and looking to someone else, the Wizard, to provide those things to them. What he gave them instead was a placebo (i.e a diploma to the scarecrow, a medal to the cowardly lion, etc), in other words they didn't need to be given what they sought but simply shown that they possessed what they needed all along. A diploma is a piece of paper, it has no value or meaning beyond what we assign to it. People cannot give us what we are looking for (acceptance, worth) but our brains trick us into thinking we are being given what we need by others by assigning meaning to things people say or do to us.

    I find that extremely difficult to do. I can't seem to tell myself things like "I am a good looking man with a lot to offer people". There's such a strong defense mechanism my brain has in place that prevents me from telling myself positive things about myself, because I feel like by doing so I am only lying and self-deceiving myself, and there is something that feels unsafe about that.
  5. Balsa11

    Balsa11 Well known member

    Classic imposter syndrome driving TMS
  6. FredAmir

    FredAmir Well known member

    I am sharing what worked for me. In fact, that kind of self-talk is what helped me recover rapidly from disabling back pain. It can be quite powerful, which as you know, is part of Dr. Sarno’s treatment protocol.

    Will it work for you? You can be the judge of that. If not self-talk, then perhaps another option is out there for you. So don’t give up.

    Take a look at this TED talk by Dr. Any Cuddy of Harvard.

    Last edited: Apr 6, 2021
    Idearealist likes this.
  7. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Great discussion here!

    I think we're all wired a little differently. In my experience, personally, there is a hard-won self acceptance over the years. I can be more compassionate for the conflict and fear that you describe David. There is a part of me who wants to be accepted just the way I am, with all my "flaws," ---maybe the Child, and there is a compulsive part which is always finding fault and is very activated to reject or fix the first part --maybe the Parent. So be it! To breathe, enjoy this life, appreciate relationships, love when I can before this all dissolves at death, this becomes more interesting than trying to fix the inside conflicts.

    As Miffy says, and you articulate so well David, this is core TMS work. Just our knowing the conflict, connecting this conflict to symptoms, and loving ourselves "as is" can go along way, without having to fix any of this. Not worrying about symptoms or trying to fix them is part of this view as well.

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