Inner child work
Not click-baity but descriptive. Diving right in here. The book I’m re-reading speaks about finding your kryptonite, which you can have in more than one flavor. This is early childhood needs that were not only not met, but made wrong, bad, unacceptable, or shameful, and that the young self then internalized so deep down it takes some real excavating to uncover. And identify it is a must if you want to heal and set yourself free.
One need many – or most – toddlers have is to feel that they are Special just for being, so I chose that to pick apart this Sunday.
I have not studied psychology and I am no authority; these are simply my observations that I’m sharing in case they help someone or make you curious.
What is special, anyway? If “everyone is special” “in their own way”, perhaps we need to redefine it, but not here, not today, not by me. These are adult semantics.
If we are all inherently special – what happened? When did it stop? When does worth become dependent on usefulness, achievements, talents, or amassed skills? Is it socialized out of us? When does being cease to be enough to give us worth?
When being is no longer enough to be seen as valuable, and those who at a tender age have not had their inner fill of feeling special by their caregivers, can get lost. For Somewhere, around here, it morphs into Special FOR something, and we start chasing Achievements, while at the same time feeling little or at least not what we had hoped for, and feel invisible, unvalidated.
You really can tell when someone had this need satisfied – they have no velcro when someone tells them they are being a special snowflake. They are confident and sure of their innate worth no matter what.
A young child has simple needs. When those are unmet by the caregivers in such a way that the child feels rejected and that they themselves are bad for wanting it, it gets stuffed down.
This could be anything from “the look” to verbal abuse or a physical thrashing.
The need becomes equated to “I am unacceptable”, and internalized with shame.
To ask no longer feel safe.
Your kryptonite has a special twist (which you will need to read the book to fully grasp.)
Shockingly early it becomes our humiliating secret, a secret so shameful we even hide it from ourselves. It becomes what I termed The unspeakable.
We then grow up feeling empty and hollow, subconsciously hoping to encounter a sip of something undefined, or at least something that numbs the inner ache or craving for a while. We constantly look for anything we believe could passify that emptiness, that grawing hunger we can’t seem to satiate no matter what.
As an adult the person (subconsciously dying to feel seen as Special) would never ask even if it is what they want the most. The reaction is not to seek attention but one of resignation. The unspeakable has become the unthinkable, the “I.Would.Never”. All while secretly hoping to be recognized and receive the validation they crave.
And because the wound is hidden so deep, should the person dare to ask it either goes unheard, or more likely receive a response that matches their imprint; and triggers the same emotional response the child self felt when they asked all those years ago.
So now that we’re adults, how can you fill that need for yourself?
Why do we need to deal with this early wound we have a hard time even defining? We can’t receive until we recognize and heal.
It’s impossible to meet a need you do not know you have, so first you need to identify your spin on this, your Kryptonite. And these ones are stealthy because by now they are at the bottom in the back of the shed that is your subconscious, your op-sys.
To do this you need to connect with your true needs and heal the early pain, the pain that taught you not to feel your need/s because doing so was not safe or too painful. (Tapping or breath-work can help with this.)
A need is an extreme want.
In this case, I want, and I will never ask for.
Something that even unspoken makes you want to run away screaming rather than utter out loud. Anything to not have to relive the pain and humiliation.
I’ll use myself as an example. I can think of many quirks, but nothing, not even put together, makes me qualify as Special. Not in That sense. Not Unique. Worthy of more.
Every time I recognize something unusual or have an insight into myself, there will be someone ready to smack me down like a game of whack-a-mole. Ready to belittle, mock and make fun of (and this is not even my main one).
“Oh no, they’re being Special again.” Unique qualities become next to shameful, least it make for another opportunity to poke fun at me for. I feel embarrassed. Doubt creeps in.
Maybe the observation is nothing.
Maybe the knack is worthless.
Maybe it’s nothing, and not even there anymore. Absorbed somehow.
Maybe I imagined it in the first place.
Maybe between now and When – it evaporated
and I can’t even remember…
what it was, what made me think it was unique, what made it exciting…
Imposter syndrome strikes again, Jante hot on it’s heels. Don’t think you are in any way special…
And yet, if I contemplate if I could meet others I consider special, who I look up to, like The Dalai Lama for example, it stirs up a primal yearning so intense it gives me virtigo; long lost hope gets reignited and a part deep down cries See me! Notice me! See me as a soul, not as a body or a set of skills, ideas, words. Just recognize me as a shining soul that has endured so much. See me! See who I am underneath the sticky fingerprints aquired over the years as incarnated. Recognize me – the true me – in a sea of souls.
I am hardly alone to feel I’m being lost in the sea of humans, where a few are trying to use everyone else as a stepping stones to “get ahead” to the next level. A kind of elbowing your way to the front of a running crowd where it is not so packed. Where you can breathe a bit easier, and jog or run without stumbling on and bumping into other runners trampling on your heels at every step.
Only these days our unsatisfied need takes the shape of chasing likes and followers on social media.
Everyone knows – at least in theory – that we are all unique expressions of the divine, but mental knowing doesn’t cut it when our inner child feel abandoned and hurt, and thirsts for what they never received.
The world is full of people needy for what they did not receive as children. It can be hard to give what you wanted but never got. I do try, but most of the time it feels like giving from an empty tank.
You are prepared to gift that last fuel in your tank just to be appreciated and thanked, because you desperately want someone to fill yours.
You wait for your chance for years, decades, only to be told to step aside and make way for others now…
Gaslighting can harden and toughen you up – or make you trust no one. I can no longer tell if it is a genuine compliment or a dig, I anticipate the knife to twist or evaporate. If an invitation is to share, or to be the joke. The freak to be the entertainment. I find I almost expect to be poked fun at or laughed at.
I don’t deal well with being poked, put down, and made fun of. It’s not simply that I “take myself sooo seriously”; I don’t know how to be any other way. It’s the way my needs were (not) met.
So I’ve burned myself out being hyper-vigilant for decades; wonder which one of me to send to open the door or deal with a situation. Which stance to take, what level of importance to assume, which voice and pitch. Sometimes this is a conscious decision, but it is always an emotional calculation based on a balancing act involving fear and safety. Because kids soon figured out who is in any way unusual or vulnerable, and pounce.
The question that remains is How [quickly] can I release myself from these limitations?
How can we once and for all banish the mocking voices that pipe up uninvited with their contemptuous questions along the lines of
What makes you think…
What makes you so damn special?
Why do you think you deserve special treatment?
Why do you think you’re so special you could…
What makes you think you could…
Why should You get …?
Why would something like that happen to you?
To that I can only say, I have no idea. But I am working on it.
The book that sparked this off is called Unblocked by Margaret Lynch Raniere and David Raniere.
As a tapping practitioner myself for over a decade, and someone who has also gone through The Personal Peace Process without feeling I made sufficient progress, this book makes sense to me, it was my crucial missing puzzle-piece, and I warmly recommend reading it. It helps if you have knowledge of Tapping or EFT.
I also recommend reading Unseen Academicals by Terry Pratchett.