Inner child work

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Inner child work
Sat, 05-31-2003 - 9:54pm
I am just starting "inner child" work. I have a book that I am starting with and I am having a hard time with this. The first area is on "trust". This is tough. Who do I trust? What is trust? My therapist suggested skipping trust and going to the next. Next is timeline. Just as tough. My story?? Does anyone have any suggestions. I find that I'm hesitant to do this. It seems - too wierd. I think - it's important. I feel - why is this important?? I think - I'm avoiding. I feel - it's not important.

My trust was abused early. I didn't know better. I thought the attention was a good thing. It was not. My entire outlook on life is confused. I don't know. I don't know anything. Is it good? Is it bad? Is it important? Does it matter?

My question. Does the inner child work help with the confusion. The not knowing. So far, more questions than answers.


iVillage Member
Registered: 05-14-2003
In reply to: memedeb
Sun, 06-01-2003 - 12:14am
Hi Deb,

I remember the first time I saw a book on Inner Child work--the concept rang true to me, but like you, it seemed strange in a way. Perhaps a better word for the way I felt would be AWKWARD.

Maybe instead of following exact steps right now, you could start with journaling. Start by stating in writing what happened to you, and don't be afraid to express your feelings. I journal on the computer because I can keep up with my thoughts a lot faster than I can by hand writing. The purpose of Inner Child work is to acknowledge that little child inside of you who has not been able to express her needs and feelings. Could be that the confusion you are feeling right now is her confusion over what happened to her?

I haven't really followed a set of steps, but have still found the work I've done to be effective. Dominant-Non dominant writing has been great for me. Our former cl, opal45, created a great member website and she addresses Inner Child work on there. Just click on the link at the top of our page. You'll get a lot of good direction and info there.

It's also very likely, I think, that some of the feelings you're having of not wanting to do it or feeling awkward is that it is scary, in one way. You're opening yourself up to feelings that are hard to go through and which you have kept at bay for protective reasons.

What Inner Child work has done for me is that it has helped me to remember the feelings I had as a child, and as an adult I can understand better why I felt the way I did. It has helped clarify a lot for me. You kind of have to go on faith at the beginning, and be patient. Little You might not be ready to trust yet, so you may have to do some reassuring and validating for awhile. The d/nd handwriting is great because you can have a "conversation" of sorts, letting her know that you understand that she is confused, and that what happened to her was not her fault, etc.

Hope that makes sense! It took me awhile to feel comfortable with it, but it has been the most rewarding part of SA recovery for me. Good luck! I'll look forward to hearing more from you on this!

Love, Heidi


co-cl, Sexual Abuse Healing Board

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-21-2003
In reply to: memedeb
Sun, 06-01-2003 - 12:30pm
You know, I really miss the "More" emoticon. I must have been the only one who ever used it, though. LOL

Anyway, Heidi gave you some great information. I just wanted to add one thing that inner child work is giving to me--it's helping me get past some of the crazy behaviors I'm holding onto today that are a result of my abuse. I believe that it's not the adult me holding onto those behaviors and beliefs, but the inner children inside of me. (And I do feel like there's more than one.)

For example, I struggle with anxiety on a monthly basis. I can tell you exactly when it's going to begin, and exactly when it's going to end. (Although I did start on meds last month that TOTALLY helped.) Anyway--my father sexually abused me from the ages of 5-10. When I was 12 or 13, I ran cross country track, and he started making sexual comments about my body. I freaked out, although I didn't know why--and quit the team. I went from a size 8 to a 14 in two months. He started with the fat jokes and insults--but I could take those better than the sexual comments.

Maybe two months or so ago, I was feeling anxious, but it was the wrong time of month. I started to worry that the anxiety problem was growing. I decided to use one of my OA tools and have a conversation with my higher power. Asking for help--whether from a person or God--is one of the best things OA has taught me. Anyway, I asked God for help. I said, "Higher power, where is all of this anxiety coming from?" A thought popped into my head and said, "Size 12--not safe." I believe that was an inner child who was nervous about me losing weight. I had reached a size 14 and achieved a level of safety for myself. When I bought a pair of size 12 pants, a part of me felt nervous and unsafe. So, to remedy this, I had a conversation with this inner child. I explained the reality of my current situation--that it was safe to wear size 12 pants. The anxiety went away.

This is new for me, too, but I hope that I can continue this work as things pop up, because it felt very healing.