“Codependence is an emotional and behavioral defense system which was adopted by our egos in order to meet our need to survive as a child. Because we had no tools for reprogramming our egos and healing our emotional wounds (culturally approved grieving, training and initiation rites, healthy role models, etc.), the effect is that as an adult we keep reacting to the programming of our childhood and do not get our needs met - our emotional, mental, Spiritual, or physical needs.
Codependence allows us to survive physically but causes us to feel empty and dead inside. Co-dependence is a defense system that causes us to wound ourselves.” * “We need to take the shame and judgment out of the process on a personal level.
It is vitally important to stop listening and giving power to that critical place within us that tells us that we are bad and wrong and shameful. That “critical parent” voice in our head is the disease lying to us. . . . This healing is a long gradual process – the goal is progress, not perfection. What we are learning about is unconditional Love. Unconditional Love means no judgment, no shame.” * “We need to start observing ourselves and stop judging ourselves.
Any time we judge and shame ourselves, we are feeding back into the disease, we are jumping back into the squirrel cage.”
Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls by Robert Burney
Codependence is a dysfunctional defense system that was built in reaction to feeling unlovable and unworthy – because our parents were wounded codependents who didn’t know how to love themselves. We grew up in environments that were emotionally dishonest, Spiritually hostile, and shame based.
Our relationship with ourselves (and all the different parts of our self: emotions, gender, spirit, etc.) got twisted and distorted in order to survive in our particular dysfunctional environment. We got to an age where we were supposed to be an adult and we started acting like we knew what we were doing. We went around pretending to be adult at the same time we were reacting to the programming that we got growing up. We tried to do everything “right” or rebelled and went against what we had been taught was “right.” Either way we weren’t living our life through choice, we were living it in reaction.
In order to start being loving to ourselves we need to change our relationship with our self – and with all the wounded parts of our self. The way which I have found works the best in starting to love ourselves is through having internal boundaries.
Learning to have internal boundaries is a dynamic process that involves three distinctly different, but intimately interconnected, spheres of work. The purpose of the work is to change our ego-programming – to change our relationship with ourselves by changing our emotional/behavioral defense system into something that works to open us up to receive love, instead of sabotaging ourselves because of our deep belief that we don’t deserve love.
(I need to make the point here that Codependence and recovery are both multi-leveled, multi-dimensional phenomena. What we are trying to achieve is integration and balance on different levels. In regard to our relationship with ourselves this involves two major dimensions: the horizontal and the vertical. In this context the horizontal is about being human and relating to other humans and our environment. The vertical is Spiritual, about our relationship to a Higher Power, to the Universal Source. If we cannot conceive of a God/Goddess Force that loves us then it makes it virtually impossible to be loving to ourselves. So a Spiritual Awakening is absolutely vital to the process in my opinion. Changing our relationship with ourselves on the horizontal level is both a necessary element in, and possible because we are working on, integrating Spiritual Truth into our inner process.)
These three spheres are: 1. Detachment 2. Inner Child Healing 3. Grieving
Because Codependence is a reactive phenomena it is vital to start being able to detach from our own process in order to have some choice in changing our reactions. We need to start observing our selves from the witness perspective instead of from the perspective of the judge. We all observe ourselves – have a place of watching ourselves as if from outside, or perched somewhere inside, observing our own behavior. Because of our childhoods we learned to judge ourselves from that witness perspective, the “critical parent” voice.
The emotionally dishonest environments we were raised in taught us that it was not ok to feel our emotions, or that only certain emotions were ok. So we had to learn ways to control our emotions in order to survive. We adapted the same tools that were used on us – guilt, shame, and fear (and saw in the role modeling of our parents how they reacted to life from shame and fear.) This is where the critical parent gets born. It’s purpose is to try to keep our emotions and behavior under some sort of control so that we can get our survival needs met.
So the first boundary that we need to start setting internally is with the wounded/dysfunctional programmed part of our own mind. We need to start saying no to the inner voices that are shaming and judgmental. The disease comes from a black and white, right and wrong, perspective. It speaks in absolutes: “You always screw up!” “You will never be a success!” - these are lies. We don’t always screw up. We may never be a success according to our parents or societies dysfunctional definition of success – but that is because our heart and soul do not resonate with those definitions, so that kind of success would be a betrayal of ourselves. We need to consciously change our definitions so that we can stop judging ourselves against someone else’s screwed up value system.
We learned to relate to ourselves (and all the parts of our self – emotions, sexuality, etc.) and life from a critical place of believing that something was wrong with us – and in fear that we would be punished if we didn’t do life “right.” Whatever we are doing or not doing the disease can always find something to beat us up with. I have 10 things on my “to do list” today, I get 9 of them done, the disease does not want me to give myself credit for what I have done but instead beats me up for the one I didn’t get done. Whenever life gets too good we get uncomfortable and the disease jumps right in with fear and shame messages. The critical parent voice keeps us from relaxing and enjoying life, and from loving our self.
We need to own that we have the power to choose where to focus our mind. We can consciously start viewing ourselves from the “witness” perspective. It is time to fire the judge – our critical parent and choose to replace that judge with our Higher Self – who is a loving parent. We can then intervene in our own process to protect ourselves from the perpetrator within – the critical parent/disease voice. (It is almost impossible to go from critical parent to compassionate loving parent in one step – so the first step often is to try to observe ourselves from a neutral position or a “scientific observer” perspective.)
This is what enlightenment and consciousness raising are all about. Owning our power to be a co-creator of our lives by changing our relationship with ourselves. We can change the way we think. We can change the way we respond to our own emotions. We need to detach from our wounded self in order to allow our Spiritual Self to guide us. We are Unconditionally Loved. The Spirit does not speak to us from judgment and shame.
One of the visualizations that has helped me over the years is an image of a small control room in my brain. This control room is full of dials and gauges and lights and sirens. In this control room are a bunch of Keebler-like elves whose job it is to make sure that I don’t get too emotional for my own good. Whenever I feel anything too strongly (including Joy, happiness, self-love) the lights start flashing and the sirens start wailing and the elves go crazy running around trying to get things under control. They start pushing some of the old survival buttons: feeling too happy – drink; feeling too sad- eat sugar; feeling scared - get laid; or whatever.
To me, the process of recovery is about teaching those elves to chill out. Reprogramming my ego-defenses to knowing that it is ok to feel the feelings. That feeling and releasing the emotions is not only ok it is what will work best in allowing me to have my needs fulfilled. We need to change our relationship with ourselves and our own emotions in order to stop being at war with ourselves. The first step to doing that is to detach from ourselves enough to start protecting ourselves from the perpetrator that lives within us.
Note: This is part one of a three part series of articles summarizing Robert’s inner child healing paradigm.
Loving the Wounded Child Within
By: Robert Burney MA
It is through having the courage and willingness to revisit the emotional dark night of the soul that was our childhood, that we can start to understand on a gut level why we have lived our lives as we have. It is when we start understanding the cause and effect relationship between what happened to the child that we were, and the effect it had on the adult we became, that we can Truly start to forgive ourselves. It is only when we start understanding on an emotional level, on a gut level, that we were powerless to do anything any differently than we did that we can Truly start to Love ourselves. The hardest thing for any of us to do is to have compassion for ourselves. As children we felt responsible for the things that happened to us. We blamed ourselves for the things that were done to us and for the deprivations we suffered. There is nothing more powerful in this transformational process than being able to go back to that child who still exists within us and say, It wasn’t your fault. You didn’t do anything wrong, you were just a little kid.
“As long as we are judging and shaming ourselves we are giving power to the disease. We are feeding the monster that is devouring us. We need to take responsibility without taking the blame. We need to own and honor the feelings without being a victim of them. We need to rescue and nurture and Love our inner children – and STOP them from controlling our lives. STOP them from driving the bus! Children are not supposed to drive, they are not supposed to be in control. And they are not supposed to be abused and abandoned. We have been doing it backwards. We abandoned and abused our inner children. Locked them in a dark place within us. And at the same time let the children drive the bus – let the children’s wounds dictate our lives.”
When we were 3 or 4 we couldn’t look around us and say, Well, Dad’s a drunk and Mom is real depressed and scared – that is why it feels so awful here. I think I’ll go get my own apartment. Our parents were our higher powers. We were not capable of understanding that they might have problems that had nothing to do with us. So it felt like it was our fault.
We formed our relationship with ourselves and life in early childhood. We learned about love from people who were not capable of loving in a healthy way because of their unhealed childhood wounds. Our core/earliest relationship with our self was formed from the feeling that something is wrong and it must be me. At the core of our being is a little kid who believes that he/she is unworthy and unlovable. That was the foundation that we built our concept of self on.
Children are master manipulators. That is their job – to survive in whatever way works. So we adapted defense systems to protect our broken hearts and wounded spirits. The 4 year old learned to throw tantrums, or be real quiet, or help clean the house, or protect the younger siblings, or be cute and funny, etc. Then we got to be 7 or 8 and started being able to understand cause and effect and use reason and logic – and we changed our defense systems to fit the circumstances. Then we reach puberty and didn’t have a clue what was happening to us, and no healthy adults to help us understand, so we adapted our defense systems to protect our vulnerability. And then we were teenagers and our job was to start becoming independent and prepare ourselves to be adults so we changed our defense systems once again.
It is not only dysfunctional, it is ridiculous to maintain that what happened in our childhood did not affect our adult life. We have layer upon layer of denial, emotional dishonesty, buried trauma, unfulfilled needs, etc., etc. Our hearts were broken, our spirit’s wounded, our minds programmed dysfunctionally. The choices we have made as adults were made in reaction to our childhood wounds/programming – our lives have been dictated by our wounded inner children.
(History, politics, success or lack of success, in our dysfunctional society/civilizations can always be made clearer by looking at the childhoods of the individuals involved. History has been, and is being, made by immature, scared, angry, hurt individuals who were/are reacting to their childhood wounds and programming - reacting to the little child inside who feels unworthy and unlovable.)
It is very important to realize that we are not an integrated whole being – to ourselves. Our self concept is fractured into a multitude of pieces. In some instances we feel powerful and strong, in others weak and helpless - that is because different parts of us are reacting to different stimuli (different buttons are being pushed.) The parts of us that feel weak, helpless, needy, etc. are not bad or wrong – what is being felt is perfect for the reality that was experienced by the part of ourselves that is reacting (perfect for then – but it has very little to do with what is happening in the now). It is very important to start having compassion for that wounded part of ourselves.
It is by owning our wounds that we can start taking the power away from the wounded part of us. When we suppress the feelings, feel ashamed about our reactions, do not own that part of our being, then we give it power. It is the feelings that we are hiding from that dictate our behavior, that fuel obsession and compulsion.
Codependence is a disease of extremes.
Those of us who were horrified and deeply wounded by a perpetrator in childhood – and were never going to be like that parent – adapted a more passive defense system to avoid confrontation and hurting others.
The more passive type of codependent defense system leads to a dominant pattern of being the victim.
Those of us who were disgusted by, and ashamed of, the victim parent in childhood and vowed never to be like that role model, adapted a more aggressive defense system. So we go charging through life being the bull in the china shop – being the perpetrator who blames other people for not allowing us to be in control. The perpetrator that feels like a victim of other people not doing things right – which is what forces us to bulldoze our way through life.
And, of course, some of us go first one way and then the other. (We all have our own personal spectrum of extremes that we swing between – sometimes being the victim, sometimes being the perpetrator. Being a passive victim is perpetrating on those around us.)
The only way we can be whole is to own all of the parts of ourselves. By owning all the parts we can then have choices about how we respond to life. By denying, hiding, and suppressing parts of ourselves we doom ourselves to live life in reaction.
A technique I have found very valuable in this healing process is to relate to the different wounded parts of our self as different ages of the inner child. These different ages of the child may be literally tied to an event that happened at that age – i.e. when I was 7 I tried to commit suicide. Or the age of the child might be a symbolic designator for a pattern of abuse/deprivation that occurred throughout our childhood - i.e. the 9 year old within me feels completely emotionally isolated and desperately needy/lonely, a condition which was true for most of my childhood and not tied to any specific incident (that I know of) that happened when I was 9.
By searching out, getting acquainted with, owning the feelings of, and building a relationship with, these different emotional wounds/ages of the inner child, we can start being a loving parent to ourselves instead of an abusive one. We can have boundaries with ourselves that allow us to: take responsibility for being a co-creator of our life (grow up); protect our inner children from the perpetrator within/critical parent (be loving to ourselves); stop letting our childhood wounds control our life (take loving action for ourselves); and own the Truth of who we really are (Spiritual Beings) so that we can open up to receive the Love and Joy we deserve.
It is impossible to Truly love the adult that we are without owning the child that we were. In order to do that we need to detach from our inner process (and stop the disease from abusing us) so that we can have some objectivity and discernment that will allow us to have compassion for our own childhood wounds. Then we need to grieve those wounds and own our right to be angry about what happened to us in childhood – so that we can Truly know in our gut that it wasn’t our fault – we were just innocent little kids.
Feeling the Feelings
By: Robert Burney MA
“It is through healing our inner child, our inner children, by grieving the wounds that we suffered, that we can change our behavior patterns and clear our emotional process. We can release the grief with its pent-up rage, shame, terror, and pain from those feeling places which exist within us. That does not mean that the wound will ever be completely healed. There will always be a tender spot, a painful place within us due to the experiences that we have had. What it does mean is that we can take the power away from those wounds. By bringing them out of the darkness into the Light, by releasing the energy, we can heal them enough so that they do not have the power to dictate how we live our lives today. We can heal them enough to change the quality of our lives dramatically. We can heal them enough to Truly be happy, Joyous and free in the moment most of the time.” * “There is no quick fix! Understanding the process does not replace going through it! There is no magic pill, there is no magic book, there is no guru or channeled entity that can make it possible to avoid the journey within, the journey through the feelings.
No one outside of Self (True, Spiritual Self) is going to magically heal us. There is not going to be some alien E.T. landing in a spaceship singing, “Turn on your heart light,” who is going to magically heal us all. The only one who can turn on your heart light is you. The only one who can give your inner children healthy parenting is you. The only healer who can heal you is within you.”
Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls by Robert Burney
Emotions are energy that is manifested in our bodies. They exist below the neck. They are not thoughts (although attitudes set up our emotional reactions.) In order to do the emotional healing it is vital to start paying attention to where energy is manifesting in our bodies. Where is there tension, tightness? Could that “indigestion” really be some feelings? Are those “butterflies” in my stomach telling me something emotionally?
When I am working with someone and they start having some feelings coming up, the first thing I have to tell them is to keep breathing. Most of us have learned a variety of ways to control our emotions and one of them is to stop breathing and close our throats. That is because grief in the form of sadness accumulates in our upper chest and breathing into it helps some of it to escape – so we learned to stop breathing at those moments when we start getting emotional, when our voice starts breaking.
Western civilization has for many years been way out of balance towards the left brain way of thinking – concrete, rational, what you see is all there is (this was in reaction to earlier times of being out of balance the other way, towards superstition and ignorance.) Because emotional energy can not be seen or measured or weighed (“The x-ray shows you’ve got 5 pounds of grief in there.”) emotions were discounted and devalued. This has started to change somewhat in recent years but most of us grew up in a society that taught us that being too emotional was a bad thing that we should avoid. (Certain cultures/subcultures give more permission for emotions but those are usually out of balance to the other extreme of allowing the emotions to rule - the goal is balance: between mental and emotional, between intuitive and rational.)
Emotions are a vital part of our being for several reasons.
1. Because it is energy and energy cannot just disappear. The emotional energy generated by the circumstances of our childhood and early life does not go away just because we were forced to deny it. It is still trapped in our body – in a pressurized, explosive state, as a result of being suppressed. If we don’t learn how to release it in a healthy way it will explode outward or implode back in on us. Eventually it will transform into some other form – such as cancer. 2. As long as we have pockets of pressurized emotional energy that we have to avoid dealing with – those emotional wounds will run our lives. We use food, cigarettes, alcohol and drugs, work, religion, exercise, meditation, television, etc., to help us keep suppressing that energy. To help us keep ourselves focused on something else, anything else, besides the emotional wounds that terrify us. The emotional wounds are what cause obsession and compulsion, are what the “critical parent” voice works so hard to keep us from dealing with.
3. Our emotions tell us who we are – our Soul communicates with us through emotional energy vibrations. Truth is an emotional energy vibrational communication from our Soul on the Spiritual Plane to our being/spirit/soul on this physical plane – it is something that we feel in our heart/our gut, something that resonates within us.
Our problem has been that because of our unhealed childhood wounds it has been very difficult to tell the difference between an intuitive emotional Truth and the emotional truth that comes from our childhood wounds. When one of our buttons is pushed and we react out of the insecure, scared little kid inside of us (or the angry/rage filled kid, or the powerless/helpless kid, etc.) then we are reacting to what our emotional truth was when we were 5 or 9 or 14 – not to what is happening now. Since we have been doing that all of our lives, we learned not to trust our emotional reactions (and got the message not to trust them in a variety of ways when we were kids.)
4. We are attracted to people that feel familiar on an energetic level – which means (until we start clearing our emotional process) people that emotionally / vibrationally feel like our parents did when we were very little kids. At a certain point in my process I realized that if I met a woman who felt like my soul mate, that the chances were pretty huge that she was one more unavailable woman that fit my pattern of being attracted to someone who would reinforce the message that I wasn’t good enough, that I was unlovable. Until we start releasing the hurt, sadness, rage, shame, terror – the emotional grief energy – from our childhoods we will keep having dysfunctional relationships.
I became willing to do the emotional healing in the summer of 1987 when I set myself up to be abandoned on my birthday one more time. I called a counselor that I had been told was good with the emotional work. It turned our that he was in the middle of moving to Hawaii and wasn’t doing counseling anymore. But he said I could come over and talk to him as he packed. I don’t remember anything that he said to me that day – what I do remember is that as I sat in his house watching him pack I had a feeling, and a visual image, that I had just opened Pandora’s Box – the monsters were loose now and I would never be able shut that box again.
Doing the grief work is absolutely terrifying. The word I came up with to describe how I felt was terrif—ingfying. It felt like if I ever really owned the pain, I would end up crying in a rubber room for the rest of my life. That if I ever really owned the rage, I would just go up and down the street shooting people. That is not what happened. The Spirit guided me through the process and gave me the resources I needed to release great quantities of that pent up, pressurized emotional energy. To release enough to start learning who I really am, to start seeing my path more clearly, and to start forgiving myself and learning about love.
I still need to do the grieving/energy release work from time to time. There is still a hole in my soul – a seemingly bottomless abyss of wish-to-die-pain, shame, and unbearable suffering. But it is a much smaller hole and I don’t have to visit it very often.
The wounds don’t go away. They have less power to dictate my life as I heal. I needed to own that wounded part of me in order to start getting to know, and have compassion for, me. I also needed to learn to have a balance because we can’t live in those feelings. We need to own them and honor them in order to own and honor ourselves – but then we need to learn to have internal boundaries that will allow us to find some balance in our life, allow us to to trust the process and our Higher Power.
We are on a Spiritual journey – and the Force is with us. It will help and guide us as we face the terror of owning how painful our human experience has been. The more we are able to feel and release the feelings/emotional energy, the more clearly we can tune into the emotional energy that is Truth - and Love, Light, Joy, Beauty – coming from The Source Energy.
Inner Child Healing Techniques
By Robert Burney
“When we are reacting out of old tapes based on attitudes and beliefs that are false or distorted, then our feelings cannot be trusted.”
“When we are reacting out of our childhood emotional wounds, then what we are feeling may have very little to do with the situation we are in or with the people with whom we are dealing in the moment.”
In order to start be-ing in the moment in a healthy, age-appropriate way it is necessary to heal our “inner child.” The inner child we need to heal is actually our “inner children” who have been running our lives because we have been unconsciously reacting to life out of the emotional wounds and attitudes, the old tapes, of our childhoods.”
The one who betrayed us and abandoned and abused us the most was ourselves. That is how the emotional defense system that is Codependence works.
The battle cry of Codependence is “I’ll show you - I’ll get me.”
We have an age of the wounded inner child that relates to each stage of the development process. It is very important to start getting in touch with these parts of ourselves and building a Loving relationship with each of them.
Anytime we have a strong emotional reaction to something or someone – when a button is pushed and there is a lot of energy attached, a lot of intensity – that means there is old stuff involved.
It is the inner child who feels panic or terror or rage or hopelessness, not the adult.
We need to ask ourselves “How old am I feeling right now?” and then listen for an intuitive answer. When we get that answer then we can track down why the child was feeling that way.
It is not that important to know the details of why the child is feeling that way – it is important to honor that the child’s feelings are valid. Sometimes we recover some memory and sometimes we don’t – the details are not that important, honoring the feelings is important. Trying to fill in the details isn’t necessary and can lead to false memories.
“It is also a vital part of the process to learn discernment. To learn to ask for help and guidance from people who are trustworthy, . . . That means counselors and therapists who will not judge and shame you and project their issues onto you.
(I believe that the cases of “false memories” that are getting a lot of publicity these days are in reality cases of emotional incest – which is rampant in our society and can be devastating to a person’s relationship with his/her own sexuality – that are being misunderstood and misdiagnosed as sexual abuse by therapists who have not done their own emotional healing and project their own issues of emotional incest and/or sexual abuse onto their patients).
Someone who has not done her/his own emotionally healing grief work cannot guide you through yours. Or as John Bradshaw put it in his excellent PBS series on reclaiming the inner child, “No one can lead you somewhere that they haven’t been.”"
When one of our “buttons” is pushed - when an old wound is gouged – it is very important to honor the child’s feelings without buying into the illusion that it matches the adults reality.
“What we feel is our “emotional truth” and it does not necessarily have anything to do with either facts or the emotional energy that is Truth with a capital “T” especially when we our reacting out of an age of our inner child.”
The following paragraphs are excerpts from one of my columns. It is entitled “Union Within” and explains some of the dynamics of the inner child parenting process.
“Recovery from Codependence is a process of owning all of the fractured parts of our selves so that we can find some wholeness so that we can bring about an integrated and balanced union, a marriage if you will, of all the parts of our internal self. The most vital component of this process in my experience is the healing and integration of the inner children. In this column I am going to be talking about some of my inner children in order to try to communicate the importance of this integration process. . . .”
“The seven year old within me is the most prominent and emotionally vocal of my inner children. . . . The despairing seven year old is always close by, waiting in the wings, and when life seems too hard, when I am exhausted or lonely or discouraged – when impending doom or financial tragedy seem to be immanent – then I hear from him. Sometimes the first words I hear in the morning are his voice within me saying “I just want to die”.
The feeling of wanting to die, of not wanting to be here, is the most overwhelming, most familiar feeling in my emotional inner landscape. Until I started doing my inner child healing I believed that who I really was at the deepest, truest part of my being, was that person who wanted to die. I thought that was the true ‘me’. Now I know that is just a small part of me. When that feeling comes over me now I can say to that seven year old, “I am really sorry you feel that way Robbie. You had very good reason to feel that way. But that was a long time ago and things are different now. I am here to protect you now and I Love you very much. We are happy to be alive now and we are going to feel Joy today, so you can relax and this adult will deal with life.”. . . .
“The integration process involves consciously cultivating a healthy, Loving relationship with all of my inner children so that I can Love them, validate their feelings, and assure them that everything is different now and everything is going to be all right. When the feelings from the child come over me it feels like my whole being, like my absolute reality – it isn’t, it is just a small part of me reacting out of the wounds from the past. I know that now because of my recovery, and I can lovingly parent and set boundaries for those inner children so they are not dictating how I live my life. By owning and honoring all of the parts of me I now have a chance to have some balance and union within.”
We need to be the Loving parent who can hear the child’s voice within us.
We need to learn to be nurturing and Loving to the wounded parts of us.
We can do that by actually working on developing a relationship with those wounded parts of us. The first step is to open a dialog.
I believe that it is important to actually talk to the children inside of us.
To open communications in any way we can through talking to those parts of ourselves in a Loving way (which means also to stop calling ourselves names like stupid – when we do that we are abusing our inner children), right hand/left hand writing, painting and drawing, music, making collages, taking the child to the toy store, etc.
At first the child will probably not trust you – for many very good reasons. Eventually we can start building trust. If we will treat ourselves with one tenth as much compassion as we would an abused puppy who came into our care – we would be Loving ourselves much more that we have been.
“As long as we are judging and shaming ourselves we are giving power to the disease. We are feeding the monster that is devouring us.
We need to take responsibility without taking the blame. We need to own and honor the feelings without being a victim of them.
We need to rescue and nurture and Love our inner children and STOP them from controlling our lives. STOP them from driving the bus! Children are not supposed to drive, they are not supposed to be in control.
And they are not supposed to be abused and abandoned. We have been doing it backwards. We abandoned and abused our inner children. Locked them in a dark place within us. And at the same time let the children drive the bus – let the children’s wounds dictate our lives.”
It is very important to nurture ourselves out of the Loving adult in ourselves - the one who understands delayed gratification.
It is the wounded child in us that wants instant gratification.
We need to set boundaries for the wounded part of us that wants to go unconscious or indulge in things which are abusive in the long run.
“The pain of being unworthy and shameful was so great that I had to learn ways to go unconscious and disconnect from my feelings. The ways in which I learned to protect myself from that pain and nurture myself when I was hurting so badly were with things like drugs and alcohol, food and cigarettes, relationships and work, obsession and rumination.
The way it works in practice is like this: I am feeling fat; I judge myself for being fat; I shame myself for being fat; I beat myself for being fat; then I am hurting so badly that I have to relieve some of the pain; so to nurture myself I eat a pizza; then I judge myself for eating the pizza, etc. etc.
To the disease, this is a functional cycle. The shame begets the self-abuse which begets the shame which serves the purpose of the disease which is to keep us separate so the we don’t set ourselves up to fail by believing that we are worthy and lovable.”