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Little Big exercise in 'from Abandonment to healing'

Hedwig posted 11/30/2020 01:10 AM

Does anyone have any experience with the Little Big exercise in the from Abandonment to Healing book?

I have been talking to my inner child when I'm anxious since march 2020, but asking my inner child questions and having them "answer" feels super weird.

It sounds silly but I'm a little afraid it might cause a split personality (dissociative identity disorder).

So I'm very hesitant to keep doing it. It just feels weird to have conversations with my little.

Anyone any insights?

gmc94 posted 11/30/2020 20:31 PM

I did "parts work" before I even read Journey from Abandonment, so maybe it felt more comfortable?

Parts work uses different lingo (exiles, protectors, firefighters), but IMHO the principle is the same: healing the hurt child(ren) in all of us. Letting them tell their stories, validating them, and learning that they have experienced horrific pain, but can be empowered (vs protected) to become functioning "parts" of the whole.

I would not worry one bit about DID (which comes from trauma, not attempts to heal it )

You can google Parts work and get a better understanding (there is a simple book with lots of illustrations by Tom Holmes that I recommend as an 'entry' to that modality).

Hedwig posted 12/1/2020 06:05 AM

Thanks, gmc94, I will google Parts work.

How did you let your inner child 'tell' their story, if you want to share? The book recommends writing but I think I feel more comfortable just thinking it.

Did it become easier after practice?

I know DID comes from trauma, but my (faulty) logic goes like this: DID is a way to protect yourself from trauma, so maybe if I do this to heal myself from trauma, it can cause the same. I think it's obvious why I am diagnosed with GAD

[This message edited by Hedwig at 6:05 AM, December 1st (Tuesday)]

gmc94 posted 12/1/2020 21:19 PM

Oh Hedwig.... I can relate to your "logic"... we humans are pretty effing funny sometimes.

I've written some of it, but bc the early parts work/IFC (Internal Family Systems) was with an IC using EMDR my IC took notes and had the basics that way. TBH, if I was doing it now & w/o an IC, I'd probably just tape record it and then listen when I'm in a good place. I dunno if it helps to have a record (written, audio, etc) or not. Writing helps me remember things, so when I was knee deep in parts work, I did journal and map as much as I could. I basically put myself into as deep of a meditative/trance state as I could to "dig deep" into those hurt parts / feelings.

I am not - by an effing longshot - what anyone would describe as "crunchy" (we used to call them hippies, back in the day), tho I have family members that would fit that "profile" . I'm extremely logical/analytical, wear a suit every damn day & don't own a single pair of blue jeans type. When crystals were "in", I was absolutely "out". So, the onslaught of such enormous feelings on dday was total overwhelm. I had to change some shit, and that included becoming increasingly "crunchy" by feeling the feels, mindfulness, etc.

So, getting into parts work / IFS was QUITE the departure, given my history/personality. Parts work will expose MANY characters/roles, so as I got deeper and identified more, I had a sense of the personality (and pain or role) of those I'd looked into and was able to really just talk about them, kind of like 3rd persons. It really did feel a lot like the old 1970s TV movie called Sybil (about someone with DID). I can't say I was ever worried about getting DID from it all... the scariest part was thinking I already had so many!

I refer to one of my parts as Lucy, like in the Peanuts strip. She can be very bossy, she wants to control things, speaks in a loud voice, etc. But was Lucy an adult/protector? Or a hurt child/exile? I believe Lucy is a protector (manager), so I looked for a "Charlie Brown" (who seems very CoD, esp after watching the Thanksgiving show last week!) I then turned to how to convince a "lucy" that it's ok to back off and let "Charlie" become empowered. To let Lucy know that I (gmc) AND Charlie (or any exiles/hurt children parts) really appreciate all of her help - she's protected me/us (?) from a ton of painful feelings - and that it's time for her to take a rest. Does any of that make sense?

I'd say that aspect was more about trying to be mindful of whatever "part" was operating at any given time. So if I could sense/feel my voice getting louder, I ask myself: why is Lucy here? What icky feeling is going on deep down that makes me feel x (usually invisible / unheard or not valued, but could be any number of things )? And then, in my mind, trying to get Lucy to back off and reconcile with whatever (or whomever) "holds" that icky feeling. It's not about "manipulating" that part, but more acknowledging, validating, thanking, and asking. It's saying: I know you have the "room" (so to speak) right now, and I thank you for caring so much to help.... but I think we got this and would be so grateful if you could rest a bit and give the others a chance to do their thing.

At that point things started to make a lot of sense to my logic brain. If I felt like acting mean (whatever that moment's equivalent was to taking the football from good 'ol charlie), then I'd have to ask: what's going on? Why do I want to hurt someone else? What emotion is Lucy managing here?

So - this is becoming a dissertation on my IFC/parts work- ha! I guess after writing all of that down, maybe the story being in your mind is enough for now? Then write/map as you see appropriate. I DO think for some folks that is super beneficial - the process of visualizing in addition to ruminating - KWIM? An example is after my WH's suicide attempt, I would have periods like the Richard Dreyfuss character in "Close Encounters" and the Devils Tower (eg, making the tower out of his mashed taters). But I was doing it with the image of my WH hanging from a noose. It helped to kind of "get it out of my mind" by drawing it, using an artist's mannequin to position it as I found him, etc. To feel the sadness of that vision (which I could not feel in the moment, as I was just desperately trying to get him to not be dead) . That did help me. I still have some moments/ triggers about that experience, but they are not full blown panic attacks. So, I do believe there is some support for rewiring by using the written (whether drawing, mapping or writing) in addition to the mental.

Hope that makes sense.... from a "crunchy" in training :)

Hedwig posted 12/3/2020 11:04 AM

Thank you for sharing all that with me, gmc!
Not gonna lie, when I skimmed your reply last night and I saw the names Lucy and Charlie for different parts, I noped the fuck out, closed SI and went about my day.

Reading it all, it makes sense! Especially the part where if you feel like being mean or wanting to hurt, what part is feeling icky and why? I think I can learn a lot from that. And I really believe in the whole "hurt people hurt people".

Writing has always been my go to in order to start ruminating, so I'll just continue doing that.

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