The Inner Children that need Boundaries 2

"The magical thinking child believes in fairy tales and is often closely allied with the romantic within.  This child can also give power to magical thinking in negative terms - such as, I am really happy but if I tell anyone I am happy it will be taken away."
***
"So, I set a boundary with the critical parent by not buying into the criticism, I set a boundary with my inner child by not building up expectations of some kind of reward, and I remind myself to focus on the half of the glass that is full (my needs that have been met) and be grateful for the gifts I have been given - not the half that is empty (my wants that have not been met.)"
***
"Teenagers as a subculture in society have not even existed until recently.  Until only a generation or two ago teenagers of 13, 14, and 15 were married and on their own as young adults.  The addition of the teenage years to the period of childhood rather than adulthood is a very recent phenomena in society.  These years of raging hormones (and resultant emotional volatility) with no acceptable outlet has added new emotional trauma to the process of growing up."
This page is an article about different inner children and archetypes that need boundaries set for them by the adult in recovery.
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This Part two of The Inner Children that need Boundaries - an article about different inner children and archetypes that need boundaries set for them by the adult in recovery.



(This page contains an article originally written for the Joy2MeU Journal.  It contains a quote from Codepenence: The Dance of Wounded Souls and quotes from other articles, columns, and web pages.  The internal links within this article open in a separate browser window.)

Bad little kid 

The child who has ego-strength on the outside but very little real self-esteem so sets self up to be criticized.  Quite often seen in men who may be successful in business world but don't feel deserving so set up their mates to be nagging, scolding mother trying to get them to straighten up.   These men have a lot of anger at their mothers that they have never been able to own but think that they love women - they have very little capacity to receive love and have to sabotage it when they do.  Can feel very justified in leaving long term marriage for "trophy wife" because wife is such a "nag."

Magical Thinking Child

The magical thinking child believes in fairy tales and is often closely allied with the romantic within.  This child can also give power to magical thinking in negative terms - such as, I am really happy but if I tell anyone I am happy it will be taken away.  Or as I talk about in my article on Joy to You & Me - I thought on some level that if I washed my car it would break down.  This is not the thinking of an adult - yet many adults, if they would look underneath some of their reactions and attitudes, would find the magical thinking child behind them.
***
The following is an example of setting a boundary with the magical thinking child.  This example came up last year when I was answering an e-mail from someone who wanted to know "how to" set boundaries with inner children - that is, what it looks like, the ABC's of the process. 

"There are several facets to setting boundaries with our inner children.  One is that we need to gently explain to the magical thinking child within that Fairy Tales do not come true - that is we are not going to get to happily ever-after in this lifetime on this plane.  We may meet our prince or princess - but they are going to be wounded souls who need to work on their issues also. 

 ~
I just took a break from writing this to go to the post office to mail a book and tape set to England - and as I was walking to the post office a perfect example of what I am talking about occurred within me. (This is the kind of miracles that I get on a daily basis - "the ask and ye shall receive" kind - I am thinking of the best way to answer and by paying attention I was given an example.) 

As I was writing this response to your questions, I got a hit/idea/inspiration that I should post a web page with the questions that I get by e-mail and answers I send back.  As you mention, it can really help sometimes to be concrete and explicit. So, as I am walking to the post office I am thinking about doing such a web page and the following interaction takes place within me (in my inner reality these are fleeting thoughts rather than a formal conversation.) 

ego/critical parent:  'Your giving away all of this information for free and meanwhile you can't even pay your rent. That is pretty stupid.'

Romantic (believes in fairy tales) inner child:  'Oh, but we're going to be rewarded.  All kinds of good things are going to happen - including getting a lot of money.' 

Adult on Spiritual Path: 'Now, settle down you two.  In the first place, it is very important and wonderful to give away what I have been given - that is how to keep the energy flowing - and that is what works, it is what I need to do for me/us.  And I am going to do it because it feels good, it feels right - like the next thing in front of me to do.  We'll worry about the rent when it is time to pay the rent - for today, for this moment, we will do what feels right for today.  And I need to tell you, that our reward may just be to feel good about what we're doing - and if that is all there is, that is still a wonderful gift.  On top of that we are getting positive feedback from all over - and that is a great bonus.  There may never be a lot of money but that is not important.  There is enough money for today.  And we are very blessed to have something to do today that is fulfilling and makes us happy.'

So, I set a boundary with the critical parent by not buying into the criticism, I set a boundary with my inner child by not building up expectations of some kind of reward, and I remind myself to focus on the half of the glass that is full (my needs that have been met) and be grateful for the gifts I have been given - not the half that is empty (my wants that have not been met.) 

I have peace and serenity when I can accept reality as it is and focus on what action I can take to change what needs to be changed.  That means I need to accept that I can be happy and fulfilled even if I never have any money, never get any more of my books published, never have another romantic relationship, etc.  I need to let go of my picture of how I want things to be and focus on what action I can take today that: 

1. feels good/right; 

2. that feels like a kind thing to do for myself (could be doing the dishes or cleaning house - inner children rarely want to do house work - of  course if house work is one of your coping mechanisms then for you doing something frivolous and silly might be in order); 

3. that is about planting some seeds (going to the library to get a book, posting a new web page, checking for local 12 step meetings, etc.) that maybe will help to meet my wants. 

The Truth of the reward thing is that I have no way of knowing if I am creating "good" (feels like reward when it comes back) Karma or settling old "bad" (feels like punishment) Karma - so I cannot know what is coming, I just know that I believe it is all going to be all right in the end and I will get to go home when I am through with this often very painful boarding school.

There is always going to be more work, more healing to do - but the magical thinking child wants to believe in magical fairy tales (we're going to win the lottery) - this does not in any way preclude believing in magical miracles. We need to know that there are miracles and magic so we can be open to them (we could win the lottery) but not just sit around expecting (planning on eating on your lottery winnings tomorrow is not a good strategy) them to rescue us and takes us to happily ever after.  We need to take some action/do our part (buy a ticket - just one - and though this can be applied literally to the lottery I am really using it here figuratively speaking) - we are co-creators here. And even if we win the lottery it is just going to present us with some more lessons - not bring us happily ever after."

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If you have read my other writings on inner child healing you will know that I have found it useful to try to figure out what age of the child is connected to the reaction we are feeling.  Sometimes these ages are literal ages connected to a specific event in our childhood - sometimes they are symbolic designators of a certain type of wound.  This next child wound designator is about anger.  We, of course, experienced anger throughout our childhood (even if we had no permission to own it and so were in denial of it.)  In my observation there are usually two different ages of the child carrying the bulk of our anger - a teenager and a younger child, usually around 5 or 6.  That doesn't mean those were the only times we were angry - it is a way of identifying different types of anger energy.  A teenagerÝs anger is different from a 5 year old's, so it is important to be able to discern between the different ages as we are building a relationship with those parts of us.

The whole point of doing this work is so that we can identify and build a Loving relationship with those parts of our psyche that are carrying the energy that needs to be healed and released.  We are doing that to take the power away from our wounds so that our past emotional wounds and old programming are not dictating our life today.  There is no right and wrong way to do this work - what is important is to make an effort to take Loving control over our own inner process so that we can stop being the victim of the past. 

These are some ways that anger is carried and manifested.

Angry child

Sometimes this anger is very obvious from a persons demeanor - they exhibit their bitterness and resentment on the surface because they are letting this child run the show.  They are full of rage and resentment and tend to strike out (verbally and/or physically), break things or hurt people (verbally and/or physically), exhibit road rage and/or indulge in self-righteous vendettas.  With this type of  display - as with all of the other types - there is a lot of shame and pain underneath the anger.  The key to diffusing the anger of this child is to own the pain underneath the anger.  Many men find this very difficult because of lack of permission to feel any feelings except anger.  Some women find this difficult because they do not feel safe being vulnerable.

Sometimes it is very hidden because the person doesn't let anyone close enough to them to provoke the anger out of fear of overreacting and shame about past overreactions.  They feel as if there is something wrong with them and that they are carrying a shameful secret.  They may be very cordial and friendly on the outside but are really hermits because of their fear of their anger and the pain underneath.  This is where I came from for much of my life out of my counterdependency patterns which were in reaction to my fear of my own pain and neediness. 

It is difficult for the counterdependent who is terrified and ashamed of being vulnerable and needy because they have a hard time feeling safe enough to own the pain with another person.  In order to alleviate the shame it is very important in the healing process to be able to open up to, and be vulnerable with, at least one other being who will not react from judgment.  This is vitally important element in the fifth step of the twelve step program.

It is often very hard to let go of the anger because it has been the shield that has protected the younger, more vulnerable child places within us.  We need to own our legitimate anger and to diffuse the anger we are carrying in reaction to our own pain and shame.

Teenage female "Maiden" / Teenage male "Horndog"

Besides all of the ways we are set up to have unhealthy relationships with our self by the dysfunctional cultures and role models we grew up with - we are also set up by our genetic species programming.  The survival programming that may have been necessary in the days of the early Homo Sapiens cavemen can really get in the way of healthy relationships today.

(A note here that our Spirits, during and after a Paradise Period here on Earth, did occupy the physical bodies of Homo Sapiens that had evolved on this planet.  Both evolution and Paradise were realities in the unfolding of the Divine Plan.  This is something that I will be talking about in my Trilogy.)

In order for the human race to survive in a hostile environment where living past the age of 30 was considered quite old it was necessary to propagate the race as quickly as possible. One of Mother Natures ways of ensuring that this would happen was to give teenage males of the species a very strong sex drive that was aroused by the female body - most any female body - rather than to primarily seek strong emotional attachment to one female.  This was because of the high mortality rate - both through death in childbirth of females and death through various means of the men - that caused a need to take on new and/or additional mates very soon to insure survival.  It was necessary that the men be willing to copulate with (and thus also agree to protect and provide for) whomever needed a mate.

Women, on the other hand, in order to try to ensure protection and sustenance for themselves and their children during the vulnerable times of pregnancy and after childbirth were programmed to desire to bond with one man to produce children and then to protect and provide for her and her children.  Women were capable of, and did, hunt and provide protection for the clan during the times that they were not physically vulnerable due to pregnancy, childbirth, and early child rearing - it was during those months of vulnerability in a harsh environment that women needed a protector and provider.

This genetic programming, that is thousands of years out of date and unnecessary, is now a source of conflict and misunderstanding between the genders.  This is exacerbated by a couple of other factors.

1. Teenagers as a subculture in society have not even existed until recently.  Until only a generation or two ago teenagers of 13, 14, and 15 were married and on their own as young adults.  The addition of the teenage years to the period of childhood rather than adulthood is a very recent phenomena in society.  These years of raging hormones (and resultant emotional volatility) with no acceptable outlet has added new emotional trauma to the process of growing up.

2. An unfortunate consequence of life in an emotionally dishonest and dysfunctional society, that is based on beliefs that deny men the full range of their emotional being, is that the great majority of men are emotionally immature in their relationships, not only to women, but also to other men.  Most men are stuck in a horny teenager place - the "Horndog" [a previously uncharted archetype that Jung missed ;-)] - in terms of how they view and relate to females.

Teenage male "Horndog"

It is very important for men to start being able to set boundaries with the "horndog", with the horny teenager inside them.  In order to have a chance for healthy relationship and emotional intimacy it is vital to stop letting the horny teenager be in control of our choices in romantic relationships (this is just as true for same sex relationships as heterosexual ones) or influence how we relate with women in general.  This horny teenager within is not bad or wrong or shameful - it is a normal, natural result of growing up in the dysfunctional societies we grew up in.  What is dysfunctional, and can sometimes lead to behavior to be ashamed of, is to allow that male animal lust to run the show.  In order to be a mature, adult - a Real Man - it is vital to be conscious and emotionally honest enough to not allow the attitudes we developed as horny teenagers to dictate how we treat women today.

Teenage female "Maiden" 

One of the archetypes for women is the maiden - a romantic teenager who believes in fairy tales and daydreams that "her Prince will come."  This maiden is, of course, one level of the romantic within. 

The genetic human programming can set up a woman to keep a man around for the illusion of having a male protector and supporter.  I have worked with many women who not only didn't need to be protected and supported by a man, but they in fact were providing the bulk of the support for the man.  In the inner work the "maiden within" is the part of themselves that women can set a boundary with so that they do not unconsciously buy into the set up of believing that they have to have a man in their life to be OK.  That certainly doesn't mean that there is anything wrong with having a relationship with a man or that the Prince isn't going to show up (he will definitely have issues to work through however.)  The point is to be conscious about our choices.  If we are reacting unconsciously to subconscious or genetic programming then we are giving power away and not owning our choices.


This is a list of most of the general types of inner child "persona" that can be present within us.  I will probably think of a few more next week.  They are meant as a general guideline to help you identify some of the reacting parts of your emotional inner landscape.  We all had our relationships with ourselves fractured into pieces as we were growing up. It is very important to start bringing some peace to our inner process by owning those inner children, hearing them as we were not heard.

Two more points come to mind as I am wrapping this up. 

1.  I used the term persona just now to describe the inner child/archetype places within us - that feels like a good word to me. They are not actual personalities.  People who suffer from multiple personality disorder are beings who were pushed farther than the rest of us.  The wounding process involves the same basic dynamic - in fact, I learned a lot about my own inner process by studying cases of multiple personality - but multiples were broken in harsher ways (usually in an intentional and/or ritual abuse manner that amounted to torture.)

2.  It is quite normal for a female to have one or more male inner children and natural (although much harder for the male to own due to cultural dysfunction) for men to have a little girl or two within.  On top of the emotional dishonesty that men are programmed with, the homophobic nature of society makes it hard for men to even conceive of such a possibility.  Women, who of course have more permission for emotional honesty and less strident homophobic programming, also were raised in a society (and with role models) that taught them that men were better than women.  It was pretty natural (up until recently when more empowered female role models are available) for a girl to wish she were a boy at some point in her childhood.

Love is the answer.  We are learning to Love ourselves.  In order to do that it is very important to own all of the wounded parts of our self so that we can then be a Loving parent to our self.   Being a Loving parent does include being willing to set boundaries for the child.  That is part of a parents job.  So too, is Loving, nurturing, and protecting the child.  Part of Loving a child and meeting a child's needs is to set boundaries.  Since no one could do that in a healthy way for us, it is vital to learn to do it for ourselves.

"It is necessary to own and honor the child who we were in order to Love the person we are. And the only way to do that is to own that child's experiences, honor that child's feelings, and release the emotional grief energy that we are still carrying around."

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