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June 9, 2024 25 mins

Welcome to this episode of One Hot Mess with Brittany. Today, we delve into the transformative practice of inner child work and reparenting. Discover how your past shapes your present, learn about the concept of the inner child introduced by Carl Jung, and understand the significance of addressing inner child wounds to heal coping mechanisms.

We'll explore triggers that activate your inner child and discuss methods for nurturing and healing this crucial part of your psyche. Brittany explains various therapeutic approaches, including Internal Family Systems (IFS) and psychodynamic therapy, and offers practical steps for reparenting yourself.

Uncover the importance of self-compassion, patience, and intentionality in the reparenting process, and learn how to foster healthier relationships, set boundaries, and improve your emotional regulation. Whether you're new to the concept or looking to deepen your understanding, this episode is packed with insights and actionable advice to guide you on your healing journey.

Don't miss out on this in-depth discussion that promises to bring renewed hope and joy to your life and relationships. Tune in, follow, and share One Hot Mess with a friend!

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Episode Transcript

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(00:00):
Music.

(00:07):
What's up guys, it's Brittany and welcome to One Hot Mess.
Today we're going to be talking about inner child work and how your past shapes your present.
So the inner child is a young part of our psyche that influences how we think and react as adults.

(00:33):
It's often used in psychotherapy and spiritual settings, and the inner child
can symbolize hardship,
trauma, and even triumph we have experienced during our youth.
Yet when we ignore our inner child and ignore how our past is painting our presence,

(00:58):
we do ourselves a major disservice.
We end up overlooking important formative experiences that may be critical in
healing some of our coping mechanisms.
So today, we are going to explore why our inner child is important,

(01:20):
what might trigger it, and how you can tap into your inner child and start healing.
So, first of all, you may be wondering what is the inner child or why is the inner child important?
And the concept of the inner child was first introduced by renowned psychologist Carl Jung.

(01:44):
And our inner child can drive many of our emotions in our daily life,
especially when we're unaware of it.
When you lose conscious awareness of your inner child, you lose conscious awareness of a part of yourself.
In turn, you may experience difficulty regulating your emotions and act from

(02:07):
a regressed state when you're upset.
For example, you could find yourself having an angry outburst,
kind of like a temper tantrum.
You might feel shameful and lonely, just as you did as a child,
or you may notice that when you are stressed, your mood switches swiftly,

(02:33):
similar to how a child may navigate an unsettling situation.
Our inner child, it can be behind many of our emotions, and it can bring about
great healing when properly nurtured.
Now there's something called an inner child wound and it refers to a damaging experience,

(02:56):
or repeated experiences that a person
lived through as a child and these experience can experiences can result in
unresolved trauma that manifests within adults and when you find yourself acting
out of character or having emotions that feel uncontrollable.

(03:17):
You could be behaving from that younger part of yourself that was wounded.
When the inner child is triggered, you will notice some of the behaviors we
just went over that doesn't feel like it is in line with your true character.
Inner child triggers aren't much different than any other triggers that we may

(03:40):
have referred to as trigger events.
These issues can be mundane examples of disruption in an otherwise ordinary day.
For example, being late to work, it could lead one to feel unreasonably concerned
that they will be publicly shamed or fired despite having perfect attendance and flawless reviews.

(04:09):
Yet, this person could have experienced an unstable home environment where they
were continually shamed, yelled at, or even physically abused for the smallest mistake.
Let me be clear, the inner child isn't a mere source of discontent.
The inner child can present as free-spirited, excited, and light.

(04:35):
Think back to a moment you felt genuinely excited.
It could have been when doing something you enjoyed or when receiving excellent news.
This is an example of a positive inner child trigger. Even if you've never had
this experience, there are ways to access it by tapping into your inner child.

(04:58):
Inner child work can be very emotional, especially if you have a trauma history.
And with that in mind...
You'll want to refrain from revisiting any traumatic experiences from childhood by yourself,
having a psychotherapist by your side as you dive into painful memories can

(05:23):
help you avoid re-traumatization and ensure that your hard work is fruitful.
Consider ways that you can tap into to the joy of being a child?
Was there an activity you loved as a kid?
Consider taking it up. Were there amusement parks?

(05:43):
Was that your thing? You can plan a trip and lean into the stillness of it all.
And when it comes to healing your inner child, if you're noticing that your
inner child feels triggered often, it may be time to consider some healing work.
And first, psychotherapy, that's a a fantastic option.

(06:04):
There are some forms of talk therapy that incorporate inner child work.
There is IFS, which is internal family systems therapy.
It's a form of therapy that focuses on the different parts of a human being,
and each part has a role that it strives to play, even if it results in lackluster coping mechanisms.

(06:34):
Does that sound familiar? Because it should. Everyone has a younger part that
is working to protect the individual as a whole.
However, in the same way, a five-year-old isn't going to be,
you know, the most skilled in navigating safety concerns and troubleshooting major conflict.

(06:55):
The younger part of a person isn't the best candidate to command one's daily life decisions.
So, IFS focuses on bringing all parts of a person's psyche into harmony.
And then there is psychodynamic therapy, which may be helpful in healing your inner child.

(07:19):
This form of therapy, it helps us realize how our present is shaped by our past
and focuses on healing or helping you heal from past trauma.
And it also uses the relationship between the client and the therapist as a

(07:39):
powerful vehicle for change.
Let's say that you find your inner child triggered by your therapist.
A skilled and compassionate therapist will work with you to sort through what
the therapeutic relationship might
represent for you, drawing upon family dynamics and relational wounds.

(08:01):
And these parallels will be used to help you understand your psyche further
and deepening your healing journey.
And a clinician can help you learn how to reparent your inner child.
And there are steps that you can take on your own also.
But the goal of reparenting is to care for, give, and allow yourself to receive

(08:26):
the validation, love, and nurturing that you may not have received in the way
that you needed as a child.
So some ways to get started, begin a dialogue with your inner child.
You can choose any age, like 5, 8, 10, 12, you know, whatever,
and ask them how they are doing and if there is anything they would like to

(08:49):
share with you and engage in a mindful and intentional dialogue with them.
Listen to what they may have to say to you in response.
Write a letter to your inner child. allow them
the opportunity to respond by writing
back to you say nurturing things to
your inner child like I love you I appreciate you I value you

(09:11):
I'm proud of you I hear you thank you
I'm sorry and you can look at photos of
yourself as a child and tell them everything needed that
they needed to hear then and allow them and you to receive it now think and
write about what you loved doing when you were young and make and protect time

(09:32):
to do those things now and engage in meditation and creative visualization with your inner child.
You can validate the pain that has come from not having your needs met as a kid.
Assure your younger self that while you may have been in situations that weren't

(09:54):
safe, then you are a competent adult who will keep that child part safe at all costs.
So nurture that younger self.
And if you notice you are triggered and getting flooded with negative emotions,
grant yourself patience.
And if therapy feels like a cost prohibitive venture, don't let that stop you

(10:16):
from getting the healing you deserve. There is Open Path Collective.
It's a directory with a wide variety of, you know, therapists,
doctors, whoever, who have diverse identities and sessions that range from $40 to $80.
If you're someone with a marginalized identity seeking support check out inclusive

(10:44):
therapist to find a provider who can truly understand you finding peace is possible
and you do not have to go through it alone.
Music.
All right, so let's talk about reparenting. What is reparenting?

(11:12):
Well, it is when an adult works to meet their own emotional or physical needs
that went unmet in their childhood.
And these needs may include affection, security,
routines, structure, emotional regulation, and compassion, a parent or caregiver

(11:33):
may not have fulfilled all of their child's needs.
And when the child grows into an adult, they may need to learn how to give themselves
what they lacked as a kid to improve their health and their well-being.
So reparenting as part of the therapy process, it allows adults the opportunity

(11:55):
to give themselves what they didn't have growing up.
And this often involves learning new adaptive ways of being with themselves
and others, as well as the unlearning of maladaptive ways of living.
Originally, the term reparenting was developed within a theory called transactional analysis.

(12:23):
And a key of this suggests that we operate in three ego states,
parent, adult, and child.
And much of what we learn as a child through our parents and caregivers shape
these states and influence our thoughts and behaviors in our adult life.

(12:45):
And reparenting, specifically within transactional analysis,
it describes the process of someone unlearning harmful and unhealthy ways of
being with the self and others, and the goal is to learn new healthy thoughts and behaviors.
Ultimately, you would learn or experience what you may have missed in childhood.

(13:11):
Childhood now reparenting has
gone through a progression of different
forms a total regression
was developed in the 1970s and this is a form of reparenting in which a person
lives in a mental health center or institution and is cared for or reparented by their therapist.

(13:41):
Another form of reparenting is called time-limited regression,
and it doesn't require the person to live with a therapist, but rather attend
regular therapy sessions.
And this form of treatment has been used specifically for those with schizophrenia
and complex post-traumatic stress disorder. order.

(14:02):
Spot reparenting, it focuses on treating particular traumas that a person experienced.
And finally, self-reparenting is the type of reparenting most commonly used today.
And this is when the person does the reparenting of themselves.
And much of the talk around Reparenting today involves self-reparenting,

(14:27):
and this concept was developed in the early 1970s by Dr.
Morell James, who was a licensed therapist and practitioner of transactional analysis.
And through her work, she advocated that clients could overcome reliance on

(14:48):
their parents' ego state.
A person enters their parents' ego state when they unconsciously adopt mindsets,
opinions, or behaviors that mirror what their parent thought or how their parent behaved.
For instance, if your self-talk is negative or critical and you say things like,

(15:13):
I shouldn't have made that mistake or I can't believe I'm so stupid,
you might be entering your parents' ego state if these are the types of statements
they said to you or themselves.
And Dr. James believed that people could update and restructure their parent ego state,

(15:35):
and rather than simply continuing to carry out the responses that were impressed
on a client by their parents.
The client can
choose new language that is
helpful rather than hurtful instead of engaging
in negative self-talk they may choose to say

(15:57):
it's okay that i messed up or i'm still a good person despite this mistake in
other words clients would be offered the opportunity through therapy to explore
and discover a more authentic version of their own parent ego state.
Now, self-parenting, it does require intentional energy and work,

(16:22):
preferably with a therapist you trust and who is familiar with this process.
In working with a professional, it can help with exploring and clarifying hurtful patterns
that might benefit from reparenting, as well as address things like pacing and

(16:44):
navigating roadblocks as they arise.
Through self-parenting, you will change unhealthy inner dialogue that you learn
from your parent or caregiver, and you will replace it with a healthier dialogue.
And benefits of self-re-parenting include processing your emotions,

(17:07):
setting strong boundaries,
viewing yourself and others in a more positive light, creating healthier relationships,
and strengthening your communication skills.
And much of what we learn about the
processing and sharing of emotions is influenced by our family of origin.

(17:29):
And some families are very open with emotional language and sharing,
while others do not have a culture of identifying, expressing,
or sharing emotional experiences.
Experiences and in the reparenting process
we can learn to find clear language
for our emotional experience as well

(17:50):
as learn how to share this with others
in a healthy way learning how to
set boundaries is often part of the reparenting process and it is common for
children to learn how to people please and while not gaining much awareness
of their own needs and as adults this This can be problematic because without boundaries,

(18:13):
you may find yourself feeling unhappy, unsafe,
or burnt out more easily after your interactions with others.
And all of us have preferences for how we are treated, and you'll cultivate
a sense of self-respect by expressing your boundaries.
And reparenting can offer a corrective emotional experience in which you can

(18:42):
identify or clarify desired boundaries,
as well as learn how to take the emotional risk of establishing and maintaining those boundaries.
Negative messages of self can
certainly impact how we relate to others and how we navigate the world.

(19:04):
So reparenting allows you to not only challenge old, unhealthy messages about
who you are, but to help develop an honest, healthy, and positive view of self.
So you could work with a
therapist to explore values strengths traits desires
and skills and during the reparenting

(19:27):
process you can experience a true shift or
transformation in your view of yourself and you can change how you view others
you may benefit from reparenting or some of the benefits have many times experienced
emotional and physical pain from close important others.

(19:50):
And these painful experiences can dramatically influence how someone views others
and leave them to believe most people are unsafe.
So reparenting can offer corrective emotional experiences that allow you to
feel the safety of a close, trusted person.

(20:12):
And through the practice of sharing and emotional risk-taking,
you can come to gain a felt sense of safety that may be new.
And you can learn what healthy relationships look like because children absorb
many messages about relationships growing up, primarily from their parents and other family members.

(20:34):
And what we learn growing up often follows us into our adult relationships,
influencing how we connect with family, friends, and significant others.
For instance, if your relationship with a parent was one-sided and they never
listened to what you had to say when you were a child, you might accept this

(20:55):
behavior from a friend or a partner when you're an adult.
And reparenting can help you understand it's okay to communicate what you're
feeling and what you need from your partner.
Or if you were used to being harshly criticized as a child, you might be extra
sensitive to receiving any form of criticism from your partner.

(21:17):
And through reparenting, you can learn that there is a healthy way to receive
and give criticism that is necessary in functional relationships.
And patterns of communication are often learned early on as well.
People may have shown us or told us ways of interacting that resulted in disconnect

(21:44):
rather than how to use communication to come closer.
And although it might be clear that these learned patterns and methods of communicating
don't work, we may still be left without an understanding of the skills to communicate effectively.
Reparenting can help you find your voice and use words to create and maintain

(22:10):
connection, convey needs, and speak about your longings and your desires.
Many people have learned unhealthy patterns to some degree, you know,
and whether it's in regard to communication, view of self, boundaries, or relationships,
it is understandable that reparenting, particularly

(22:31):
self-reparenting can be helpful
in breaking down these old patterns to make way for new healthy ways of thinking
feeling and behaving and people who may find the greatest benefit from reparenting
include those who have experienced emotional physical and sexual abuse abuse,

(22:54):
as well as those who experienced emotional and physical neglect.
So as you begin the process of reparenting, remember that this definitely takes time.
The work of self-reparenting, it may feel heavy, but it can also bring a sense

(23:19):
of renewed hope and joy to your life and your relationships.
Keep your expectations reasonable and just remember that there are a few helpful
things to keep in mind as you navigate this journey of reparenting.
Stay curious. Keep in mind that self-reparenting is a process.
And as you work through this process, you may find troubling or painful experiences

(23:44):
coming up that have influenced old narratives or patterns in your behavior.
So stay curious and open to learning during the process.
And maintain Maintain self-compassion because you may feel a sense of resentment
toward others or even feelings of guilt and shame.

(24:04):
So maintaining a sense of self-compassion can be key in the willingness to unlearn
the old and discover the new.
And practice patience, keeping in mind how long we may have been operating out
of these old beliefs or narratives.
It's important to remember that this process will not happen overnight. night.

(24:25):
In fact, you may find that the process of learning to trust a safe other,
such as a therapist, to help facilitate the process, it can take some time.
And it's understandable and no reason to pressure yourself to move too quickly.
And you always want to be intentional.

(24:45):
Old patterns, they're hard to break, even when you're doing the work of self-reparenting.
And we can always find it easy to fall back into old ways when we're tired,
distracted, or stressed.
So allow yourself to stay consistent with the process and remind yourself of
ways you have grown in what you are working toward.

(25:07):
Doing this work, it takes courage and it may help to remind yourself of how
courageous you are as you continue growing.
Music.
All right, guys, that is it for today. I hope you guys enjoyed this episode.

(25:29):
Thank you so much for listening.
Please be sure to hit that follow button and share One Hot Mess with a Friend,
and I will talk to you guys next time. Have an amazing day.
All right, guys, that is it for today. I hope you guys enjoyed this episode.
Thank you so much for listening.
Please be sure to hit that follow button and share One Hot Mess with a Friend,

(25:49):
and I will talk to you guys next time. Have an amazing day. Thank you.
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