“One of the difficulties in this healing process is that even after we start to awaken to being butterflies, a part of our mind keeps telling us that we are low, crawling, disgusting creatures.
Taking the power away from that part of us is the key to the healing process. A key to stopping the war inside. 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. Any shaming, judgmental voice inside of us is the disease talking to us – and it is always lying. This disease of Codependence is very adaptable, and it attacks us from all sides. The voices of the disease that are totally resistant to becoming involved in healing and Recovery are the same voices that turn right around and tell us, using Spiritual language, that we are not doing Recovery good enough, that we are not doing it right.
We need to become clear internally on what messages are coming from the disease, from the old tapes, and which ones are coming from the True Self – what some people call “the small quiet voice.”
We need to turn down the volume on those loud, yammering voices that shame and judge us and turn up the volume on the quiet Loving voice. As long as we are judging and shaming ourselves we are feeding back into the disease, we are feeding the dragon within that is eating the life out of us. Codependence is a disease that feeds on itself – it is self-perpetuating.”
(All quotes in this color are from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls)
It is vital in codependency recovery / inner child healing to start recognizing how many components there are in our own inner landscape. In order to start discerning what we have the power to change and what we do not have power over, we have to first become more aware of our own internal dynamic. It is so important to stop looking outside of our self for the problem / solution, for the rescuer / villain. Then we can start to become aware that the problem is inside of us, and that it is not because we are shameful or defective – it is because we are wounded and programmed dysfunctionally.
We have our own perpetrator, victim, rescuer triangle going on within us. The perpetrator is the critical parent voice, the victim feelings come from the wounded inner child places, and we try to rescue ourselves from the pain and shame with compulsive and addictive self defeating behaviors focused on some external source. Those self defeating behaviors do not work to stop the pain within except to give us a temporary distraction, so that gives the critical parent voice more fuel to beat up on our own inner children, which causes more pain which drives the compulsive and addictive behavior. A truly vicious self perpetuating cycle of self defeating behavior – or as I call it in an article on my web site, A Dance of Suffering, Shame, and Self-abuse – the codependent three step.
In the second of my two articles on obsessive thinking, Obsession part 2, I use a quote from my book where I say that I spent most of my life doing the Serenity Prayer backwards – trying to control things I can not control and taking no responsibility (except for shaming and blaming myself) for my own internal process which I can have some control over. The shame and blame is part of the disease dynamic – and it is vital for us to stop empowering that shame and blame.
The “critical parent” voice in our head is a manifestation of our damaged ego programming. The ego is the part of our being whose responsibility it is to help us survive. Because of the emotional trauma we suffered due to the reality that our parents were wounded in their childhoods – and the dysfunctional programming of the emotionally dishonest, Spiritual hostile cultures we grew up in – our egos got programmed very badly. Our egos got programmed to relate to life from a perspective of fear and shame, lack and scarcity.
The critical parent voice developed to try to control our own emotions and behavior so that we could survive in the dysfunctional environments we were born into. In that development, it adapted the same tools that were used on us: fear, shame, and guilt. In recovery, we are working on reprogramming that critical voice to stop reacting out of fear based upon shame so that we can start learning how to be more Loving to ourselves – and how to relate to life and other people in a way that is more functional in terms of allowing us to get our needs met and enjoy life.
It is vital in recovery to start learning how to tell that critical voice to “shut up!” It has been the play by play announcer that has been defining our lives for us. It is time to start learning how to have a more Loving, objective, and nurturing play by play announcer inside our own heads.
Like the emotionally wounded inner child places within us, the critical parent voice is just a part of us. We can start learning how to have some control over that part of us. We can start learning how to be discerning about what is going on in our minds so that we can see ourselves and life with more clarity and Truth.
When I say, in the quote from my book above, that the disease is always lying – I do not mean that there isn’t some truth in what it is saying. However, because it is programmed to relate to life from a black and white / right and wrong perspective, and to believe that being human (making mistakes, not being perfect) is shameful, what it does often is take a grain of truth and blow it way out of proportion. The reality that the inner child places within us are reacting out of life and death urgency causes the critical voice to magnify, twist and distort that grain of truth into a shaming, blaming, all encompassing indictment of our self. The pain of being shamefully “wrong” / defective then causes us to want to blame it all on something / someone else because the only choices in a black and white perspective are to blame them or blame me. To blame me throws me into that deep dark pit of pain and despair within where I feel inherently unlovable and unworthy.
In order to stop being the victim of our self and our wounding it is vital to start setting boundaries with that critical parent voice – to start learning how to stop the inner child abuse that is part of the disease dynamic. Recognizing that it is not telling us the whole truth, that it is the result of faulty programming and polarized perspective, is the first step to starting to see that the critical parent voice is not an inherent part of our being. It is not an integral component of who we are – it is a part of us that was created by programming and wounding, it is a part of us that we can have some control over, that we can change.
Then we can start practicing some discernment and use the magnificent tool that is our mind to start reprogramming the part of our mind that has been our own worst enemy. Then we can start counteracting all the negative messages with positive messages. Positive affirmations are a very important tool in this process. The reality of our codependency is that we are programmed to negatively affirm ourselves hundreds of times a day – and that is on a good day, on a “bad” one we can get into the thousands. We need to stop empowering the negative programming and start choosing to introduce positive programming into our own internal process. This is one of the ways that we start relating to our self in a more Loving way.
It is vital to start recognizing that any fear or shame based messages, any black and white messages, any “should”s, “have to”s, “must”s – are coming from the critical parent voice. We can learn to start countering the shame based messages with Love based affirmations, the fear based messages with faith based messages, the “should”s and “have to”s by affirming that we do have choices, that we do have access to wisdom.
In learning to access that wisdom – the “small quiet voice”, the voice of our Spirit / True Self that never speaks with shame and judgment – we can start our own internal environmental clean up program. We can learn to stop the toxic waste that is spewing out the critical parent voice from polluting our own internal landscape.
We have choices. We have access to the power and wisdom of the Spirit. We can learn to be more Loving to our self by developing an internal defense attorney, an internal “knight in shining armor,” to defend and rescue our self and our inner children from the programming of our childhood.
This article is part of a 9 part series of articles focused on the Serenity Prayer. The first article in the series is Applying the Serenity Prayer – Wisdom through Discernment (mobile friendly version.)
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