Parenting the Inner Child

I am hoarding negative thoughts.  I call it hoarding because that's exactly what it is.  If you've ever watched "Hoarders" you know what I'm talking about.  These people live in piles of trash that make them miserable, but they just can't let go of them... because they have come up with one good reason to keep every single piece of filth and that is the only thing that matters.  Their health doesn't matter.  Their families don't matter.  Their comfort and happiness don't matter.  They cannot let go of any of it because it's helping them hide, but they think they're keeping it because it's all useful.  They are trapped in a delusional state, which is making them miserable.  Logically they know they need to change something, but the self-denial, defensiveness, and anger is stronger than logic.

Over the past few years I have actually rid myself of tons of trash, but there is still more!  It's the really old stuff at the bottom, the very first things I started hoarding, the things closest to the initial cause, and it's so difficult to recognize the harm and let it go.  I am having a really hard time with it... and it seems like it's also the most closely connected to anger.  My mind starts throwing little temper tantrums like a toddler which means I have found something that's part of a deep-seated fear or insecurity that makes me feel incredibly vulnerable and scared.  It's like dealing with a scared, hurt animal.

I had a dream that I was looking for a pair of jeans, digging in piles of trash bags that were in my childhood room.  A huge mouse came out of the piles and darted to the closet to hide.  I knew it was representative of my fears and insecurities, and I realized that as long as I hang on to this "trash", I'm just giving fears and insecurities ample spaces to multiply and stay safely hidden.  That is the only part of me that's actually benefiting from hanging on to all this shit... my fears and insecurities.

So what exactly is the "trash" in this metaphor?  All the thoughts and actions that are really born of fear or insecurity, but then immediately are justified by a good reason to hang onto them (usually our own protection or punishment).  For example:
"I have to spy on my partner because they might be cheating and I need proof that I can trust them"
"I can't forgive myself for that decision I made when I was young because I'm supposed to be punished for it"
"I have to carry this gun with me everywhere I go because if I don't, I'll become a victim of crime"
"I can't do what I want because people might think I'm crazy/a bad parent/a bad person for doing it"
"I can't speak my mind because I'll hurt someone's feelings and they'll hate me"
"I can't date again because it will end in another heartbreak, and it'll be worse"
"I can't go to the doctor because they might find something wrong"
"I can't let my kids out of sight because they'll get hurt/sick/kidnapped/killed"
"I can't travel alone, what if I get stuck/hurt/sick"
"I can't leave my partner because being alone would be worse than being abused/neglected"
"I can't stop giving in to this addict because they will stop loving me/think I stopped loving them"
"I can't go to therapy because they'll judge me/make it worse/try to change who I am"
"I can't try because if I fail it will make things much worse"
"If I forgive myself it will seem to God/others like I'm not sorry for what I did"
"I can't forgive that person for what they did because they'll think it's ok and hurt me again"...
I could go on and on and on.  It basically all boils down to moments in our lives where we felt out of control, and we really really wanted to have some control.  Or worse, times we felt like we were completely and totally in control and therefore cannot forgive ourselves for making a bad decision.  There's no such thing as being completely and totally in control.  Don't you think if you were really in control you would have avoided that situation where you made your bad decision altogether?

This stuff didn't start as trash.  It started as something I really felt I needed and I was going to use it for something beneficial, like learning a valuable lesson.  Now, it's just a pile of shit I don't want or need that's blocking me from living comfortably in my own head.  The only real lesson of all of it is that I can't control the past or the future or others... and once I can let myself absorb and believe that about every one of these last harmful bags of trash I'm hanging onto, I'll finally be able to get rid of them.  Hopefully for good!!

These last bits of negative thoughts are like a security blanket.  I keep using metaphors about children because I think that's who holds our deepest fears, the insecure child in all of us.  This is what makes it so difficult to deal with as well.  Children are impetuous and don't understand their emotions.  They overreact.  They throw fits.  They are illogical and overemotional.  They're unpredictable.  Anytime I touch one of these thoughts the anger rises up in me and a tantrum is born, both in my head and externally.  It's embarrassing, but not until way later when it has run its course.  I have no control over it yet, but I'm hoping I will!  I can still hear my logical brain at the time, but I just punch it in the face and tell it to shut up.  I get mad because no one understands me, but I'm not communicating anything to understand.  I hate society.  I hate everything and anything that interferes with how I'm trying to feel, which is a complete mystery to me anyway.  Nothing is my fault!  It really is a temper tantrum, but I have to be my own parent while it's going on... and I just haven't figured that part out quite yet.  It's a process like everything else has been.  At least before I was dealing with adults.  Now I'm trying to convince a toddler (with logic!) to stop using a binky.  There's no rhyme or reason for this!  Logic won't work!  I just have to treat this like I'm dealing with an actual child.  Replacement, distraction, patience, love, validation, and trickery lol.  I'll see if I can do that next time.  I know what triggers it at least, which is when Josh leaves.  God knows that happens often enough for me to try this out haha ;)

The key is going to be recognizing it while it's happening and the best way to do that is to identify what the thoughts are so I can notice when they crop up.  I wish I was more self-assured about my parenting because that would probably help too.  Maybe this adventure will have the beneficial side-effect of bolstering my parenting confidence.  What approach am I going to use with this child?  What do I know about my inner child?  How do you parent your own self to grow up and take more responsibility?  Is it even possible?

So, why blog about this?  You have a Child too... just like the Saboteur.  Maybe my insights and perspectives into this process can help someone dealing with the same issues.  I find self-analysis fascinating and challenging in all the right ways (now that I am used to doing it).
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