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Inner Child Work: The Tough Girl
Over the years, I’ve created this internal, healing space where I can work with my “inner children”. It’s usually in my meditation. I try to keep the lines of communication open so that these inner children can come forward when there’s a problem. Recently, this Tough Girl came forward.
It usually works like this: A challenge presents itself in my life. I can tell it’s about the past because I don’t feel like a functional adult. I feel like a scared kid.
This year I’ve become much more visible with my dreams and visions. With this comes the confronting of seemingly endless fears. I had some action I wanted to take: something to post or create. I would get in this creative flow and then want to follow through with my inspiration. This part of myself, this Tough Girl, was having no part of this. Here’s how she sounded:
Tough Girl: “Why do you need to show everyone what you do?? Look at you caring what everyone thinks; this is kind of pitiful. You’re like all those people who care, who need approval of others. We despise those people. Now you’ve become just like them. No one cares about this.”
Me: (Hiding in the corner)
It’s crazy the way these belief systems will masquerade as “reason” or “truth”, but I’ve trained myself to spot them. I have my tells. This Tough Girl was actually so convincing and brutal that I had been deferring to her, unknowingly, for who knows how long.
So, I bring this Tough Girl forward in my meditation. I need to see who she is and what she’s about. The healing comes from understanding what the trauma is and the underlying need that never got met. What I learn about her is this: early in her life she realized she was in a man’s world. These were the marching orders she absorbed from the world and created for herself:
I will become a man in a man’s world.
I will not let anyone see that I care about anything, this is weak.
I will not show any eagerness or earnestness.
I will become hard. Hold my jaw set, don’t let anything get past it.
Show no emotion. Don’t let anyone see you’ve been affected.
Don’t try, don’t care.
Don’t be a girl. But somehow still be a girl.
She showed me a memory I’ve seen before. One where she is in front of three boys from school. Boys she grew up with. One is her first love. He has just kicked her between the legs. They are all laughing at her. It hurt so bad she can’t see for a second. But she won’t show any of the pain. Instead she projects this: ‘That didn’t hurt. I will never let you see that you hurt me. I will never let you see me cry.’
And as the observer I think: ‘Ahh, yes. I understand.’ Up until now, this old tape was playing in the background. I had believed that my hardness would protect me. If I can hide anything that makes me vulnerable, I will be safe. Never show anyone your vulnerability. It will be exploited.
Now it is time for repair. I show her the movie of our life. I show her my experience. I show her that the hardening of our hearts has been so high a cost that we can’t survive it. The Tough girl begins to put down her armor; she gets it. I remove her from this battlefield and I take her to a safe place. I have a place inside my heart where they live. A big house where all my inner children can finally be safe.
Here’s what I know about inner child work: all human behavior makes sense. I just need to know where and how to look for it. And all children (meaning: all of us) respond to loving kindness. And we all suffer greatly when we are lacking it.
Do you talk to your inner child? Or do you resist? What did you feel when you read this?
Share with me in the comments below! Or message me.
A therapist in Northern California offering free resources that help you heal your inner child and restore intuition.