Knowing how to handle emotional reactions
by Angie Carter
(Holts Summit, MO)
Hi! My name is Angie Carter and yes, I am related to Don ~ I'm his wife :)
I just wanted to contribute my own experience to this forum in connection to Inner Child issues. I have been working on my own Inner Child issues off and on for quite a few years now. At first the work was very intense and many times very painful.
There were times, when another part of me would have me believe that it was pointless or just too difficult, but I would push forward. Developing a working relationship with the various parts of myself has been a very necessary and rewarding endeavor. Necessary in the sense that as a professional in the field of substance abuse issues I know that you either "grow or go" when it comes to recovery.
It has been my desire from the beginning of my recovery journey to become, as well as possible, and to be of maximum service to God and those around me. For me, after getting into stable recovery from drugs and alcohol, doing Inner Child work and dealing with original abandonment issues was the next level. It took starting out with a therapist, one that I felt I could trust.
I started counseling with a female therapist who had the wonderful ability to dismantle my "wall" of denial brick by brick. We explored childhood of origin issues and how they triggered many of my emotional reactions to present day situations. She was someone I developed trust with and was eventually able to allow my vulnerable self to surface (somewhat!)
After a while I was able to begin the process of self-nurturing as I continue to explore my inner landscape. I started reading more Inner Child workbooks and began attending an Adult Child of Dysfunctional Families group (ACDF). This group is vitally important to my ongoing recovery as it a safe place to share my experience, strength and hope with other individuals with whom I can identify with and gain perspective from.
I have picked up many good points and tips from my husband who is very skilled in Inner Child issues. I also have a sponsor who encourages me to look at things from a different view and practice not taking everything so personal.
Today when I have a situation where I am triggered emotionally I don't automatically look to where and why the other person is either "wrong or bad", but instead can turn my focus inward and find out which part of me is having the emotional response and why I got triggered. I can tend to that part of me and work towards staying in the 'adult self' to try and handle the situation. I can practice setting a boundary or expressing my feelings in a healthy way. I can assure you that this was not the case before.
In the past I would always have knee jerk responses to anything that triggered me and my initial reactions were always hostile, aggressive and defensive. I was verbally abusive much of the time and had a pretty negative attitude about things that did not set well with me.
It feels really great these days not to be giving in to anger or blame when it comes to dealing with other people or things that happen out of my control. I have learned that other people are on their journey, as I am, and that they have their own backgrounds and issues as well. Over time a certain amount of maturity has happened for me and it feels great!
I encourage anyone who is interested in learning more about themselves to start the journey of Inner Child work. The rewards definitely out-weigh the work and even though it can be painful at times it is still very much worth the effort. I really believe that I would not be married today or have the level of serenity that I enjoy so much without having done this work.
Good luck and please feel free to leave comments!! Angie Carter