Life in a Bind – BPD and me

Borderline Personality Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and my therapy journey. Listed in Top Ten Resources for BPD in 2016 by goodtherapy.org. I write for welldoing.org and for Muse Magazine Australia, under the name Clara Bridges.

Memory Monday – “Inner child and past child”

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It’s almost a year since I first watched the video for Sia’s ‘Chandelier’ and first heard the song; and though I have played other music since, and continue to do so, there are still some days (or even weeks) when I play it on repeat. The video had such a powerful effect on me that I wrote this post at end of February 2015, in an attempt to try and figure out why it had such an impact:

https://lifeinabind.com/2015/02/28/inner-child-and-past-child/

I realised that part of the video’s power was that the images spoke to me of the child part of me and of childhood – inner child and past child – and it was revealing in that it demonstrated the extent of the distortion of the lens that I use to view myself. At the end of that post I wrote that the song and video were proving to be a goldmine of therapeutic material, and that I thought I would be exploring that goldmine (or indeed, that minefield) for some time to come.

Sometimes I worry that I don’t know how to ‘go deeper’ into a subject during therapy. I will spend a session or two talking about something and then come to a point where it doesn’t ‘feel finished’ but neither do I know how to go on. My therapist often says that if a subject is important, it will come around again, and we will ‘get another bite at the cherry’. This has proved to be true for a number of subjects, and is proving true again, which is why I have chosen ‘Inner child and past child’ for this ‘Memory Monday’ post.

Since Christmas, my therapy has focused primarily on my relationship with my husband, and it has been very painful. Trying to honestly examine past and present patterns of relating which may be destructive, and talking about sides of me that I would rather deny, brings up not just feelings of guilt and shame, but summons up the parts of me that are resistant to the therapeutic process and that believe it is impossible to change.

I have also been reading some challenging books that are helping me to re-evaluate some of my attitudes to relationships, including a couple of books on Transactional Analysis (which I will write more about, shortly). In that context, I have once again been thinking about the ‘child part’ of me – how I view it, and the ways in which it influences how I view the world and others, and how I behave. Thinking about ‘the child within’ has brought me back around to thinking about ‘Chandelier’, and though I haven’t watched the video since last March, I feel drawn to it again. I wonder how it will feel to watch it, but with an added year of therapy ‘under my belt’ and with hopefully a modicum of deeper understanding and self-awareness.

I am constantly amazed at the way in which therapy uses the unexpected and ordinary events of our lives to illuminate the different parts of us; and how the same threads come back at different times and in different guises, simultaneously peeling back another layer of our defenses and adding another layer of richness to our understanding. Like the lines from T.S. Eliot on ‘waiting’ that are so important to me and to my therapy and which I keep reinterpreting and using in different ways; this song has become part of the fabric of the way in which I try to understand myself and a core part of my ‘therapy vocabulary’, and I’m looking forward to exploring it further.

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7 thoughts on “Memory Monday – “Inner child and past child”

  1. That song. There’s something about that song, the tone, that pierces my soul. It’s such a lonely, bereft sound and the lyrics for me speak to me as a teenager. Drinking until the morning light , drinking to forget, to push away feelings. I love that song so much, but it is very emotive.

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    • It IS so emotive, isn’t it, and I love it too. In a way I’m glad I saw the visuals for the first time at the same time as I heard the song, because the two, and everything they mean, are inextricably bound up for me, as one. The song is the girl and vice versa, and that’s part of the power for me. I think for those who love it, it probably evokes different things and different times of our lives, for each of us. Times when we can most relate to those lyrics. I’m almost worried to start watching the video again because I know it probably won’t be as powerful anymore, and I still remember how I just cried solidly through my first few viewings of it, and how that effect lasted not just for a few hours, but through the next day as well…..

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      • Yes, although the words remind me of how I felt as a teen, the video with the little girl strongly resonates too, it’s a very powerful visual. I think it will still be powerful when you watch it. It is for me.

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  2. I often think about doing “inner child”work but it terrifies me!!! That part of me holds all the hurt, fear, loneliness, shame etc and especially all the pent up emotions around the abuse and all of the losses associated with not living the life I was meant to live and not being able to express feelings at the time. Feelings to me are just too overwhelming alot of the time (especially in session). Even after over 4 yrs with my therapist, I am still ashamed to cry in front of her.
    My inner child also feels like she has an endless supply of neediness and a bottomless pit of wanting to be loved by my therapist. I find it very difficult (the adult part) to voice these things to her because it means I am vulnerable to being hurt by expressing these wishes but my therapist is always gentle and reassuring.
    I really avoid my inner child, so much so that I can visually see me running away from her instead of hugging her (that is how afraid I am of her).
    I feel once I am able to look at her and all her pain face on, feel them without shame and feel proud of all she has had to live through, I will be much stronger…but then too another thing that terrifies me is that then I will not need therapy!!! It terrifies me to think about not seeing my therapist anymore!!
    Anyway, take care.

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    • Thank you so much for your comment – I can understand that the thought of ‘going there’ must be very scary indeed. It’s interesting, isn’t it, about the crying…..I made a decision a long time ago that I would never cry in front of my parents, but if I am in any sense afraid of being vulnerable with someone, I will try very hard not to cry. I would never ever cry at work (even though I have no problem with other people doing so). But the first time I ever met my therapist, in our ‘trial session’, I spent the whole thing in floods of pain and tears and hard crying – it was the day after my penultimate session with my ex-therapist, and a week before the last session, and I was absolutely devastated and already grieving. And part of the reason I think I ended up with my current therapist is the wonderful way in which she responded, and the sound of her voice as she did. I think I spent most of the first 8 months with her, crying over Jane! So any shame I had at crying, didn’t really stand much of a chance as I simply couldn’t stem the tide of tears and grief that overwhelmed for those first few months…
      That bottomless pit….it feels so horrible, doesn’t it 😦 As for running away from the child…I can understand that – I certainly cannot in a million years imaging hugging my own….
      I agree with your final paragraph, in every way. I know that one reason why the part of me that resists change in therapy, does so, is the fear of losing therapy and my therapist. Very very terrifying indeed….however many times people tell me that by the time I get to that point, I will have changed and it will no longer feel terrifying!
      Take care, and thank you so much for your comment….

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      • I must admit to smiling when I read your reply!!!
        To feel similar or even “OH MY GOD!!! THEY FEEL THE SAME WAY!!! is just so affirming to my experience. It makes me feel so much less crazy.
        I know at some point I will have to “love” my inner child and “nurture” her but right now, I can’t. It is as I have said TOO TERRIFYING!!
        I am going to be “off the grid” so to speak for a few weeks, so if you post a reply or post something that I usually find I comment to, I will be late in replying/commenting.
        Take care and thanks again for this blog!!!

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  3. Pingback: “I’m okay, you’re okay” – book review | Life in a Bind - BPD and me

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