Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Garbage Feelings - Part 2

Part 1
Trying to find a way to teach the inner personalities that garbage feelings are not appropriate, is imperative if the multiple is ever to attain any semblance of peace in their lives. Just as importantly they must be taught to replace those garbage feelings with positive messages. Self esteem is determined by our inner messages, and after all, good self esteem is the key to good mental health.

Many multiples are good at visualizations. After all, the way we see our inner selves is a visualization. Finding a way to use this process can really help a multiple to begin to break down those inner messages and convert them into new healthy ones.

I interpreted those negative inner messages as part of my "family rules." While there were lots of other things that were included in those rules, my status (or lack of it) within the family was clearly linked to the family rules.These were clearly what perpetuated my garbage feelings.

One of the things that worked well for me was rewriting the "family rules". I actually made a book solely for this purpose. It was just a regular binder and I added sheets of paper with the "new family rules" on them. Each piece of paper had a "new rule" in fairly large letters right smack dab in the middle of the page.

Then my inner children were invited to decorate the pages. The decorations could be artwork, stickers, whatever any child wanted to do. The only limitation was no one could destroy or deface the book or the pages. The book belonged to everyone and was to be respected.

The pages could be decorated by a group of children or just one depending on how the children themselves felt. If anyone needed a page to themselves, they got it. Because of this some rules in the book are repeated over and over again, decorated and interpreted by different parts of me. Obviously, these repeated pages are the messages that were the strongest messages and the hardest to overcome.

If the children didn't believe the "new rule", they were instructed to decorate the page the way they would like it to be decorated IF the rule were true. As each part decorated a page, they thought about the message and what it meant. They also considered how it might feel to have that message apply to them. All of this helped to open the door for our inner children to question the old rule.

Questioning was a good place to start for many. It allowed them to gradually accept the new rules as a possibility and then later as a truth. Since a big part of hanging onto the old rules was the fear of retaliation, having the experience of even considering the new rules without having any external negative consequences, helped to wash that fear away and further open the door.

If there were internal consequences, other parts who were accepting of the new rule would come to its defense and work to resolve the inner conflict. It brought about internal dialog with parts who had spoken little if at all.

I spent many long hours working on this book of rules and countless other hours pouring over it. I even studied the illustrations trying to figure out who in the heck I was.

I knew I was the sum of my parts but I didn't really know much about my parts. The art of my children gave me great insight into my inner most thoughts, feelings and values. All of which helped to further acceptance of the new rules and of me as a person.

As I learned about myself through building this book, I found that there were many things about me that I admired in other people. While I could respect someone else for those attributes, I was giving myself little or no credit all all. While being "fair" had always been a priority with me, it became clear I was NOT being fair to me.

As the new rules began to take form in my patterns of thinking, I began to realize how hard I was being on myself. I also began to see the possibility that others did not see me as I had believed they would. I had expected others to see me as I saw myself when I applied the old rules. While the reality was that most saw me as the person the new rules implied.

I also began to see that others around me had their own set of rules. As I began to free myself from the destructive behavior and self-loathing, I began to recognize the behavior in others. That helped me to discard negative impressions directed at me as flawed when they came from those steeped in destructive rules. In the past I would have taken whatever they said as gospel and not considered it's validity at all. I was beginning to have skills to identify destructive relationships.

Artwork allowed me to take visualizations and give them form. It has proved to be a beneficial way of expressing myself as well as educating those within my system. It has also proven to be a great way to give voice to those who would not speak. Utilizing this tool was a powerful breakthrough in my therapy.


Kahless said...

Yes, you do write well. I am going to put you on my random blogroll - I hope you dont mind.

keepers said...

our art was our savior in many ways also, visualizing also helps us a lot. we right things on aper and post them in our studio so we can read them every day, it makes it sink in easier than just reading it or having it read to us.

peace and blessings


jumpinginpuddles said...

we paint our house literally not in the amazing artwork most people do but in walls of colour we dont knwo why it works for us but it is when we do our best work

April_optimist said...

What an impressive explanation of an issue and a great way to approach it!

I do believe that all healing is rewriting the erroneous messages we've taken in over the years. And we all do that--singleton or multiple--take in lies and family rules and believe them.

In a sense, I think the parallel for singletons is storing beliefs with different age experiences so that rewriting them is in essence tracking down which age holds them and then rewriting them. The adult person may know perfectly well that something is false but unless one goes back and remembers being the child who believed the lie, the lie persists.

As I said, great post.

Marj aka Thriver said...

Lately, I've been working with a part whose job it was to find a way out. The new message I'm trying to convey is that we did, indeed, find a way out. We're still here, they didn't win in breaking us, and we survived. It's a long road to thriving, but at least we're on it!

Rising Rainbow said...

kahless, It's fine with me if you add me to your blogroll. I need to get mine in order one of these days.

keepers, I think there are many ways to use art to heal.

jumpinginpuddles, it's good that painting works for you as well.

april_optimist, I think the difference between singletons and multiples is the walls that make up the compartments for the multiple. We are great supports for each other.

marj aka thriver, I'm glad that you're traveling down that road.

Angel said...

What a great way to spell out the old rules and replace them. Thank you for sharing it, as well as other aspects of your journey.