“Resistance is futile.”
Most people are born with a resistance gene. We fight anything we don’t like, or isn’t ego-gratifying, with a vengeance. When our life is in the blender, spinning around like a whirling dervish on crack, we resist. We swim against the tide, rather than let go and allow it to carry us downstream. The Borg had it right: resistance is futile. So why do we persist in fighting what is? The ego desires control, whatever the cost. How many of us blurt something out because we want to feel 15 seconds’ worth of power rather than experience some temporary impotence if we held our tongue? We act in haste and repent at leisure, as my father used to say. Why? Because for those few seconds we feel empowered. Unfortunately, it’s a bit like Ursula, the Sea Witch in The Little Mermaid. At the end of the movie she has become a huge monster, bloated with power who bursts to death as that fury explodes. Of course, before she dies, she feels mighty strong. That’s the seductive part of unleashing our rage, and what often drives us to compulsively repeat our old pattern, even if it ends up in self-destruction.
Usually, I exhort you to feel your feelings; but, you can honor where you are without inflicting your anger on others. It is your choice. However, when the ego is in charge, it’s hard to pick the long-term joy in favor of the short-term pain that often comes with restraint. In the heat of the moment, controlling one’s little six year old inside is only likely to happen if she knows you will take care of her. Unfortunately, that is often not the case.
How many of us really devote the time and energy to healing the little child inside? The one who was criticized, bullied, or mistreated. Coddling that little one may feel silly, frivolous, or self-indulgent, but nothing could be further from the truth. Reassuring her that she can count on you to put her needs first, enables the adult you to rise to whatever challenge appears. When the little one inside doesn’t trust you to put her first, the adult feels less secure. In normal day-today interactions, this is not such a big deal; but, when we feel threatened, our first line of defense is the more primitive part, the inner six-year old. If you have befriended her, in a loving way, by repeatedly showing her you will keep her safe and healthy (in all areas of life, like: sleeping enough, eating well, exercising, talking gently, and setting good boundaries), she will begin to trust the adult side of you and not need to get all those goodies from someone else. In other words, she can be less dependent on others because the adult you reliably gives her what she wants. The only way that little child will cooperate is if she feels secure that the adult living with her 24/7 is trustworthy; and that path is paved with TLC. Otherwise, she will take her victories where she can get them, even if that’s to her long-term detriment. (For example, she might enter relationships that are not in her best interests to get attention or love.)
The little one will be inside as long as you live. It is never too late to develop her trust. Once she trusts you, you can deal with other people’s behavior more effectively. What they do, no matter how misguided, hurtful, or oblivious, is less threatening, because you are less needy. Your inner child knows you will take care of her so she’s not on the defensive, and can relax.
Copyright Nicole S. Urdang