Sunday, August 15, 2010

Caring for Your Inner Child

In recent years, remarkable information has come to light that your mind may be the source of back pain, tennis elbow, sciatica, irritable bowel syndrome, acid reflux, arteriole-sclerosis and even cancer!
Hosea 4:6
“My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. "Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priests; because you have ignored the law of your God, I also will ignore your children.”
To understand a little more about what is happening, it helps to look at your soul or mind in Freudian terms.
Your inner child
Somewhere in your adult mind, there remains a part that is all child. A baby’s mind is a mass of instinctive drives and impulses, and needs immediate satisfaction. Therein contained are the drives for food, water, sex, and other basic impulses. It is amoral and selfish, ruled by the pleasure–pain principle; it is without a sense of time, completely illogical, infantile in its emotional development, and is not able to take "no" for an answer. When satisfaction is denied, the child reacts with anger or rage. When a mother teaches a child to control the anger by splashing cold water in her baby’s face when he is in a rage, the child learns to repress his true feelings. The child quickly accepts that if he does not repress his rage, he invokes the anger of his mother, risks the loss of her love and his social acceptance. The point is that the anger does not go away but stays locked away in the child’s unconscious.
Your inner child, or what Freud called the “Id”, strives to bring about the satisfaction of the instinctual needs subject to the observance of the pleasure principle which states that people seek pleasure and avoid pain. The counterpart is the reality principle. As you mature, you no longer let yourself be governed by the pleasure principle.  You start obeying the reality principle, which also at bottom seeks to obtain pleasure, but pleasure which is assured through taking account of reality, even though it is pleasure postponed and diminished. 

Think of the person who saves his money through the week so he can spend it partying over the weekend. Remember the opening scenes of “Saturday Night Fever” with John Travolta?
Your inner parent
Your inner parent or what Freud called the “Super-Ego”, works in contradiction to the id or inner child. It strives to act in a socially appropriate manner, whereas the child just wants instant self-gratification. The Super-Ego controls our sense of right and wrong and guilt. It helps us fit into society by getting us to act in socially acceptable ways. The stronger the influence of authority, religious teaching, schooling and reading in your life, the stricter will be the domination of your inner parent over the child in the form of conscience or a sense of guilt. The inner parent will punish misbehavior of the inner child such as an extra-marital affair, with strong feelings of guilt in order to align behavior with acceptable social norms. It also aims for perfection and includes the individual's ideals, spiritual goals, and the psychic agency that criticizes and prohibits his drives, fantasies, feelings, and actions. The more of a perfectionist you are, the more you are being dominated by your inner parent, pushing you to “get it right”, or be a “do good”.
The Ego
Conscious awareness resides in your ego. It helps you to organize your thoughts and make sense of them and the world around you. The Ego’s task is to find a balance between the inner drives of the id and super-ego, and with external reality. Its main concern is with the individual's safety. It allows some of the inner child’s pleasure-seeking desires to be expressed, but only when consequences of these actions are marginal and not immoral.
The source of inner conflict
Your Ego is like a slave to three harsh masters: the Id, the Super-Ego, and the external world. It has to do its best to suit all three, thus is constantly feeling hemmed by the danger of causing discontent on two other sides. The Ego decides what to allow into consciousness, deciding between the conflicting needs of your inner child and parent. Great inner tension can be generated this way as different inner needs compete for expression.
It is said, however, that the Ego seems to be more loyal to the pleasure-loving inner child, preferring to gloss over the finer details of reality to minimize conflicts while pretending to have a regard for reality. But the Super-Ego is constantly watching every one of the Ego's moves and punishes it with feelings of guiltanxiety, and inferiority every time a moral standard is transgressed.
Defense mechanisms
The Ego employs defense mechanisms is to protect your conscious self from inner rage and anxiety, and to provide a refuge from a situation with which one cannot currently cope. They occur when the inner child impulses are in conflict with the values and beliefs of the inner parent, and also when an external threat is posed to the Ego. They act to lessen the tension by covering up the impulses that are threatening the balance. Defenses also arise due to traumatic experiences. They refer to several types of reactions and include denial, dissociation, displacement, intellectualization, fantasy, compensation, projection, rationalization, regression, repression, idealization, identification, substitution, etc.
Mind-body disorders
These are also known as psychosomatic diseases. People with a highly dominant inner parent tend to be driven perfectionists and are especially prone to this kind of disorder.  They are the ambitious, the movers and the shakers of this world.

1 Peter 5:7 (Amplified Bible)

“Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.”

The ones who are prone to work hard, earnestly setting about achieving their dreams instead of letting the Lord bring them about by consciously and constantly casting their cares upon Him.
Proverbs 13:12
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”
In the remarkable book, “The Divided Mind,” by Dr John Sarno, the writer claims that when the inner child is continually dominated by the inner parent, the psyche experiences a build-up of repressed or unconscious inner rage. When the level of inner anger reaches a level of threatening to become conscious and thereby greatly disturbing the individual, the ego decides to create a diversion. Think of the child who represses his anger when his toy is taken away because he fears a reprisal from his mother. In the same way learn to not express our true feelings because we don’t want to cope with loss of affection or acceptance that may result. To cope with an intolerable build up of inner feelings, the mind produces pain somewhere in the muscle, tendon and nerve tissues of the body as a diversion. The pain is produced in the same way as when a cyclist experiences pain in his legs, through a restriction in the flow of blood to that part of the body. By restricting the flow of blood through a narrowing of the arterial passages, pain is produced. The person and his doctors are thus tricked into believing that his or her pain is the result of some structural abnormality that is physical or chemical in origin and not psychological!
Have you been fooled?
The onset of such real physical pain often coincides with a physical incident such as a fall or golf swing that causes a pinched nerve, herniated disc, etc. It is as though your mind was waiting for such an incident to get you to ascribe the pain to a structural defect. This reaction of the mind occurs to protect the individual from consciously experiencing overwhelming feelings of anger, anxiety, sadness or loss. The resultant pain can then be easily diagnosed as coming from a structural or physical abnormality, never suspecting that it may have a psychological origin. Pinched nerves, Dr Sarno argues, only transmits pain to the brain for a shot while before becoming numb. Continuing pain therefore, must come from a different source.
The road to recovery
To track the possible source of your suffering, I greatly recommend reading one of Dr. Sarno’s books. He makes the point that billions of dollars have been spent on operations and drugs prescribed by well-intentioned but misinformed medical doctors that may cure a symptom for a while, only to find it emerge in time in a different guise, or a pain somewhere else. He claims that thousands of people have been healed by reading his books simply by understanding the mind-body process. Knowing the power of the mind, I for one believe he is right! Oh, that more Christian therapists who understand the dynamics of the soul or mind can be trained to minister to and help alleviate the sufferings of countless millions who struggle with mind body disorders.
Job 8:21
“He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy!”

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