For over a month now I have had a Rosacea flare-up on my face that is quite literally making me crazy. The flare-up spots burn and itch and just when I think it is starting to get better it takes a turn for the worse. I decided the other day to ask myself what this problem is trying to teach me. A trick my therapist taught me is to write myself a question with my dominant hand which is my right hand and then switch my pen over to the left and just start writing as this taps into the other side of your brain. So I thought I would try it and as I was writing with my left hand, the first thing that came into my mind was a visual of me when I was three years old crawling onto my bed for a nap. I loved naps and I would curl under my purple blankie and snuggle up and sleep. Is this really what was going on, was my inner child crying out for rest?
The next day as I was thinking about this thought I decided to investigate some more. I pulled out my trusty books, "You Can Heal Your Life" and "Feelings Buried Alive Never Die" and I looked up skin, face and rash. What was interesting was that in one of the books under rash as a possible emotional connection it said, "a babyish way of trying to get attention." I found that really interesting as the day before I felt like my inner child was asking for rest.
In John Bradshaw's book "Homecoming" he said that, "Your inner child is present when you feel - tired, hungry, disheartened, sad or lonely. Ask yourself what your inner child needs." I am realizing that my inner child is wanting me to slow down and rest. I have a tendency to do, do and do. I really have a hard time listening to my body when it needs some down time. Something else that John Bradshaw said in his book is this:
"To be duty bound is to feel that you have no right to joy because to do what she enjoys produces guilt. Duty creates human 'doings.' As Marion Woodman puts it: 'for the perfectionist who has trained herself to do, simply being sounds like a euphemism for ceasing to exist."
This is me, I feel like I am only worthy to be in this world when I am doing for others and that line about ceasing to exist made me realize that was exactly how I was feeling. For me "doing" started at a really young age. It was how I got noticed, I did for my parents, I took care of my siblings, I did the dishes, swept the floor, helped with dinner, whatever I could do and then hope that I was noticed for the doing. John Bradshaw also said in his book, "The most significant role one has played in the family system up to this point becomes the most available way to have an identity." My identity was the "second mom" the "fixer" and the "doer." I carried that identity into my adult life and I am having a really hard time letting it go for what am I, if I'm not doing? I have felt that my worth is tied into what I can "do" for others. John Bradshaw goes on to say:
"Not knowing who you are is the greatest tragedy of all. The rigid family system roles sealed during adolescence become the most conscious identity you have. In fact, these roles become addictions. By being in the role, you feel that you matter. To let go of the role would be to touch the deep reservoir of toxic shame that binds your original pain, the core of which is the spiritual wound. When you lost your I amness, you lost your mattering."
When I was three years old, my "I amness" was just who I was, the little girl who loved naps. Now I struggle with knowing who I am without my doing. If I haven't done what I feel like is enough by the time my husband gets home from work, I struggle with my feelings of worth and if I am worth his efforts at work. He doesn't believe that and tells me repeatedly, but my doing is all I have known as to who I am.
I feel like somewhere deep inside me the three year old inner child is trying to tell me otherwise, but how do I do that? John Bradshaw suggests that, "[the] inner child's I amness now must be affirmed in two ways . . . [through] two pillars of adult identity . . . love and work." He goes on to say that we do this through the "dynamics of creativity . . . the following elements were essential in fostering creativity: playfulness, spontaneity, ability to live in the now, ability to experience wonder, ability to concentrate, and the capacity to be one's own locus of evaluation (has a sense of satisfaction with himself)."
Letting go and being playful, spontaneous, etc. is a challenge for me, but if it will help me feel better and help my Rosacea disappear, I'm game. Again, I come to the word "balance" and when you are not being balanced, your body will tell you, mine has been trying to tell me for over a month and it took this long, and for my condition to get really bad, for me to listen. Okay inner child, I listening!