I would like to apologize for the length of this post. As I’ve worked on it and worked on it, it’s feeling more and more ~book-length~ I think. I put a lot of effort into it in an attempt to make it as short and concise as possible. If you are a person experiencing life as one long test of endurance, I hope you decide to read the whole thing. My hope is that you’ll find it meaty, innovative, and exceedingly helpful in relieving your emotional pain and existential angst… thoroughly and forever. I mean it: … thoroughly… and… forever.
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I think I may have found a neat way to fully and completely recover from severe child-abuse and addiction… for good! There are several key elements in a series of steps I stumbled upon, that helped me achieve a level of success with the demons I have carried with me from my own severe abuse – for the last 60 years. Here is my story about this discovery.
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What do you think of this definition of the introject, and how to handle it?
* * *
This is my definition of the ‘introject’,
and how I learned to quite successfully handle mine.
Introjects live in a person’s mind, parroting the words of influential adults and peers who the person came into contact with when they were a child. The process of introjection also includes the implied ‘voices’ of what the child inferred by these influential persons’ actions. The child estimates his own value by using what these people said or did in regards to him, and also about how he should relate to others, and to the world in general. In my research on this, I learned that every person not living in complete isolation (which is impossible) carries at least one of these. Most of us carry many more – one for each influential person we came into contact with as a child.
I use the pronoun ‘it’ when referring to the introject, because it is not a person. It is only an emulation of one, and has different ‘qualities’ then the actual person it represents. For one thing, it’s not to be blamed for bringing all the trouble into one’s life. It is not the actual person… only the ghostly voice of one. As you will see later on, this is a very important concept to understand. Introjects are not to be hated or blamed in any way. They are not people, just disembodied parroting voices. There is no need to fear these phenomena. Instead, we will be spending our time simply examining them and then – eventually – treating them with empathy. As far as I can see, treating the introject in any other way… will… not… work.
For some, their ‘introjects’ are mature and good, which is a good thing in that they keep you balanced and help the Adult-Part of you mature and so be the guiding force in your life. For others, some of these introjects are really quite destructive.
If an introject is destructive, then you have a big problem on your hands as it insistently and intensely yells at you that you’re shit; that the world is full of peril; and that the people in it are there to be either dominated or feared.
I’ve been doing a lot of extensive research on the destructive-type of introject and discovered that this destructive type actually did exist in me. I have an extremely destructive introject of my father in me. What’s more, I have no positive introjects in my childhood to balance out the forceful influence this crazed, destructive introject wielded over me… None… I am an extreme example. I really should have died long ago; squashed flat under all my introjects’ gigantically destructive weight.
There’s a lot of pain from extreme shame, self-hatred, terror, and continuous anxiety, coming out of having an introject that is destructive. If a person has this type of tumultuous inner introject, it’s usually more than they can handle, so they run from it through addictions, obsessions, co-dependency, dissociation, negative rumination. They can also suffer with constant anxiety, and/or panic attacks. There may be other avenues of running and suffering because of these destructive introjects, but I don’t know of anything other than these.
But don’t worry. All is not lost.
This problem can be remedied…
but in a very different way
then you might think.
* * *
A.A. has a saying…
Uncover; Discover; Discard
I know a negative introject can be handled successfully, but I do not think it can be handled successfully in this way. The relationship with an introject is that of an authority/child balance of power so I think it’s an impossibility to remove any introject’s voice since it has enough strength to easily overpower the small and weak Child-Part of the personality. Additionally, they were deeply imbedded in you during your formative years so they are there forever. Furthermore, a destructive introject will stunt the growth of the Adult-Part of you (I can explain how, but that is for another post). As a result, this essential Adult-Part can be so severely stunted that it becomes virtually impotent as a counter-acting force to the negativity.
Here is the first step I unknowingly took to handle my father-introject.
Besides dealing with the destructive introject that was close to killing me, I am also a severe alcoholic. At 25 years old I was drinking a fifth of hard liquor a day, and though I tried with all my might, I could not stop. The very first hint of my process began when I surrendered myself to AA, 34 years ago. It was AA meetings and a ‘mother’ sponsor that actually gave me the ability to stop using the substance alcohol. For me, alcohol was my primary addiction. I call it ‘primary’ because it was the substance I ran to first for soothing and for helping me feel better. Though I haven’t drank in 34 years now, this has by no means, been an easy proposition. Removing the alcohol involved a lot of way-down-to-the-bone ~pain ~! I’m not sure about this, but I believe that deep pain is an essential part of the permanent healing process when one is trying to overcome a negative introject. A lot of very deep inner parts of a person have to change in order for the healing to take place. Pain is useful for this. Pain can metaphorically ‘cut a person open’ so that intense surgery to their psyche can be performed. I think it’s an absolute necessity that one is willing to undergo deep pain in order to obtain this miracle of healing.
To cope with the extreme pain of letting the booze go, I leaned on every sympathetic person in AA and on several therapists – for all they were worth. For some reason, I could not understand the 12 Steps and how the bulk of the them could be used as a healing agent in my situation. However, I vigorously grasped onto three AA ‘sayings’: ‘Easy Does It’, ‘First Things First’, and especially, ‘Think The First Drink Through’ (to the bitter end). In order to keep the alcohol out of my life, I went to two AA meetings a day for the first seven years of sobriety, I was in that much pain. Even today, I still attend one AA meeting and one Al-Anon meeting a week.
The particular AA and Al-Anon groups I attend today are very loving and accepting of ‘crazy people’. They’re both chock full of ‘old-timers’. I can talk about anything I need to talk about, and I’m still welcomed by these two particular groups. This type of group is rare today. Most groups contain pretty narrow-minded, dominating people who are doing battle with their own negative introjects. They will tell you things like; “If you’re not ‘working the program’ then you’re not ‘in the program’. If you dare divulge you’re having a bad day, many of them will condescendingly say “What step are you on?” Though I have an understanding mind toward these people, this is what I have to say to that… Bullshit!!
.The Third AA Tradition…
The ONLY Requirement for AA Membership
Is a Desire to Stop Drinking
I couldn’t make heads or tails out of most of the Steps,
but I certainly had the desire not to drink… in spades!
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But… I digress. Back to my story.
Page 58 of the A.A. “Big Book” * states…
There are those too,
Who suffer from grave emotional
and mental disorders
But many of them do recover,
If they have the capacity to be honest.
[* The main text used for the Alcoholics Anonymous program.]
Getting sober also necessitated a humongous amount of honesty about how much pain I was feeling and how much I wanted to drink. To stop the drinking, I leaned on many, many people. Since I had no friends, I only had the people in Alcoholics Anonymous and upon several therapists, to lean on. I had a huge desire to drink for a very long time after I got sober, but I made it through the terrible urges by telling other sympathetic people – the truth – that I was hurting really badly and I wanted to drink more than I could ever describe. Many (but not all) of the other AA’ers hated my honesty, but I believe most of these people, due to lack of honesty in themselves, are either drunk or dead now. Meanwhile I have 34 years sobriety to show for my hard, hard work.
Another bout with honesty came when I was six years sober. I found that I had to stop all contact with my abuser-parents – permanently! so that I could stay the course of sobriety. I had to stop all the lying (telling them how much I loved them and how valuable they were to me – Yuck!). They were extremely toxic to me and I was totally incapable of withstanding the toxins they were dishing out. For me, there was no other choice. Breaking the bonds I had with these abusers was enormously traumatic and very frightening. There was a lot of pain and stress to do this. But I did do it!! I offered to meet with them providing a therapist be present. Basically, they told me to… Eff Off.
I can not even begin to describe to you the amount of fear and stress I suffered through breaking these bonds with my actual abusers (not their introjects mind you). While going through the process, I came close to being catatonic with fear. How on earth was I going to live without their ‘support’ !!?? The idea that I didn’t have the brains to tie my own shoes without their help, was heavily instilled in me from a very early age. It took about nine months – with a therapist my Higher Power hand picked especially for me (Higher Power paid for it too, by the way) – to get back on my feet again and keep walking sober. Now, I’m here to tell you that, though you may feel like you will, you won’t actually die if you do this. With the help of a Higher Power, this… can… be… done. And you will live to tell the tale to others. To pass on your exquisite success.
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There are a myriad of substances and obsessions people use in this world to soothe and comfort themselves. Some of these are particularly hard to label or put a finger on (for example: one’s children). I believe almost everyone of us on this planet runs to an earthly substance or obsession to help us cope with the problems we face. Not everyone, but I would say 95% of us. Some of these addictions and obsessions can not be totally eliminated, but they must be reeled in (not an easy task by any means) and so be practiced – in moderation. This can also be very difficult and painful, and usually involves the need for outside help, but my experience is that it must be done for healing to take place. As for dissociating, anxiety and/or panic? My own personal experiences with these two issues are that, as you begin to practice what I will talk about at the end of this post, these things will slowly resolve themselves on their own. They will be eased out of your life without any other type of effort on your part.
So… Removing the substance, alcohol, was the beginning of my journey. Then, this last year, one-by-one, with the help of several other 12 Step programs and additional therapy, I began (again, with much help) powering through all my other addictions and obsessions. One-by-one I took them on… alcoholic foods… cigarettes… caffeine… an obsession for suicide, among quite a few others. You can read the entire list of what I have given up (or am now only entertaining in moderation) here:
I wasn’t aware of the deep inner healing that would evolve from this.
Removing all my other addictions started in August of last year (2013) when my Higher Power decided it was time to put down my alcoholic foods. These are the foods I was ‘using’ to get high on in place of the alcohol. I had been using these foods practically since the day I got sober in 1980. My alcoholic foods – those foods particular to my physiology, that get me high – are the sugar/flour combination foods; cake, cookies, pies, donuts, dessert breads, muffins, pastries and the like. Because of the way my physiology works, I actually got a low-level high so that all my problems would (temporarily) magically disappear, They didn’t work as well as the alcohol did, but I could go to a little bit of the old nirvana back when I ingested them. Cigarettes – the same.
Why did I do all this? Remove all these other addictions and obsessions from my life? I think it was about time. God’s timing. I guess He thought I was finally ready to go to the next level. The cigarettes were a breeze to give up. It was like I was becoming absolutely single-minded about ‘digging in the dirt’ of my life and the cigarettes were only getting in my way. But what was I after so vehemently that this easily overpowered my desire for even cigarettes? I was after… my BOOGIE-MAN!! That nebulous ‘thing’ I had been running from so vigorously, through addictions, obsessions, co-dependency, disassociation, anxiety, and distraction through negative ruminations. That thing I had been terrified of my whole life. I wanted to find out… what… this… horrible… thing…. was!! This is how I eventually discovered… the introject! …. The fact that there was such a thing, that it served a certain purpose, and that it could be worked around so as to live a happy life in spite of it’s continued presence.
Well, my boogie-man turned out to be only a… ‘boogie-man’. Only a shadow on the wall. Not that scary at all. And, once I was given (by my Higher Power) the understanding of how to work with it, everything just melded together. It was easily taken care of. All my negative, destructive introjects… my boogie-men… made peace with me… and I with them.
Because I have had such difficult introjects to work with, getting rid of all my other addictions and obsessions have allowed me to clearly see the dance of these introjects’ relationship with me. I decided to investigate as much as I could, about how to manage them. Here’s what I’ve discovered about how to overcome my exceptionally negative, and destructive, introjects. It involves several key mind-sets and actions I stumbled upon by accident? (God’s intervention), to achieve this success. I don’t believe I could have skipped any of these mind-sets or actions and still be experiencing the benefits of miraculous healing that’s going on in me right now. And ‘miraculous’ is an understatement. I feel so different I hardly recognize myself now.
But it took a bit of time to get there; from studying about them to being able to work with them. Happily however, I was aided by a blind-siding crisis. About nine months into the alcoholic-foods abstinence (the next addiction in line behind the alcohol) and six months off the cigarettes; a very dear friend of mine… told me to take a hike. I kind of knew why, but not really, and she made no explanation. For a while I was pretty angry about the whole thing… but throughout the painful process… I, with laser-power, on purpose, forced myself not to use or obsess over… ANYTHING!!! This was really, really, really hard!! Not just because it was hard by itself (it was) but the crisis increased my desire to use exponentially. But again, though it was extremely uncomfortable, I found I didn’t die, and that it could be done. Anyway, after some of the dust settled, the whole mess turned out to be a blessing. If you don’t use or obsess during a blind-siding crisis, it can speed up recovery to a dizzying pace. Like going through a worm-hole, you can get to your destination in record time. This crisis acted like dynamite. It blasted out the dirt I’d been drudgingly plowing up for so long, and planted the seed which practically sprang from the ground, producing this huge discovery… How To Work With The Introject !!
And you can do this too. You can go through anything and not use or obsess. This is the hard part. The ‘climbing Mount Everest” part. The boogie-man is a cinch to work with. It’s the process of getting face-to-face with that boogie man (by not using or obsessing) that’s the climb up Mount Everest. The addiction and obsession removal will probably be the murderous part of this process toward wellness; not the facing of your boogie-man. For me, it was the addiction/obsession removal, especially my primary addiction to alcohol, that hurt so damned bad. Sobriety plowed me open to accepting an intimate relationship with a Higher Power. Getting intimate with any ‘Being’ (even a spiritual one) was an enormously terrifying under-taking for me. These two things had to take place though, for the magic to work: one; releasing all addictions and obsessions indefinitely, and two; latching onto a Loving Higher Power. Both were absolutely necessary, but both were… to put it mildly… a holy bitch! to do. I mean it! Be prepared. Be very prepared. And hold on to your ass, because it’s really, really, really going to be a hell of a ride! But take it from me. It’s totally worth it, even though it’s going to be a bitch! What you get back will completely astound you; more than you could ever dream in your wildest dreams.
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Through my reading about the introject, I came to understand that positive introjects arise from mature caretakers. However, the destructive type can sound like the voice of authority, but really, it is essentially immature as it arises from immature and frightened authorities who are by the way, also tormented by their own destructive immature introjects. This destructive introject business is passed down through generations and through contact with almost all persons. The introject entity is extremely contagious.
Because of all the fear and/or pain, this destructive-type of introject can be very ‘loud’ which makes it appear to be like the voice of authority. But in fact, it is operating from the perspective of a small and frightened child-like character. It’s not that scary. It’s only like a child… with a mega-phone. Many of these introjects have been trying, in their own skewed way to protect themselves, and the rest of me, from being hurt by outside forces. This is true most of the time, but not always, as in cases of molestation. I have not investigated the M.O.’s behind the actions of these type of destructive introjects. However, be assured, I will be doing that before my life is over. These introjects totally fascinate me!
The bottom line though, is that it is greatly important to understand that there is ~skewedness~ going on in the introject. Keeping a stance of blame and hate at bay, is essential to being able to work with them. As I’ve studied the essence of this type from a scientific viewpoint. I know it is greatly skewed, but again, and I can not stress this enough… introjects… are not the abusers themselves, they are only a reflection of them inside us. A shadow, a parrot, a disembodied voice, and I’ve come to see that, when handled correctly, these immature introjects in ourselves are showing themselves to be very interesting creatures, even drawing out empathy in me for their stress and pain. Sounds ridiculous doesn’t it? But, somewhere in my recovery process I actually did come to a place of compassion for mine. It’s weird, I know, but when you get to where I’m standing, I can assure you, you will feel this same way.
Keep reading. I still haven’t yet described
how I’ve learned to handle mine without running from it.
The best way I know of to handle this type of destructively loud, deceptively parent-like, but actually child-like introject, is through the act of ‘soothing’ to calm it down from it’s frightened state. What’s more, I have come to realize that my introject is so strong that there are no other ~parts~ inside me that are strong enough to do the amount of powerful soothing necessary to keep it calmed. The only ~Being~ I know of, who’s strong enough to soothe a crazed introject like mine (and this is part of the ‘holy bitch’ aspect of recovery I had to face) is the God of Christ. Yes. That detestable ‘C’ word. It was a huge pill for me to swallow too.
But don’t stop reading here just because I’ve mentioned the ‘C.’ word.
During that time, as per AA’s instructions, I managed to wangle out a Higher Power. Actually, He found me. How this happened can be read in a six-part post here:
I very much hope you will take the time to read this story as it was integral to the success of my healing process. When I look back on the experience I had with my Higher Power, I can’t help but realize that, way before I ever believed in Him… He believed in me. And He believes in us all . We are… all… His children. We are a marvel in His eyes. I can say that with gusto now. But before I stepped into His world, I couldn’t even hardly mention His name. Jesus Christ? – YUCK!!
It was a very small hole I had to squeeze through then, but now as I look back, I can see much more clearly the necessity of developing a relationship with this God. Since then, I’ve analyzed this thoroughly, in a scientific way, so let me make my case to you before you close me out completely. This is not to proselytize! We all deserve to give others the utmost respect for their religious and spiritual choices. It is just to say that, in all my travels, and I’ve traveled a lot (even as far as atheism) I’ve never come across a God as unique as this one.
I’m not closed off to the possibility that there may be others like this one, but as far as I’ve seen, only this God has the necessary qualifications to handle the intensely crazed father-introject as I had to manage. To give you a taste of what this father-introject was like in me, please refer to this post:
This God is the only one I’ve ever encountered with enough Purely Unconditional, Ever-Present, Super-Naturally Powerful, Endlessly Patient, Intimate ~LOVE~ to over-power, soothe, and caress…
on a continuous basis…
my own intensely crazed father-introject, and so to keep it calmed down. So far, I have yet to discover any other God who has this amount of power along with all these other essential qualifications mentioned above.
In the course of my relationship with this God (who I stumbled upon while attempting to work the AA 12 Steps), I have had the supreme pleasure of experiencing a seemingly bottomless supply of endlessly patient, unwavering, and (especially)_unconditional ~ Love~. This Love is something I’ve never experienced with any other God I’ve tried before. In fact, before this, I had never even had the experience of being loved… by anyone… or anything. Nor had I ever had a conceptualization of Love, nor anything even remotely like it. Does this sound unbelievable? Could one possibly be able to live on this planet with absolutely no experiential contact with ~Love~? Yes. It can be done. It’s deadly, but I’m living proof that this can happen. It’s a dreadful can of worms to have to eat, but I had no other choice if I was going to continue to survive on this planet. Suicide was another option, but after trying it four times and failing each time, I realize that ‘live’ is what I would have to do. Since I determined I would no longer drink, there was no other alternative. Trudge on, day after sad, sad day, until they would lay me in the ground.
And, I believe most adults severely abused as children, are also in the same boat as I was when it came to the concept of Love. The Loving aspect I’ve received from the interaction I have with this particular Higher Power, has slowly developed a latent, serene, spiritually-connected, Adult-Part in me; a crucial ingredient to carrying out the last action in this formula I’ve been using for healing. Receiving this type of unconditional Love from a Higher Power is crucial to this process. The Love of people is just… not… powerful… enough; not unconditional enough… not patient enough… not anything ‘enough’. Without a spiritual source of super-powerful Love, the healing simply can not be accomplished. When it comes down to it – when push comes to shove – it is the connection to… and the application of… this ~Love~ from the spiritual dimension, that will permanently heal a person from the effects of child abuse.
Now here’s the clincher.
This is what made it all come together,
and tied with a neat little bow.
The last, and most magical step, is this. And it seems to work like a charm. I’m using this Spiritually-Connected-Adult (which was developed as I interacted with my Loving Higher Power) in a relaxed, subliminal, low-level, ~get myself out of the way~ kind of meditation all day long. Whatever I’m doing, I’m at the same time ** , keeping this Spiritually-Connected-Adult-Part of me secluded… out of the world’s view. I’m purposely doing this as a solo process so as not to fall back into the obsessive behavior that is co-dependency ( About Co-dependency ) This part of me is just between me and God. No one else can in any way be involved. This is a completely private process with just me and my God. My focus is, (with as much vivid detail as my imagination will allow), to continually give God entrance into the deepest part of me, then ~with complete trust ~ letting go of all control ~ I beckon God in, then mentally sit and watch Him do His work with my introjects. And His work is this: like a mother with her infant child, He soothes, caresses, cuddles, and calms my introjects… in my place! There’s a strong, palpable feeling of relaxation, if the process of actively letting go, is being done correctly. You will know you’re doing it right by sensing extreme physical, mental, and emotional relaxation. Everything inside should be as calm as a smooth, glassy sea. Letting Go means… Relaxation. All day long, I stay very conscious about doing the work of getting out of the way and letting my God in. My hope is that eventually, through constant practice, it will become, like driving a car, second-nature to me – as my natural bent.++
Do not be overcome by evil,
but overcome evil with good.
* * *
I’m feeling HAPPY!! I mean, really, really happy!
And there’s an unexplainable sensation of
Deep Inner Peace… To My Soul.
I can’t describe this.
It’s a fantastic feeling!
I LIKE MYSELF!
* * *** In today’s sermon my pastor mentioned ‘multi-taskers’. If you are one of these types, you will understand and have the ability to work with the introject in the manner I’ve described above. If you are not able to multi-task, then you can still do this exercise by alternating your attention between your daily worldly tasks, and this one I’ve described above. Do your best to make the ‘mental switch’ as often as you can remember to throughout the day… especially when you are waiting for something like: your turn at the check-out stand or at the bank; a red light on the road; being put on hold on the phone; sitting in a car waiting for your passenger to come back; being a passenger in a car; etc… Also, if possible, you might want to set aside a small amount of ‘down time’ several times a day, to just sit and do this low-level, relaxed-type of visualization exercise uninterrupted. ++ It’s only been a couple of weeks of doing this practice now, and, as I go about my day, I’m finding that I’m already having a sensation of being in a state of natural and deep relaxation… without have to work at it consciously. It’s becoming a natural way of ‘being’. It’s truly lovely to live this way. I’m enjoying myself, and life… immensely. I can’t begin to describe what it’s like. If you would like to know more, go back and re-read this post. The Peace of God. I really do think I might be near the end of my journey to wellness. I’m not completely sure, but might this be ‘it’?
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the next post in this series is here : About Co-dependency