When it comes to parts work, there are some critical steps to healing ourselves. First, we must build awareness of our parts and their unconscious beliefs. Second, we must accept those parts for who they are today. Third, we must allow those parts to express themselves as much as they need.
They must be heard and validated by us. Of course, this is much easier said than done. We have been taught there is something wrong with our parts. We have even been taught that our parts are dangerous. We have come to understand that what our parts have to offer the world is not acceptable. Getting started with the relationship-building is so difficult to do.
But this work comes with benefits. Maybe that goes without saying. Otherwise why would we do it? The most obvious benefit is the relief we get from expressing our painful story and the emotions that come with it. It is also beneficial for us to understand our true narrative. Everything makes so much more sense when we do. But the most significant benefit comes from who we become. We become our true selves. We become who we were always meant to be. We become the powerful self we were blocked from accessing through the trauma of childhood. How does that happen? As we express from our inner parts, they learn their true value, their true strengths. How do they learn that? We teach them.
In many ways, this is the re-parenting concept that can be so triggering for us. But hear me out. Don’t shut down the page yet. Good enough parents are supposed to help their children find their way in the world. Good enough parents are supposed to help their children access their strengths and use them to pursue their purpose. Good enough parents are supposed to help them become an individual in a world that prefers lemmings. And I will go out on a limb and guess that you didn’t have good enough parents. If you did, you would not be reading this. So here comes the triggering part. This is exactly what we have to do with our parts. I get that your parents were supposed to do it and didn’t do it. And that is NOT fair. But now you have the option to help your parts and yourself.
Recently, I was reminded of the power of this work through my own acceptance of parts. I have been working with a part who is not easy to accept. They are a freedom fighter which makes them not particularly friendly to others. They have made it clear they prefer to be alone. I call them the Prima Donna and their methods are somewhat questionable. They like to push people away with superiority. They like to tell others they don’t need them. It isn’t pleasant to retrieve the memories of this part in action. As I have mentioned before, the list of people I must avoid forever is long (and apparently getting longer).
I get what she is trying to do. She doesn’t want to be controlled. She doesn’t want to be abused. She doesn’t want to be told what to do by others. I know this. I have been working with the freedom fighters for a while now. But as I have always discovered in my parts, there is a strength in her. And no, it is not superiority. Over this past year, I have uncovered many ways I have fought for my freedom. I have struggled to gain freedom from my pain, contracts, oppression and even inner controller. But today, I have learned that my freedom fighting goes further. Today I have discovered that my Prima Donna is fighting for the freedom of others.
She didn’t push people away because they were holding her back or down (although some were). She didn’t push people away because they were bad people necessarily (although some were). She pushed people away to protect them from the abusers around her. She pushed them away to keep them safe. She put on a show to make them leave. This ensured her loneliness. In some ways it ensured her further abuse. But it also was a valiant attempt at freeing those around her.
And for that, I am grateful. I am grateful to her for the beauty of her heart. I am grateful that she was willing to ensure her own loneliness to save others. Did it work? Probably not. Not much we did as kids worked. That’s why we are so inundated with futility. But she didn’t give up. And she was willing to sacrifice everything for others. Now I know how strong she was. Now I know how strong I am.
Written By Elisabeth Corey, MSW