You might ask yourself, “How on earth could I possibly say that this ‘gremlin’ (that whispers nasty-sweet-nothings in my ear constantly)... LOVES ME”?!
Sounds like a stretch, right?
It’s really not that far a stretch at all.
These mind-gremlins VERY OFTEN were created and spawned when we were very, very young. In ‘reaction’ to life circumstances that were outside of our control and understanding. For many of us, these were first brought to life before the age of 7, but many times ALL of these mind-gremlins were created before the age of 13.
Have you ever wondered why, when you really ‘tune in’ to these gremlins, you not only feel small, but you really feel YOUNG?
Try it right now. Tune in to a situation or a circumstance or even one of the things that YOUR mind-gremlin says, and really feel into how young / old you feel.
My own personal A-HA happened when I was studying Inner Child therapeutic processes while diving deep into trauma therapy advanced education and practice (I used to be a counseling psychologist with my own private practice). Of course, there is a deep-end of the spectrum when we talk about ‘Inner Child’ and ‘parts’ (that is when what we used to call ‘Multiple Personality’ comes to play)... But for the average person like you and I with our own crappy life experiences and emotional baggage, our ‘parts’ don't become totally separate - simply pushed aside and ignored.
I came to recognize that this ‘part’ work is SO POWERFUL. SO HEALING.
And it is why my current transformational work ALWAYS includes ‘Inner Child’ / ‘Parts’ work - because the ROOT of most of the reasons we get or stay stuck are rooted in a childhood place.
Let’s face it: at that time (childhood), we were not equipped to handle tricky emotional or physical situations. We are relatively powerless (reliant on others for survival) - but we are very, very adaptable - and children always find ingenious ways to survive (if not thrive).
What better way to survive than to create an ‘inner voice’ that makes sure we survive? One that will remind us what works and what doesn't.
A voice that LOVES US so much, it’s only job is to protect us...
Drill-Sergent Dave has an inner critic was possibly created in REACTION to an environment that lacked encouragement and support, or he took it on by simply imitating what he saw around him. Through a childs eye, we model what we see (and don’t think a lot about whether it ‘works’ in the greater scheme of things). Dave is a powerful reminder of what needs to get done (because, y’know, without that you might forget, get sloppy or not succeed). He’ll protect us from failure which feels almost as bad as DOOM.
Powerless Polly learned that she had no voice, that what she said was unimportant, and when/if she spoke up, it didn't matter anyway (perhaps nobody listened, or she was quickly reminded of how unimportant/unhelpful she was). What she did learn, however, was that making sure everybody else’ needs were met meant that SHE would survive! Her voice came from either imitating the voices around her (notice if she sounds like someone you know), or an internal reminder to keep her in check, keep her SAFE from making mistakes.
Pressure-Cooker Patrick created structure where there was little of it in his life - or he may have adapted strict structure that he saw around him. Feelings were likely not displayed or encouraged, and FEAR of change, difference and individuality was spawned. This gremlin was born to protect Patrick from making ‘bad’ choices, being prepared and controlling every possible situation (creating the illusion that he control the outcome, too).
Worry-Wart Wilma also encountered people or situations that led her to fear and resist change, and focus on future possibilities rather than staying and enjoying the present. Perhaps ‘bad things’ did happen a lot, or perhaps Wilma was never given opportunities to try and ‘fail’ with unconditional support. She lacks trust in herself that she can not just cope, but thrive when life throws her a curveball! She reminds you of all the possibilities of danger, and keeps you SAFE!
If you read these over, you will notice that the fundamental concern for all of these Gremlins is trying to control FEAR. Fear of not being good enough. Fear of not being accepted/acceptable. Fear of not being in control. Fear of the unknown. Fear. Fear. Fear.
You see!!! These ‘Mind Gremlins’ originally spawned to help you AVOID FEAR!
And despite being a rational, functioning adult, they keep reminding you how to act, think, do, say... they nudge and shuttle you along your life’s path, avoiding what are obviously horrific dangers (e.g., speaking in public, choosing another route to work, dumping an abusive partner, trying that new dance class)...
In this middle-ground space - the space between awareness / ‘a-ha’ and creating new habits of thought and behavior - there is one simple but POWERFUL step you can take to move you out of the role of victim in this relationship with your Gremlin, and that is:
Starting with forgiving YOURSELF. You created and/or allowed this Gremlin to have free reign over your mind, your emotions and your experiences for most of your life. But you did it for completely understandable reasons. And the choices you made were the only options at a time when options, insight and free will were limited (youth).
(While I am happy to confidentially respond to simple questions in this regard, please note I do not provide therapy services, and my input should not be construed as therapeutic advice).
And once you’ve finished forgiving yourself (that might be a lifelong process, but you know what I mean), then you go and FORGIVE YOUR GREMLIN, too.
Pat that little Gremlin’s head. Say ‘there there’. Let it know that while you appreciate its efforts, you are no longer in need of its services. And you FORGIVE IT for any ‘mistakes’ it has made. Because you now understand that its intentions have always been pure and LOVING.
One powerful technique for forgiveness is using the Ho’oponopono, which summarized goes like this:
Focus on the person, situation, experience that you wish to forgive, and repeat:
Simple, but powerful.
That’s it for today. Forgiveness is a simple concept, but can be an emotionally difficult process. There are often many layers that need to be shed.
Let me know how I can support you with this. If you are part of my Facebook Group, share with the group and let them know how they can support you, too. We are in this together.
LOVE on yourself. LOVE on your Gremlin - you both totally deserve it.
You’ve got this!
Tanya Tinney is a mom of three beautiful girls (including fraternal twins), wife of an amazing entrepreneurial man, nature lover, wrangler of two large dogs and chaser of three bad cats. She is equally good at baking banana bread and whipping up a killer margarita.
Her passion is helping fabulous people get unstuck from their past so they can blast through current challenges and get really stuck into achieving their dreams.
With three University degrees and 14 years experience working as a psychologist, most of the time she knows what she’s talking about. The rest of the time she ‘wings it’ based on her own messy life experiences. Her approach is one of laser focus, empathy and intuition with a healthy dose of humor – along with a kick-in-the-you-know-what when necessary (and it often is!).
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Don’t just tame your Gremlin – REPLACE it!
Are you ready to meet YOUR Mind-Gremlin?
Why it’s NEVER somebody else’s fault (and why that is a GOOD thing)!
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