Notice, Acknowledge and Welcome Mini-Me (aka Re-Parenting)
We have already covered the first step of ’noticing’ Mini-Me in the previous blogs. However, to recap, by ‘noticing’ the negative feelings, and how and when they surface, a person can become aware of their Mini-Me and hence their Adult self. Once the Adult can identify Mini-Me, and what he or she feels, the Adult can then proceed to engage with Mini-Me.
The next step is to ‘acknowledge’ whatever Mini-Me is feeling. Whenever Mini-Me feels a negative feeling, or feels ‘young’ or ‘little’ around certain people or circumstances, it is important to ask Mini-Me what he or she is feeling. This needs to be spoken or written as if communicating to a real child, the feeling then needs to be reflected back to Mini-Me, for example ‘So you are feeling scared?’
The third step called ‘welcoming’ is when the Adult self accepts the feeling, allowing the ‘whole’ person to feel it. In a sense, the Adult is saying to Mini-Me, your pain matters to me. Once this happens, the negative feeling is ‘felt’, allowing it to diminish in its intensity, helping the whole self feel more comfortable.
Meeting Mini-Me’s Needs
The reduction in emotional intensity will create some room to explore the cause of the negative feeling. Mini-Me will be able to help discover what caused the negative feeling, so asking Mini-Me directly is important. There could be any number of causes of the negative feelings. It could be someone’s tone, words, or attitudes, it could be certain personality types, or situations, or environments that cause Mini-Me to react.
Whatever the ‘trigger’, it is important to recognise that they are triggering memories or experience in childhood that Mini-Me is re-experiencing in the present. The memory may be specific, for instance a teacher standing over the child threatening to harm him or her for being naughty. On the other hand, it could be more general, for example, the child did not feel affirmed. In either case, certain environments or situations could trigger these memories and therefore the negative, overwhelming, or crippling feelings that were not adequately processed.
Discovering the cause of the negative feeling empowers the Adult self to meet Mini-Me’s need. The situation may require the adult to remove himself or herself from the situation in order for Mini-Me to feel comfortable. It may also require the Adult to speak specific nurturing, kind, and living words to Mini-Me. It is important that these words have meaning for Mini-Me, and that they touch and speak to the need. It is important that Mini-Me is consciously included in each part of the process as the feelings and experiences are Mini-Me’s.
The above processes help with integrating the feeling into the ‘whole’ self and meeting the inner need of Mini-Me. Repeating these processes whenever Mini-Me experiences the negative feeling, should cause the unresolved childhood need to be meet, decreasing the overall level of the negative feeling.
A ‘Whole’ Future
As the Adult becomes increasingly aware of Mini-Me and his or her needs, and meets the need, there is healing and reconciliation between the Adult and Mini-Me. Once this healing begins, relationships and the landscape of life takes on a completely new meaning, as it allows the whole person to put energy into life rather than trying to take energy from it to soothe Mini-Me. With Mini-Me no longer in the driver’s seat, feeling responsible for getting needs met in unhelpful ways, the Adult (along with his or her Mini-Me) is able to engage with life and relationships in a richer and more fulfilling way.
Exercise to consider
Think of a situation where you ‘noticed’ your Mini-Me feeling uncomfortable. Choose a simple one to start with. Over the next few weeks implement the above strategy, and observe what happens. How does Mini-Me feel? What do you notice about the Adult self? What happens to the uncomfortable feeling? What other changes do you notice? Keeping a journal helps to keep track of the process.