Ice cream is NOT a right; it's a privilege
June 15, 2011
Let's talk about some internal politics by way of the long route....the internal politics of youngsters, and internal "bad guys" and mirror images of our perpetrators. Please just stick with me here.
Content advisory: our story includes food restrictions and mentioning eating along with dissociation. If this is particularly bothersome, please skip to below the horizontal line — there are less mentions after that point. This is our story and regarding our own body, our relationship with sugar sensitivity, agreements we have within our system, and knowing our genetics and needs. The larger point has nothing to do with food but with internal relationships, boundaries, and why forgiveness is important.
Sometimes we joke: "We're watching our sugar intake; we're watching it go right into our mouth."
We finished a pint of ice cream, just had cereal for dinner, and as I'm writing this I keep glancing over at a vanishing tray of Newman-O's cookies.
I remember my first bonafide girlfriend with DID and how excited they would get at the mention of ice cream. Her known little would come out even in public. I'm sure working in an ice cream shop must be the most interesting place in the universe.
I have a really hard time because my youngers know my debit card pin numbers just like everyone else in here does. Nearly all impulse buys come straight from the tiny fingers of our cherished system kids we would love to get away with indulging with gifts and treats. Sometimes it doesn't matter so much what we're buying, just that we're spending our hard earned money on anything other than bills. Not. Good.
So we leave the house with shopping lists and let the youngers do the shopping under the condition that they stick to the list. That helps. It doesn't matter if it's toilet paper, vegetables, or cat food -- they love spending money. They love calling the biggers out on any impulse buys, they get a good laugh out of that. [There goes the last Newman-O! — passive influence is real.]
We're working on this agreement, as unpopular as it is for our system: "Ice cream is not a right; it's a privilege."
We don't normally even put sugary snacks into the house. When they're available, we eat them.
Thankfully for our body's sake days of ice cream and Newman-O's are the exception, not the rule.
When it comes to challenges enforcing internal agreements, we're not alone. Why is it so hard to say no to the young ones?
It's possible to allow our inner kids to run or ruin our life, when what they need is love, acceptance, boundaries, nurturing and often a good bit of "childproofing."
Like when we have the youngsters go shopping with a list and make sure they stick to it -- that's setting a boundary and a rule, and making sure they follow it. Any potential purchases that come up but are not on the list need to be checked with the olders in charge of the shopping trip. This provides a chance to be front with supervision in an environment where "acting little" is inappropriate. This is a great opportunity to create a desire to "grow up" too. We also have delegated a few household chores to our youngers — especially since Lissie became co-conscious; she loves "playing house" and enjoys the opportunity to help out.
Just like body-children, youngers need opportunities to "act big" and show responsibility. They love earning respect, kudos and trust with their olders. When we shower them with toys, gifts, goodies, and do not also give them rules and boundaries they lose a sense of what their limits are. It's too much, too overwhelming for them, and they can act out -- the stereotypical "spoiled brat". Believe it or not a body-child who is throwing a fit to get something they want really needs to be given gentle firm boundaries. Give in once, and this fit can become a major tactic for getting what they want. They flounder in insecurity, seeking objects or treats in the place of love and nurturing, and lose their sense of self in their seeming "selfishness". They don't know where the boundaries are, so they're boundary testing to find out where the limits are. The boundaries help them know right from wrong, and in some ways help them seek out their own identity and security within those boundaries. Without them they don't know what's safe and they don't know who they are.
Sometimes youngers are the strongest of those in our head. As Hart of Crisses likes to say: "I may be four, but I've been four for a VERY long time." They're deeply entrenched in the system, really good at what they do, and sometimes can take on many roles within the system as protectors, veils (hiding sub-systems), guardians, antagonists, and more. It is a good idea to show them as much respect as anyone, don't underestimate them due to their age. A common theme seems to be a little who has donned the costume that resembles in some way someone who has wronged you in the past. This works by the "As outside, so inside (and vice versa)" rule. This little has seen the face of power, and as a protective mechanism it has attempted to camouflage as something similar. This works by an "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" mentality. (See also Panic Reactions New.) They may do this and age up, an internal mirror of someone external who was not-so-nice.
When you find these internal perpetrators or persecutors, be sure to exercise forgiveness. Actually, it does you a great deal of good to even forgive your external perpetrators if you can safely do so. This is not an attempt at reconciliation, nor encouragement to put yourself in harm's way by trying to see them face-to-face or contact them in any way. This is an attempt to express whatever grain of forgiveness you can for those who have wronged you, because in doing so you free yourself and your system from the need to mirror judgement and punishment inside.
If you cannot forgive those who have done you wrong outside the system, how can you forgive those who may also have done wrong inside it? Especially true of these mirrors who may be convinced on some level that they've done some really undesirable things (and maybe they have).
It doesn't have to happen overnight, and it doesn't even need to be 100% forgiveness. Knowing that you're trying may be enough to encourage better interactions with your youngsters and inner mirrors of not-so-great-people of all shapes and ages.
So yeah, we somehow got here from ice cream, but I think it was an important journey. When my youngsters are doing their chores, fulfilling their responsibilities, taking care of us, sticking with our system agreements, we occasionally hook them up with a pint of ice cream (or some Newman-O's).
--Post tweaked 2021-09-27.