By Adam D. Blum, MFT, Gay Therapy Center Founder and Director
There’s a big role for babies in our relationships with our partners and with ourselves.Tapping into your inner baby is a really useful tool in managing life’s challenges.
With Our Partners
Children are the masters of love. They love with great abandon and openness. And they know instinctively that hugs are the best way to express it.
Here’s how some very successful LGBT couples use their inner child to connect and resolve conflict:
Helen and Susan* have a stuffed dinosaur on their bed named Bugsy that they use as a puppet to talk to each other to break the ice when tension starts to mount.
When Ty is grumpy, John sometimes approaches him like an overtired toddler and asks if he would like to watch his favorite TV show together and eat Lucky Charms.
To soften the mood when they are getting edgy, Ray or Yan will start talking baby talk to Rufus, their 10-year-old collie mix.
When Rosa has had a really bad day, Beth sometimes whispers in her ear as many positive, joyful reminders she can think of. It lifts them both up.
Exploring your inner child with your partner is intimate. It signals that you are willing to be vulnerable by acting a bit “foolish”. Because it’s a private communication that doesn’t get shared at work or even among most friends, it reminds you both that your bond is like no other.
When you intentionally express your inner child you are telling your partner that you are safe and available for play. It demonstrates that you are ready to let go of the fight that just occurred or is about to happen.
Baby talk proves that you have let down your sword. You are no longer a threat. I suggest using it as a “reach” to reconnect with your partner when you are getting off course.
Most couples I work with do this, but they do not dare talk about it with others.
There are libraries filled with books and research studies that basically prove that we still have our childhood self within us. In our efforts to grow up, make money in business, and “be a man”, we all like to deny that.
The truth is that when we are stuck, when we are repeating unhealthy patterns, or when we surprise ourselves with how strongly we reacted to a little thing, it’s likely that an experience from our childhood is being triggered.
Sternly telling yourself to “just get over it” when you find yourself back in that place of fear, anxiety, or anger isn’t going to result in lasting change. Personal transformation happens when we learn to hold those wounded parts of ourselves with curiosity and compassion.
And that sometimes means talking to yourself the way a good parent would try to calm a hurt young child. The tone is soft, the care is expressed, and it usually includes soothing words of encouragement. Sometimes a special treat is offered.
And what tend to be the final words at the end? “I love you.” Of course.
Try it at home. It’s 100% non-toxic with no negative side effects.
*All names have been changed to protect the innocent children.
For more information about how we help LGBT individuals and couples please visit our website at www.thegaytherapycenter.com. We offer services in our San Francisco, New York, or Los Angeles offices or by Skype or phone worldwide.