Talking to Young Parts

Remember the RA/MC Survivor Poetry Reading

On Saturday, October 23 at 4-5:30 PM Pacific Time, there will be a joyous event. Another online poetry reading! I hope those of you who missed the first one will come to this one.

The format will be a little different. The event will be shorter, but it will have the same structure. Greetings and a preview of what’s coming, the poetry reading itself, a short break, and then questions and answers. This time, people are invited to read one of their own poems.

Sign up for it at Eventbrite (click “register”)  

If you want to be on the mailing list, let me know in the comment section and I’ll make sure you are included. 


I’ve been wondering how come I can give suggestions on how to talk to littles, suggestions that people actually find useful. And yet I don’t have young parts inside me. Nobody is there with a name, with even a hint of what they look like, no sounds of crying. So what gives me the right to give suggestions?

I think I merge three things:

  1. Personal experience of what it was like to be various ages
  2. Reading lots of psychology and child development books, getting an MSW
  3. Having my own kids and learning (with difficulty) how to communicate with them at various ages

This mishmash of experience, knowledge, curiosity, and willingness to experiment makes me comfortable talking to the littles that I don’t have and the littles that many other multiples do have.

I talk to myself “as if” I had littles inside. I just assume that some part of me is listening and understands what I am saying. And if not, it is strengthening ideas in my brain that are counter to those that were laid down by the cult and my family. However it works, I know it works because I see the results.

When you think about it, there must be memories and feelings from the past, either conscious or unconscious, and they must be able to change. So if you have a memory, and you say over and over, “It wasn’t your fault, they made you do it. It wasn’t your fault,” something will shift. Slowly you will notice that you don’t feel as guilty. You won’t hate yourself as much. You will feel lighter, you will be able to breathe more freely.

It doesn’t matter what the inside of your mind is like, or how it is organized, or what your diagnosis is, once you were a child, and once you were abused, and nobody was there to tell you it wasn’t your fault and to comfort you, to love you, to say they wished they could have rescued you. But you are here now, and so you can pay attention to the child you used to be. You can send love back through the years to your child-self, and somehow it will counter the hate you received back then.

When my children were little, I didn’t naturally know how to talk to them. I had decided I would do the opposite of what my mother did. That intention was helpful, but it didn’t give me the actual “how do” knowledge. It was a do-it-yourself project and I learned as I went along.

I’ll summarize some of the things I learned that were most useful. They apply to kids of all ages – and, if I stop to think about it, they apply to grown-ups, too.  

The first thing is your attitude. Respect the child parts (or outside children). They are human beings and as worthy as any other human being in the world. 

Children’s opinions and beliefs are valid. They are the best possible response they could have had to the situation they found themselves in. If you listen carefully, not only will you come to understand what the child is trying to communicate, but, by listening and not criticizing and ordering the child around, you will convey a spirit of respect and empathy.

A good way to show that you have paid close attention is to summarize what the child has said and to ask if you got it right. Invite the child to correct you if you have misunderstood anything. 

Note that being treated in this manner is a new experience for the little part you are speaking to. Perpetrators don’t give a shit what their victims think, feel, or believe. All they care about is power and control. Some parts may catch on quickly, some may take much longer to understand that you are different and that what you are offering them is real. Don’t give up on the parts that remain wary for a long time – it’s perfectly natural.

When you feel that you have a good relationship, one based on respect and trust, try expanding the child’s self-image. Point out that there are choices, and that it is okay to choose. Praise the child for stepping out of their comfort zone and learning something new.

Actually, I don’t wait for a relationship to develop to give choices when I talk to myself because my parts never answer and so I have no idea where we are in our relationship. I just, when I start to talk, say something like, “You can listen if you want to, but you don’t have to. Later on, if you decide you want to know what I said, some part inside can tell you. I will repeat this later, so you can listen then if you want to.” Offering choices, not pushing either choice, not rushing things. 

If you are talking to a part who does something you don’t like, you will have to prepare yourself to approach that part with respect, curiosity, and trust that the part is doing the very best it can under the circumstances. Or rather, trust that you will come to understand that part in a different way if you listen long enough. 

I had a friend who tried to strong-arm the alters who did things he didn’t like. His idea of an effective approach was, “Listen up, assholes.” That’s a great way to alienate anybody!

So hang on tightly to respect and the desire to know what is going on with that part.

If you are talking to children of different ages, you can:

  1. Tell the older ones that you know they can easily translate what you say into the language they use and then speak to the youngest in simple terms,
  2. Speak to the oldest and ask them to explain to the younger ones,
  3. Say at the beginning that you will flip back and forth in the language you use, talking first to one age group and then the other.

I had a friend read this over, and she suggested I say that many people’s thoughts are very visual. She’s right – people think in pictures, words, or both.

I have a friend who can’t think in words – it’s all pictures and patterns and colors. You would never guess; he is smart and articulate and has a large vocabulary. I knew a woman who thought in words as a child until she had a concussion. From that point on, she thought only in pictures. My thoughts are pretty redundant. If I think of a cow, I see a picture of a cow, hear the word cow, and see C O W written on its side.

My guess is that babies think in pictures and start adding words when they learn to talk. As their vocabulary grows, words are added to or replace pictures until they reach their preferred mode of thinking. If this is so, you are more apt to reach younger parts if you include word pictures in talking to your inner parts.

“It’s 2021 now. The cars are smaller than they were when we were little. Refrigerators – we called them iceboxes – are either white or shiny stainless steel. They used to be white or avocado green, remember? And you never have to scrape the ice off the inside of the freezer compartment.”

That’s not a very good example, but it’s all I can think of. It must be lunchtime!

One last thing —

It makes no difference if you are talking to inside littles or outside littles. If you have children, you will find that the same techniques work just as well as they do with your younger parts. After all, kids are kids, right? Children treated with respect want to please you and do what you want. Children who are told what to do, bossed around, naturally want to resist. There will probably be sullen obedience and meltdowns.

And for people like me, people who talk to furniture and computers and plants and stuff, well, it works there, too. Because the furniture isn’t listening, but some part of me is. That part of me will tell another part of me there is a problem, and, hopefully, some part of me will be able to fix that problem.


 Upcoming Holidays


 10/11 (?) Columbus Day

 10/13 Backward Halloween

 10/20 Full Moon

 10/31 Halloween/start of Celtic New Year/start of the dark half of the year


 11/1 All Saints’ Day

 11/2 All Souls’ Day

 11/4 Satanic Revels

 11/11 (?) Veterans’ Day

 11/18-19 Partial Lunar Eclipse

 11/19 Full Moon

 11/25 Thanksgiving Day (United States)

 11/28 First Sunday of Advent

 11/30 St Andrew’s Day


 Sundays of advent: 11/28, 12/5, 12/12, 12/19

 12/4 Total Solar Eclipse

 12/18 Full Moon

 12/21 Winter solstice/Yule/St. Thomas’ Day

 12/24 Christmas Eve

 12/25 Christmas Day

 12/31 New Year’s Eve

Dates Important to Nazi and Neo-Nazi groups

10/16 Death of Rosenburg

10/19 Death of Goering

10/20 Hitler’s half-birthday

11/9 Kristallnacht

11/29 -12/16 Chanukah/Hanukkah (Jewish Festival of Lights)

(NOTE: Not all groups meet on Jewish holidays. Some groups also mark Candlemas, Beltane, Lammas, Halloween, the solstices, and the equinoxes.)


You can find more information on the following holidays at: 

 Halloween (personal) – 

 Halloween (background) –

 Thanksgiving –

 Yule/Winter Solstice – 

 Candlemas –

 Valentine’s Day –

 Spring Equinox –

 Easter: personal – (for background, see Spring Equinox) –

 Walpurgisnacht/May Eve –

 Beltane –

 Mothers’ Day –

 Fathers’ Day –

 Summer Solstice (corrected text) –

 Lammas –


 Feast of the Beast/Bride of Satan: Part 1 –

 Feast of the Beast/Bride of Satan: Part 2 –

 Fall Equinox –

Jade Miller on Helping Inner Kids Tolerate Wearing Masks, Plus an Update on My Depression,  

* This is really positive news! Makes my heart smile. I hope some of you would like to participate, either as presenters or as part of the audience.

The Plural Positivity World Conference:
sponsored by Power to the Plurals
Five days of Inclusive, Online, Free, Recorded Sessions
July 13 – 19, 2020

Call for Presentations
Due dates: May 15, panel presenters’ recorded answers to questions
May 31, recorded sessions

* You can find more information on the following holidays at:
Summer Solstice (corrected text):
August Ritual Dates:
Feast of the Beast/Bride of Satan: Part 1:
Feast of the Beast/Bride of Satan: Part 2:
Fall Equinox:
Halloween (personal):
Halloween (background):
Yule/Winter Solstice:
Valentine’s Day:
Spring Equinox:
Easter: (personal): (for background, see Spring Equinox)
Walpurgisnacht/May Eve:
Mothers’ Day:


An amazing thing happened to me. The Feelings Fairy did indeed swoop down from the treetops and said. “Oh, Jean, you don’t need this depression anymore. Let me take it away and leave acceptance and satisfaction in its stead.” I watched her slowly fly off into the horizon, She flew slowly because the depression was heavy, but that tiny wee thing sure was strong enough to take it far away.

This is the first time in my life, as far as I know, that a depression lifted after only a few weeks. I am very happy. The only symptom I miss is being able to sleep a full night without a bout of insomnia at two in the morning or upsetting dreams. Interestingly, those problems are back! However, I am not flat emotionally, I have more energy ((altho not as much as I would like), I am once again interested in the outside world, and the suicidal thoughts are gone.

My therapist and I are entertaining the hypothesis that it was a situational depression thanks to being housebound, not a real, nasty, dark, black, clinical depression. Isn’t that weird?

I am very sad, though, at the thought that I may not see people I love ever again in person. I believe that this nasty bug is going to be around for a looong time, and it will not be safe for me to consider flying unless they develop a really, really effective vaccine. And no more snorkeling, either. <sniff>

Thank goodness for <ehugs> and Zoom and email.


 I want to share with you a piece that my friend Jade Miller wrote about helping younger parts adapt to wearing a mask. As an introduction to the article, I’ll share a bit about my style of communicating with both outer and inner kids.

I am very anxious around babies and young children. I am always terrified that I won’t be able to understand what they are trying to communicate. Now granted, most people find trying to communicate with kids frustrating at times but my level of anxiety is ridiculous. I am quite sure that it’s because, when I was young, I tried to communicate and failed. Or rather, I did fine, given my age, but the adults failed to understand.

Here’s a sad little example. My mother wrote, I think in my baby book, that when I was two going on three, I walked down a path saying, “no” at each step. She found it very cute. It never occurred to her to wonder, “no to what?”

And here is a happier little story. When I brought my firstborn home, I thought, “I don’t have a baby to raise. I have a new roommate.” I considered kids fully formed people and always treated them with respect. This approach soon translated into teaching them rather than ordering them around and correcting or punishing them.

So if you (an adult part) is trying to communicate something to a younger part, you will get further by teaching and explaining rather than by throwing your weight around. You will have the authority that comes from wisdom and experience rather than the authority that comes with size, strength, and power. And your kids, inner or outer, will respect you rather than fear you.

On to Jade’s writing about wearing masks and helping inner kids avoid freaking out.


If Wearing a Mask is Difficult…

I’ve been thinking a lot about those who – for reasons related to trauma – find wearing a mask very difficult. Of course, the safest/easiest thing to do is stay home, but that’s not always an option. Some people have to work. Some people have to do their own shopping. Etc.

So I’ve come up with some suggestions in hopes that one or some of them may help. These are unprecedented times, and these may end up being useless. But it’s worth a shot.

• Try cute, calming, or meaningful patterns – if you have littles, they might find mild comfort in wearing some of my own designs (if you have a request for a pattern I don’t currently have, send me a message and I’ll make one!)

• Try 1-2 drops of essential oil under your nose before you put it on; I’ve had some success in re-training my brain to stay grounded by using essential oils. My own personal favorite is marjoram, but you could try anything that you find pleasant. (Peppermint oil is strong and kind of in-your-face but not usually in a bad way.) Note: some of the oils should not be applied directly to your skin; you may need a drop or two of an oil mixed with it.

• Perhaps gum, candy, or a sucker — another idea with the littles in mind. Especially if these things might be considered fun, or a treat… maybe try having something yummy in your mouth while you have to wear the mask? Gummy bears, Sour Patch Kids, a gobstopper or something that will (hopefully) last a little while. See if you can make it through whatever the task is without biting down. Make it a game.

My thought process is that maybe it will help the littles realize that something good is happening (they get candy!) and that their mouth and nose are NOT – in fact – blocked…at least not in the way they’re worried about. They are in “now time,” where even though it might not seem like it, you are trying to protect them and keep them safe by complying with the current health guidelines.

These are the only things I’ve thought of so far. Maybe you could try doing any of them that appeal to you, but only wearing the mask around the house for 5-10 minutes at a time, while doing something extremely relaxing or fun. “Practice” doing it for short periods of time and then take it off. It’s my hope that any positive association that you can build in your mind with wearing the mask and then taking it off ASAP can help create a tolerance that will hopefully be able to last the length of a trip to the store or for an essential errand, etc.

Try to make it a “mission” for the littles, or turn it into a fun challenge. This isn’t mask-specific but I’ve flat-out used bribery in the past when I’ve been facing something difficult and needed to help motivate my system to do something really hard. Plan to take home ice cream later, or order a movie you’ve been wanting to see for a while, after the errand that requires a mask. Be creative.

We are smart, folks. We didn’t survive all the shit we’ve been through just to be defeated by this stupid COVID19 thing. We can do this. I believe in us!


Upcoming Holidays

5/25 Memorial Day
5/31 Pentecost
6/5 Full moon
6/5-6 Penumbral lunar eclipse. The moon will turn a shade darker during the maximum phase, visible in Asia, Australia, Europe, and Africa. Most penumbral lunar eclipses cannot be easily distinguished from a usual full moon. See
6/19 Summer solstice
6/21 Fathers’ Day
6/21 Annular solar eclipse. Visible from parts of Africa (including the Central African Republic, Congo, and Ethiopia), south of Pakistan, northern India, and China. Partial eclipse is visible in south/east Europe, much of Asia, the north of Australia, and much of Africa, Pacific, Indian Ocean. See
6/23 Midsummer’s Eve
6/24 St. John’s Day
7/4 Independence Day
7/4 Full moon
7/4-5 Penumbral lunar eclipse. The moon will turn a shade darker during the maximum phase, visible in North and South America, and Africa. Most penumbral lunar eclipses cannot be easily distinguished from a usual full moon. See
7/25 St. James’ Day/Festival of the Horned God

Dates Important to Nazi and Neo-Nazi groups
6/6 D-Day: invasion of France in WW2
7/30 Tisha B’Av (Day of Mourning)
7/29 Hitler proclaimed leader of the Nazi party

(NOTE: Not all groups meet on Jewish holidays. Some groups also mark Candlemas, Beltane, Lammas, Halloween, the solstices and the equinoxes.)

Safety on the Inside

Here is a page with literally hundreds of articles on safety in all sort of places and situations. Well worth reading!

I’ve saved the most important part of keeping yourself safe for last. Why? It’s the hardest to write! And perhaps it will linger in your mind, which has been prepared by all sorts of practical advice in dealing with the outside world.

Your internal safety and internal communication are crucial to creating external safety. All the precautions in the world won’t help if part of you refuses to take them and sabotages every effort of yours to put them in place. The image that comes to my mind is having a pretty carriage, attaching six horses to differ parts of it, and then telling the horses to pull as hard as they can indifferent directions. Even if one horse is stronger than the others, it won’t go smoothly on one direction. Chances are it will quickly break into a million pieces.

Internal communication, therefore, is the key to successfully keeping yourself safe. Everybody has to be on the same page, or at least watching when the others agree on a plan and put it into action. You might try appealing to alters’ curiosity. “We did it the old way last time. Let’s try a new way as an experiment and see what happens.” Or you might try reassuring your insiders that you are older and stronger and wiser and you have found all these nifty new safety devices and therefore you can keep the whole system safe.

It’s the sad truth that it takes a long time and a lot of hard work to establish internal communication and cooperation. I’ve heard of some people who left the cult all at once and never looked back. Like they snapped their fingers or threw a light switch and immediately saw everything differently. But all the people I know (myself included) had a dimmer switch to work with. They left slowly, left and came back, left and came back, over and over. Many have made it all the way into freedom, others are still struggling and experimenting.

It’s not how long it takes, it’s how persistent you are and how strongly you persevere. You take small steps forward, rest, assess how it went, and plan your next small step. You stay curious and willing to experiment with new approaches. You stay determined. And then one day there is a break through.

I met a woman who was beaten up in her apartment on a regular basis. She tried different ways of keeping her assailants out, but none worked. Or they seemed to work for a few weeks, and then her apartment was broken into again, just as she started to relax a little. She was hurt, puzzled, frightened, and discouraged to the point of giving up. She was convinced that they  knew how to bypass each way she tried of securing the windows and doors.

She had also been talking to her insiders and thought they all agreed on the efforts to keep intruders out.  She kept talking to them even in the face of failure. One day a little stepped up and said that if she opened the door, they did get hurt, but that the men had promised that if they could come and hit her a little they would not kill her sister. The little was full of love and more than willing to get hurt to save her sister’s life.

Suddenly it all made sense. Her perpetrators had no high tech or magic way of bypassing the alarms, they just knew how to bully a child. What worked was helping the newly discovered alter to grieve, thanking her for her loving heart, explaining how the adults tried to control children by making threats, and finally explaining that they would not kill her sister because they wanted her alive.

There were no more “break ins.” But there were, of course, other challenges to be met with a whole new bunch of baby steps.

This short entry only skims the surface of things that you can do internally. You can find an article by Arauna Morgan, “Seeing and Breaking the Chains: Steps for Recognizing On-Going Abuse and How to Break FREE,”  at If you get overwhelmed reading it, remember that you don’t have to do everything at once. Pick what speaks to your condition and start with that.

Try and remember that every small step is an achievement: reading part of the article, talking to your insiders, speaking to them with love and respect, pondering what else you can do to protect yourselves. Most of all, cherishing your hope and determination.


I hope you all get through the holidays okay. May you stay safe, inside and out, may you cry if you need to, may you be calmly alone or with people you trust and care about. For those of you that have a faith that celebrates these days, may your soul be filled. For those of you that don’t, may you think of things you can be grateful for and feel happy about them, even for a moment.