The inner child explained. Inner child work is some of the most transformative, healing work we can offer ourselves. We are confused children in adult bodies, walking around re-enacting our past wounding out on ourselves.
The inner child is unconscious part of the mind where we carry our unmet needs, suppressed childhood emotions, our creativity, intuition and ability to play.
As children our core needs are to be seen, heard and authentically expressed as ourselves. We do not have the emotional maturity to process our emotional experience and that’s why we need the parent to guide us through the “big” emotions.
Some if not many of us get wounded (one way or another) as children and then we carry these traumas through adulthood and often do not realize what is going on and why we act and feel the way we do.
A wounded inner child looks like:
- Acting out when hurt or overwhelmed the same way we did as children: door slamming, screaming, shutting down, stomping off
- Denying your own reality and the reality of other people’s experience
- Easily defensive with childlike black + white (and/0r) thinking
- Has child-like fantasies of a romantic partner “rescuing” them
- Views parents as all knowing and continues to seek what a parent is not able to provide
- Betrays self regularly to receive love
- Shames others for their beliefs or behaviors
- Constantly compares self to others while feeling inferior
As children we get many messages (from parents, the school system, friends and community) that confused or scared us so begin to disconnect from our child-like nature.
- You are too: sensitive, weak, dramatic, serious, etc…
- You are not good at: math, sports, sharing, etc..
- “Just be polite” (often dismissing child’s boundaries)
- “Don’t talk like that, act like that, do that”
- You should be more like: a sibling, a friend, someone on TV
- You’ll never have: money, an education, a partner, anything else desired
- You are too: skinny, fat, tall, etc…
- You MADE me: hit you, angry, sad, depressed, etc…
As children we take anything said to us and about us as truth. We then internalize these (false) truths and then we speak to ourselves like that through adulthood.
Healing the inner child involves becoming a wise inner parent to ourselves that sees and hears our experience without judgement.
Words that can help us with the healing can be:
- “I’am safe to be myself”
- “It’s ok to be misunderstood”
- “It’s ok to be afraid, i’m here to protect you now”
- “I don’t need to betray myself to receive love”
- “My parents are/was wounded human beings who unconsciously projected their own traumas”
- “I;m creative and worthy of creating”
- “I don’t need to be anything or anyone else other than who i actually am”
- “I’m supported”