Inner Child Work
If you came across a child or your inner child who was lost, frightened, neglected, or abused would you tell them to be quiet, go to the corner and not to complain? Yet, every day in counseling offices around the world, patients are told to let go of the past and focus on the present only. While there is certainly wisdom in this approach, for “The past cannot be changed”, “What is done, is done”, “Yesterday is dead and gone”; sometimes we need to look at the victim that is crying out for help.
The inner child that resides in all of us came upon this world taking in stimuli of all sorts. Sound, sight, smell, taste (although not very sophisticated), touch and reacted to it via emotion and feelings. A baby will respond in fear to a harsh voice or look or coo in delight to a smile or silly noises. As they explore, their experiences grow in depth and diversity. They know how it feels to be loved and protected and they know how it feels to be frightened and alone. A healthy child takes the next step and begins finding out answers for themselves through exploration starting before their first birthday, giving way to the beginnings of the “Adult” who thinks for them self. If all goes well, this development continues and blossoms. As they grow the child remains but is happy, content and always available with a sense of creativity, joy, and a sense of fun & adventure (along with cravings for the occasional sweet treat or comfort food.)
Some people, however, get sidetracked along the way whether due to loss, adversity, abandonment, neglect, or trauma. In turn they become “stuck” in a childlike state- their inner child. They may carry fears, sorrows, neediness, pain, immaturity, tantrums, insecurity along with a whole host of other traits well into adulthood. As one who has been there, you hear your share of “Grow up and act like an adult!” Adults who do not understand, admonish you. Funny, when you have troubles and pain weighing you down, allowing the injured child to express his or her feelings, you get yelled at. But, if you act rambunctious, silly, playful or imaginative – you are the life of the party.”
As adults we are expected to be mature, reasonable, capable of understanding concepts set before us and prepared to think things through carefully. The ability to “think intelligently” is synonymous with developing our own personal wisdom. We learn from mistakes, begin to recognize patterns of action and reaction and therefore, consequence. However, what if that wisdom is flawed? What if the transition from childhood into adulthood was anything but smooth? What if our new found freedom led to more pain than reward? What if our parents didn’t teach us to be adults, expecting us to figure it all out for ourselves?
For a healthy adult to emerge, there must be an healthy “parent” and /or adult figures that teach us right and wrong and good from bad. Some of the earliest words we understand are “No!”, “Good Girl/Boy”, “Yes”, “Stop” “Don’t touch” and “Put that down”. Boundaries are laid down – “Never”, “Don’t you ever let me catch you…”, “Always…” For some the punishments or consequences associated with these words are too severe while for others they may be completely absent. The ones who flourish have a nice balance of both. As the years past the rules we were brought up with become philosophical words of wisdom and beliefs. Any grown adult remembers the day when they said, “Geeze, I sound just like my mother or father.” The sound bites are recorded into our minds and we replay them as we mature. Good or bad we apply them to our self subconsciously and our inner child as well as pass them down to our children.
So as you see, we all have an inner child, a parent and an adult residing in us. As we grow our involvement with others, adjusting to social norms, the effects of the media and more worldly knowledge allows us to make adjustments in the way our adult or parent thinks. However, in spite of this awakening, we may not know how to apply it to the hurt or injured inner child within. Sure we can deal with peers and colleagues, but we may be uncomfortable around children because we never learned to relate to them or even to ourselves.
The child as well as our inner child looks up to the parent and above all wants to please them and receive affection and security in return. For some however, this doesn’t happen. A parent may be absent, detached emotionally, troubled. But children don’t hold grudges. They keep on trying, looking to capture their parent’s attention. There are many adults who are locked in time, still looking to win the affection of a parent who passed decades before. The only solution to this is to listen to the inner child. Be aware of what they want or need. Love them like a “Good Parent” would. Calm their fears, praise them, show them the way so they can be free to play and frolic in joy. A healthy inner child leads to a healthy adult who can be a healthy parent to themselves and other children. Once the helpless inner child feels secure, the adult will no longer feel like a victim and the parent will connect to their own kids without feeling impaired.
By Suzanne @ Mindscape is a writer, story teller, and mentor for the mentally ill.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Michael David Lawrience is the author of Emotional Health: The Secret from Drama, Trauma, and Pain His book provides ways for improving emotional health, easing pain and stress, healing physical and emotional abuse, and spiritual awakening. See book on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Emotional-Health-Secret-Freedom-Trauma-ebook/dp/B004CLYO00
Michael as a previous Residential and Self-Esteem Coach and Mentor has over 15 years’ experience teaching teen’s self-awareness, self-esteem, and self-reliance. See eBook Self Esteem- A Teen’s Guide for Girls https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009L4JLMO This book is valuable for women also.
Michael offers Bowen Therapy in person in Sedona, Arizona for easing physical and emotional pain. https://www.emotionalhealthtips.com/bowen-therapy-sedona/
Michael also conducts personalized hiking tours in Sedona for emotional and spiritual breakthroughs.