Yesterday, my wounded child was hurt that I hadn’t seen anyone for a few days.
I was hoping to see my friend, but I hadn’t heard anything from her.
My wounded child felt lonely, and I was reminded of the times growing up when I was neglected.
A memory flashed within my mind. I was crying, and I had tried telling my dad that I was hurting somehow. I told him I was depressed with tears streaming down my face.
He didn’t know what to do, and he suggested that I needed to be with my mother at the other end of the country. And I—being the sensitive girl with a tender heart—felt rejected.
Even though I had a close relationship with my dad, I didn’t feel like I could be myself. We were living in his girlfriend’s house, so I often kept quiet and hid away in my room.
I learned that the only safe place was being alone with myself and my thoughts, and I wasn’t free to express my hurt or pain.
The next day, he told me to pack my suitcase, because he was going to book a train and send me to Kent. I got onto the train, and I felt a wave of sadness and despair come over me. Adrenaline took over my body, and the abandonment wound that had always festered in my soul, intensified.
Days later, we spoke on the phone and I poured out the heart of that little girl. She had needed his love and protection. She needed to know that her dad cared about her and wanted to support her.
My voice cracked through the phone and I said: Dad, why are you doing this to me?
He took a long breath and then spoke rapidly: Vicky, this is tough love.
In that moment, I could feel my heart break and crash to the floor in despair. I couldn’t fathom how anyone could do this to their daughter and cut them out of their life.
I believe this was because of the inner turmoil and hurt he struggled to process. He never knew how to be emotionally available for a young girl who had been separated from her mother.
As a result, I developed the core belief: no one cares about me.
I carried this nagging feeling of chronic emptiness and inner loneliness into my adult life. It wasn’t until I started reparenting myself that my life truly started to change.
The yearning and neediness that I was experiencing as an adult was my wounded inner child hurt from past experiences of being rejected.
I had felt like this for years, but I didn’t understand what was wrong with me.
My soul was calling to be somewhere safe—around people who genuinely cared for me.
Deep down, I was yearning for emotional love from my parents, and I was carrying this emptiness and loneliness with me into my adult life.
Reparenting yourself is a sacred opportunity to be the caregiver you yearned for growing up. It allows you to take your power back and give yourself the love and validation that you never had as a child.
Here are a few things you can do on your reparenting journey:
Listen to your wounded child
When you have a surge of negative emotions, this is a cue that your wounded inner child is taking over. Typically, these emotions are sadness, fear, anger, or shame. But, what can we do about it?
The first and most important thing is to be aware of the wounded child who feels triggered. When you feel an outsized emotion, tune into it, and ask yourself why you’re feeling this way.
Do you feel sad, scared, or lonely?
Perhaps you felt lonely as a child because your primary caretaker didn’t give you a lot of love, touch, nurturing, or caring.
Or do you feel unseen, overlooked, and taken advantage of?
Maybe your parents didn’t understand or appreciate who you were as a child. They may have focused on your looks or your achievements and did not fully understand your inner self.
Remembering your own childhood will help you to understand why your inner child feels hurt or uncared for. If you were deprived or neglected as a child, you might at a deep level feel empty or lonely when you’re alone and with others. So, when you don’t hear from a friend, you may become much more upset than is warranted.
When we realise that the cry we hear from deep within our hearts comes from the wounded child, it’s easier to understand where our hurt comes from. We can have more compassion for ourselves and see that we’re not reacting as adults, but as the powerless and helpless children we once were.
Self-soothe your wounded child
The best thing we can do to honor our wounded child is self-soothing. This is when you take a step back, take a deep breath, put your hands on your heart, and say: It’s okay, I’m sorry you were neglected. I hear you, I’m not going to neglect you. I’m here, I’m not going anywhere, and I’m going to keep you safe.
When you give your wounded child love and validation for how they feel, the emotions that felt so powerful in the moment will begin to melt away.
Your wounded child will get the validation and reassurance they need, and you can call in your inner adult to choose more calm and composed reactions.
Reparenting the wounded child will lift you from feelings of neediness and loneliness, and will give you internal strength that will transform your experience of life.
You’ll no longer look outside of yourself to fill up the emptiness inside you, and you’ll have more internal strength.