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Is your wounded inner child running the show?
Some time ago, my partner told me that he was to attend an event at the very last minute.
I was hurt with the thoughts of “why didn’t he invite me?” and all of the assumptions running wild in my head. I was so angry, responding in quite a childlike “oh fine” sort of sense. I went on to tell him not to ever ask me to attend anything with him again, and I emotionally withdrew from him for a couple of days. I was enraged.
My partner, incredibly confused, said numerous times, “I didn’t think that you would want to come.”
Captain hindsight popping in here for a moment now. It was more than understandable that he didn’t think I would want to go with him. I hate such social events. And he also knows that I often felt resentful when asked because I have felt obligated. The poor guy couldn’t do right for doing wrong.
In addition, I must add on reflection, in honesty, I would have said no. I would have bloody hated it. Did I think all of that through at the time?
Big fat no.
Because my wounded inner child took the reins.
That part of me that had never healed was desperate to belong, to be accepted, to feel a part of.
At that moment, my old fears of rejection and abandonment were triggered and I reacted in an emotionally immature and some may say irrational way.
So what is the wounded inner child?
It’s a subconscious part of us in which every experience, feeling, fear, and conclusion that we drew about ourselves as a child resides.
I want you to bear something in mind for a moment. As an adult, we can take all things into consideration surrounding any particular event or situation. As a child, we don’t have the capacity to do so. Therefore, we tend to view ourselves as the center of the earth. All that goes on around us is because of us for example. We are also entirely reliant on our caregivers. They are like Gods to us—infallible. So when they get something wrong, they, of course, aren’t wrong. We are.
Many people say, “I had a good childhood,” and that may well be the case. This isn’t to say that your parents were neglectful or abusive in any way. How they have parented and shown up as a parent still bears influence. For example, if you had a parent who was emotionally/physically distracted due to work pressures, that has an impact. Then, of course, there are those of us who experienced neglect and abuse.
So how do you know that you have unhealed wounds from childhood?
I have popped a short list together in the image; however, this list is by no means exhaustive.
But for a moment, consider:
>> Do you struggle to communicate honestly, respectfully, and productively?
>> Do you worry about what others think of you to the point in which the way you live your life is pretty much determined by it?
>> Do you feel as though you can be who you authentically are with the people in your life?
>> Do you allow yourself to feel?
>> Do you feel as though you belong?
>> Have you struggled with addiction? We often consider only drink and drugs, but I am talking about anything: food, shopping, or obsessing over one hobby after another.
>> Do you work too much and/or put too much value on things?
>> Do you feel a need to achieve and prove yourself?
So how do we go about healing?
First and foremost, bring your inner wounded child into your awareness. Become aware of your natural reactions and journal them out. Now I know that you may not be a fan of writing stuff out, in which case I recommend voice recording apps.
Note how you are feeling, what emotions are coming up for you, how you are feeling in your physical body, what fears are behind what is coming up for you, and if the situation brings anything to mind. All of it, whatever comes freely to mind, write it out.
The key to healing is integrating the inner child. Allowing that part of you to feel seen, heard, understood, supported, and nurtured.
1. Start working on your inner critic. When you recognize the negative inner dialogue running rampant in your mind, become mindful: quiz it, question the truthfulness, understand the beliefs behind the thoughts, and reframe them.
2. Write a letter to your inner child. This needs to come from you, but for some ideas, write about how you are in a different situation now, you are here to listen, you are going to support her now, you are safe now.
3. Reparent. Give yourself the support that you needed but didn’t receive as a child.
4. Cord-cutting ceremony. Where needed, this is the energetic cutting of emotional ties.
5. Soul retrieval. A shamanic term that refers to reintegrating lost soul parts back into you to create healing.
6. Journaling. As mentioned before.
7. Root chakra healing. Use some grounding, balancing, and healing.
8. Work one-on-one with a coach or therapist. If you have had a particularly difficult childhood, I encourage you to work with a qualified practitioner on this.