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The Inner Child...

What does this mean? What or who is your "inner child?" Does it mean that you are not a grownup? Or, if you are an adult, how can you have a child inside you?


The Cambridge Dictionary defines "inner child" as: "the part of your personality that still reacts and feels like a child." The inner child is a very real part of each one of us; of who we are as a person. When a young child experiences trauma, wounds are created. These wounds must be healed, and can be healed when the child has a reliable and loving parent who is aware of the trauma and is there to help the child through this difficult period. However, if the child does not have anyone he/she can depend on who will lovingly guide them through the healing process, no healing can take place. The child is left with "open wounds."


There is a long list of events and situations that cause emotional injury to a child. One of these situations is emotional abuse and/or neglect. When a child is left to deal with these situations on their own, their personality, mind, and emotions can be damaged. The trauma stays with the child well into adulthood. It may be locked away somewhere in the back of the mind because the inner child cannot deal with it. But it can present itself in destructive ways. Because your inner child is so hurt, you may react with destructive behaviors like self-sabotage, self-harming, passive-aggressive behaviors, or violent behaviors. The damaged inner child can be needy, impulsive, dependent, and afraid of being abandoned. But, healing the inner child can eliminate these behaviors, even as an adult.


When I entered into therapy, I had no idea what an inner child was. I had many traumas from my childhood and teen years that were never dealt with. They were laughed at, made fun of, or simply brushed under the rug. I was made to feel stupid for even bringing up my fear of any situation. So all of my traumas stayed locked away in my brain, and my inner child remained damaged until I was able to heal her. I had extreme fears of being abandoned because there was no one, especially my mother, who would in any loving way guide me through my traumas. I had to learn how to talk to my inner child, and how to console her. My therapist guided me through these steps by telling me to say to my inner child all of the things I wished my parents had said to me. I had to make her feel safe because I was never made to feel safe. I talked to her in a positive, loving manner. I cried as I imagined myself at the age of 5 sitting next to my adult self. And slowly I released the traumas from her, so that they could release from me. Once she felt safe and supported, I could feel the same. Not an easy process; exhausting and grueling at times, but remarkably healing.


So, think about your inner child and how she/he may be hurting. Think about how your inner child's pain is affecting you day in and day out. What steps will you take to heal the inner child so you can take your life back? I'm here for you; you are not alone. I wish you peace.


























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