Making a Connection with the Child Within
We all grow up in all different types of home environments. Some of us are lucky and get to grow up with both of our supportive parents by our sides, teaching us how to navigate this often troubling world. Some of us grow up with both parents, but getting support from just one of them, and being rejected or shamed by the other one. Moreover, some of us grow up without any parents to support us, perhaps cared for by a family member, forcing us to become adults a lot sooner than we are ready for. And some of us grow up with absolutely no-one to support us, forcing us to go into the fight or flight response from a very young age.
No matter what your situation growing up was, chances are you have some inner child wounds that have gone unaddressed and are causing you pain today. When we are hurt, unattended to as children, we have this feeling of constant endangerment which can cause us stress and psychological issues well into our adulthood.
In this blog post, I’d like to explore some of the signs that our inner child is hurting as well as some inner child work that can help us heal those childhood wounds. Just because we have ignored our child within for so long, it doesn’t mean they are not there. There are just waiting for you to acknowledge them, and help us heal.
Here are 12 signs that you have a wounded inner child:
You get angry very quickly, especially with your loved ones
You have this deep feeling that something is wrong with you
You have trouble trusting people
You feel guilty taking care of yourself or standing up for yourself
You are your worst critic
You feel more responsible for others than yourself
You have a very difficult time saying “no” and are a people pleaser
You have trouble starting or finishing projects, no matter how big or small
You are ashamed of yourself
You have trouble letting go of things and get attached to objects
You are a perfectionist
You withdraw from your family
There are more signs that could be added to the list. If you would like to add any please share them in the comments.
Chances are, you answered yes to multiple or all of the signs listed above. If that’s the case, you might want to consider reconnecting with your wounded inner child.
I personally started my inner child work with hypnosis. There are hypnotherapists specializing in inner child guidance, who would be an excellent starting point for many of us. The drawback is that it can get pricey. If you would rather save some money, don’t worry there are things you can do to help you start healing in the comfort of your own home.
Here are 4 techniques to help us heal our inner child:
Visualization- using your imagination is a very powerful healing tool. You can imagine walking outside, perhaps to the garden or to the playground and meeting the younger you playing in the sandbox. Go over to her/him and start a conversation. Or perhaps you are imagining yourself as an infant, you can imagine taking yourself in your arms. No matter what age, make them feel loved, heard, cared for and understood by you. Make them feel the way you wish your parents had made you feel back when you were that age. There is a reason why you thought of yourself at that point in your life. Chances are, that part of you needs a lot of love.
Old pictures- take some time to examine some old pictures of you, from the time you were a baby and on to your teenage years. Try to recall how did you feel back then, what was life like and if you felt supported and loved by your family at that time. Having a journal with you could be a good idea to record any feelings or memories that come up. The more information you gather from that particular time in your life, the better chances of you knowing which part of your younger self you need to heal and reconnect with.
Share your feelings- chances are you have some good friends whom you can talk to about these feelings and who could help you address these emotions. You can share them with friends, a therapist, a colleague or a support group in order to experience a different level of support, and give you another perspective. Just make sure you don’t share with family members who have not healed their own inner child wounds yet. This can be counterproductive and can cause you pain, grief or anger and can get in the way of your own healing.
Have a conversation- talk to your inner child. Let them know that you love them just the way they are, that they are enough. Tell them that you hear them and that it will all be ok, you will work through this pain together. Let them know that you are sorry for pushing them so hard and being an overachiever. Tell them that you forgive them for acting out and tell them thank you for always protecting you even if that meant holding onto your painful memories. You should know that you did your best as an innocent child, dealing with this often demanding and cruel world, acknowledge them and send them love.
Now that you have consciously reconnected with your inner child, you can start to work through some of the pain you may not have even realized was weighing you down since your childhood. This can help you start to make more room for self-love and gratitude which all of us deserve.