Updated: Jan 18
The inner child has a mind which has not fully matured, and they express themselves in various ways when they feel their needs are not fulfilled or validated by someone or something outside. When the inner child feels vulnerable, wronged or can't get their own way, they don't always have the emotional capacity to deal with difficult situations as an adult would. They have not yet learned how to reason or use healthy coping mechanisms. Young children similarly communicate their needs verbally and non verbally. They may scream, stamp, sulk, as their reasoning skills have not developed like a healthy functioning adult.
The presentation and expressions of the inner child have a direct impact on our lives. It could be towards ourselves with self-sabotage, relationships, work, even towards our own children.
When we feel loved, seen, safe and secure, the inner child is happy and content. It can be the opposite for children who have grown up not being seen or heard, no feeling of safety, or even living with parents who may not have had the emotional capacity themselves. The familiar pattern is often repeated throughout life until someone sees it and chooses to break it.
What does it look like when the inner child is wounded?
As adults, we often choose partners and friendships that mimic the same childhood dynamics, whether it's not speaking up for ourselves, people-pleasing, trying to fill the void with what we didn't receive, or even manipulation and violence.
I always found it difficult to ask for things, a pay rise at work, needs in a relationship, projecting sadness or frustration when these things didn't happen. I would blame or push things under the rug to avoid the discussion, believing that my needs and wants would be rejected. I didn't like to feel vulnerable and would often show signs of strength over weakness; little did I know, there was a screaming child inside who desperately needed to be held in times of feeling vulnerable, ignored, unimportant and invisible.
Many people who have been on the end of narcissistic abuse have a wounded inner child, and this inner child holds one of the keys to recovery and setting them free
The inner child is receiving something they didn't receive whilst growing up through the narcissist; this is the avenue a narcissist takes to love-bomb, gaslight and abuse, which are the childhood wounds. Now, when narcissistic abuse starts, the inner child feels lost as these things are slowly taken away by the abuser; trust me, they know what they're doing on some level. It leaves you feeling abandoned, unseen, unheard, unloved, unsafe or not enough, and you desperately desire all those feelings of love again. So, we get the love-bombing cycle from the narcissist as it kills two birds with one stone. The love bombing pulls you back in to feel better ( the inner child's needs), and you idolise them once again. The narcissist feels good, but they can't keep that mask on for long; it drains them!
This cycle is what creates a big part of the trauma bond
The inner child can only be taken care of by you. They can only be loved by you, seen by you, and heard by you. Once the inner child has been healed to some level and integrated, the adult in you must reparent the inner child. When the inner child receives healing and attention, they will no longer search so frantically outside for their basic needs from anyone.
Signs of a wounded inner child
Having trouble letting go
Never feeling good enough
Fear of being abandoned - you cling on to relationships
Seeking perfection in everything
You feel guilty for not standing up for yourself
Anxiety when trying something new or doing new things
You struggle to say 'no'
Afraid of other people
These are just some of the signs.
Some coping mechanisms may have been harmful to yourself and others in the past, so it is crucial to self-reflect during this stage of healing. Shutting down or being extremely passive to avoid confrontation are often coping mechanisms used in stressful situations. Be honest with yourself, as this is where we begin to bring the darkness into the light. This exercise will also set the building blocks for the new foundations.
The inner child must be met with much love and compassion, as they call to be held by you. They are calling to be loved and to be made safe. Listen and decipher how your inner child likes to communicate with you and give them what they need right now. Tending to your inner child may look like visualising your adult self hugging your inner child and telling them they're safe with you. Or even holding their hand and having fun, whatever trigger has come up in your body with an emotion or feeling, ask your inner child what they need and listen to them often.
Affirmations For Your Inner Child
* You are loved
* You are important
* You are worthy
* You are safe
* You are not alone
* You are resilient
* You are enough
* I thank you for trying to protect me, but I will now take care of you now.
When you are triggered, allow the feelings to arise and create a space around you, you can visually create yourself inside an imaginary ball of light, protection and safety. Go into breath work and feel the feelings and emotions; name them if you can do so in this space. It is also good to journal these thoughts and feelings in a journal book or on your phone. If the situation or environment isn't appropriate, you can wait until you are in a private place to do this and recall as much of your thoughts and feelings as you can. What story is playing in your mind? Write this down for further exploration at a later date.
When you have written down your feelings, allow yourself to create the true narrative, one that serves your highest good.
An example of some emotions that may arise:
*I don't feel good enough
*I feel rejected
*I feel angry
*I feel abandoned
*I feel Fear
*I feel unsupported
*I feel unworthy
*I feel hollow inside
Allow the inner child to come out to be free, fun and childlike. Freeing the inner child can be achieved slowly by dancing, playing games, painting or drawing- just letting go for a moment allows the inner child and adult self to feel liberated together.
Book a free complimentary session if you would like help working with your inner child.
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