In this post you will get answers to the following questions:
- Why do psychologists ask about your childhood?
- Who is this inner child?
- Why is it such big deal?
- Do you have a wounded inner child that is ruling your life?
- How do I start healing my inner child?
Why do psychologists ask about your childhood?
It’s not a big secret why psychologists often ask you about your childhood. It’s because we know that childhood is where people have their first relationship: the one with our parents (or caregivers).
And that’s where – for better or worse – we all developed our earliest wounds. The ones that stick around for life. As young children, we are completely tuned into the desires of our hearts. Our mind is curious, open, free, and only knows what’s possible. We come into this world as pure love. Everything else that follows is information (which we often times misinterpret.)
As we start to internalise societal norms, and pressures, we develop insecurities and start to become aware of what others perceive as “not possible”, which contributes to our sense of self.
The thing is that the quality of our relationship with our parents/caregivers is subconsciously “downloaded” and becomes the blueprint we live by.
Since most of it goes straight into our unconscious, it ends up designing our life – whether we know it or not. The problem comes from the fact that our brains are hardwired to keep gathering evidence of those childhood “truths” over and over again by seeking out relationships that feel familiar to us.
Some commonly held false “truths” are: “I’m not good enough. I have to work hard for love. Emotions are messy/scary/overwhelming. Anger is unacceptable. My job is to make everyone happy. I can’t count on anyone having my back. My needs are not important to others.”
So that’s why psychologists ask about your childhood. Not to dredge it up to make you spend the rest of your life angry and resentful at your parents. But to help you understand:
* why you do what you do
* that it’s not your fault
* and to use that information to change your future for the better
Acknowledging and listening to our inner child is our path to healing. It’s the way to come home – to ourselves!
Do you have a wounded inner child that is ruling your life?
Do you sometimes or often:
* avoid conflict
* criticise yourself
* want to please others
* feel an urge to escape
* feel responsible for others
* find it difficult to trust people
* struggle with setting boundaries
* have trouble letting go of the past
* feel anxious when making decisions
* have trouble standing up for yourself
* think that something is wrong with you?
The biggest sign of a wounded inner child is an adult who lacks adult coping skills. The way they secure safety used to work and it doesn’t anymore. The wounded inner child feels fundamentally unsafe and seeks comfort and security in a variety of ways.
The wounded inner child wants nothing more than to be seen, heard and understood. If these needs were not met, it is constantly on the lookout for danger. It tries to secure it’s value in the world and stay safe at any cost. This is happening totally subconsciously. The inner child can take over who you choose as a partner, the job you pick, and where you end up in life-all in the pursuit of a sense of safety and security.
If you happen to have a wounded inner child (which many of us have), you want to help nourish it with loving kindness. So how do I help my inner child?
Healing your inner child
When doing innerchild work we want to calmly reconnect with that little hurt child within, so we can provide him with whatever he so desperately needed but never got. It is an opportunity to reparent and this time to actually give yourself what you need in the way that you need it.
So first, reconnect, localise within you: where is he*, what does he look like, how old is he, what’s he doing, in what environment is he at, whats he saying, what does he miss or need? What emotional state is he in? Just get to know him, be curious. Nothing has to happen just yet. Just familairise yourself with him again. Hold space, feel, hear, see, acknowledge, validate. Be like the parent you needed: attuned, regulating, soothing, helpful, guiding. The more you get to know him, the more and sooner you’ll realise when he gets activated and the more you’ll understand why he’s activated.
There are a number of things you can do to support and heal your inner child, which can mainly be decided into 4 categories:
- discipline (daily rituals, promises to yourself)
- self-care (nutrition, movement, rest, nature)
- play/joy (interests, hobbies, like-minded people)
- emotional regulation/conscious awareness (yoga, breath work, meditation, observing without judging by connection body & mind)
A good relationship between you and your inner child means that you (the adult) gets to be in the driver seat, take care and value the inner child. It means you get to use reason and knowledge to make decisions instead of fear and insecurity.
This gives you the opportunity to work with whatever is touched upon, observe, respond & heal.
By becoming aware, creating space, and acknowledging your inner child’s needs to be seen and heard you can consciously start to reparent and take care of it.
Start by repeating the following four sentences to yourself:
- I give myself permission to heal.
- I give myself permission to forgive myself and others.
- I honor my journey.
- Thank you.
Another useful technique is to write a letter to your younger self. What would you like to tell your inner child that is hurt? How can you soothe it and tell him/her that she/he is save?
This journey is about softening towards yourself and your needs. It is about slowly realising they have a right to exist. It is about giving yourself what you so desperately need, but never got. You deserve it, its your birthright. Don’t stop now…you can do this work and set yourself free!
If you are seeking some personal support to guide you through this process, click HERE.