Therapy can be a place to explore your inner child, the one who resides inside you even as you grow old. He/ she is always part of you and is the one connected with your intuition, to loving, your inner knowing/teacher and whose energy it is important to integrate into your life today
Why is it important to connect with your inner child?
Well, because as adults we can often times find ourselves berating ourselves, pushing ourselves to the point of exhaustion, criticising ourselves and hating ourselves. If you have suffered neglect, abandonment, childhood traumas, then there is a good chance that part of you is hidden away because that is what you had to do survive.
If the child part of us is the vital energetic part that loves to move, loves to paint, to sing, make trains, care for animals etc. then it makes sense that if we push this part away because it was not safe to express, we could become sick later in life for having had suppressed ourselves so much. If we are not allowed, or rather given the appropriate and loving opportunities to grow we can become adults who find ourselves feeling really overwhelmed with things and questioning, asking ourselves ‘what is wrong with me’? Indeed you might feel really young inside. Many mental disorders and destructive behaviours, emotional and relationship problems are related to this unconscious part.
Many adults have had to ‘grow up’ so fast, to fend for themselves in the world way before they were ready. In circumstances where perhaps they had to leave an abusive home environment and so they chose to live on the streets or working to pay for their keep before they are ready to work. They ended up in relationships that have fallen apart as they have grown older. The situation becomes more complicated when children are involved however, many people grow with and through their children but many do not.
- Depression and Anxiety
- Relationship difficulties
All of these and more can be a result of your not listening, nurturing, taking heed of the child within. We are not taught to do this, we are taught that joy, sensitivity, wonder, playfulness and joy and innocence are to be pushed aside and even hidden away so we can become true adults who are serious and in control. The only problem with being this much in control is that you have not grown up at all. You are a child living in a grown-up body.
When you are wounded
What happens is that at 40 or 50yrs old for example you find yourself being controlled by this young part of unconsciously. Lashing out at those people around you that you care about because you are angry and not able to be adult enough to ask for what you want. You are a 4yr old little one inside a big body. As an example, you were never listened to as a child and would be locked away in your room if you asked for anything or if you showed your emotions. As a result of this the only sense you could make was to blame yourself and shut yourself away never to be hurt again.
The trouble with this is that in your adult relationships if you are shutting yourself away then you won’t be experiencing true intimacy
This inner child cannot be in charge. Because of this, in this example, a little raging 4yr old is in charge when you are a responsible adult then you will find yourself in trouble.
As an adult, it is essential that you begin to connect with your inner child and to be accountable for supporting and reassuring her/ him most necessary when you are triggered in your life, in your relationships and notice how angry you are in particular situations or how withdrawn from the world and others. The wounded inner child lives in the root of your body where a chaotic early childhood is stored. Your ancestral lineage is here also and perhaps this is where your ‘stuckness’ resides, in your cells, in your energetic system. The unmet needs of the wounded inner child recreate situations in order to try to get the needs met. For example, issues with an authority figure will get projected onto a boss. If you were hurt by unrestrained criticism by your parents, your inner child will scan face, voices, gestures and behaviours for signs of this in the environment and override signs of care, love and support.
Some questions to ponder:
Do you feel Safe?
That you Belong?
How are your Relationships?
Are you Controlling?
Do you fear Abandonment?
Do you fear Illness?
Do you trust the world?
Are you Comfortable in your Body?
Often times the inner child becomes dissociated and splits off when situations/ experiences and events have been extremely traumatic.
I would recommend that you definitely seek professional help if this is you as a therapeutic relationship is what will help you to connect with and heal your inner child.
Grounding and rooting is essential and this can be done with your therapist.
If you do not experience dissociation or trauma you may enjoy the following
The Inner Child healing experience
Sit in a comfortable position and ensure you will not be disturbed for some 15mins. Begin to breathe consciously, in for the count of four, holding for a moment and then exhaling for the count of six. Repeat this for a few minutes with a focus on really slowing down.
If past pain comes to the fore as you journey through this experience then focus on your breathing in this pattern and imagine a golden light transmuting these difficult feelings and emotions until you come to calm again.
Picture yourself as a small child between the ages of 3yrs and 6yrs. See the place, what you were wearing inviting all of your senses and awareness into this ‘movie’. Notice how you are feeling in your body and all without judgement. Rather with Curiosity and just observe. Stay as long as you need to connect with emotion which may be something like hurt, anger, sadness. There will always be a feeling of confusion with this.
Next, visualise light shining on you, it could be golden light or it may appear as another colour. With your most loving eyes, eyes that come from your heart, look into your young child’s eyes and take in his/her emotions. Validate them, feel them and validate them send reassurance and love back. So you are non-verbally letting your child know that you understand what this was like for them and you are witnessing and holding them.
Next, approach your little one slowly and ask them what they might need from you or what needs to be done or said. Use your imagination and stay present to them, allowing a process to happen whilst all the while ensuring your Adult self to be there protecting and supporting your inner child. Complete the unfinished verbal and physical action that was not completed at the time. Reassure him/her that you are sorry they had to suffer as they did, that you love them and will never leave them again.
Next with your Adult brain assure your inner Child that they were not to blame and that they did nothing wrong. Update their story for them and put it into perspective. Like, for example, telling them that they were left alone and that it was not their fault but the fault of the adults in charge of their care at the time. Let your Child tell you things they could not tell then.
Finally, when your child is ready to leave ask them where they want to live by using your imagination to create a safe space full of love and protection. Tell them you will always be here for them. Hug them if they want a hug, telling them how much you adore and love them. Bring your awareness back to your body with wiggles of fingers and toes and stretching up and opening your arms wide. Feel your base of spine and feet on the ground. Open your eyes and remind/reorient yourself of your surroundings, the day and the time.
N.B. You might need to practice this healing experience several times to fully heal your inner Child. Also, you might invite different ages; situations and eventually then you can imagine all your young parts joined in harmony.