You’ve probably encountered the phrase “inner child” thrown around on the internet or your social circle. And there is a good reason for that. While the concept may seem cliché, it is a simple, yet useful idea to understand and discuss. Most people carry scars from their childhoods, and the child within them remains needy, just like any other child. This child is vulnerable, damaged, and unable to meet its own needs.
While understanding the concept of the inner child is not too difficult, healing your inner child can be a particularly long and strenuous process. Still, however difficult, getting in touch with your inner child can help you modify unhealthy patterns in your relationships, such as conflict avoidance, neediness, and other issues stemming from your attachment style.
A remote relationship coach can help you a great deal if you would like to better understand and care for your inner child, as they can provide professional guidance and insight that keeps your unique circumstances in mind. In the meantime, keep on reading to learn more about the concept of the inner child and how you can use it to heal your emotional wounds.
What Is The Inner Child Theory?
Of course, having an inner child doesn’t mean that there’s a kid living inside you. It also doesn’t mean that you only think and believe childishly. What it does mean is that your unconscious mind has a childlike aspect. This childlikeness can spring up when you face a challenge in your adult life, acting as a ‘subpersonality’.
This inner child essentially reflects the child you once were. Your unmet needs, longings, and suppressed emotions, along with your childlike creativity, joy and innocence are still present within you.
The concept of the inner child is often attributed to Carl Jung. His ‘child archetype’ is an important part of the individuation process, the development and integration of the different parts of the self into a healthy, functioning whole. According to Jung, the child archetype can help us reconnect with the past and recollect our childhood experiences and emotions, both positive and negative. It can also help you mature and find a way to work toward a better future for yourself.
How Do I Know If My Inner Child Is Wounded?
You, just like any other child, wanted to be cared for and loved. So if you received affection from your parents, caregivers, and relatives only when you were “good”, your inner child may be angry, sad, or rebellious. On the flip side, if you experienced any form of abuse or trauma in your younger years, you might have developed strategies to hide your vulnerability and pain as a survival pattern.
Your inner child may also cling to the things you were taught to believe about yourself and others. If you have an inner voice telling you to keep your true thoughts to yourself, that you are not good or smart enough, or that all things sexual are somehow ‘evil’ or ‘dirty’, that may be your inner child speaking up.
Here are some other signs that your inner child may be wounded:
- You harbor a deep fear of rejection and abandonment
- You struggle setting healthy boundaries
- You feel shame when you want to express anger or sadness
- You have a hard time trusting other people and yourself
- You have a tendency to please people and avoid conflicts
What Does Reparenting Yourself Mean?
Children don’t depend on their parents and caregivers only for their basic needs. Your parents also teach you how to understand, express, and manage your emotions, how to set boundaries, soothe yourself, and show compassion. If you were deprived of unconditional love and healthy relationship models in your childhood, it is very likely that you struggle with your emotions and behaviors in your adulthood.
With this in mind, reparenting yourself means giving yourself the emotional support you didn’t receive in childhood. You may think that social and emotional skills are innate. That you’re somehow missing what others seem to have or know. But remember, these are only learned behaviors. And it is not too late to start learning and giving yourself the care and attention you deserve. This is precisely what reparenting yourself is all about – learning to meet your own needs and support yourself with love and compassion.
How Do I Reparent My Inner Child?
There are numerous ways in which you can get in touch with your inner child and reparent yourself. Here are some useful tips:
- Acknowledge that your inner child exists.
You can only begin to heal once you’ve recognized that your inner child is there and that it may be wounded. Try to remember painful experiences, those that keep popping up in your mind to this day. Uncovering these hurts can help you better understand their effect on your adult self.
- Listen to your inner child and open your mind to what it has to say.
Getting in touch with your inner child can bring up difficult emotions, including sadness, anger, shame, guilt, fear, and anxiety. Try to trace these back to specific experiences in your childhood and see where they are coming from.
- Write a letter to your inner child.
It may seem silly, but writing to your inner child from your adult perspective can be of great help in soothing your pain. For example, you may have wondered why your sister treated you the way she did when you were little and now you think you have the answer. Your inner child may benefit from hearing it.
- Try journaling and meditation.
These activities can bring you numerous benefits, both for your physical and emotional health. They can boost self-awareness, open your mind, and work through painful experiences.
- Get in touch with your playful side.
Playfulness and relaxation are a key part of emotional health. Every day, you may worry about your work, your social life, and other adult responsibilities. Bringing back the lightheartedness and joys of childhood can help you rekindle many positive emotions.
- Understand that reparenting is an open-ended process.
Your healing journey doesn’t have to have a definite, clear ending. It is a continuous process. You may learn something new from your inner child if you keep listening, giving it compassion and love, and working on healing your wounds.
- Speak to a relationship coach.
Reparenting yourself can be hard. This is why it is a good idea to speak with a compassionate and knowledgeable specialist who can help you on your healing journey with guidance and insight.
Heal Your Inner Child With The Help Of Codependency Recovery Coaching
There are many ways in which your wounded inner child can affect your adult life. You may have an exceedingly hard time dealing with betrayal. Or you might develop anxious or avoidant tendencies in your relationships. If you feel stuck, vulnerable, ashamed, or hurt in any way, finding appropriate support can be life changing. At PIVOT, we offer compassion-based relationship coaching for individuals struggling with childhood wounds and unhealthy attachment patterns. We can also help you heal through carefully designed workshops that target the emotions and behaviors that prevent you from living your life with joy and contentment. Reach out now and start your healing journey the right way.