Healing our Inner Child(ren)
“She held herself until the sobs of the child inside subsided entirely.
I love you, she told herself.
It will all be okay.”
—H. Raven Rose, Shadow Selves
I can guide my clients to fully self-heal only if we work together with their inner child. Discovering and healing our inner child can be the most touching, special, profound, and challenging work we will ever engage in. Living and growing as human beings can be such an interesting experience. As children, we control very little. It can be frightening to grow up in a family that feels unsafe. (We can also grow up feeling unsafe even if we didn’t experience abuse or violent trauma.)
Many family dynamics can cause us to feel unsafe. Here’s a short list: if our parents fight with each other (either outwardly or through passive-aggressive behavior); if caregivers judge us harshly; if we don’t feel loved or accepted or if ignored and left alone too often; if we grow up in families with addiction; if we experience or witness abusive behavior; if we grow up in families with depression and anxiety; if we have an emotionally or physically unavailable caregiver . . . the list goes on.
Through a combination of my own inner-child work and clinical experience with my clients, I have observed a connection between the unhealed inner child and physical dysfunction as an adult. As children, we learn who we are by how others treat us. We don’t realize that our caretakers might also need to heal their own inner children. We believe they know better than we do, and we take how they treat us or what they say as both valid and the truth. As a result, we often blame ourselves or feel unworthy. If we don’t learn to re-parent the little one inside us, we tend to create a cycle of unworthiness—we choose partners who treat us as our caregivers did and/or we end up in jobs with supervisors who mistreat us, and we believe that it is our fault because we believe we are unworthy. We feel unworthy, so we live from a perspective that perpetuates the cycle.
One of the main intentions behind creating this Metaphysical Cleanse focuses on helping people break this emotionally painful cycle, allowing us to heal our physical dysfunctions and to learn to live in joy, peace, and happiness.
Below is an example of one of my teaching concepts. Please don’t worry if a particular example doesn’t match with your own childhood experience. The important thing is to be willing to connect with your own inner child in whatever way is meaningful to you.
Driving the Bus
In my work as a Metaphysical therapist, I often notice that when clients don’t heal their inner child, the child ends up “driving the bus.” What does this mean exactly? Imagine you own a bus and five-year-old you takes charge of driving— would you consider this appropriate? Definitely not. If we haven’t connected to our younger parts (plural because many different ages require connection and healing), we often react unconsciously from a child’s perspective. The child inside us ends up driving our lives and directing its course. Imagine this child driving the bus with you in the passenger seat (along with all the younger versions of you at different ages)—that’s how most of us live when we (unknowingly) fail to heal and integrate our inner child.
We often choose inappropriate partners because unconsciously something about them reminds us of our childhood caretakers, or an unhealthy relationship modeled in front of us. With our inner child in the driver’s seat, we might feel (again unconsciously) that by choosing a partner who resembles our primary caretaker (who didn’t meet our needs) our new partner-caregiver will give us the love we always wanted—and then we will feel worthy and loved.
But do you see the problem? We often choose partners based on an unconscious immature and wounded image of what our “perfect” savior looks or feels like. Of course, it doesn’t usually work out the way we want and hope. And when our new love inevitably fails to live up to this ideal, we feel confused and hurt—often repeatedly picking similar people. Sometimes we have unrealistic expectations of current partners who lack the capacity or desire to love us the way we want. We cling to a misguided belief that the source of our happiness exists outside us. We believe that our hearts will be healed if only we can find “the one.” If you do believe this, I have some challenging news: No-one will ever heal our past wounds, love us in ways to help us feel worthy and loved, and make our past experiences all okay—because that can come only from within you.
Some of you might protest: “Wait a minute, Stephanie. That cannot be true. I know friends or family that do have that type of relationship and it does exist—what are you talking about?” Fair enough, so let me explain. Yes, people do fall in love and support and care for each other throughout their lives—but only when they both are healthy enough to sustain a healthy relationship. Relationships work because each partner takes responsibility for her or his own wounded past (including but not limited to healing their inner child). Relationships work also because each partner cares about and commits to the wellbeing and growth of the other. The key to a successful relationship involves each partner taking responsibility to heal and integrate his or her own inner child. In other words, the “ideal” we seek lies within us, not as some image we project onto our loved one. Trying to live up to someone else’s projection can sabotage any relationship.
Now for the good news: We can achieve the love we desire by re-parenting our inner child. Ultimately, what we seek lies within. And, of course, our partner can support us as we do our inner work—and vice versa.
If any of the following sounds like something you have experienced, you may well benefit from healing your inner child:
I could come up with many more examples, but these will help us to begin identifying where to focus our internal healing work. When I encourage clients to heal their inner child, they often ask, “How do I do that?” Great question! It’s not as hard or daunting as it might seem.
I discuss the following topics in both my book and my sacred healing workshops:
If you believe you can self-heal by healing your inner child, please sign up for:
Embracing Love by Letting Go: Iyasu’s Metaphysical Cleanse Book
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