Inner Child Healing

Who is your inner child?

They are a symbol of your youth and a representation of all the developmental stages from baby to adult. They can be fun, playful, creative and carefree. But if this was not what your childhood looked like chances are your inner child does not represent these characteristics. Any trauma, abuse, neglect or emotional pain can adversely affect your inner child and by extension your adult self. Your inner child will feel vulnerable, unsafe, small, and will have developed attachment wounds. We all have these attachment wounds to varying degrees, they are not bad or wrong! The trauma will often be internalised and buried, and then manifest in both physical and mental illness and cause tension in your relationships with others. 

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So how do we recognise that our inner child needs healing??

  1. You are highly reactive to situations, constantly feeling you need to be defensive.

  2. Overvaluing your independence and feeling you don’t need anyone because you can do it all yourself. This will always lead to burnout, both physical and mental.

  3. Using destructive coping behaviours such as alcohol and drug abuse, eating disorders, gambling etc. Anything that will numb you to the pain!

  4. Poor emotional and mental health. Not looking after your mental health is a sign that you have never been shown how to as a child.

  5. Repeated patterns in relationships, your attachment wounds will manifest in relationships with others as well as yourself. 

Working on healing your inner child makes a massive difference to your mental and physical wellbeing. Addressing the needs of your inner child that were not met and that developed into attachment wounds and insecurity is a good place to start.  

Acknowledging the things that caused you pain, such as when you were told you were too much, wrong, inappropriate, told to be less, be smaller. Repressed emotions always manifest as mental illness and chronic conditions, but once you begin to acknowledge these you can start the healing process. However, bringing these events to your awareness to allow healing can be really tough, so go slowly and be kind to yourself.

Talk to your inner child, imagine them, visualise them, use photos to help you, and then listen to (and validate) any feelings that arise. This can help you to recognise triggers and trace these back to traumatic events that you can begin to work through. If you find talking to them difficult, try writing a letter instead. Share revelations from your adult perspective on the events that occurred in your childhood. Maybe you see things differently now.

Meditations specific for inner child healing are very powerful. You can begin by asking them questions, such as how they are feeling or what they need. This will give you an insight into how to reassure your inner child and make you feel safe and heard. Journaling your responses, from your inner child’s perspective, allows you to sort through the challenging emotions and memories. Flow through this process, write whatever comes to you, it is very cathartic and gives insights into how your inner child is still feeling about certain events.

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Be creative and playful more often! If you were not allowed to express yourself as a child it can be really hard to be free and creative. Having chronic pain and stiffness in your joints comes from rigidity in your life, being more playful allows you to be flexible and eases pain. Allow yourself to enjoy small pleasures, make time for fun in your life!

Counselling throughout this healing process is highly recommended! This is a very difficult and emotional journey and it is very helpful to speak to a licensed therapist, who can help you to unpack and understand these repressed emotions and memories. There are a lot of other treatments that can be very helpful with inner child and past trauma healing, such as EMDR, somatic (body-mind) therapy, art therapy, creative writing and acupuncture.

Remember – healing takes time! Be patient with yourself and recognise the work you have been doing and how far you have come. Keep moving forward, we are not here to dwell on our past but to learn from it.

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