How To Heal Your Inner Child Trauma
Healing Your Inner Child...
Healing the wounded inner child is at the heart of all great spiritual work. It was once so for me. The deep inner wounds that I had suffered in childhood were never healed… until I began to do conscious spiritual work. That’s when my true healing journey began, and it has served as an example to me ever since.
How can we heal our wounded inner child? What does it take to soothe the pain of our past child self and move into a better present and future?
If you’re willing, here are some basic guidelines that can help.
1. Taking Care of Your Inner Child First learn to love your own wounded inner child. Not everyone spends time doing this kind of inner work, but it is important. So I’ll share the basics here as a way of introduction.
Parents usually neglect or hurt their children as they do what comes naturally – seek to make themselves happy and avoid pain, therefore transferring the burden of their own childhood wounds. This is inevitable for any child with selfish parents, and many grow up with an unmet need for love and attention and is what the adult self spends their life seeking.
As adults who were neglected as children, we often remain stuck in an inner world of pain and longing. We may act like angry or wounded inner children ourselves, unaware that this is what we are doing.
But you can learn to dissolve your pain on the spot by bridging into the child within you with this simple practice:
Wherever you are, take a moment to remember the child you once were. Right now, wherever you are, breathe in all your sadness, anger, and pain (let them fill your whole torso) as if it were filling that little boy or girl within you.
Then breathe out relaxation into that child’s body, his or her neck and face, arms and hands, torso and chest, belly, legs, and feet.
If, you are willing to go further, sense or imagine that all of your pain is flowing into the earth through your heels. It seems to me that I feel this happen in my body when it is happening in my psyche. Mindfulness brings me directly into the childhood experience as I am seeing with clarity as it leaves.
2. Healing Your Parents
The next step is to heal your parents, who were the source of the pain you suffered as a child. You can do this by bridging into their child within them and then healing that wounded child.
3. Healing Others Who Have Hurt You. This step may sound surprising, but it is one of the most powerful ways to free yourself from the past. In truth, we all need to be grateful for those who have hurt us, because they also did the best they could at the time. Without childhood experience, we may never have learned self-compassion.
Your spirit-guide books can help here. Read them and do what they say. A good book on this subject is ” The Disappearance of the Universe,” by Gary R. Renard. <<Get it Here!
4. Honoring Your Inner Child
Finally, take good care of your inner child. Do things that please and delight him or her. Treat yourself to the small and large joys in life that you deserve.
A powerful way to do this is by giving yourself affirmations that honor your inner child. Here are two examples:
“I love you.”
“I am deeply grateful to you.”
One woman wrote, “When I stand in front of the mirror and say ‘I love you over and over again to myself, tears stream down my face because deep inside I feel like I deserve to be loved. It’s strange that it doesn’t come naturally.”
It is toxic for your wounded inner child to believe that he or she deserves emotional pain – to remain stuck in this kind of self-pity any longer than necessary. The hurt was not your fault! Your parents did the best they could at the time, even though they may have been acting out negative roles given to them by their own parents or society as a whole. Give yourself permission to heal. That is what this work is all about.
What is Inner Child Work??
Inner child work is a form of psychotherapy/embodiment healing that seeks to help adults resolve and heal wounds from their childhood early experiences. The term “inner child” was coined by the self-help author John Bradshaw, who referred to this concept as part of his Twelve Step program. Inner child work has been described as an existential form of therapy.
The inner child is composed of memories, bodily sensations, emotions, and cognitions that were experienced in childhood. A part of the psyche containing these often unprocessed memories, sensations, etc., is said to be passed on from parent to child.
The inner child is established during the first few years of life and consists of all past experiences up until the present time. The inner child is not recognized by science or medicine as an actual entity but is instead viewed as a metaphor for the subjective experiences of individuals who consider themselves to be recovering from emotional wounds incurred during childhood.
The inner child holds repressed emotions, and memories that were hurt, discouraged, or otherwise unresolved. Many of these wounds are carried into adulthood where they manifest as neurosis, addiction, and even bipolar disorder.
Inner child work is often done in therapy involving traditional talk therapy along with other techniques intended to heal the root cause of negative emotions and behaviors. By working with the inner child, negative or destructive thought patterns can be replaced by positive ones that will allow for more fulfilling adult life.
Inner child work is also used to address addictions such as alcoholism and drug abuse, which are often rooted in an individual’s unresolved emotions from childhood. During therapy, clients would often imagine themselves in a safe place and take the perspective of their inner child to confront past abuses, acknowledge past pain, express emotions such as anger and sadness, and rewrite interactions with parents or other authority figures who may have caused such wounds. Inner child work is also used to recover from childhood trauma such as rape or other physical assault.
Some people reach adulthood without ever dealing with their inner child; others do so only when they become aware that this process is necessary. For those who choose to work with their inner child, certain therapeutic techniques have been found to be beneficial, such as journaling and meditations, being grateful for what you have in your life now instead of focusing on what has been lost from the past and developing a new self-image that is not based on old wounds. Inner child work is also beneficial in the development of positive coping mechanisms for dealing with stress.
The concept of the inner child within us is not new to humanity however it has only become widely talked about in the proceeding decades though many still seem oblivious to its existence and purpose. Scientifically speaking “the term “inner child” was first used by John Bradshaw in his 1990 bestseller Healing The Shame That Binds You.” Inner Child Healing: Freeing Yourself from your Past and Becoming Whole.
The phrase also appears in his PBS television series titled Family Secrets, which ran for three seasons during the early nineties. However inner child healing programs are certainly not exclusive to either Bradshaw or even psychology as the concept of the inner child can be traced back as far as mainstream religions which also use the term to explain the role of one’s past experiences within their current lives.
‘Inner child’ is a common reference to one’s sense of self and related behaviors, composed primarily of repressed memories and emotions from traumatic or troubling incidents that have occurred throughout a person’s lifetime.
This can include anything ranging from being humiliated in front of others to witnessing abuse however the root cause will always stem from one’s past. If left untreated this could result in a lack of purpose or ambition, emotional instability, or even physical ailments.
Further explanations are provided within the following video series by former actor James Van Praagh who is renowned for his work throughout the late nineties & early naughties which introduced many to various aspects of metaphysics, spirituality, and alternative medicine among other things.
Inner child healing may also be viewed as part of one’s journey through life from birth until death however it is only a small aspect of a far greater whole. Often what we learn from our experiences defines how we live our lives yet these experiences can leave us feeling damaged and broken along with any associated traumas.
In order to progress some kind of release needs to take place with the aim being to learn from our past mistakes and eventually move on. This can only occur through a process of inner child healing however it is not an easy thing to do as many of us have a tendency to avoid confrontation at all costs due to the fear of losing one’s sanity or simply because we don’t want to feel pain anymore.
In order for inner child healing to be successful then those involved need to look deep within themselves in order to understand why they behave as they do.
In some cases, this may require professional assistance as mentioned by Dr. Joe Rubino who states that “many times people think, ‘I’m going crazy. No, you’re not going crazy – there are just things stuck within you that need your attention.”
In reality, pain or discomfort is a natural part of the human condition albeit something we wish to avoid at all costs. For example, children go through a lot of pain during childhood due to factors ranging from being bullied by others to being forced into marriage by their parents which not only disturbs them but also limits their future opportunities.
In many ways, this can result in an entire generation experiencing mental health problems later in life through the cause remains ingrained within one’s past experiences.
Therefore dealing with such issues requires a tremendous amount of courage and inner strength however it can be done with time and patience while sometimes even requiring professional assistance via coaching or working with a therapist for example, as well as the understanding that there is no magical pill to make everything better overnight. This can be related to the concept of self-love which is often misunderstood despite being a vital part of one’s journey.
Ultimately, there are various ways to go about healing oneself however it must first begin with an acceptance that something isn’t right which includes accepting how you feel.
This can be difficult for some as oftentimes people become accustomed to who they are and how they feel, along with the way in which they live their life. Accepting things for what they truly are can be a painful process however it is necessary to allow oneself to move forward in life while also understanding that you deserve love & happiness too.
This process must take place within one’s heart before anything else happens as when this occurs then it can be reflected within oneself along with their interactions with others, i.e., positive thinking & emotions which will, in turn, lead to physical changes.
Types of Inner Child Trauma
The following signs indicate that the person is still occupied with his inner child, which was wounded in one way or another.
– Withdrawn, detached, very shy – especially if the trauma occurred in childhood.
– The person tries to love nobody because he believes there are no people who are worth their love. He cannot trust people.
– In a relationship, the person is afraid to say “no”, because he fears that he will hurt or anger his partner. This leads him to always saying “yes” and not standing up for him/herself so that no one can possibly get angry at him.
– The person has difficulties making decisions.
– The person has a very variable mood. He becomes aggressive or unhappy for no apparent reason, and sometimes these mood swings are quite intense.
– The person feels empty inside, but he hides it by being super active and going from one extreme to the next.
– Self-destructive behavior: alcohol, drugs, eating disorders, etc.
– Self-mutilation is also a sign of inner child wounding. People who have cut themselves have usually been abused during childhood. They are reenacting the physical pain they once endured in order to release the emotional pain they still carry inside them.
– The person has self-esteem issues, especially when it comes to relationships. He/She cannot feel worthy of being loved or loving another person because he/she feels unworthy of love, because he/she does not really know who he/she is.
– The person has an inner feeling of emptiness and hollowness that the inner critic feeds from.
– The person may have a vague fear that something terrible will happen if he starts to feel happy. Regardless of whether or not there is a specific event that this person associates with past unhappiness, he has the feeling that happiness will turn into sadness at some point.
– The person cannot figure out what he wants because he believes his desires are wrong, so he suppresses them in order to avoid being punished. Thus, he does not know what he desires.
– The person is very selfish and self-centered because he has never learned how to think of others except in terms of himself. This is another sign of a lack of empathy towards others stemming from original attachment trauma.
We are all Still Children Inside...We All Can Heal...A Rebirth Has to Occur!
“Use this as a reminder daily, repeat it to remind yourself of the being that you truly are!
I am the child part inside me. I used to feel afraid, helpless, and sad. I felt abandoned, rejected, and alone. I felt like nobody loved me as much as they should have.
Today, I am a child again. I feel happy, playful, and full of life. I feel secure within myself because you love me unconditionally.
I wish to share my joy with the world around me by being open, giving, and loving towards others who were wounded just as I was.
I will no longer be ashamed of my feelings or desires because I am a good and beautiful person who deserves to be happy.
I accept myself as I am: a loving, joyful, and open child”.
Inner Child Meditation
For Healing Trauma, Abused Children and Abuse Survivors:
If you are working on your inner child’s healing, this is the meditation to use. This may be one of the most important meditations for being able to heal from childhood trauma, abuse, or neglect. I have used the Inner Child Meditation myself as well as teaching it to many others who are working on inner child work.
I recommend using the recording by Mei-Ian, it has a lovely voice to listen to and she speaks slowly enough that most people can follow along easily. The meditation is 20 minutes long, but after about 5 minutes you will feel safe and relaxed enough that you will be able to visualize your inner child and talk to him or her.
The process of comforting and soothings your inner child can help release emotions that you have been holding on to…including the pain, trauma and hurt from any abusive and /or neglectful childhood experiences. As you do this work it is very important that you be gentle with yourself and use a good support system so that you do not re-process these memories in a way that brings up too many negative emotions.
After the meditation, it is a good idea to write down any memories or feelings about childhood experiences that may have been brought up, before going on to move forward with your day.
It can be helpful to continue using this meditation daily for at least a few weeks or longer until you feel that you have made some progress in releasing the negative emotions and memories of your childhood.
You can also use this meditation for the inner child of anyone who is close to you, such as a friend or partner. Imagine putting your hand on their shoulder and reassuring them that everything will be okay…they were not responsible for any abuses or neglect they may have experienced in childhood.