inner child healing
I couldn’t even say the word “inner child” without cringing just a little – but it’s getting a little easier.
I am independent woman. I am a mom of 3 beautiful teen boys. I am married 22 years and have a home to care for, responsibilities in my life that take up a good portion of my days – what do you mean “healing or parenting the inner child?”.
In the past year something big surfaced out of the hard year I had. Something surfaced from inside of me – almost like waking up a huge part of my past that laid dormant for over 30+ years.
With a lot of working through and talking to my therapist over this past hard year, we both feel working with “inner child healing” will be a huge step out of this stuck place I have been in.
I have turned to advice from people who experienced this kind of healing; good friends who are also therapists who frequent my blog that specialize in this. My best friend Tracy who is a therapist and deals with a lot of inner self-healing. I have read and read so many books on inner child healing that my head is about to explode with so much information and all signs lead to “this is what we need to do”.
Not that I didn’t trust my own therapist about this kind of work, but I wanted to know more about it; learn more about this healing. I wanted to hear others experiences around it, and my therapist and I worked hard to learn more about it together – and we both decided this is what we are going to do, work hard together on this.. “this is why we make a good team, this is what makes us a good team of 6 years” he said.
But I am still hesitant – or was.
Yesterday in session was the first day we moved into it. My therapist was gentle, he was safe, and created a place in the room for me that felt safe, and inviting and a place where no harm or consequences would be the result for anything needed to be spoken.
We worked with (right hand left hand writing) – and much to my wonderment – there was something there – a new kind of trust.
What I have learned about healing the inner child is replacing the old beliefs, the old lies with new beliefs and truths. It’s important to tell the story of the abuse from “child” aspect, not the adult. The adult part of me wants to filter, protect, swallow emotions, keep guarded.
I have read about inner child healing being done with adults way in their 50’s and so on and healing took place. Therapist around the world saying how courageous it was to enter into a part of that self is not childish yet very adult like – taking care of your own inner child.
One of the things I said yesterday in session was “I am so tired of my past, the inner self, the inner scared child dictating what I can or cannot do” – like:
– When I need something, something shuts off that need inside and not allowing me to ask for it without guilt.
– If I want a hug, I can only have a hug if I put a shield around me and numb. I will hug, but it’s for others, not allowing myself to feel for me.
-When someone tells me something, that inner part of myself wont allow myself to believe it without a lot of convincing.
– If I want to try something new, the past always says “NO it’s dangerous”, and never allows me to taks risks.
– If I want to reach out to others and say I need you, the past and the inner self says “no way, your independent, you don’t need anyone”
– If I feel emotions and start to cry, the inner self says “you know where that led you your whole life, you show emotions, your weak and vulnerable”.
Sometimes I want to just scream on the inside and say to the inner self “SHUT UP and let me do what I want to do!”, “maybe I want to take chances with my life” “maybe I want a hug, maybe I want t cry, maybe I want to try something new without your pathetic routines you have kept me in for over 30 years”.
A part of this “inner child” and “parenting the inner child” work is doing just that. It’s replacing the old beliefs with the truth. It’s restructuring my thoughts so that my past doesn’t dictate what I can or can’t do; giving me the freedom to try life on without the constant fear of what happened to me then vs what is happening now.
It’s about relieving the child inside and saying “listen, it’s okay, thank you for protecting me my whole life, but I got it now”.
A part of this inner healing work is about retelling the story from the inner child and allowing her to be supported and heard so that I CAN move on as the adult.
Everyone has an inner child, every single one of us. But when that child you were, was abused, neglected or rejected severely, that inner child lays dormant inside holding onto the life it had and doesn’t grow.
I was an adult at a very young age, and I shut down that inner part of me and this is the life I lived – always in fear, living life according the old beliefs.
Yesterday in session we took the first step in working with that very hurt and tender part of my inner self and it was liberating to see and feel, at the same time very painful; pain I can’t explain.
but the one quote that I keep in mind is this
“The only way out is through”
I wonder what my life would be like making my own decisions without having the past dictate what I can or can’t do. I wonder what i am capable of outside living with the old beliefs and the old lies.
I am sure there is something big waiting for me on the other side of this, and I can’t wait to see what that is.
It’s scary, it’s sad, its hard, but I have wonderful support and I am worth it – “she” is worth it.
April 12, 2013 at 3:29 PM
WOW! What a testimony to the power of “the only way out is through.” I have been where you are. Frightened, hesitant, reluctant to go back and look at my story through the eyes of that neglected, lonely inner child. I grew up in an alcoholic home and all that entails. I grew up physically, on the outside. But then in my 40’s I had to grow up all over again and allow Stevie to become Steven on Stevie’s terms. God gently held my hand and guided me every step of the way. Without His love, which I had even as the child of an alcoholic, I would probably be in prison today. My life would have been wasted. But, thanks be to God, and a lot of work together on that little guy who loves baseball and playing drums and clowning around. It’s worth it. I speak to you now from the “through it” view. It is worth it.
April 12, 2013 at 4:38 PM
Steven… Thank you for sharing a part of your story, and how courageous your path was as well. I like the term you use “I had to grow up all over again”. I think a huge part of my hesitation to go forward was the fear of losing the independence while working through this .. but I am finding that it doesn’t make me “dependent” to work on the inner child, in fact is makes me more independent. It’s the best thing I can do for me to heal fully.
I often wonder what the inner child loves… I am embarrassed when I think about that, and I think it’s because I dont know how to be young. Maybe this will teach me how to appreciate the fun things in life instead of always having to be strong and adult-like.
Steve.. thank you for sharing your story.. I am truly touched by your courage and willingness to share!
April 12, 2013 at 4:18 PM
Karen, I am so so proud of you for taking that step forward and trusting the process. Like I told you when we talked, this is huge! A huge part of your life has been a lie, and every day that you try and function out of those old beliefs and lies, takes away from your true authentic self. This is the way to find your true authentic self.
Would it be too much if I told you how beautiful you are? I saw your photo above for your blog and you truly are a beautiful person both inside and out.
I love what you wrote, and I am gleaming!
April 13, 2013 at 2:04 AM
Thank you as always for being a great part of my support system … I am grateful for your thoughts. Thank you for the compliment on my photo.. I kinda like the photo too, I have hope in my eyes, thats why I like it. But no it’s not too much, I wish I felt about myself like people see me sometimes.
Thank you Hanna for your guidance 🙂 it menas a lot to me.
April 13, 2013 at 9:40 AM
As I read the blog entry by Karen, and then the beautiful, compassionate comments, I did react very strongly to something you said, Hanna. “A huge part of your life has been a lie”…….Thank you for this. I, like many, am still affected by the lies. I am crying now…..forgive me…..Am I loveable? Can anyone love me?
G-d bless you, All.
I am so grateful to be among people who understand…………………..
April 14, 2013 at 3:37 AM
Leslie… (HUGS) .. your not alone .. your never alone … I hope you continue to read the blog and be a part of people who do understand 🙂
April 12, 2013 at 5:16 PM
Hello, I feel like a lot of what you wrote , I’m in the middle of, well started a short time ago. My inner child like you expressed has a lot of negative core beliefs . My T and I have gently began to talk to her yesterday . It’s a scary road, I agree , I think there’s hope as I move though and challenge a lot of those beliefs, which have, STOPPED me really living. I’m grateful I’ve spent the last year really feeling safe with him. I think it’s helpful to really believe my, ‘ inner child ‘ is safe in that space. Wishing you well as you discover your , ‘ little self’ I hope she shines though.. And the world opens up..lol
April 12, 2013 at 5:31 PM
Hi Ziggy! Thank you and I think you are courageous as well. I think it’s really important for the therapist to be fully trusted by the inner self and I guess that is what the past 6 years have been about for me.
Last night I woke up crying in my sleep and I KNOW it’s because we worked hard in therapy, but these are the things where you have to “feel to heal”… “the only way out is through” .. just like cancer patients having chemo.. yes it tears you down while it’s doing it’s job, but once it kills the cancer, your almost healed.. that is my goal!
Thank you for your comment
April 12, 2013 at 6:22 PM
Yes, the only way is though, I like to think of black clouds and heavy rain, ways usually PAST this is a rainbow! Beautiful, needs rain for the beauty to shine though..lol
April 12, 2013 at 7:26 PM
Yes remember ‘the only way out is through’… kind of like a tunnel,,, walking slowly and trusting the voice that is asking you to come to the other side. The work is hard – But staying stuck is too.
April 13, 2013 at 2:05 AM
Sharon … thank you.. and your right, being stuck is far worse than moving no matter how hard. It’s absolutely a process – every day
April 13, 2013 at 12:47 AM
Thanks for sharing your process Karen. I look forward to hearing how this work goes for you. Even though you and I have different histories and healing journeys, I feel that right now our journeys are parallel with each other. I really appreciate the companionship and mutual encouragement.
I’m reflecting on my last counseling session a few days ago and one of the things that was challenging for me was feeling like a kid, maybe 7 or 8 years old. I don’t mind feeling that way. But I feel embarrassed when others see it. I don’t think that embarrassment will stop me now.
Keep it up!
April 13, 2013 at 2:09 AM
Gel … I look forward as well to seeing how this turns for me. There are times I am not sure, but something always shows me different no matter where I turn.
I love your last line “I dont think that embarrassment will stop me now” that is awesome Gel.. and you know what? even though our paths are different, the one thing I have in common is “connection” and “healing” .. I enjoy your friendship..
April 13, 2013 at 10:43 AM
Karen, this blog writing had me in tears. I wish I was as strong as you Karen, I envy your ability to see the good in every situation no matter what downfalls you are going thru, if only I had the will like you.
Thank you for sharing this story and taking a risk of doing so.
Thank you for this writing, it really meant a lot
April 14, 2013 at 11:47 AM
Hi Johanna 🙂 I am glad you feel less alone too, and your not.
It is hard living my life according to my past. It’s the hardest when I need something, and that sometimes is just as painful as not getting it.
I am so glad you commented and thank you for your kind words
April 14, 2013 at 9:39 PM
“that very hurt and tender part of my inner self”
So beautiful of a description, and so true.
Good and healing thoughts to yous.
April 14, 2013 at 9:58 PM
Thank you Kate 🙂 I appreciate you visiting my blog today … I can’t wait to read yours tonight when I have a little more time .. thank you for reaching out 🙂