Did Covid-19 awaken the inner child?
Are you not satisfied with your life or career? Do you find that you make poor choices when it comes to relationships? Do you live impulsively to your detriment? Or as a result of the pandemic, are childhood traumas resurfacing?
The inner child is something considered as a valid part of the human psyche by psychology. In spiritual terms, the inner child can be described as the essence of our soul. The intention behind Inner Child Therapy, is to provide people with tools, in which to reconnect with their inner child, in order to free them from emotional and mental issues, that are not serving their highest good and purpose. The Inner Child Theory is that these fundamentally exist, as a result of childhood experiences. By revisiting the childhood experience and forming a healthy relationship with this part of who we are, provides the basis for healing to occur. Essentially, as children we are adapting to survive but in an unhealthy environment, how we adapt, can be the determining factor, in how we proceed into the future in an unhealthy way. Ultimately, Inner Child Therapy helps to integrate the adult self, with the inner child.
The inner child holds qualities such as innocence, playfulness, wonder, sensitivity, awe, the free expression of feeling and emotions, curiosity, creativity and more… However these traits are not ordinarily valued highly in the Western world. Therefore we are “socially sanctioned by society”, by being told to not express this part of ourselves, in order to “grow up”; thus abandoning, rejecting, neglecting and denying our true essence – who we are. The inner child also holds the key to childhood fears, anger, trauma etc. We may feel that these feelings experienced were so long ago that they do not deserve attention or we may feel we’ve moved on and those feelings from our childhood selves, are in the past. The truth is that by denying our inner child, it in fact then determines every life choice, emotion, behaviour and relationship we entre into. This is because our choices are based upon wounds, hurt and an abandoned inner child.
When disassociated from our inner child, behavioural, relationship and emotional challenges occur. Essentially, if a child experiences trauma such as abandonment, neglect, abuse, tragic events, enmeshment or lack of attention, approval, affirmation or affection for example at the age of 12, then this disassociation can cause our development to stagnate on a psychological level, we age physically – but our psychological growth is stunted as a 12 year old. By disconnecting with our inner child and conforming to societal expectations, we lose our identity. By reconnecting to the inner child, it opens up possibilities and realigns us to our Dharma – Sanskrit word – “your true calling”. It is important to recognise that “expectation”, whether that of which you have placed upon yourself or you have towards others, is simply identified as the ego. To release yourself from this notion, results in the elimination of suffering. Therefore, when we understand societal expectations equals the mass ego, then this can help detach us from it – and start to follow our true authenticity, rather than basing our lives upon goals and ambitions that are not ours.
How many of us, have lived a life of our parents expectations and if we don’t fulfil this, then it is deemed as unacceptable or you are labelled a failure? In Jay Shetty’s book “Think like a Monk”, he said that he grew up in a family where, he could become one of three things: a doctor, a lawyer or a failure. Despite his family’s discontent, Jay chose to follow his Dharma and set about to become a Monk. Now married and living in Los Angeles, Jay has become a motivational speaker and shares his teachings through his Monk training, to spread love and healing and to help people to find their Dharma. It is about truly listening to our intuition which at various points throughout our life, can almost seem to disappear or we disassociate from it. When we start to look from within to our intuition, our inner child and connect to our “higher self” or our “oversoul” or “Subconscious”, to help us understand what we want to aim for and what goals to aspire to achieve, this is when we can realign with our true authentic selves. Some people argue that above shelter and food, to be heard is the most valuable. If we are not heard as children, if our voices are muted, if we are not acknowledged, nurtured and encouraged, in what we want to do or become, this is when one can end up living to the tune of someone else’s song. In listening to ourselves, this is when self-actualisation can manifest; our true potential. Connecting with the inner child, is a wonderful way to gain an understanding of your purpose.
Jung’s example of one such child archetype was the “puer aeternus” meaning “eternal child” which can be depicted as Peter Pan or the female version “puella aeterna” as Tinkerbell. This refers to someone that remains as an adolescent psychologically. They may be very dependant upon parents, lead a life that is empty, they may wish for things in the future but do not materialise them. Remember a wish, is simply a reminder that we haven’t put in place actions, in order to make that hope or dream happen. What they value may be freedom and not having any constraints or particular commitments. Jung said that it is not to dismiss the eternal child, more so to have a balance between the “senex”, “old man” that is ordered and responsible, in order to mature psychologically. In fact, universally, it is seen as healthy to fluctuate between the adult and child self, that has healed from childhood trauma.
If we are told to “get over it”, “don’t cry” etc, this reinforces a coping mechanism within us, determined by society in how to act and feel, thus rejecting our inner child, our true self.
We can have negative and false beliefs about ourselves, based on how we were communicated with verbally or non-verbally. For example, if a child was abandoned, then they may automatically believe that they are worthless, they are “not good enough”, there’s something wrong with them because they’ve been rejected, they feel unlovable because they believe they are a bad person etc. These beliefs can overspill into how we feel about the world and people around us, for example, the world is not safe and no one can be trusted. This serves as another layer of disconnection, as we have severed the tie of our inner child; that wonder, awe and innocence – by us creating a perceived way of protecting ourselves – for example, isolating ourselves from everything and everyone around us – and by doing so, we create a false self, one that is not in alignment, with who we truly are at the core, the seed of who we are.
Inner Child Therapy involves exploring what we may have lacked or needed as a child and then to readdress this by actually providing those things for ourselves and in doing so, one is parenting or re-parenting themselves. By understanding negative patterns, such as the way we see ourselves, speak to ourselves, see others, see the world around us, always being on self-sabotage mode, the mindset shifts by acknowledging and fully understanding the trauma and in doing so, we can become our own effective and healthy parent, in order to address these issues now. As well as parenting yourself, there are various other methods to help reconnect you with your inner child.
How many of us repeat relationship patterns, for example, being attracted to someone who is “emotionally unavailable”. In Inner Child Therapy, we can explore this, by going back to childhood experiences. For example, is it a case of trying to win someone’s approval because this was an expectation put upon us as children, to find a way to become seen as acceptable, to be seen in a way that was desirable to the parents or caregivers in order to be loved – and – because this dynamic is familiar, we become almost “addicted” to the “chase” of winning over a love relationship in this same way – to gain approval with the ultimate aim of being accepted, as we feel this will provide us a sense of safety and belonging?
Inner Child Therapy identities how present day behaviours, are a result of childhood trauma. These could have manifested as workaholism, alcoholism, being aggressive, overachieving, eating disorders, self-harming, obsessive behaviour, trust issues, co-dependence, intimacy dysfunctions etc.
Where suffering is dismissed, this can be as a result of coming from a place of denial; a survival mechanism. The roots can come from that need for acceptance and approval and therefore, the trauma is buried or it could simply stem from someone, not believing that what they experienced was “that bad” because they are comparing themselves to someone else. Remember no one’s experience, is qualified to be any more or less important. We all have unique experiences to us. Not addressing where the trauma came from, as in identifying who it came from, can result in people blaming themselves, like they did in childhood which in turn, excuses a parent or caregiver for abusive or neglectful behaviour. FOG – fear, obligation and guilt – parenting practises that are based on these, can also mean that the adult self now, is reluctant to identify who the responsibility lays with. Alice Miller said that she saw people resisting the truth about their parents which she believed came from a place of idealising them.
Inner Child Therapy helps to identify, where roles were shifted in a family dynamic, for example, the child may have taken “emotional responsibility” for the parent and rather than being the child, in order to appease them, they became confidants, advisors, caregivers etc. By understanding this, it can help your adult self now, to develop healthy preferences (boundaries) with all relationships – family, friends and colleagues etc.
Covid-19 and our inner child
Feelings of being “trapped” – the inner prison, is talked about by Alice Miller in her book “The Drama of the Gifted Child”. In literal terms however, when we look at childhood, we are living in an environment that is controlled by an authoritarian figure and if a child has been in an abusive living situation, then this can feel as if we are trapped, not only physically but emotionally by not being permitted to defend or express ourselves and being subjected to a position of powerlessness. During the pandemic, for many, childhood trauma was triggered, by revisiting this feeling of being “trapped” once again. Our whereabouts, who we could interact with and what we could do, were controlled and if not abided by, one had to face an unpleasant consequence.
We can strive to be more loving, kind and compassionate with others but how many of us direct this energy towards ourselves? The benefits of inner child therapy can help to develop this. There are so many advantages to this therapy, as it can lead to shifts within your life to make healthy choices and nurturing a bond that is healthy towards yourself. By working with Melissa, she can help you to reconnect with your true essence, through “inner journeys” (meditation and visualisations), Emotional Freedom Technique, writing, helping you to facilitate a therapy session held by you with your inner child and looking at videos and photos. You will be able to express and explore this part of yourself, with the knowledge that you are in a caring and accepting environment. Melissa has 16 years of experience, working as a therapist. Together, you can address such things as, emotional difficulties, self-loathing, relationship challenges and trauma – emotional abuse, sexual or physical and neglect. You will explore beliefs in the form of “scripts” – what we tell ourselves, as a result of the information we absorbed as children and carry into adulthood – and in doing so replace this script with something that is healthy. Re-writing internal scripts, allows one to function effectively. There are many influences on our lives, that can be from as early as when we were in the womb. If you want to explore this further, Melissa can facilitate a Quantum Healing Hypnosis Technique session. Our senses at a young age absorb information from family, caregivers, religious institutes, teachers and more and therefore, you will have the time and space in the session with Melissa, to explore all influences in your life at a young age so that no stone is left unturned, in discovering where certain beliefs have derived from. We’ll also explore activities associated with positive memories and look to find ways in which to re-introduce these into your life now, as a means to connect with your true essence and live a fulfilling life of enjoyment.
Each Inner Child Therapy session is tailored to the individual. For more information, please email: email@example.com
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