The majority of us did not grow up in functional homes with parents who knew how to give us the love and nurturing that we needed. When we don’t get what we need as children, especially during the first five years, we often grow up with struggling how to feel loved, valued, worthy, and a many other things. I’m not blaming our parents, many of them grew up with their own issues and just didn’t know that they needed healing themselves. (The accompanying documents are at the end of the post.)
Our Inner Child
Healing our inner child is imperative to healthy adult functioning as the majority of us have a wounded little child inside that is longing to be accepted, loved, and respected. There is another component to inner child healing and that is the societal issues that exist. We often don’t know how to comfort and soothe ourselves as adults or that we even should be comforting and soothing ourselves. We often try to fill the deficiency of those needs by external fulfillment, such as drinking, unhealthy relationships, drugs, meaningless sex, shopping, or other unhealthy behaviors. We will never find externally what we need to heal internally.
Think about our culture, we give babies things to quiet them, such as pacifiers, blankets, stuffed animals, but at a certain age we take them away and don’t give our children anything to replace those things that brought them comfort and soothing. Then, we get upset when our children no longer have a means to self-soothe or comfort when their feelings are intense.
Self Comforting and Self Soothing
There’s so much more that goes into this, but I’d have to write a novel to cover everything, so I’ll cover this today. When our children get upset and have very big feelings, we punish them! What?! Yes, think about it. When you were a child and you were upset about something, were you ever told to “stop crying or you’d get a spanking,” etc? Sadly, too many of us can answer yes to this question. It is our parents’ fault because they didn’t know better ways to parent, but at the same time, a lot of people don’t know how to find the resources to learn better ways. So, here we are having to heal that inner child inside of us.
I am attaching a short workbook that I often use with my clients to facilitate the inner child healing process. When working with client to address inner child wounds, I start with the Genogram. I often describe it as a relational family tree. It is a family tree that highlights relationship patters, such as marriage, divorce, mental health issues, relational issues, etc. This gives us a literal visual of our family of origin and the relationship patterns that often repeat themselves throughout generations if we don’t heal ourselves.
When working through the genogram, I also write down any generational family trauma, such as race because many races experienced atrocities. This is relevant because of generational trauma, which I will cover in another post. I also write down individual traumatic events that each individual experienced. That is relevant as it affects the way the person functions in their life and relationships.
The Trauma Timeline
After the client and I create their genogram, we then work on a timeline of the trauma they’ve experienced in their lives. We often need to heal and nurture the inner child in regard to each traumatic event they have experienced. This give us almost a step by step guide of where we need to start.
Healing Our Inner Child
Finally, we start working through the Inner Child Healing Workbook, which allows us to heal that wounded child inside of us. We get to give them the love and acceptance they did not receive as a child. We get to soothe them, comfort them, and let them know they are safe and they will never be in danger again. That hurting child inside us will always be protected.
Is this an easy process? Absolutely not! The process of healing our inner child can dredge up some painful experiences we may not remember are in our subconscious. The process may get worse before it gets better, but the outcome will be worth every moment of the difficult process. We come out of the experience as more mentally healthy and functional individuals. It is so worth it!
If you have any questions, please email me at email@example.com or leave a comment. 😃