There comes a time in life’s journey when you take pause, sit back and reflect on how far you have travelled from whence you came. I have had several moments like this recently and I’ve realised that I’m just not that scared little girl anymore.
It’s a powerful moment when you recognize that the inner work you have been doing is starting to reveal itself on a conscious physical level. You can see clearly that the vulnerable, scared, demanding inner child who used to call the shots is no longer predominantly in the driver’s seat.
The wounded child consciousness operates from the viewpoint of: ‘my needs were denied or dismissed by others in the past so someone needs to fix it for me.’ It doesn’t accept responsibility for itself, nor does it ensure that it’s own needs are taken care of.
My wounded inner child was in the driver’s seat for many years. Whenever I was scared, angry, tired, desperate or frustrated she would come out often in full force and start demanding support and attention from those around me. Surely it was up to my mum, my friends, my boyfriend or the latest internet guru to make me feel better when shit hit the fan, right?
It might seem like a strange concept to some that one would look to others to soothe, nurture and care for oneself. Not so for the wounded child- it does not want or know how to take responsibility for it’s own self care. The child who experienced some form of abandonment or rejection in life often ends up abandoning themselves in times of need.
The wounded child operates in a different way for some, causing a withdrawal into oneself rather than a reaching out. In this case, the wounded child is so afraid of being hurt by others that it recoils in isolation. For this wounded child, the ability to soothe and nurture oneself is often sought through external validation via casual relationships and sex or bingeing on unhealthy things such as junk food, substances, excessive shopping or computer games.
I’m certainly not trying to put everyone in these categories. There are instances where elements of both types of wounded inner child reside within one individual. There are also many who have been diagnosed with a mental health condition where the inability to regulate mood and tolerate difficult emotions is at a higher level. This is serious stuff and every case is different requiring careful consideration and professional treatment/support.
I guess I’m more so speaking to those who have experienced some difficult experiences usually around abandonment and/or rejection but don’t fit the criteria for a particular mental health condition. These are the people who are sitting in the middle ground, often repeating the same patterns in their personal, professional and interpersonal lives usually without realising the underlying wounds buried within the subconscious mind.
We can begin to recognise that in the absence of the love and support we didn’t recieve from those in our past, we can start to re-parent ourselves. In times of desperation, sadness, loneliness, distress and frustration we can guide our inner parent to take our inner child by the hand and say, “it’s okay, you will get through this. I will keep you safe and give you what you need. I’m here for you.”
With enough careful, compassionate discipline and practice one can learn to recognise the signs of feeling helpless, triggered or abandoned and be there for their inner child when it is most in need of comfort, guidance and protection. Day by day it will emerge awakened, stronger, capable and compassionate towards every living thing, especially itself.