If no one signed up to raise your inner child, it's time to do it yourself...
Almost all our couple fights, here and now, are eerie reincarnations of childhood dramas of abandonment, lack of love, missing apppreciation...that recurr over and over again. If you expected that childhood wounds would be automatically cured by getting married now, well, I have sad news for you.
You are not healing them if the only thing you do is re-enact the past request with a new drama of conflict and reproach today. Are you now being passive aggressive because now your partner ignores you as your parent ignored you way back? Can we go back to visit your childhood?
As soon as you begin remembering your childhood, you are there. Everything comes back: the restrictions, the missing affection, parents too busy or not expressive or interested enough, or too ready to punish and not to appreciate.
We all have this little child inside that still needs something...Because even with good parents, the situation we find ourselves into, speechless and defenseless creates the definitive feeling of helplessness, of impotence and of depending from others to survive. The same needs will reappear over and over again...along our lives. We still need to feel secure, accepted, and nurtured by others around us.
The difference now is that we as grown ups are the ones looking for satisfaction to those primal needs...and a curious thing happens. Probably at home we never were explained the right words to express those needs? or we were ridiculed because expressing those needs? The final result, and you probably will assert with your head reading this, is that we don't have the right words to ask for satisfaction of those needs!
Asking for something we need becomes a shameful situation; we feel humiliated for having to ask for attention, love and confirmation from the people who say they love us...and so again our inner child goes starving. And feeling frustrated without words, doesn't help, because we can't expect our spouse, friends, parents or even our children to live with our child-like temper tantrum f frustrated needs without words.
How do we mature enough as to accept our emotional needs and give ourselves the right to ask for satisfaction? so we can heal this emotional immaturity, we need to re-parent our inner child.
First, let's clear a wrong belief: To act as an adult person, we believed, it was needed to forget how being a child feels. Many of us understand that to be a grown up, is synonymous of being able to repress our emotional nature (the child self) with our mental nature (adult self). Accepting this deal without challenge, we sold out, and we pay endless prices for this deal….and we continue to ignore today that it was a cruel and unnecessary deal.
We effectively tell the child to get lost and disappear from our lives, because we are afraid of the emotional side of ourselves…. It is better to shove it in the attic or basement, and go ahead with clarity of purpose and not any murky feelings. We are grown ups now, so we repress the energy of the child because she represents to us our emotional, needy nature.
What we most fear to recover are the feelings of helplessness, of dependency on others, the perception of needs unsolved because those others are ignoring us….we suffered so much there and then, that here and now we swear that we will not depend from others, that we will provide for ourselves and so be become fiercely self-reliant and independent.
Any too tight relationship is described as clingy, absorbing and enmeshed. The “macho posture” is so popular because it provides a convenient cover up to unwanted feelings of needing to depend on other such as our mother, by transforming them into the opposite.
Where are these notions coming from? Culturally, we have learned to see our emotions as flighty and uncontrollable, so negatively framed. Using this negative framing of emotions has a tall price, because we also manage in the same act to disassociate from the loving, creative and playful nature of the child. We all agreed that repressing and forgetting our past childhood was “necessary” and “inevitable.”
Meanwhile, raw emotions are always too painful to experience and usually are pushed down unprocessed or little understood, by the reasonable, rational adult mind that our social environment promotes. We need to repress the wounds in order to survive and function, so we do it…
As we do this, we become more and more separate and dissociated from ourselves, creating a schism between the emotional and mental fields. To be back where we should be, in a state of integration, we will need to allow the emotional and rational aspects of the self to work in harmony rather than in the separate ways many of us operate.
Still, this doesn’t heal by itself the wounds of our past: the endless opportunities where we were made feel stupid, not deserving of love, clumsy, not respected as a little person with rights but abused and emotionally hurt. All those wounds are still alive and influencing who we are now, because each of us has a little child residing within ourselves.
This little child has been with us all along, even through our adult lives. The "little you" has been another voice from within yourself that has guided and directed you in many areas of your life. The little child may even be responsible for many of the actions and reactions you have in the present moment, like actions you do out of gut reactions, and automatic responses like escaping, clamming up or answering with more aggression than necessary to the present threat.
There are many present indications that what you think is your “adult self,” contains many beliefs and perceptions which were accepted by this little child long ago, and never reviewed. You can ignore them, but this decision doesn’t take any of power over your life off them….
• If your own needs are not being acknowledged, how can you provide for your partner’s needs?
• If you have children of your own now, many of the difficulties with them are coming from a hidden competition inside you…
• If you are married, your spouse will be put in the role of your constraining, sour and ill loving parent too many times to count, jeopardizing the relationship.
Your inner child will protest, cajole, and resist your partner’s ideas as if you were dealing with your mother then and there! A lot of confusion in relationships comes from the fact that to avoid recognizing our inner wounds, we ignore them for so long, allowing the inner child to use any channel to pop up and claim for her needs!
It is important to get in touch with your inner child for many reasons. Remember that, when running away from his/her pain, we cannot access this child's joy, creativity and sense of fun…
How can we recover our inner child's aspects of ourselves so long repressed? Would you like to have some suggestions?
Kind of baby steps to recover your inner child and have a relationship with her?
1) Go to the attic, locate the box named Family Pictures, and find all the pictures of yourself, as a baby, as a toddler, as a kindergartener...
2) Pick one, the one that immediately calls your attention, for some reason you are connecting with her, get this picture blown up and in a nice frame. Find a place of honor in your home for her.
3) Have frequent dialogues with her, say Hello and talk to her about your plans; play her music and use her favorite colors around the picture.
4) Meditate on getting to know her, imagining a dialogue where you let her tell you how she feels. Why is she sad, scared, and worried? Tell her that you are I charge now and will protect her.
5) Allow yourself to embrace with your little child with love and a warm, melting hug, and say thanks for her creativity and joy.
Overall, remember who you were, be proud of that child’s survival strategies, of whatever he/she did to keep going while trusting in a better future. You are her better future now, so welcome your inner child’s creativity and be grateful for what he/she did to get you here. Send her love, peace, respect and appreciation for her brave fight to get you here and now!