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Do you deeply desire a loving, stable, and committed relationship but unhealthy patterns seem to be getting in the way?
“At the root of our relationship challenges is a wounded inner child that needs to be loved back into wholeness.” ~ Cassandra Michael
What is the inner child you ask? It’s essentially a part of your subconscious that holds suppressed emotions, needs, and (limiting) beliefs. It can be the source of your playfulness and creativity, but also the part of you that tries to replay old childhood dynamics that fuel unhealthy relationship patterns.
Here are 10 indications that you have a wounded inner child impacting your relationships:
1. Lack of boundaries and people pleasing
2. Jealousy or controlling behavior
3. Staying in unhealthy, abusive, or incompatible relationships
4. Trying to fix, change, or “save” your partners
5. You carry sexual shame and may feel “blocked” in the bedroom
6. You have never had a relationship or have struggled to maintain one
7. You are easily triggered and have a fear of abandonment, criticism, and rejection
8. Clingy behavior, inability to be alone, needing constant validation
9. You fear commitment, deep intimacy, and vulnerability
10. You betray yourself or self-abandon to receive love
How do we end up with a wounded inner child? Essentially by not getting our needs met when growing up and by not being able to cope with certain traumatic experiences.
Events are traumatic not because they are rare, but because they overwhelm our normal coping responses. Trauma is not just defined by the event, but by the individual’s perception of and reaction to it.
So, your mother forgetting to pick you up from school, for example, can be a traumatic event, especially if you experienced an intense fear of abandonment and could not regulate your emotions at that time.
We all have experienced trauma to some degree, and these events form our limiting beliefs and taint the way we view ourselves, the world, and relationships.
How to start healing your inner child
So, if you are wanting to heal your inner child so you can have more fulfilling, intimate, and loving relationships, one way I recommend to my clients is through reparenting.
Reparenting is essentially the process of giving our inner child the love and affection we never received growing up. It’s about being in touch with our deeper needs and honoring them. It’s about self-soothing and practicing loving self-compassion when challenging situations arise.
So, when you feel triggered next time, reflect on what the deeper childhood wound might be that is coming up. And then put your hand on your heart, connect with your inner child, and speak to him or her with kind words of love and acceptance.
Some mantras you can say (depending on the situation) are:
>> “No one is going to abandon you. I’m here for you. Always.”
>> “You are safe. It’s safe to feel your emotions. I’ve got you.”
>> “Your self-worth is not defined by other people’s behaviors. You are worthy of love. I love you.”
Especially for the readers of Elephant Journal, I recorded a Shamanic Inner Child Healing Meditation that you can access here. Clients have found this practice to be powerful for releasing trauma and letting go of the pain of a challenging childhood memory.
I look forward to hearing how it lands for you. Let me know in the comments below!