The concept of us having an inner child or doing inner child work is usually viewed with great skepticism by most people I engage about it. I understand this as I used to feel the same way about it when I began my healing journey from the devastation of my dysfunctional childhood. It is not easy for us to suspend disbelief. The problem lies in trying to look at it from the mind set and thought process of an adult. This allows us to minimize and trivialize what happened to us as children.
The statement that I hear the most is: “My parents did the best they could at the time.”
Though this may be true, it stops the healing process before it can even start. In essence it ends up being a rationalization that keeps us from the truth that we desperately need to heal.
Is that how we learn to make amends during recovery? We just walk up to someone we have mistreated and say: “I’m sorry, I was doing the best I could do at the time.”
No, we take responsibility for our actions, make restitution if needed and change our behavior.
The example that I like to use is the fact that my mother sexually abused me at the age of five. Does anyone really think that was the best she could do at that time? How could thinking that way help my healing in any way?
A five year old does not have the cognitive ability to understand that his mother is wrong and bad for what she is doing to him. He only has the ability to think that it is his fault for what is happening to him. He must be bad or must have done something wrong, therefore making himself responsible for what has happened.
Inner child work is what allows us to revisit these actions that have wounded us and see them for what they really are. This allows us to work through our feelings and give the responsibility, shame and guilt back to whom it belongs.
Without the work there can be no forgiveness, understanding or letting go. We will stay wounded, victimized and vulnerable. Our spirit will remain weakened like a balloon with a leak in it. Our wounds cause us to act in ways that are self-defeating and unproductive, wondering why we never feel right, whole or complete, why we are never able to stand firmly in who we really are and are meant to be. Such wounds always make us feel that we are falling short by just being what we are.
The only one who knows the truth about how we perceived and how we felt about what happened to us as children is the child within. The inner child holds the secret to where we stuffed our feelings, how we compartmentalized our self and our lives so that we could survive. The inner child alone knows where it secured the glowing light of its innocence and purity for protection. The inner child is the only one who can guide us to where the pieces of our fracture personalities lie, the pieces that we needed in order for us to integrate.
We need the inner child’s help if we want to be whole again. There is no bigger act of self-love than choosing to do the work to heal and become whole again. It takes faith, courage and trust in a power greater than yourself. But, I can tell you from experience that it is worth every tear, sob, wail, heartache, bout of anger and feeling of sadness.
There is no out running from the past, because it can run much longer and farther than you. The only way out is through. But you don’t have to do it alone, there are people and help available.
Have you ever felt like something is missing? That you have this ache but are not sure for what. Are there parts of you that you can’t access? These realizations can be gifts if you choose to see and use them that way. They can guide you to the life you have been looking for.