The Inner Child is a multifaceted definition, but yet it is so simple. To break it down, I am going to look at the definition of the Inner Child through the realms of the Psyche, Body, and Soul. This blog will also discuss signs of a wounded Inner Child and how to get started doing your own Inner Child work.

To start to conceptualize your Inner Child, reflect on the following questions: 

  1. What was it like growing up for you? 
  2. Who were you in the family? What role did you take on? 
  3. What were core beliefs that were reinforced by your family, friends, and media that impacted your reflection of self?

Your inner child is your essence from your younger days. This time was foundational. It may not hold a lot of accessible memories, but the emotions and feelings experienced become the precedent to how you function in later life.

The Psyche (Shadow Work)

The Psyche has two common areas: the unconscious and conscious awareness. The Psyche resides within the brain, so as the brain develops and forms constructs of its environment, friends, family, and sense of self it begins to categorize experiences, labels, meanings, terms, languages, etc… into folders. This in turn creates memories. This category system will cast beliefs, meanings, and perceptions into the Shadow that conflict with an internal understanding of self which is based on the external environment; therefore, holding on to beliefs, meanings, and perceptions that validate who we start to become.

The problem with this is that through trauma, neglect, and overall experiences when we are not shown compassion, love, and acceptance GOOD parts of our identity become cast into the Shadow. From here we begin to walk around with beliefs of “I am so bad”, “I am embarrassed”, “I am ashamed”, and “I am not good enough”.

Our Shadow is a place that illuminates our trauma and history in order to move into acceptance of our whole self – bad parts and all!

This is essential for Inner Child work because the Inner Child lives in the Shadow. Often our childhood is imperfect and we experience the effects of both our own and societal trauma. So, from a young age, this causes the child to:

  1. Not know how to handle BIG emotions
  2. Feel unsafe and not secure with relationships with their body and other people
  3. Have a stunted ability to play and find joy

Having to give up childlike wonder, innocence, and play at a young age is often a big reason we struggle to accommodate these needs in adulthood.

Therefore, understanding that you have a Shadow allows you to adventure to where your Inner Child lives.

The Body (Sense Memory)

The Body is home to our emotions. Going back to the point made earlier, we often struggle to recall memories of our childhood (which can be done with meditation and intention work), but the reason it is hard to recall is both biological and physiological.

Without getting into the exact science, the parts of our brain that are responsible for memory and decision-making don’t fully finish developing until our mid-twenties! But we are born with the part of the brain that is responsible for our Fight, Flight, and Freeze response. This is both a sign of evolution and of human design because it allows babies/children to learn from their senses.

However, if senses were often threatened a baby/child will start to not trust their body and disconnect/dissociate from their emotions and feelings. This creates a stunted response system as we grow up because we will automatically react in the last way we learned to handle that emotion. This often creates many of the problems we face today like anxiety.

The Soul (Soul’s Destiny, Generational/Ancestor Trauma, Societal Influence)

Our Souls come from the cosmic universe which creates a divine connection called Spirit. When Spirit comes to earth it enters a body and the pull of the energy into the body creates the Soul. This Soul has agreed to a certain life path, with events and milestones it will experience (although the pathway to these timeline spots can look different based on your free will). Our Soul has a destiny and we are here to wake up and remember our divine connection and start to heal parts of our light.

Our Inner Child’s wounds can impact our Soul’s Destiny because they interrupt the radio signal between our Soul and Spirit. When our environments and family are experiencing their own traumas (and traumas from the decades prior), what is not healed will become your wound because a person (aka your mother, father, or caregivers) can only meet you as far as they meet themselves. So, if they too have Inner Child wounds while raising a child, that child will develop the wound as well.

This is specifically shown through many accounts of our history and the demand for equality. If basic survival is a threat, then connecting to your Higher Power/Self becomes disconnected. This is your causal reminder that #Blacklivesmatter.

10 Signs You Have a Wounded Inner Child

There are many signs that one’s inner child has undergone trauma, but here are 10 that are most prominent:

  1. You can’t tell the difference between anxiety and intuition
  2. You react before you think (i.e. you speak before you ponder) 
  3. You struggle with habits 
  4. You don’t have a routine 
  5. You feel like criticism is an attack – you take it personally
  6. You have trouble starting or finishing projects 
  7. You have unhealthy relationships with people, food, substances
  8. You are disconnected from the body, the body itself is feared because of the pain and side effects of hyper-arousal  
  9. You feel like an outsider but being alone is also triggering
  10. You feel irritated/enraged throughout a day  

What is Inner Child Work?

Inner Child work is a journey to help you find insight and meaning from your trauma and experiences in order to move through profound healing, love, joy, and wisdom. 

When stepping into Inner Child work, it is important to learn foundational skills like Mindfulness and Grounding techniques. Knowing what helps you self-soothe will help prevent the work from being traumatizing itself. 

Inner Child work starts with a willingness to understand: 

  1. Your grief/sadness
  2. You want to feel relief
  3. Old memories that are already resurfacing 
  4. You are tired of repeating patterns 
  5. You feel the effects of anxiety and depression 
  6. You are sensitive and sense emotions too deeply 

5 Steps to Reparenting Your Inner Child

To begin to reparent your Inner Child you have to start with getting to know your Inner Parent. We have many voices that makeup who we are and the Inner Child and Inner Parent are just two of them. Other voices include (but are not limited to): the Inner Critic, the Inner Goddess, and Higher Self. 

There are five steps to reparenting your inner child:

  1. Preparation
    • Who is your Inner Parent? How do they talk to you? What qualities do they have that help you feel safe and secure?
    • This can involve looking to role models, characters, and relationships with people that can help regulate you.
    • Your Inner Parent is not someone who shames or holds judgment. Their role is to nurture and accept you
  2. Shame
    • We live in a world where other people’s Inner Children run free and create chaos with our sense of self because they feel permission to bully and shame us.
    • When other people say hurtful or mean things, create a one-liner that helps you negate responding and reacting to them. For example, “I don’t need the approval of others, I am perfect just the way I am”.
    • Learning not to operate from shame and anger (as a shame side effect) comes from the ability to not allow external forces to be where you receive your validation. 
    • Waiting for external validation is like waiting for the lottery. You need to provide for yourself instead of relying on others.
  3. Mirror Work 
    • Feeling triggered? Look into a mirror and stare at your face until you begin to see yourself fully. Allow yourself to “self-talk” and work through what is being brought up at that moment. 
  4. Journalling
    • Getting to know your Inner Child comes from being able to articulate their voice. Get a journal just for your Inner Child and start allowing yourself to write down your raw thoughts and feelings. This way you can review your wounds and see where a belief may be coming from. 
  5. Seek guidance from a trained professional 
    • You don’t have to do this work alone. Understand that this multifaceted and complex process and all progress are 2 steps forward and 1 step back. Having someone to work with you helps you stay accountable and encourage you to keep going!

I hope this Inner Child blog sparks some knowledge in your journey of self-discovery. Healing your Inner Child is a lifelong process. Use these steps to meet yourself at multiple ages in multiple memories. Just because you feel one aspect, doesn’t mean there are not other aspects that need to be healed as well.

Ps. Have you gotten to know your Inner Child?

& What aspects of reparenting your inner little one do you find the most challenging?

One Comment

  1. Michelle Acevedo

    This was amazing! I can’t wait to get started!