Who rules? Your Inner Kids or your Adult?
This is another one of those incredibly important topics that merits its own chapter in A Fresh Cup of Counseling (Chapter 4: "Dysfunctional Families and Our Inner Children").
Answer the following questions. See how many yes responses you have. In all these questions, if you resonate with some of them, you may not know where these feelings came from, why they seem so entrenched, and why they are so hard to prevent or change.
Is there a part of you that often feels a sense of profound sadness somewhere deep inside?
Is there a current of simmering anger inside that can sometimes explode into rage?
Do you have an underlying sense of loneliness, even if on the outside you look like you have a good social life?
Do you have difficulty trusting your partner?
When confronted with some of life’s challenges, do you tend to become hopeless and feel nothing will ever work out for you?
Do you often feel inadequate (never quite good enough) in your personal life or career?
Do you tend to cover up your feelings and pretend everything is fine or you don’t care?
Are you frequently anxious, afraid of making the wrong decisions, or feel that life is not safe or reliable?
Do you have a hard time saying no to people? Are you frequently trying to please people (saying yes), even if it means doing things you really don’t want to do?
Is there a part of you that feels numb, shut down, or dead? Is it hard to enjoy things or feel you are really “here”?
Do you have a voice inside your head (self-talk) that constantly seems to criticize you, put you down, or is always negative?
If you answered yes to any of these, you probably just met your Inner Child or Inner Children. Respectively, you met the Sad Child, the Angry or Rage Child, the Lonely Child, the Distrustful or Jealous Child, the Hopeless Child, the Inadequate Child, the Whatever (I Don’t Care) Kid, the Anxious or Fearful Child, the People Pleaser, the Dead or Zombie Child, and the Critical Parent. There are many more, such as the Pollyanna/Hopeful Child, the Lost Child, the Bully Child, the Cynical Child, the Addict Child, the Poor Me Child, and so on, but you get the gist.
If you came from a dysfunctional family (some studies estimate 80% of families are mildly to severely dysfunctional), and you have not healed your childhood wounds, more than likely your inner children will govern parts or all of your life. I do not believe our inner children are just a fancy psychological model. I believe they are real and represent the wounded milestones in our childhood. They are our past and you are their future, but they are stuck in a time warp of trauma years in the past.
I see them come out all the time in my counseling office. Literally, the person looks and sounds like a scared six year old or an angry fifteen year old. I call our inner children the Family Within and they need our love and support, although frequently they are yelled at and criticized by our own harsh self-talk: "I'm so stupid." "I'll never get things right." "I'm a loser." "I look like a whale." "I don't serve her/him." And so on. We can be so cruel to ourselves sometimes.
The goal is to become the Adult so the Inner Children don't have to handle adult relationships, jobs, parenting, finances, sex, life. After all, they are doing the best that they can, but they are still kids. Becoming an adult requires us to heal the old wounds, learn to love ourselves, and be the Mom and Dad for ourselves that perhaps our parents did not know how to be. To treat our inner children as if they were our own son or daughter.
If you still have those unresolved childhood wounds, counseling is the best answer to heal them. Feel free to text me at 786-201-2468 and our Inner Life Transformations counseling staff will be glad to help. We see people in-person locally and online around the world.