Understanding Your Inner ChildFeb 26, 2021 ● By Karen Kaye, LMHC
Q: Dear Karen Kaye,
I have heard of the term “inner child”. Can you explain the concept and how it works?
A: Dear Michelle,
The term “inner child” is referring to the inner you. Every adult has a child within who has not grown fully to adulthood. This is the part of you that regresses in stressful situations. As complex human beings, we have many layers of “self” to penetrate before we can fully heal.
Many people believe they are fine and fully functioning adults. Put that same adult in a different situation that is stressful, disappointing or anger provoking, and that same person acts like a child. It’s as if they are frozen in time, and the six-year-old child emerges, taking over in the most inopportune times. The inner child can feel uncontrollable, involuntary and overwhelming because it is the work of the unconscious mind. These are the times you ask yourself: “What made me say or do that? That didn’t even sound like me, I sounded so childish, angry or hurt for no reason.”
The reason this occurs over and over again is because every human being leaves childhood with some form of unfinished business such as: “Why didn’t I get any attention?” or “Why was my brother the favorite?” The universe will then continuously provide learning lessons in the present to duplicate the unfinished business from childhood, to help us heal. Until we are conscious of this pattern, we keep impulsively reacting to those reminders. So, when your boss favors a co-worker, the memory of your brother’s favoritism is contributing to your response. Once you become conscious that this “knee-jerk” reaction is out of perspective in the present moment and comes from an old wound, you either consciously stay in the adult mindset or do your best to regain your adult perspective. In some instances, you might have to remove yourself from the situation and come back later, having thought about it to accomplish this. This is true healing from a deeper level of consciousness.
The triggering experience—back to childhood—especially happens with those closest to you in the present (like your mate or children) because these relationships most resemble the emotional relationship you had with your original family.
In conclusion, you become a better person, parent, mate, employee or employer once you deal with your own inner child issues, knowing that you aren’t taking out your childhood issues on others. In addition, your awareness of your feelings about your childhood will make you more patient and sensitive to the feelings of others.
Karen L. Kaye, LMHC
Karen L. Kaye, licensed mental health counselor, is currently accepting new clients. Sessions take place via telehealth to ensure safety. If you are interested in scheduling a session, call 954-384-1217 or email [email protected]