I didn’t realize I had a wounded inner child till I was nearing 40 years old. In fact, I thought my childhood had been pretty normal, but once I started revisiting my past, I realized that I started stuffing my emotions at an early age. I also forgot a whole lot of what occurred in my childhood.
Professionals say that by the age of six, we’ve taken in a lot and our personalities have become fairly formed. By then we’ve made a lot of assumptions about ourselves, others, and the world. Depending on the living situation, those beliefs can be helpful or harmful.
What was your childhood like?
When I was going through a really rough time going in my mid-30’s, I took some time to revisit my childhood. I journaled about my parents and some things that happened. I learned that I did have a wounded child to contend with. A little girl who did not get the emotional support she needed as a young child. With an alcoholic father and a mother who struggled with depression, the household was not quite healthy. They could not love me as healthy as they could because they were dealing with their own unresolved childhood issues. What was your childhood like? Can you remember? Have you ever journaled about it? Do you think you have a wounded child living within you?
For me, when I really began to realize that my current emotional issues were a product of a lifetime of stuffed emotions and things that occurred as a small child, then I felt a twinge of hope that I could get through the dark night of the soul. If you don’t think your wounded child is impacting your adult life, think again.
First of all, I had to forgive myself for blaming me for things that happened. Clearly, not everything is my fault. I felt responsible for many people’s happiness as a child and throughout life, and I had to forgive myself for that. Other people’s happiness is not my responsibility. It’s a trait I picked up along the way because I wanted attention and affection so badly. I was love-starved. That trait trickled over into my adult life.
I began looking at my wounded child with compassion. I also began taking responsibility and doing away with the victim mentality. I began to nurture my wounded child and let her know she is now safe and so very loved.
Your wounded childhood affects you later
I don’t think many adults think that their childhood had such a great impact on them later in life. Just look at the millions of raging alcoholics and addicts out there. Many of them are really contending with a wounded child and a crappy childhood that they have not really dealt with at the core level. They been stuffing and numbing since they were wee little. If this is you, it’s time to do whatever it takes to start digging deep to get to core issues. Yes, you may need professional help with this.
What is the goal?
Integration or wholeness is the goal. Think of yourself starting out as a whole pie when you were born. A beautiful, scrumptious pie. But over time, as you were wounded and experienced pain or conditional love, pieces of your pie were taken. Gone. You became fragmented. Now, you are a fragmented hurting soul…you’ve lost parts of yourself and your true being (soul, spirit) is nudging you to get yourself back. To integrate the wounded parts and become whole once again.
Take your power back
You don’t have to walk around wounded anymore. Codependency will keep you feeling wounded and ashamed, but you can begin taking steps to get your power back. It is certainly a journey and one you can begin today. I always tell people that are dealing with codependency or a wounded child to seek professional help. Yes, you can read all the great books on the topic, but if you can find a professional to help you, even better. There are also groups like Codependent’s Anonymous that can help you learn more about codependency and yourself.
Once healing occurs, do you ever see your wounded child again? I can say for myself, yes. She pops up every now and then- especially in my relationship. I may become insecure or find myself projecting. I may notice that I’m stuffing feelings out of fear of conflict. Or I may notice that I’m people pleasing. I will be on the lookout for the codependent traits that I tend to contend with, so I can recognize them and deal with them. I may be out of balance somewhere and need to spend some time in prayer or meditation. I may need to speak the truth to my partner. I may just need a season to really nurture and love my inner child.
How’s your inner child?
What about you? Have you ever dealt with your wounded inner child? If not, make a commitment to begin doing so today. It’s a journey worth taking!