Have you ever found yourself wondering why you can’t make a decision – and stick to it? Or why you can’t make a change you are desperate to make? Quite simply, this is because only part of you wants to make the change. The other part doesn’t. This can naturally lead to confusion, frustration, and repeated negative behaviours.
Two key parts I will be examining within this article are the Adult part and an Inner Child part. Sometimes, these parts become separated as a way of protecting us from trauma, upset, or unhealed emotional wounds. Although this can be a great coping mechanism, it does not serve us well in the long term. This separation of parts occurs subconsciously and therefore is not always apparent, if at all, on a conscious basis.
It is therefore important, if not essential, for us to connect to our Inner Child, as this process allows our 2 key parts to re-integrate, allowing us to better manage our emotions, behaviours and actions. Therefore, becoming whole and healthy in mind and body.
Your Adult Self is a part which is more grounded, less reactive, self-assured, responsible, connected and brave.
Your Inner Child is a part which is more playful creative, innocent, but also can feel fearful, unsafe and needs validation.
5 Things You Need to Know About Your Inner Child
1). Who is the Inner Child?
This is the part that is unhealed from childhood experiences. We have all experienced them – its part of life. The Inner Child often feels scared and vulnerable through years of not being validated. As a result, part of us gets stuck – emotionally. Like a child in an adult’s body. It can lead to adult temper tantrums, repeated negative behaviour patterns and addictions. We see this when our Inner Child takes charge.
The Adult Self has no idea this is even happening. It’s busy doing adult things on a functional level, while the Inner Child is hijacking its emotions.
When the Adult Self fails to take charge, the Inner Child does, when in fact they have no business in making adult decisions. Although we may have no idea that this is happening, it can be apparent in our actions and behaviours. For example, difficulties with anger, fear, sabotage, and addictions can be a result of the Inner Child running our Adult Self’s life. It’s important to note that such decisions need to be made by our Adult Selves.
2). Who is your Adult Self?
This is the part of us that is strong in our thoughts, mature in our outlook and decision making, responsible, nurturing, and courageous. When we are connected to our Adult Self, we become responsible, are kind, respectful, non-judgemental, draw boundaries and we show up. We bring our Adult Selves into meetings, when we need to take care of our children, and when we need to get a job done. Your Adult Self doesn’t operate from a place of fear or hurt. It is pragmatic, calm and sees the bigger picture. The Adult Self is wise, has solutions and is deliberate with their actions. They act and not react.
Reflect on your life right now. Can you identify actions or emotions that may not be coming from your Adult Self? How does not coming from your Adult affect your life?
As adults are balanced, grounded and non-reactive, if your behaviour is not in line with these things, it is likely to be your Inner Child that is in the driving seat. If you’re making poor decisions, that’s likely your Inner Child – not your Adult Self.
3). What does your Inner Child need?
Your Inner Child needs love from your Adult Self. It needs to be accepted. The Inner Child, in turn, is able to love the Adult Self.
4). Identifying triggers
A trigger is something that sets off an old memory and often sets in motion an old behavioural pattern that your Inner Child then acts out. Identifying our triggers can be a useful exercise in healing and helping the Inner Child. It is an opportunity to allow the Adult Self to reassure their Inner Child that they will be kept safe.
Can you identify your triggers? It could be something someone says or does. How do you feel when triggered?
Trigger – My partner ignored me
Causes me to feel – I’m not valued.
5). Connect and lead
Once you’re able to recognise when your Inner Child has been triggered, allow yourself to become an observer. Acknowledge how your Inner Child feels. Validate, and see them. This allows you to connect to the Inner Child. Once connected you can lead the child part – reassuring them that you as the Adult Self will take care of them and ensure the Inner Child is safe. Imagine exchanging a dialogue – telling your Inner Child that you love and respect them. Let her/him know that you as the Adult are there whenever they need.
By having love and compassion for all parts of yourself, you cultivate self-love and nurturing for yourself and others.
By understanding our own parts, we can better understand that others may experience the same disconnection with their Inner Child and Adult Self. It can help you to recognise when others are responding from their child part rather than their adult part. This, in turn, can help to find forgiveness, find closure, or even strengthen relationships.
If you think you’d like support to help to re-parent your Inner Child, please contact me.