Your early childhood experiences have a huge effect on how you interact with others in all your adult relationships. The role you played in your family of origin has impacts on your life. It is vital to understand the part you played in your family, especially if you were part of a dysfunctional one. If you are unaware of this child lives inside of you, is an immature part of you. It can hijack your emotions and cause unconscious reactions to people and situations when something from your early experiences triggers a memory that evokes an automatic response. If you are not cognizant of its presence, it is running you without your knowledge and coloring your experiences of today. This inner child is a part of your brain that got stuck at a certain age and is still operates at that level of maturity when you encounter specific stressful events that are reminiscent of situations from your early years.
The idea of the wounded inner child became mainstream in the 1960s along with the theories around re-parenting your inner child as a means to resolve these issues. I came upon this while learning about healing co-dependency and attachment trauma. There is a great PBS series by John Bradshaw called Homecoming: Reclaiming and Championing your Inner Child. This series takes you step-by-step through learning more about your family or origin, the health of the dynamic between your parents and what role you may have played in your family unit.
The challenge is understanding who your inner child is, what it needs, and how you work with it to heal it by re-parenting it. There is a large area of study in psychology, but it is important to have some familiarity behind this theory because it feeds into all kinds of other areas, such as your attachment style, childhood PTSD, co-dependency, and projection/transference. I will cover these topics in future posts but here are my recommendations to get a foundation on this topic:
- John Brandshaw – Homecoming
- Alan Robarge – Attachment Trauma Therapist
- Wu Wei Wisdom – A therapist and a Taoist monk
- Lisa A. Ramano – Breakthrough Life Coach, Inc
- Healing the Shame that Binds You – John Bradshaw
- Recovery of Your Inner Child – Lucia Capacchione
- The Inner Child Workbook (What to do with your past when it just won’t go away) – Cathryn Taylor, M.A., M.F.C.C.
- The Drama of the Gifted Child – Alice Miller
- Self-Parenting: The Complete Guide to your Inner Conversations – John K Pollard