“Inner child” is a concept used in psychology. It refers to, or describes a condition that can be linked back to a childhood experience; physical or emotional. Some approaches to psychology use the concept of Inner child to describe the childlike aspect of a person's psychological make-up, especially when it is looked at as an independent entity.
Most frequently, it is used to affirm subjective childhood experiences and the remaining effects of a person's childhood.
Carl Jung referred to a similar concept as the 'Divine Child.' Emmet Fox called it the 'Wonder Child.' Charles Whitfield dubbed it the 'Child Within.' Some psychotherapists call it the 'True Self.' The "wounded inner child" is a modified use of the inner child concept. It has been made popular by John Bradshaw, a pop psychology and self-help movement leader.
Your Inner Child - Divine Child - Child Within The Inner Child refers to your emotional body. Our personalities develop as a result of our genetic code (DNA, or inherited characteristics), as well as in our (home, cultural) environment in which we experience life. Childhood is dictated by those who raise us, and often causes scars that will take years to heal. In most cases, our issues go back to childhood and the things, events, experiences and people which impacted on our emotional and physical bodies at that time. The inner child remains with us all of our lives. We are all children at heart, innocently searching for our meaning in life.
The Inner Child, therefore, is that part of each of us that is ultimately alive, energetic, creative and fulfilled; it is our "Genuine Authentic Self", who we know deep within us; our "Real Self."
Although they were unaware of it, our parents helped to create this Inner Child, with help from our culture and society. Most of us deny (or are unaware) that such a part
of us even exists.
When your child self is not allowed to be heard, or even acknowledged as being real, a false or co-dependent self emerges and develops. And you begin to live life as a victim, and then situations arise in your life where you keep having unresolved emotional traumas. The gradual accumulation of unfinished mental and emotional business can lead to chronic anxiety, fear, confusion, emptiness and unhappiness. The result: a hurt and frightened child.
Denial of the Inner Child and the co-dependent self are particularly common among children and adults who grew up in troubled (dysfunctional) families. This is where chronic physical and/or mental illness, rigidity, coldness or lack of nurturing is common.
The behaviour patterns you show at times are direct reflections of the “age” you were when the pain or hurt occurred in your past.
There is a kind of arrested emotional development takes place – and does so with each incident. That’s how we can have more than one “inner child” – all of varying ages.
Not everyone was mistreated or abused as a child. No one really knows how many people have been loved and guided in healthy ways. Some estimates, however, are that from 80 to 95 percent of the people did not receive guidance and love, which is the way we know how to form healthy and loving relationships and to love ourselves.
One of the most important concepts for us to understand: we all have an inner child (actually many more inner children inside of us); They are generally only aware of one inner child – if that.
Besides the Inner Child, we have many other selves that are trying to take control. We can't really hearing the voices until we make an effort to do so. It is very important to tame the Inner Critic. The inner critic is -most often- the voice of the person who criticized you non-stop when you were young (and became internalized in the child's mind) - for more on this, click/tap this link.
That voice from the past often keeps beating up the Inner Children. This voice invades whatever trauma and pain there was in our childhoods. On the other hand, it is the job of the Nurturer to be loving and self-affirming.
This is often where the internal battle begins. The Inner Critic has been keeping the Inner Children muffled and secluded. When the self starts to rebel and the Inner Children are finally released to be present to talk about their feelings, sometimes the Children selves lose control and play havoc with people's lives.
There is a way out - a way to discover and to heal our Inner Child and to break free of the bondage and suffering of our co-dependent or false self. Inner Child work (therapy) is a way of learning to love ourselves and feel safer inside. It also reduces, or eliminates the nightmares and anxieties, as well as providing understanding of what happened, how it affected us, and why our behaviours are what they are. It can all be changed (healed).
So now that you have read this, you can begin to transform the Inner Critic to be a good internal parent, begin to listen to the Inner Children and to allow them to have fun and be heard. It is also important to keep a balance in your life. The Inner Children need emotional and psychological limits.
Remember the words "it is never too late to have a happy childhood”.
Examples of some of the other Inner Children:
The Playful Child: that self that is naturally playful, creative, spontaneous and fun loving child. This self longs to play. Many of us have forgotten how to do this
without guilt or anxiety that as adults we must be doing something that is worthwhile.
The Spoiled Child: that part of us wants what they want and they want it now, and if they don’t get what they want, they throw temper tantrums.
The Neglected Child: the child self that was always left alone without much nurturing and love. They don’t believe they are lovable or worthwhile. They don’t know how to love. They are depressed and want to cry.
The Abandoned Child: this child self has been left in some way like divorce or adoption or just left because the parents were kept busy working. They are always fearful that they will be abandoned again and again. This part of the self is starving for extra attention and reassurance that they are safe and okay. This self is very lonely.
The Fearful Child: this part has been overly criticized when they were small. Now they are anxious and are in panic much of the time. They need lost of encouragement and positive affirmations.
The Unbonded Child: this Inner Child never learns to be close to anyone. They are isolated. Intimacy feels alien and scary. Trust is a basic issue.
The Discounted Child: this is a part of the self that was ignored and treated as though they did not exist. They don’t believe in themselves and need lots of love to assist and support them.
Suggested Related Reading:
Inner Child-Child Within: Part Two, click/tap HERE.
You may also wish to read about the roles children from alcoholic/dysfunctional families adopt as survival strategies: click/tap HERE to visit.
And there is a separate page for the most severely wounded child from dysfunctional/alcoholic families, called the Lost Child: click/tap HERE to visit.
Also, The Inner Critic - which is directly related and connected to this page's topic: click/tap HERE to visit.
Develop the ability to give yourself a profound healing experience: contact me if you want/need assistance.
Peace to you on your journey to loving to yourself: May you find Serenity.
Klaas Tuinman M.A. Life Self-Empowerment Facilitation at Dawn Cove Abbey Comments and Questions are welcomed