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INNER CHILD THERAPY

 Many of us go through life repeating patterns, facing unresolved issues, giving up easily on so many things, work hard yet bear no fruits, go through innumerable heartbreaks or friendships. We just trot through life believing that we do not deserve the best things, that something is really wrong with us or we tend to adopt more negative attitudes or even believe that we are being punished due to our karmas.

 

But we never pause to ask as to why we are facing the same issues, have the same attitude, react strongly to certain situations and normally to others etc.

 

This happens because of a deeply wounded inner child within us. An inner child is a personality within us, the subconscious part in us, an inner child can be both happy or sad. But emphasis is given more on the sad inner child as most of the issues in our lives are because of a wounded inner child. Imagine a wounded 5 or 10 year old or both within a 30 year’s old person calling all the shots in a marriage Bizzare right? But true.

Our sub-conscious minds are open to any suggestions (negative or positive) before the age of 8, beliefs and patterns are most likely formed upto 8 yrs of age, for sub conscious mind nothing is right or wrong It’s work is to record our experiences whether good or bad. If as a child you came to know that your father cheated on your mother a few times and yet she continued to stay in this marriage despite knowing that her husband has cheated on her, a belief (sub conscious) will be formed in you that a woman must compromise and forgive her partner to save her relationship/marriage The result: you will attract un-faithful guys in your space when you enter a relationship/marriage (you may not know that your mother may have stayed on reluctantly in the marriage because she was not independent or her children would be affected by a divorce)

Every time we go through a shattering experience, our personality feels fragmented and shattered. Each fragment has a set of beliefs based on perceptions at the time of fragmentations, which rule our lives. The small little voices we hear all the time are those fragments inhibiting you. We look at life through the tainted filter of beliefs held on by our inner children. e.g. If you have been betrayed in the past, you are likely to have inner children who got fragmented with a belief that people betray. This inner child will keep cautioning you and prompting you to look at the possibility of betrayal in every one's approach. When you heal inner child, you heal the possible recurrence of betrayal.

 

Our issues can begin when we are as small as a seed in our mother’s womb. As children we are extremely sensitive to the emotions and feelings of others around us we tend to pick up on others thoughts and emotions and begin to consider them as our own. Since we are young and dependent on our parents we never tend to question their beliefs or that they can be dysfunctional, we feel since they have been in this world longer than us so they must be knowing better than us hence we never question them. This view is explained rather beautifully by Gary Douglas in his book ‘Divorceless Relationships” that, children are born psychic and upto the age of 2 years old we don’t realize that there is any difference between us and our parents. We create brainwaves that put us on auto pilot and try to align our brainwaves to theirs, if for eg your mother got mad at your father for getting her pregnant you will always know this is how you create a relationship in this way you begin to choose or attract relationships based on unhealthy interactions, compromise etc but if you had a mother who said its ok that I got pregnant now I can always start a new career or my own business later when my children are grown,  you pick up on the energy even if you do not hear the words or don’t understand the language as yet, in this way you begin to have high self esteem and patience, because you feel you are loved and wanted by your mother’s positive outlook towards life and her relationships.

According to John Bradshaw the author of “Homecoming”, there are two ways we try to deal with our inner children one is ACTING OUT and other is ACTING IN.
 

Here is an example from John Bradshaw’s book for “ACTING OUT” and “ACTING IN”, Maggie saw her father, a rageful and violent alcoholic, verbally and physically abuse her mother. This scene was repeated continually throughout her childhood. From the age of 4, Maggie was her mother’s comforter. After being beaten by her husband, her mother would get into bed with Maggie. Trembling and moaning, she would cling to Maggie. Sometimes her father would come after her mother and scream at her. This terrified Maggie. Any kind of violence to a family member terrifies the other members. A witness to violence is a victim of violence. What Maggie needed in childhood was to express her terror and discharge her sadness. But there was no one she could go to for the necessary nurturing to resolve her unexpressed grief. As she grew up, she continually tried to find men and women who would act the role of nurturing parents for her. When she came to see me she had been through two brutal marriages and many other abusive relationships. Maggie was acting out her childhood trauma. She took care of abused women and got into relationships with abusive men. She took care of people, but no one took care of her. The unresolved emotional energy from the past was being expressed in the only way it could— by “acting it out.” Maggie’s story provides a dramatic example of the compulsion to repeat the past. “Maybe this time I can get it right,” says Maggie’s wounded inner child. “Maybe if I’m perfect and give Dad everything he needs, I’ll matter to him and he’ll show me love and affection.” This is the magical thinking of a child, not the rational thinking of an adult.

Other examples of acting-out behavior are:

Reenactment of violence on others

Doing or saying to our children what we said we’d never say or do

Spontaneous age regression—temper tantrums, pouting, etc. Being inappropriately rebellious

Carrying on idealized parental rules

ACTING IN : We punish ourselves the way we were punished in childhood. Joe, for example, was never allowed to express anger when he was a child. He felt great anger at his mother because she never allowed him to do anything for himself. Just when he’d start a task, she would jump in and say something like, “Mom needs to help her little slow poke,” or, “You’re doing swell, but let Mama give you a helping hand.” Joe allowed that even now, in adulthood, she did things for him that he could do for himself. Joe had been taught to be perfectly obedient and that to express his anger was sinful. So, Joe turned his anger inward, against himself. As a result, he felt depressed, apathetic, inept, and powerless to achieve his life goals. Emotional energy that is acted in can cause severe physical problems including gastrointestinal disorders, headaches, backaches, neck aches, severe muscle tension, arthritis, asthma, heart attacks, and cancer. Being accident prone is another form of acting in. One inflicts punishment on oneself through accidents.

It is not to say that our parents are responsible for our own inner children. They themselves were products of unresolved inner children. They felt that this was the best way to bring up their children as they were shaped and molded by their own parents. Inner children can be formed in both functional and dysfunctional families.

Inner children can also be formed by our own peers, elder siblings or teachers as we are growing up. For eg a person goes through an experience in child hood where he had forgotten his lines on stage during the school annual day and if he was reprimanded by his teachers or made fun of by his peers he may develop stage fright later on in life.

Hypnotherapy is a deep state of trance that gives us access to our sub conscious mind where all the files of our issues are piled up. Hypnotherapy helps us to go back in time/age when a child within us was wounded, we as adult selves talk to this inner child in a loving manner and convince the inner child to get wisdom out of the situation it went through, there is also a healthy dialogue involved between the child and the authority figure (parents, elder sibling, teacher or relative) who contributed to the child’s issues which are mothering the adult of today. The child is healed out of the negative emotions and is than integrated within the adult. This therapy in hypnosis is known as Passive Aggressive Behavior Therapy which helps in healing relationships with our authority figures and our own issues.

Other Inner child techniques include Inner Child Stair Case Technique (each staircase represents an age in your current life time and the major issues you faced at that age , this process starts from your current age till you are in your mother’s womb)

 Age Regression Therapy (a trailer of scenes are played out in your mind, the situations where you went through traumas or negativity that contributed to issues and patterns in your current life. The trauma or emotions felt during these situations are dealt with and released/replaced with positive emotions)

Healing Inner child through Emotional Empowerment Technique (strong negative emotions are dealt with and handled with to the root cause)

Other minor therapies include Hypno-drama, cord-cutting with belief systems, (example of an abused mother given above)

Sometimes inner child issues can also be triggered by an unhealed past life issue irrespective of whether we went through that particular issue in our current life. For example a grown up man may begin to grow overtly protective of his mother after she meets with a minor car accident in which he was driving. All is well in their world and the mother slowly begins to heal but somewhere the son has started to blame himself, starts keeping tabs on his mother’s everyday routine and begins to obsess about her safety to the point of no control. When he is regressed to a past life, he sees himself as a father of a young daughter (his current mother) die in a car accident. Years later this father dies unable to forgive himself for his daughter’s death. So the car accident in this life becomes a trigger to a suppressed hurt inner child of another life time. Sometimes your last dying thoughts can also become an issue in this life time, if you died under negative circumstances and your last thought was negative you may carry that baggage in the next life time.

In Shamanism, it is known as soul retrieval where parts of yourself that was lost in a traumatic event in your past are returned back to you with the help of spirit guides and power animals. Whereas in Reiki we automatically regress to a time that our issue needs healing and we give Reiki symbols to heal that issue.

We question as to why we as children go through what we go through, some of us choose abusive families, families that neglect us as children, force us to make choices according to their point of views etc Because As souls we choose our parents, so at a soul level we are very much aware what kind of family we are getting ourselves into.

Our life plans are also intertwined with all this, if I choose “Creativity” as my life plan I would choose parents who would reject anything to do with creativity (i.e fine arts, dance, story writing etc) as a mere waste of time or a hobby and would force me to choose a more sensible option like a Doctor, Engineer, MBA, CA etc I as a person would then feel empty and dissatisfied with my life however successful I would be in those chosen fields or I would choose parents who would support me in my creativity. We sometimes choose a particular set of parents if we have unfinished past life karmas’ with them, more of this will be explained in details in the next article on Past Life Regression.

References- DIVORCELESS RELATIONSHIP BY GARY DOUGLAS

                       HOMECOMING BY JOHN BRADSHAW