On April 8th, 2019, I was babysitting the toddler of a family in Portland. The mother messaged me in the days before letting me know that a dog would be there. When I got there, a small Pitbull mix came to greet me at the door, very timid and shy. The mother introduced her as Roxy but quickly made it very clear that she would not be staying with the family for long. She explained that they had rescued Roxy from another family who had not adequately explained that she had separation anxiety and that between raising their first young child, full-time work, and still getting the house in order since they had just moved to town, they did not have the time or energy to properly train her to not be so anxious and simply had to heavily medicate her when they left her alone.
This instantly broke my heart and it broke even more to watch this poor dog fall apart once the mother left for her appointment. The dog was so panicked and so unsure, it took her minutes to even walk over to allow me...
A couple of weeks ago, I posted a quote on Facebook that really struck a chord with my followers. The image went on to be shared 102 times, with 12,825 people reached. The quote was, “She held herself until the sobs of the child inside subsided entirely. I love you, she told herself. It will all be okay.” (H. Raven Rose)
I believe that this quote resonated with so many people because the words finally put a scenario that they had dealt with so often into simple words. It’s a strange situation to explain but one that I guarantee most, if not all, people have experienced often. After a particularly hard day or after a triggering event, you might feel overwhelmed, upset, angry, and sad but confused because they don’t feel like your feelings. The feelings are in your body and something is pushing you to feel them but it doesn’t feel like it originated from you, or at least from your adult self. So where are these feelings coming from then?
They are coming...
Becoming a loving, caring, nurturing parent to your inner child can be scary at first. This child remembers every minute of the child abuse you survived, even if you’ve blocked out the worst of it. Ouch!
But don’t worry. Your inner child isn’t going to unleash all those horrible memories on you. Instead, it will only be the parts of you that need healing, the parts you have rejected or ignored.
Yes, your inner child is angry. That’s scary, too. Mine was furious. She wasn’t as upset about the abuse from the past as she was the fact that I had rejected her for decades. I kept giving her to other people to love. She didn’t want their love. She wanted mine.
The wonderful thing about making the commitment to do inner child work is you discover just how loving you can be as an adult. In my case, I discovered I was capable of creating safety for this little girl. I could make her a top priority in my life. I could protect her. I could even help her...
Every time you make a decision to change a toxic behavior pattern, your wounded inner child will appear. It’s what makes healthy change hard for us.
And that’s why inner child work is so important. You can’t recover from child abuse and trauma without doing this deep, messy work.
Your wounded inner child is that very young part of yourself, who was hurt by the abuse and is still in pain. In my case, it was my 6-year old self. She was angry for never being seen, heard, or valued. She believed the only way she could ever be worthy was by overachieving and taking care of everyone else’s needs, while ignoring hers.
Because I could feel her anger, resentment, and pain, I was terrified of her. So I rejected her for decades. Of course, that just added to her painful burden.
Inner child work is the practice of building a loving relationship with your abused inner child and becoming the loving parent that child never had. Easier said than done, right? I mean, how do...