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How To Support Your Wounded Inner Child

Have you ever had a moment of intense panic during a conflict with a friend? Felt that drop in your gut thinking they were going to abandon you? Or that stomach-churning anxiety when a loved one said “We need to talk”? Or you felt broken and unworthy when someone you loved deeply broke up with you? These are strong signs that you carry a wounded child within you.

These feelings are often a plea for healing. It is so easy to distract ourselves and move on. But taking the time to heal your inner child’s wounds is very rewarding in the long run.

Wounded Inner Child And Lasting PTSD

Experiencing trauma as a child often leaves us with deep wounds. It can be painful and confusing. People who have experienced such traumas are more likely to have anxiety disorders and depression.¹ They can also develop PTSD that follows them into adulthood.²

Only a small number of these people are able to stay grounded in stressful situations. They became emotionally resilient to compartmentalize overwhelming emotions. A 2014 study shows that on average only 22% of people who faced childhood trauma develop this type of emotional resilience as adults.³

Do You Have A Wounded Inner Child?

Sometimes a coping mechanism can be confused with emotional resilience. Maybe it’s easier to compartmentalize a trauma instead of addressing it. Or maybe the idea of facing it is terrifying because you don’t know how to.

Do you want to know if you have a wounded inner child that needs nurturing? Check to see if you can relate to some of these markers:

  • You Fear That People You Love Will Abandon You
  • You Fear Having Difficult Conversations
  • You Are A “People Pleaser” Even When It Doesn’t Serve You
  • You’re Afraid Of Emotional Intimacy
  • You Struggle With Low Self-Esteem
  • You Feel You’re Broken And Always Will Be
  • You Have Trouble Setting Boundaries
  • You Seek External Validation To Define Your Self Worth
  • You Form Codependent Attachments In Your Relationships

Do any of those resonate with you? If they do then you might have a wounded child that wants to be seen and healed.

It can often be quite daunting when you realize you have these inherent feelings. These are trauma responses that we develop as coping mechanisms. They are often unconscious tendencies that are hard to ignore once you know they are there. And that’s okay.

This gives you a chance to look at some of the feelings that are hindering you from living your best life. Now you can sit down with your inner child and nurture them.

Effective Steps to Support Your Inner Child

Have you tried to deal with your trauma but were unsuccessful? You should consider reaching out to a therapist or mental health professional. They can provide insight and strategies to guide you through this process.

I am, however, going to give you a list of things you can do by yourself alongside that. I used these steps to soothe myself through my own healing journey.

Step #1 Acknowledge

You may already know what needs healing. If so, you’re already a step ahead in the process. No experience is trivial or small, so honour whatever comes up and note it down.

Practice meditation and focus on feelings in your body. This will help you notice your trauma responses. Write down everything you notice.

Step #2 Connect

Your wounded inner child will initially be afraid of showing themself. Especially if you’ve learned to push your traumas down when they come up. So it is important to hold space for them.

Breathwork is a wonderful technique to connect with them. It helps bring your defensive barrier down and helps you connect more deeply with yourself. Set an intention to connect with your inner child for your breathwork practice.

You may start crying or feel deep pain, but give yourself the space to feel it. Remind your inner child that they are safe and breathe to let that heavy energy move through you.

Grab your fuzziest blanket, put on some soft music, and bring a fur baby to cuddle with. Visualize your inner child, sit down with them and have a conversation. You’ll know exactly what to say.

Step #3 Nurture

This step can get overwhelming at times. You may also feel your trauma experience is happening in the present. Take a few deep breaths when this happens. I highly recommend reaching out to your therapist or life coach to assist you through this part of the process.

Practicing mindfulness meditation will teach you how to stay grounded in your body. In time you will learn how to console the inner child and not get overwhelmed by their experience.

Nurture this connection with your inner child. Do things that will bring them joy — that could be reading, watching cartoons, painting, dancing, etc.

Step #4 Grieve

You have never grieved for this trauma, have you? This is the time to grieve for your loss of innocence and the pain you suffered as a child.

Give yourself the time to mourn. Meditation and journaling will help you through this process.

Step #5 Reparent

Just as you need to grieve, so does your inner child. Talk to them the way you always wished a parent had spoken to you when you were a child.

At times your inner child will take over your system when you are dealing with something heavy. It is important to take a step back and take a few deep anchoring breaths. Speak to them lovingly and let them know that they are safe. This process is called Reparenting.

The more you do this, the safer they will feel and your bouts of anxiety and panic will soon dissipate.

Step #6 Get Moving

After a while, you will notice your inner child’s safety in your body. The safer they feel, the more grounded you will be. You will notice changes in the way you react to things. And your trauma responses will start to soften.

Adapt healing practices in your daily life. Add some movement in your daily life such as long walks, yoga or dance to help ground yourself in your body.

Step #7 Guided Action

Do you have dreams that you’ve always talked yourself out of pursuing? A bucket list or a vision board that you haven’t looked at in a long time? Now is the time to revisit these dreams.

You’ll notice your resistance is not as strong as it used to be. You’ll feel more confident to take the first step towards your goals.

In my case, I was able to start dancing again. I also felt moved to write more and started spending more time outdoors. I even started learning martial arts.

What To Expect?

If you work on these steps consistently for a few months, you will notice shifts in your behaviour. You’ll be more grounded and any feelings of tension will not overwhelm you.

Look for these changes to know you’re on the right track:

  • You Can Set And Stick To Your Boundaries
  • You Are Not Afraid To Have A Difficult Discussion
  • You Are More Grounded In Your Body
  • You Are More Connected To Your Inner Child’s Needs
  • You Are Confident In Your Own Self Worth
  • You Practice Self-Acceptance
  • You Don’t Define Your Worth Based On External Validation
  • You Have A Healthy Relationship With Yourself And Others

I’ve been doing inner child work for a few months now and have checked off most of the changes listed above. I can promise you, it gets better.

Childhood trauma is often a very delicate subject. And seeking out professional help is very important. But these steps will support your healing process. Give yourself the time and space to heal. You can do this!

Disclaimer: This is not medical advice. Please consult a therapist or a medical professional if you have a mental illness and/or PTSD.

Sources:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6258995/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3968319/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3968319/

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