We are all affected by the child within. While we might not want to admit it, this is something we need to work on if we want to live happily as adults.
If you find that it seems your inner child is more in control of your life than he or she should be then perhaps you are in need of some serious healing and emotional work. You see when we become overwhelmed we as human beings sometimes tend to revert back into this child-like means that can and will set us behind. This in a sense meaning that the more upset we become the more willing we will be to do things we otherwise wouldn’t for our own sense of contentment.
As a child would, we will be looking more for instant gratification versus focusing on the bigger picture. This kind of thing can become a big issue as the more in control your inner child is the less you’re able to really get things done in regards to your long-term goals. You find that you’re constantly indulging rather than waiting things out as you should be doing in adulthood.
If your inner child is wounded you should also consider whether or not he/she is acting in a manner that is more-so reckless than you were initially realizing. While the concept of an inner child might sound like rubbish to some to those who understand themselves properly it’s something they’ve worked to come to terms with. This inner child is someone that might not be ‘literal’ but is quite complex all the while.
The fact is that the majority of so-called adults are not truly adults at all. We all get older. Anyone, with a little luck, can do that. But, psychologically speaking, this is not adulthood. True adulthood hinges on acknowledging, accepting, and taking responsibility for loving and parenting one’s own inner child.
For most adults, this never happens. Instead, their inner child has been denied, neglected, disparaged, abandoned or rejected. We are told by society to “grow up,” putting childish things aside.
To become adults, we’ve been taught that our inner child–representing our child-like capacity for innocence, wonder, awe, joy, sensitivity, and playfulness–must be stifled, quarantined or even killed. The inner child comprises and potentiates these positive qualities. But it also holds our accumulated childhood hurts, traumas, fears, and angers. “Grown-ups” are convinced they have successfully outgrown, jettisoned, and left this child–and its emotional baggage–long behind. But this is far from the truth.
In fact, these so-called grown-ups or adults are unwittingly being constantly influenced or covertly controlled by this unconscious inner child. For many, it is not an adult self-directing their lives, but rather an emotionally wounded inner child inhabiting an adult body. A five-year-old running around in a forty-year-old frame.
It is a hurt, angry, fearful little boy or girl calling the shots, making adult decisions. A boy or girl being sent out into the world to do a man’s or woman’s job. A five or ten-year-old (or two of them!) trying to engage in grown-up relationships. Can a child have a mature relationship? A career? An independent life?
Yet this is precisely what’s happening with us all every day to some degree or another. And then we wonder why our relationships fall apart. Why we feel so anxious. Afraid. Insecure. Inferior. Small. Lost. Lonely. But think about it: How else would any child feel having to fend for themselves in an apparently adult world? Without proper parental supervision, protection, structure or support?
This is the confusing state of affairs we so frequently see in seekers of psychotherapy. It is not dissociative identity disorder (multiple personality), but rather a far more common, pervasive and insidious sort of socially sanctioned dissociation. But if we can recognize this problem for what it is, we can begin dealing with it, by choosing to become psychological–not just chronological–adults. How is this accomplished?
First, one becomes conscious of his or her own inner child. Remaining unconscious is what empowers the dissociated inner child to take possession of the personality at times, to overpower the will of the adult. Next, we learn to take our inner child seriously, and to consciously communicate with that little girl or boy within: to listen to how he or she feels and what he or she needs from us here and now. The often frustrated primal needs of that perennial inner child–for love, acceptance, protection, nurturance, understanding–remain the same today as when we were children. As pseudo-adults, we futilely attempt to force others into fulfilling these infantile needs for us. But this is doomed to failure. What we didn’t sufficiently receive in the past from our parents as children must be confronted in the present, painful though it may be.
The past traumas, sadness, disappointments, and depression cannot be changed and must be accepted. Becoming an adult means swallowing this “bitter pill,” as I call it: that, unfortunately for most of us, certain infantile needs were, maliciously or not, unmet by our imperfect parents or caretakers. And they never will be, no matter how good or smart or attractive or spiritual or loving we become.
Those days are over. What was done cannot be undone. We should not as adults now expect others to meet all of these unfulfilled childhood needs. They cannot. Authentic adulthood requires both accepting the painful past and the primary responsibility for taking care of that inner child’s needs, for being a “good enough” parent to him or her now–and in the future.
If you’re feeling as though your inner child is coming out more-so than usual you need to make some changes and take the time to work with your inner child. One of the best ways to do this is to be more conscious in your day to day life and write to your inner child so that everything within is coming out. This will place you in the position to better understand yourself and what things you’re going through. Your inner child if allowed to run free will hijack your life and run amuck in your relationships.
The people who care for you the most won’t be able to handle your inner child on this level and so him/her being too present can and will ruin your relationships as a whole. Rather than things being as they should be you will be setting your connections up to fail if you allow your inner child control over them.
Through giving that inner child the things we need as a whole in regards to growth you can work to heal your inner child and keep him/her from coming out and taking over your life. For more on this topic please check out the video below. Sometimes we all just need a little time with ourselves.