Updated: Nov 6, 2020
What if I were tell you that all of us have a subconscious version of ourselves living within us. Have you ever noticed during an argument or an adverse experience that you may be throwing a "hissy-fit" or you take a step back and say to yourself, "wow, that was childish". There is a very clear explanation for this. The idea is that we have a subconscious and conditioned version of ourselves that can take over when we are faced with a challenging experience. This concept stems from a psychotherapy practice used in therapeutic settings to help individuals heal from their past traumas or suppressed emotions and beliefs. The inner-child for a lot of people symbolizes joy, fun, love, etc. Unfortunately, not everyone's inner-child takes this form due to adverse or traumatic childhood's.
The definition of the inner child from Harley Therapy’s blog reads "The inner child reflects the child we once were in both his or her ‘negative’ and ‘positive’ aspects. Both our unmet needs and suppressed childhood emotions, as well as our childlike innocence, creativity, and joy, are still waiting within us." Accessing your inner-child allows you to find the root issues as an adult. Children who deal with traumatic experience's often learn to hide their pain and live in a state of survival. If people told you that, "you aren't smart enough" or "men don't cry", understand your inner-child becomes damaged, hurt, and will always remember. There are many things you can do to connect with your inner child. I would always suggest doing it in a professional enviornment with a licensed therapist in order to work through the trauma itself, but in the mean time you can start to listen and form the relationship. Some say writing letters to your inner child, yoga and meditation, and actually talking to this child out loud are very impactful ways of creating this lost relationship. You are essentially "parenting" yourself to receive what wasn't given in childhood. Someone explained to me once that she was getting her little daughter ready for school pictures and her daughter didnt like the way her mother did her hair. The mother was very receptive and explained to her she will do her hair however she wanted that would make her feel pretty. She then dropped her daughter off at school and processed what happened and the reaction that would have come from HER mother if she reacted that way. She explained that she saw her inner child running around with pig tails and lipstick feeling so beautiful and it made her sob in the happiest of tears. She was healing her inner-child in the process of building confidence and self esteem within her own daughter.
Creating this relationship in my opinion is paramount to the healing process with people suffering from (but not limited to) PTSD, CPTSD, mental health issues as well as addiction. Creating this relationship with my inner-child allowed me to empathize with my story which gave me permission to start forgiving myself. It is heart breaking to me that throughout my life, the child within was screaming at me for help, and my response was self hatred (which in reality was further traumatizing my inner child). It has been a euphoric experience for me learning to love the child within, and validate the thoughts, feelings, and beliefs that he carries. Understand any time you use negative self talk, self-harm, or neglect of self you are actually harming the innocence of your child within, and any time you use positive self talk and love you are validating the very child that has been longing for it.