Exploring Inner Child Healing
By Neva J Howell
When traumatic events occur during what is called our formative years (ages 4-7) and especially if these traumatic events reoccur often, a part of our beingness often gets shut down.
We protect ourselves the only way we can, as children, by cellularly encapsulating moments of pain and trauma, and forgetting them consciously.
That aspect of us, the young being who changes at that moment, is called the inner child. Once we've closed down the child within, how do we integrate all aspects of ourselves, including the damaged child we've hidden away, as a happy, balanced adult?
How do we heal the inner child?
Question on spiritual healing: I have recently been exposed to the concept of the inner child and feel strongly that this is the work I need to do.
My life is in shambles. I am an extreme co-dependent ... staying in relationships simply because I am terrified of being alone. I need others to feel validated and am overwhelmed with feelings of emptiness and helplessness.
I need for my life to change. I am so tired of everything being so difficult. Where do I begin?
Healing facilitation response: I have deep empathy for much of what you shared. I have had those same feelings so often.
I know your life is not where you want it to be, but I encourage you to feel good about being who and where you are right now because it takes a very strong person to learn the lessons you are learning.
It takes a strong person to shut down a part of themselves in self-defense and to keep those aspects closed off until they feel safe enough to heal.
There is an indomitable child inside you who will not let you be satisfied until that part of you heals, so terrible as you may feel, it is actually a sign of healing that you won't settle for co-dependence and these feelings you describe.
Every day, spend some time going within. This can simply be sitting quietly for a few minutes, as long as feels comfortable, and asking what the innocent child within needs or wants, and listening for the answer.
In my own healing, it has become necessary to voice feelings that were not very God-like. I've had feelings of rage, bitterness, resentment, hate, and I often found that releasing those in a safe environment were necessary before the deeper feelings of sorrow, shame, guilt, fear and hurt could surface.
The Importance of Sacred Space:
One of the most important aspects of healing for me was finding a safe place where I could express and know that whatever was there was alright with God.
Un-God-like feelings only affect our relationship to source if we hold on to them or act them out against others.
Releasing feelings of anger, rage and even hate in a safe environment, is something I believe the Universe supports.
Talk to healing facilitators before giving yourself into their care; make sure they are willing to hear the rage, allow the anger and hate. Be also patient with that inner child aspect of yourself because the inner child will not come back into your awareness until a level of trust with yourself is realized.
If you feel like cursing the universe, or giving up, or loving - God still remains - listening, loving, supporting. God even remains if we turn that rage toward Godsource - if we rage that we weren't saved from the experiences we had to endure.
The point is that releasing those feelings that have been bottled up for so long leaves us free to get to know ourselves again, including the child we once were.
I would also encourage you to stop beating yourself up in any way for the past, even the moment just past where you may have behaved in what you feel is a bad way.
Look ever forward, forgiving as God forgives, and moving toward clarity.
On a practical level, you can do things you used to love as a child .... as a way of waking that part of yourself up. But I do suggest finding a healer you feel safe to work with because it's inevitable that feelings and emotions will surface that may be hard to deal with alone.
Message to the Inner Child: Neva J Howell
Let the child within you hear the following words as if the adult you are now, is speaking to the child you were then ...
"I speak directly to the Child within. I want you to know I have prepared a safe place for you. In this place, you will not be violated. In this place, you will not be judged. In this place, you will be loved, honored, respected and supported. In this place, you will be listened to, accepted, and allowed complete freedom to express whatever you need to express.
Here, in this safe place, you can feel whatever you need to feel. Here, you'll be comforted and understood. You have carried some burdens for a long time. You were able to do that because you are smart and very strong. You had to do that because you had no choice. I want you to know that you have different choices now.
Now, if you choose, you can begin to let go of some of those burdens, that pain, and those secret feelings.
Anything you want to release can be released, and I will help you or get help for you with a healing facilitator or counselor.
Anything you still need to hold on to, to make you feel safe, you can hold on to.
I will honor your boundaries. I understand you tried to speak out some things before, and were not allowed to be yourself or tell your truth.
I understand that it may take a little time before you trust me, and that is good because it means you have learned to protect yourself.
I will give you the time you need to trust me, and to trust the adult you have become.
You may remember a little or a lot, or you can just let the memories release through emotion or breath. You have different choices now.
You are in control.
Remember who you are.
If you had any strong reaction to the words just read, such as numbness, sadness, excitement, or anger, "Original Essence Recovery" could be a viable tool for your reclaiming of the inner child aspects of yourself.
7 Steps to Heal Your Inner Child
According to John Bradshaw, author of "Home Coming: Reclaiming and Championing Your Inner Child," the process of healing your wounded inner child is one of grief. And it involves these seven steps (in Bradshaw's words):
For your wounded inner child to come out of hiding, he must be able to trust that you will be there for him. Your inner child also needs a supportive, nonshaming ally to validate his abandonment, neglect, abuse, and enmeshment. Those are the first essential elements in original pain work.
If you're still inclined to minimize and/or rationalize the ways in which you were shamed, ignored, or used to nurture your parents, you need now to accept the fact that these things truly wounded your soul. Your parents weren't bad, they were just wounded kids themselves.
If this is all shocking to you, that's great, because shock is the beginning of grief. After shock comes depression and then denial.
It's okay to be angry, even if what was done to you was unintentional. In fact, you HAVE to be angry if you want to heal your wounded inner child. I don't mean you need to scream and holler (although you might). It's just okay to be mad about a dirty deal. I know [my parents] did the best that two wounded adult children could do. But I'm also aware that I was deeply wounded spiritually and that it has had life-damaging consequences for me. What that means is that I hold us all responsible to stop what we're doing to ourselves and to others. I will not tolerate the outright dysfunction and abuse that dominated my family system.
After anger comes hurt and sadness. If we were victimized, we must grieve that betrayal. We must also grieve what might have been--our dreams and aspirations. We must grieve our unfulfilled developmental needs.
When we grieve for someone who has died, remorse is sometimes more relevant; for instance, perhaps we wish we had spent more time with the deceased person. But in grieving childhood abandonment, you must help your wounded inner child see that there was nothing he could have done differently. His pain is about what happened to him; it is not about him.
The deepest core feelings of grief are toxic shame and loneliness. We were shamed by [our parents'] abandoning us. We feel we are bad, as if we're contaminated. And that shame leads to loneliness. Since our inner kid feels flawed and defective, he has to cover up his true self with his adapted false self. He then comes to identify himself by his false self. His true self remains alone and isolated. Staying with this last layer of painful feelings is the hardest part of the grief process. "The only way out is through," we say in therapy. It's hard to stay at that level of shame and loneliness; but as we embrace these feelings, we come out the other side. We encounter the self that's been in hiding. You see, because we hid it from others, we hid it from ourselves. In embracing our shame and loneliness, we begin to touch our truest self.
Angels' Wings and Human Prayer: An interview with Doreen Virtue by Ray Hemachandra
Doreen Virtue, Ph.D., is a vibrant, committed, and passionate author and thinker. Virtue travels around the world sharing the messages of the angels and teaching people how to hear the angels’ messages for themselves.
Ray Hemachandra: Your work is enormously diverse. Some of your readers and fans associate you with angels, fairies, or gemstones, others with Indigo children or even magical unicorns. How do you describe your work to people unfamiliar with it?
Doreen Virtue: My mission is to teach as many people as possible as quickly as possible that the angels are real and with each and every one of us. They want to connect with each of us to help us have peace — peace on Earth, one person at a time. My work is all about bringing forth the messages of the unseen world. I also am kind of standing up for the underdogs. In the United States, there is a belief that fairies, unicorns, and mermaids are mythology. In Europe and Australia, people believe these beings are real.
Ray Hemachandra: What are some of the consequences of our disbelief?
Doreen Virtue: The lack of belief in the United States is connected with how we deal with the environment. The elementals, including the crystals, mermaids, fairies, and unicorns, are the environmentalist parts of the spirit world. They protect the plants, the animals, the air, and the oceans — all the things we care about but may not be taking action to protect.
I call the elementals nature angels. When you work with the nature angels, your life becomes more magical. You get in touch with your inner child, and you can heal your inner child. Anyone who starts to work with the fairies automatically cares more about Mother Nature, because the fairies really compel us to do important things like recycle, spend extra money to get Earth-friendly cleaning supplies, and treat animals with respect. I am here to introduce people to the elementals, as well as the angels.