Inner Child Bonding
For every deep hurt a child suffers, a part of them splits off to contain the painful feelings. This survival mechanism allows the child to put their painful feelings “on the shelf” until they are old enough to face them. As we mature, the split off parts, also known as inner children, begin to surface. Consequently, we may begin acting out the developmentally arrested aspects of self. This is why grown people can slip into acting like a needy or angry four year old. Either we learn to take care of our four-year-old self or we get stuck being like one. Parts of us can get trapped in childhood, in adolescence, in rebellious teen years, or at any stage in life. These painful behaviors create a necessity for us to retrieve and work through the emotions that were too difficult for our younger self to handle.
Adults usually treat their inner children as they were treated, which is what created the wound in the first place. In learning reparenting, you can learn to give your inner children life, breath, and a voice to reclaim expression of what was denied.
The more traumatized a person has been, the more parts they will possess of all ages and sexes to hold the split off or fractured feelings. Inner children cannot process emotions. They require the support of the adult self to “take on” the emotions they are carrying. When this occurs, the inner child feels relief, as does the adult self. In this way, both the child and the adult heal simultaneously. These inner children, which can behave and look listless, shut down, rageful or near dead, can come quickly to vibrant life with tender loving attention and care that is grounded in reality. Another way of reclaiming inner children is through Recovery of Soul-Mind Fragmentation Therapy (RSF).
Inner children are real. Although they exist in non-physical reality, they behave much the same as a physical child. Inner children need to be seen, respected, heard and believed just as physical children do. Inner children do not lie. They take their time to trust you, but once you have gained their trust, they will tell you the truth. If you honor and believe them, no matter how difficult it is, they will begin to thrive. If you do not honor or believe them, or if you do not give them the care they need in order to develop, they will remain in an arrested condition. This is the same for physical children as well.
I don’t know why our insides work this way, but they do. I find it to be a miracle, and a blessing to work with. On the outside, we are one. On the inside, we are many. We carry a world within, and it is this world we are given to embrace and nurture.
Inner Child Bonding includes developing a respectful, protective and loving relationship with each internal child, helping the inner child develop a supportive, evolving relationship with other parts that make up the internal structure, reinstituting necessary boundaries of safety, setting appropriate boundaries with hurtful parental or societal introjects, and opening to wisdom figures who can act as inner guides. Inner children, because they are still connected to Source, can also become our guides back to the Self.
As you work to integrate your internal system, the puzzle pieces of life begin coming together. With support, you can begin the careful process of dismantling disabling childhood defenses, and develop ways of being based on what is true in your deepest core.
Artwork by Daniel B. Holeman