Every child deserves the fundamental right to feel safe, secure and protected. But not every child does. A lot of them grow up with wounded inner child.
Growing up, it is the emotional and biological responsibility of our parents and family members to create a safe environment for us. But not all parents accept that responsibility, are aware of that responsibility, or have the capacity to fulfill that responsibility.
Safety doesn’t just mean physically protecting us from harm, feeding us, or the other essentials. Safety also means supporting us on the emotional, psychological, and spiritual levels inherent to us as human beings.
What happens when we don’t feel safe as children? What happens when this feeling of endangerment is constant and long-lasting? The answer is that a huge gaping wound appears in the psyche. This painful wound is often unknowingly repressed by us as adults … but its impacts are profound and far-reaching.
The point of this article is to help you get into a reflective space to heal your wounded inner child. If you are interested in working with your inner child, I want you to reflect on your own childhood, the timeline of your early years, and how you felt as a child. Did you feel safe? Did you feel a sense of belonging in your family? Were you permitted to be you? What is your current relationship with your inner child like? All of these questions are extremely important to ask, and if you haven’t asked them yet, I hope you do.
Why am I so insistent about you asking these question and exploring this topic of wounded inner child? The reason is that inner child work is one of the most serious and profound forms of inner work you can do. So much of our behavior, aversions, and neuroses in the present can be solved by exploring and communicating with the inner child.
What is the Inner Child?
The inner child is the part in your psyche that still retains its innocence, creativity, awe, and wonder toward life. Quite literally, your inner child is the child that lives within you – within your psyche that is. It is important that we stay connected with this sensitive part of ourselves. When we are connected to our inner child, we feel excited, invigorated, and inspired by life. When we are disconnected, we feel lethargic, bored, unhappy, and empty.
Feeling Safe – What Does it Mean?
Safety is not just physical, it is also emotional, psychological, and spiritual. When we feel truly safe within our family environment, we have our physical and emotional boundaries respected, our authentic selves accepted, and we feel close to and love by our family members (most notably our parents). We also need to be given permission to grow and change and have all of our basic physical necessities met (food, water, a safe home or neighborhood).
10 Ways We Were Made to Feel Unsafe as Children
The reality is that life isn’t ideal. The families that we are born into aren’t always great matches for us.
Growing up, there were a number of ways we may have felt unsafe. Before we proceed, I want to clarify that I am in no way blaming our parents or caretakers here. It’s important to remember that our parents did the best they could with the level of information, education, and emotional/mental maturity they had. Blame and resentment only serves to intensify the pain your inner child may be experiencing. So be mindful and know your limits when it comes to doing this work.