What exactly is the inner child?

We all carry a small child inside. That child is a source of joy, creativity and authenticity, but also of fear, anguish and bewilderment. With his lights and his shadows, that inner child influences our decisions and our emotional well-being, so it’s important to get to know him, embrace him and heal his wounds. In fact, making peace with our inner child will not only be extremely liberating, but will also accelerate our personal growth journey.

What exactly is the inner child?

The idea of ​​the inner child is attributed to Carl Gustav Jung because this psychoanalyst created the concept in his divine child archetype. However, Gestalt, a psychological school for which the first years of life are fundamental for shaping the most vulnerable and sensitive psychological structure of our “ego”, took up and spread the concept of the inner child.

According to Gestalt, the psychological structure that we can call the “inner child” is formed by the positive and negative experiences we have in our childhood. But as we get older, that inner child lurks deep within the subconscious.

This psychological configuration remains latent, as a metaphorical and figurative but quite powerful reality that comes to light in various circumstances, such as when we need to resort to imagination and creativity, when we relive an old fear or are attacked by anguish.

In the context of the theory of ‘I’s , that child is one of the different facets of our identity, which would not be monolithic and unified as we usually think, but rather a mosaic composed of a multiplicity of ‘I’s that assume the according to the cases.

On the other hand, for Roberto Assagioli, that inner child would actually be a psychosynthesis of all ages, representing the passage from one to another. In practice, it would not only be a training in which our childhood experiences accumulate, but also unites other stages of development, such as adolescence and youth.

In this perspective, the inner child prevents a stage from being left behind, buried in oblivion and, in a certain way, helps to make them all part of who we are today. Assagioli argues that the psychosynthesis of the ages can be beneficial when we manage to keep the best of each alive, but it becomes a burden when we carry traumas and unresolved conflicts with us.

In fact, a study conducted at the Luleå University of Technology concluded, after analyzing the level of psychological well-being of the elderly, that “the presence of the inner child can be a source of lifelong development or can interfere with the evolution of the person” when his wounds are not healed or no attention is paid to those contents.

The 5 symptoms that reveal a wounded inner child

Because we are often disconnected from our inner child, we often don’t pay attention to its cries for help. But there are some signs that reveal a wounded inner child who needs healing:

1. Fear of abandonment

Many of a child’s inner wounds are due to emotional neglect experienced in childhood. If we have felt abandoned, perhaps because our parents or other adults were emotionally unavailable, it is likely that we have not been able to develop a secure attachment, so we carry that fear of abandonment into adult life.

When our inner child fears being abandoned, it can take two paths: push us towards emotional dependence because we feel unworthy of being loved, generating submissive relationships, or condemn us to loneliness, pushing people away so as not to “get attached” and then be disappointed.

In short, an inner child who fears being abandoned is incapable of establishing mature and healthy relationships. Therefore, these adults are not able to give themselves without reserve and to fully and safely enjoy emotional ties because these are always clouded by the shadow of fear of abandonment.

2. Exaggerated feeling of guilt

When things get out of our control, we tend to look for scapegoats . As a result, when something goes wrong, many adults knowingly or unknowingly blame their children. Children perceive it and end up carrying faults they don’t have.

For this reason, guilt is a common symptom of a wounded inner child. If we can’t let go of that sense of responsibility for everything that happens, we are likely to apologize all the time, even for things beyond our control and for which we are not responsible.

That hyper-responsible inner child generates a permanent sense of guilt, so we will have a tendency to offer ourselves as scapegoats. Since we are not even capable of setting limits, these situations can lead us to toxic relationships in which others take advantage of that discomfort by manipulating us emotionally.

3. Lack of self-confidence

If as a child the people who are supposed to be our source of trust and security made us feel otherwise, it’s no surprise that our inner child continues to be insecure. Lack of approval in the first years of life, excessive criticism, lack of praise, pressure for performance and constant comparison with more “capable” peers generate a vulnerable personality.

An inner child who does not trust their own abilities will eventually be reflected in behaviors such as reluctance to take risks, enormous distress in the face of change and difficulty undertaking new projects. That lack of self-confidence is often related to low self-esteem.

That wounded inner child not only makes us question our potential, but also “protects” us from trying. He makes us think we will fail before we take the first step and often overlooks our successes or potential to focus solely on mistakes, failures and weaknesses.

4. Getting angry about everything

Anger is a universal emotion. We all experience it sooner or later. But the way we express it changes. If we constantly get angry and freak out frequently over irrelevant things, it may be due to an injured inner child.

If many of our emotional needs weren’t met in childhood, it’s likely that our inner child has built up a lot of resentment. We may feel angry at the whole world or believe that “it owes us something”.

Consequently, we do not react in an adult way to setbacks, conflicts or simple differences of opinion, but we approach these situations in a regressive way, through tantrums or tantrums, as if we were small children unable to handle frustration.

5. Excessive ego

Part of growing up is realizing that we are not alone in the world. Gradually, children abandon their self-centered position and develop empathy. This allows us to maintain more fruitful and mature interpersonal relationships.

If the inner child hasn’t grown up, he will try to impose his egocentric view of life. If so, they are adults with inordinate egos who believe they are the center of the universe. These people want others to orbit around them and pay homage to them.

However, deep down that narcissism hides a fragile “I”, a child who hasn’t grown up and hides behind that arrogant mask so as not to show his insecurities. Obviously, by not acknowledging his problems, he condemns himself to a vicious circle in which he will end up pushing others away and repeating the same mistakes over and over again.

The cost of ignoring our inner child

Most people who call themselves adults aren’t adults at all. We all age, but getting older is not synonymous with maturity. The mere passing of the years is not enough to become a mature adult. True maturity is about acknowledging, accepting, and taking responsibility for loving and healing your inner child. Unfortunately, most adults never do this.

Instead, they often ignore, forget, belittle, abandon, or even reject their inner child. It’s not even their fault. Society tells us to “grow up” and forget the childish things. In theory, to enter the world of adults we must lose many of the characteristics of childhood, such as sensitivity, spontaneity, innocence, joy in the little things and even imagination. Being an adult sometimes also means silencing what bothers us or relegating ourselves to the background.

To be adults we must also control our emotions, even if this does not mean managing them assertively, but only hiding or repressing them. Therefore, many adults do not feel free to express their fears, anger or suffering. Therefore, most people are convinced that they grew up because they gave up childish attitudes. But if we don’t welcome our inner child to heal his wounds, he will continue to negatively affect our lives.

A wounded inner child can harm us in many ways: by causing us to exhibit self-destructive behaviors, to engage in self-centered attitudes that affect our relationships, or to become emotionally dependent due to fear of abandonment. Those who have disconnected from their inner child also become extremely rigid, unable to adapt to the changes in the world. In these cases, it is not an “adult me” who runs our lives, but a wounded and probably angry, frustrated or scared inner child.

Many times that inner child is activated and pushes us to act impulsively and childishly, having real tantrums with fits of anger or frustration. Other times it makes us feel distressed and overwhelmed at the slightest obstacle, as if we were helpless children without the psychological tools necessary to face life.

When we have a wounded inner child or have become too disconnected from that part of us, it can feel like we are walking with a huge weight on our backs. If the inner child feels insecure, as adults we will feel insecure, disoriented and out of place in life.

Instead, when that child feels stable, it acts as a deeply ingrained anchor within us, and we feel more secure, confident, and comfortable. This will allow us to grow as people. For this reason, embracing our inner child is not an option, but a priority.

To heal that inner child, it’s important to connect with their needs, respect our past “self,” and treat ourselves with kindness. Writing down our feelings and making peace with what happened to us will help us free ourselves from those fears, insecurities, or anger to tap into the transformative potential of our inner child.


by Abdullah Sam
I’m a teacher, researcher and writer. I write about study subjects to improve the learning of college and university students. I write top Quality study notes Mostly, Tech, Games, Education, And Solutions/Tips and Tricks. I am a person who helps students to acquire knowledge, competence or virtue.

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