Many of us suffer from having a wounded child within.
Imagine you become powerfully triggered by another’s behaviour, or a set of circumstances or even a particular thought/belief. Suddenly you feel threatened, or angry, scared or choked up with overwhelming emotion. You may project rejection, threat or judgement onto that other person or situation. Everyone’s response will vary. Some may become very angry, even lashing out in an attack. Others may try to shut themselves off from what’s happening; feeling choked up and silenced; unable to speak up for themselves.
These emotions seem to come from nowhere but they certainly have the power to overwhelm and utterly disconnect you from what’s happening right here, right now.
This is a typical response of a wounded inner child. An emotional bruise has been pressed and a wounded lost part of your younger self has reacted in pain. The inner child then becomes activated and momentarily takes over.
On your own, it’s very hard to recognise these patterns of response to life’s challenges. But the guidance of professional help can bring about great healing and transformation.
We are all at our most impressionable in the first 10 years of our lives. This means that any significant traumas that we’ve suffered during these years, leave a strong imprint upon us. To give a few examples:
- Unfair or extreme punishment
- Neglect – Parents or guardians are blind to child’s suffering
- Being blamed/made responsible for others’ actions
- Irresponsible parenting / teaching etc.
- Dysfunctional family life
Definition of a Wounded Inner Child
Throughout childhood, if we frequently have had to stifle and block the normal reactions of fear, anger or sorrow, these blocked emotions have had to go somewhere. As children we may never have felt safe enough to express them and so this very energy is then suppressed down inside our bodies into what are called Target Organs (those parts of our bodies that store and contain the tension, fear and/or anger of unexpressed emotions).
The blocked energy of unexpressed emotions creates a heavy burden on the physical body and often underlies serious illness in later life
Building Defences in an Unsafe World
If our outer environment is dangerous and threatening, we have to then build up inner defences to try to protect ourselves and remain safe. No child is able to properly deal with feelings of anxiety, confusion or rage. In stifling these feelings they then create armouring around the awful sensations of blocked energy within their bodies. For example if this could be literally put into words: “I feel angry and hurt but I’m not allowed to cry and I dare not get angry. So I shove the awful emotions away. I tighten my throat, tense my belly and hold my breath. I do all this in an attempt to remain quiet and unseen, because when daddy is drunk or mummy is mad angry etc, I need to stay out of the way or I’ll be in big trouble.”
Authentic Expression Denied
The child can never gain enough confidence to go out and explore their world because they never had a sufficiently safe environment from which to do this. This is beautifully described by Dr Gabor Mate. In order to be loved and accepted, a child will often compromise who they truly are in order to “fit in” with an older sibling or an abusive or emotionally absent parent. They compromise their authentic expression in many different ways becoming the:
- PLEASER – always trying to be the “good boy/girl; doing what’s right – making mom/dad happy. Doing chores, housework
- PERFECTIONIST – getting high marks in school, never failing at anything
- ENTERTAINER – trying to be the funny guy. Using an enormous amount of energy to entertain and “make them happy”. (Comedians often fall into this category).
- REBEL – the child who will react and rebel against what’s happening in the family. They usually feel that it’s better to be punished than to be totally ignored.
- INVISIBLE child who daren’t speak up in self defence, tries to melt into the background in order to be overlooked by their abusive parents/guardians. They’ll cry silently, alone in their room (if they’re even able to cry!)
Of course our wounded younger selves may have aspects of many of these above responses.
Our Inner Orphans
Our Wounded Inner Children consist of many layers of younger selves contained within our outer adult identity. Often people are completely out of touch with these inner, younger selves. For instance they’ve become unconscious of these lost parts of themselves which they disowned and pushed away years before.
Like lost orphans they are charged with explosive emotional pain. These wounded parts frequently sabotage our adult lives, causing us to overreact to certain trigger situations. We might then have inappropriate explosive responses that leave us feeling ashamed, angry, disempowered and even more misunderstood.
Growing up in a safe environment with loving parents, we receive lots of support and encouragement to overcome these trials. However all the people I work with grew up where the levels of stress in the family were way beyond their ability to cope. For instance, a child depends upon his/her parents to give them a sense of security in the world. If those very people on whom they depended were fighting, abusively drunk or behaving badly this can be utterly terrifying for a child.
Bringing the Inner Child into the Light of Awareness
Working with hypnosis, I repeatedly bring the lost child of the past into the healing light of the present. I encourage the adult to become the loving, empathic parent this child never had.
Profound healing occurs when a person makes a deep connection to their own inner child.
The beautiful spark of healing is ignited when they feel real compassion and love for this frightened, abused little child that was their very own childhood self.
When healing the wounded child within, I encourage my clients to let their younger selves fully express and release all the long held grief, fear, anger and pain that they had to stifle and block. This healing catharsis takes many forms. Some people feel heavy energy pouring out from their bodies. Others imagine their younger selves shouting and crying out their emotions instead of choking them back. In every case I encourage them to remain connected to the very sensations in the body – the original organs where these toxic emotions had to be stored. Great healing can then occur – emotionally and physically.
In conclusion, when people undertake this work they become increasingly aware of their destructive behaviour. They then set themselves free from all the negative projections and baggage that others inflicted upon them.
Many of my clients report a much greater depth of compassion and empathy with their own children. After all, when we connect deeply into who we truly are, we then have the ability to reach out and connect to others.
So many of us go through our lives burdened by low self esteem. We constantly make negative statements about ourselves. If questioned, many people will tell you of their weaknesses, failings and problems. They have little or no self esteem and confidence.
Finding self confidence usually involves identifying these negative beliefs. Then removing them completely! When we examine our negative self statements, we usually find that they have their source in what we were told as children.
False Conditioning from the past
I once knew a woman who sometimes brought her 5 year old son to work. Because of a failed marriage, this woman held a lot of anger and disappointment. The poor boy was clearly standing in for her ex-husband. He received a constant torrent of criticism and derogatory remarks from her. It was a really sad experience hearing her constantly chastising him and comparing him negatively to his father. The boy may well have grown up angry and rebellious – a compensation to disguise an inner sense of never being “good enough”. Either way, beneath any outward behaviour of rebellion, he could have very little self esteem, confidence or belief in himself.
We begin to uncover the wealth of our true self when we become aware of and cast out negative beliefs that originally were absorbed from a parent, teacher or sibling. We also significantly reduce our stress levels and improve our health – Why? – because
A constant torrent of negativity either from another person or from within ourselves, drains our energy and weakens our immune system.
I often work with clients who live by a set of statements and beliefs that aren’t their own. They are completely inherited from an unconscious parent who thought that constant goading would encourage their child to “be strong” “be brave” “be better than ……” No child has the discernment to recognise useless projections and judgements from their parents – they will, therefore, absorb these negative remarks about themselves and believe “this is who I am!” because that’s what mom/dad tells me all the time. In this way they may even develop depression or anxiety later in life.
Developing the Inner Observer
We need to develop an Inner Observer. This will help us to become aware of false beliefs, thoughts and convictions. I teach my clients many ways to develop this Inner Observer. It then becomes an ever present aware part of themselves. Then they are equipped to replace their conditioned beliefs from the past with positive self affirming convictions. They increasingly notice useless thoughts and replace them with steps to become even more conscious en route to developing self esteem and confidence.
As my clients become better at this self observation, their confidence grows. A level of real peace descends empowering their overall health and greatly improving their relationships with family, friends and work colleagues.
Baggage from the Past
I often work with couples whose relationships are floundering. Their children is the usual reason they are still together. In most cases, the underlying problem is that they bring to their adult relationship unresolved emotional pain from their past. It is imperative that they find ways of clearing emotional space between them. They need to recognise and release the baggage from their past.
Many have suffered a childhood which was abusive and traumatic. As kids the only way they knew how to get by was to develop coping strategies. They learnt that to get their needs met and/or keep the peace in the family, they had to fit into a mould. Unable to be true to themselves, they could not act from their own integrity. For them, creating their own boundaries and saying no when appropriate was simply not possible. Why? Because their whole life experience has worked against their speaking up for themselves.
Probably nobody has ever been there to listen to them in the first place.
Behaviours & Roles on both ends of the Spectrum
At one end of the spectrum, some kids become bullies, learning to manipulate others with fear. Generally they get their own way through coercion; by throwing their energy around. In turn, they were probably threatened and bullied by an older sibling or an abusive parent. Believing that the only way to survive is to toughen up, they never show weakness or vulnerability. In this way, they learn to smother their emotions beneath the facade of the tough guy/hard woman etc.
At the other end of the spectrum, some kids try to keep the peace. They believe “If I can only make everybody happy, I may finally get my own needs met”. This response often occurs with children of alcoholic parents who take on the role of caregivers in the hope of eventually becoming seen and heard. They’re trying to take responsibility for an emotionally absent parent. However they ultimately pay a high price for this……. trying to please everyone, they never get to develop their own unique personality.
They often spend the rest of their lives “taking care” of everyone else around them at the sacrifice of their own emotional needs and health.
Obviously there are many variations and combinations of dysfunctional behaviour in between these two extremes.
Self Expression Denied
In every instance however children of dysfunctional families will have learnt to stifle and suppress their true emotions. Often they’re not allowed to cry, get angry, defend themselves or even respond to the basic needs of their bodies. Because it’s so unsafe to openly express any emotions, they may even suppress feelings of tenderness and affection.
So their way of getting through life is not to show vulnerability and never to trust another person. In this way, they’re always reacting and responding to what’s going on in the unsafe environment around them – family, school or social. Therefore they can have very little connection to their own true inner state. They cannot blossom to become who they truly are – to have their own beliefs and wishes – to be authentic.
Now imagine two such people come together in a relationship.
By now they have both developed coping strategies to keep their pain and vulnerability hidden. Often one will manipulate the other. Unconsciously, they both usually project some aspect of an abusive parent/guardian or sibling onto the other. The only way they know how to hopefully get their needs met is by coercion; resorting to threats, playing “poor me”, or aloof – shutting the other person out. They don’t have the ability to communicate their feelings or needs directly for fear of derision, of losing ground or of the other scoring points over them. In many instances, they don’t even KNOW their own true feelings – their own authentic self.
Very often they will even form a relationship with someone who’s actually standing in for one or both of their own parents. Why? Because it’s a familiar role that they now step into – either trying to please everyone at their own expense (learnt behaviour from, say, a parent), or bullying and manipulating the other in order to maintain the upper hand.
Clearing Emotional Space in Relationships
When people come to see me, I always hold several individual sessions with each person to help them become aware of all these issues. They learn how to:
- Identify their underlying emotions that were never expressed
- Use healthy ways to discharge this emotional pain from their past
- Connect with and become a loving parent to their own wounded inner child
- Create strong healthy boundaries and the ability to say NO
Then when they come together in our couples sessions, I help them to:
- Become aware of and eliminate dishonest and abusive communication, for example: sarcasm, scoring points off each other, double meanings, subtle put downs.
- Practise honest communication – saying what they really feel
- Take increasing responsibility for their own emotions and actions
- Recognise and take back their own projections
- Learn to trust themselves and their partner by showing vulnerability and affection
- Create healthy boundaries to prevent either their partner (or their own children) from stealing their energy and manipulating them
If we’re not allowed to defend ourselves emotionally, if we always put ourselves last, our immune system will eventually become compromised in defending our body.
After a number of sessions I usually see a real softening occurring. Communication between them has greatly improved. Their body language reflects this – they make more eye contact and laugh more often. A real friendship begins to develop. They return to the initial attraction and love that drew them together in the first place. It’s at this stage that sexual intimacy can become reignited again and this time there’s more true desire and loving tenderness present.
Of course in some instances it becomes apparent that there’s nothing left to revive in the relationship. Then it’s important that they can let go and go their separate ways in peace.
A Wise Investment
So, to conclude the investment of time, money and energy in clearing emotional space within their relationship is richly rewarded because all relationships benefit. An increased level of self awareness, greatly benefits your connection with your children, friends and work colleagues.
Panic Attacks usually occur when there is a constant background drain of anxiety. This is often triggered by a particular event or combination of events. People usually feel powerless to prevent the awful debilitating effects of a panic attack.
But far from being helpless in the face of Panic Attacks and Anxiety, there are many ways to quieten and reduce these effects.
Fear is a very powerful teacher that can highly motivate us to take dynamic steps to avoid panic attacks
Strategies to Reduce Panic Attacks and Anxiety
- Focussing the mind into the NOW (and not amplifying the fear and panic by projecting it out into the future).
- Focussing on the breath as a means of quietening the mind and calming the body
- Discovering the original triggers and then releasing the blocked energy and fear around these earlier events of people
- Redirecting the attention to the sensations occurring in the body and understanding that this is what’s triggering the panic
Emotions going Underground
Sometimes if a person as has a large amount of unresolved grief or anger from their past, these blocked emotions can then morph into fear and anxiety. These blockages create stress and painful sensations in the body that feel awful. The mind then fearfully interprets these sensations as “I’m not safe – It’s not safe”. This then creates a continuous low level of anxiety that peaks into panic when the familiar triggers occur.
So it’s very important to uncover the ORIGINAL emotions that were never expressed or resolved.
In discharging the blocked energy from these emotions, there’s then a lot less trapped energy. The mind and body can then release tension and stress. This then drains away the original cause of the anxiety and fear that brought about panic attacks in the first place. All the energy that was trapped and unavailable in these emotions then becomes available to be used in life supporting, joyful ways.
Hypnosis a solution to rewriting your Past
So often people carry their life story around with them like an energy sapping burden. They identify with the pain, trauma, drama and fears from their past to dictate their present life. This drains all the colour and joy from their present lives. Furthermore holding them back every time they want to progress in life.
Can our history be changed? Most definitely Yes!
Hypnosis allows you to travel vertically down through time and rewrite the effect traumatic memories have upon you. It is possible to go back to that traumatic experience that’s encoded in cellular memory and release the trapped, blocked emotion around it. In releasing the very emotions that needed to be expressed at that past time (but were suppressed instead), you free the magnetic charge that was trapped in that memory.. Hypnosis a solution to rewriting your Past
This can be done in several different ways – by Cutting the Ties that Bind from a past person or situation. In releasing the very emotions that needed to be expressed at that past time but which we suppressed. With the intention to be set free, a powerful dynamic occurs. Far from simply reliving the past you are releasing the emotional charge of blocked energy around it.
By crying the tears, expressing the anger and even venting the hatred from those past experiences, you free up energy from the cells of your body.
You will still have the memory, but it in a diminished capacity. Finally relegating it to a distant memory. This works even with a whole set on recurring experiences, releasing the emotional charge, allowing the blocked feelings and the sensations changing in the body to be consequently lighter. In this way, you can neutralise and change the way you remember your past.
Time truly has no dominion – we are masters of our own destiny. We can rewrite our history.