When you dig deep down inside yourself and connect with your inner child, one of the things you learn is how compassionate that little boy or girl truly is.
That little one in our heart, in our mind, wants to protect us at all costs. When it senses that we are entering a potentially dangerous situation, he or she will scream out at us and do whatever they can to grab our attention to warn us.
They know something is all too familiar about where we are headed, and whether we think we can handle it or not, they are going to let us know that this is not a good place to be. It’s a scary place for them because they remember how they felt in a similar situation.
Think of it as your inner child high jacking your inner control panel. He or she is pushing the panic button, turning on the lights and sirens, and sounding the evacuation alarm to try and get through to us.
That’s a pretty difficult concept to grasp when you’ve spent a good portion of your life totally ignoring or blaming your inner child for all of your misfortune. I know this to be true because I’ve done it.
After years and years of minimizing his existence, blowing him off, and more recently, blaming him for every bad thing that’s happened to me; the thought of him still having love and compassion for me can be as endearing as it confusing.
That idea that this little kid still has nothing but love for me, even after all I’ve put him through just makes no sense if I try and rationalize it with fully functioning adult mind and reasoning. It’s not until we get down on their level and connect with them in a way that they see us, that we can get a feel for how much they care about us.
Think of a dog who’s been beaten and abused, yet it still barks when a stranger comes to the door. That sweet animal who’s been beaten down repeatedly still seeks the love and attention of its owner.
I can remember as a young kid, and even into my very early teenage years, after all my mom put me through I still sought her approval for quite a long time. Throughout all the invalidation about how I was living my life, and dealing with pressures of school, I still kept running to her.
Our inner child is very similar to this, he or she will keep running back to us and trying to protect us at all costs…no matter what.
So, when you are entering a potentially toxic situation like a holiday dinner with your family for example, and that panic meter is going off, it’s very possible that your inner child is trying to tell you to back off. Don’t put yourself in a situation where you may likely feel like hell again and get triggered.
So, what do we do, how do we handle that? How do we treat our inner child with love and compassion, but still move forward as we gain confidence throughout our healing journey?
The main thing is this, acknowledge the warning signs that your inner child is sending and then decide for yourself if you really feel like you can handle the situation.
Little Matt – “Matt, dude, don’t go their man. Don’t go to that family dinner. You know “she” will be there. You know just being in her very presence causes you to hide, try and blend in, and stay quiet. Just like you did when you were a kid. Why put yourself through that, it’s not worth it Matt.”
Adult Matt – “I hear your kiddo, and thank you for this warning. I’m glad you are looking out for us. I will be OK this time though, I got this, kid. If I’m triggered, I’ll step outside for a while. When I’ve had enough, I’ll go ahead and leave and then do something relaxing.”
Verbalizing that type of conversation out loud (if you can) or saying it to yourself goes a long way towards a better relationship with that little boy or girl inside who just wants to love us and protect us.
It takes practice because it likely won’t come easy. It hasn’t come easy for me, and that’s a fact.
Learning to release anger, resentment, and aggression towards our inner selves, instead of embracing them, helps keep us moving forward. I know for me, any positive thing I can find during my healing journey; I’ll ride that wave for as long as I can. Then I’ll come back to it when I need it.
I encourage you today friend, to listen to that inner child inside that wants to protect you. If they are sending you warning signs, and hitting the panic button; realistically assess if you think can handle the situation or not.
If you can, then that’s great! This healing journey you are on is really beginning to pay off and you are doing amazing work!
If you don’t feel like you can handle it; don’t shame yourself. You are still doing amazing work and making progress; everything in its time.
Do what’s best for you now, and know that in time you’ll become stronger and more confident in who you are and what you can handle. Which includes assessing potentially toxic situations and evaluating them based on the warning sides from “little you” inside.
This is so true! Love this post Matt.
Love this post, Matt! I can remember as a very young child, four or five years old, being picked up by my dad, spanked, and put me in my bedroom……. I didn’t know what I had done wrong! I was so hurt, scared, and confused…..That was a defining moment for me! And I can remember my compassion and love I felt for my oldest brother who was always at the brunt of my dad’s out-of-control anger. I wanted to protect him, but couldn’t…..especially if dad was there. That cultivating compassion is a big part of who I am today…… only now I need that compassionate child to be there for me. Thanks for sharing!
One of my favorite posts you’ve written, to date. So excellent. Thank you for having the courage to share this with all of us!
Oh yes, Matt! When I read the last post about the young man who was spanked by his daddy & he didn’t know what he did wrong reminded me of my childhood as well. My mother caught me stealing money from her purse & rather than spanking me, she sat me down & lovingly told me what I did wrong. Then she knealt down by the side of the bed & took time to pray with me. Giving it up to God was such a kind thing for my ma ma to do with her little girl that when I became a mother to our three sons I did the exact same thing. My daddy was my biggest protector for sure but when I finally had courage to tell him about being molested by a grandpa & youth pastor even though he wept, he did nothing. I thought because he was a pastor he’d know what to do but ignorance played a big part in his keeping me silent for three more years until I blew the cover off & finally told both my dad & mom. My brother was my biggest protector. I followed him everywhere & copies everything he did. He is two years older than I am & was so kind. We are closer than close even today. He is the only sibling I have but simply the best!
Ive tried some inner child therapy…it hasnt worked for me. Cant connect to her, have to much hatred towards weakness, emotion that the inner self has…I know its due to abusive up bringing….
Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts! Believe me I can so relate to what you are saying, I mean in so many ways! I have held animosity and anger towards my inner child ever since I started this healing journey. I blame him for so much of what I went through. Not only my young 5-10 yr inner child but also my early teenage inner child. It’s very easily and seemingly logical to place the blame on someone who was there and endured the trauma first hand. Very easy, in that we are adults and thinking with an adult mind.
If we think of how innocent children are, how powerless they are, and vulnerable to grooming and fear, it becomes easier to embrace love and compassion…in time. There is no quick fix or easily solution. It’s long, hard work, but as I’ve been finding out, it’s well worth all of the effort we put into it.
Sending you so much support friend! Right there with you.
Great post Matt. This is exactly where I am today. I ignored my inner child’s warnings all my life. When I was little I would disosociate because my abusers were always bigger and there was no way out. Now that I am an adult I am on the journey of learning to listen and believe my inner little one. My inner child can be nurtured as it’s longed to by someone who is safe – me. Thank you for sharing openingly about this part of your journey.
It’s damn painful inner child therapy but needs to be done