When a child is mentally, emotionally or physically abused, they go on to carry inner wounds that may never heal. Children may act out, have temper tantrums and remain suspicious of others. As these children get older, they leave some of these behaviors behind but still carry the inner wounds with them.
Because the wounded inner child still remains deep in the psyche, adults can revert back to familiar behavior patterns when they feel stressed, pressured or overwhelmed. It’s also common for them to crave attention and a sense of belonging.
If you experienced neglect, trauma or other emotional pain as a child, you may have buried this deep within to protect yourself. However, hiding pain doesn’t heal it. Instead, it comes out in your adult life and can affect your relationships.
Four Types of Inner Child Wounds
Here are the four types of inner child wounds that adults can suffer from.
- Guilt wound. The guilt wound makes it difficult to set boundaries and ask for favors. Adults with the guilt wound also tend to say “sorry” a lot and attract others who make them feel guilty.
- Abandonment wound. The abandonment wound can cause you to feel left out, even when you’re not. You may hate being alone, and fear that your friends and family will leave you. Codependent relationships can also stem from abandonment issues.
- Trust wound. If you have the trust wound, you’ll find it difficult to trust yourself and others. You may feel insecure and unworthy, which can cause you to crave external validation. It’s also common to find reasons not to trust others.
- Neglect wound. With the neglect wound, you may struggle to let things go, get angry easily and have low self-worth. You may also repress your emotions and protect yourself from being vulnerable.
Tips for Healing Your Wounded Inner Child
While inner child wounds are most likely to occur in children from dysfunctional homes, they can still develop in children who come from ‘good’ families. The key is to recognize the signs of a wounded inner child so that you can address these issues and make positive changes in your life.
Here are some tips for healing your inner child:
- Get in touch with your inner child. Recognize and accept the things that caused you pain in childhood.
- Talk to someone. Whether it’s a therapist, support group, psychic medium or life coach, talk to someone who can help you navigate your emotional trauma in a safe space.
- Write a letter. Try writing a letter to your inner child. This can help you make sense of your emotions and why you sometimes react the way you do.
- Try meditation. Meditation is a great way to relax your mind and body and pay attention to your feelings. This way, if certain feelings come up, you can deal with them before they trigger unwanted emotions or behaviors.
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