It’s because your inner child is hurt, annoyed, or just wants to throw a temper tantrum. I have a theory: that all women have an Inner Child, Inner Healer, and Inner [Warrior] Queen. Like a modern-day, feminist Carl Jung (or something like that), I continue to find evidence of this triad of women in each of our personalities. And when Inner You is annoyed or hurt, your Inner Child takes it the hardest.
What does it look like when your Inner Child is hurt?
A few years ago, my bestie had a horrible day at work. She was cut down by her manager, customers were losing their shit for no reason, and she was underpaid, overworked, and generally just. Tired. Of. It. All.
She came over and I sat on the ground and watched as she paced back and forth between my living room and kitchen (I have an open-floor plan home) and tried to put words to her feelings. I’ve never heard her cry like she did that night and I’ve never seen her feel so helpless.
And yes, we literally built a pillow fort from the cushions from my couches. Spoiler alert: We had already been drinking the wine for a while, although we used glasses and resisted the urge to drink straight from the bottle.
Our adult Inner Child is a reflection of our real childhood
For people who have experienced trauma or abuse when they were children, very real developmental issues can linger into adulthood, rearing their ugly heads any time something goes wrong. According to Grant Hilary Brenner, M.D., people who experienced childhood trauma can develop Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or cPTSD. Dr. Brenner, who is a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, writes that cPTSD brings with it difficulties in relationships, memory difficulties, challenges with emotional regulation, consciousness, and perception.
Even if you didn’t experience trauma or abuse in childhood, you are still susceptible to triggers that can jerk you right back into old patterns and old memories. It’s our neurology. We learn through experiences and when an experience seems oddly like one we’ve had before, our brain says, “Oh, yeah. I know how I’m supposed to react!” but it doesn’t always know the proper way to respond to an emotionally-laden event.
Here’s another story for you:
To say that I have a contentious relationship with my mother would be like saying Queen Elizabeth is the longest reigning British monarch: they’re both 100-percent true statements. Seriously, my mother and I are like Shirley MacLaine and Debra Winger in “Terms of Endearment,” except we don’t talk anymore and neither one of us is dating a former astronaut or has cancer. (Although 1980s Jack Nicholson was somethin’ else!)
Despite the fact that I’ve made a pretty clean break from my mother, anytime I encounter a woman who acts like her, I can feel my Inner Child ready to throw something at the other person. Even complete strangers who behave like her can quickly set me off. I want to cry (and I rarely cry), scream, hit things, and call them a douche bag dick-face.
Yeah. A douche bag dick-face. I said it. My Inner Child wanted to say it.
From the outside, I look cool and collected, but inside I’m over it.
“She held herself until the sobs of the child inside subsided entirely. I love you, she told herself. It will be okay.” - H. Raven Rose, Double Happiness: Shadow Selves
So why do I tell you this? To illustrate that it’s completely normal to want to build a pillow fort, call somebody a butt-head, and retreat from the world. The sides of us that I call our Inner Healer and Inner Queen are much better equipped for the rigors of everyday life. But when they’re tired (i.e. when you’re worn out/stressed out) your Inner Child is left unprotected and vulnerable.
But there’s a positive side to our Inner Child
She laughs without much thought for who’s watching (and does so without cynicism). She lives nearest her emotions, which means she can want to pop off in a split second but she can also experience such beautiful delight and love it makes the Inner Healer and Inner Queen weep. Perhaps best of all, our Inner Child can be healed very quickly.
As Martha Beck said, “Caring for your inner child has a powerful and surprisingly quick result: Do it and the child heals.”
PLUS! Depending on the lessons you learned in childhood, you might be set up for success. What do I mean?
Well, if you broke the rules as a kid, you’re more likely to earn more money as an adult. Pretty sweet, right? Other research finds that if we ladies had a mom who worked when we were kids, we’re more likely to become a boss, babe! And if your parents made up after a fight more often than not, you’re likely to be more successful in your own relationships. So it’s not all bad.
But I tell you what: the current political climate is ripe with triggers for every woman, no matter what her childhood was like. I was honestly ready to deck a douche bag dick-face in a bar who started victim blaming while discussing the Kavanaugh hearings. Because I, like many other women, feel under attack just by being a woman. I can’t imagine what it’s like to be a BIPOC woman right now, but I’m trying to learn as much as possible.
Does your Inner Child seem to be out of control these days?
Learn how to nurture your Inner Child by scheduling a free consult call with me now.