Today’s episode is one that I am really excited to talk about. It’s a very deep, raw, and emotional topic so this is a trigger warning. I’m going to be talking about how to heal your inner child. This is something that I have personally been working on for a while now. It wasn’t until I started my spiritual journey that I realized how much inner child healing I needed to do.
If you’d rather listen to the episode:
How To Heal Your Inner Child
In the past, I just kept telling myself that I was okay and that what I went through back then didn’t affect me anymore. But the truth is, my past was still hurting me because I never healed. It wasn’t until I started my spiritual journey and really started doing that inner work and self reflection that my eyes opened up to those unhealed wounds.
I’ll be honest, healing is never easy. It’s really freaking hard. It was an intense, emotional process throughout because it forced me to feel that pain all over again. It may even force you to truly feel that pain for the first time.
Now you might be thinking “why would I want to put myself through that? Why would I want to feel that pain again or even for the first time?”
The thing about healing is that if you don’t allow yourself to truly feel the emotion, then you won’t be able to fully heal. It’s like putting a band aid on something hoping it will fix the problem, but in reality it’s just covering up the wound for the time being.
Recognizing What We Need To Heal
What I’ve noticed is that our triggers can open our eyes to a lot of unhealed trauma. Triggers usually point to unhealed wounds. Journaling also helped me when it came to self reflection and realizing what needed to be healed.
But it’s really important to self reflect, figure out what your triggers are, and ask yourself “when I think about my childhood what am I still upset over? What still causes me pain?”
Questions like these will help you find those unhealed wounds.
Another way to notice if you have some unhealed trauma is by recognizing your own reactions and behaviors; Like people pleasing, co-dependency, the need for external validation, never prioritizing yourself, always trying to fix others, attracting unhealthy relationships, holding onto toxic relationships, excessive self blame, addictions and so much more.
The thing is, every experience and relationship in our life acts as a mirror to us. If we have healing to do, then we attract relationships and situations that will mirror that unhealed wound to us.
To give an example I will mention a personal experience from my own childhood.
There’s a lot of experiences in my childhood that I went through that I needed to heal from. As a child who comes from a broken family and watched her father struggle with addiction, there’s a lot of pain and resentment that I held onto for a long time.
My parents divorce and my dad’s struggle at the time really shook up my life. I didn’t see healthy displays of love or emotional connection. My parents were always arguing, doors slamming as my dad would leave angry. I think one of the hardest realizations for me was seeing my dad completely change before my eyes.
The thing is, my dad wasn’t always so angry. Up until I was about 8 or 9 he was really loving, he spoiled me and I felt like daddy’s little girl, but he ended up getting hurt at work. This caused him to go through some surgeries which lead to being prescribed pain killers…
Now at the time the doctors swore that they weren’t addictive, but come to find out they were. My dad became addicted to these pain killers and it completely changed my dad.
He went from being so happy, sweet and awesome to be around, to so angry, filled with rage, aggressive, yelling and having an extremely short temper with me.
Now as a child I only knew what I saw and felt, which was my dad going from really loving to really unloving. At the time I didn’t know he was a recovering addict who was hurting from his injury, or what all of that meant.
When the doctors stopped prescribing these pills he went through really bad withdrawals and it was so hard to watch and be around. At the time I thought he was lashing out because of me. I thought I was disappointing him or making him upset. I didn’t realize that it wasn’t because of me until much later on in life.
This is where my people pleasing tendencies stemmed from. Through my teen years and even my early twenties I would always make my decisions based off of the thought of “am I going to make everyone else happy with this choice?”
I wouldn’t really consider if it would make me happy because I was so used to walking on egg shells and wanting to never upset my dad as a child. This became a trait that was subconsciously apart of who I was. It was a part of me that I used as protection as a child because I was so afraid of my dad reacting to my actions.
Even now as a 27 year old, if someone raises their voice at me I instantly get triggered and can’t help but cry and i’m always putting the thoughts of others before myself. I became a huge people pleaser which ultimately leads to me hiding from being the most authentic version of myself. It also leads to being unhappy because I’m not making choices that I want to make, instead I’m making choices that other people want me to make.
It wasn’t until my healing journey that I recognized this pattern in myself. This cycle repeated itself for many years until I finally addressed it.
Healing From The Fear Of Abandonment
Another example with my childhood is the fear of abandonment. For the longest time I wouldn’t take the time to make close emotional connections because I was afraid of getting hurt and abandoned.
Growing up everyone that I became close with would always leave me and it all started with my childhood best friend. I had this one friend growing up who was my ride or die. We were young, about 8-9 years old and she was also my neighbor at the time.
We were complete opposites, but that’s what I loved. She really helped me tap into my adventurous side. I’m talking like running barefoot in the yard, climbing trees, and getting muddy riding bikes. She was such a wanderlust soul and I really admired that about her.
We were so close and her house became my comfort. It got to a point where I would be afraid to go home after school because I didn’t know what kind of mood my dad was going to be in, so instead I would run to my friend’s house until my mom would get home from work.
Her mom was like a second mom to me. The sweetest woman. I just felt safe being at her house.
The unfortunate part was that this quickly slipped away from me. I remember this day like it was just yesterday and to be honest it was a really hard day.
I was just 9 years old at the time and I was at my other friend’s house doing arts and crafts. I was making a card for my friend’s mom. (the second mom I was just talking about) It was about to be her surprise 50th birthday. I was so damn excited about the card I made her because no matter which way you opened it, it would keep opening. I called it the never ending card.
My mom came and picked me up from my friend’s house and I run out to the car holding this card I made. I was so excited to show her my creation, but as soon as I got in the car I could tell something wasn’t right.
My mom looked at me and I could see that her eyes are red. Instantly I had that moment where my heart sinks to my stomach. She tells me that my friend’s mom got sick that night and that she didn’t make it. Immediately I felt my soul just crushing.
The thoughts started taking over like, “this can’t be happen, why, why would this happen?” and then I started thinking about my friend. I couldn’t imagine how she was feeling, THIS IS HER MOM, but then I thought, omg this is my second mom, she’s my comfort. I always ran to them when I felt unsafe and this just can’t be happening. As I looked down at this card in my hands the emotions just really poured out of me.
The thing about this chapter in my life is that it didn’t end here. I received a phone call a couple weeks later from my friend and she told me that she had to move. They were sending her 1,300 miles away to live with her aunt and uncle because her dad had gotten sick. They told her not to worry because her dad would be moving down there too once he got better, but he never did. He passed just a few short months after her mom.
This devastated me. I felt so horrible for my best friend. I couldn’t imagine going through this and how hard it must have been. These experiences definitely rocked her life, they rocked mine too.
My best friend, my comfort, my safety had to leave me. I felt so alone and the hard part was that I felt like I was the one over reacting because it wasn’t my parents, but yet it felt like it was.
She was one of the very few friends I had at the time and she was the one person I could run to without needing my parents to bring me to someone else’s house. I’d escape there after school and I just couldn’t believe I was losing her and that I lost her parents too.
It was really hard for me to experience loss at such a young age and I think it’s because I didn’t fully understand it. My anxiety started when this all happened.
I started fearing that I was going to lose my mom too. It kept me up at night, full on panic attacks, having to seeing therapists and I tried taking medication, but nothing helped.
The thoughts I had were always weighing heavy on my mind. I feared death and thought that one day I’d wake up and everyone I loved would be gone. I even thought I was going to get sick and die too.
I would feel very misunderstood by my parents at the time because they had their own issues which made it hard for them to fully be there for me emotionally, although they tried. As this was all happening, my parent’s marriage was crumbling. It wasn’t long after my friend moved away that my parents got a divorce.
I felt like I had no one to talk to during all of this. It was hard for my parents to focus on my emotional needs because they were struggling with their own. It was like they were emotionally unavailable.
My dad ended up leaving to travel the States. He was so hurt by the divorce, he felt blind sided and couldn’t understand why this was happening. It was hard for him to see the pain he was causing from his addiction and the injury at the time. He felt he needed to be alone so he left and he didn’t say goodbye. I was hurt. I felt abandoned.
But this wasn’t the only time.
My relationship with my dad really suffered for a while and the hard part was that I don’t think he really understood or realized just how hurt I was or how long I was hurt for.
As a kid my parents would take me and my brother to Disney and they tried to give us those happy experiences. For a little while it was happy, until it wasn’t. The trips just lead to more arguing and fighting.
It’s so easy for my dad to look at those moments where he felt like he was trying to make happy memories for us and use that as a way to invalidate my feelings without realizing.
“Oh no, you had a great childhood, we took you to Disney, you always had gifts under the tree to open during Christmas, there are so many kids who were worse off than you.”
I started to just tell myself that the way I was feeling about my childhood was dramatic. I started feeling guilty for being hurt and upset that I stopped allowing myself to feel the pain. I turned those emotions off and it made me so emotionally detached from all of my relationships. For a while I refused to open up emotionally because I didn’t want someone to tell me that my feelings were wrong.
I think one of the toughest moments that I had with my dad that really lead to my fear of abandonment was when I was about 14. I was trying to rekindle the distance and resentment that I held in my heart towards my dad, but It was really hard for me because of how hurt and confused I was. At the time he had this girlfriend who I really didn’t trust. I just knew she wasn’t sharing the whole truth about herself and I felt like she was a bad influence for my dad because he said he was trying to better himself.
My dad came to pick me up and bring me out to Friendlys to grab dinner. We got into this discussion of his girlfriend and I voiced my opinion. I told him that I didn’t think she was right for him and that I didn’t trust her. One thing lead to another and we got into a heated discussion. When we got to the parking lot of Friendlys I got out and slammed my door as I started walking away in anger. To my surprise he just drove off and left me there.
At the time I didn’t have a cell phone so I panicked. I had a panic attack and couldn’t believe that this situation was happening. I thought, how could you just leave your child behind like that? I had never felt so abandoned before in my life and I held so much resentment towards him for this moment.
It was hard because whenever I voiced my thoughts about how I was feeling, he never wanted to hear it. This made me closed off emotionally. I stopped sharing my emotions with others because I would always get rejected. This not only lead to my fear of abandonment, but also fear of rejection in all of my relationships. I would never stand up for myself because I was too afraid to.
Throughout my entire teenage years I was angry, upset, hurt and emotionally detached.
What I realized was that because this wound wasn’t healed, I kept attracting relationships into my life that kept leaving me and making me feel rejected. My relationships and situations were mirroring the fact that I needed to heal that wound.
This wasn’t everything that happened, but it’s just some examples from my own experiences that show how unhealed trauma can affect you in adulthood and why it’s so so important to heal. It’s not easy, it’s really hard but it makes all of the difference.
Healing Your Inner Child Wounds
When it comes to healing your inner child wounds you need to first recognize what needs to be healed. Once I realized my triggers and I reflected on my own reactions to situations and the relationships I attracted into my life, I could then see what needed to be healed.
Next I started journaling. I wrote out exactly how each situation made me feel and as I wrote, I allowed myself to have a safe space to get emotional and cry it out.
I stopped telling myself that I’m not allowed to feel hurt. Instead I told myself it is okay to hurt because my trauma is valid even if i’ve been told it’s not that bad, even if others had it worse, even if someone I cared about like my dad didn’t believe me or how bad it hurt, and even if I have been told to just get over it. I am allowed to hurt and feel upset.
If you struggle with feeling that way when it comes to your own trauma, then you really need to create that safe space to allow yourself to feel the pain and tell yourself that you are not wrong when it comes to feeling hurt by your past.
Once you feel it, then you can heal it. I found that one of the most empowering ways to heal pain is to forgive.
It is so damn hard to forgive, especially if you feel like you never got the apology you wanted. There’s been a lot of people in my life that never apologized for the pain, but here’s the thing… when you don’t find it in your heart to forgive, you carry that resentment with you for the rest of your life and it just weighs your soul down.
The only person you are hurting by not forgiving is yourself and let me tell you, YOU DESERVE TO BE FREE FROM THAT PAIN.
I think what makes forgiving so hard too is that some of us have this idea that in order to forgive you need to continue the relationship, but that’s not true.
If you have been hurt in the past by someone who is toxic, it’s okay to forgive and never talk to that person again. (Even if they are family!) In fact it’s important that you distance yourself from toxic relationships because that’s just another sign that you need to heal.
For me, I forgave my dad. I also chose to continue to have a relationship with my dad. Our relationship has come a long long way in the past few years. It took a lot of soul growth to get to this point because of how badly hurt I was. I held resentment for the longest time, but my dad has come a long way too.
He really took the time to get better and let go of the toxic relationships in his own life. He started going to church and he let go of his temper. He’s calmed down and found peace within himself, cut back on the pills he had to take and I am proud of the progress and person he is today.
It takes a lot to recognize your own toxic behaviors and change them.
Sometimes writing out a letter in your journal forgiving those who were involved in the situations that hurt you helps. Another way to release the energy and hurt from the wound is by transmuting it. You can do this through visualization.
Close your eyes and imagine seeing a light, then vision yourself taking that resentment and anger you have from the trauma and release it into the light. This is you releasing this pain from your soul.
Then vision yourself cleansing yourself from the negative energy this wound brought you. Let the water you vision just wash away all of the pain and resentment you used to hold onto from these painful experiences so you can be free from this heavy energy and move on from it.
Lastly, when it comes to healing I try to see it from the other person’s perspective.
This isn’t always easy to do. Forgiveness and seeing it from the other person’s perspective will be hard depending on how severe the trauma is. There are some wounds that cut deeper than others so if you need more time to heal, there is no pressure to heal quick. Everyone’s healing journey is different.
I was able to look at the situations I went through with my dad from his perspective by seeing that he was struggling with addiction and pain from his injury. This can make things blurry and difficult. On top of that he loved my mom and was hurt. He wanted to be loved and he had a void in his heart that he was trying to fill. When he eventually moved to Florida I thought he just wanted to get away from us, but in reality he was trying to get away from the toxic environment he was in because the truth is, you can’t heal in the environment that made you sick in the first place.
When I try to see it from his perspective it makes me see things with more compassion than when I was a very hurt and unhealed child.
It doesn’t excuse behavior that is hurtful, but the truth is hurt people hurt people.
Continuing to heal yourself and work through those wounds will help you have more compassion not only for others, but for yourself. This is a great way to fix those toxic cycles that so many of us see repeating in not only ourselves, but even in our families. When you heal yourself, you have the potential to also heal generational trauma.
I look at the way the world is today and it makes me so sad because I notice just how much healing this world needs. My hopes is that this episode can help heal even just one person. That would make my soul happy.
I really hope this messaged helped you today and remember to be gentle with yourself and others.
Check out the next podcast episode here.