Healing Your Inner Child
By Natalie Eve Marquis, RMT, CH, Intuitive Healer & Coach
In my work as an intuitive healer, I’ve discovered that many of my clients have a wounded inner child. Unless you enjoyed a completely ideal childhood, chances are you have a wounded inner child as well.
The wounding occurs when we experience trauma at a young age that results in a profound loss of innocence. It radically shifts our worldview. The world is no longer a safe place. The trauma could be big or small, such as having to share your parents with a new sibling, being abandoned by a parent, or being physically or emotionally abused.
The good news is that when we connect with this fragmented part of ourselves, deep healing occurs. In my personal healing journey, I’ve found inner child work to be immensely valuable. I’ve also learned a few powerful techniques that can help you heal your own wounded inner child. But first we need to understand the role and impact of the wounded inner child...
Our Unhealed Inner Child is in the Driver’s Seat
You wouldn’t let a four-year old drive your car would you? And yet, for many of us this is exactly who is in the driver’s seat of our lives. Technically speaking, our inner child is typically between the ages of three and seven-years old. It lives deep inside our unconscious mind and it influences the choices we make, how we respond to challenges, and how we live our lives. An unhealed inner child causes destructive or unhelpful behavior patterns. With a wounded inner child many of us have underlying sense of anxiety or feeling of unease. We wear masks, people please, withdraw, enable, rescue, jump to negative conclusions, act out or become passive aggressive. Or, rather than feeling open, fully alive and free, we feel imprisoned, stuck, stagnant, or weighed down.
Dr. Stephen A. Diamond, Ph.D. says in Essential Secrets of Psychotherapy: The Inner Child, in Psychology Today, “True adulthood hinges on acknowledging, accepting, and taking responsibility for loving and parenting one's own inner child. For most adults, this never happens. Instead, their inner child has been denied, neglected, disparaged, abandoned or rejected…(and it still holds) our accumulated childhood hurts, traumas, fears and angers.”
How Does Our Inner Child Get Wounded?
Our inner child is wounded when doesn’t feel safe physically, emotional, psychologically or spiritually, and as a result, experiences a profound loss of innocence. In “Feeling Safe: 25 Signs You Have a Wounded Inner Child” Aletheia Luna lists ten life experiences that can lead us feel unsafe in the world:
You were taught that it’s not okay to have your own opinions.
You were punished when trying to speak up or act differently.
You were discouraged from playing or having fun.
You weren’t allowed to be spontaneous.
You weren’t allowed to show strong emotions such as anger or joy.
You were shamed by your parents, family members, friends or classmates.
You were verbally criticized/abused on a regular basis.
You were physically punished, smacked or beaten.
You were made to feel responsible for your parents and their happiness.
You weren’t given physical affection such as hugs, kisses, and cuddles.
Five Ways to Heal Your Inner Child
If you experienced one or more of the above, you might benefit from inner child work. Rather than having an inner child that is unconsciously working against you (out of fear and a need to protect itself), the work empowers your inner child and adult self to work together for the common good.
The overall principal of inner child work is to access your inner child, gain its trust, listen to what it has to say, and honor it by working together to meet its needs. Working with your inner child can be an incredibly freeing and enlightening experience.
Here are five ways to begin exploring and working with your inner child:
1. Counseling – Working with a counselor can help you explore your wounded inner child in a safe and supportive environment. In fact, if you were sexually abused as a child, suffered severe emotional abuse, or have a mental illness, it is highly recommended that you seek professional counseling. This article is a self-help tool and meant to compliment professional care, not replace it.
2. Guide Meditations will take you on an inner journey to meet your wounded child. Deceptively simple, guided meditations are a powerful way to connect with and begin healing your inner child. You can listen to two of my guided meditations for healing the child here:
3. Talk with Your Inner Child – After you’ve met your inner child, through counseling, guided meditations or the Reiki Release Emotional Healing Method (see below), it’s important to routinely check-in with your inner child to see if its needs are being met. Anytime you feel frustrated, stressed or stuck, take some time to sit quietly, go within and ask your inner child:
What do you need?
What do you want me to know?
How can I help you?
4. Write a letter to and from your inner child –Sit quietly for a few moments and imagine yourself as a child, remember what it was like to be that little girl (or boy) in the environment you grew up in, and then write a letter expressing how you felt, how you saw the world, what you needed to hear or receive but didn’t. Next, write a letter back to your inner child. What would you say to this little child to comfort her and let her know that she is OK? Tell her all the things you wish you had heard as a child. Tell her how beautiful and innocent she is. Tell her how amazing she was. How much you love her.
5. EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) – Affectionately known as “tapping”, EFT can help you reduce the “charge” of your feelings (the energy that our emotions stir up) and/or move through your feelings and release them. Try these by EFT expert Brad Yates:
6. Reiki Release Emotional Healing Method – if you’re having trouble connecting with your inner child on your own or getting to the heart of your emotional wounding, the Reiki Release Emotional Healing Method is a gentle and complimentary approach that can help you quickly pinpoint the root cause of your emotional blocks and negative beliefs, and release them. You can take a class to learn the do-it-yourself method or work with a practitioner who will facilitate the process for you.
Whenever I’ve connected with my inner child, the wisdom I’ve received has been deeply moving and insightful. And sometimes the answers have completely surprised me!
For example, many years ago a couple of close friends and an intuitive coach mentioned that my current struggles might have to do with some lingering abandonment issues. Initially I rebuffed this because I’d already done a significant amount of healing and forgiveness work on this, and felt I’d healed it. However, since the message was suddenly coming at me from several different sources, it felt like a nudge from Spirit to have a deeper look. So I stopped resisting and decided to have a look.
When I connected with my inner child. I asked her who else had abandoned her, and the answer was, surprisingly – me! Every time, I allowed someone else’s priorities to be more worthy, I abandoned her. When I hadn’t set and honored my personal boundaries, I abandoned her. When I allowed other people’s happiness to be more important than my own, I abandoned her. With that awareness, I humbly apologized and promised to put her needs first. I was confident, working together, we could ensure we both felt honored and valued. And we have! That was a big ah-ha moment and shift for me.
Whether you are thirty-years old or eighty, it’s never too late to connect with and heal your inner child.
About Natalie Eve Marquis
An intuitive healer, teacher, writer, and artist, Natalie helps seekers discover deeper connection and meaning in their lives. She is the owner of the Wisdom Within LLC and the Reiki Release® Emotional Healing Method, a powerful process that pinpoints and releases the root cause of emotional blocks and negative beliefs. Natalie teaches all levels of Reiki certification both online and in person. She also provides a variety of fun and informative workshops on intuition development, past life healing, personal growth, and more in NH, MA, AZ, and NC.