And then, totally unexpectedly, you burst into fight-or-flight, in an over-reactive defensive emotional outburst. After a moment, your state of mind relaxes enough to notice the expressions on the faces of the people witnessing your outburst; they must think you’re crazy. As you feel your emotions subside you’re wondering if you’re crazy, too. You know you were out of pocket, and can’t figure out what just happened.
Say, “Hello,” to your wounded inner child, who is throwing a tantrum.
Your inner child can break through and expose itself at any time, and usually expresses itself defensively, fearfully, frantically, or shamefully, in a way that is inconsistent with your normal adult state of being. Most of the time your inner child occupies the space in your mind and your heart but sometimes it breaks out in a way that encompasses your entire being.
Your inner child doesn’t always express itself negatively, it can also revel in joyous celebration in the best of times, but in most cases, your inner child hides in fear of being hurt due to wounds you may have suffered as a young child.
Since your youth you have grown into a strong adult and as you grew and matured your inner child fractured and found a safe place to reside inside you, so the more aware and physically demonstrable you could mature as you found your methods of interacting with your adult world in the most effective manner. Meanwhile, your inner child took the back seat.
Your inner child is content in hiding safely away deep inside you, but every once and a while gets it’s feelings hurt or feel threatened by something happening in your present and asserts itself, feeling its life is at risk or pitches a fit.
The inner child is always in a heightened state of awareness looking for potential threats. When something triggers it, he or she panics, initiating our instinctive reaction to either fight for life or flee in hopes of finding a safe retreat. In that moment your inner child has usurped your ability to cognitively manage your adult life. As you review the over-reaction, you can see there was no apparent threat, but your inner child perceived some detail that caused you to instinctively react as if there was a real threat.
When we are young, we find it hard to rationalize or make sense out of the injustices we suffer as a child. It isn’t long and we often realize that if we protest, we suffer negative consequences, so instead we learn to find ways to bottle up those fragile emotions and that part of ourselves which feels small and powerless fractionates from our conscious awareness and finds a safe place to hide inside of us. All that part of us wanted was to be accepted, loved, and protected, and even now, that’s all it really wants.
Therein lays the key to resolving the conflict between the adult rational part of you and your inner child.
You can give your inner child the love and acceptance he or she longs for and invite him or her to have an honored and safe place to live in your current world, where you can share life in harmony, no longer fractionated, safe and secure, with no need to hide.