Childhood Wounds? In Your Difficult Family You Know You Didn’t Escape Being Wounded
Compared to many, my childhood was calm and quiet, since both of my parents were introverts and never fought in front of us, if they fought at all.
We didn’t witness any family dramas among the relatives either.
In my Japanese-American home in Nuuanu on the island of Oahu, there were no displays of anger, no physical or emotional abuse, no alcoholism, no signs of dysfunction.
No illness or death in our early years, either. Our parents never took long trips or were away much at all except for work nearby.
If you are on this site, you’ve had vastly different childhood. Yet in significant ways, we all have childhood wounding that can hinder our fulfillment of our potential.
Are You Playing Hide-and-Seek with Your Inner Children?
For most of my life, I would answer No to this question. Me? Inner child(ren)? I wasn’t even aware of them, or paid any attention to the concept of inner child work.
But things changed drastically in the last year and one half.
If you are reading this, you are in a different situation and well aware of your inner child(ren) and obviously want to learn more.
Congratulations! With the recognition of your inner children, you have a wonderful opportunity to explore yourself deeply to heal your broken heart.
As you realize, unless you recognize you have a problem, you are in no position to solve it, are you? It’s the same with the inner child challenge. And you’ve taken a big step.
How Does Our Inner Child Show Up?
How did things change for me in the last year and a half?
I started paying attention to my emotional triggers. Or as A Course in Miracles (ACIM) describes, “any disturbance in peace.”
Strong emotional reactions can come from a wounded young heart.
Being triggered if a sign of wounds—that is, when you get upset. And it’s hard to let it go. For example, someone criticized your work and you feel ashamed or angry, and can’t get over it quickly.
When your upset-ness has turned into resenting a person or situation a negative feeling lingers. Thoughts of vengeance can also show that a wound that has been touched.
Limiting Beliefs are Subtle Signs of a Wounded Child
When a young child is hurt, physically or emotionally, she often concludes that it’s her fault that that “something bad” happened to her. “I’m bad.” “I’m unlovable.” “I’m a mistake.”
In short, low self-esteem is a sign of that you were wounded young in life.
• I am alone.
• I have no control; I need control.
• I’m not important, worthy, deserving of attention, lovable, enough.
• Having emotions is weak and wrong.
• I’m in danger. I am not safe.
• I am right.
• I can’t stand it.
• I am special.
• Making mistakes is wrong.
• Anger is bad
• I am at fault most of the time.
• I am never to blame for anything going wrong.
• I am entitled to whatever I want and need.
• No one cares about me.
• I have no right to exist.
• I have to take whatever life hands me.
• I can’t trust anyone.
• I can’t get the love I want.
• I don’t belong.
• I’m valued if I’m useful.
• I am misunderstood. (from page 91, Listen to the Cries of Your Heart)
Some of these beliefs are easier to find than others. For example, if you find you have to have the last word in a discussion or argument, you probably have the belief that you are right and want to make that clear. Or, when someone rejects you, you can have a deep sense that not only that person but no one cares about you.
In short, it takes self-awareness to become aware of the beliefs that run your life. Many of them come from being hurt early in life.
Lifelong Strategies Suggest the Choice by a Young Child
• People pleasing
• Giving too much, always doing for others
• Trying to control people and situations, often leading
• Avoiding intimacy or commitment
• Overachieving, super-conscientious
• Overusing humor, being the class clown, comic relief, jester
• Judging, criticizing
• Being overly independent and self-reliant
• Being a perfectionistic and being critical
• Manipulating and controlling
• Holding back
• Staying in your head (staying mental)
• Staying active and being a doer to avoid feeling
• Grasping and being needy
• Being late, procrastinating
• Blaming, complaining, whining
• Escaping through addiction to food, alcohol, drugs, shopping, television
• Being overly responsible
• Being codependent
• Blaming yourself or making yourself the culprit to avoid attack
• Being glib or speaking in a loud voice pp. 108-109, Listen to the Cries of Your Heart
Any of the strategies above may suggest an early strategy adopted by a young child to “make it” or survive because she believed she was alone and the strategy would get her what she needed.
These strategies in themselves may not point to a young child’s presence. But if they cannot be modified it’s probably points to a wound. A young child often decides that the strategy means her survival or a way of getting what she needed in the world.
The Main Lesson of Being a Human—to Move to the Undefended Heart
Consider this idea: No one escapes being wounded in early childhood. Not only are these wounds touched by events as adults, we can find the layers of protection around our hearts: the early beliefs and limiting strategies.
I was an innocent adult walking around without a clue that I was wounded.
Now I realize that among other events, when my twin sisters were born 2 years and 2 months after me, my world suddenly changed. How caretakers’ attention went to my newborn sisters affected the care I received.
Everyone who has a younger sibling experienced a similar wound.
Any event that causes disturbance in care such as absence of mother for whatever reason creates a wound, or a death or dramatic illness in the family has similar effects.
Anyone who was adopted experienced a sudden separation from her birth mother.
Families, parents who create conflicts and tension in the home affect a child’s sense of safety.
And on and on.
For the Seekers of Truth the Child-Heart Method Proves an Answer
This blog was created to address many issues related to your inner child(ren). Please sign up for my future posts.
For a full answer or solution for childhood wounding please consider the purchase of Listen to the Cries of Your Heart: The Child-Heart Path to Your Inner Child.