It is the fundamental right of every child to feel secure, safe, and protected.
However, not every child feels the same way.
Growing up, it is the biological responsibility of the parents and the family members to create a safe environment for the children.
However, not all parents accept said responsibility, are aware of the responsibility, or even have the capacity to fulfill that responsibility.
Safety does not refer to physical protection from harm alone.
It also involves being supported on all aspects—psychological, emotional, and spiritual.
What Happens When You Don’t Feel Safe as a Child?
If you grew up with a feeling of constant endangerment, you will have a huge gaping wound in your psyche.
The painful wound is often repressed by adults.
However, it’s impact is both far-reaching and profound.
Inner child work is one of the most compelling and serious forms of inner work you can do.
Amazingly, so much of your neuroses, aversions, and behavior in the present can be resolved by communicating and exploring with your inner child.
What is the Inner Child?
In essence, it is the part of your psyche that still retains its awe, creativity, innocence, and wonder toward life.
Quite literally, it is the child that lives within you—within your psyche.
It is crucial that you stay connected with this sensitive part of yourself.
When you are connected to your inner child, you feel invigorated, excited, and inspired by life.
When you are disconnected, you feel bored, unhappy, lethargic, and empty.
What Does Feeling Safe Truly Mean?
As mentioned earlier, safety does not pertain to physical alone. It also means psychological, emotional, and spiritual.
When you have your emotional and physical boundaries respected and your authentic selves accepted, then you feel truly safe.
You need to also be given the permission to grow and change.
Ways You Can Be Made to Feel Unsafe as Children
Growing up, it’s safe to assume there were several ways you felt unsafe.
It is important to remember that your parents did their best with the level of education and information they had.
Resentment and blame will only serve to intensify the pain the inner child may be experiencing.
Below are some of the most common ways you were made to feel unsafe:
- You were told it is not okay to have your own opinions
- You were punished for speaking or acting differently
- You were discouraged from having fun or playing
- You were not allowed to be spontaneous
- You were not allowed to exhibit strong emotions like joy or anger
- You were shamed by family members or your parents
- You were regularly abused
- You were verbally criticized
- You were physically punished
- You were made to feel responsible for your parents and their level of happiness
- You weren’t given physical affection like kisses, hugs, and cuddles
Telltale Signs You Have a Wounded Inner Child
Pay close attention to the following signs.
They can help you learn the extent to which your inner child has been wounded.
The more signs that resonate with you and you say yes to, the more you need to consider working on your inner child.
- In the deepest part of you, you feel like there is something wrong with you
- You experience anxiety when thinking about doing something new
- You are a people pleaser and you tend to lack a strong identity
- You feel more alive when in conflict with other people
- You have a tendency to hoard things and have difficulty letting go
- You feel guilty for standing up for yourself
- You feel inadequate and not good enough as a person
- You are always driven to be a super achiever
- You believe you are a terrible sinner and that you are going to hell
- You constantly criticize yourself for being unworthy/inadequate
- You are perfectionistic
- You have trouble finishing or starting things
- You are afraid of expressing strong emotions such as anger or sadness
- You become rageful when you are mad
- You are ashamed of your bodily functions
- You spend too much time looking at pornography
- You distrust anyone including yourself
- You are addicted to something
- You avoid conflict every chance possible
- You are afraid of people and have the tendency to avoid them
- You are more responsible for others than yourself
- You never felt close to your mother or father
- You have a deep fear of being abandoned
- You struggle to say no
Over to You
If you said yes to ten or more of the statements above, working with your inner child should be a top priority for you. In our next article, we will tackle how you should work with your inner child and what you should do to start the healing process.