Have you ever been invited to do something and accepted, but felt an immediate dissonance with that decision?
Have you gotten teared up at a movie and felt a rush of emotion that you couldn't explain? Did you ever get 'irrationally' angry after that experience?
Have you made and kept an appointment with yourself to do something fun or relaxing like taking a walk, going out for coffee alone, or taking yourself to a movie, and felt completely blissed out before, during, but especially afterward?
Have you been with a friend who said something that rubbed you the wrong way, and you could not explain it, nor 'get over it'? Did you avoid
them as a consequence or just 'shut down' around them?
These are all examples of the existence of your inner child. She knows when she doesn't want to do something, or when her feelings get hurt, or when she feels happy and loved. You get 'punished' or 'rewarded' by her by acting against or in accordance with her desires and feelings.
Think of a time when your body responded against what you planned to do. Did you get sick just before an appointment? Did you struggle to find an excuse to say no? Did you follow through with the appointment only to feel disgruntled or frustrated?
Several years ago I had a very dramatic experience in which my inner child said, "THE BUCK STOPS HERE!" I had had several anxiety attacks (which was new to me) two days before and decided to take a walk in my favorite natural area and I asked my inner child,
"How are you?"
She responded by saying enigmatically, "I can't do it anymore."
I replied, "Do what?"
She said, "Care take your friends."
I was quite shocked, as I thought I had developed healthier ways of relating and all my friends were healthy as well.
Over the next few days, the anxiety attacks worsened severely, culminating in one that lasted for about 20 hours. Finally, I had to go see a Shaman to get my soul back into my body and then I learned that I was having a repressed memory of sexual abuse coming to the surface. After a year of EMDR and psychotherapy, and another year of practicing what my inner child was trying to show me, I recovered fully.
With all the inner child work I have done over the years, I can understand with a much deeper and broader perspective what was happening during that time. My inner child had gotten to a point where she refused to live with the strictures and distortions I was giving her. The repressed memory paled in comparison to the destructive pattern that was being revealed. This pattern is what allowed the abuse and the repression, as well as a host of other relationship problems. Well, my inner child finally, flatly refused to be pushed into the background, and I am much better off as a result.
The inner child has a tolerance level and resources to deal with all the really terrible things we throw at them. And then, sometimes, the tolerance juice is gone, the resources are used up. This is a great, great blessing. It is as if we have been handicapped or contorted for years and years, and finally we get our hands untied from behind our back, or we get our posture corrected and the muscle pain disappears.
If we can learn to honor the inner child and live in harmony with her, we will be much more whole and happy people, thriving, instead of surviving.