Every journey of knowledge of the child within, that leads us to contact it and to become aware of its energy, reveals its issues. They are the childhood wounds, what shaped our lives and that has made us who we are now as adults. These painful issues remain deeply etched in the unconscious and will continue to adversely affect adult life, unless we seriously take the intent to break free, to heal, to change for our own good.
Let’s see some recurring topics, in which everyone can recognize traits of him/herself and his/her relationships. And let’s also see the recommended routes to come out from suffering.
For the retreat “HEALING YOUR ROOTS”
1. What is meant by “wounded child within”?
The wounded child within is that part of us that has suffered a trauma, a shock, at an early age, and which has been unable to overcome it, to “digest” it, to move over. It has remained stuck there.
Let’s take the example of a 2 years old baby, whose mother died in an accident; this baby will however grow, he will physically become an adult, but inside he will carry the wound for having been abandoned: the pain of a sudden separation from the mother is too strong and painful to be accepted by his young consciousness, so it gets relegated into the unconscious. Regardless of how much support he might get to mourn, to elaborate the loss, to be comforted and reassured by other reference figures, he is too small to have the necessary awareness needed to integrate the experience. But as he grows up, just the body grows; deep inside, a portion of himself remains a 2 years old baby, crying in despair. That particular kind of pain did not disappear merely because the person has grown in height and is a few years older, the wound did not disappear merely because time went by: this has allowed survival, but it does not automatically imply deep healing. Therefore, it is a misunderstanding and a lie to think that “time is the best medicine,” or that “the past is the past”: these are common sayings that can please a superficial facade, they can give solace but they do not reflect the reality of things.
Adjusting is not healing. We can see it on the test bench of relationships: the boy we have taken as an example, as adult maybe will find a girlfriend, he’ll get married, leading a seemingly normal life, but he will remain deeply terrified, his actions will be secretly dominated by the anxiety of abandonment. This feeling can lead to panic attacks, so he will ask himself “Why?” seeking remedies everywhere …. Or, he will be suddenly abandoned by his wife, having attracted her as the external mirror of that part lurking in the shadow. So he will have the opportunity to head towards healing the ancient wound: if he grasp it, if he is true to himself, he cannot refrain from considering that 2 years old boy who is still there within himself: which hasn’t moved a millimetre, desperately waiting for the mother to come back.
2. Origin of the inner child wounds
Why the wounds? We are born completely open and vulnerable: the little baby is total innocence, his light is obvious, but he is not self-conscious. Therefore he is inevitably exposed to accidents along the way, as he is not able to look after himself or to choose what is fine for him.
He depends on the parents in all respects, and for a long time: think of the fact that the human infant, among mammals, is the one that necessitates to spend more time with parents and which is more in need of their care. The baby is fed, washed, clothed, cared for till adolescence, the age in which he should be ready to take flight.
A wound is created by every adult’s act that doesn’t fully meet the kid’s intimate need, that would make him feel treated in the right way for him. There is an infinite number of ways and situations in which this happens, and every phase of childhood has its own: the way in which the baby is breast-fed, or changed, the weaning, the conveying of rules of containment, etc … without the adults, he would die. Therefore for the infant, having to conform to the family environment and to what it is offered, most times in spite of his will, even when not suited to his real needs, it’s a matter of survival for him. As long as he depends on adults, his rebellion is sterile, he has no choice but to let mom and dad do it their way.
He will strive to get the best out of a bad fate, wearing the “good boy mask”, developing a compliant and obliging personality; or he could withdraw within himself, becoming taciturn and shy, trying as much as possible to go by unnoticed; or even turning into a “problematic child” that very often throws a tantrum, expressing an excessive exuberance or getting hyperkinetic: these are different strategies adopted to defend oneself from feeling the wound. Substantially the child survives as best as he can.
The family is, for everyone, the first survival gym. Wounds are a challenge to survival: the child cannot endure suffering, so from the very beginning, he learns to compensate, by manipulating his energy configuration, so as not to feel the intensity of the wound.
The ego structure, which is also called personality, is built as a defence mechanism against suffering. The baby needs the ego to survive within the family, and then as an adult to survive in society, which is nothing more than the extension of the family, a broader context in which he will tend to repeat the same patterns of relationship, attracting people and situations similar to those that characterized the family atmosphere.
Though each one experiences traumas in a unique and subjective way, different wounds have similar energies: this observation has led researchers, like Reich and Lowen, to trace a typology, which has recently been taken up and summarized by Lise Bourbeau in the book “The five wounds and how healing them”. This interesting study provides us an orientation map to approach the wounded inner child into perspective, and to learn how to help ourselves.
3. The wounded inner child is within each of us
We made a striking example before, talking about the motherless child, but it is important to note that everyone, without exception, has a wounded inner child within.
Why? Because we all had to face survival tests. Even someone who comes from a “perfect” family hasn’t been seen, welcomed, listened to and loved for what he was. Sometimes the family picture where all is well and everyone is happy, is a cover up memory, an attempt to ward off suffering. In my experience as facilitator I have often come across people who are absolutely convinced of their idyllic picture, patently false because it does not fit the obvious difficulties of their adult lives. It’s a hard work to lead them to realize that things are different and that, if they want to get the solutions to their problems, they need to heal the inner child, as much as those who know they have had a difficult childhood.
So who has within himself a wounded inner child? Who needs to heal it? ALL of us. Without exception. The fact that not everyone wants to do it, it is another matter altogether, which concerns ones free will.
The question does not arise in terms of whether we had “good” or “bad” parents: it’s not a moral issue. There are no good or bad parents, but adults willing to get involved in healing and adults telling lies to themselves.
It’s important to understand that the wounds are not extraordinary events which affect only the less lucky, such as the untimely and tragic death of a parent, or a rapist father, or an alcoholic mother. Wound is everything that happens in the family and that is not in tune with the child’s sensitivity.
It’s just by investigating into ones own wounds that we discover, for example, that there are many ways and many nuances and gradations in abusing a child; probably most of us have suffered veiled abuses, maybe so repeatedly performed in time, as to become the norm. So, if we approach the subject of the wounded child within trying to determine in advance if and how much we suffered, we will not get on top of anything that bears a value for our personal evolution. We all have suffered, each in his own way, and each of us has subjectively perceived what it was.
Therefore, you cannot make comparisons between your suffering and that of another person, and you don’t heal by comparing.
The child’s suffering is always 100% because the child is total in the way he feels, he doesn’t experience things by halves. So even healing should have the same characteristics of totality and completeness, to make a significant change in your adult life.
Each of us has had his own unique family background. For the complete and deep healing of the wounded inner child, it is important that you go over your story again, coming back to that intimate space in which …. you as child are still dressed in the white and blue shirt, eating bread and chocolate, smelling the fresh hanging laundry, caressing the cat Jimmy, when Mom comes with curlers on her head and screams …. The more we open ourselves to the particularity of what we lived, the more our healing will be effective because it will be like reliving an experience, not a mere concept. In fact, as much as the wound is an experience, the healing as well must be experiential.
“Healing your roots” is a retreat
designed to heal the childhood wounds,
that enables you your complete and total experience of healing.
4. Why healing?
The starting point, the spring that at one point makes us decide to deal with the wounded inner child, is the objective consideration of our CURRENT life situation as adults: let’s have a look at it. It will be enough to take into account these three points :
- What We have. Are you 30 or 40 years old? Or maybe more? What have you built so far? What have you got in your hands? Are you living your life or someone else has decided for you? Is your life outlined, has its own profile? Or is it smoky? Are you happy with what you have or would you like it different or more expanded? How are you emotionally? And how are your relationships? In the different areas of your living, are you happy or are you just half pleased? Do you go ahead just caring for survival?
- What We want. Which are your wishes? Do you feel they are achievable? How much are you willing to do? Do you have genuine aspirations for yourself? What do you really care for? How your personal healing would look like?
- How much we care about ourselves. Certainly if we continue to put others before ourselves, our healing will never happen! A clear commitment with yourself is necessary.
Because the inner child’s wounds are hidden, it will not be the clear perception of them to push you into choosing the healing path. If you expect to understand beforehand which are the wounds of your inner child, as a motivation to begin the journey of healing and awareness, you will never start!
It’s the contemplation of your current life, of its limits, of what you would have wanted and could not yet actualize, of your failures and defeats, that should lead you to realize that inside the dissatisfied adult there’s a hurt inner child, with an absolute and urgent need to heal.
5. Do we grow through wounds?
A cliché says that one grows also through suffering, so the childhood wounds would be -according to this logic- propitious to growth. But is it really so? And what kind of growth is it?
We have seen that:
- wounds are part of the survival school
- ego or personality results from it
- ego or personality is a functional structure to survive
So with this in mind we can say that the child’s wounds allow our growth yes, but the growth of the EGO, which happens automatically as a result of being wounded. They certainly do not allow the raising of awareness, Self growth, the harmonious expression and expansion of our natural energy!
What is the ego? And why does it make you survive? It’s a limited configuration of your energy, which is programmed to do certain things, to react to an input in a certain way. So on the one hand it acts on your behalf when you are not conscious of your true nature. In this sense it ensures your survival. On the other hand this causes a wastage of energy, because it implies to always please others in exchange for a false endorsement. It seems a nonsense, but it’s so: as long as you’re identified with your ego, you live under the illusion that you’re doing something for yourself, but in fact you are doing it for the society, to extend and safeguard the conventions. And in all this, you feel detached from the Totality, from Nature, from the One. You are eradicated, basically because you are separated from yourself; this separation originates from the childhood wounds, that made you depart from your energy, with which you came into the world. It goes without saying it that a life based on the ego cannot lead to your happiness, because it is not designed for that purpose.
You cannot presume to be able to go towards happiness when you’re weighed down by the ego armour, which is only designed to make you survive. It would be like trying to cook a sweet cake having only 1 pound of rotten onions.
6. Healing is growing into awareness
So, if you want to be happy there is just a way: to transform your ego, to dismiss that structure that blocks your body and blinds your mind. You have only one way to do it: going to the ROOT where it all originated, to rewind the film of you early life, to recover it from the very beginning.
To heal the wounded inner child means to choose for yourself a new course of life, in which you will not be forced to grow through wounds, through suffering, because once healed you will no longer be interested in surviving anymore, but you will experience what does it mean truly living.
Only those who remain attached to the ego logic, cannot avoid once again to attract a growth through suffering: they repeat that pattern that has been introjected as children with the wounds, and which they aren’t willing to let it go.
The real growth, the full energy development, can only happen following a deliberate act, in which the individual takes himself by the hand, taking care about his own life, rediscovering the power to self-determine himself.
All this is what we do in the retreat “Healing the Roots”.
Do you want to get into a full experience of healing the wounded inner child?
HEALING YOUR ROOTS
HEALING THE INNER CHILD EBOOK