Healing the Wounded Inner Child

"Are we re-creating the past in the present?"

Reclaiming our childhood is painful because we must grieve our wounds. The good news is that we can do this. Grief work is the legitimate suffering we've been avoiding with our neuroses. Jung said it well: "All our neuroses are substitutes for legitimate suffering." Grief work, which has been called original pain work, demands that we re-experience what we could not experience when we lost our parents, our childhood, and most of all our sense of I AMness. The spiritual wound can be healed. But it must be done by grieving, and that is painful.

John Bradshaw 'Home Coming'

Many of the struggles and hurts of today have their roots deep in the past. Our ways of relating are patterned on the relationships of childhood. Connecting the present day feelings with experiences of the past is an important aspect of the healing process.

If you could but see yourself in a continuous process of moving toward wholeness and completion, you would have the larger context you need to understand all of your behaviour. Your attempts at completion often look very self-defeating, but they also tell you where you are stuck in your process of completion. The natural learning style of all human beings is to repeat behaviours until the understanding or awareness is complete. When these unresolved problems and conflicts reappear in your current relationships, they present you with another opportunity to reach completion. One thing you can count on is that if you don't complete and resolve the problems, they will reappear again and again in your life.

Barry Weinhold 'Breaking Free of Addictive Family Relationships - Healing your own Inner Child'

Many of the protective and coping mechanisms that were relevant to us as children are still being used unconsciously and automatically (most often destructively), in our lives now. As we make conscious the decisions we made from hurt, pain and powerlessness, and resolve the issues involved, we move forward with clarity and creativity. In this work there is a very practical focus on recognizing the new adult steps that life is calling us to take.

Drawing is a wonderful process for creative self-expression

Since our self-limitations have been created by us, usually in response to childhood pain and the limitations of our own parents and family, the process of reclaiming all of our selves must include re-visiting our childhood. By feeling our childhood hurts, we strengthen our adult capacity for embracing the opposites within - the good and bad aspects of our parents, the good and bad aspects of our own inner child, the pain and the pleasures experienced by our open, undefended child-self. And we discover that we have a much greater capacity now to tolerate feelings and realizations that might have seemed intolerable to our fragile child-selves. We learn to go back and re-experience what was incompletely felt or denied or inwardly split off from. In this process we uncover the limiting and negative beliefs and ideas we have about life. This then creates a benign circle of positive expectation, fulfilled by benign experience, which reinforces our optimism and openness towards life.

Susan Thesenga 'The Undefended Self'

The various processes we use teach us to connect and listen internally. They can bring a new integration of inner and outer life; a new awareness of what has been for so long unconscious; and a dynamic new relationship to Life and our body.