I’m reminded of a time when my inner child was desperate to control me, and everything and everyone in my life in order to feel safe.
Here’s the story as it unfolded:
I noticed I was getting edgy and defensive. I was reacting and jumping at little things. My ability to let the “small stuff” roll off my shoulders wasn’t working. It was a time when I couldn’t just witness my feelings and stay open. It was intense. I was feeling emotions like hurt and rejection because I was taking things personally, way more than usual. This was causing me to shut down at the drop of a hat, enough for me to take notice and question:
What the heck is going on?
This isn’t like me? Then I looked back. I remembered a layer of vulnerability had surfaced after returning from Peru/Bolivia, where I suffered from life-threatening dysentery. The trip had removed a hard, crusted layer of defense, like a mollusk who just shed its shell. This new layer didn’t have the protection I was used to, leaving me feeling open and unarmed. It was a bit scary.
My mother had also just passed away.
I was beginning to understand . . . this could explain what was happening. I wasn’t sure and felt there was something missing.
I knew I was experiencing different, more intense and more frequent reactions and shutting down. As it turned out, the source of my radical behavior was being generated from the new vulnerability my inner child was feeling from me. She wanted my attention . . . now, more so than ever before. I had done layers of inner child healing work in the past which allowed me to get this deep into addressing my core fear which is fear itself.
My inner child was feeling unsafe. Too many things were threatening her sense of security. Things were happening she couldn’t control. She came to me looking for safety and assurance, and I failed her right off the bat.
A very common mistake. I thought it was me who was feeling unsafe, hurt and rejected because I was without my old defenses. I was stuck having to feel everything . . . not pleasant, but necessary because it got my attention. The timing was perfect for a healing.
When we take things personally and shut down, we then identify with our inner child’s fear, muddling the two together. In this state, we can’t provide her/him any reassurance that they’re safe. In fact, it’s the opposite:
“You’re not safe and can’t count on me to look after you because I am otherwise occupied, believing I’m being attacked and having to defend myself against perceived hurts which I’m taking personally.”
We can help our inner child heal if we remain clear about what’s ours and what’s theirs. When we feel fear from our inner child, we can reassure him or her that they are safe, that we are here, and will take care of them. If we happen to slip and identify with our inner child’s feelings, we need to be kind to both of us, brush ourselves off and be more vigilant next time. In time your inner child will be able to heal and grow from this timeline and integrate fully.
Since making the distinction between my inner child’s feelings and my own, I could see the extent to which my inner child had used control to help her deal with her fear. It’s massive. It touches every area of my life.
The worse part being it’s all been a bunch of lies:
- I thought I was the one in control of my life
- My inner child thought she had to control everything in order to be safe
- Her fear is my fear
- It’s possible to control everything in my life
- Controlling everything in my life will keep me safe
- Control is freedom and happiness
- I believe I’m happier alone, in a closed, contained environment
- I’ll do it my way and so will you
Here’s what my illusion of life looks like “in control”:
- Control keeps my world small and limited
- I am always tired, unexpressive, and predictable
- I judge those who will not comply
- Change is unwelcomed and scary
- I panic if things get out-of-hand
- Obsessive-compulsive behaviors
- I must keep up the pretense that I’m in control
- I am miserable in relationships trying to control someone else
It’s a relief to have this understanding and to let go of trying to control everything because your inner child is scared. It leaves you free to focus on healing this very scared little one when needed. The people in your life will be especially happy too!
More information on healing the inner child and healing fragmentation:
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