The Inner Child – To What Extent Can it Control Our Lives?

A new inner child of mine has been awakened and is trying to take over my life. I have been unaware of this particular inner child and was asleep to what was really going on beneath the surface. You can know something, as in “Oh yeah, I know that.” But it’s not the same as knowing something, as in the embodiment of the first hand experience of knowing something.

I actually felt shock as I began to understand the extent to which this inner child has literally ruled my life.

My inner child has tried to control me, and everything and everyone in my life in order to feel safe.

joystick inner child

Here’s how I found out . . .

About a week ago, I noticed I was getting edgy and really defensive. I was reacting and jumping at little things. My ability to let the “small stuff” roll off my shoulders wasn’t working.  I couldn’t just witness my feelings and stay open. It was intense. I was feeling things strongly 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 in me since returning from the Peru/Bolivia trip a few weeks ago. The trip had removed a hard, crusted layer of defense, like a mollusk who just shed it’s 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 mom had also just passed away. 

I was beginning to understand . . . this could explain what was happening. I wasn’t sure and felt there was still something missing.

puzzle piece

I knew I was experiencing something different: more intense and more frequent reactions and shut downs. As it turns out, the source of my radical behaviors were being generated from the fear my inner child was feeling. She wanted my attention . . . now, more so than ever before, so she had to make herself known. I have done layers of inner child healing work in the past which has allowed me to get this deep into addressing my core fear which is actually fear itself.

My inner child was feeling unsafe. Too many things were happening that threatened 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.

I mistook her insecurities and fear as my own, identifying with them and acting them out . . . like a child.

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.

crazy clock

Fragmentation and Inner Children

One thing I am also clear on is that I have more than one inner child. I’ve got Sophie who is the inner child I worked with in my book, Rosie who is around me a lot and wants to express herself in fun ways, and this one who is really scared – yet to be named. I understand about trauma, fragmentation and timelines. One piece fragments creating a part of you that remains stuck in time, left with all the trauma, feelings and issues it had when it split. You can read more about it here.

I realized that this inner child always carries fear because she is stuck in time due to trauma and can’t grow unless the issues are addressed and healed. When I am taking things personally and shutting down, I have then identified with my inner child’s fear, muddling the two of us together. In this state, I can’t provide her any reassurance that she is safe. In fact it’s the opposite. The truth is in the unspoken:

“You are not safe and can’t count on me to look after you because I am otherwise occupied, believing I am being attacked and having to defend myself against perceived hurts which I am taking personal.”

I can help my inner child heal as long as I remain clear about what is mine and what is hers. When I feel fear from my inner child, I can reassure her she is safe, that I am here and I will take care of her. If I happen to slip and identify with her feelings, I need to be kind to both of us, brush myself off and be more vigilant next time. In time my inner child will be able to heal and grow from this timeline and integrate fully into me.

A Few Words About Control

Since making the distinction between my inner child’s feelings and my own feelings, I can now see the extent to which my inner child has used control to help her deal with her fear of fear. It is massive. It touches every area of my life.

robot inner child

The worse part being it’s all been a bunch of lies:

  • I thought I was the one in control of my life – lie
  • My inner child thought she had to control everything in order to be safe – lie
  • Her fear is my fear – lie
  • It’s possible to control everything in my life – lie
  • Controlling everything in my life will keep me safe – lie
  • Control is freedom and happiness – lie
  • I believe I am happier alone, in a closed, contained environment – lie
  • I’ll do it my way and so will you – lie, and good luck

Here’s what my 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 unwelcome and scary
  • I panic if things get out-of-hand
  • Obsessive-compulsive behaviors
  • I have to keep up the pretense that I am in control
  • I am miserable in relationships trying to control someone else

I could add more, but you get the picture. It’s a relief to have this understanding and begin to let go of trying to control everything because my inner child is scared. I am now free to focus on healing this very scared little one. The people in my life will be especially happy!

Wishing you all a very prosperous and blessed new year! Thank you for your continued support!

7 thoughts on “The Inner Child – To What Extent Can it Control Our Lives?

  1. Donna, you have just described my husband. He’s in major child mode right now because of our loss of Echo, and I have no ability to reach him. He’s also stepped up the control in everything around him and when he attempts to apply that to me I say no way. You could say it is really upsetting in this house due to his behavior and there is nothing I can do about it until he SEES the child that is having the tantrum. I pray he WAKES up because he acts like this every single time a major stressor hits our lives. Grrrrrrrr ……..

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    1. Hi Amy,
      I feel for the both of you right now. There have been so many recent losses within your family unit which stir things within us – like fear. I hear your frustration! As you’ve stated, your husband’s inner child is scared and acting out and does not know how to cope with all this loss and change. Like what happens with me at times, my big self gets lost in the little self and I think it’s me with the problem so no one is steering the ship! Perhaps in a subtle way you could let your husband know he (and his child) are safe. That might be all he needs to hear – that things have happened and changed, but yes, he is safe and it’s ok to feel what he is feeling. Many hugs to you Amy and much love. So sorry to hear about Echo. ❤️

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      1. Donna, my family has been tremendously hit with Incredible loss back to back to back. I myself as you can well imagine, am reeling and it is taking everything that I know how to, to pull myself together and continue on. Echo was my husband’s guardian angel for lack of a better word. This cat was incredibly intuitive and knew exactly where my husband was and what he needed. Even our neighbors commented on how they have never seen any can’t act like he did with my husband. He was my husband’s Shadow, His buddy, always there. He represented a lot more for me and I loved him it away I cannot put into words. As for dealing with the little child that has now emerged, I have learned not to reciprocate which is extremely difficult to do, and to wait it out. I have learned I must withdraw for anything I say or do will trigger this child no matter what. My husband has to see for himself what is happening and so I pray that with my continued actions in my own way of doing things my husband will wake up. Thank you for your concern, dear friend. I write these words to you in a state of almost unbelief at how much tragedy has fallen on our home. Bless you for understanding.

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        1. Dear Amy,
          My heart goes out to you both as you are feeling and experiencing the tremendous amount of grief that has visited your doorstep. The physical presence of the people and pets you have lost can not be replaced as they all have special places in your hearts. I know you are doing the best you can and my thoughts and prayers are with you. Much love, Donna

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