(NaturalNews) Of course you know there is not an actual child inside of you. No little version of yourself is physically stuck in there somewhere, whining, complaining and feeling hurt or afraid. The inner child movement merely suggests that you act as if this were true. If you choose to accept that there is a hurt little kid in there pulling the strings, then all of your errant behavior may suddenly makes sense. You are acting like a child and need justification for it.
Is the inner child model worthwhile or just an excuse to remain immature?
The debate has to do with whether or not fabricating an inner child is helpful. Does this model give people a way to nurture themselves where their early caregivers failed? Is it possible to give yourself what your mother never gave you? Does pretending to have an inner child (even visualizing it, naming it, cuddling with it) offer more relief from emotional suffering than other methods of emotional healing?
No, it does not. There are much more effective methods of healing than turning toward your inner child. Why not turn toward the people in your present life instead? Following are two fictional but typical examples comparing an inner child approach to a fully adult day approach.
An argument among Morty, Sandra and Morty's 7-year-old inner child
Sandra: Morty! Geez how many times do I need to tell you to put the toilet lid down! I am so SICK of it. Try considering the people that have to live with you for a change! You think you're the only one who uses the bathroom around here? You are such a narcissist!
Morty: (Feeling attacked, hurt and resentful) Ok already! I can't be perfect, you know!
Morty retreats to his room, whispering to his inner child that it is OK. Sometimes people get upset and attack. It is not the child's fault. His inner child aches and longs for understanding and a relief from life's endless responsibilities. Morty reassures the child that he will be taken care of. He returns to Sandra feeling a need to protect his inner child from such irrational anger.
Morty: Sandra, I'm ok now, but please don't talk to me like that. I feel like I really need to protect myself from you sometimes and I hope you can work on that.
Sandra: Protect yourself from what? Your own unwillingness to think of others? What about the frickin' toilet seat?
We can only imagine where the conversation goes from here and how satisfied Morty and Sandra are.
Now, let's venture into another relationship, that of John and Sandra. For John, there simply is no inner child in play. For him no such thing exists. John is not attempting to nurture a wounded child while living in the adult world. Nevertheless, his personal feelings are important. Those feelings are understood, however, as the feelings experienced by all of himself (not just an inner part of him) as an adult.
John knows that when his feelings are hurt by someone he loves, the very best remedy is not to turn inward toward his wounds, but toward his loved one, trusting in their love to help resolve matters.
In doing this, John knows that there are two ways to express inner feelings: a mature way and an immature way.
To get what he needs, the mature way of self-expression is required. Any feeling is fine, but the expression must be as an adult. Here goes:
Sandra: John! How many times have I asked you not to leave the toilet seat open? I am so sick of this! It is disrespectful, so kindly stop it! When are you going to start taking my requests into consideration, sir, and stop being so selfishly absent-minded?
John: (Takes a step back, his feelings hurt, but understands he did not honor his wife's request. Remember, John is an adult.) First, you're right. I screwed up for the hundredth time and I apologize.
Sandra: Thank you!
John: Secondly. It hurts when you are so harsh. I know the toilet seat thing is important to you and I swear I will get it down one day, but I really want you to treat me with greater respect.
Is this not enough to bring Sandra and John the acknowledgement they need as adults with wants, needs and feelings? Is it really necessary to delve into childhood to resolve their issue, including John's hurt feelings?
But I really was wounded as a child and those wounds have not been dealt with!
Yes, you were wounded and you continue feeling wounded. This doesn't mean you have an inner child. You still have a tendency to be hurt in certain situations. We all do. Still, your wife did not sign on to be your mother. You are in an adult relationship with adult expectations.
The critical question is: Are you willing to express your feelings in a mature way?
The mature, adult expression of feelings is the key to healing even old wounds that continue today. Childhood hurts could not be expressed with maturity during childhood. The good news is, as an adult, you have an unprecedented opportunity to express your feelings and heal each and every new example of hurt in your life.
The critical realization to have is simple: You are an adult! 100%. No turning back! For some, this realization happens naturally. Some people march right into adulthood. Others cling to childhood hurts and resist the natural process of growing up. No one knows why this is the case, as many mature adults were hurt as a child by negligent and uncaring parents. If you are clinging to childhood pain, you may need some help (from another adult) letting go.
Once you commit to holding yourself to an adult standard of conducting yourself, any emotion, even the deepest pain that may have begun in childhood, can be appropriately expressed in the present. When you do this, real healing takes place, no inner child necessary.
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