We all have a past. It’s part of the unique story that makes you who you are.
Being overly preoccupied with the past perhaps isn’t helpful; but there are undoubtedly important things from your history which, when worked through, can help you fully experience the present and look forward to enjoying a future filled with rewarding relationships.
I often notice with clients how difficult it often is for them to connect with any childhood wounding.
Telling the story can feel like a betrayal of a parent, particularly if they identify with difficulties in their parent’s story. For example, if the parent was ill, abandoned by a partner, suffered a bereavement, or had their own history of trauma. It’s often easy is to connect with and understand the parents’ hurt.
But, what this means is leaving the experience of the child (you) out of the story.
In her book, The Drama of Being a Child, Alice Miller describes how we all have a story of childhood wounding. Whether the scar feels like from a scratch or a more serious stab wound, it’s there.
Who’s Really In The Driving Seat?
The Inner Child is the part(s) of you that remembers the story of this wounding; how it formed and how it felt. This lived experience stays with you filtering down your psyche, forming layers. I think Russian Dolls symbolise brilliantly how beneath the appearance of your adult self, your childhood experience remains part of you.
Whatever your childhood was, those experiences travel with you every day, wherever you go. They are embedded in your brain continually and powerfully influencing your mood, sense of worth, expectations, and reactions to others.
This response to others includes your reactions to your partner. Your Inner Child is in your relationship. And sometimes this child is at the ‘wheel of the bus.’ That’s not great. Children cannot drive. It’s not safe, and it’s scary.
When The Wounded Inner Child Is At The Wheel
Do any of these feel familiar:
- Sulking, withdrawing, or other avoidant behaviours. (The child who felt alone.)
- Controlling which includes excessive helping and rescuing ways. (The child who felt frightened and scared.)
- Attaching meaning to certain behaviours without being willing to check it out. (The child who learned not to trust anyone.)
- Blaming and not being willing to accept responsibility; it’s always someone else’s fault. (The child who felt bad.)
- Not speaking up for yourself, always being the ‘reasonable one’ and ending up feeling taken advantage of. (The child who didn’t feel good enough.)
- Feeling too scared to be intimate and open with your partner and feeling anxious about what your partner thinks of you. (The child who didn’t feel lovable.)
- Having low expectations of how a healthy relationship looks. (The child who felt worthless.)
Being aware of this childhood wounding doesn’t give you permission to behave in inappropriate ways or tolerate unacceptable behaviour from your partner. What it does do is open the way for more compassion, understanding, kindness, healing and the opportunity to do things differently.
Taking Back The Wheel
Harville Hendrix says the prime reason couples choose their partners is to have their unmet childhood needs to be met. Your childhood wounding and relationship are inextricably linked. And this is all entirely unconscious. It would seem the soul has a way of guiding you toward potentially healing people and experiences.
Your role then is to get conscious and to understand the specific ways in which you were wounded. When you have a grasp of where your wounds have come from, you will know what upsets, aggravates or soothes your Inner Child.
More importantly, you will learn how it drives your Inner Child to react. These are the times when the adult needs to show compassion and get back in the driving seat
Healing Childhood Wounding and Relationships
You can heal your childhood wounds. This does NOT mean blaming your parents. What it does mean is getting to know and understand yourself and your partner more intimately.
Counselling is a great way to start. But if you fancy a good read My Lover; Myself: Self-Discovery Through Relationship by David Kantor is a beautiful book to help you discover you and your partners’ stories and foster deeper compassion in your relationship.
Over To You
Do any of these resonate with the way that you behave or perhaps you recognise these in your partner? Do you sometimes find yourself feeling as if you are responding in an immature way or find yourself saying to your lover ‘just grow up’?
Perhaps it’s just because inside there’s a 17-year-old adolescent or 5-year-old little one trying to get an unmet need met.
If you want to explore your relationship with your Inner Child and they show up in your relationship get in touch and book your first counselling appointment.
Or call me today on 07535 864836.
Leave a comment below; I’d love to hear from you.
P.S. PASS IT ON
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© Sandra Harewood
Soul Centred couples counsellor Sandra Harewood specialises in working with couples and single women with childhood wounding that impacts their adult relationships. Sandra provides a soulful space for her clients to explore and discover creative solutions to their difficulties and create great relationships.