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A dear friend of mine posted a meme on Facebook that stated, “the first fifty years of childhood are always the hardest.” I agree as what most of us do not understand is unless your inner child has healed, is happy and feels safe, life will always appear to be harder than what it is. That meme inspired this blog.

The questions I’d like to ask are; did you experience a wonderful childhood? If so, chances are, you are close and integrated with that creative and childlike person within your adult self. If by chance, you consider your childhood as lacking, painful or neglectful, you would have possibly experienced one or more of the following.

Mental Abuse:
Ignored by parents
Constantly punished
Not nurtured by parents
Too many high expectations
Being put down or rejected
Exposed to unhealthy behaviors
Not embraced by parents/guardians

Experiencing mental abuse leaves a child hopeless as they will develop deep-rooted anger issues and fears from unresolved childhood pain. More than likely, you probably suffered addictions like drugs and alcohol, gambling, shopping, etc. These addictions are an unhealthy way of coping and provide a sense of comfort and safety in your adult life as your inner child feels unsafe. Also, you probably developed physical or mental dis-eases.

Physical Abuse:
Lack of affection (kisses, hugs)
The absence of food and shelter
Slapped, kicked, punched, bitten and any form of violence
Violent behaviors
Unprotected sex
Addictions to drugs, alcohol, food, etc.
Physical neglect of self, e.g., compulsive eating, or unhealthy eating habits

Physical safety is one of the most nutritious elements of a loving relationship. We witness this all the time when we see parents showing affection and providing food and shelter to their children. In the presence of physical abuse, the following occurs

Emotional Abuse:
Yelling or swearing
Ignoring or excluding
Threats and intimidation
Name calling or insults; mocking
Lack of shared love, support, and protection
Lack of emotional support from parents or guardians
Disapproval or rejection of your emotional expressions
Denial of the abuse and blaming the victim

Experiencing emotional abuse leads to the inability to access your self-worth and esteem and with that you are more likely not to express, respect or believe your emotions or needs are essential. You may hide or avoid your feelings as you revert to your unwanted child as a way to protect yourself. You probably developed physical or emotional dis-ease as you have ignored your emotions for too long. Your feelings are a direct connection to the best part of you, that which is your spirit and needs nurturing, and to be expressed, and respected. Otherwise, you revert to the neglected child within you and create an imbalance within your body. Lastly, you will be emotionally disconnected as there is no self-connection.

Sexual Abuse:
Rape or attempted rape
Unwanted kissing or touching
Sexual insults toward someone
Unwanted rough or violent sexual activity
Sexual promiscuity, withdrawal or dysfunction
Threatening someone into unwanted sexual activity
Pressuring someone to have sex or perform sexual acts
Sexual contact with someone who is under the influence of a controlled substance or otherwise incapable of consent

To me, sexual abuse is by far one of the worst experiences anyone can ever endure. This form of abuse leaves a child feeling an entire list of unhealthy emotions, patterns, and behaviors.

Loss of control
Anger and blame
Shock/ Numbness
Changes in how we view trust
Promiscuity, withdrawn or sexual dysfunction
Inability to access self-worth, esteem, and confidence
Self-blame/guilt for “allowing” the crime to happen
Dissociation or disconnection from life (inability to function in the real world)

In essence, any form of abuse projected onto a child creates one hell of an inner child to deal with as we reach adulthood. However, please understand this, while some, or maybe many of our problems stem from childhood neglect; blaming, self-pity and un-forgiveness will never benefit our mind, body or soul. Your parents were more than likely victims of the same behaviors they projected onto you as otherwise how would they know. We are creatures of recreating our childhood energy.

Personally speaking, I am very familiar with all forms of abuse, and for decades my inner child was in charge, and not only wreaked havoc on me but my relationships, finances, health and wellness, career/life purpose, sexuality, spirituality, and home life. You will witness my childish behaviors during my adult years as stated in my books, Perfectly Planned and Overcoming Toxic Relationships. Moving forward; how do you know when your child is present, and your adult is dormant?

There are certain behaviors that a child exhibits that an adult would not participate in under normal circumstances. Imagine dealing with a child; it’s like trying to manage a stray bullet; it will not be easy. When you spend time with your child, you witness this with their ability to express themselves and tell you exactly what they want, and if your feelings are hurt, they have no idea, yet more then often adults take it personally. Looking back when my son was three years old, I recall being in Walmart, and he wanted more toys. I refused to purchase what he wanted and my goodness, that kid was on the floor kicking and screaming. Had I gave in to him, he would have used that tantrum-like behavior for many years to come. I recall when my son was four years old and we were in Walgreen. We walked past the “Ped Egg” (used for removing feet callouses), and out of nowhere, my son said, “Ma you need to get that for your foot.” Wow, was I embarrassed? (lol) For the most part, children are free, creative, spontaneous and impulsive while lacking the ability to think first as they act and react.

As we become adults, we believe our inner child is dead and gone, I beg to differ, your inner child is alive, kicking and screaming while ruining your relationships. Imagine a time in your life when you were emotionally overwhelmed or just felt stressed out. More than likely, you reverted to your childhood behaviors to get your needs met. Here’s an example from my book Overcoming Toxic Relationships. I visited my ex-boyfriend at his home, (we were still sleeping together) and he refused to let me in because he had company. I was furious as I wanted to go in and see who was his company. The idea of him having another woman in the house enraged me so while talking to him through his basement window; I kicked it in. Stop right there. Destruction of any property will land your ass in jail. And that is where I was about fifteen minutes later.

Children are careless when they are angry as they have no idea how to express or control their emotions. A mature adult would have paused and thought about the consequences. So guess what, my inner child surfaced and landed me in jail. How do I know that was my inner child? Because, when I was a child, I behaved the same way out of anger. I would break things or become destructive. The list below explains the difference between adult behavior and child-like behavior.

Adult Behavior versus Child-like Behavior

Blaming– Children blames others when things go wrong. Children don’t even understand what accountability means. Adults are accountable as they look to fix the problem, so it doesn’t happen again. Adults know that in every situation, both parties have to look at self. Think of a time when you blamed someone knowing you were responsible. What if you took accountability? What would you have learned?

Reactive– Children react as they respond to a situation rather than becoming proactive or creating a better outcome. Children don’t have the cognitive ability to think about consequences. Adults are proactive and work to create a result that works for both parties. How does this look? Think of a time when you reacted to a situation or stimulus (trigger), and the outcome was worse than the situation. If you had thought first, what would you have done differently?

Hasn’t Accessed Higher or Other Self (Egotistical)– Children that lack maturity does not understand the higher self or realize when they have stepped out of line or disrespected their values or beliefs. Hence, the reason they blame others as they are incapable of “seeing” their ways of error. As an adult, how many times have you blamed someone else for your emotional outburst or irrational behaviors? Children do not understand their “higher” self. Mature adults recognize when their behaviors are out of line, will revisit the situation, apologize where necessary and be accountable. Grown-ups understand that the Ego or “little self” is reactive, destructive and more importantly, self-sabotage.

Impulsive– Children strike out when they feel hurt or mad. They speak carelessly and behave irrationally without thinking about the potential consequence. Adults pause and resist the temptation to spit venom on others. Adults maintain their love and understanding. They work through the issue while seeking a beneficial outcome. Think of a time when you felt hurt or mad and impulsively reacted without thinking about the consequences. Did you cause more pain?

Does not listen– Children refuse to listen as they are rebellious as they interrupt others when talking. Children don’t realize that when they do not listen, they are creating a problem for themselves. Also, children don’t understand the value behind listening. Adults are prepared to learn as they know there is always a lesson and they respect others viewpoints.

Lies– Children lie to save themselves or others, but adults are honest as they understand lies destroy everything. What’s more, adults realize they have nothing to fear by being honest as they do not have to protect themselves from anyone. The truth always sets you free even if that means, ending a relationship because of your lies; you are now free to be single and lie to yourself or no one at all.

Defensive– Children use defense mechanism to protect themselves and get what they want. Children are quick to accuse and say, I did not do or say that. Adults use defense mechanisms like listening and problem-solving.

Problem-Focused: Children are not solution oriented as they have no idea how to address any issue, so they will carry on for days talking about a problem, never once thinking about how to solve it. Adults or mature adults are solutions focused as they realize focusing on problems will only create more. Mature adults understand the only way to move forward is to create a solution.

How many of the listed behaviors do you partake in as an adult? Be honest, so that you know when your inner child is present and so that you can heal your inner child, and prevent more sabotage. In those times listed above, your inner child will wreak havoc on your relationships, or even your life. People stressed out may rely on childhood behaviors to get their needs met. Hence, when one is stressed out, they are not in their “right” mind. For adults who were not adequately nurtured or made to feel safe in childhood, their inner child will behave destructively throughout adulthood. Even in the absence of childhood trauma, we all have an inner child that needs to be loved and kept in check.

Healing Your Inner Child

Open up and Connect– Allow people in and be willing to unite, remove the fear. Fear will only stunt your emotional growth thereby, slowing the growth and healing of your child. Be vulnerable as it is a great place to be. Don’t worry about what people will say or think of you. Allow people in so that you can grow as people show up in your life to teach you about you, not them.

Remember Your Inner Child- What was he or she like? Write it down, so you know when your inner child is present and dominating your life. Be aware of who he or she was. Was he or she smart, scary, fearless, loud, soft-spoken, outspoken, talkative, shy, etc.? Who were you as a child? Remember that person and be able to differentiate between your adult and inner child. Trust me, he or she exists and is waiting for the moment to show up and show off.

Embrace Your Child– Your inner child lives and when someone says you are behaving immature, know that it is your inner child they speak of and that is okay. All children are naive. Embrace that little person and protect him or her. Embrace him or her. Love him or her. Speak positive about your inner child and express love and compassion for your little person. Make your inner child feel safe and loved.

Hun Fun/Play-What did you like to do when you were a kid? Did you want to play jump rope, play basketball, swim, watch cartoons; what brought you joy as a child? Allow him or her to come out and play. Dance like no one is watching. I know you did as a child. I did and still do today. Your inner child needs to laugh until their stomach hurts. Do you remember laughing so hard your stomach hurt? Whatever you wanted to do as a child and could not; do it today.

Provide a supportive, loving and nurturing life for self– If you are living in a toxic or neglectful environment today as an adult, you are not helping your inner child’s healing. What’s more, you are adding more pain and misery on top of your childhood pain. Be kind to yourself. Know your worth. Believe in you. Eat right and exercise. Relax and detox your mind, body, and soul. Take care of you as no one else will.

Remove the Victim Mindset– What happened in your childhood and if it were anything like mine, I understand why you would be afraid to open up and love, have fun, trust, love self and remember. It might just be too painful; however, today, you are not a victim. You are not a child as you are an adult. You have the power to create what you want in your life, but, believing you are a victim, disappointments will always arise. You are a creator so be careful what you allow in your life. If more pain occurs, be accountable and see what you could have done differently. Don’t let your inner child blame anyone for your choices as they are creations. You are not a victim, and only a child would behave as one. Go out and live. Remove the fear and trust the process of life. No one is doing anything to you. Remember, you are the creator of your life. So, if you want a better life, choose and create better experiences.

Cry, Release, Express– Allow your child to feel pain, cry, and release. Don’t ever deny your inner child the opportunity to release pain. Crying is a sign of life. Hence, it was the first thing you did at birth. It is one hundred percent okay to cry and express how you honestly feel and that is even if it hurts someone else. Don’t sacrifice self or harbor unhealthy emotions for the sake of others. Release those old emotions, or your inner child will release them on someone else.

Hang Out With Your Children– Spend quality time with your kids and be free. Let them teach you how to do the latest dance moves. Watch the movies they like to watch. Allow them to be who they are, and you will develop a special appreciation for children, therefore, appreciating your inner child. Trust me, my son and my inner child have the best times together. My teenager enjoys my son. My son is 17 today, and I am still healing my inner-child and learning through my son.

In essence, as long as your inner child is afraid and suffering, you can expect to experience difficult and painful relationships. To heal your inner child, you must love and accept self, all of you, flaws and all. You have to see that you are lovable, valuable and filled with greatness, and take steps to affirm that in your life.

Daily affirmations– I am worthy. I love and honor my inner child. I am safe, supported and loved. I am abundance and joy. I am beautiful and happy. You can also work on removing destructive habits and pessimistic mindsets and replacing them with positive ones, treating, acknowledging and rewarding yourself, self-care, exercise, self-dates, as well as understanding your mental, emotional, physical and spiritual needs. Understand and respect what makes you happy and what makes you sad. Stay true to yourself and stay in your lane.

If you require more assistance with removing negative thoughts or shifting your mindset, you can purchase my book Mental Makeover. If you need a one-on-one session with Coach Kelley, please click one-on-one session. Or complete the form below.

Thank you for reading. Please comment below and share with your network. Everyone needs empowerment and healing. Love & light to you.

CoachKelley, MSW, NASW, NSLS, ASCP
Healing Enthusiast 
International Holistic Healer
Health, Wellness, & Life Coach
International Award Winning 6-time Author
Professional Speaker