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Developing Healthy Inner Relationships

By Arline Rowden

Many years ago, I was well into my Inner Child work when I realized that this vulnerable sensitive child needed some serious help. She needed healthy nurturing inner parents, not the same parental voices that had damaged her positive sense of self when she was a child. I realized that I was continuing the negative patterns within me that my parents had used. Of course, they were passing on their families’ legacies just as they were passed on to them. They did not have the opportunities for change that I have been blessed with; they were doing the best that they knew how to at the time.

In popular psychology, the Inner Child concept refers to a part of the adult personality that houses child-like and adolescent behaviors, memories, emotions, habits, attitudes, and thought patterns. Also, it is the part of the psyche believed to retain feelings as they were experienced in childhood. (From various on-line dictionaries)

My inner child work was all-consuming in the beginning. Once I gave them permission to surface, the memories flooded into my conscious awareness along with the emotions connected with them. At first I just wallowed in the emotions and did a lot of feeling sorry for myself. Then came the anger towards my parents (1) for all that they did that hurt me and (2) for all that they did not do for me that hurt me. It seemed like I was going through stages of grief for a lost childhood.

During those stages, I only remembered all the hurt. I was certain that I did not experience anything pleasant during the 18 1/2 years I lived in my family home. There were a few good memories of times when I was away from home though. It was such a surprise later when I started to remember some “good” stuff. I even began to value some concepts that my parents had taught me. But those happenings didn’t take place for a while.

If I had not been such a sensitive child perhaps childhood would have been a different experience for me. It seems to me that being overly sensitive is a quality that many people on a spiritual path possess. It may be a part of that stage of development.

There have been many wonderful tools available to me during this journey. There have been books, support groups, individual therapy, Reiki & acupressure sessions and classes, meditation, Awakening Your Light Body course, studying about the chakras and emotional nature and behaviors, wonderful friends, teachers and mentors, etc. There was so much help and support available once I admitted that I needed it and reached out.

My healing journey continues to this day, but I am no longer disabled by my past. I still have some vulnerable areas but I also have my healthy nurturing inner parents to care for my inner child when she needs it. I also have a lot of support in my life. I’ve come to realize and accept that it’s my responsibility to take good care of myself emotionally. I need to make well informed choices in all areas of my life. And set healthy boundaries, etc. I needed to create a caring responsible adult inside of myself. Today I feel empowered and no longer feel like a victim in my life.

“Knowing others is wisdom, knowing yourself is Enlightenment.”   Lao Tzu

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