I recently started reading a new book.
If I am honest, it has been a long minute since I last picked up a book, but I was cruising amazon not so long ago and when I stumbled up on this one I thought why not.
The book is called “Healing Your Lost Inner Child” written by Robert Jackman, a licensed psychotherapist and reiki master. The premise of his book is the HEAL approach – Healing and Embracing an Authentic Life. His book is a series of insights, stories, personal history, and exercises.
I am not certain I will finish the book, I don’t want to set an expectation I may disappoint myself on, but I will share as much as I can while it holds my attention.
In the first chapter of the book it introduces the idea of deep childhood wounds due to traumatic events or abuses we experience. As we navigate survival as children, we develop maladaptive behavioral patterns and coping skills to manage our fear and confusion. These skills follow us into adulthood and often times don’t suit us well in adult situations.
The author explains that as adult survivors have two very different and completely separate reactionary parts – our wounded child and our logical adult self.
And they couldn’t be more opposite each other.
In situations that we interpret as dangerous or threatening our wounded child parts can engage and take over as our inner child fights for attention, acknowledgement, and comfort long before our logical self even understands what is happening.
Recognizing that we have these wounded parts is the first step to healing them and feeling the empowerment of managing them properly.
Impulsive Reactions: The Lists
The first exercise was geared to bring me into contact with my inner child and her emotional reactions and coping skills as a child. Equip with a two-page list in the book of different emotional responses/reactions abused children exhibit I was tasked with marking the ones I remember from childhood and then from that list, circling the ones that have followed me into adulthood.
It was a really hard exercise – partly because I still struggle to connect to the emotions (let alone responses) of myself at such a young age, but also because some of the behaviors are hard to admit.
For me the lists became very separate – things I do as an adult with a small number of things I remember doing as child.
The Child’s List
- Sneaking around as a child
- Hiding (literally)
- Bullying other children
- Feeling less than **
- Mind reading what others thought of me **
- Rebelling against authority **
- Trying to be peacemaker within my family unit
- Always feeling anxious (though I had no idea what it was until I was an adult) **
**followed me into adulthood
That’s it – that is all that I could remember/connect with as I sat and tried to remember how I felt as a child reading through two pages of emotional responses.
A Few From the Adult List
- Shutting Down/Withdrawing emotionally
- Being quiet in order to not draw attention
- Passive Aggression
- Too involved too fast
- Mind read what others think of me
- Suppressing emotions causing anxiety/depression to worsen
- Avoiding conflict
- Doubting Myself
- Wanting it to be over
- Feeling responsible for everything bad that happens
- Apologizing all the time
- Being a fixer
My list is so much longer than what is written above, I figured you wouldn’t want to read a list as long as mine. It was glaringly clear to me as I looked at both lists that I am still struggling so much to connect to my younger self.
I appreciated the exercise and look forward to chapter 2.
If you are interested in purchasing this book to read yourself, click the link below.