Our core childhood needs are:
- Freedom to be yourself, and to have your emotions and needs validated
- Appropriate limits so you learn self-control
- Independence, competence and self-identity
When triggered by one of these needs not being met, you may find yourself feeling and acting as you did when you were a child.
This is the reason going home can be hard for so many people. I often hear people say, “I have done so much work on myself, and I have improved in so many areas, but when I go home, I find I am totally triggered and end up acting like a child.”
This is because there is still a child-like part of us that exists in our psyche. If our need for secure attachment was not met as a child, and we experience this again in our intimate relationship as an adult, the child part will react. When a child is trying to establish a secure attachment, the child might become incredibly anxious and follow the care giver around. The child might throw tantrums to get their needs met. This might have worked as a child, but it is not likely to work as an adult.
The problem is that when we are in this state it is hard to reason with ourselves. It is our pain body doing the talking. It is likely that after these episodes that you feel a deep sense of shame, of not being ‘mature’ of self-criticism and judgement. This is a great opportunity to practice self-love and self-compassion.
Please know that these responses are natural when your needs were not met as a child. Know also that you CAN learn to know your needs and meet them. As you get to know yourself in this new way and grow your inner core of stability, this reactiveness subsides. I have seen it happen over and over again.
If you feel called to start working with your inner child, a great place to start is with my “Inner Child Healing Meditation” – Link in bio.
Wherever you are on your #healingjourney, it is perfect for you right now.
Much love, Jen
Reference: Farrell, J. M. & Shaw, I, A. (2018). Experiencing Schema Therapy from the Inside Out. The Guildford Press: London, UK.