Your inner child isn’t happy, make it grow up!

Modern spirituality and its ‘popular teachers’ often talk about our ‘inner child’. There are many misconceptions and misunderstandings about who and what that child is. People naturally want to nurture and cherish that child, as we would (and should) do with any child. We’re told to embrace it, honour it exactly as it is, encourage its innocent childishness. It’s good to protect children, making them feel safe and loved, but also our inner child needs to grow up. Otherwise, we’re nothing but children in adult bodies. Looking around to the world of now, this is exactly the emotional state many people are in.

As human beings we are on a path of spiritual development. This is, in fact, the essence of our human existence and the meaning of our presence on earth to begin with (a story for another time). One of the major challenges for life in this reality, is that we start completely incapable of doing anything. As babies we’re born helpless, defenceless and basically unable to communicate. We fully rely on our parents/caregivers for the first years (roughly decade) of our life. This becomes the first of the essential lessons in life… “trust and surrender”. Consequently, it’s also where many things start to go wrong for most people.

In other articles, I spoke about calcification and fragmentation of our developing consciousness and personality. I believe the inner child of many people, is the result of calcified fragmentation. That child isn’t pure innocence, it’s ego protecting itself. This is encouraged by way the outside world works. Only by making the child grow up, can we come into the power of our true Self. And only then will we understand our actual mission and purpose on earth. We can do all that, without losing real innocence, purity, and truth.

The inner child hype

Ever since I started my spiritual journey, I’ve come across references to our inner child. I thought this had to be some mysterious centre of our essence. Children are the ultimate embodiment of pure innocence, and adults have sullied and distorted that sacred being. There’s truth to these statements, and much of it has to do with the development of ego in our lives. But I don’t resonate with what people say in modern spirituality, let alone how they work with it.

The general idea is to worship and protect this sacred and pure core as it is. That’s what I did, basically doing whatever my inner child wanted me to. But I learned that this wasn’t okay. That inner child is not my core… it’s ego. I saw adults acting like a child, putting up shows, doing silly childish things. In a safe group setting, this should get us closer to who we truly are. It should make our inner child happy, and thus ourselves… but it never happens. It’s just a performance of adult bodies with a child behind the steering wheel. It all felt unnatural and confusing to me, especially because everyone but me went along with it.

Yet, the expression of our inner child has become like a hype. People who haven’t (fully) healed, justify their bad behaviour by connecting it to their child self. But that’s just running away from the responsibilities as an adult. In the end, their inner child becomes nothing more than an excuse for unhealed behaviour. I see this happening in new-age groups. And in tantra, I saw people close to me connect their own inner child with sexuality. They’re attempting to connect with innocence, I understand… but this is not the way. To me, this even comes close to paedophilia.

Crazy child, good child

That show or pretend-to-be-something has never resonated with me, not even in my childhood. Behaving silly, going crazy, letting emotions run free… it was never real. Maybe it was the alien in me that already reared its head back then. I always thought of other children as ‘simple’, even though I wanted to connect with them. As an adult, I still don’t resonate with mindless silliness and craziness, especially when people are drunk. Or they supposedly act on primal emotions under the guise of sacred energies or being ‘wild and raw’. In tantra these fake feelings become excuses to have sex with many people, and then call it freedom. But oftentimes it’s just an excuse to avoid responsibility.

Authenticity and truth are characteristic for children (when still unspoiled by adults). They’re also essential for spiritual development. This authentic Self seems to be different for starseeds, as we somehow tap into truth at different/higher levels of awareness. In my own starseed development, I’ve never wanted anything other than the absolute truth. Not some truth that fitted comfortably with my narrative and public image. Innocence and truth aren’t reserved for children, though… that is a false belief.

Parents sometimes overprotect their children from the dangers of the world. But children are not naive, and they often absorb the emotions of their parents. It’s the process of growing-up that matters. This doesn’t happen overnight when we turn 18, 16 or whatever. It’s a slow building of character and personality, and that’s where crystallisation, calcification and fragmentation come in. There also has to be balance between feeling freedom, while at the same time feeling comforted by boundaries. This balance may partly depend on cultural differences, but it always has to be a safe and loving environment. Unfortunately, that’s not always a given for everyone.

The trauma of childhood

Some people say that almost all children grow up in an unsafe environment, or that they never experience love. I’m afraid that this is indeed true for many of us. This starts with how our pregnancy was (even our conception), and the medical circumstances involved. Our own birth is the most traumatic experience we’ll ever have in our life (many specialists and researchers back this). Think about what this means… we start our life on earth with the biggest trauma we’ll ever go through. Some of us never heal from that.

As a baby we rely on our parents (especially our mother) for many years. What happens when we cry? Are we breastfed? Do we have siblings? What is the emotional maturity of the house we grow up in? Do we have both parents available? Who is taking care of us? These first years become the basis for our further childhood, where we start to develop as a unique personality. Again, this needs to be a safe environment. The way we are held and seen and allowed to express in these first relationships, gravely determines every relationship we’ll have in our life. I’m not exaggerating this… the first impressions create the framework for everything that is to follow.

Sometimes it seems as if all of life, and especially childhood, is just one trauma after the other. But it’s not about avoiding any of these events. We can’t protect ourselves (and our children) from feeling hurt, nor should we. It’s all about how we deal with what happens. In fact, many traumas shape us in a positive way. If we’re in a safe environment, we take lessons, change our behaviour, grow confident, develop as humans. We can play and make mistakes, learn from them, and still be worthy to receive love.

Unsafe environment

Unsafe environments aren’t necessarily about broken homes, physical or sexual violence, poverty, oppression, etc. Of course, when there’s physical danger and no food, it can never be safe… But I’m talking about what’s behind those feelings of safety. What does a child learn when parents are inconsistent in behaviour or emotionally on-and-off available. The intimate bond it had to have as a baby, is no longer providing enough safety. It can’t rely on that. Many children therefore start to overcompensate, looking for something that isn’t there. Others hide inside themselves, creating their own reality. And some even emotionally shut down altogether.

Whatever we do, it develops into false beliefs and unhealthy behaviour (for ourselves and/or others). This becomes the basis on which we build our own personality and views of the world. This is the framework to which we compare everything in life from now on. We start living in a world that isn’t real. Knowing there is no objective reality, our subjective reality should at least be open to change. That’s the way to learn, heal and develop, especially in our childhood. But a private world that is created from an unsafe environment, has to stay closed to remain a safe place. There is no real change possible.

On top of that, we now have false beliefs about love, intimacy, trust, emotions, etc. Yet, we use these beliefs to assess everything and everyone else, basing every decision on them. We build our own personality-complex on these beliefs and we expect to see this behaviour in others, too. That explains why many seek out partners/friends/lovers/enemies, who resemble our parents. It’s a subconscious need to alter and ultimately heal our relationship with them. In other words, we keep re-creating past traumas through relationships with others, thereby consequently confirming the original wound.

Fragmentation and attraction

Traumatic events disturb and interfere with the normal flow and crystallisation of development of personality. It becomes a distortion throughout all energy fields, resulting in calcification and fragmentation. These fragments from then on develop individually, although some fragments simply remain where they are in time. This means that a specific part of someone’s personality stops developing through time, or at least at a different rate. These are not necessarily small bits and pieces, btw.

This explains some of the issues people with Personality Disorders (like borderline and narcissism) run into. Their trauma is often not a one-time event or straightforward PTSD. They’ve had long-term exposure to unsafe or inconsistent environments, having to deal with strong adult emotions. This forced them to take care of themselves, but they couldn’t, because they were only children. A significant part of their personality, related to love and safety, split off in protection. From that moment, this part stopped developing normally. Often, it remained in the emotional state of the moment it was created. While the rest of personality continued to grow-up and evolve, this part remained a child.

As adults, these people subconsciously seek to acknowledge or heal this part. They consistently create new and different confrontations, that trigger how they felt back then. Their separate personality keeps making the same emotional decisions, getting themselves in the same emotional situation. I saw this up-close in friends with borderline and especially in my narcissistic partner. She kept creating conflicts to question and test my love and loyalty. She’d even sabotage our relationship herself and then play victim, confirming her feelings of rejection as a child. No matter how loving, compassionate, and forgiving I was… I could never win. I was dealing with an adult woman, showing adult behaviour, but I was communicating with a child.

Child behind the steering wheel

It took me very long to understand what had happened with my ex-girlfriend and why it confused me so much. I simply couldn’t think of her as a child, while dealing with the adult woman. And as with most female covert narcissists, she weaponized sex (very adult behaviour) as a tool of trust. Seeing a woman but hearing a child, simply did not compute in my mind. Yet, this happens far more often than we think, especially in modern spirituality. Not just as unhealthy psychiatric illnesses, but mostly in short moments, especially during emotional turmoil.

The fragments of people with Personality Disorders are so large, that they seem to be separate personalities. I observed this with my ex-partner. It came across as having to deal with different people inside her. Sometimes, especially in conflicts, there would simply be a child pulling the strings of her adult body. It is now clear to me, that this child is a real and heavily traumatised person, that stopped growing when she came into existence. There is no adult version of that part of her personality. I also understand that I’ve seen the exact same behaviour with my borderline friends. They were all drawn to me, because I provide safety and love… exactly what they missed in childhood.

Many people have these short moments of childish thinking and reactions, but most are quickly aware of what they’re doing. They correct themselves, even in the heat of the moment, and take responsibility. I feel awareness and responsibility are the magic words. The adult is aware of their behaviour and overrules the child, who snuck behind the wheel for a moment. This happens when we’re emotional, stressed, or otherwise challenged and distracted. Especially if someone is not healed, or worse… pseudo-healed and connected to False Light.

Ego development

There are interesting studies and theories by e.g. Ken Wilber, Jane Loevinger and Susanne Cook-Greuter about ego-development. I’m cherry-picking from them here. With every step up in awareness (level of consciousness), we see things from different and higher perspectives. Overall, people evolve from some rudimentary impulsive world-view to transcendent unitive understandings through space-time. The majority of adults, however, never develops beyond the conventional stages of the mind. Their view of the world, of self and others at that stage, is exemplary for the current state of modern society. This means that we live in a world that reflects the level of consciousness of its majority.

At every stage of development, we can ask someone what is their image of self, of others, relationships, nature, god, society, communication, spirituality, changes, anxieties, internal processes, etc. This is how we see a trend of expansion and spiritual growth, resulting in some of those models. Btw, we hear people speak of ascension, but this ‘end-state’ lies beyond the models. Anyone who comes close to reaching such a point, probably would not fit inside any model anyway

Growing-up and expanding our world-view often plays with our feelings of safety. Expansion runs parallel with the development of ego, which is basically the need of our consciousness to protect itself. Stepping out of our comfort zone, is therefore deeply triggering ego as protector. Childhood trauma starts to look different in that light. Experiencing trauma at a young age, leads to earlier and even stronger development of ego. In turn, this leads to stronger protection of the original wound, making it more difficult to heal from these events later on in life. Eventually, it becomes a vicious cycle of trauma – ego – protection. It seems that ego tries to uphold itself by protecting the original trauma from being healed.

Ego protection

So… most people have an inner child as the result of childhood trauma. Sometimes, this child becomes its own separate personality. When the adult is emotionally triggered, the child starts pulling the strings to determine their behaviour. It is protected by ego and does not want to be healed. It’s deeply intertwined with the original trauma, so proper healing would get rid of both. The often best thing we can do, is to make the child grow up with love. If calcification is not beyond repair, that fragment might then rejoin the central part of the adult’s consciousness and personality.

This needs lots of love in a safe environment, that accepts the growing child throughout its entire development. Actually, this is exactly what the child had needed in the first place, when it went through the original trauma. We can’t change the past, however, but we can change the way we now feel about that past. Unfortunately, a safe environment isn’t easy to create. I’m not talking about weekly sessions with psychotherapists… this is about a safe world around us. And society is not really a safe place for anyone nowadays.

Society is a mirror for the level of consciousness of its majority. This explains people’s behaviour when fear is in play. The basic response of scared children, is to run and hide behind their parents. Many adults are already dealing with aggression, judgement, scarcity, separation, manipulation. So, during the Covid-years people were even more triggered in insecurities about safety and protection. Many jumped into childish reflexes, and simply abandoned all reason and intuition. They fled into fake realities and surrendered to the government for leadership. Don’t forget, the mind doesn’t ‘understand’ time. Our brain sees no difference between triggering of old trauma and experiencing existential threats here and now.

Growing-up through love

The fact that our physical body-brain doesn’t understand time, is the major reason we’re so easily triggered. It’s often not about what is happening, it’s how we feel about what is happening that matters. But we’re not totally innocent bystanders, that get swept away by the flow of life. To overcome childish reflexes, we must start to become aware of the entire situation, discerning what is really going on in the here and now, and observe what is happening with our thoughts and feelings. If we can’t do this in the moment itself, we should at least meditate on this later.

Make sure you have the right intentions in wanting to deal with yourself… or someone else. Compassionate and loving intention is essential, whatever happens. Ego will protect itself, as well as the wound we intend to heal, so ego works against us. We’ll meet resistance, be aware and be prepared beforehand. Our natural reaction to pain and unpleasant emotions, is to shield ourselves off. This also goes for re-experiencing the unsafe or inconsistent environments from our past. But shielding ourselves from pain, also shields us from receiving love. Make sure the love you shower yourself or someone else with, is just that… love. If we’re using conditions and restrictions (“I’ll only love myself if I heal”), it’s not really love.

It’s not easy to go through this process of self-healing, but no one else can do it for you. However, that doesn’t mean you have to do it alone. Where I talk about working with others, I don’t mean healing someone else, btw. We can’t heal anyone, but we can support others in their process through love and compassion. If you want to talk about this or would like to work with me on your processes, please contact me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *