What's an Inner Child?

It's easier to talk ABOUT the inner child than to actually define him/her. (since we are talking about a part of ourselves I won't use the word "it"). When we come into this world as babies, we have no language per se, but we do have Feelings right from the start. Feelings are closer to who we are, and what we "are made of" than thinking. Thinking is what we do. Feelings are more about who we are, and usually precede our thoughts and actions. Feelings convey meaning, and therefore can be seen as a form of language that precedes verbal communication. So feelings are how a baby experiences the world, and expressing those feelings is how he/she communicates with the world. However, we still use Feelings as a way to experience the world and to communicate, even though we have other forms of communication that we use. Now that we are adults, Feelings are a form of experience and communication that comes from the core of who we are. That is the Inner Child, or Magical Child, and is more like our Spirit or Soul.

When we talk about the inner child we may be referring to more than one part of ourselves. In someone who has never been gravely hurt emotionally, or has healed from their hurts, the above explanation fits. For folks who have been victimized as children, and most of society for that matter the explanation would be more like what follows:
This is a more "mechanical" explanation. Try to think about it this way. The person you are today becomes a part of who you are tomorrow, next week, next year. The person you are today doesn't just go away. The same is true for every day you have ever lived. We are a continuum. Now, when we are injured as children, you might say this transition process of "becoming" gets affected. Instead of it being a smooth process where who we were becomes a perfectly melded part of who we are - instead, who we were gets "charged" , doesn't "mix" properly, "stands out". Instead of being a "well mixed" continuum, a perfect mixture, we end up with parts that have more autonomy than they might. Sometimes, in a very few, the schism is so great that multiple personalities occur. The inner child is fully us, though, not some other personality. As you experience the inner child, which will happen as you have empathy for the child you were, this mechanical explanation will be less important, and your inner child will become much more real.

The above is a description of Injured Inner Child, and as we heal, the kid in us becomes more like the first example than the second.

As to why we should care for the kid in us as some of us have alluded to? How about because it works! All I know is that IF we treat this part of ourselves in a manner that would be good for a little child, not with the kind of treatment that our parents or other abusers taught us, but in a truly loving and respectful way, aknowleging the reality of who that child is (which we never got as kids), then that inner child becomes more like the first example, which is the way God intended us to be!


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