By Jamuna Rangachari
Many of our lives’ problems, including physical illness, emotional and mental trauma, and spiritual imbalance are because we’ve neglected our inner child. Jamuna Rangachari explores how to accept, love and heal this most fragile part of ourselves
I lost my mother when I was two. Though this may seem tragic, it was not such a big deal for me. I was too young to remember her and grew up in a joint family (my mother’s family), pampered by everyone around me. But just before my teens, things changed. When I was 12, my grandfather left home and disappeared from our lives. The situation was extremely grim. People started talking about how my grandfather’s depression began after my mother _ who was extremely dear to him _ suffered in her marriage and passed away before her time. I had heard this story earlier too but now it was being repeated more than ever, which affected me. Mentally, I began blaming my father without knowing his side of the story. Ironically, at the same time, I started living with him and his new wife. Though things were not so bad in my new home, I continued to hold a grudge against my father. Life continued but the wound remained.
Many of us have suffered childhood trauma and continue to suffer long after we’ve stepped into adulthood. We must understand that how we felt as children was based on our perception of life then and we do not need to continue suffering; for if the seed of suffering is within us, so is the seed of happiness, joy and awakening. It is by learning how to heal the grief of the inner child within us that we can all lead complete, wholesome lives.
Our inner child
‘We all have a child in us’ is an oft, lightly made statement. However, it has deeper implications than we realise. The child in us, who we call our inner child, is a fundamental part of our psyche. Our intuitive intelligence, joy, natural self-expression and an overall sense of well-being dwells in our inner child. When our experiences are happy, it results in security, self-esteem and joy. Conversely, when there is a set-back that wounds the inner child, the repercussions can be grave.
“When someone has an inner child turmoil, their self is split into a rational adult part and an emotional child part,” says Pulkit Sharma, a psychotherapist from Pondicherry. “Both the parts go on their own separate paths to seek fulfilment and manifest themselves. This creates a series of intense conflicts for the person,” The split happens when the child receives a treatment which is far from loving and accepting by people closest to him. He feels judged, rejected, hurt and unsafe. Since this happens during his formative years, he forms strong negative impressions that continue to form the basis of his future decisions and actions.
An adult who has difficulty forming mature, committed relationships may be operating from the belief that it is unsafe to trust others with one's tender feelings. The cause is often rooted in childhood when he was unable to receive care and appreciation from any or both his parents.
Baurkha Kaushik, an intuitive healer from Delhi, says,“Our soul is a child. When we undergo a traumatic experience, it gets wounded and separated from the larger whole, and remains separated long after we become adults. It has to be integrated completely for leading a complete life.”
Dr Meghana Dikshit, a Mumbai based hypnotherapist seconds the opinion. She says, “We are most vulnerable between the ages of zero to 14 years, when we consider ourselves as not completely accepted due to life’s circumstances or our perceptions about it.”
No matter at what stage in life we face trauma, our soul, our inner child, our most fragile part will be affected by it. In my case, the talks in my mother’s family convinced me that something was deeply wrong or awry with my father’s family. I began to feel that I was being looked after out of pity and not love and felt guilty about carrying my father’s genes in my body. To make up for this belief, I ended up becoming a people-pleaser in my adult life. I wanted to win over the love and affection of others to feel whole, and in the attempt agreed with many things I didn’t like or approve of. It wasn’t until I attended a workshop on chakra healing and forgave everyone who I felt had hurt me knowingly or unknowingly that I began to come into my own and began feeling better about myself. Louise Hays, the pioneer of healing through love articulates this well. She says “It doesn’t matter how old you are, there is a little child within you who needs love and acceptance. If you’re a woman, no matter how self-reliant you are, you have a little girl who’s very tender and needs help. If you’re a man, no matter how macho you are, you have a little boy who craves for warmth and affection.”
The destination is the same but there are many paths to get there. “There are several ways of communicating with our inner child and I find mirror work to be the most effective,” says Ludhiana based Lakhvinder Babbu Gill, a Heal Your Life Coach, often called Babbu Gill. In it the person holds up a mirror to himself and addresses the wounded child within himself very tenderly, while looking into it.
“Talk to your inner child and apologise to it for scolding it, draw events that happened using your non-dominant hand and watch your feelings unfold,” she says. Babbu adds that holding a soft toy like a teddy bear is also a wonderful tool to use while talking to one’s inner child. In addition, she confirms that meditation and affirmations are powerful ways to stay calm and centered.
Pulkit Sharma advises to get in touch with our inner child, listen to its voice, and offer it understanding and unconditional support so that it heals gradually. In this method one has to mentally step back in time, think of the period when one felt wounded and give to oneself all that love that one deserves but couldn’t get at that time. He encourages his clients to motivate their inner child to grow up as one would do with an actual child.
Dr Trupti Jayin, Mumbai based famous past life regression therapist, has seen great results using gestalt therapy, an experiential therapy that was designed to enhance awareness and freedom; and facilitating an inner dialogue healing. In her workshops, she facilitates her clients to guide their traumatised inner child to play games to create drama; she uses a family constellation practice to heal parental wounds; and uses art therapy to reprogram left-right brain harmony; which goes a long way in balancing the individual spiritually and emotionally.
Baurkha Kaushik uses hypnosis and past life regression in all her healing sessions as she finds these to be most effective. Some therapists even use and recommend Ho'oponopono, a Hawaiian meditation and prayer, which helps to release stress and fear in our lives caused by not forgiving ourselves and/or others in our memories. Whatever the technique, what’s important is to break the pattern.
Breaking the pattern
Patterns break when people open up to share their experiences. “My clients who opened up their communication channels and learned to share their problems got totally healed of thyroid and are leading completely healthy lives,” says Dr Meghna Dixit.
Babbu Gill shares her experience with a lady named Seema during an inner child meditation session. “As a child, Seema used to cry loudly and throw tantrums, which her mother disapproved and was annoyed by. Seema eventually learned to bottle up her feelings but became a sickly child and developed asthama.” The session helped Seema see this pattern and break it. She accepted her past, let go of her fears and anger, showed love to her inner child and allowed herself to express her feelings, which freed her of asthma.
Shares Pulkit, “I helped a person who suffered from severe anxiety and panic attacks. Together, we discovered that due to some traumatic experiences, his inner child lived in isolation and constant fear. The rest of his personality wanted to suppress and eradicate this part of him because of past conditioning. As a result, his inner child became severely anxious and started expressing this anxiety through crippling panic attacks. Gently, I taught him to listen to and soothe his inner child, and motivate it to grow. Consequently, there was a marked relief in his anxiety.”
Multiple sclerosis and our inner child
What I’ve found through my association with many who suffer from multiple sclerosis is that they’ve all had difficult childhoods; there have been separations, molestations, child abuse and traumas of various kinds. Though this may have made them ‘tough’ in life, their inner child continues to crave for love and support.
Meena (name changed) grew taking care of her sick mother. As the eldest sibling, she took on the responsibility of the entire family. When she got married, her sister-in-law got diagnosed with cancer and Meena took care of her too. Though she refused to let anyone else take up the responsibility, somewhere deep within, she felt that life had forced this upon her. She lived her life with a halo of martyrdom around her head. Even after getting diagnosed with multiple sclerosis she continued playing the same role, refusing any support from anyone else. I’ve met many like Meena who develop such a perception toward life and suffer a great deal. In the process, they also make the people they care for suffer emotionally as there is a lack of love all around.
In my case, I resolved my relationship with my father and before he passed away in 2014, we shared a very intimate relationship, making up for all the lost time. Knowing that this had helped me heal, I wrote about my experience in my book on healing from multiple sclerosis. I can truly say that people who learned from my experience, and healed themselves, after reading my book have been the best gifts I could receive as an author.
47 year old Vimi Gupta from Bangalore was a tough, independent woman till she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2001. She was extremely depressed and did not know what to do. Like me, she explored many healing techniques. Around the same time, she realised that she needed to heal emotionally first. When Vimi was a child, her father developed muscular dystrophy. Due to this, she was mocked by many people and her inner child developed self-hatred and hatred towards the situation. Unknowingly, Vimi blamed her father for her negative experience. She recognised this during her healing process and made amends with her father. She asked him for forgiveness using Ho'oponopono, though he had left the physical world by then. Shortly, she was presented with solutions; in 2014, she read about Rachna Chhachhi, a nutritional therapist, and followed her recommended diet and yoga routine. She also came across my book and resonated with the inner child issues mentioned in it. Together, we found an acupuncturist to work on her. Today, she is completely healed physically, emotionally and spiritually.
Love, the eternal tonic
Though we need, crave and want love and love alone, oftentimes we are unable to get it from people who are supposed to give it to us. Childhood is the most fragile and dependent part of our life. Our primary caregivers often operate from preconceived notions about parenting and raising children. At other times they are consumed with their own issues and challenges, causing them to neglect a child's real emotional needs. Lost time cannot be brought back, but if a person realises that the problems in his life have their origin in his childhood traumas, then through the help of healers, he can access the love, tenderness and care that he lacked in his childhood and shower it upon his adult, disintegrated self. Forgiving your elders and making peace with your past are integral part of this healing process. Dr Jayin has observed in her career that most inner child issues are connected to loving and accepting oneself. In her experience, migraines and backaches happen because of feeling unsupported. Drug addictions have been healed as well after resolving inner child issues.
Louise Hays affirms, “Thoughts of forgiveness and love for our inner child will open pathways, and the Universe will support us in our efforts.” We all need to love and forgive ourselves, as well as the people in our past and present lives. An unforgiving nature will hinder our ability to release our pain and heal our wounds. Babbu Gill leaves us with a wonderful mantra, “I love myself totally in the NOW. I embrace my inner child with love.”
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