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The Inner Child Takeover: A Guide To Working Together After Treatment

It has to be understood that the inner child is a real existence. Of course, there is not a literal, physical, actual being existing somewhere inside of us, even on a micro level. Psychologically and emotionally, however, there is a smaller version of us who is frozen in time. Some kind of life event has caused them to get stuck there and hasn’t allowed them to fully grow up with us. Though we’ve gotten older, aged, and matured to an extent, we might not have fully grown up, partly because we have this living anchor to the past within us.

If we have behaviors that seem child like that we cannot shake, feelings that feel young or from a different time in our life that we cannot change, and reactions to life that are childish in nature but we cannot control- it is likely we have an inner child who is unhappy and desperately needs to be loved. Operationally, we are attempting to function in a grown up life on child like training wheels. We’re taking to the Black Diamond routes of the Swiss Alps when core parts of our being aren’t capable of taking on more than the bunny slope at a local man made snow mountain. Our inability to fully embrace the grown up version of life makes sense because not all the parts of us have been able to grow up.

The inner child may or may not have made themselves known to us. Until we do the work through trauma treatment and therapy, we might have a hard time realizing we have an inner child who has taken control, who that inner child is, what that inner child needs, or how we can best work with our inner child to heal, flourish, and evolve.

How Do We Know If Our Inner Child Is Taking Over?

We might have more than one inner child who needs healing, who separately shows up at different times with different responses to life- which means they have different needs which aren’t getting met. Having an inner child takeover doesn’t necessarily mean that we are throwing a temper tantrum, though we might, or necessarily acting childishly, though that is possible. When the inner child takes over, we feel out of control of our emotions due to a strong driving sense of fear. Something in our past deeply terrified us and when our inner child thinks this trauma is replaying itself, they make their fears known. We feel this deep, overwhelming urge to be comforted- but because we haven’t grown up fully and our inner child hasn’t healed, we don’t know how to ask for our needs to be met in healthy ways. Thus, our emotions become overbearing, we can feel dissociated or lost, and for moments at a time we are transported somewhere other than the present moment.

Our inner child might show up dramatically or subtly, suddenly or continuously, depending on what has triggered their response. Until we meet our inner child and learn the signs of when they’ve made their appearance and need our love, it can be difficult to know when we are feeling our own feelings or the feelings of a younger version of ourselves.

Through our work in trauma treatment and ongoing trauma therapy, we’ve learned to detect when our inner child shows up and we’ve also learned to call upon our inner child directly in order to communicate with them. Over time we learn to recognize the signs of our inner child’s needs, as well as how to make peace with his or her existence, love them, and be the grown up to ourselves our inner child needed a grown up to be to them.

Living as an alumni of trauma treatment, inner child work both inside and outside of a therapist’s office is ongoing. Even years into recovery, there will be times when our inner child rears their head beyond our control and we struggle to show up as the grown up and love them back into a calm state. In our next alumni blog, we’ll look at different ways to communicate with our inner child in our recovery and how to make it through an inner child takeover.

When you graduate trauma treatment, the rubber meets the road, as it is said. To live successfully in recovery from trauma, addictions, or related mental health issues, we need the care and professionalism of an experienced, specialized staff who provide us excellence in treatment. Our alumni learn how to thrive in their lives not in spite of trauma, but because of it. We’re always here to welcome those in need of help at The Guest House Ocala. Call us today for information and resources: 1-855-483-7800