The first time I was introduced to the inner child concept I didn’t get it. The second time I was introduced to the inner child concept I thought it was ridiculous. Yea. This was not gelling in my head. I was crowded enough I did not need one more insider. I lived with multiple personalities most of my life but I wasn’t aware that was how I functioned. One of the alters or phases or whichever term you wish to use was indeed a child. Her role was to hold on to the worst acts that happened to me when I was only 5 years old; she didn’t progress. She stayed at 5 years old. During counseling, I became aware of her and I was freaked out at first. But, and I mean a very big BUT this is not what they mean by an inner child.
I looked up inner child theory….do you see that last word theory meaning this is someone’s best guess as to how people function:
Inner child. … It includes what a person learned as a child, before puberty. The inner child is often conceived as a semi-independent subpersonality subordinate to the waking conscious mind. The term has therapeutic applications in counseling and health settings. Inner child – Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inner_child
OK so how did it apply to me? Folks, part of the reason I have CPTSD/PTSD (whichever name preferred) is because I was severely damaged as a child over a long period of time. The youngest part of me didn’t grow up trying to allow the rest of me to function. When I decided to integrate all the pieces together, in my opinion, she needed to grow up but she didn’t want to. I don’t blame her. Being adult is lousy, a lot of the time. I needed to make being an adult an enticing thing. Enter FUN. Yep, I needed to make being an adult fun. Children need fun, also need safety, healthy care, boundaries. Basically, I needed to show myself that I could meet all my needs whether I was young or old. I needed to reassure all parts and aspects of me that we could function together and still have fun. Still choose safety. Still be a good parent to myself.
Lilly Hope Lucario titled this section 7. Profoundly Hurt Inner Child and she has a link to her web page that talks specifically about healing the inner child. https://themighty.com/2017/08/life-impacting-symptoms-of-complex-post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd/
My counselor did use the concept inner child to refer to the time in my life when I should have learned many things like how to get along with people, how to solve problems, how to cope, and many other skills that were over ran by the prime directive: Live past 15 years old. I was too busy surviving, I didn’t have time for the niceties and growing up training. I was staying just a head of certain doom and the threat came from multiple sources. My time during childhood years was spent surviving. That’s it, that’s all. I can say with 100% assurity that I survived. My counselor taught me how to live. By the way, I sometimes explained that counseling is a bit like changing out an engine while driving down an eight lane freeway. Me and my newly formed inner child agree that fun and being a kid sometimes makes being an adult a little more bearable.