In this dysfunctional world, pretty much all of us have emotional wounds from childhood. First, because it’s through our upbringing that we internalize the issues we’re here to resolve later in life. They become our emotional foundation: the fabric of our lives.
And second, because the predominant dynamic in childhood relationships is one of codependency and dominance. Let’s be honest, parents have been raising their kids either through fear or guilt for generations. Our parents were no different, not because they were bad, but simply because they didn’t know any better. It takes great self-awareness to break the chain. Plus, this is how we all internalize the (dysfunctional) world as well.
As a child, life can be pretty overwhelming, especially if we grow up without any guidance to empower us to feel good about ourselves and understand our environment without identifying with it. So at a minimum, we carry wounds created by fear, guilt, and lack of control. These turn into our unconscious guidelines, our “emotional currency,” if you will, and get easily triggered later in life, in close relationships or when we’re faced with important decisions or commitments. Furthermore, they can keep us stuck in a wounded child archetype that ends up sabotaging what we want to accomplish.
Our emotions usually have a hidden side that the ego-mind creates to veil them and give us the illusion of power or strength. Anger, defiance, and the need to control life (the critic or perfectionist in us) are a direct yet still unconscious response to our childhood wounds when we don’t have the clarity to process and place them in their real context—in the past.
Instead of understanding what’s going on within us, we simply get into “temper tantrum mode” when something triggers our fear, guilt or lack of control. In other words, we let our wounded child archetype run the show. This can be as simple as the unspoken guilt of doing something that excludes our partners, kids, or family members—anything we do that makes us “selfish” according to the expectations of others.
The problem is that those unresolved childhood emotions turn against us. When faced with a commitment or important decision—whether in life or business—and especially when those mean stretching our “comfort zone” to grow and get to a higher level of self-awareness or a more independent and empowered place, our child archetype shows up to stop us.
We may feel rebellious, wanting to do things the way we want, without any direction or guidance; or we get so overwhelmed that we have to stop because we’re not “ready”; or we somehow sabotage our endeavors because we fixate in the it’s-my-way-or-the-highway mentality. And sometimes we may just want to crawl up in a ball, hide somewhere, and not deal with anything at all.
Send Your Inner Child To Play and Take Charge of Your Life
A child archetype wants to play and have fun, but a wounded child archetype becomes inflexible, defiant, and stubborn about responsibilities or commitments. It lacks the emotional awareness and flexibility to adjust, learn, and grow, so it usually shuts down without us noticing—that is, until this gets reflected back in our reality and we feel stuck.
I remember a coach who came to see me once because she felt emotionally stuck and also needed help growing her business. The minute she heard the word “commitment,” she sprang off the couch and said she couldn’t do it. Such knee-jerk reaction is a clear example of the wounded child archetype ruling her life. She didn’t want to explore what was underneath, she immediately shut down and just wanted to run off!
So the question here is, who is more likely to get you where you want to get, an unconscious wounded child or a conscious, mindful, flexible adult willing to do what it takes to be in charge? So next time you feel stuck but unwilling to ask for help or support, thinking you’re not ready or you should do it all on your own, be honest and ask yourself:
- What are you not “ready” for? Could it be that remaining where you are feels “safer” than stretching and growing to break free from your old patterns?
- What are you overwhelmed by? Could it be that the idea of being freer, more independent, and self-empowered is too big or scary for you?
- Why do you sabotage your own dreams and aspirations? Is it to hold on to the past to secretly please the authority figures or family dynamics you internalized as a child?
You can satisfy the child archetype by having fun and nurturing your playful aspects. In fact, you do that when you commit to your self-growth and take yourself and your aspirations seriously. This archetype wants to remain small, but you have to think BIG and live big for it to feel safe and grow along with you. No child feels safe when she’s been led by another child in an adult body.
This wounded child archetype is a big aspect of your ego that keeps you playing the victim-blame game with yourself and others. Breaking it requires inner (feminine) power, which in turn requires great humility, to surrender that ego to something deeper than the unconscious dysfunctional parent-child dynamics you respond to life with.
There are many ways to approach an issue, but some will take you closer to who-you-really-are and what you want, while others will keep you fooling yourself and binding you to the same patterns you think you’re trying to transform. The thing is, you cannot see what you cannot see. So contact me today today for clarity, guidance, and support on your journey of self-exploration, to heal that wounded inner child and start living the life you truly desire!
© 2014 Yol Swan. All rights reserved.