You’ve probably heard the term “inner child,” which has been popularized by the self-help movement and is based on Carl Jung’s eternal child archetype. The idea behind it is that since we were all children at some point, a child still dwells within us, albeit unconsciously; if we don’t become conscious of it, it stunts our emotional development.
In this sense, the inner child refers to the emotional aspects that haven’t fully developed due to trauma or neglect. Expanding on this idea, I use the concept of the wounded child archetype to refer not only to our unconscious, neglected aspects, but also to the distorted perception we came to resolve by internalizing—or rather, reactivating—certain roles and dynamics while our ego develops.
They become internal, toxic dynamics between your sense of self—what makes you a unique individual—and what I call your sense of otherness, which I will explore in great detail in my upcoming book (so stay tuned!). This aspect of the ego holds your predominant albeit unconscious tendencies of perception and action that are mainly reflected back at you through your interactions with others. Because you’ve been so focused on other people, your sense of otherness has turned into an inner bully opposing your individuation and self-expression, in both obvious and subtle ways.
It colors your perception and experience of life, shaping situations that tend to pull you back into a wounded child archetype that makes you feel small, insecure, powerless, and afraid, or creating illusions and expectations from unfulfilled needs and desires. In other words, it keeps you emotionally in the past through an outdated perception that taints your experience of the present (see Growing Out of the Wounded Child Archetype).
This perspective comes from a yogic, spiritual approach that goes beyond the psychological limitations of childhood conditioning, since it views that our soul reincarnates due to our own desires and seeds of perception, and that we also hold within everything we need to be happy—because happiness is our essential nature, or the nature of Divine Consciousness
You are here to take full spiritual responsibility for everything in your reality—the good, the bad, and the ugly, because you are responsible for your soul’s causal body, the subconscious repository of memories and impressions that cause and shape your life. Until you embrace this, you simply spin in predominant mental-emotional patterns from the past. The ego-mind with which you identify keeps them in place, blocking you inner voice and disconnecting you from the present.
Sense of Otherness = Ego-Mind = Your Past
Divine Consciousness is projected into the mind to experience a variety of forms through the illusion of multiplicity—the world as separate objects, people, situations, and so on. This egoic sense of “I,” “me,” and “mine” creates an individualized life-movie where you experience yourself in different situations and hopefully learn from them, but it also isolates you from the totality of the Consciousness you really are.
This disconnection from your true Self is the real source of your suffering, but since the ego-mind has the function to label things, it makes you believe that both pleasure and suffering come from something external. Since life is a play of Consciousness created and experienced by the Self, through your body and mind, your own pain pushes you to seek something more real and permanent. In other words, when you start looking for a way out of your sorrow, you’re bound to realize that the only way out is delving within, seeking the source from which everything emerges.
Mental or emotional pain is not the result of psychological conditioning alone, although this plays an important part; the real root is your identification with the ego-mind, which is made up of thoughts based on past impressions. No matter what your circumstances may be, your experience depends on how you interpret what is going on in relation to you. That is, how your unresolved emotional energy taints your perception, keeping you stuck in a wounded child archetype, reacting impulsively out of fear and outdated wounded needs, such as the need to be liked, perfect, right, responsible, appreciated, and so on.
If you don’t nurture those old needs yourself, rather than expecting others to meet them, you simply remain emotionally stuck in the past, unable to see things and people for who they are, or even who you are and what you want now. This disconnection from the present is your sense of otherness overpowering your sense of self through your own distorted self-perception.
As long as you keep investing emotional energy in familiar, painful dynamics between you and others, the ego-mind remains in control of your perception and behavior, pushing the need for validation and gratification from your wounded child archetype. The inner or eternal child wants to play, but the wounded child carries expectations and illusions and is constantly trying to heal through others. In truth, the ego, the sense of otherness, and the wounded child archetype are different aspects of the same outdated self-perception—the ideas about yourself that you’re here to resolve with your awareness.
If you pay attention, you’ll notice that the world at large is stuck in this archetype—mostly in temper-tantrum mode and a sense of deficiency, recreating power dynamics at every level—because the world itself is a creation or projection of the ego. Here are a few guidelines to help you grow out of your wounded child archetype to be able live life with greater emotional maturity:
- Whenever you engage with other people, check in with yourself: “Where is my attention?” Investing too much energy on other people means you’re not right here, in the present, anchored in yourself, but out there, at the mercy of your sense of otherness—your past reflected through others.
- Whenever you feel powerless, discouraged, or diminished in some way, ask yourself: “What are the beliefs about myself behind these feelings?” Tune into your inner guidance to see, question, and release any outdated, false ideas about yourself.
- Whenever you get triggered by a situation, inquire: “What am I so attached to or afraid of?” Once you see the real cause of your negative emotions, they will disappear.
The key here is to develop detachment, since the ego itself is attachment and fear. If you surrender to life as it is, without trying to fight or control it, your wounded child archetype matures emotionally to catch up with who you are and what you want now. Contact me today to learn and implement my method to heal the past and gain emotional and spiritual freedom!
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