Mind & Spirit : NST Life & Times 04/5/2010
By CHIM LI YEN
This week, we’ll take a look at the different aspects of the inner child
MOST of our identity is formed based on the experiences we had until the age of seven.We create our personality to adapt to certain childhood experiences we encountered. Little do we know that we have abandoned our innocent childlike nature as a survival mechanism to fit into the world. Below are some of the behavioural patterns a child with no rational means of communicating develops to deal with life. See which inner child type you identify with.
The Pleaser I suppress my feelings so that everyone feels all right. If I please people, they will like me. If everyone feels good, they will not reject me. Later in life: I don’t value myself. I will do anything for a quiet life and often feel guilty. I can only relax when everyone has everything they want.
The Achiever I try harder and harder to prove to my parents that I am good enough to be loved. I always hear a voice saying “You could have done better”. Later in life: I am a workaholic and overstressed. Success is a matter of life and death. If I’m not perfect, I have failed and I won’t be loved.
The Rebel My parents were controlling. The only way I get attention is by doing something naughty and by making a fuss. This meant trouble but at least, they gave me attention. Later in life: I like to shock and I often get angry. Usually it is because I am not getting any attention or people won’t do what I want them to do.
The Victim I get attention when I cry and tell mum that someone has hurt me or I don’t feel well. If I cry enough, I will get some love. Later in life: It’s the fault of the government or is it everyone around me? I can’t take responsibility for my life because if I do, no one will look after me. It’s always someone else’s fault when things go wrong in my life.
The Rationaliser I live in my head because it’s the safest place to be. Emotions around my family scare me as they are overwhelming. It’s safer to disconnect from my feelings. My family doesn’t acknowledge feelings, I was told never to cry or get angry so I don’t know how to deal with my feelings. Later in life: When was the last time I was angry or sad? Now, let me think…
The Idle There’s no point trying as nothing I do get any attention. I might as well give up. Whatever I do, they won’t love me. I need huge amounts of encouragement to give me confidence. Later in life: I give up very easily, and often feel lazy and bored.
The Rescuer Pleasing my parents made them love me. The other children used to call me a “goody goody” and “teacher’s pet”. Later in life: I like victims because I can look after their problems. That means I don’t have to pay attention to my own problems. I rescue people to make sure they are dependent on me. It makes me feel in control and needed, then I feel safe.
The Manipulator I get attention by sulking and crying. When I was a child, I felt as though I would never get enough love because I have such a big hole in me. Sometimes, I would get attention by refusing to eat my dinner or put on my clothes. Later in life: I am happiest when I am trying to get your attention. And I will always try to get it, by all means.
The Dreamer I daydream all the time. Life is harsh and difficult so I love doing that to get lost in my little world. Later in life: I often forget to keep appointments and lose my things. People say I’m absent-minded.
The Hurt Child Nobody really listened to me because they were too busy, too tired or didn’t understand. I felt rejected so I built a wall around myself where I feel safe. Later in life: I am sometimes depressed and isolated. I refuse to let people in so I can be sarcastic, rude and difficult. I make light of what I am feeling so people don’t know how I really feel.
Which inner child type is familiar to you? Perhaps there were a few. Just take note of them and we will discuss about ways to reclaim your inner child next week.
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The writer is co-founder of The Violet Flame Holistic Shop and Therapy Centre, Bangsar. She can be reached at email@example.com