Understanding the needs of our inner child as an adult

Do you ever experience times in your adult life where things don't seem to make sense, like an emotion that comes out of nowhere or an overwhelming feeling which seems to be stuck and not shifting?


Sometimes growing up can be challenging and maybe there has been an event that was traumatic or a time in your life that hurt you or did not feel right.

Coping mechanisms

During these times our natural way of moving forward and surviving is to build up unconscious coping mechanisms, therefore building a block or a big bubble around ourselves which can block out emotions, feelings and memories. Once this coping mechanism is in place it can also become a negative, by almost taking control of how we live our lives by trying to protect us when we needed it, which was to survive and cope going forward.

Sometimes when we grow older and become an adult this coping mechanism can actually still be in control, it may feel triggered and believe that it is doing the right thing to protect you. I believe, because that coping mechanism was there when it was needed, the trauma or hurtful situation that happened would have gotten buried. Therefore the emotions, feelings and anything that associated with that situation would have become stuck in the body and mind, by never having been released or explored at that time. 

The inner child

Looking at the inner child can not always seem so clear or in our awareness. The inner child can become isolated, lonely and sometimes forgotten about and buried too, like with the emotions. Being able to connect with your inner child may hold answers to what it needs, and that was never fulfilled. Our inner child can come out as an adult and this is where the confusion could arise when these new or strange emotions or needs come to the surface. 

If you ever feel like you're missing something or feel you need attachment from another person, it perhaps is coming from an inner child need that was never met.

Thinking about our inner child can be upsetting or even frightening if this has never come up before because sometimes we don't know what to expect from the unknown and our unconscious. 

However, there may be some relief in finding answers to some of the issues as an adult and being able to clearly piece it together to make sense of your life in the present. This can help by gaining back control over your life again and accepting that the coping mechanism that helped bury or block out, was once there to protect you. Therefore seeing it as acceptance will allow it to move on, allowing you to move forward. 

Having awareness of that part of ourselves from within our inner child can hold the answers that may have been needed as an adult so that we can then start to care for each other going forward. Being able to fulfil the needs that were never met for both you and your inner child can help you find peace within. 

If you feel you have past trauma or negative events that you'd like to address you can work with a professional counsellor who will support you through the process. Search Counselling Directory for a therapist offering face to face, online or telephone sessions.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Lincoln, Lincolnshire, LN5
Written by Maya Rosser, PNCPS (Accredited) DIP
Lincoln, Lincolnshire, LN5

I am an integrative therapeutic counsellor and psychotherapist. My passion and aim is to help individuals make sense of things that may not seem clear and help guide them to a healthier state of mind and body. I work with trauma and attachment issues amongst others.
I believe awareness = choice to then change.

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