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The Wounded Child Who’s Scared and Running Your Life

Image Credit: Tiny Buddha

 

By Amaya Pryce | Tiny Buddha

“The cry we hear from deep in our hearts comes from the wounded child within. Healing this inner child’s pain is the key to transforming anger, sadness, and fear.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

We all have a wounded inner child. Recently, my wounded child was hurt that my sister hadn’t called or texted me for several weeks. It seems like I’m always the one who has to reach out to her, and my wounded child feels like she doesn’t really care about me.

My wounded child was also scared the other day, because I didn’t have a lot of work in the coming week, and I was afraid that I wouldn’t have enough money. The wounded child inside me felt frightened and alone in a big, scary world.

And then my wounded child was angry, but I really know it was about fear and hurt again. You see, my ex-husband is refusing to send the spousal support he’s supposed to give me, and he won’t answer my emails. Feeling helpless and victimized, my wounded child wants to yell and scream and get even with him!

The wounded child is another, and more accurate, way to think about your ego.

This wounded child isn’t “wrong” or “bad.” It’s really just a child trying to take care of its needs in the best way it can. The problem starts when we let the child run our reactions and our lives without seeing it for what it is.

The fact that you and I have wounded children inside doesn’t necessarily mean that we were neglected or physically abused as children—there are plenty of emotional wounds that we all experience growing up. The tender little child that you once were lives on in your adult body, experiencing the world as a place of danger and fear, always ready to defend or attack in order to “survive.”

Your wounded child probably doesn’t show itself much when life is going well and you feel in control, but when something important to you is threatened, or you feel left out or disrespected or taken advantage of, that small child inside can make itself felt in a big way!

The surge of negative emotions you feel in these situations is your cue that the wounded child is taking over. Typically, the emotions are fear, hurt, or shame, but each of these can also masquerade as anger. In fact, you can almost always count on anger to be a cover for a deeper, scarier emotion.

This is because the child inside feels stronger and safer putting on a show of anger than actually admitting to the fear, hurt, and shame underneath.

To make matters worse, consider the domino effect that takes place when my wounded child’s instinctive reactions trigger your own wounded child!

We respond to our outsized emotions of fear and hurt, often with an equally outsized reaction of anger—which leads directly to another round of fear and hurt in you, and another, probably even greater, display of anger in response. And this happens all day, every day, in homes, businesses, and even governments around the world.

But what can we do about it? The first and most important thing is simply to become aware of your wounded child and when it has been triggered. When you feel an outsized emotion, or one that lingers inexplicably, tune in to it rather than accepting it without question. If the emotion is anger, look deeper.

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A More Attractive Law of Attraction

The universe tends to reflect back to us the contents of our own minds. I call this the general principle of attraction. I don’t like to use the term “law of attraction” (even though I used it in the book title, below), simply because the latter term tends to be used to suggest that we have ultimate control over life and cosmos. Even if I believed this to be true, I couldn’t honestly help you put that into practice, as I have never experienced life in that fashion. As I often joke, if I could control life, the universe and everything I’d be a very dangerous man indeed. So just as well I can’t.

The general principle of attraction states that we can often influence the way life unfolds through being attentive of our attitudes and intentions. But I do not believe that we human beings always have the final say in how things pan out. There are just too many forces beyond our immediate control. This is why I suggest that the most important aspect of “manifestation” is that you first develop the right relationship with the mind and with life.

The right relationship with life is being able to observe what unfolds in your present experience with mindful attention, and without allowing judgment to colour your experience of it.

Now, unless you are from some other dimension of existence you will know full well that it is not possible to experience most things without judgment. Judgment is just what the mind does. It is, I believe, a human evolutionary cognitive process with a function to keep us alive. So right-mindfulness is not about eliminating judgments, but being able to observe judgments as they arise from the mind without believing in them or becoming identified with them.

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If you have practiced the law of attraction you will know that visualisation and affirmation are typically encouraged as a means to “manifest” desired outcomes. We are told to imagine, say and feel things as if they are already present in our lives. I agree this process is very worthwhile. It is the ideal way to resonate a desired outcome within our consciousness field.

For example, if you wish to raise your income from one thousand dollars a month to two thousand dollars a month, you might sit quietly and imagine that two thousand dollars being deposited into your bank account at the end of the month, every month. You might visualise yourself a the ATM machine seeing the desired monetary figure on the machine, or even withdrawing all of it from the teller inside the bank. Better still imagine yourself working effectively, satisfying clients or your employer, even as they hand you the cash. You would then feel what it feels like to have that money every month. Along with the visualisation you might repeat an affirmation such as, “I happily receive at least two thousand dollars a month from my work. The universe is abundant, and all my financial needs are met.”

This is all very well. But there is a catch. Whenever we set out to achieve any particular goal it will automatically trigger our resisting belief structures. These will rise from your psyche like so many ghosts from the crypt. Limiting beliefs and narratives are the shadowy vestiges of past pain and failures. Alternatively, they may be implanted within your psyche by your culture or your ancestral lines.

One way to approach these energy structures is to simply ignore them. But this is often unwise. You may well be able to carry on and achieve your goal, despite your “issues.” If this works, then all good. No need to go on to step two.

However, often the issues develop into “blocks.” These energy structures within your consciousness field tend to effect the way you behave, the kind of actions you take (or don’t take), as well as influencing the metaphysical energy structures around you. For example, if you believe that the universe is a shitty place that trips you up when everything is looking good, making all things end in disappointment, you are not likely to take empowered action towards your goal. And your mind will tend to get drawn into even the smallest and most irrelevant peripheral events which affirm your inner beliefs, then turn them into self-sabotaging dramas.

Your mind will tend to recreate whatever narrative you believe in.

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How to work with your self-limiting beliefs

There is a simple way to deal with blocks like this, and you don’t need to wait until the universe kicks over your sandcastle, calls you a ninety pound weakling and steals your partner.

The mistake most people make is trying to get rid of blocks. You can’t get rid of an energy structure in the mind. In trying to eliminate it, you reject that wounded part of yourself. This is about as effective as trying to get a kid to stop crying by repeatedly smacking him in the head.

Resisting energy structures are best dealt with by bringing gentle, loving attention to them. This includes being present with any feelings, traumas or memories which may arise out of those energy structures as you observe them.

As I stated above, as soon as you set a challenging goal or try to visualise or affirm it, the resisting energies will tend to rise from within your psyche. You will notice this either when you do your visualisation session, or in the day or two afterwards (though it could be longer).

To demonstrate how I work with resistant energy structures, I am going to use an example from my own life. Here the beliefs I had to deal with were relatively significant. But you can apply this process even when you notice relatively light resistant narratives within your mind. In the latter case the “session” required may be quite short, perhaps nothing more than a gentle acknowledgement, bringing attention to what you are experiencing.

My story involves a time I was very keen on a professor’s position at a certain university. As soon as I saw the position advertised online I knew it was too good an opportunity to miss. So I spent a great deal of time preparing the application, then sent it off via email. A few days later I was surprised to get a return email saying I had been invited for an interview.

Now right there, upon opening the email, I knew an “issue” had arisen. What was that sense of surprise I had just experienced? I noted a subtle sense of “darkness,” which continued to surface in the following days. That feeling made itself known to me as a kind of heavy, helpless sadness. I had a week to prepare for the interview and I didn’t want to blow it, as I knew opportunity might never come again. Yet the sense of heavy hopelessness kept rising.

I knew that much of this sense of foreboding had to do with repeated rejections for similar positions in the past – well over a dozen failed interviews in fact. My mind had built a narrative, and it was already deciding the outcome of the story.

What I did regularly throughout that week was to spend time alone and visualise myself having a great interview, and being granted the job. The first step was thus to visualise these positive outcomes, bring the images and associated affirmations to mind, then feel these things as having been accomplished.

Yet I was very aware of the resisting energy. Instead of just trying to push the feelings away and shove in some affirmations, after the positive visualisations I simply allowed the resisting feelings to rise. This is what I refer to as an “alignment.” In an alignment process I simply allow the shadow speak. In this case there was heaviness in my stomach. I wanted to bend over into a sad, depressed, defeated state. So that is exactly what I did. A child-like voice then emerged from within me, a kind of sad, whimpering, victim-like voice.

“It doesn’t matter what I do. Nobody wants me! I always fail! The world is f….d! It’s no use trying! It always ends up the same!”

Along with this voice there was a lot of anger. There was a sense of childhood disappointment, never being able to please my father. And there was anger at God, which seemed to be karmic. So I just let all that have a voice, too.

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Now, the key is that even though I let these parts of myself find expression, I didn’t judge them, try to get rid of them or believe in them. I simply gave them to “God” (even as I cursed him! – God can take the hits, trust me). For me, God is simply the unconditional love that sits within and beyond all things. So I imagined a great sphere of light and just “confessed” the truth of what I felt in the moment. But note, this was not a guilt-based religious confession. It was an opening to the light, allowing myself to become transparent before God. Although the feelings were sometimes intense, even violent, the experience was ultimately gentle and loving. I become the witness to what arose within me. I just keep allowing myself to feel the feelings with love and acceptance, no matter what came up. I let go. I surrendered to God. I (as the parent) also firmly but gently spoke to that hurt part of myself, correcting the self-limiting beliefs that emerged.

You can use this process with any resisting energy that arises within you. Note that it is important to rest with that energy in loving attention for at least a few minutes after you feel it has revealed itself. Just be present with it. This is where the genuine healing begins.

When I apply this alignment process, once I feel that the energy has relaxed sufficiently I then gently return to visualising the positive expression of that energy, as it relates to the desired outcome. So in the case mentioned, I again imagined the interview for the professor’s job going successfully, and then being offered the job. I almost always find that it is easier to imagine the successful outcome with integrity, after embracing the shadow energy structure. Yet in this case the “negative energy” never quite dissipated. I didn’t judge that as wrong, just kept giving it to God. I kept giving loving attention to it whenever I felt it it begin to rise. I usually did this about once a day. Sometimes the resisting energy was great. Sometimes it was not significant, and just required a little gentle attention.

Just as importantly, I worked hard on preparing for the interview, thoroughly researching the university, the nature of the position, and anticipating the kinds of questions I would likely get. I prepared answers based on what I genuinely believed I could bring to the position. When the interview arrived (done via Skype) I felt relaxed and confident, and knew exactly why I was there. I was relaxed because I had released the outcome to God and was fully present. As a result I greatly enjoyed the interaction with the interview panel and felt the interview went very well.

In the same way, at the end of any visualisation or alignment session, release the outcome to the universe, giving thanks. Don’t grasp the goal. Of course, you may ask the cosmos to grant it, if that is for the highest good.

As you apply this process, you can continue to listen to the universe throughout your day (and night), paying attention to any guidance you get from synchronicities, dreams and intuitions. This will assist you to make the necessary decisions which guide the actions you take towards your goal. In the end, this is all any of us can do.

Regardless of whether your goal manifests, this process represents a wisdom journey. You will develop a more loving and gentle relationship with yourself, the world and the universe. The process promotes peace, loving relationships with others and facilitates the joy that presence grants to all of us. It is quintessentially healing.

This is how I work with the general principle of attraction.

And, oh yes, I did get the job.

Marcus Anthony

 

Marcus T Anthony, PhD is the author of ten books about human awakening, including Discover Your Soul Template. He is also a life coach and teacher of profound intuition. His web site is www.mind-futures.com