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Break Free of the “Inner-child” (adult-child) Syndrome

Personal Growth & Spirituality, Recovery
limiting beiefs and inner child

Weed-out the faulty & limiting beliefs that do not serve you!

What is “the inner-child” and the “inner-child syndrome”?

A term coined initially by famous psychoanalyst, Carl Jung, the “inner-child” refers to the belief systems that are developed in childhood.  It is easy to grasp the idea that everyone’s belief systems are rooted mainly in childhood; after all, everyone learns about the world primarily from their parents. 

The “inner-child syndrome” refers to a term used to describe the dysfunctional or destructive behaviors that continue in some people’s adult lives.  These behavior patterns that occur as a direct result of thoughts and beliefs that run automatically or unconsciously.  Those thoughts come directly from childhood development (Steven Diamond, Ph.D.).

What are the issues associated with having limiting beliefs or “inner-child syndrome”?

There are numerous ways this can manifest in one’s life.  For the most concise list, I would like to refer you to The Laundry List of Adult-Children Of Alcoholics.  This compilation was originally written for children raised in alcoholic environments; however, psychologists recognize these traits as typical amongst various populations.   The mutual attributes being any form of abuse, neglect, or mental illness present in the home. 

For this article, I would like to focus on what I call living on “repeat”.   What I mean by that is often, as adults, we find ourselves in the same type of situation over and over and over.  

For example:

  • Getting out of a bad relationship, only to find ourselves in another lousy relationship
  • Getting out of debt only to rack up new debts
  • Losing and regaining the same 20 pounds repeatedly
  • Being taken advantage of by others again and again
  • Thinking you’ll be happy “if” (something changes) or “when” (something happens), only to realize that you’re no happier when those things occur.

…..there are countless other scenarios.

“We learn our belief systems as tiny children, and then we move through life, creating experiences to match our beliefs. Look back in your own life and notice how often you have gone through the same experience.”

You Can Heal Your Life, by Louise L. Hay

Why is it essential to revisit childhood to overcome limiting-beliefs and heal the inner-child?

Why can’t the past be the past? Because ultimately, at the root of living on “repeat” are unconscious limiting-beliefs that inform every thought, action, and therefore result in what we create in our life. 

With spring right around the corner, I will use planting a garden as an analogy to explain the importance of weeding out self-limiting and damaging beliefs so that adult-children can live fuller happier lives. .

You can’t change anything until you know what it is you are trying to change: Identify the Weeds

I am not a green-thumb by anyone’s standard, but you don’t have to have a degree in horticulture to understand that a critical step in growing a beautiful garden is to get rid of all of the weeds.

For the most part, weeds are just another type of plant that is growing in the wrong place. Some plants look like they could be weeds but aren’t.  Conversely, many weeds look like they could be plants. The belief system of an adult-child is quite similar.

Most weeds are harmless, but they just look ugly.   Then, some weeds are literally poisonous and will wreak havoc and destroy your flowerbed.   There are even some that are dangerous to other living creatures. They might be pesky to deal with, but wishing them away or ignoring them will not make them disappear. Neither will pretending it is a plant help it to result in beautiful spring tulips.  In fact, that sounds downright silly, doesn’t it?

One can also convince themselves that dandelions are harmless, and there is no use in working on getting rid of them.   That may be true, but the end result is accepting a second-rate garden.  Understating  the seriousness of a bishops weed could result in severe illness or death to a beloved pet.

So, even a wannabe gardener like me can wrap their head around the idea that the only way to get rid of them is to pull them out by their root; otherwise, they will just grow back and start the cycle all over again.

The Journey to Growing

To deeply heal the “inner-child syndrome” and overcome limiting beliefs, a couple of things have to happen so the journey can begin: 

One must look back to what went wrong in childhood, particularly in the early (birth to 7 or 8 years) childhood.   This does not mean they have to relive the experiences and “become” the emotions, but rather observe what happened with adult eyes to understand what happened and replace old damaging beliefs with new and empowering ones.  A great way to do this without reliving the pain is using an NLP technique called Association and Disassociation. 

Life Coaching for Less than a Latte: Crush Self-doubt and Unleash Confidence the workbook

For the wounded-child to begin to heal, it is critical to get it through to one’s core that what happened in the past was NOT THEIR FAULT.   I cannot stress that enough.   I have worked with many clients who intellectually know that events in their lives weren’t their fault but, on an emotional and even spiritual level, carried some guilt and shame.  At the core of their being, they got the message that if they were somehow better, smarter, quieter, cuter, etc., that mommy or daddy would have acted differently and real or perceived, they believed it.    

Awareness is the stepping-stone to change:  Once we are aware the real cause of “adult-child syndrome” is bad programming, we have two choices.  We can consciously decide to stop the denial; to stop hiding from the pain; to stop lying to ourselves;

OR we can perpetuate the narrative that everything is ok and believe that the same thinking that created chaos in our lives can somehow fix it, ultimately continuing to repeat the cycle of misery repeat again and again and again.  

That may sound harsh, but those are the two choices.

Fortunately, there is freedom in accepting this as reality.  It takes so much energy to try and “pretend” everything is OK when intuitively, we believe something is awry.   The effort it takes to attempt to control outward appearances (and seem “normal”) is exhausting and keeps us from using that same precious energy in pursuing our dreams.

Uncovering the damaging lies (weeds) that do not serve you anymore allows you to replace them with empowering truths (lilies) that will help you manifest the life you desire and deserve.    It is then that life begins to bloom.

You may like: Managing Depression During Covid-19 and Beyond

Change is possible, but it is not always easy to do it alone.  If you think you have characteristics of the “inner-child” and would like support in weeding out these faulty beliefs, why not try working with a professional Life-Coach?   Life coaches are trained at helping their clients overcome limiting beliefs and moving forward with their lives.  There are times when a psychotherapist is more appropriate than a life coach.   If the wounds of the “inner-child” are still very raw and painful, a therapist is a better choice as they will provide an environment conducive to healing.   If you are ready to move forward and need to breakthrough old blockages, a coach can be a game-changer in your life.   Life Coach Library makes it convenient to find the best coach for you, and the process is risk-free!

By WendyC

I help people get "unstuck" and pursue their hearts desires. I specialize in helping anyone affected by addictions (personal recovery, adult children, or codependents) or dysfunctional upbringing emerge from limiting belief systems so that they may live beyond GOOD and find GREAT.

2 responses to “Break Free of the “Inner-child” (adult-child) Syndrome”

  1. I really hope you’re not calling a dandelion a weed. It’s one of the most useful plants in the world. Every part of a dandelion, from the flower to the roots, is usable in anything from cooking to making teas, and even medicine. This isn’t even mentioning that it is crucial to the bee population as its the first flowering plant of the season and the bees need them for nourishment among other things. Ok. We now return you to your regularly scheduled post. 🙂 (steps down from his soap box)

    Reply
  2. Awareness is indeed the crux off spiritual development. Or simply development. You cannot ever remedy what you do not know. Or it would take ages to do.

    Reply

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