How can you be expected to “reparent your inner child” when you barley had a parent from whom to learn? Growing up in an abusive home as a child almost automatically suggests that while you might have had parents living in the household, most likely you were not “parented.” You were abused and traumatized but not parented. At least not in the way reparenting refers. Make sense?
You Need To Learn to Compassionately Parent Not Necessarily “Reparent” Your Inner Child
While the concept of reparenting your inner child is indeed crucial for healing from trauma and abuse, the issue is how do you learn to parent yourself when you did not have a successful, compassionate model from which to learn? Nobody can be expected to learn something without having some prior knowledge or experience. Which presents a problem for abuse survivors who want to learn to reparent themselves in a helpful loving manner.
That’s where a good trauma coach comes in! Role playing with someone with whom you feel safe offers a learning environment where change can happen. Obviously, you know how to model speaking and relating to yourself like your abuser did. That’s just how the brain works. You learn by watching as a child. Think about it, have you ever opened your mouth or talked to yourself using the same tone, message etc. that your parent(s) did. Moreover, have you ever heard yourself and thought, “OMG! I swore I’d never talk like that.”
Well, there ya go! That’s the way the brain works. The task then becomes learning how to change that inner voice and that requires learning from someone who has done it and who can model for you how to reparent yourself with love, compassion as well as accountability and discipline.
The Power of Imagination
Your brain and body don’t know the difference between real and perceived. Think about it, have you ever gone to a movie and cried or jumped out of your seat in fear? We all have. (Personally I avoid scary movies but you get the point 😉 Even though you “know” it’s make believe your body and brain react as if what you perceive is real. This plays a huge helpful role in healing from trauma and especially in reparenting your inner child .
Because you can imagine yourself relating to your wounded inner child with love and compassion. This new way of relating to her will help change the patterns in your brain ad create new pathways that will signal safety and calm to your body and your mind. which is why imagination is so powerful
What Does Compassionate Reparenting Look and Sound Like?
One of the first things to do when reparenting your hurt inner child is to get down on her level. Imagine looking in her eyes and holding her hands in your hands. Let her see that you see her. Looking in her eyes will create those new pathways I mentioned above. Take some time to sit with her in your lap and hold her close so she knows she is safe. Another idea-imagine the two of you being held safely and lovingly in God’s arms. After doing this, notice how your body feels. Is it less anxious? Do you feel calm and connected? Just check in and notice.
That is how reparenting looks, so to speak. Now let’s go over some ideas for what reparenting sounds like.
Sticking to a few comforting sentences at first will make the new relationship easier to build. However, if you feel so inclined you can certainly sit down with your inner child and talk with her as long as you feel led. Just be sure that whatever you are sharing with her comes from a place of compassion and love. However, just to get you started I am going to share a few staple statements and from there you can make them your own. After all, she is your wounded child to get to know and love.
- I see you.
- I can see how sad and rejected (or insert other feelings here) you feel.
- You are safe now.
- You are loveable.
- I will always be here for you.
- Look at you! You did it!
- I know this might feel uncomfortable and you can do it because it is best for you. (“It” being doing something helpful i.e. working out, making boundaries, self-care, etc.)
Include Empathy, Encouragement and Empowerment When Reparenting Your Inner Child
Reparenting your inner child requires not just empathy but al.so discipline to teach her and empower her. Effective reparenting also needs to include encouragement. The more you provide a safe, supportive space for her, the more you will feel relief from anxiety, under which, is grief, loss and fear. Not only that, but you will start to see yourself as the beautiful, capable, resilient child of God you truly are. And that is when you begin to live a peaceful, playful and purposeful life you deserve and desire!
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From my heart to yours