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Should I listen to my “inner child”?

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Q. I’m in my 20s. I can fully function as an adult, study, work, live by myself, have a boyfriend, go out with my friends. However, I feel like inside me there is sort of “inner child.” This part of me feels not ready for life. Has a need of being taken care of. Is fearful, wants to cry out for attention. In my daily life, I only show my adult self, although always aware of my inner child feelings. I was worried at some point of having DID. But it doesn’t really fit me, since I don’t dissociate or forget, or lose contact with reality.

Is there a diagnosis or condition associated with these symptoms? I’m under psychotherapy treatment. I haven’t talked about this though, because I’m ashamed. Also because I believe my therapist will just tell me I’m acting out…and to behave properly. Therapy really triggers my inner child. I feel like making a tantrum at her office, just as if I was a 4 year old. Asking her to adopt me. Take me home with her. I also get very demanding, easily hurt, unable to handle frustration. I’m about to begin a new treatment, with another therapist. What do you think would be the best way to explain this issue? Do you believe I should try to strengthen my adult self, and just ignore this child-like part? Thank you for your advice.

Should I listen to my “inner child”?

Answered by on -

A.

Part of becoming a fully functional, complete and healthy human being for you at this stage of your life will include listening to your “inner child” voice. There is clearly a part of you that is hurting, that needs help, and that needs to be healed. Listen to this “inner child” as it is telling you extremely valuable information about what it is exactly that you need to be working on in therapy.

“This part of me feels not ready for life…has a need of being taken care of…is fearful, wants to cry out for attention…I feel like making a tantrum at her office, just as if I was a 4 year old… asking her to adopt me. Take me home with her. I also get very demanding, easily hurt, and unable to handle frustration.” This is the extremely valuable information that I spoke about above.

The predominant emotions that you are expressing seem to be fear, insecurity and anxiousness. It seems that this voice is telling you that you’re frightened; frightened maybe of the unknown world, a world that from your vantage point is unpredictable and thus something to be feared. Did you feel like this as a little girl? Were you an anxious child? If so, these are likely unresolved feelings from your childhood.

Another possibility is that, maybe, as a child, when you needed attention or attending to, you were ignored and your needs were not adequately or properly met. In this scenario, to get your needs met, you had to throw a temper tantrum to get noticed, and you learned that this type of behavior worked as a way for you to get what you needed or wanted. And as an adult, you are not sure how to have your needs met and this is frustrating to you, causing you to want to act out in an inappropriate way. I submit these possibilities to you as a way to explain your current feelings but please know that I have little information and that limits my interpretation.

I do not believe that you are suffering from DID and I do not believe there is any particular diagnosis for what you are describing.

You asked if you should try to strengthen your adult self and ignore your “inner child.” You should try to strengthen your adult self with the help of a therapist (if you could do this successfully before therapy then you may not need it), as you already planned, and tell the therapist exactly what you told me in this letter. You should never ignore what your “inner child” says (some may also refer to this as their inner voice) because it is the key to what is holding you back in life. You have absolutely nothing to be ashamed about. You could be making a huge mistake if you were to ignore what is bothering you. This voice is screaming to be heard. Listen to it. Take care.

Should I listen to my “inner child”?

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist and Assistant Professor of Social Work and Forensics with extensive experience in the field of mental health. She works in private practice with adults, adolescents and families. Kristina has worked in a large array of settings including community mental health, college counseling and university research centers.

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2018). Should I listen to my “inner child”?. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 23, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2007/10/03/should-i-listen-to-my-inner-child/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.