I often come across people who are 20, 30, 40 years old, but their years only depict their biological age. Deep inside they seem to be stuck in early childhood and still expect the love they didn’t get when they were kids. And they stay there until they learn to love themselves.
Different ages have different needs, meaning that the attention and love we expect from our parents change with each year that passes. We simply have different needs and requirements.
Early childhood is the period where trust is being built, so, love at this age represents compassionate concern of the mother about her child’s needs.
If the mother was unreliable, she dismissed the child, etc., her behavior can make the child worry and feel afraid for her or his well-being.
In adulthood, it is difficult to make contact with these people. In relationships, they often test and question their partners because of their trust issues. When it comes to intimate relationships, they may feel helpless and vulnerable.
A little later, between the second and the third year of life, the child learns to be independent and to develop self-control. If parents hindered development in any way, for example, they were impatiently and persistently doing what a child could easily do by him/herself, or, expecting the child to do things he or she was unable to do alone – then the feeling of shame appears.
And if parents are constantly overprotective of the child, which leaves them blind to their kid’s real needs, then the child starts to doubt his or her abilities, the ability to control their surroundings and him/herself.
Even as adults, these people, instead of being confident, they think that others look at them with judgment and disapproval. Obsessive-compulsive symptoms or paranoid fears caused by trauma can also occur in such people.
To love a child aged 3-6 is to encourage his/her independent actions and support his/her initiatives, as well as the approval of their curiosity and creativity. If the parents don’t allow the child to act alone, in response to their needs, they punish him/her too much, feelings of guilt develop.
And then in adulthood, such “big kids” don’t have enough focus on their goals and determination to set realistic aims and achieve them. In addition, a constant sense of guilt can cause passivity, impotence or frigidity, as well as psychopathic behavior.
During school age, personal values are formed. If you have doubted the capacity of your child or his/her status among peers, it may discourage him/her from further learning, it may also create a feeling of inferiority, which will later kill his security in his ability to function effectively and exists in the world.
If children experience school achievement and work as the sole criterion for judging their values, as adults, they can become “workforce” in the established hierarchical society.
I suggest that you give your inner child a hand and help him/her grow. To do this, find a picture of yourself as a child or just imagine a child living in you. How old is he/she? What does he/she look like? What is he/she thinking? Who’s next to him/her? What’s the matter with him/her?
Talk to your inner child…
Take paper and two pencils of different colors: one in your right hand, the other in the left. If you are right-handed, write with your right hand on behalf of your adult self, and use your left hand on behalf of your inner child. If you are left-handed, do the opposite.
In your conversation, you and your inner child are alone. Who will make contact first? When will you start communicating? The answers you’ll get might be unexpected.
Now that you found your inner child and started talking to him/her, it is time to establish a relationship with him/her. Communicate with the kid in there as much as you like.
Ask him/her what he misses. Give him/her what he/she is looking for. Call him/her by his/her name, tell him/her kind, loving words, give him/her your love. Ask him something.