Yeah, I’ve heard of them..
Just to give you a gage of my previous emotional intelligence; in my early twenties I had a therapist hand me a piece of paper with several different illustrated cartoon faces labeled with corresponding feeling words. I suspect this was because she would not accept “fine” as an accurate description of my current state of being. I was immediately thrown by this and rolled my eyes. I laughed at her if I remember correctly. What did she think I was? A child?
Then it dawned on me. Holy shit. Yes.
I was an Emotional Infant.
And why wouldn’t I be? I wasn’t raised in a family that stressed the importance of being in touch with your emotions. To be fair to my parents, I don’t know anyone who was. As far as I can tell, the western tradition is to focus almost exclusively on things outside of ourselves as opposed to looking inward. We seem to have an obsession with getting stuff and a fascination with outward appearances. No judgement, I’m often guilty of this myself.
That being said, I dont have nearly as difficult a time as I used to identifying and experiencing unpleasant emotions. I have learned the hard way that what you resist persists. Attempting to use logic and explanation to dodge panic attacks has never been effective. It works a very small percentage of the time but mostly just ends up making things worse. Avoidance is not the answer my friends. For this reason, I’ve been forced to develop some skills to aid in my quest to become a well-rounded adult.
Inner Child: The Metaphorical Baby
Our inner child is comprised of all of the lovely things that come to mind when we think of youth such as innocence, playfulness, and wonder. This metaphorical baby is also made up of the not so great things like childhood sadness, fear and trauma. Stephen A Diamond, Ph.D does an excellent job covering this topic here.
As adults, we are able to take responsibility for healing ourselves by acknowledging and loving our own inner child.
We can essentially act as our own parent to meet the needs that were not met for us as children. Each time we meet our own needs we are retraining our brain that things are not as catastrophic as they may seem. Building trust in yourself this way allows you to feel confident that you are completely capable of taking care yourself.
So here I am, An emotional baby raising my metaphorical baby self.
All the best,