Attachment & Inner Child

If you’re on this page, I’m guessing you’ve struggled in some way with relationships whether that be with caregivers, romantic partners, friends or otherwise. Attachment can be a root to many mental and emotional issues. For the purpose of our work, we will focus on how childhood attachments impact current relationships and cause reactivity to certain situations. This is where inner child work comes in, which I’ll explain further in a few. What you need to know at this moment is that every single person forms some type of attachment to their caregivers that shapes their sense of self and can have a positive or negative impact on social connections as an adult. So, whether you’re seeking support to repair a relationship with a parent or not, attachment work can be integral to growing confidence and self-worth.

What are attachment wounds?

Attachment wounds are emotional injuries created during some form of neglect or dismissive caretaking. Attachment wounds often stem from caregiver-child relationships, but can occur in any relationship. Attachment wounds could look like, but are not limited to:

  • Difficulty trusting others

  • Difficulty relying on others or asking for help

  • Consistent fear of disappointing someone (people-pleasing)

  • Social anxiety

  • Feeling worthless to your family, partner, friends, etc

  • Fear of rejection or being alone

  • Difficulty being vulnerable with others

  • Opening up too quickly with new people

  • Lack of boundaries

  • Reactive to people and situations

  • Frequent depression or anxiety symptoms

What is Inner Child Work?

Some hear "inner child" and think “wow how woo woo” but I’m here to share how this concept can be used practically. As an adult, have you ever felt left out or dismissed when friends cancel plans? Have you been excited about something and when you share it with your partner, they don’t share that same level of enthusiasm, so you get upset? What about times where you lack patience when it feels like the situation doesn’t call for such a response? These are simple examples of how your inner child shows up and how they can take over when you’re not aware they need tending to. Inner child work is the exploration of your younger selves (child & teen) that come out during reactive or triggering situations. This is usually due to some reminder of a past experience that felt uncomfortable or unsafe, hence the reactive response. We take those moments and analyze what needs are not being met and how you meet those needs as an adult – essentially, how do you parent yourself?

This can be helpful when trying to heal childhood trauma or relationship wounds, but it can also be useful in exploring feelings, boundaries, shame, and cultural inequities. So no matter if an attachment wound is just a scratch or goes deeper, exploring inner child work can help alleviate self-doubt and deconstruct shame around your responses to people and situations.