Healing our inner child is a very important part of the puzzle. The idea is to dig deep down, to the original source of pain, and work outward from there. Many of us have trauma and inner child wounds that we have neglected. Which lead to unexplained triggers, patterns and reactions that are unhealthy and can lead to many unwanted consequences.
Authentic love never comes at the cost of your boundaries or self-respect.
Inner child work explained scientifically:
Your limbic system is made up of a set of brain structures involved in processing emotions. But, the system does not know what is real. It only knows what you feed it. These brain structures (e.g., the amygdala) function largely below the level of conscious awareness. They get input from your thoughts and your perceptions of the outside world. But those perceptions are filtered and skewed before they are processed in your limbic system. If you change the input, you can change the output and emotional reaction.
Your brain is in more than one place. The cortex (where conscious thought resides) can be the caring, guiding parent, and the limbic system can be the impulsive child. The limbic system does not know that the imagined love and support you are creating in your conscious brain is not real.
Memories are reconstructions, not perfectly preserved videotapes of earlier events. Just because a past experience was painful does not mean that you need to re-experience the pain every time you bring up the memory. You can imagine alternate endings that leave you feeling more empowered and intact.
When you visualize or daydream about an experience, you are creating a new and very real memory. Do you have any memories of dreams you have had? The dream never happened in the physical world, but you have a memory for it (including emotions and experiences). To your limbic system, it doesn’t matter if it was a dream or really happened. They are all just memories. So, daydream on purpose to lay down new, more adaptive memories and experiences.
It doesn’t matter if you don’t have clear and specific memories of early childhood. The inner child developed in the past and will look (probably) like your past self. But your interactions with the child while doing inner child work are happening in the present.
Writing a new story and imagining it clearly is the same as writing a new computer program
We can use our knowledge of how the amygdala works to shape our own personalities.
The amygdala is an automatic processor and storehouse of emotional memories. When information comes into your brain from your senses, it goes to a relay station called the thalamus. The thalamus sends this information to two places: to your cortex for conscious processing (i.e., you can think about what just happened) and directly to the amygdala for a quick determination of whether the incoming information represents a threat. The amygdala is a “dirty” processor. Its primary job is to make a yes/no decision: threat or no threat. And depending on your attachment style and the sensitivity of your emotional system coming out of childhood, a threat could be the possible loss of a job, real physical threats, raised voices, a potentially rejecting facial expression, or even things that are so subtle you don’t consciously recognize them.
Irrespective of the sources, if a threat is determined, the amygdala triggers an adrenaline release. The amygdala can trigger an adrenaline release before the cortex even has a chance to consciously process what happened. The cortex then makes its own determination about the nature of the threat, and if it agrees that action is warranted, it sends a second message to the amygdala that a threat is present.
Even without an external trigger, your cortex can send threat signals to your amygdala.
Most of us can bring to mind unpleasant or disturbing memories, or we can imagine scary situations that will trigger an emotional reaction. In this case, we are having an emotional reaction to a memory or imagined event that is not actually occurring in the present. Some of us also have daydreamed of achievement and success, or love, or other experiences that can bring positive emotions. The point here is that what our emotional systems respond to is incoming data, but these systems do not care where that data is coming from (real situation or imagination). Because of this, emotional experiences can be modified intentionally by using your imagination and your own voice and words.