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Why Am I Suddenly in my Wounded Self?

By Phyllis Stein
February 10, 2010

When the wounded self takes over, it is always because of inner abandonment. Learn how to notice this and bring more love to your inner child.

All of us have had the experience of suddenly realizing that our wounded self has taken control.  We realize that we are back in some sort of default mode, trying to make things okay by trying to change someone else - trying to get them to understand our point of view, trying to get them to connect with us, trying to get their approval, making them responsible for our feelings, etc.  How did that happen?

I remember at the very first intensive, all of us relatively new to Inner Bonding, being hypervigilant, trying not to be "seen" as being in our wounded selves.  That seems comical now, but I think that as we do become more aware of the difference between being in our wounded selves and our loving adult self, we do wind up "trying" not to go there.  And when it happens anyway, sometimes we feel that we have not been vigilant enough, we should have had better control.  In a way that is true, but I want to suggest that we may be being vigilant about the wrong thing.

The wounded self, as has been said over and over again, is the part of us that was created to manage the feelings that were too big to feel when we were little.  The wounded self was created because there was no one there for us, because emotionally we were completely abandoned and did not know what to do.  The wounded self STILL shows up automatically for the same reason, even if the inner abandonment is subtle and seemingly momentary. Some of us grew up overwhelmed by our intense feelings and probably it is easier to notice when things are not right, but others, like me, numbed out and checked out and it is easy to not notice. 

For me at this point, when feelings are intense, it is easy to do Inner Bonding.  My little girl has my attention and I know she needs me.  The challenge is to pay attention to the more subtle cues that she is giving me.  This is, of course, step one of Inner Bonding, the hardest one of all when our inner kids have learned to numb out in order to cope with big feelings.

What I have totally gotten is that when I find myself back in my wounded self, it is BECAUSE I have failed to pay attention to these cues.  I can always roll the scene back in my mind, maybe run it frame-by-frame, and there it is, my little girl was feeling anxious or lonely and I did not hear her.  It is not enough to tune into the things that our wounded self is saying that is causing this anxiety and to stop saying them (step 2).  The challenge is to be in step 1, to feel the feelings of your inner child and have them CAUSE you to open your heart, just as you probably would with a real child.  It is as if when your child is tugging on your sleeve and you pay no attention.  That is inner abandonment and it will trigger your wounded self every time.

So if you find yourself closing down, feeling like you have to protect yourself, having interactions that are feeling worse and worse, it is ALWAYS because there was a moment when your inner child was tugging at your sleeve (or even screaming at you) and you turned away instead of opening your heart and embracing your child and making what he or she was feeling right then the most important thing of all.  You wounded self then showed up automatically, because your loving adult did not, and tried to solve the problem with some sort of protective controlling behavior. It happens in an instant.

Assuming that you deeply want to learn about being a loving adult to your inner child you get to have a do-over.  You can go back to that moment. You can practice being the loving adult and reverse the inner abandonment. So each time your wounded self shows up, it can become a "good" thing, a sacred opportunity to practice listening more deeply to the voice of your inner child and a wonderful opportunity to bring more love to your child and to the planet. All you have to do is listen and open your heart this time around.




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