When we hear people begin talking about their “inner child,” our first inclination may be to tune them out and roll our eyes. “What a load of therapeutic nonsense,” we may think to ourselves. “Inner child? Come on. Time to grow up.” In actuality, while we may believe that our adult selves are dictating our feelings and behaviors, many of us are largely motivated by a wounded inner child that resides deep within us.
Self-destructive behaviors manifest in many different ways. Some of us engage in self-sabotaging behaviors, perhaps showing up 30 minutes late to the most important meeting of the year, or canceling a big date minutes before the meet-up. Some of us engage in self-destructive behaviors, perhaps drinking to excess, shopping ourselves into bankruptcy, or taking on numerous sexual partners while in a committed relationship. This destructive behavior that we engage in as adults often mimics the self-importance and childishness of a temper tantrum; or, it may resemble the neediness of a newborn infant – the fear of abandonment and the emotional dependency.