Owning Your Inner Child: Freeing Yourself from the Fear of Commitment - GoodTherapy.org Therapy Blog (2023)

Owning Your Inner Child: Freeing Yourself from the Fear of Commitment - GoodTherapy.org Therapy Blog (1)"It's like a mother: when the baby cries,
She picks up the baby and holds it tenderly in her arms.
Your pain, your fear is your baby.
You have to take care of it.
You have to come back to yourself
Recognize the suffering in you.
Embrace suffering and you will find relief."
-Thich Nhat Hanh

There's a part of all of us that wants to belong. This is our security, our security. means we canrelaxthat others are there to support us, appreciate us, praise us, and take care of us when we can't. It means we matter.

When we experience a single relationship break, we usually bounce back. When it becomes a pattern, when someone who "should be there" for us finds ways to switch off or disappear on a daily basis, recovery seems elusive and out of reach. We make decisions aboutbe, and said, "They don't want me. I must be defective.

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Fearful attachment says, "You don't give me enough"

Those who land on itfearfulside ofadditiveThey are often aware that they are looking to others as a way to regulate their load. They may feel "sticky". Living in this mode, many feel lightrejectedÖleave, becomenervouswhen partners fail to meet perceived expectations. Alert, alert for signs that others are leaving, they easily panic and display protest behavior in often futile attempts to elicit loving responses. They may blame or blame their partners for making them submit and choose to argue (and keep arguing) because it's better than no connection at all because worry leaves them no choice .

Many in this mode give up their own desires in order to gain their partner's approval, putting the needs of survival before authenticity. The "true" identity of their partner is often less relevant than the fact that the partner presents themselves as available often enough for the concerned person to maintain an illusion of belonging.amar. This can leave their partners feeling like disposable guardians, while for the anxious the conceit creates a paradoxical argument: "I wouldn't put that much effort into someone who isn't 'the right one'."

Some refer to this as "fantasy bonding": falling in love with the idea of ​​the person while often ignoring the extraneous parts.

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Many individuals with anxious attachment recognize in quieter moments after being so caught up in their own discomfort and dysregulation that they have been unable to perceive unspoken emotional cues from their partners that could have led to feelings of reciprocity, connection, etcprivacy.

Anxious relationship with self

Sometimes the panic itself becomes the enemy, and the anxious person strategizes to hide or contain it by saying, "If others see this panic, they will leave me." This message itself maintains the inner conflict, one against oneself, increasing the pain as the inner parts polarize.

While many anxious people function excessively in the presence of others (which others may find demanding), they can find it difficult to complete tasks on their own. Sometimes, in the absence of constant rest, they find theirsMotivationdissolved. They can recognize a perceived lack of individuality when they are not in the presence of another person.

As familiar as relationship distress may be, they may find that when genuine intimacy is offered to them, they don't know how to deal with it. It can fall flat. They may tell themselves that they are just bored. They can be distracted or sabotage you. much is calledPenaby bringing parts of themselves into awareness that they don't know how to find.

Origins of Anxious Attachment

Many theories describe the emergence of anxious attachment and cite bothnature and education. One of the most prominent frames the caregiver as someone burdened by herEmotion. You can be a parent who appreciates or loves the baby and at the same time feels out of tune, helpless, like there's no way to calm them down. This is an unfortunate or inaccurate discrepancyEmpathy. The baby naturally gets more attention when he's crying, which teaches him to use tantrums as a primary method of getting attention and satisfying his security needs.

Another theory that might work in conjunction with the previous one: the caregiver who is actively (albeit unconsciously) bearing the wounds of abandonment creates dependency in their child and ensures that the child needs them and stays with them. In this parental strategy, the child is brought up to remain a child, to assume a dependent role in intimate relationships in order to satisfy its needs.

conflicting anxious attachment

Those on the anxious side of attachment struggle in and out of the relationship and feel unable to settle down until their security needs are met by someone else. This often leads to long-term relationship deterioration as their partners learn to distance, placate, and tease rather than pursue seemingly endless conflicts. This withdrawal from the partner can perpetuate negative beliefs: “You are trying to leave me. i'm not cool I have to increase my emotions to get an answer.

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An open letter from avoidant attachment to fearful attachment

I see your panic I hear it in your breath, your sighs, your many signs and gestures designed to attract my attention. It bothers me that you are in this mood because it means I will lose a partner and have a child. I will be the father. I will be your "solution". In your panic, my existence is no longer mine. I am no longer free, complete, separate from you. Since no one finds me in you, I'm trapped and alone.

Your dependency is becoming a burden to me. It's like a child inside you that has nowhere to go. At times he feels like an insatiable, overbearing bully demanding that I take care of him. But he has no sense of time, and I could sit with him for hours, getting annoyed with you every minute. And nothing changes.

I want to be loved, not needed.

A part of me wants to be taken care of too.

Anxiety therapy: connecting with yourself

In times of interpersonal conflict, many of us move to younger states. We separate from current resources and respond not to partners, but to parents. Even with adult partners, we fall back on perceptions, expectations and strategies learned in childhood. We become the boy in the empty space and feelfileuntil it's full again. Or we become the child who plays in our room, safe, away from the needs or threats of others in the house, hoping no one will knock on the door.

To heal and lessen dependency on others, those on the anxious end of the spectrum will invariably find ways to build internal support, a part of the self that is strong, dependable, and unthreatened by intense emotions. This can be referred to as "self-validation" or "internal parenting".

First, however, they naturally look to others (friends, co-workers, and therapists) for support, validation, and testimony. "Life shouldn't be like this," they might say. "We have to be able to rely on others."

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Some may see resentment, even embarrassment, for the work of therapy. They may see confidence or self-control as a secondary strategy, used only when the person doesn't belong in the world. They may feel conflicted internally and with their therapist, feeling guilty and being bullied in the relationship: "I'm the one who gets so devastated when people leave me. However, they say that I play a role in this.

Another way to frame fearful attachment

When we reframe "worry" as the ongoing feelings of abandonment of an inner child, we begin to differentiate ourselves from the suffering part. This is important for today's adult who feels overwhelmed by emotions. It is also vital for the suffering child (or the old neural network that takes over) to have a compassionate inner witness.

When we reframe "worry" as the ongoing feelings of abandonment of an inner child, we begin to differentiate ourselves from the suffering part. This is important for today's adult who feels overwhelmed by emotions. It is also vital for the suffering child (or the old neural network that takes over) to have a compassionate inner witness.

It's hard to own the inner child and realize that it has trouble making demands of others, a natural next step when an inner caregiver isn't available.

There's a message that's often internalized in childhood: the unspoken message of a parent saying, "I can't handle this kid! Let someone else do it." It is a message that is repeated internally when emotions are high, when the old state is highmotivated. Many in therapy realize that they actually hate the inner child. They pass on this emotional part of themselves to others, telling their friends, family and partners, "I can't accept this child in me! It is too much! Take care of it.

It is important to start by separating the parts in this way, talking about each in the third person and gradually listening to the dialogue that is already taking place between them. This is differentiation and a necessary part of self-soothing. We cannot attend a part when we are that part. It needs some distance. Effective witnessing requires the development of an inner "other."

Developing inner parts is something most of us have done many times throughout our lives. We develop inner guardians and guardians: judges, parents. These are the parts that judge and contain us today.

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We can also develop an inner witness, someone who doesn't judge, isn't threatened by emotions, doesn't attack, doesn't withdraw, empathize, analyze, or try to fix. Who receives us with empathy andcompassionTo witness our pains and joys as we always wish someone else would.

An intentionally developed part is just as valid as parts that were automatically developed in life. The compassion and validation we can give ourselves is just as real and valid as the inner abuse we already depend on. Everything is an inner dialogue between parts of the self. In therapy, we just make that dialogue more conscious and intentional.

Certain therapeutic approaches, such asHakomijintrafamilial Systeme, work precisely to create an internal environment of acceptance and unity that facilitates integration through the differentiation of the parts.

Some final points and considerations

  • Our own perception is less accurate when the body is infight or flightMode. We easily cataclysm when it activates.ConscienceExercise can increase current awareness of our level of physical arousal. If you get too high, it's okay to take a break, withdraw from the discussion, and connect to resources that will help your body calm down. On the other side of the nervous system, life looks different.
  • Another way to tell if you're turned on: Can you hear someone's "no" and not take it personally?
  • It's important to recognize the fantasy elements in your relationships. Do you want an equal partner? Are there times when you really want to be taken care of? Most of us experience both.
  • This fight is common. is human
  • Do you give up your own interests, ideas, ideals, and activities to maintain a relationship?
  • he's fineleidenFantasies.


  1. Karen, R. (1998).Bonding: Early relationships and how they shape our ability to love. Nova York: Oxford University Press.
  2. Kinnison, J. (2014). Type: Anxious-worried. Retrieved from https://jebkinnison.com/bad-boyfriends-the-book/type-anxious-worried
  3. Levine, A. and Heller, R. (2010).Attachment: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find and Keep Love. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher.

© Copyright 2016 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted byJeremy McAllister, MA, LPCI, contributor to GoodTherapy.org

The above article was written solely by the author named above. GoodTherapy.org does not necessarily share the views and opinions expressed. Questions or concerns about the above article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.


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