Issue 88 –
Vulnerability: Part 8
Caring for the Vulnerable Child continued
Drs Hal & Sidra Stone
How can we take care of our inner children? The most important step in caring for this inner child is to recognise its presence and develop an awareness of its particular personality, its needs, and its reactions. Once we know about the child and its needs and feelings, we are in a position to do something about them.
We must learn to separate far enough from our vulnerable selves to realistically evaluate situations in which they have been activated, and then to speak up for them in an objective fashion, rather than to put them in a position of taking care of themselves.
This ability to be objective in considering the requirements and reactions of the vulnerable child represents the true position of empowerment. It is the most powerful way in which to move into a truly intimate connection with another person and to avoid the pitfalls of bonding patterns – or to gently extricate ourselves once these bondings have been constellated.
We have found that people have evolved many ways of caring for their vulnerable selves. For most of us, one of the best ways to take care of our vulnerability is to be sure that we have a network of people whom we love and with whom we feel safe. In that way, our inner children receive nurturing from a variety of sources and always have a place to go when they need one.
Also, it is important for most vulnerable children to have some space they can call their own, however small it might be. This would be a place that the particular child finds aesthetically pleasing and one in which it feel safe.
It is fascinating to speak directly to the vulnerable child and then to consider how to meet its specific requirements. If one is fearful of a long trip, there may be something special to take along to make things more comfortable. We know people who travel with favourite pillows, pictures of their families, favourite books, stuffed animals, or incense and crystals.
One woman about to embark on her first business trip alone realised that the child was fearful of eating by herself in a restaurant. She was greatly relieved when she figured out that she could watch television in her room and order from room service. A man who was newly divorced discovered that his vulnerable child missed the smell of food cooking. He began to prepare meals at home and to keep food in his refrigerator so that his inner child would not feel so abandoned.
There are many ways of taking care of our vulnerable children. We must first learn to listen to them and to honor them, taking their input seriously but not allowing them to tyrannise us or those around us. We should be good parents to them, honoring them and helping them to move past their fears when this is necessary. This does not mean we try to make them grow up. The vulnerable child remains a child forever.
Each of us must learn about and care for our own vulnerable child in our own particular way. After the vulnerable child has been contacted, it will often help in this process. It has been know to appear in dreams to give instructions regarding its care.
Sam had not known about his vulnerable child and had allowed his life to be run by his need to succeed and to impress others, even though this tendency to overwork could have resulted in illness or other damage to his body arising from constant muscular tension. Once he found out about his vulnerable child, Sam decided that he had to pay more attention to him and take his needs seriously. He dreamt as follows:
A child came into my house, a child that I knew was related to me. I knew that he had come alone across a busy street. I told him “You must never come to me unescorted again.” He had really risked his life to get to me and now he had to be more careful.
The change has come about and the growth has already started. Sam’s unconscious took responsibility and began teaching Sam about his child and the risks that it runs. Sam realised that his disregard for his own physical health was truly dangerous and he decided to take better care of his body.
Before she knew about her inner child, Ann was very brave. She dared anything, laughing at danger and at the fears of others. As she contacted her inner child, Ann gradually became aware that it was not at all happy with this state of affairs, that it wanted her to be a bit more cautious, particularly where Ann’s feelings were concerned. Although Ann was willing to “walk through fire” in her relationships, her child had other ideas. After she began to take the child more seriously, the Dreamweaver sent Ann the following dream:
I (Ann) was taller and wore a long skirt. I was a classic maternal figure living in a beautiful house in the bush amongst gardens. My house burned and I went in to get the baby, who was asleep. I picked up the baby and realised that although I could walk through the ring of fire, it would burn the baby. So I decided to stay inside the ring of fire. I found a crystal clear cool pool and got in with the baby. The baby continued to sleep peacefully as I waited for the fire to recede. As I watched, I noticed that the fire wasn’t destroying anything. I was amazed.
We have found that if one cares for the inner child in this way in a relationship, there is time to sit still and work on the internal situation until some awareness is available to us, a certain amount of clarity is achieved, and the aware ego can make a more appropriate move. Then the fires can burn themselves out without doing any damage. It is the disowning of the child, the walking through the ring of fire without any awareness of the harm that is being done to the child, that alerts the defending primary selves and catalyses the bonding patterns. Once the negative bonding patterns are activated, the fire does do damage.