In my psychotherapy practice, I work with a lot of people in the 20 something age group. These beautiful young people are working on becoming empowered in the world, and are often aware of their hurt inner child as well. Fairly often there is some repressed anger in their system. As they begin to differentiate from the family of origin, they become more aware of the needs that were not met in their childhood. Let us imagine a client named “Beth”. Beth’s mom was emotionally unavailable and Beth was very angry about it. Numerous times she would complain to her mom about how she just didn’t “get” her. These complaints would often turn into shouting matches, or “temper tantrums”. When Beth brought the issue into therapy, we tuned into her body. There was a strong gripping or contraction in her right shoulder area. I guided Beth into physically grounding and centering, and the sensation in the shoulder increased. By staying present with it, eventually the energy began to soften and move. Through the course of the session, it moved all the way down her torso and leg. Eventually it began to release out her foot. I asked Beth if there were a kick somewhere in that contraction, and indeed there was. The contraction was a frozen “action impulse” that wanted to kick her mom.
While the energy release was happening, we explored the expectations of the child. The child wanted authentic contact, and was very angry about not getting it. Both the wanting it and the anger were wholesome emotions for the child, and I helped Beth see that. We then moved toward her adult. I helped Beth see that although her child wanted authentic contact, her mother was simply not able to provide it. She did not have the capacity. I encouraged Beth to quit expecting that from her mother. I helped her realize that as a young adult, she was now 100% responsible for her own nurturing. She must learn to give it to herself, or draw in people who could give it to her. At this point Beth began to feel guilty for her child “demanding” her mother nurture her, so we spent some time working through the guilt. At the end of the session Beth decided to write a letter to her mother apologizing for her tantrum. She was well on the way toward healing the unconscious expectations of her inner child.