Your Inner Adult

by Cynthia Bischoff on May 7, 2017

We formed our core relationship with ourselves and with life in early childhood based on the messages we received, the trauma we may have suffered, and the role modeling of the adults around us.

Co-dependent behavior (feeling the need to be connected to someone else in order to survive) is a pattern often developed in childhood to help a person to survive. Staying strongly connected to and/or attempting to control your caregivers may have been the only way you could feel safe.

This behavior may play out in your adult life as a need to feel connected to another person and a feeling that without that connection you may not survive. This may cause you to sacrifice your own growth in order to feel safe. It may cause you to feel the need to “please” people in your life in order to be approved.

As adults, we grow to understand that we are the only one who can “rescue,” truly approve, or reliably care-take ourselves. While there may be an Inner Child in us seeking love and care, we learn that there is an Inner Adult whom we can also develop who is capable of caring for us. In fact, we can contribute to the development of our Inner Adult by challenging the way in which we feel dependent upon others to meet our needs and by building our self-esteem.

This Inner Adult is a part of you that is capable of thinking well, stays in touch with reality, and is able to make wise choices by estimating the probability of consequences of certain acts. How do you strengthen your Inner Adult?

  1. Learn to trust and respect yourself. You can “course-correct” at any time by acting responsibly for your own life.

  2. Value yourself. Accept your desires for what they truly are and ask for what you need, not only from yourself but from others in your relationships.

  3. Maintain healthy boundaries. Do not under-function or over-function in your relationships with others.

  4. Enjoy spending time alone. Understand that being “alone” does not mean “lonely”; in fact, the word “alone” is derived from two words “all one.” You can feel complete when alone.

  5. Remind yourself of the times in which you cared well for yourself. Celebrate your successes in the past and look forward to standing by your own side now and in the future.

  6. Give yourself your own approval. Ultimately, you teach others how to treat you through your own behavior toward yourself.

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