Insecure attachment means we didn’t receive the care and protection we needed as children, and lost touch with our playful side.
That’s because we needed to know our parents were there for us in order to branch out and confidently explore the world around us. If our parents were unavailable, either physically or emotionally, we became fearful of our surroundings rather than curious about them.
Unlike children from stable backgrounds, those of us with insecure attachment became preoccupied with trying to keep ourselves safe. We went into survival mode because we believed, often rightly, that no one would take care of us so we had to take care of ourselves.
That child who was forced to become hypervigilant, over responsible, and suppress her needs becomes the child or children inside you as an adult. This inner child can hold you back by trying to protect you or get your needs met in childish ways.
The child might make you procrastinate because she’s fearful of criticism once the project is complete. She may be protecting you by helping you stay inside your comfort zone rather than putting yourself out there.
The outcome of insecure attachment
The inner child who evolved out of insecure attachment is also the one reacting to triggers and having emotional outbursts. If you never learned to regulate your emotions, it makes sense that your response to stimuli would remain immature.
If you’ve been trained to suppress your emotions, they will come out somehow because we are humans not robots. And the way they come out will not be the way you wanted or planned.
In the same way, if you had to abandon your needs to survive, ie., keep your parents love and acceptance, your inner child will try to get those needs met in ways that work against you.
If you want a fulfilling life where your needs get met in healthy ways, you have to assure your inner child she’s not in charge anymore. Let her know she can relax and you’ll take care of her because you’re the adult now.
How to care for your inner child
Remind the inner child that you’re able to take care of adult matters so she doesn’t need to jump in and save you. The proof lies in the fact that you have a job or an apartment or you can drive a car or take care of a pet or pay your bills.
Reconnect with your sense of play and curiosity with the world.
Thank your inner child for keeping you safe and protecting you when you needed it. You’re the adult now so she can relax and enjoy being with you.