Emotional Healing From The Past Part One

emotional healing

Do you struggle with,

Letting go of the past?

Continually engaging in behaviors that are harmful to you or others?

Addictions of any kind?

I will be answering why you might be struggling with these things in a two part series that looks at our God given emotions, the importance of them, and ways we often suppress them that negatively affects us.

Much of this article will be based on John Bradshaw’s book called, “Homecoming” which proposes that we all have an “Inner hurting child” from the past who manifests himself or herself in unhealthy ways as we get older as a result of unresolved emotions.

To put it more simply, if you were hurt or traumatized when you were younger and never never addressed those hurts when you got older, you would resort to the behaviors of the age you were hurt at.

Bradshaw highlights 6 ways that our inner hurt child contaminates our lives (Hurts)


Offender behaviors

Trust issues

Acting out/In

Magical beliefs

Intimacy dysfunctions

Non-disciplined behaviors

Addictive/compulsive behaviors

Thought distortions


As you can see, the highlighted part spells out the word “Contaminate.” Lets take a look at what these are.

Co-dependence is described in the book as a loss of identify (unaware of one’s needs, desires, and feelings). This usually happens when a child is in a family or environment that doesn’t allow the healthy expression of their emotions. The child then becomes “Co-dependent” on the parents because they in affect abandon themselves.

The last sentence might sound a little confusing so let me clarify what happens here. The reason a child essential abandons him or herself is because our God given emotions are a part of us, engrained in our DNA, and when a child has to reject their emotions they are in essence, rejecting themselves.

The result of this is that it leads to feelings of shame, guilt, and self-doubt.

Offender behavior is when we act out inappropriately towards others. Bradshaw describes that we tend “act out” in the only way that we know how (how our parents/caretakers modeled their emotions).

You can see how this might be good or bad right?

For example, a child who grows up in an abusive home is likely to identify with how the parent(s) model their own emotions, in this case, violence.

Another example could be a parent who spoils their children.

According to the book, when children are spoiled they tend to develop a, ‘I’m superior than others’ attitude. This is something that becomes a learned behavior and as children grow older they lose all sense of responsibility and believe they deserve special treatment.

Trust issues develop when parents/caretakers are untrustworthy. All of a sudden, the outside world becomes a dangerous place to children and they develop a deep sense of distrust.

For example, as a child, my mother divorced twice, once when I was seven and again around the age of 13. Both times my father and step-father had cheated on my mom. As I grew older I put up walls and barriers to give people the illusion that everything was “ok,” when I was really crying for help on the inside.

I didn’t let anyone in because I didn’t trust anyone, including God at the time.

Acting out/in is a common behavior among people who are hurt from the past. According to Bradshaw, when our inner child is hurt, our emotions and feelings become frozen in the time when we were hurt.

Since they couldn’t be expressed in a healthy way we tend to express it in an abnormal behavior (acting in/out).

According to Bradshaw, Non-disciplined behaviors are a result of parents who fail to model healthy discipline. When a parent or parents/caretakers fail to do this (lack of discipline), the chid becomes stubborn and compulsive in their behaviors.

In part two I will go over the remaining ways that our inner child contaminates our adult lives. I will also explain how I think God fits into all of this.

 What are some hurts you struggle to deal with today? How do you handle them?  




1 Comment

  • Lori says:

    I was sexually abused by my dad for six years starting when I was 6. My mom blamed, accused and abused me for what my dad did. I now am married for 7 yrs. have been with my husband for 12 years. We have 4 children. My husband spends years here and there throughout our relationship.
    I have repressed my feelings, built up walls and never dealt with them. I have numbed and closed them away by alcohol, always being busy for my kids til I wake and go to bed, I have created myself to become ocd. To scared to enjoy and be comfortable in my life, feelings, mind, heart. So I drink again when they start to surface. I don’t know what to do with these feelings. I am scared. I lock myself in my house, don’t answer my phone. Just want to be left alone. Can’t get close to anyone. Now my kids are all in school, I have evening time and all day while they are in school to myself. I’ve cried so much, my eyes are puffy every day. My heart aches. I’ve sent cards to my parents to let them know I forgive them and please forgive me for me hating them. But my mom asks what did she do. I see clearly what she did to me growing up. I finally understand. I’ve done my part. Now I took her out of my life. I am tired of being hurt. I want to heal. I felt my heart was of stone. I am looking through channels and come across ministries preaching and it catches me. I want to change the channel and say I don’t care, but I do. I watch it. I cry more. So I have been googling how to handle these emotions. How to heal. How to move on. I’ve always had everyone to take care of. I have been a hard core alcoholic for 21 years. Now my body is aching, I have been getting checked. I won’t have results yet. But i can feel the damage I have done to myself with poison, repressed feelings. Not dealing with them. I’ve been seeking faith a lot this past month. Now I realize I have had faith, I need to work on self managment. I have learned how to praise and worship God now! I have been trying to shut Him out, hide from Him. I no longer want too! Only with Him all things are possible, I can heal, He will help me! I love life, I love my life now, I am scared it is too late. I am scared to no longer be here for my kids.
    I thank God and Jesus for never leaving me! I love God and Jesus with my whole heart! I want to move forward with complete love and desire to show others what I’ve gone through. No matter how many years, it is not too late. Thank You, God!
    I am grateful for this website!

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