Gremlins, Wounded Inner Kids and First Steps


I’ve got voices in my head that yak at me all day long. And if I’m not mistaken so do you. It’s pretty common.

Having voices in your head is really not as freaky as the kid in The Sixth Sense seeing dead people. As you may already know (especially if you have been hanging with me for awhile), the voices belong to your inner critic, aka your gremlin.

Your inner critic has one simple job and that’s to keep you safe. That usually equates to not wanting you to take risks…of any kind. Because if you take risks, you might get hurt and that’s the last thing they want happening.

In that way they are kinda like an annoying big sibling who just won’t let up. I had a brother a bit like that. They nag, they whine, they threaten, and worst of all, they’ll go as far as to make you feel like complete shit about yourself just to make sure you are immobilized and therefore not in any position to take risks. Luckily in my case, the delivery wasn’t anywhere near that harsh!

If you’re not taking risks, what are you doing? Not much I’d guess. You may even be stagnant, stuck, scared and sad. You may not have to take risks to be happy but without risk, you’re definitely not growing. Plus there is just so much fucking joy that you’re missing out on. It’s times like that when the couch and Facebook become your very best friends.

Some suggest managing your inner critic as though she is your wounded inner child. It makes sense since so much inner critic speak comes from parental or authoritarian messages that we are exposed to as kids, when we have no means to process them like grown ups can. The child becomes wounded in such a significant way that it’s carried through to their adult life.

Then we grow up. But the wounded inner child doesn’t and feels as though the only way to stay safe is to keep you in the same place they are. Fears, coping mechanisms (or lack thereof) and all. That is her role in your life.

In keeping with the wounded inner child concept, in order to get past the fear that your wounded inner child instills in you, you need to be loving and compassionate with her. And I agree. This kid is part of you and has all your experiences. Why wouldn’t you be loving and compassionate with her?

Realistically she is you, and she represents your fears. So when she reminds you of them, especially the one about expecting too much, not being deserving or worthy, or not having the real ability to pull something off, what she says rings true and you can be paralyzed.

I’m good with the soft approach, although I have been known to flush a few gremlins down the toilet in my day just to have some peace and quiet or to be able to make a decision. (And no, I never did the same to my brother.) If you’re like me, sometimes you just want to stop hearing the noise and feeling the pain.

Soft or harsh, the process for managing your wounded inner child (your inner critic, your gremlin, or whatever you choose to call her and see her) remains the same.

Get to know her, intimately. Listen to her messages and understand what she is trying to protect you from, and what her triggers are. Do that with curiosity and with love. Love for yourself and love for her. And don’t think you have to do it alone, that’s what coaches and therapists are for. There is much to be learned from her and places for you to grow and to release her hold on you. Then you get to decide how you want to do going forward. Will you follow her advice or will you take the risk to get what you want?

There is no doubt that getting to know your wounded inner child is the key to understanding yourself and what holds you back from being the person you really want to be and having the life you really want. Get a handle on her and your life will be different, guaranteed.

But is the soft approach the best one for you right now? Maybe, or maybe not. It depends on how connected you are with yourself today, how well you understand what’s going on for you, how in touch with your deep core you are. Sometimes a good old fashioned self ass-kicking is in order.

If stagnant, stuck, scared and sad describe your life, that’s where you need to start. You don’t have to suddenly be a gremlin-fighter or even a wounded inner child lover. Listen to the other grumbling voices in your head long enough to hear them reminding you that this isn’t the life you signed up for. Feel what it’s like to be where you are right now with something holding you back from your magnificence, your desires.

You can look at where you are and decide that this is where you begin. You can start to take responsibility for your happy long enough to lift yourself off the couch and push yourself away from the computer. They just keep you hidden and numb you from the truth of what you are really feeling. Sometimes that’s enough to give you some momentum and courage to take the next step.

At some point going forward, a fireside chat with your wounded inner child will likely be part of your healing.

You might just want to honour yourself enough to gather the strength to show up for it.

Dianna xo

How will you prepare for your gremlin gab-fest? Let me know in the comments below!