Anxiety is part of the fight or flight response. We need anxiety to keep us safe and it can never be completely eliminated from our lives but through inner child healing we can stop anxiety from affecting us. As a I say on my hypnotherapy to reduce anxiety page, “anxiety disorders are said to be one of the most common forms of mental illness in the world and mental illness is said to be the most common form of illness, in the UK it is estimated that 25% of the population suffers with anxiety or depression and 9% suffers with anxiety and depression but anxiety is not a disease, a disorder or a mental illness.”
Anxiety and Depression Are Often Suffered Together
People who suffer with anxiety often develop depression also, I believe this is because anxiety sufferers isolate themselves and struggle to connect with people. When we feel like our life has no purpose and we don’t have social connection or the support of people we can trust we will become depressed. In this blog post I talk about how hypnotherapy can help with depression.
Anxiety and The Inner Child
When we were children we needed to feel unconditionally loved and accepted but many of us don’t, most children grow up with only conditional love and acceptance. When we grow up in an environment where we only experience conditional love we need to take on family roles to feel O.K. Family roles could cause us to become people pleasers, perfectionists or black sheep. Only receiving conditional love and acceptance from our parents is a form of abandonment and causes us to develop a constant feeling of unease, like there is something wrong with us, like we are not O.K. unless we are fulfilling the family roles we had as children.
Extreme Dysfunction Abuse & Anxiety
Many children grow up with extreme dysfunction and even abuse, when we grow up in such an environment we can become hypervigilant and suffer a fear that everything is going to go wrong. Many people become obsessed with what could go wrong and live in a constant state of anxiety. Children who grow up with dysfunction need to take on a negative perspective of the world to keep them safe, they always need to be looking for danger and become hypervigilant. This negative world view and hypervigilance helps children growing up in dysfunction to survive but once they become adults and move out of such an environment it can become debilitating and many live in constant anxiety.
Anxiety and Toxic Shame
Growing up with abandonment and dysfunction creates toxic shame and CPTSD. A child is reliant on their caregivers for food, clothing and housing. So they internalise the abandonment, abuse and dysfunction they think such treatment means there’s something wrong with them. Emotions will become too painful for such a child, they will learn to repress their feelings or become shamed out of them when this happens feeling an emotion will create toxic shame and in many cases they will develop unhealthy coping strategies to try and distance themselves from their emotions.
Anxiety and The Imprint Period
Until the age of 7 is none as the imprint period, in this range our neuroplasticity is at its highest, children are looking to their parents to understand the world and themselves. If a parent is anxious and depressed a child will pick up on that, they will learn the world’s not a safe place.
Anxiety and Trust Issues
When we grow up with dysfunction we can develop trust issues, we will project past experiences onto present situations and become paranoid everyone is out to get us. Such beliefs create a self fulfilling prophecy whereby we form relationships with other dysfunctional people because they have the same attachment style as we do. We may also behave in ways that push people away from us leading to more trauma and confirmation of our beliefs, compounding our hypervigilance and trust issues.
Reducing Anxiety Through Inner Child Healing
When we grow up with dysfunction, trauma from abandonment, physical or emotional abuse we will become hypervigilant and develop triggers, like Pavlov’s dog anxiety will become a conditioned response whenever we experience toxic shame. Through healing the inner child we can overcome the anxiety issues and learn to feel O.K. to heal our inner child we need to give ourselves the unconditional love and acceptance we never received as children. We need to realise that we are now fully grown adults with access to resources we didn’t have as children and that we can feel O.K. if we give up our family roles. With hypnosis we can learn to relax and connect with our inner child. Anxiety is a learned response that can be unlearned.