When I first met Lita, a teenage rape victim, she appeared fearful. Yet in the course of our meeting, she somehow was able to muster enough courage to share her story of a chaotic childhood onwards to a life of prostitution. When her deep process to heal became due in the next steps, she disappeared.
In my years of therapy and recovery practice, I have never seen a person heal who chooses to remain in hiding. The adult “child within” going into hiding is one of the major manifestations of psychological/emotional illness.
In recovery work, one heals in the company of a therapist or safe people where one begins to recognize when he/she is hiding. The “inner child” (true self) hides to protect itself from overwhelming pain. Often, the pain is rooted in past wounds of mistreatment, abuse, or toxic shame.
In therapy sessions, the wounded adult “inner child” can deliberately try to experiment regressing. Bringing what’s hidden (unconscious) into open awareness (conscious) is empowering. As you directly process the pain, you can practice increasing or decreasing the intensity of the event. In that way, you gain more personal control over inner life material that was once out of control inside you.
Again, fear is often still a block for many, like Lita. Identifying factors triggering the fear is useful. Then, around a circle of support, the adult “inner child” starts to learn to set healthy boundaries so that old wounds need not continue to hurt again. Ultimately, one heals as you ask your Higher Power to transform or remove the fear.