Inner teenagers can come in very different forms. The inner teenager I want to talk about here is a younger part of us that we treat with fear and disdain. People can be really hard on this part of themselves in the therapy room, saying they are self-destructive and out-of-control. This inner teen might be around when you find yourself doing something you know isn’t good for you like drinking to blackout and having meaningless, unsatisfying sex. Maybe this inner teen is cynical. They say “fuck the world”. Requests and comments are met with middle fingers up. The truth is, like the child parts of us, the teens serve an important role. This teen puts up walls and uses distraction to protect us from our own vulnerability and pain. Underneath their hard exterior, they are afraid of rejection and loneliness. Can you have compassion for this part of yourself? You might connect with the inner teen by remembering what it was like to actually be a teen. What were you into? What were your worries? What were your struggles? What were your relationships like with your friends, with your family, with yourself? Look at a picture of yourself as a teen and reflect on what they went through and how they survived. Rather than trying to ignore, control or punish them, imagine being the parent you needed back then. “I see you.” “I appreciate you for what you are trying to do.” “I’m sorry.” They may not be able to trust or take it in so easily. But that’s okay. Remind them that as the adult, you have it covered. They are free to be who they are— bold, courageous, fun, creative, unique, intuitive, and deep-feeling. Remember your inner teenager is a part of you. Witness them with care and compassion.
As I wrote this post, I looked back at some pictures of me as a teen. It is a powerful practice. If this unearths intense feelings and memories, or if you simply want to work with these different parts in a more structured and contained way, seek out a therapist.
Sending love to you all and your misunderstood inner teens.
#innerchild #innerchildwork #innerteenager #cptsd #complextrauma #attachment #journalingprompts #copingskills