How to stop abusing your inner child


Josh aged 3 (2)

This is me at 3 and bit..

I was a curious kid, always asking questions and exploring. Mum said I was a hugger too, always going round hugging people. I daydreamed, made up stories and played with my dinky cars. I also wanted to be loved. To show love and to be loved. Simple as that.

Josh aged 4 by pool (2)


That little kid is still inside me. He is me.

So why would I verbally abuse him?

Why would I tell him he was useless?

Why would I teach him the belief that he needs to make everyone else happy before he can be happy?

Well that’s how we treat our adult ourselves.

The way we talk to ourselves is akin to verbal abuse and psychological violence. Listen to how many times you put yourself down, tell yourself you can’t do something, tell yourself that you’re a dumb arse, talk yourself down the darkest road of despair and even scream at yourself.

Imagine if everyone vocalised their inner monologue. It would be hell riding on a bus or walking down the street. You’d think you were in an insane asylum. Just because we do it in the privacy of our own minds doesn’t mean it’s Ok to do. Unfortunately we’re conditioned to do it. No-one has told us otherwise.

And the crazy part is, most of all that self talk you’ve picked up from somewhere else, like your parents, teachers, TV and society in general. And you believed it without even questioning it.

Josh Primary school

But here’s the good news. All that damaging self talk is not you. If you’ve picked it up, you can put it down.

As Louise L Hay mentioned in You Can Heal Your Life, if we want to start to be kinder to ourselves, we need to start talking to ourselves in a kinder way, as though we’re we’re talking to our 5 year old self.

That’s what I’ve started to do. (and that’s why I wrote Being You is Enough, mainly for kids, but also for my adult self.)

Using mindfulness, when I start to hear myself start sprouting some fear based dialogue, I imagine my 5 year old self standing there holding his dinky cars and he’s scared, he’s afraid and just wants to be loved. Now how can I continue to abuse him when he’s like that? So in my mind I reach down and hold him and let him know he’s safe, protected and deeply loved.  By doing that I’ve changed a pattern and changed the energy around that pattern. Instead of fear, I’ve replaced it with love. Love for myself.

John Mum and Josh at Rotto

And if you hear yourself say, ‘I don’t deserve that love’, then imagine your 5 year old self saying that and how would you react? Yes, you’d want to hug and reassure them too.


7 thoughts on “How to stop abusing your inner child

  1. June Patterson says:

    Wow! They are profound and timely words for me Josh. Even according to my GP and my Oncologist (you know – men of science) I have given myself a real hard time over the course of my illness and need to be more nurturing to myself instead of expecting myself to copy easily with things that are really hard. They asked me to treat myself as I would a third party with the same kind of empathy and encouragement that I give to others so easily. I am so so glad to hear you have stopped abusing your inner child because look at him. What a precious, precious little boy you were in those photos. How could the Josh I know and love ever be cruel that that little sweetheart. MUCH LOVE


    • joshlangleyauthor says:

      Yes, i think it’s important to project another more vulnerable person outside of yourself so you can feel that empathy. it’s a shame we don’t have come naturally for ourselves. It’s always a work in progress though.


  2. speak766 says:

    You’re totally right – we always put ourselves down and think we’re not enough, but we never say that to a younger version of ourselves. Really inspiring post. Thank you for sharing!


    • joshlangleyauthor says:

      Thank you for commenting. I think it’s such an important message to share. It’s hard to do and we often fall off the wagon, but if we keep remembering to be kind to our ‘little’ selves then it may stop some of the damage we inflict.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. truthbedrawn says:

    This so beautifully written. I really struggle to connect, listen to and care for my inner child. It’s something I’ve been working on in therapy this past year. Your article struck me like nothing else has so far. It gave me a pang of desire to comfort and love my inner child, a huge step for me. Thank you

    Liked by 1 person

    • joshlangleyauthor says:

      I’m so glad that my writing has helped in some way. Remembering to be kind to yourself is always a work in progress and we need to be loving and patient. Often i forget too and I hear myself starting again, so I catch the thoughts, breathe and imagine my 5 year old self again. It does help. Let the love pour into yourself (via your inner child) and know that it’s healing you in ways that you can’t possibly imagine. Keep going and keep loving.

      Liked by 1 person

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