Phone +49 160 9623 2547

Alexander Hohmann - Blog

Coaching and More

We often hear about the benefits of contacting the Inner Child. We probably do have much more than just one Inner Child within us. When in Hermann Hesse’s novel “Steppenwolf” the main character looks into the mirror of truth, he sees hundreds, thousands of versions of himself, of numerous ages, in many emotional states, running into all directions. If we improve our contact with the Inner Child, so they say, something will finally merge that was separated for long. And sometimes we might get a sense that this Inner Child has been eagerly waiting all this time to eventually be reunited with us. The Inner Family System (IFS) goes so far as to presume that some inner parts or inner children may be stuck and frozen in an early stage of development and not even see that a competent, experienced, resourceful adult self with plenty of agency has matured in the same person. The IFS then proceeds to bring both these selves into contact so that the Inner Child can finally lay down all the pain and trauma it has been carrying and be happy again, because the adult self is henceforth going to take care of that like a good parent. These are very interesting and fruitful systemic approaches and mindsets. But what if the Inner Child actually has been aware of the adult self the whole time and has acutely observed it and this is the very reason why it will not let it get any closer? What if it has the best reasons in the world to stay away from the adult self? And what if it has a naughty way to interfere with our life from that distance, again and again, and we get a sense of always hitting the same blockade in certain parts of our life, as if some precondition needed to be fulfilled first before we are granted the inner permission to resume progress on our life path again? Let us just imagine that this Inner Child knows something really important about us. Perhaps it carries a memory of who we really are – or are meant to become. Perhaps it holds information on the meaning of our life. Perhaps it is carrying this knowledge like a candle that must not be extinguished, protectively bowing itself over it. And then it watches us, it watches our adult self, and sees how much energy we engage into not fulfilling the true purpose of our existence. It sees how we continuously level ourselves, follow the rules, comply with the terms of our tribe, how we eagerly fulfil third-party expectations. It sees how we assume expectations even when there are none, and then try to meet even these “expected expectations” we read into the situation. It sees how we may get more even-minded and satisfied once we find some rules-based framework to live by, because that gives us ‘structure’, ‘identity’ and commonly accepted criteria by which to measure our ‘success’ in life. Our Inner Child watches how much we value what others think of us or fear what they might think. It might see with growing frustration how we trade belonging and social membership for conformity with the tribe’s rules. And how we demand conformation from others around us and stay away from those who do not comply. It goes both ways. The Inner Child realises something even more interesting: if we accidentally transgress the rules and expectations, there is no need for anybody to punish us. Because we do that on our own, by summoning feelings of guilt and shame. Shame and guilt are signalling emotions that act like the glue of groups and societies. They arise when we breach the terms of the group – or might think we get close to doing that and being called out on it. And then there is fear, too. Because our Limbic brain sends its deeply enrooted message: ‘If the group expels you, you will be alone and become sabre-tooth tiger fodder within hours and die horribly.’ That feels bad even millenia after the last sabre-tooth tiger has gone, because it is hard-wired by evolution. So, we keep complying with the terms of the tribe, and look away from what we are giving up in return (and demanding from others to give up - it goes both ways). Yes, we are so competent. There are so many things we can do. We can drive cars, build cars, build houses, carry out thousands of crafts and professions, earn money, consume, fly, juggle with complex ideas and concepts, found companies and families, there is so much we excel at. We can arrange ourselves entire realities in our mind, construct seductively coherent perceptions of who we are, what the world is, and why it all is that way, and bake a cake at the same time. We can even muse about the meaning of life and entertain the belief that it can be found and expressed in words. But the one skill our Inner Child attentively looks out for remains buried – that is the skill to find back to who we really are. ‘Becoming who you really are’ might sound like another modern time cliché. Yet it is possible that only once the Inner Child sees us return onto that path will it ready itself for showing us the candlelight. Until then, it will keep protecting it. From us! Can we blame it for doing that? We have to start by regaining and deserving the trust of the Inner Child.

Alexander Hohmann

Life & Business Coach in

Freiburg or ONline

Certified Systemic Coach

(English / German / French)

We often hear about the benefits of contacting the Inner Child. We probably do have much more than just one Inner Child within us. When in Hermann Hesse’s novel “Steppenwolf” the main character looks into the mirror of truth, he sees hundreds, thousands of versions of himself, of numerous ages, in many emotional states, running into all directions. If we improve our contact with the Inner Child, so they say, something will finally merge that was separated for long. And sometimes we might get a sense that this Inner Child has been eagerly waiting all this time to eventually be reunited with us. The Inner Family System (IFS) goes so far as to presume that some inner parts or inner children may be stuck and frozen in an early stage of development and not even see that a competent, experienced, resourceful adult self with plenty of agency has matured in the same person. The IFS then proceeds to bring both these selves into contact so that the Inner Child can finally lay down all the pain and trauma it has been carrying and be happy again, because the adult self is henceforth going to take care of that like a good parent. These are very interesting and fruitful systemic approaches and mindsets. But what if the Inner Child actually has been aware of the adult self the whole time and has acutely observed it and this is the very reason why it will not let it get any closer? What if it has the best reasons in the world to stay away from the adult self? And what if it has a naughty way to interfere with our life from that distance, again and again, and we get a sense of always hitting the same blockade in certain parts of our life, as if some precondition needed to be fulfilled first before we are granted the inner permission to resume progress on our life path again? Let us just imagine that this Inner Child knows something really important about us. Perhaps it carries a memory of who we really are – or are meant to become. Perhaps it holds information on the meaning of our life. Perhaps it is carrying this knowledge like a candle that must not be extinguished, protectively bowing itself over it. And then it watches us, it watches our adult self, and sees how much energy we engage into not fulfilling the true purpose of our existence. It sees how we continuously level ourselves, follow the rules, comply with the terms of our tribe, how we eagerly fulfil third-party expectations. It sees how we assume expectations even when there are none, and then try to meet even these “expected expectations” we read into the situation. It sees how we may get more even-minded and satisfied once we find some rules-based framework to live by, because that gives us ‘structure’, ‘identity’ and commonly accepted criteria by which to measure our ‘success’ in life. Our Inner Child watches how much we value what others think of us or fear what they might think. It might see with growing frustration how we trade belonging and social membership for conformity with the tribe’s rules. And how we demand conformation from others around us and stay away from those who do not comply. It goes both ways. The Inner Child realises something even more interesting: if we accidentally transgress the rules and expectations, there is no need for anybody to punish us. Because we do that on our own, by summoning feelings of guilt and shame. Shame and guilt are signalling emotions that act like the glue of groups and societies. They arise when we breach the terms of the group – or might think we get close to doing that and being called out on it. And then there is fear, too. Because our Limbic brain sends its deeply enrooted message: ‘If the group expels you, you will be alone and become sabre-tooth tiger fodder within hours and die horribly.’ That feels bad even millenia after the last sabre-tooth tiger has gone, because it is hard-wired by evolution. So, we keep complying with the terms of the tribe, and look away from what we are giving up in return (and demanding from others to give up - it goes both ways). Yes, we are so competent. There are so many things we can do. We can drive cars, build cars, build houses, carry out thousands of crafts and professions, earn money, consume, fly, juggle with complex ideas and concepts, found companies and families, there is so much we excel at. We can arrange ourselves entire realities in our mind, construct seductively coherent perceptions of who we are, what the world is, and why it all is that way, and bake a cake at the same time. We can even muse about the meaning of life and entertain the belief that it can be found and expressed in words. But the one skill our Inner Child attentively looks out for remains buried – that is the skill to find back to who we really are. ‘Becoming who you really are’ might sound like another modern time cliché. Yet it is possible that only once the Inner Child sees us return onto that path will it ready itself for showing us the candlelight. Until then, it will keep protecting it. From us! Can we blame it for doing that? We have to start by regaining and deserving the trust of the Inner Child.

The “inner child” may not be what

we think it is