THE BLOG
10/29/2013 07:34 pm ET | Updated Jan 23, 2014

Why Your Desire for Attention May Be Ruining Your Life

Sometimes being the "nice one" or the "peacekeeper" isn't all it's cracked up to be. Sure, being helpful toward others is a great trait, but sometimes it can go too far and become an issue of codependency. This is often when an "impostor"-- a false belief system that colors your world -- takes over your life, and causes havoc.

In the case of being codependent, it's usually the "wounded inner child impostor" that's lurking within. As a life coach, I see many "wounded inner child impostors" every day. And just as the name implies, a childhood hurt continues to affect people, making them less than effective in all areas of life.

The "Wounded Inner Child" in Action

Here's what a typical "wounded inner child" looks like:
  • The "wounded inner child" is dealing with some sort of abandonment issue from childhood. This could be actual physical abandonment or simply an emotional detachment from loved ones.
  • Because of the environment in which her or she grew up in, the "wounded inner child" is often the "good" child in his or her family unit, due to the extravagant demands placed on his or her shoulders. This usually leads to codependency later in life.
  • As adults, these people are always seeking love and approval and may feel slighted over the smallest act.
  • The "wounded inner child" typically appears clingy and has a desire to always be rescued.
  • They crave stability and are likely to throw a tantrum or pout when things don't go their way.

The "wounded inner child impostor" seeks constant attention and approval, ironically making him or her less able to experience bonds of trust, understanding, and intimacy. The "impostor's" constant struggle to meet others' expectations often places the same excessive demands of his or her childhood onto future relationships. As a result, the "wounded inner child" goes through life beleaguered with this neurosis for approval, never finding satisfaction in personal relationships due to his or her skewed standards.

Interestingly, the "wounded inner child" is often not aware of his or her primary issues. While he or she may recognize that something's wrong, the person lacks specificity in understanding his or her dilemma. Unfortunately, many of the person's friends and loved ones may reinforce his or her extreme tendencies to please and placate at his or her expense. After all, who doesn't like receiving warm attention?

How to Deal With the "Wounded Inner Child Impostor"

Since so many people have unresolved hurts from childhood, having a few "wounded inner child impostors" in your life is inevitable. Here are some tips for dealing with them effectively.

  • Keep dodging the bullets. Throw in an authentic validation every now and then to help soothe them.
  • If you engage with them, arguments may spiral out of control. Don't engage when they're not in control and aren't functioning in "real time." Their anger could escalate to actions they will regret, such as physical violence.
  • Realize that no matter how clingy the person may seem, there is an underlying trust issue. While the "wounded inner child" may seem to go out of his or her way to promote a sense of closeness to meet his or her need for attention and approval, in reality the "wounded inner child" typically doesn't reach out when he or she truly needs assistance. Without strong trust, any relationship is shaky at best.

Be Yourself
The "wounded inner child" contends with many issues. Unfortunately, even an understanding partner or close group of friends may not recognize these issues -- some may be unwilling to do so. Despite this, there is hope for the "wounded inner child." This "impostor" can find some definitive reconciliation by acknowledging the details of his or her upbringing and confronting them head-on. Only then can the person take the appropriate steps to get in touch with his or her authentic soul and experience true happiness in all areas of life.

Have a Regular Play Date
I like to say that the wounded inner child is the star of the impostors, center stage! We can't erase our histories, or how we grew up. Our wounded inner child will always be with us. We can, however, make sure to pay attention and practice self-care, so that this impostor doesn't act out. So set up a regular play date for your wounded inner child! Whether it's finger painting, going to the zoo, throwing around a baseball, allow yourself to do one thing every week that as an adult, you generally "don't have time for." It's important to allow yourself time for play and relaxation! Remember, the clown is a cousin of the wounded inner child and a great playmate, so give one of your funny friends a call!

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About the "Impostors"

The "impostors" are the cast of characters that star in Lisa Haisha's Soul Blazing. They could be a metaphor for the "masks" that you wear, especially when confronted with something that you fear. Sometimes they're the voice in your head telling you that you're not good enough, or re-iterating negative conversations or experiences from your past that keep you stuck, like quicksand that keeps you from picking yourself up. These pesky devils are the saboteurs and squatters that live in the temple of your Authentic Soul, and keep you from shining bright!

There are eight Impostors in this cast, and they are:
• The Wounded Inner Child
• The Over Thinker
• The Counselor
• The Sex God(dess)
• The Narcissist
• The Philosopher
• The Clown
• The Fixer

Find out which "Impostor" is residing within you by taking this free quiz.