What he told me has stuck with me all these years. A former work colleague many years ago told me that when he had interactions with a particular person in our organization, he often felt like "a small boy in short pants." Wow, that spoke volumes. And I resonated at that time; that particular authority figure did have a strong persona.
Do some people have that effect on you? Around them, you feel like a child again. Scared. Afraid to say what you think. Not quite daring to be who you really are.
It's OK. That's not unusual. And as is so often the case, simple awareness of the phenomenon helps. Be aware of what type of person draws this response in you. Be aware of how you want to respond as an adult. And show compassion to that little child inside you who shows up from time to time.
Clearly, part of you has a body memory from long ago that comes into play. Just be gentle, kind and compassionate to that little you! And at the same time, remember who you are now. You are an adult, in charge of your own emotions and responses—fully capable. So just tell that little you to relax. Just say, "I've got this, Sweetie. It's OK."
No matter how old we are, we'll have an Inner Child. She has her own story. And now as an adult, you have a new story. Know the difference.