How do you learn how to interact with family/friends/lovers/children without past wounding overshadowing the present moment?
That's a huge question, and I do have a lot to share that will help you gain new insights and perspective.
This process takes creating an environment of safety, internally and externally - and this means different things to each of us; it takes trust in ourselves - and this can take some practice, patience and compassion; it takes conscious embodiment - and this means a desire to honour our emotions, to “feel it to heal it”, without dwelling in the story of it; it takes curiosity to know what we need to address, we need to want to face the unconscious fear about unhealed wounds and how they are influencing our lives. We also need to become available and prepared to release old systems of thoughts, behaviours and actions - and this can seem pretty scary (and we naturally fear the unknown! There is a sense of safety in familiarity) when it is these same systems that helped us to survive when we were so vulnerable in childhood.
I am very aware that when I feel overwhelmed, unable to cope (yet desperately wanting to try and control outcomes), apathetic, even depressed and wanting to isolate, I am moving into the victim role. I also know that in order to stop being a victim I have to be willing to accept the actual circumstances of my relationships with other people, and the world, so that I can break the habit of blaming, shaming, judging, dismissing or invalidating myself and others.
As you may be aware, I have invested a huge amount of energy, time, and money into educating myself - to ‘be a better person’. I have had a real drive in the last 10 years especially to understand myself more, as the result of a deep and painful heartbreak that finally helped me to see that the only thing in life I could control was my response to it. And, in fact, that control is simply an illusion! I have explored so many modalities, seen so many practitioners, been to hundreds of workshops and seminars, read many books and studies, gained many certifications in my quest for knowing more about my body, my mind, my soul, myself. There is great power in questioning! In courage and curiosity we breed sovereignty. What became very clear to me in this journey is that my ego, aka my brain’s subconscious protective survival mechanism, had been, and can still be, very busy ruling my life.
That’s a confronting thought, as our sub/unconscious mind processes more than 40 MILLION bits of information per second. Compare that to our conscious mind, which processes 40 bits of information per second. Think about that statement…. our unconscious mind, which is our unconscious beliefs, is about 1 MILLION times more powerful than our conscious mind.
Imagine being a 1 million times more powerful creator of life! I can ;) Considering we have 70k thoughts a day moving through our mind, I quickly realised it was and is worth deeply considering that attachment to my unchallenged patterns of thinking/beliefs was the cause of my great suffering, toxic shame, lack of self-compassion, and a pretty massive stress response in my body that has now affected every part of me. I started taking responsibility for my thoughts, at the same time I had to get to know my ‘inner critic’, to soothe her when she was feeling unsafe and in unfamiliar ‘dangerous vulnerability’ territory.
As long as I can remember (and I can’t actually remember much of my childhood, a classic sign of disassociation) I’ve carried feelings of distrust, being disconnected and isolated, I have felt insecure, and unsure about many events and people in my life because of an underlying fear, uncertainty, anger, disbelief in my own power and unsafety (distrust!) in my body.
What I know now is that I had installed some beliefs in childhood that greatly influenced how I perceived, interpreted, and constructed my reality, which included my emotional states. And this installation of beliefs is no-one’s ‘fault’. The mind of the child in the 0-7 and even into teen years stage of development is in the imagination phase, a semi-hypnotic state (Alpha and Theta brainwave cycles), which is the same state that a person is in when they are in deep breathwork trance, hypnosis or meditation. So you may want to imagine children are actually walking around in a permanent state of hypnosis, being programmed by the environment, family, culture, the entire ecosystem they are in all the way from an individual to global level, meaning they are fully open to suggestion without the capacity of filtering it using a rational, logical, conscious, thinking mind.
So because of all the words spoken, actions taken and behaviours examined by me as a child, I formed some very deep beliefs about myself. As an adult I finally realised I was navigating mainly in the land of lower frequency states internally, even though externally I could project a different story. When I say lower frequency emotions I mean these;
This was pretty vital for me to realise as my beliefs are my anchors to reality. They help express my understanding of, and expectations of, the world around me.
I also know that beliefs can be recognised as lifetime partners with frequencies of emotions, and these are imprinted through our DNA from all our ancestral lineages, they are being streamed to us within the womb, they are transmitted from our primary caregivers/tribe from childbirth, then into childhood and beyond, from our entire ecosystem.
The collective underlying emotional frequency within a tribe is important, as there is a sense of safety in the familiarity of shared beliefs within a tribe - and it truly is beliefs that create reality. I can explore this more another time, but in a basic summation - beliefs, as well as emotions, are an energetic frequency, and everything in our entire existence is created with energy. What we believe we see, and know, over and over again.
In a family with layers of unhealed ancestral and individual trauma, we also will learn the same rejection, guilt, blame, judgement, shame and/or wrongness that they are living with and holding in their energetic and emotional frequency, as these create the undercurrent energy that builds their, and in default due to our age and level of dependance, our, reality.
Consider that the cellular imprint of war, famine, natural disasters, abuse, terror, mental illness, family of addiction, family system dysfunction, neglect (physical, emotional, mental, spiritual), financial insecurity, emotional trauma - perhaps there was a lack of boundaries, rules, and structure, maybe the parents/tribe were demanding, vindictive, blaming, punitive, difficult to please. Maybe the parents allowed dysfunctional sibling rivalries. Was there a lack of encouragement and celebration, even subtle-put downs, or a failure to provide the tools and lessons needed to navigate the world. Maybe it is authoritarian, over-controlling parents focused on shame, guilt, rules and restriction, and who raise their children with little flexibility and often unusually high demands.
This is all passed down through every generation as emotional energetic imprints stored within your, my, our collective humanity DNA. Consider that trauma breeds trauma, shame breeds shame, contempt breeds contempt, and so on, until a transformational change is made.
So, the truth is - we cannot really help holding onto these childhood wounds until we are in a position to be aware, and to choose otherwise.
Some common shadow beliefs that can be held in a tribe are:
I am not good enough.
I am unlovable.
It’s more important to be needed than focus on me.
I have to be the good girl/boy.
I don't deserve to have what I want.
Love does not last.
When I show vulnerability I am rejected
I am flawed/broken/bad.
My feelings are not valid.
I must take care of everyone around me.
I cannot trust anyone, and need to do it alone.
Why can’t I just be normal just like others?
I carried so many of these. The limiting beliefs I had showed up in all aspects of my life - my behaviours, my addictions, my achievements (over and under), my goals (and inability to allow myself big dreams), my fear of magnificent abundance in all areas of life (I wasn't worthy!), my relationships with family (fractured), how I chose my friends (we related through our wounding patterns), my partner and so on.
So - what was my perspective from childhood? I felt a deep sense of rejection simply because of the trauma that was heavily present in my family, and the emotional frequencies consistently present in our day to day life.
It is important to recognise that even the nonverbal exchange (ie the emotional frequency) of a parent/primary caregiver who is not consistently emotionally and/or physically available, attuned, present, will kick off some very primitive survival instincts related to hypervigilance/threat awareness in a child from birth onwards. This is what my system learned - it learned to consider the world, and vulnerability, threatening.
I completely unconsciously separated all the parts of myself that felt rejected - and so a separation of beliefs began - the divine inherent soul beliefs of I am divine Source, I am the light, I am always worthy, I am always enough, I am love and always loved - became other beliefs. Limiting Beliefs such as I am inherently unlovable, I am inadequate, I am not worthy, I am guilty, I am not enough and so on.
The very challenging thing for me is that these fear-based beliefs formed a thick energetic shield of new behaviours (be resilient, be strong, be productive, be smart, be enough!), all coming from my survival mind, to protect the parts of me that felt weak, vulnerable, unsafe and unloved. This shield became thicker with more practice, basically with age, and (very annoyingly for me!) also has a very strong inbuilt safety trigger that goes off it comes close to being exposed. To eliminate the potential breakdown of my shield of protection I spent a lifetime numbing myself, distracting myself (hello multitudes of addictions!), not allowing people to come too close to me, I became defensive and even aggressive if I felt that my worth (any of my qualities) was being questioned, I tried to dull my light even at the same time I puffed myself up with false screen of confidence, I tried my best to conform, to always be happy and powerfully reframe a situation so I never needed to feel sad or bad, or needy. I have put up all sorts of defences just to stop that shield from coming off those super vulnerable parts of myself that I thought I had to hide away forever.
I have been so scared that someone might find out the “truth” I had learned - that deep down I am broken, and should be rejected.
That I am an imposter.
The crazy thing is that it takes so much energy to be defensive, to keep running, and to keep hiding, to keep projecting stories of myself rather than my real truth - my 'real' self (and I am still learning who that is now, on a daily basis). I am keenly aware that defensive energy comes from my very foundational structures, my vital life force energy, it even comes from my joy, my love, my creativity and dreaming. I fully depleted my cup of inner compassion, nourishment and worth trying to hold up all the shields. I exhausted myself because I never came ‘home’, which is why I had to learn that it was finally safe to do so.
In my ego mind I related all my wounding directly to my upbringing, and so I had spent an inordinate amount of time blaming, shaming and feeling anger and resentment towards others so that I could justify my thoughts and actions. This is a very disempowering position to be in, I finally realised.
I am doing my best to deconstruct and disband the beliefs that shaped my past, so that they do not overlay my future. To let go of the fear, the not enough-ness is actually harder than it sounds - they actually helped me be so damn productive! These limiting beliefs and lower density emotions shaped me, drove me, whipped me, cajoled me to arrive where I am now, and where I am now is actually pretty good simply because I finally accept their presence, I honour where they’ve come from, and I am choosing to integrate/release them to make way for some much higher frequency emotions and beliefs :)
Yet - within the release, the letting go, it means I have to fully reconstruct who I am now. I have to trust what I embrace as my new beliefs, my new frequencies, my new vision and understanding of the world. To know I am eternal, I can never get it all done and I can never get it all right, and that I am deeply loved as I AM THE LOVE.
I also know there is not one part of this story, my story, that is not brimming with blessings. I personally believe that this journey within our family units is a part of our soul contracts, meaning these are deep soul lessons that we actually asked each other for up in the cosmos somewhere.
Both love and pain exist in these lessons, and it is designed that way by our higher-self Soul consciousness … as it truly is these contracts that help us (force us!) to walk through the tunnel of darkness so that we may find the light within ourselves. Only then, within this journey, can we truly embody our light. This journey back home, to our heart and own love, then becomes a sacred medicine that we can share to help repair and transform other parts of our world, just through our embodied presence and/or through the work we choose to share with others.
Without a doubt I am still building a new place of safety within myself to create awareness of these separated beliefs, I am still learning how to reconnect my separated parts into a fully transformed and expanded whole, and live life in a new reality with all new beliefs. Without a doubt I am still learning to embrace my wholeness and a love that is no longer conditional on any level of performance, simply a love of my BEing.
As I learned to forgive myself for choosing disempowerment, distrust and disconnection from self for so long, I also reached out to my family to ask forgiveness for all the times I used my well-learned reflections of shaming, dismissing, minimising towards them. In that asking I also acknowledge that it came, and can still come, from a deep place of hurt and wounding. I am sorry that it is still there, and can still rise in me, and I also see it as yet another opportunity to forge more love, more communication, more space both within me and within my relationships with others. Wounds can either continue to contract and hurt, or they can repair, expand, lighten and eventually transform.
I am in repair mode and I am doing my best to become my best, from a place where fear does not rule me. I am not sure exactly what that means for any of my relationships, I am just seeking some patience and understanding, and so I ask my tribe for that.
Thank you for reading this. I hope it has stimulated some thought within your conscious AND unconscious mind! I love you.