I was brought up Catholic and whilst I always believed in God I never really gave much thought or energy towards this divine aspect to my life. Generally I felt religion to be lifeless, controlling, and full of unexplainable contradictions that never added up. I really put God to the back of my mind. Then as I grew up I felt like traumas seemed to pile up one after another. Concurrently I started thinking for myself more and more, and to my mind I felt as though God had abandoned me, or perhaps this God didn’t really exist, or at least not in the way that I thought it did. I also felt that religion/God was responsible for so much division in my own family and the world at large so I no longer wanted to factor God into my life, nor could I really say the word anymore. After all that very word seemed to have so much mud flung onto it and just about everything else, that it no longer meant or represented anything spiritual or worthwhile to me.
But, what did this really represent?.. I will come back to that. As the years past into my teenage and young adult years I had a huge reawakening of spiritual awareness and understanding. Many subjects ranging from paranormal, spiritual phenomena, conspiracies, healing right through to personal growth subjects became a source of deep investigation and focus. Finally something that made sense in life! It seemed to quench my thirst for knowledge and understanding . At that same time I had drifted away from many friends who were going down the road of drugs and other unfortunate diversions and distractions. I was alone, but I was grateful that I had something deeper inside of me that was spurring me on and keeping me on track with that which is real and authentic.
As I grew further into adulthood many of my childhood traumas started to surface, particularly after I had a family of my own. Seemingly one issue after another relentlessly coming forward, overwhelming me at times, but I think somehow always rising to the task of the healing needing to be done, even if it felt like at the’ last minute’, or that I couldn’t do it. It was confusing at first as I had learnt so many ‘positive’ and ‘spiritual’ concepts in my earlier years. Why had things gotten so bad?.
But, now all of my knowledge, skills and awareness were being called up and put to the test! Everything that I had learnt intellectually was being applied energetically, emotionally and soulfully. I became my own teacher, with the help of many others of course! Last year took me right back to the start of my life metaphorically. I realised that there had been an issue with ‘God’ not just the word but the energy of what this is and what this meant to me, just as I identified at the start of this article. I knew that this had a powerful key for my healing. After some deep release work I realised that I had blamed God for everything and had hated it on some level. But, this really was about distancing from and hating/rejecting myself. My traumas had taught me that I must be bad, unworthy, flawed, not loved, alone. So I walked away from God, it was me that ‘left’. The big healing came that when I looked back over my entire life and realised that it was God that helped me up, and walked me through. It was God that guided me and showed me to truth. It was the strength of this inside of me that loved me to life. I know this sounds like some sort of religious sermon, but the truth is I can now say this word and not have any negative reaction, and in fact have nothing but a good feeling about it. I know that it is my foundation in life. It has showed me how far I’ve come in my own inner healing, which I am very grateful for.
In my work as a counsellor I see many people all with significant traumas, difficulties and challenges. Some of them do not have a sense of spirituality or God within them, these are the ones that really struggle and have deeper hardship in a lot of situations . I also see that a lot of these people who have experienced very similar things to myself have instead turned to drugs, alcohol and addictions of sorts. I know that it is the power of God and my spiritual core and foundation that really saved me and got me through. It has been the only real constant in my life throughout all the success, failures, deep pain and deep joy. It has been that energy, feeling and awareness that has give me strength, love and the will to keep on keeping on, particularly when all we see in the outer world is destruction occurring on greater and increasing levels.
Truly, the times we are living in are going to ask ALL of us to dig deep and find our spiritual core…God!. And, that this comes first in life. It is a spiritual battle that we are all fighting, and this is what World War 3 is really about in my opinion. The fight for the heart and soul of humanity. It is time for you to know who and what you are, heal, and connect to your deepest source. This is WHY you here now.
So, let us join together, and heal our relationship with God so that we can be who were destined to be. I’d like to ask you now what does God mean to you? And what is your relationship and connection with it? You can share your thoughts here.
Over the last few weeks I have been reading a book which is titled ‘The 5th Wave’ by Rick Yancey. It is fictional story set in a dystopian world where the earth has been decimated by an alien invasion scenario. Surprise, Surprise! Have we heard this before? Lol
Anyway, the main theme of the book which was unexpected for me is that…. ‘It is not what is happening outside of us that is most important, but what is happening inside of us that ultimately counts’. That is what the characters begin to learn as the story unfolds, realising that the real frontier or battle being fought for who and what we are is happening internally on a mental and emotional level . Through the circumstances set before them the characters see and learn about the blind spots in their thinking and early on how they implicitly trust what they are told rather then learn to question.
They learn to sharpen their wits and expand their understanding which helps them find the meaning of ‘what is really going on’ and the focus and action needed to rise to the challenge which the invaders were not counting on. The characters, through the challenges they face develop the needed internal strength and fortitude to keep going, they learn about how fear affects them, when, who and how to trust or not. The choice between movement or no movement and ‘is this correct or not’. And, how some people shut down in the face of extreme challenges and difficulties, and yet others choose to get through and out to the others side becoming stronger.
Anyway, they begin to realise that one of the main goals of the invaders after they have created physical decimation over the earth is to infiltrate the minds of the remaining people, they who are the stronger ones. They begin to learn that how they think and respond becomes of crucial importance and that their own minds are not turned against them individually or towards each other if they are to keep in strong in self and with the group. .
I am only part way through the story but it is clear to me that these characters are learning the game that is happening all around them, how it is being played, discovering this they then develop their own meaning and purpose and how to best respond.
This got me thinking on the nature of healing, growth and awareness – life. That yes, we must process our inner pain, yes we must take responsibility and step up but ultimately we must discover the positive purpose and meaning of the events of our lives and what is going on around us and HOW it has contributed to our growth and awareness…how did it benefit us??, why did I need this for my own good or balance in life?. You must learn to answer these questions for you and then act on this information for the benefit of yourself and others! This is so important and paramount for the times we live in I believe. For me, this is true healing.
For instance, and as a simple example I know that my past abuse and traumas from childhood have given me a sensitivity to life and people which you could look on as a hindrance and a negativity and on one level… yes, early on it made my reactions more negative and volatile towards others who I felt transgressed me and my path in some way. But these past experiences of trauma created a depth in me that I was able to begin to turn around and use it as an ally and a spiritual growth tool once I started to seriously process my inner pain.
So, in my mind this is the balance that it gave me, the positive it offered me. And, it has ultimately helped me deepen my connection with self and spiritual source, and develop and strengthen my own sense of meaning and purpose in life which you can’t get from reading about it. This has served me massively in such a positive way. But, yes this does take work, effort and action but the rewards are worth it.
And, the results from this sort of inner ‘work’ give you the necessary fuel, motivation, strength and fortitude and ‘feeling’ to keep growing and going. I would just like to remind that studies have shown that the brain learns more by ‘experience’ rather then ‘reflection’. So it is your action, behaviour and ‘doing’ which will really help you along at a quicker pace.
When I think about it, ‘meaning and positive purpose’ are the most confused frequencies on the planet more so then anything else, so we cannot act effectively. Confusion, disinformation, misinformation is rampant everywhere, what is real and what is not?, The frequency of truth, meaning and purpose is scattered and tossed about like leaves on the wind so you are constantly going here , there and everywhere to grasp it, never reaching it. Then tired confused and deflated we put our hand out to receive the crumbs off the table of ‘reality’ which is a last resort, never questioning that the table is faulty, that it is falling apart, and in fact it was always broken and flawed!! This is going to be in our face more over the next few years.
When you don’t claim your own understanding around the events of your life, what they mean for you, and how it has served you in a positive way then you can either shut down any idea of purpose or meaning, or you open the door for someone, or something else to fill the space with whatever is THEIR meaning and purpose for you, tying you into THEIR frequencies then leading you where they want. This can be programming or just as simple as following the crowd, doing what someone tells you without questioning it, giving in to peer pressure whether real or imagined with family, partners, friends or colleagues. The list could go on.
They say that ‘Knowledge is power”. This is not true…. it is Knowledge with ACTION that is powerful.
I could have the biggest library in all of existence with the most exquisite life enhancing information but if I do not read it then put it into action, then it means nothing, zero, naught!. It sits there and doesn’t benefit anyone or anything that is the bottom line.
How have you discovered the meaning and positive purpose of the events of your life? By putting your insights and understandings into action, how has it helped you, strengthened you?
What was it that got you looking for the meaning or the deeper purpose behind the events of your life, how has this been a positive for you, balanced you or benefited you ?
Once you found it or understood it, what did you do with it, how did you act on it? What was the outcome for you and others around you as a result of this?
I will leave you with a quote from the book ‘The 5th Wave’ by Rick Yancey. This comes from one of the main characters in the story and how she is becoming stronger because of her experiences….
‘It is the strong who remain, the bent but unbroken, like the iron rods that used to give this concrete it’s strength. What doesn’t kill us, sharpens us, Hardens us, Schools us. You’re beating ploughshares into swords. You are remaking us. We are the clay, and you are Michelangelo. And we will be your masterpiece’
Today, I wanted to look at the left and right brain’s role in the healing process for ourselves, why both are needed, and how to know which is which and discuss when it may be appropriate to use one or the other, or both! I would ask if at the bottom of this article you could share your experiences and learning in regards to this topic and how it relates to you, as I’m sure we can all learn and benefit from each other’s life experiences and perhaps enhance our own journey with this.
In sharing what I have experienced I will say that this encompasses my own life, and also the lives of others I have come in contact with through my work and life. I have come to learn what has worked or not for me so far, and also the many clients that I have come in contact with. Whilst the terminology used here is of course not mine the model I will present on the parts of the brain and how they function in our healing are the connections and associations that I have found to be accurate and applicable in healing work.
First things first… how is the left and right brain represented in thoughts, feelings and behaviours?
The Left Brain – “I know exactly who I am”, I am order, I am logic
The left brain is represented by our conscious mind ‘everyday’ level of awareness… It is related to thoughts, logic and thinking intellectually. It thinks in ‘parts’ and follows things linearly and sequentially. It is unemotional, and is somewhat more objective and detached in it’s perspective on things. It has a sense of boundaries – where do I start and stop, where do things begin and end, where do I stand in relation to this etc, it is like a container which holds a space for experiences without getting caught up in them. I will call this the ADULT SELF.
The Right Brain – “I am everything I wanted to be”, I sense, I feel
The right brain is represented by our sub-conscious mind. It is related to emotions, feelings and body level awareness. It is related to a ‘feeling’ level of awareness. It sees, and is connected to the ‘whole picture’. There is a sense of ‘no time and space’ or very much less so, where all things are interconnected without a feeling of separation between anyone or anything. There are no boundaries here, it has a sense of unlimitedness, there is no beginning or end, you stand in relation with ALL of creation equally together at any given time. It is emotional, creative, inspirational and more subjective. I will call this the CHILD SELF.
For us to be healthy, happy and with a feeling of ‘wholeness’ and completeness we need both these parts of our self, functioning together harmoniously. Also, there is a third aspect to this which completes this and that is the pineal gland. It is more connected with our superconscious level of self.
Over the years I have seen many styles of therapies and healing methods that really encourage you to emotionally get ‘into your stuff’ and get it out. For example, one course I went to years ago was a 10 day retreat out in nature. Whilst there they had us going energetically into our inner child traumas in a group situation day after day. Often times the room was a screaming heaving emotional soup of people going into their stuff. On the surface whilst this may have looked powerful and perhaps healing, the facilitators never really encouraged us to ground ourselves after these experiences, at least not consciously.
So, they got us into our right brain emotional self, connecting with the inner child parts but we were never able to balance out with the left brain adult self – the container, which is the part of us that needs to work together to heal the inner child. Then there is the other side of the coin where most therapists and counsellors focus on the left brain alone, these are the ‘talk therapies’ which really achieve nothing session after session just going around in intellectual circles not doing the deeper emotional energetic work required. I am sure that most of you will be aware of people perhaps even yourself where you have talked and talked year after year and still feel the same as you did when you started counselling or therapy!
So, let’s look at this… the mainstream focuses on the left brain, and the more alternative healers tend to focus on the right brain. Both have part of the answer but tend to not integrate both!, and nor in the correct sequence most of the time.
Trauma is stored in the right brain… the CHILD SELF.
Firstly, what is the definition of trauma? The best that I have been able to find is that it ‘is more emotion then we can handle that is age appropriate, where we experienced a feeling of powerlessness.’ As we grow if we cannot safely release our emotions around our traumatic experiences we will lock them up very often along with the memories in our right brain self – the sub-conscious mind, the child self.
But, here is the thing, as we grow up our traumas affect us developmentally where we don’t develop healthy, harmonious neural pathways in our brains, this leads to a distorted feeling of self and very often our left brain, conscious mind – the ADULT SELF does not develop in the most healthy way. So for us to be objective, more logical and understanding and hold a ‘container’ for ourselves, this can prove to be very difficult for some of us. We find it very hard to be ADULT. This leads to a feeling in adulthood of not being in touch with who we are, we feel we don’t know ourselves, staying lost in our re-active emotions. If we also did not have strong adult role models who modelled healthy adult behaviour then we will also struggle to be a healthy adult more often than not.
For healing to happen we must access the right brain – the CHILD SELF, where our traumatic emotions are stored, and to do this we need to use right brain techniques to go there, using music, imagery, visualisation, colours etc. We need to engage with our sub-conscious mind, the deeper feeling and emotional self where our ‘Inner child’ is. This is where the energy of the experience resides.
But from there once we have done this we need to engage the left brain – ADULT SELF to re-parent and heal the inner child, and grow them up or integrate them into ourselves now. Only an ADULT can regulate this. How does this happen? It is crucially important that the adult self must be present in the background throughout doing our inner child exercises, otherwise we will go into the child self or selves and potentially stay there on some level! It is also means that we must have a strong sense of our adult self prior to our inner child work so we can provide a solid container of safety for our inner child to heal and process their emotions out and complete the emotions that weren’t safe to feel at the time of trauma.
If we don’t have a strong sense of our adult self prior to and during our healing work we will not go far in being able to process and release our traumatic emotions, or as I said we may go into them and stay there. How do we learn to strengthen our adult left brain self. Learning techniques to develop a sense of safety helps, which can come about with breathwork, visualisation skills to ground and balance. Learning to develop awareness of the ‘here and now’ through focused body awareness exercises and techniques, this can also help. These can assist us to come back to being grounded in our minds and bodies.
This is why I do recommend Stewart Swerdlow’s ‘Child Within’ exercise. It is simple, effective and crucially includes both right and left brain in the process. The adult (left brain) starts the exercise. Then using visualisation with colours and accessing inner child (right brain) with the adult (left brain) going into the exercise and supporting the inner child (right brain) to express whatever emotions (right brain) are there. Then we ground and balance (left brain & right brain) and come out of the exercise.
So, just to wrap up if your traumas have you being emotional most of the time then I would suggest you will most likely need to develop and strengthen the left brain . You will need to develop and strengthen your ADULT self more for balance and to help regulate and process your emotions effectively. That way you can learn to re-parent your inner child.
If your traumas have you being intellectual, unemotional and rational most of the time then I would suggest you need to find ways to gently open up to the experiences of your inner child (right brain) and strengthen this aspect of your self so that your inner child begins to open and trust the adult you that they can then share their deeper emotions and feelings with you, helping you to process those traumatic emotions up and out.
As always, personal growth requires a healthy balance of both like everything in life. But, be aware that in life we are a child first (feelings, emotions, creativity, playfulness, inspiration, connection, wholeness) then we are an adult second (the logical decision maker, boundaries, choices, direction and framework).
Let me know your thoughts, and how this relates to what you need to do for your healing now?
Today I would like to talk about one of the most popular ‘health products’ on the market these days… cacao powder. Here in Australia this product is promoted in health food stores, cafes, and most people who are health conscious and in the new age and raw food areas are extolling the benefits of cacao powder as a health alternative to commercial overly processed cocoa powder. Many people claim benefit upon benefit with this product, and I must admit I went along with this without doing any research whatsoever on it. The first major research I was able to conduct was on my own body!. So, now a little on the backstory with this…
Over the last few months I had a niggling health issue with my liver. Most days I would experience a dull ache, or pains that would come and go, or sometimes just a sensation of discomfort. Now, I know from my metaphysical work that the liver has to do with anger and processing current experiences in life. Now, certainly for me this was pertinent, as over the summer ( Dec-Feb here in OZ) we had record sweltering heat and as a lot of you reading on expansions will I know that I had a house move at this same time, and generally speaking it was quite a stressful time with a lot to ‘get through’. I did have some anger regarding the circumstances of the move and when my liver starting showing these symptoms I assumed that it was just the intensity of the emotional rollercoaster ride that I had been on and I needed to just do some processing and release work round this. Well, I did this and also took extra care of what it was that I was putting into my body at this time.
After much work I found that things weren’t really improving a great deal. I started to question and doubt my skills in being able to process my emotional experiences, and finally I started to really examine what it was I was consuming day to day that might contribute to these experiences. So, after some examination I got down to 2 things that could be a contributor… 1 glass of red wine a day, and/or drinking at least 2 mugs of hot organic cacao a day. I eliminated the red wine and still these symptoms continued. I thought if it is cacao let’s find out a little more about it, knowing that I knew next to nothing about it.
Well, what I found out was pretty amazing. The guy who claims to have first started to mass promote cacao to the western world is Jeremy Safron. Originally he was an advocate, and is now a fierce opponent of it, after conducting his own research. Jeremy is from Hawaii and some years ago he said that a friend of his owned lots of chocolate cacao trees and as they were into raw health foods they started eating the seed pods off the tree. They thought it was pretty cool that they were eating chocolate, and that it was raw, and being free from sugar and other nasties that it must be good! One of his friends who was from Ecuador said, ‘Are you kidding we have these trees everywhere I can get tons of this stuff for you’. So they started organising for this to be sold and packaged abroad. As things started to take off with the sales of this product Jeremy started doing his own research, and he started seeing the health issues in regards to his friends who had been taking it for much longer then he.
Here are his findings:
Cacao is super toxic to the liver.
The result of long term use is a high level of liver and blood toxicity which can cause extreme mood swings, angry outbursts, violence, paranoia, dizziness, depression, sexual dysfunction, decreased will, lack of reasoning.
It is extremely clogging due to the toxins it carries in the oils contained within. Plus the fat chains are highly complex and require tons of work to break down.
It is a stimulant and agitates the kidneys, adrenal glands, and contributes to insomnia, nightmares, shakes and extreme energy shifts, along with a rapid heartbeat, and difficulties with digestion.
Also, the processing is quite toxic even if purportedly organic. Researcher Paul Nison says..”The processing of cacao beans into powder and chocolate is an unsanitary, risky procedure to say the least. To be blunt – chocolate, and cacao are laced with animal faeces and hair, insects and molds. The carcinogenic mold called aflatoxin has been found in large quantities in cacao beans”
People into healthy and natural living promoting cacao will say that the native peoples ate it all of the time and so by virtue of this it must be good! But, this is nonsense. The native people who consumed cacao did NOT use it for a food source generally speaking, they did eat the fruit part of it occasionally, but the seed part was mainly used for medicinal purposes and ceremony. The seed was also used in ahyuwasca ceremonies, because cacao taken in large doses is a psychedelic. With cacao powder we are consuming both the seed and fruit, and we are told that it is raw but accordingly to some reports this isn’t true either
Now, I have been consuming organic cacao powder daily for about the past 3 years or so, and I can tell you that without explaining every single symptom in detail I can tick the box on just about every one of those above mentioned symptoms. I also read online numerous accounts of people with the same liver complaints in regards to cacao and once they stopped using it their symptoms cleared up.
After reading and researching all of this I decided that I would stop using cacao immediately and see how I go. Within 2 days the uncomfortable liver sensations stopped COMPLETELY. All of the other symptoms that I identified also stopped or calmed down. It seems I have my answer. I will no longer be using this product.
First they told us to stop drinking milk and having dairy and now you can have ‘soy’, and we all know how bad that is. Now, instead of chocolate you can have cacao. In my opinion anything that is mass promoted has a sinister agenda. I am telling you this so you may learn from my experience, and so you can follow up with your own research and decide the best possible pathway for your well being. For me this is also a good reminder on not just blindly trusting anything but do some due diligence with research on everything that goes in my body, and trusting my own inner guidance along the way.
I am sure that most of you who are reading this are interested in working on yourselves, seeking positive change, and looking to generally upgrade the quality of your lives. I know that for me, when I initially started exploring ‘spiritual information’ I really wanted to change in such a big, deep and positive way, and hopefully offer those I encounter the same opportunity should they wish.
So, this motivation then attracts teachers, books, courses, modalities, processes and techniques that seem to offer an approach to help us change. Naturally, through this we hope to ‘change’ into a better person, overcoming our faults etc. We look towards developing skills that will make us happy. We engage in growth therapies as a way to improve ourselves. But, what if most of these things are really not helping us to ‘change’ at all.
Early on in my quest, I couldn’t seem to get past the things that I felt were holding me back. I would read and explore all of this great info and positive information that told me how great I am, and the endless potential that I have yet I didn’t feel I could access it. At times it would frustrate me at no end. I would look at others and think that they had their lives ‘all together’ and thought maybe it is just ‘me’.
However, throughout all of this, I had this feeling that something is missing here, something just isn’t right with all of this ‘positive’ ra ra information wanting to lift me up to the heights, and , Why is ‘change’ so difficult, at least for me??
Over the years the number of ‘self-help’ and ‘positive spiritual growth gurus’ has grown exponentially. There are now endless books, teachers and methods that seek to offer you everything under the sun and to ‘change your life’. For example, in the year 2014 the self-help industry generated a staggering $10 billion in the US alone! This clearly shows us that this industry is huge. Seems like people are wanting to change all of the time! It is clear that there is an almost insatiable desire to get better and feel happy!
But, I am sure if you take a look around at the state of Planet Earth right now and the quality of life, has it really improved??.Could we honestly say that it has? With all of those billions of dollars churned over through the ‘self-help’ industry in the US alone, are we seeing the quality of life increase given the amount of money spent here. I think not!
We all know that nothing is promoted or allowed onto the world stage unless it serves the interests of the global handlers. I will explain why I think that this industry for the most part is not helping us, but keeping those it attracts to be like hamsters on a hamster’s wheel… running fast, thinking we are going forwards, but really going nowhere and staying where we are!
Why is this so? Well, let’s look at this whole concept of ‘change’. Most of us want to change because we feel that there is something wrong with the quality of our lives on some level and how our lives are going. It could be our current life situation with our career, health, relationships or living circumstances. Whatever it is, the bottom line is that we have an undesirable set of circumstances that we want to get rid of. We simply resist, reject, or want to go beyond whatever it is that is before us. So we run this way and that to try and fix this situation.
But, the truth is YOU are a microcosm of the macrocosm… and as you know this means that you contain ALL, that is, the positive AND negative. They both have equal value in the totality of existence, at the larger macro universal level, and YOU, the micro personal level. It is one and the same. This is who and what we are and what we contain. Given this understanding, you cannot truly get rid of anything, it is ALL part of you, and if you are rejecting any part of the ‘negative’ that is showing up in your life then you are then rejecting and judging the TOTALITY which contains all. This is not truly self-acceptance and is certainly not ‘love and light’!. Also, if we are subtly self-rejecting then it ensures that we continually return to these same conditions and circumstance over and over and usually bigger until we learn to embrace it and what it teaches us and learn from it. This is why the world is heading into major crisis with the ‘negative’ because we are not working on learning from it and understanding it within individually and collectively.
In my view this is why most ‘change’ therapies or ‘positive psychology’ does not work. They are really practicing self-rejection as they deny, repress, hide or avoid the ‘negative’ seeing it as lesser than it’s polar opposite. This is and can be very subtle, for example it can just be that we cling to the positive in some way, like wanting to only feel positive emotions and constantly denying our true feelings by convincing ourselves of the ‘positives’ of an experience all of the time and not admitting to ourselves our negative feelings such as anger, resentment or rage . It is important that when the ‘negative’ shows up that we feel fully through whatever feelings that present themselves, so we can reintegrate ourselves and our experience , this ensures a truer change. In this instance we are not trying to run away from ourselves or our feelings, we are embracing that they are here for a reason, that they have value in our lives and that they are teaching something of immense importance to us
So this brings me to my next point. TRUE change, for me is about self-integration. If we contain everything, and have access to potentially everything within then what do I need to change? We have it ALL already. Really the negatives that show up are about re-integrating aspects of myself that needs healing, connection & awareness. This is where true growth and ‘change’ occurs in my opinion. This is where true unconditional love and self-acceptance is. In fact, this whole reality that we experience on some level only exists because we must re-integrate ourselves back to wholeness and for that to happen we must look at and feel ALL that we have participated in. Not to re-traumatise, but to allow ourselves all of the feelings that we have experienced to express themselves so we can learn about who and what we are, then move on to newer experiences and challenges to learn and grow. It is that in childhood we learn to shut-down negative feelings as they weren’t safe to feel or express at the time our traumas occured, and generally this experiential avoidance continues into adulthood. We think things can be just normal, but in fact if we go deeper we may find that we re still self-rejecting, or avoiding some aspect of ourselves.
So for me, this is why most of the self-improvement industry does not truly serve. It doesn’t not usually help you understand, learn from and integrate the ‘negative’ in your life. After all, this does not sell millions of books, or look happy on glossy pages and it doesn’t promise you the happy life free of all of your burdens and suffering. But, truly if burdens and suffering are there, then we need to, as best we can learn from ,embrace, and accept our feelings and ourselves through the experience so we can truly move through in the most beneficial way. It is there for a reason, to show us something about ourselves.
This is why the work of Stewart and Janet Swerdlow at Expansions is a true method in my opinion. They teach that all experiences teach and have value, both the positive and the negative, and that self-reintegration is the most important work we can undertake. Also that we cannot bring in the ‘new’ until we have let go of the ‘old’ and for this to occur we need to examine, feel, and understand the ‘old’ before we move on to bigger newer mind-patterns for ourselves.
Today I wanted to share one of the topics that I find extremely useful and simple that I have taught in both counselling classes and also at a retreat centre for survivors of trauma and abuse. I feel that this topic and what it teaches provides a lot of value in helping you to understand YOU, that is, how you behave, how others behave, and how we interact with one another.
This model is called… Transactional Analysis, it’s implications for our healing pathway in life is very fascinating and helpful I have found. I learnt of this model, when I received my training on being a facilitator at a trauma healing centre for survivors of trauma and abuse. I also think that this model compliments a lot of the work we do here with Stewart, Janet, and Expansions. I will explain. Transactional Analysis simply means ‘looking at the framework for how two or more people communicate with another’
Transactional Analysis teaches that we basically have 3 ego states within ourselves, these are: CHILD, ADULT and PARENT. In any given moment we will be operating from one of these 3 ego states depending on what is happening in our lives and how we are either reacting or responding to our circumstances and what unresolved trauma and emotional pain is still living inside of us.
These ego states have positive/negative qualities except for the ‘Adult’ ego state, which remains ‘neutral’. It goes like this:
Please refer to this above model throughout the article, remembering that the CHILD has 3 aspects, as does the PARENT state. The ADULT remains neutral
O.k, so to begin to put this into context… We are all born with a connection to the ‘wonder child’ inside of us… this is the part of us that feels free-spirited, adventurous, playful, unconditionally loving, without fear, trusting, explorative, freely expresses emotions, happy, joyful, steps into the unknown, creative etc. However all of us have experienced trauma to one degree or another. If this trauma is not lovingly taken care of by a safe adult or nurturing parent we then become the ‘wounded child’. The wounded child is sad, frightened, feels shameful, scared etc.
The wounded child is all our painful and negative feelings & emotions. If the wounded child is not helped to heal i.e being able to express those emotions and feelings at the point of trauma in a safe, supportive way, then the child has no other option accept retreat deeper inside themselves. A child does not have the tools to deal with painful situations as does an adult. But, as a result of the unprocessed trauma the wounded child does have one tool at their disposable, which is, to become the ‘adaptive child’.
The adaptive child develops as a way to protect the wounded child inside. The ‘adaptive child’ is all about behaviours, and these behaviours are designed to protect the ‘wounded child’ inside. The ‘adaptive child’ is the one who rebels, ‘acts out’, sometimes becomes the people pleaser or straight-A student, they can have aggressive or violent behaviours, excessive and dangerous risk taking, then as an adult this can become alcohol and/or drug abuse as examples. But, the bottom line is that the adaptive child’s job is to protect the wounded child from further wounding or emotional pain. It is a way to keep the world of your back and keep people at a safe distance at all costs, all with the outcome of a) the person not having to face their inner pain and b) the attempt to stop further wounding. However as we grow, the ‘adaptive child’ if left unchecked will keep us in our repetitive and self-defeating behaviours which keep us trapped, never truly dealing with our original core emotional pain and further creating more pain in the present.
We will now explore the PARENT state. Now, as we know our primary caregivers play a hugely important role in how we develop and grow. If our parents become the ‘critical parent’ then they will be criticising, blaming, putting you down, excessive scolding, abusive, violent etc. Also our abusers and perpetrators will fall into this category. The critical parent creates and reinforces our ‘wounded child’ and this in turn will strengthen our ‘adaptive child’ behaviours, the more trauma and abuse we experience then our contact with the wonder child inside can diminish more and more .
Then there is the ‘Rescuing Parent’. The rescuing parent can be more subtle in appearance but just as destructive in it’s affects. The rescuing parent is the parent who shields their child from all experiences which could potentially provide emotional difficulty or pain for the child. It is the parent who says ‘Don’t do this, don’t do that’ excessively. They are always coming from fear. The child eventually learns ‘I am not capable and so others must do it for me’, or ‘It is not my responsibility, there is nothing I can do about it’ etc.
But, if we have a nurturing parent then we will be able to grow and flourish in healthy ways, we will have a strong sense of self as we develop. The nurturing parent is the one who is stable, ‘present’ and attends to the needs of the child, supports and loves the child unconditionally, allows the child to learn and grow from their experiences in a safe way, provides clear boundaries, models safety etc.
Then finally there is the ‘ADULT’. As children we need all need a healthy adult there for us, and modelled for us to learn from. The adult is the decision maker and assesses what needs to happen in balance in any given moment. For example… today I need to work, or I need to rest or I need to be playful, or I need to pay some bills this morning and this afternoon I’ll take a nap. These are just some simple examples. Bottom line is the ‘adult’ decides…’what, when, how, why’ etc. Most likely the ADULT part of us will not have developed properly if a) it was never correctly modelled for us and b) we have lots of unresolved trauma which has us stay in our wounded child, adaptive child and critical parent ego states.
So, as children all of these ego states are modelled to us and we grow and develop accordingly. It is important to note that as children these states are all external, that is our caregivers model this and we learn. But, as adults we internalise this model and have it operating within self. So, now as adults if we have unresolved trauma our wounded child will come forward when triggered , and our ‘adaptive child’ may come forward to shield the inner pain – destructive and self defeating behaviours like self-sabotage, fighting either internal on self, or external with the world, alcohol or any other drug abuse or addiction maybe also be the behaviours that start expressing just to name a few examples. From this our inner ‘critical parent’ can come forward with all of the negative self-talk which beats up on self, those voices might be “You’re not worth it’, ‘Stop whinging’, ‘Your hopeless’ etc. This internal critical parent voice can intensify if our wounded child’s feelings are strong and present, and or the ‘adaptive child’ part of us is ‘acting out’ in destructive ways.
Some of us can cycle through these negative ego states, Wounded Child, Adaptive Child, Critical Parent and not be aware of it making the task of healing almost insurmountable which also perpetuates our pain and suffering. For example I met a lady once who repeated a behavioural cycle she told me ” When I feel lost, upset and scared (wounded child) I usually then starting fighting with my partner and kids (adaptive child) then I decide to drive and go and stay where one knows where I am (adaptive child) then I realise how silly I am to be behaving like this and doing this to my family (critical parent) I then feel ashamed (wounded child). I then think that what’s happening at home isn’t because of me so there is nothing to worry about and I forget about it and move on (rescuing parent) then the next month I drop down feeling sad again..etc.
The tricky part is that if we have grown up not having any healthy adult or nurturing parent available then we will not know how to do it as adults, we simply do not have the neural pathways available to know what it feels like and behave that way. In this instance we then have to learn it and behave it ourselves bit by bit- this takes time, effort and dedication for sure. We have to learn to become adults and decide to take responsibility for our inner pain and wounded child along with our adaptive child behaviours and begin to nurture ourselves through the healing process. If you cannot do this for yourself at the beginning then you can look for a suitable, supportive counsellor who can initially provide and model an ‘adult’ and ‘nurturing parent’ to you, so that you can begin to heal the wounded child inside…which is the goal here. But, ultimately you will need to do the work on you that is the bottom line
Another interesting aspect is how you behave will encourage others in one of these ego states. For example, if you come from the critical parent space criticising someone about some aspect of their behaviour, words or appearance then you will invite their wounded child to come forward (sadness, guilt, upset) which might then have them move into avoiding you (adaptive child) or pleasing you (adaptive child). There is certainly no space for healing here if the people involved are not conscious of what is going on (adult). This is just one example, but there are countless varieties of how it can play out with different emotions and behaviours involved. The key as always is being conscious of what we are doing and why, then we can begin to take responsibility for our thoughts and feelings and how we interact with self and others.
Bear in mind that when you decide to heal the wounded child inside you will most likely encounter the resistance of the adaptive child and his/her behaviours. Remember the adaptive child was created inside of you to shield you from the inner pain of the wounded child. The adaptive child has had years to develop behaviours to keep the inner pain away, it will not give up it’s job easily. They can be very simple behaviours, but there can more sophisticated ones as well, it can be anything from sabotaging positive endeavours or relationships, to addictions, to stopping yourself from feeling feelings, to being sick all of the time, the list can go on.
However, whatever the case, you CAN heal, all it takes is an ‘Adult’ decision that this is what you really want to do. This is where you need to persist and turn up and learn to be the nurturing parent for yourself and your wounded child. Be consistent on your healing, being available and showing up for yourself just like every child would expect a good parent to do. If you keep showing up in this way then bit by bit we develop a sense of inner trust and slowly but surely the adaptive child will begin to surrender to the ‘safe nurturing parent’ that you are demonstrating..Then healing for the wounded child can begin to take place. The wounded child within you will learn to trust again… trusting in the safer YOU. Then he/she will begin to share their feelings and emotions with you the adult/nurturing parent, and you can be the loving, caring giving parent for yourself that you always wanted and needed form your original caregivers that you did not receive. This is re-parenting yourself and beginning to grow up the child within. The child, that’s growth was stunted and halted due to emotional and mental trauma. Ultimately, you need no other person to heal, for all is inside of you.
I know in my case that the more I showed up for my inner child ( which was really about me deciding to set aside time each day to connect on an inner level, and doing exercises such as Stewart’s ‘The Child Within exercise’ and some others) he could trust that an adult self was here, available and present, then the more he shared with me, which was me beginning to allow me to feel my feelings, and release my inner pain in a safe and supportive way. I then learnt to drop my adaptive child’s suppression of pain and self-defeating behaviours that had kept me locked up previously. He just needed to have a voice to share his feelings about what happened, to allow them to express in full, with support and with a sense of kindness, unconditional love and openness. If we do this our true ‘wonder child’ can begin to come back into our lives, along with a new sense of a ‘nurturing parent’ and clear minded adult’. Then we begin to get our inner forces going in the correct direction for positive new growth.
So, I invite you the reader to reflect on your own interactions with yourself and with others.
Can you see in your life where you are behaving like the child, adult or parent?
Perhaps you can see where you are being the wounded child or the adaptive child? – The areas within that point to ‘healing needed’
Maybe in some relationships or interactions you are an adult, maybe others an adaptive child, or a rescuing parent.
Perhaps you can see that you are very in touch with your wonder child and or adult/nurturing parent parts of self. I invite you to share your examples and thoughts here, so that we can all learn from each other.