For some people, the term walls may bring up associations to do with the physical walls of a house or walls that divide one garden from another. However, the walls that this article will look into are not physical walls. They are not visible to the eye and yet this doesn’t mean that the impact they have is any different.
If on one side there are walls, on the other side there would be nothing; here one would feel wide open and completely vulnerable. Boundaries are not the opposite of walls. When one has strong boundaries there will not be the need to have walls and feeling wide open, as one would if they had no boundaries, would rarely be experienced.
So although the person with no boundaries will have walls, it is also likely that there will be moments when they feel wide open. Alternating between the two will then be a part of life.
The walls give them the feeling of complete protection and without them they can feel extremely vulnerable.
What walls do is create the feeling of being protected and through having these, one will feel safe. The problem with having walls is that not only do they keep everyone out; they also keep one locked in. One ends up creating their own prison.
So whatever the positives are, they are soon outweighed by the negatives. Logically it is clear and makes sense that walls are no good. But, as it is primarily our emotions and not logic that dictates one’s life, logic does not make much of a difference here.
And if one cuts themselves off from others through having walls, it is going to lead to all kinds of consequences. Relationships will suffer and as this happens one will also suffer. Isolation and feelings of being alone and cut off are also likely to occur. Trust in others will not exist and without that relationships are not really possible.
Because even though one is trying to protect themselves from others by having walls, all that ends up happening is the creation of more pain.
What’s Going On?
The natural human need, to connect and to be with others, is being violated here. So this can only really lead to pain and suffering. But in order for this to be the case something needs to have happened that is causing one to go against their own natural need, to connect and be with other human beings.
And in order to understand why this may be, we need to look at how the ego mind works and how past experiences can shape how one sees the world.
The Ego Mind
How the ego mind works can seem illogical at first. As this is because it doesn’t function on what makes one happy or what is functional. It works through what is familiar and what is familiar is what is associated as being safe. Once something is interpreted to be safe though being familiar; the ego mind will hold onto it and won’t want to let it go.
Now, this could be a way of seeing life and other people or a way that one behaves. And what is classed as familiar can be functional and healthy or it can be dysfunctional and unhealthy. When it is dysfunctional, like in the case of building walls, it will inevitably create problems.
So if one has built walls around themselves, it is for a reason. And the reason is that it was for their own survival. At the time of their creation, they allowed one to stay safe and to cope with a situation or situations.
At the time it could be described as positive and even a necessary thing. The trouble is that over time, it has just lead to pain and separation from other people.
Once this way of being has become associated as what is safe to the ego mind; life will continue to be perceived in the same way. What this means is that once one has had an experience or certain experiences that lead to these walls being created, it will become the model of how life is.
One will then end up creating the same experiences all over again and the same patterns will be played out. So what may have happened with one person or a few people during one moment or over a certain period of time, will become how life is and how everyone is.
And as the ego mind works in absolutes, it will edit out anyone that does not fit the associations that it has formed around people. The experiences that created this outlook have become what reality is and there is now no other way according to the mind.
People that are respectful of one’s boundaries and aware of such things are unlikely to be attracted into one’s life. Unless they are a doctor for example and people who one was to have an appointment to see.
The cause of these walls could have been through what happened to one as an adult. Or it could have been the result of one’s childhood years. And as these traumatic experiences have not been looked at, one has ended up being controlled by them.
Whether it was as an adult or as a child, it has lead to a boundary violation. Ones personal space was not respected and this means that one felt wide open and vulnerable. This would have lead to the ego mind creating associations and emotions/feelings being trapped in the body.
And until these are dealt with in some way, it will be highly unlikely that one will allow their walls to come down. Unless one can feel safe to be who they are and to be in their body; nothing can really change.
Now, for some it may be enough to just change the ego mind associations and this is what hypnotherapy or CBT would do, but for others going into the feelings may be needed. And this would require some kind of therapy that does feeling work.
The important thing is that one listens to themselves and sees what works and what doesn’t. As to how long it will take, will depend on many factors: from how ready one is to let go and on the type of therapy that is used.
Awareness around child abuse has gradually increased over the years. This can only be a good thing and something that will help to reduce the amount of child abuse that is in the world.
However, in this day and age it may be hard for some people to comprehend why this has gone on for so long and how this kind of behaviour could still be occurring.
So in this article, I want to go into what I believe are some of the reasons as to why child abuse has continued for so long.
In the United Kingdom it wasn’t until 1986 that a twenty four hour counselling service was set up to deal with child abuse. This is a free national helpline for children up to the age of nineteen and is called Childline.
And prior to that in 1979; the great psychologist Alice Miller released her first book on abuse, titled – The Drama Of The Gifted Child. When this book came out and for many years after its release; it was met with all kinds of resistance.
If one wants to really understand abuse and why it happens; her books are the best out there on the subject.
This shows that when it comes to awareness of child abuse, it is a relatively new occurrence. And is surely a reflection of children finally being seen as more than just ‘objects’. For many generations this was how children were often seen by their caregivers and by the society.
A common saying was ‘children should be seen and not heard.’ And this encompasses the attitude that was so prevalent for many generations and one that was passed on from one to the other.
Although the saying may not always have been vocalised in its original form, the emotional consequences were often passed on nevertheless.
And on top of that was the importance of respecting and honouring ones parents. This could be that the mother or father always knows what’s best; or they always know what’s right for example. And then there were sayings like ‘don’t disagree or argue with your parents’.
Freedom Of Speech
So with the rules above and many others that were similar; it didn’t exactly cause the child to feel that they had a right to speak up or stand up for themselves. Even it something didn’t feel right and there was a sense that something was amiss; it would have more often than not had to have been denied and ignored.
This then creates the ideal breeding ground for abuse to be carried out. Because if a child is perceived as an object and as something that has no value; it will not be empathised with or treated with love, care or respect.
And as a way to get a child to do as it was told and to create ‘discipline’; physical punishment was often used. As was mental and emotional forms of punishment. This was partly the result of children being seen as inherently bad and needing to be controlled.
Now, in the current society that we live in, this kind of behaviour is clearly understood as being dysfunctional and most importantly - abusive. And yet for people who were not brought up with this understanding, what we now call childhood abuse would in many cases have been accepted as part of the process of both raising and being a child.
This is not only limited to child abuse, over the ages many other things that were acceptable at one point are no longer accepted. And this is typically due to a shift in people’s awareness.
And so this became what was classed as normal and the way to bring children up. But in order for this to happen, the truth had to remain hidden .This then meant that the child had to deny and repress their suffering and pain.
Through the pain and the trauma not being allowed to surface and the truth of what happened be known to others; the same style of child rearing was destined to be repeated.
This allowed for an avenue for all of the repressed pain that was never acknowledged and process to be released on an innocent child.
As this pain and trauma has never been consciously faced with the help of a therapist or support group for example; it is somewhat inevitable that what the parent had not dealt with from their own childhood would be projected onto the child.
And if the parent experienced abuse as a child and has not dealt with it, it is highly unlikely that they will have the empathy or awareness needed to not abuse their children or anyone else for that matter.
But as it was taboo and still is in some cases, to speak up against ones parents who are often seen as perfect and doing all that they can for their children, regardless of it its true or not; this original pain becomes trapped and locked in to the body.
And whenever one tries to repress and deny something, in order to feel a sense of control, it will ultimately end up controlling them. This is a big reason why child abuse has gone on for so long.
A big part of society is repression and that is a big factor in all forms of violence. So as a society becomes more emotionally aware, what will also likely to follow is a reduction in all forms of abuse. The recent changes in society, in regard to child abuse, are a sign that more people are becoming emotionally aware.
With a greater focus on child abuse, more can be done to make a difference. The internet is an incredibly important element to this process. This is a fairly recent invention and something that has not been around for very long.
Through using this, children can get support that wouldn’t have been there before and realise that although it may be normal in their house; it doesn’t not mean it is right. And then there are people and groups who work tirelessly to put an end to child abuse.
There is a quote by Carl Jung that says “Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” So based on this quote, it would be right to say that one’s true nature exists within and is not found without.
To look within would then be the appropriate way of going about finding oneself. However although this may be so, it is something that is not the easiest thing to do. If one lived in a place where there were not as many distractions; on a small island for example - this would be relatively simply.
But the modern day world is filled with all kinds of distractions and these can keep one in a perpetual state of looking outward.
This is not to say that one should completely isolate themselves from the world and live in a mountain or a cave. Or that one should be in a constant place of inner reflection. These are simply two sides of the same coin.
And yet being completely external and losing one’s own inner awareness is the other side of the coin. Only looking outside and being completely estranged from one’s own being is a sign of imbalance.
East And West
To be fairly general here, the west is typically associated as being too external and the east as being overly internal. In recent years this has dramatically changed; as a more balanced approach is being attained.
With people being both internal and external; embracing what the outer world has to offer and tuning into what the inner world has to give.
In the west there are all kinds of distractions that can and do take one away from their inner stillness or sanctuary. These distractions have become part of society and this means that they have, in most cases, become invisible to a lot of people.
They may not be seen as distractions and may be perceived as an important part of one’s existence. On a societal or global level this can come about through: TV, Internet, Radio and Newspapers. When it comes to ones everyday life, this can consist of different dramas from the people around them and in their own life.
Some people will notice these as distractions, while others will be completely consumed and caught up in them. And if one has been brought up in this kind of environment or society; then it is not much of a surprise.
One may not even know that they are distractions and see them as simply how life is. Regardless of how they are making one feel and how much of a distraction they are.
So if one has been brought up to be completely focused on the external world and to ignore what is going on within or they are in a society that promotes this; then it has likely become a habit.
This means that it is automatic and doesn’t need to be thought about any longer; it just happens. For others looking within will just happen and this is because is has become a habit for them.
What happens in early childhood can have a significant effect on how internal or external one is. Perhaps one was raised in an environment where it was all about the needs of the caregivers for example.
Here, what one needed or wanted was ignored and denied. It may also have been that one’s views, opinions and expressions were ignored and criticised. And as a result of this, one becomes cut off from their self expression and trained to depend on others.
A Big Factor
One of the biggest reasons that one would become caught in the external world and ignore their own inner kingdom is due to pain. Whether one has become completely internal or external is often due to the same reasons.
To be external allows one to avoid the pain that is within and to be internal can allow for one to avoid the drama that is without. They each allow for the regulation of pain.
A great majority of this pain could have come about through a traumatic childhood or later trauma. And as the ego minds tendency is to avoid pain and not face it; being caught up in the world’s stimulation is a natural consequence.
And the modern day world is full of all kinds of stimulation that will allow one to escape from this inner pain. From technology, to food and everything else; they all enable one too escape from pain.
So the stimulation could be classed as the problem, but if the need was not there the stimulation wouldn’t be sought after in the first place.
The options to deal with pain have not become part of the mainstream society. Whereas options to avoid pain are very much a part of the modern day world.
Looking outside for everything has many consequences. And some of these will be more significant than others. Creativity is less likely, the ability to think and reason for oneself is also unlikely. Having opinions and views that one has come up with by themselves will not be as common.
To know who one is and what one wants to do is highly likely. The chances that one will have substance and depth of character are also greatly reduced.
So not only is there the distractions of the world when it comes to finding who one is; there is also the inner pain that can stop this process from happening. But, if the commitment is there, the distractions will not be as influential. These distractions can be used as a catalyst to ones growth, if they are used in the right way.
Finding the right support is imperative here. Being around people who can shine the light can make a massive difference. From books, to mentors; there are many sources of assistance available.
It is often said that finding the self is not so much about gaining anything, as it is about losing what one already has.
We all have our own style of behaviour and this can change when one is around different people and based on how one feels. As one grows and changes as person; this can also lead to ones behaviour altering.
And there will be times when ones behaviour is a response to situations and other times when it is a reaction. If it is a response it will be coming from a place of awareness and self control. And if it is a reaction, it will be coming from a place of unawareness and lack of self control.
Part Of Life
There are always likely to be times when one reacts in life. And yet if this has become something that takes over one’s life - it will create problems.
It may be something that affects ones relationships with friends, family, colleagues and in ones intimate relationship. If one has children they may also end up in the cross fire and even pets.
This is often described as something that should be low on the scale and end up being way up. So this could be over reacting in a way that is an eight, then it reality it was only a two for example.
To others it is clear that one is over reacting and behaving disproportionately. However, unless one is unaware of this themselves, they will continue to do the same things.
What this kind of behaviour can lead to and create are extreme consequences. Emotionally this could be to do with aggression, rage and showing heightened levels of anger. It can also affect the other side of things and include: sadness, rejection, guilt, anxiety, grief, shame and being hysterical.
The first examples are emotions that usually get projected outwards and the second list are emotions that usually become interjected. Although they are different, they can both create reactive behaviour.
Reactive behaviour is then created through one acting on these emotions. And this means that other people are exposed to the emotions as a result of them building up. If it wasn’t for the reactive behaviour, other people may not even know that such strong emotions exist within the person.
Short Term Solutions
It is also possible for people to manage these emotions in a way that leads to short term solutions and therefore minimizes the reactive behaviour. Certain rituals and habits then alleviate the emotions, like a pressure valve. But this won’t last for long and needs to be constantly undertaken.
A Closer Look
So if ones behaviour to others seems completely out of proportion, it means that something within the individual is out of sync. Based on their interpretations of what they are experiencing, their reaction seems appropriate.
There may even be times when they look back and can’t understand why they did what they did. And there will always be others who can’t see anything wrong with how they reacted. It will all depend on how aware the person is.
The ego mind interprets things based on the associations that it has formed. This means that how something is interpreted is a subjective thing. And will be the result of everything one has experienced up until that point.
So even though to another person it may be an overreaction, based on their ego minds associations of the experience, it may be interpreted as the right and only way to behave.
The challenge is that the interpretations that are made from the ego minds associations may be completely wrong and this is what is leading to the reactive behaviour.
Once the experience has been interpreted by the ego mind to match these associations, it triggers the emotions and this provides the fuel for the behaviour. But these emotions don’t just come out once and then there done. The same occurrence appears again and again.
And no matter whether these emotions are released or not; they are always bubbling under the surface and ready to rise at any moment. A weed can be cut off, but it will soon grow back.
These are typically emotions that have been repressed for long periods of time. And these emotions won’t simply disappear; they need to come out in some way. The body is constantly pushing them to the surface and looking to release them.
This means that the ego mind will constantly be looking for situations that will allow for a release to occur, or it will just interpret situations in a way that will lead to a release.
Traumatic experiences in ones adult life can be a factor here. And so can traumatic experiences that one had as a child. No matter what created them or when it was; the body naturally wants to release them.
However, the ego mind wants to avoid them at all costs and will do all it can to get away from them. All kinds of defence mechanisms will be used to do this. This is not a bad or negative thing per se; it is just what the ego mind does to ensure survival.
And as the ego minds main function is to keep one alive, from this point of view it is a wonderful thing. The problem is that although the mind may have pushed them out of conscious awareness and forgotten that it has forgotten about what happened; the body has not and never will.
This means that these emotions have not been dealt with and reacting to them is not dealing with them. To repress them or to react to them are two sides of the same coin.
Although the mind also uses these defence mechanisms to gain a sense of control; it only leads the opposite happening. By running away from the emotions, one ultimately ends up enslaved to them. During the time of the traumatic occurrence it enabled one to survive, but as time passes it only creates problems.
These two options of reaction or repression will not lead to any kind of growth or awareness. This is why therapists are so important when it comes to dealing with repressed emotions.
As the ego minds tendency is to avoid them altogether, being supported by someone who is trained in such matters will enable one to go where they would not have gone by themselves. This is what the word ‘guru’ basically means - to shine the light for others.
These emotions have become trapped due to the avoidance of them, they need to be faced and released. This doesn’t mean endlessly going over them or becoming consumed by them. It means facing them with awareness. And if this is done properly, they will be released.
And there are many types of therapists; to the more traditional therapies to ones that are classed as healing techniques. I would say they all have their place - it all depends on what one feels is the right option for them and if the type of therapy is actually working.
When it comes to feelings, there can often be a disparity between how one feels and how something actually is. And feeling invisible is the perfect example of this. Part of being human is to have a physical body and yet at an emotional level, one can feel that this is not the case.
One can feel that they are invisible to others and to the world. And regardless of their physical impact on life, the experience of not being noticed exists. For the person who does feel visible and takes it for granted; being invisible will be hard to comprehend and may even be dismissed and minimized.
What this shows is that it has nothing to do with how someone looks in the eyes of another person or how much room there body takes up in the world; it comes down to what’s going on internally.
This is likely to be an experience that is simply accepted as part of life and something that is normal. If the feeling has been around for a certain time, it is inevitable that one will feel that there is no other way.
And this will of course lead to al kinds of other feelings, thoughts and emotions and will shape how one sees themselves and others. Ones behaviour will also be a reflection of this feeling of being invisible.
One’s self image is unlikely to be empowering or functional. For if one is invisible, it means that they don’t exist; therefore a whole host of other consequences will appear. Having a healthy sense of self worth, self value, self esteem and self empowerment is unlikely.
This will make ones internal experience and external experience one of pain and suffering. Feeling hopeless and that one doesn’t have an effect on their environment is then part of life.
The Inner And The Outer
So not only does one feel invisible around others, but their internal experience is also making them feel the same. Now, it could be said that one feels this way due to their experiences of life. And this is partly true of course.
However, in order for one to feel invisible in the first place one has to already know what it feels like to be invisible. Because, if one didn’t know what it felt like to be invisible on the inside, it wouldn’t matter what happened externally.
This shows that one feels invisible based on their interpretations of what they see and not due to the experience itself. The external experience then validates what one believes within.
So it could even be a positive or neutral experience and based on this interpretation, one can still feel invisible. As it is the mind that defines if one feels invisible or not and has nothing to do with body.
The challenge is that these interpretations are going on automatically and are rarely conscious. And behind these interpretations are the ego minds associations. In order to interpret something in a certain way, one has to have created associations around it to begin with.
So, what this comes down to is that for the person who feels invisible, their ego mind is at the root of it all. These associations will shape how one feels, thinks, behaves and perceives people and the world.
The Ego Mind
And the ego minds main function is to do with keeping one alive and it does this through familiarity. If something is interpreted as familiar to the ego mind, it then becomes what is classed as safe.
The challenge is that what the ego mind classes as familiar and therefore safe could be extremely dysfunctional and damaging to one’s life. At one stage in life, these associations may have kept one alive, but now, they are leading to unnecessary pain and suffering.
These associations could have been formed in later life, but they were most likely created during ones childhood. A traumatic experience or an accumulation of seemingly insignificant experiences in adulthood could have created these associations.
But as the childhood years are so powerful in forming how one sees themselves as an adult, this is the area that generally has the biggest influence.
It is during this time that one’s boundaries and sense of self are formed. And these are the main factors that define whether one has these associations and therefore feels invisible or not.
As a baby ones identity is based on being connected to the mother and as the mother responds to the baby’s needs; the baby begins to see that it is separate from the mother. This is achieved through the mother giving empathetic care to the baby. And through the mother respecting the baby’s space, the baby will begin to form boundaries.
The baby will be mirrored, heard, regulated and responded to. This will cause the baby to learn that is has an effect on its environment amongst other things.
However, if one received unempathic care as a baby and then when they were children, the above is unlikely to happen. Here ones needs would have been ignored and replaced with the caregivers needs. Their personal space would then have been compromised and lead to one feeling wide open. At the extreme this would be classed as abuse, but it doesn’t have to be extreme to be abusive.
As the caregiver didn’t respond to the baby’s needs, it will not develop the understanding that it has an effect on the environment; there are of course extremes to this. It may be a one of experience or a build up of experiences that are not too traumatic.
And if the caregiver doesn’t respond to the baby, it will begin to feel that it doesn’t exist. It may be a result of being completely ignored or ignored at certain times. These experiences will then lead to the ego mind concluding that one is invisible and the associations will then follow.
If these associations were formed during ones childhood, it is unlikely that one had the awareness or the ability to question them. And this means that they were taken personally and as a reflection of who one is. Ultimately, all they reflected was where the caregiver/s was at.
As one let’s go of the past and the associations that go with it, ones sense of self will begin to form as will healthy boundaries. This may require the help of a therapist, coach, mentor or trusted friend. Reading and becoming aware of certain things may be enough for some people though.
The whole idea of someone losing themselves in a relationship may sound completely ridiculous. And if this was to be taken literally, then yes, it does sound crazy.
Because physically it is impossible to lose oneself in another person; there is nowhere to go and it is clearly not possible. And if this is the perception that one has, it is a result of a lack of understanding of what it actually means.
What it relates to is someone’s mental and emotional aspects and these have nothing to do with their physicality. But even though this may be physically impossible; it doesn’t mean that its affect is less severe.
The primary consequence to this fear is going to be a lack of functional intimacy. Through having this fear, there is not going to be much chance of one connecting to another. Being vulnerable is an important part of intimacy and if one has this fear, opening up will be a real challenge.
Opening up will be perceived as dangerous and as something to be avoided at all costs. And as a result of this, there is not much chance of real intimacy developing.
While the above may be a consequence, it is often a process that goes on out of one’s conscious awareness. For example, on the surface one may feel like a victim and that they have no control over the intimacy in their life.
Consciously one can have a story about how unlucky they are, but what there are likely to be are patterns. This may relate to attracting relationships where other people are: distant, aloof or emotionally unavailable. Or people who are: inappropriate, incompatible and a complete mismatch.
It may relate to attracting people who are overwhelming, smothering and overbearing. They may also be controlling and have no boundaries whatsoever.
What these patterns are amounting to is a dynamic that has three options; that are described above. One of these will involve seeking and grasping. Another will lead to one feeling neither pulled nor repelled. The final one will involve pulling away and resisting.
One may find that their behaviour fits one of these options more than it does the other. And switching from one to the other can also occur. If one becomes aware of this dynamic then there is a chance that change will happen.
But very often, one will just go from one to another and back again; ending up on an endless cycle of frustration and pain.
The Same Story
So if one were to step back and see these three primary scenarios, it would become clear that they are actually sides of the same coin. But, no matter what patterns are in place, it is not leading to a fulfilling relationship with someone.
There may be many other patterns and dramas that are created, but the consequences are the same. On the surface this can all seem to be out of one’s control and that they are just happening.
However, these experiences are the result of what ones ego mind has associated as being familiar and therefore as what is safe.
At a deeper level, ones ego mind has associated being close to another as something that will result in the loss of the self. This is what is familiar to the ego mind and what is being interpret as safe.
Now, at one point in ones life this association may well have been what kept one safe. This was probably during ones childhood years. And as an adult, one is simply creating the same experiences as a result of these early associations that were formed.
The Big Challenge
What then happens is the natural need for connection and intimacy, has been interfered with. And as this is such an important need, it inevitably has the potential to create incredible pain and suffering in one’s life.
For as long as these associations are in place, one will continue to avoid intimacy at all costs and all the while having a deep need for it at the same time.
Being brought up by caregivers who have no boundaries and therefore have no understanding of what personal space is; will lead to dysfunctional consequences. Their ability to offer empathic care is also going to be diminished.
Feeling overwhelmed, controlled and taken advantage are then the rule and not the exception. And this means that one’s sense of self and ego boundaries will not form as they should. The priority is the caregiver’s needs and not the Childs.
This doesn’t have to be extremely traumatic occurrence or occurrences; it can be an accumulation of fairly insignificant events.
What these early experiences do is form ones relationship model. It is then only natural, that as a result of the associations that are fumed during this time, one will fear that their personal space would be violated if they were to be in a relationship.
The ego mind will continue to perceive life in the same way and this is why these associations need to change. To let go off what happened in the past will enable one to attract people who will respect ones personal space.
Another part of this will be to formed functional boundaries. These will allow one to form a sense of self and to open up and to feel safe doing so. There are many approaches out there, from therapists, to books and other things.
When it comes to compliments there are some people who can accept them gracefully and others who completely reject them. It may be that one rejects all compliments or only compliments that come from certain people.
This can relate to men who reject all compliments from women or women who reject all compliments form men. And then there is the work environment; where one may reject compliments from colleagues. Accepting compliments from friends may also be a challenge.
So even though one may have a connection to someone, accepting their kind words can be no easier than if a stranger were to give them.
This is not to say that compliments are always genuine or are coming from clear intentions. But there will be times when the compliments are real and have been well thought out. Used as a sign of appreciation and acknowledgment of what one has done or who one is.
There will also be times when a compliment is neither pure nor clear in intention and is simply being said as a way to manipulate another.
However, for the person that can’t accept them it doesn’t matter whether they are genuine or not; because they are being interpreted in the same way regardless.
One may say something to another about how smart they look, how attractive they are or how well they are doing. Only for the other person to feel offended, uncomfortable and that they are being put down based on how they interpret what is being said.
And the operative word here is - Interpretation. To the person who is giving a sincere compliment there is likely to be one outcome in mind. And that involves sharing their view and making the other person feel good about themselves.
Upon hearing a genuine compliment, one can do one of three things. This is to accept it, reject it or take it the wrong way..
The reason that compliments are not always heard for what they are is that they are often interpreted through ones ego mind.
And how something is interpreted will largely depend on the associations that one has around what is being communicated to them. These associations can range from meanings that are: positive, negative, dysfunctional and functional.
As result of people having different associations for words, facial expression or vocal tones for example; it is then a natural consequence that compliments can trigger different meanings for people.
The challenge here is that these associations are part of a process that generally goes on unconsciously and out of one’s awareness. So it is rarely an option to question whether they are accurate or not.
It is for this reason that it won’t matter how true and empowering the compliment is. As the only thing the other person will experience is what is being triggered by their ego mind and not the true meaning of it.
This makes it a lot easier to understand the reason why some people can reject a sincere compliment or even take in a negative way. No matter how true the compliment is it won’t be going in; all it will do is bounce off.
What usually forms these associations is an experience or experiences during ones adult years or when one was a child. This one experience or the accumulation of experiences will then define how one responds to compliments. These may have been extremely traumatic or may just have had a strong psychological impact.
Being around friends, colleagues or family that are negative can have a negative effect on one’s self image. It may be due to a one of occurrence or simply an accumulation of small things. And before one knows it, self doubt starts to arise within.
Although before one could accept a compliment; as a result of these experiences or an experience, it become a struggle. And something that is questioned and no longer accepted.
For people who had caregivers that were slightly or extremely abusive, it is likely that they had numerous experiences that would have formed a disempowering self image. Having a caregiver who was slightly critical and judgemental would also have done this.
And it is not even something that needs to be traumatic; just accumulative experiences that seem insignificant can be enough to affect ones idea about who they are. One experience that had a traumatic affect can also lead to problems.
These experiences will have lowered one sense of self worth. Feelings of being unworthy, not good enough or inferior can be consequences.
And now it doesn’t matter what kind of compliments are received, as they are all interpreted in a way that mirrors the dysfunctional perspective that one has of themselves. The other person may be perceived as being manipulative and insincere even when this is far from the truth.
To be able to accept compliments and to know the difference between ones that genuine and ones that are not, one needs to let go of the past associations. Through doing this it will be a lot easier to be present and to respond appropriately to each situation.
For some people it may require processing some deep trauma and for others simply being aware of how they are reacting to compliments; and from here consciously choosing to respond differently.
There is plenty of assistance available; from therapy, books and speaking to someone who one trusts about this challenge. Thereby making the unconscious conscious and from here everything can change.
To see or hear about someone who is being abused in a relationship and yet continues to stay in the relationship is hard to comprehend. Logically it makes no sense whatsoever and sounds completely dysfunctional.
The type of abuse can vary from what may seem to be fairly moderate, to extreme abuse. And no matter what kind of abuse it is, the result is the same – with one staying in a relationship that should have come to an end.
If one is in an abusive relationship and stays regardless of how they are being treated, it clearly shows that something is not right. For one to stay in a relationship that is affecting their wellbeing, it shows that there is conflict within.
On one side it is creating pain and causing them to suffer and on the other side, it is being put up with. And this means that the ego mind has to be looked at in order to understand this strange dynamic.
The Ego Mind
The mind can feel comfortable with anything that is classed as familiar. And whatever is interpreted as familiar is what is perceived as safe to the ego mind. This is not limited to what is functional, it can relate to what is dysfunctional.
It doesn’t judge whether something is right or wrong, good or bad, healthy or unhealthy, or anything else for that matter. It simply creates associations of familiarity around anything that it is exposed to.
Now, these experiences could be described as stress free and positive or they can be experiences that are traumatic and negative. Or it could be a one of experience that is extremely traumatic.
What these will often do is form what the ego mind will interpret as familiar and then what is safe. This process usually goes on unconsciously and out of conscious awareness.
These create what is often classed as normal and how life is. If these associations are functional it won’t be a problem; it will only be a problem if these are dysfunctional. So, unless one questions and changes what is familiar to the mind; one will end up being enslaved to the mind.
And when it comes to people who are in relationships that are abusive and don’t leave; it is a sign that on some level their ego mind has associated the experience as what is familiar and is therefore essential to their survival.
One will then be attracted to people, situations, and environments that are in sync with the associations that the mind has formed. And just like how one can crave certain foods; one can unconsciously crave abusive relationships and all that they bring to one’s life.
Similar to how a drug addict needs drugs or alcoholics need alcohol to feel alive; for the person who attracts and stays in abusive relationships, the dynamic is the same.
Their whole system, mind and body, have been conditioned to seek out and stay in this type of relationship.
And if they were to come across a person who treated them in a way that was functional or even got into a relationship with this person; it probably wouldn’t last long, with the way their ego mind has been programmed.
What Is love?
So to the person who is in an abusive relationship and cannot get out or who continually ends up in them; it is due to their ego mind associating love in a dysfunctional way. Love is a term that is often heard and thrown around in life. However, love can mean one thing for one person and another for someone else.
Love does not have one meaning; it has numerous meanings. And in addition to this, love can mean one thing to the conscious mind and another to the unconscious mind. This is what creates the challenges,
For some it can have positive meanings, these can be: appreciation, respect, kindness and care among others. And for others it can have negative meanings, such as: disrespect, control and being taken advantage off for example.
It is what is going on in the deep recesses of the unconscious mind that is the strongest influence and not what one desires at a conscious level. Often what one wants consciously is often nothing more than a dream or a good idea. What primarily shows up in one’s life is what is going on unconsciously.
In order for one to stay in and attract abusive relationships, it is a clear sign that what is going on unconsciously is dysfunctional and unhealthy. And this is what is creating the conflict that I mentioned above.
One of the biggest factors in defining whether one will end up in an abusive relationship or not - is their childhood. During this time ones meaning of love will be formed. It can also be that one experiences trauma in later life and this can create the vulnerability needed for one to attract and stay in an abusive relationship.
And once this meaning has been formed, it will be what the ego mind will crave and look for in others. But through repression and many years having past since those early years, it can seem as though one is a victim or is simply unlucky.
The kind of caregiver that one had will make a big difference. If one had a caregiver that was generally empathic, the chances of being abused are going to be a lot lower than if one had a caregiver that was unempathic.
While the empathic caregiver is generally attuned and aware of the Childs needs and wants. And the unempathic caregiver is generally unaware and out of tune with the Childs needs and wants. At the extreme, the caregiver is always out of tune and unaware.
And when the caregiver is unempathic, there is not much chance of the child having a good model to internalise. What the child will be left up with is a negative version of love for one thing.
However at such a young age, this meaning won’t be questioned. And this will then become what the ego mind associates as love; with the rest of one’s life spent repeating the same pattern.
In the beginning this involved the caregiver, but as an adult if will involve another human being. This will result in the same emotional experience and as it is unlikely that any other way has been experienced; it will be seen as the truth and how life is.
Another aspect to being in abusive relationships is that through a lack of boundaries and becoming enmeshed to the abuser; ones survival can become associated to being with them. And were one to leave, the feeling of abandonment would likely arise.
This is likely to result from a lack of emotional development as a child, where ones personal power was never allowed to develop. Co-dependency is another word often used for this dynamic. And if one had an unempathic caregiver who ignored ones needs, it is not much of a surprise.
Through having ones needs met, one learns that it is separate from the caregiver. And by the caregiver responding to these needs, a sense of personal power is formed. If the caregiver doesn’t encourage the child to separate, as a result of using the child for their needs; the separation process is going to be hampered.
This means that ones survival will be associated as something that is only possible through depending on others. And then through the caregiver not respecting the Childs personal space, boundaries won’t be able to form.
To break out of these patterns and to do what will lead to functional relationships, one has to change the minds associations. And then the types of people that one attracts will be different and the need to be around people who are abusive will start to diminish.
For some people therapy will be needed and for others reading may be enough. As we are different, it is best to find an approach that works best for oneself.
The popularity of muscle building has grown significantly in recent years. Gym memberships have soared and this is not only for men. Women are just as likely to be a member of a gym as men are. And then there is a whole range of supplements to assist with building muscle for men and this has also expanded into special supplements for women.
And a direct correlation to this has been the rise of females who are also actively seeking to gain a muscular physique. So not only do some men desire to build as much muscle as possible; there are some women who have the same agenda.
The Body Is A Temple
Whether it is looking after ones physical body, mental or emotional sides it is clear that these are all incredible important areas to focus on and look after. And the intention of this article is not to label bodybuilding as right or wrong.
It is to take a deeper look at what may cause both males and females to become obsessed with creating muscle. The fact that so many people are focusing on one part of their health with such intensity, is partly a sign that people are taking care of themselves.
And once one area is focused on and developed, it can always lead to other sides being looked at. Emotional and mental development could then be the next stage or ‘fashion’ to arise. And this would then see a more balanced approach appear.
Just like anything that is around for long enough or is displayed through a certain amount of people; the muscle building obsession has become a normal part of society. And this means that in the majority of cases it becomes accepted and even invisible to people.
As this is the case and the muscle building obsession becomes normal; the reasons as to why this obsession has risen for both men and women are often unanswered. It is then just a part of life and perhaps something to do while one is on this earth.
Two Different Bodies
While men who are obsessed with it are less likely to stand out, women who are obsessed with it are more likely to stand out. Simply because muscles are associated as something men have and to the masculine aspect. And women are not associated with muscles; the feminine is more to with softness and having a figure that carry’s fat.
The driver of human behaviour is often emotions. However, being connected to these emotions or having what is described as emotional intelligence is not normal for everyone. For some, living through impulse or being enslaved to emotions is a part of life.
And this means that as a result of being emotionally disconnected and cut off from the real reasons as to why one does something; one will justify or rationalise why they do something. Or they may not even know why they do what they do.
One of the first reasons that come to my mind - as to why some people are obsessed with gaining muscle - is approval. As ‘everyone’ else seems to be doing it then why not join them. This means that it has become popular and fashionable.
And what is popular or fashionable often has numerous associations attached. This could be what is classed as: attractive, sexy, powerful, likeable and acceptable. And with these kinds of influences, how can people resist.
On the surface this sounds like a reasonable reason and one that is undoubtedly plays a big part in the muscle gaining obsession. And yet if it was simply to do with approval, why bother will all the work that is required to create muscle?
A Deeper Look
Now let’s not deny or even minimise how strong the need for approval can be or the power it can have on a human beings life. I believe that another reason and perhaps one of the primary reasons for the body building obsession is due to a lack of ego boundaries.
These are what allow one to feel safe and protected and this of course applies to both men and women. Having a sense of one’s personal or scared space is what is created through boundaries. Knowing where one begins and ends and where another person begins and ends. And having sense of ‘’I know who I am and who I am not’’.
Here one feels safe to be and express who they are and although this does relate to the body and mind; it comes down to the ego minds associations and not how strong or weak the body is or looks.
So if one doesn’t feel safe or protected to be who they are, as a result of the ego mind associations of themselves, others and the world: then how would one deal with this challenge?
Boundaries could be developed, but as emotional intelligence if often the exception and not the rule, that is an unlikely option. The way to do it would be through armouring the body and muscles allow this to happen.
Here one would have another means of feeling safe and protected. By covering the body with so much muscle it will create a similar experience of having boundaries. Although the body is becoming stronger and protected, the ego minds associations are still going to be there.
So obsessively building muscle could then been seen as compensatory and as a way to emotional regulate oneself. The ability to emotionally regulate oneself is part of having emotional intelligence.
If one feels deep emotional wounds that haven’t been looked at and processed, the fear of these happening again are likely to be around. This could be to do with deep trauma and feeling powerless for example. And having a body that is covered in muscle can create the feeling that one will never be hurt again and will lead to a feeling of control.
This is surely a massive factor as to why so many women have become obsessed with building muscle. Women are often more in tune with their emotions and so this is can be seen as an ideal solution to avoid being hurt again.
As the ego mind works in polarities, if one has not developed strong ego boundaries it will see two possible outcomes. Either one is open and vulnerable to the world, or one is closed and protected.
And if the ego mind sees these as being the only available options, it is not much of a surprise to see which one is generally chosen.
How strong ones need for approval is, how functional ones ego boundaries are and if one can emotionally regulate themselves will largely depend on the quality of early childhood development. As will whether one carries deep trauma or feels powerless and has no control.
The two primary styles of care are classed as empathic care and unempathic care. These are two extremes and it doesn’t meant that one has to receive care that is always empathic to grow up to be functional. Or that one has to receive care that is always unempathic care to grow up dysfunctional. These are just general guidelines.
If one was brought up by a caregiver that was empathic, it is likely that developing ego boundaries; having the ability to emotionally regulate oneself and having a strong sense of self will be formed.
This is a result of the caregiver being aware enough to respect the boundaries of the child, regulating the Childs emotions in most cases and in responding to the child needs to enable a sense of self to be formed.
And then if trauma did occur one is going to feel more at ease with their emotions and feelings as a result of this early regulation and having a caregiver that responds to them will also help.
On the other hand, the above is not as likely to happen then one is brought up by a caregiver that is out of tune and unaware of the Childs needs. The Childs personal space is likely to be routinely crossed and violated. Sensations and emotions can also be ignored and denied; leading to the child creating a dysfunctional relationship to them.
Having a sense of self is not going to be as likely due to the unempathic caregiver ignoring the Childs needs. A consequence of this is feeling of powerlessness, having no control and having no self. The need for approval from others will also be higher, as one won’t have the external experiences of being approved of to internalise. What this can do is create a sense of betrayal and abandonment; resulting in a lot of unacknowledged pain
The above examples are used to create awareness and this can lead to people questioning why they do what they do. In order for one to become obsessed with gaining muscle or anything for that matter - there has to be pain involved.
And if one experienced a childhood that was full of unempathic care or even a traumatic situation that hasn’t been looked at; there is inevitably going to be a lot of pain. This pain could be repressed or openly expressed, but it will need to be channelled or acknowledged in some way.
Through questioning why one does something, one can see if it is the best choice to take and one that will really lead to happiness and fulfilment. Thereby being a conscious human being and not one that is a slave to the past.
Looking after the body is one aspect and looking ones mental and emotional sides is just as important. Especially as it’s often one’s mind that defines what one will do with their body.
Oliver JR Cooper
Teacher, Author, Transformational Writer & Consultant - With Over 2,000,000 Article Views Online.
That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.
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A Dialogue With The Heart - Part Two
A Dialogue With The Spirit
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