Although the title refers to abused children, this article will primarily look at why some adults, who were abused as children, grow up to deny what happened to them.
Individuals that were abused in their childhood by their parents or caregivers often find it hard to look at and admit to what happened.
With what happened all those years ago being repressed to such a degree, that an alternate past is able to be constructed; the past often becomes the complete opposite to what one actually experienced all those years ago.
The Perfect Childhood
Here one may describe their childhood with great fondness. And all memory of the abuse is denied and their parents might even be admired and idolized.
And because this abuse has not been looked at or processed in any way, it will appear in ones relationships, behavioural patterns and in the health of ones bodies for example.
After each year that has passed one will become more and more cut off and estranged from this original abuse. And once this happens, the present difficulties that one experiences will appear to be happening to them as opposed to being a reflection of what happened many years before.
This can then add to the original experience of feeling: anger, rage, powerless and hopeless. The original trauma is appearing once again and the feelings are the same, but as the experience may be different and the ego mind can defend what is going on; it can deny this.
Defence mechanisms are used to protect one from what the ego mind perceives as a threat. And it is clear to see how this applies to the area of childhood abuse.
At such a young age one is vulnerable, powerless and completely dependent on the ones caregivers for survival. For if these defences were not used one is unlikely to have made it through all of those traumatic years alive.
When this abuse is taking place the child is not being listened to or given the love or mirroring that it needs; it is purely being taken advantage of and being invalidated. And as the child is receiving so much negative stimulus it has two choices.
It can either express how it feels or it can hold on what it receives. It is unlikely that the child will feel safe enough to express how it feels, given the type of environment that it is in and therefore has to push down in to the body all that it is feeling and thinking.
The Lie Begins
So not only when the child is being abused does it have to deny, repress and dissociate from the pain to survive, but it also has to deploy these defences when it is around its caregivers.
Because although it has all these conflicting messages going inside and is also beginning to lose conscious awareness of these; on the surface it still has to respond and answer to the caregivers to ensure its own survival.
This is surely where one first loses touch with how they truly feel and what their real needs and wants are. And out of the fear of what their caregivers might do, this truth has to be hidden and will remain unexpressed.
The abuse may even be classed and portrayed as discipline and that the caregivers are only doing it for the benefit of the child. At this age the child does not have the ability to question what is going and as the parents are often viewed as god like figures; there is nothing the child can do. In reality this is just a cover up, which enables the caregivers to express their own repressed childhood pain.
What then arises in the abused child are the feelings of shame and guilt. This association is formed through how the caregivers respond to the child. If it is being abused its actions must be bad and therefore the child feels guilty. And as the child is being punished and not just its actions, it feels shamed to the core.
Time Goes By
From the very beginning the child learned to survive through repression, denial and idealising its caregivers. And unless the Childs grows up to question what has happened it is unlikely that these defence mechanisms will ever be questioned or challenged.
This will not be the easy option, because to question or to look over ones past; there is the potential for extreme pain and trauma to appear again. And without the assistance of a therapist or someone similar, it could cause all kinds of problems should one try to face it alone.
Guilt And Shame
Although what happened all those years ago had nothing to do with the innocent child; through regression one can feel not only the pain of what happened, but also the shame and guilt. This shame and guilt is like the gatekeeper to the past.
These two feelings may not represent the whole experience, but they have to be faced in order to deal with the past. The reason these feelings are so powerful is because they were felt to such an extreme degree during the moments of abuse.
So although one can be an adult, and an adult that has every right to let go and see the past for what is was - impersonal, one has to be aware of dropping into the feelings again to avoid feeling guilty and ashamed for being abused.
This is because these are two feelings that the abused child was made to feel so often and therefore as an adult the ego mind will hold onto these feelings because they are familiar and safe.
Because the caregivers didn’t take responsibility for what was going on for them and used their own children to regulate their own feelings, the child was made to feel responsible.
The child ended up carrying all the feelings that they had denied and repressed in themselves. As they could no longer feel them, it was not possible for them to empathise with their children. And so the abuse was probably generational; with them perpetrating what had been done to them.
When one regresses to the inner child and re-experiences all that has not been processed they will take on the same feelings and behaviours. This will not only cause one to feel great pain, but it will also influence their behaviour. And this child survival still rests on the caregiver’s approval and acceptance.
So as well as feeling the repressed guilt and shame, one will feel that their very foundations and survival still depends on their caregivers. And this inner child only knows who it is in relation to its caregivers, it will hold onto the past because it still sees the past as what is keeping it alive.
Facing the past is not something that one can do over night; it may even take many years. To face it straight away would be too overwhelming for the ego mind to handle.
And what is true is often only revealed to one when they are ready to see it. If it has not been revealed, perhaps one is not ready.
However, as long as one has not looked at this past and processed what happened, they are
destined to repeat it.
There are two types of guilt that an individual can experience; one can be classed as healthy and the other as unhealthy. And like all feelings, there is usually a reason when guilt appears.
Now, the reason for guilt appearing could be functional and beneficial to one’s life or it could be dysfunctional and detrimental to one’s life.
On the dictionary.com website guilt is described as: 1. having committed an offense, crime, violation, or wrong, especially against moral or penal law; justly subject to a certain accusation or penalty; culpable: The jury found her guilty of murder. 2. Characterized by, connected with, or involving guilt: guilty intent. 3. Having or showing a sense of guilt, whether real or imagined: a guilty conscience.
So then, healthy guilt could be described as being a consequence that occurs when one commits an immoral act or behaves in a way that leads to the subjugation of another human being.
Here one feels healthy guilt through empathising and imagining what it would be like if that same thing were to happen to them.
Where as healthy guilt is only felt during moments when one has behaved in a way that has gone against their moral compass; unhealthy guilt is often felt more often. This kind of guilt can last for prolonged periods of time and can be triggered at any moment.
It can be a feeling that one experiences on a regular basis. And all that is required for this feeling to arise is a certain look, words that are spoken or the behaviour of another person. One can also experience this unhealthy guilt as a result of their internal processes; with thoughts, feelings, sensations and emotions being triggered.
As one feels this guilt so often it then becomes difficult to achieve any kind of internal wellbeing or balance. The guilt has become who one is and is then not questioned or challenged. Perhaps this is how it has always been; so why would one question this unhealthy guilt.
So let’s look at a few situations where one could feel this unhealthy guilt.
• One can feel as though they have done something wrong when their reality does not show this to be the case.
• When another person looks upset or down, one can feel that it is their fault.
• There could be a situation where one is given something, but instead of feeling worthy, one feels unworthy.
• One might have achieved a certain goal or overcome a certain challenge and instead of feeling good about it; they end up feeling uncomfortable and unworthy.
Just A label
If we look at guilt from a different perspective and at a deeper level, we can see that something else is going on and that the word unhealthy guilt is just a label that is used for an elaborate inner process.
Ones mental and emotional wellbeing is being severely affected by combination of feelings, thoughts, sensations, emotions and behaviours. These could also be classed as: low self worth, depression, shame, self blame, regret and many others things can be experienced as a consequence.
When one experiences this unhealthy guilt it is either coming from an external trigger or one is triggering it through their own perceptions. This shows that in each case it is coming from within. As for it to be triggered through an external stimulus it has to already exist inside.
And if one is feeling this unhealthy guilt by their own perceptions, it shows that it is again coming from inside.
The Ego Mind
This is where the ego mind comes into the equation. And this is because the ego mind functions from a place of what is familiar and what is familiar is associated as what is safe.
So if we now look at this unhealthy guilt we can see that it exists because on some level there is an association of it being safe and if it is safe is must also be familiar. And what is classed as familiar to the ego mind has usually been experienced many times during ones childhood.
It is here that one will have their first experiences of unhealthy guilt. Even in families that are reasonably functional there is likely to be moments of unhealthy guilt. And in dysfunctional and unaware family’s it will inevitably occur more often.
In the very beginning this will be acted out in many different ways.
• As a child, one may have had their needs and wants denied; with the parent’s wants and needs being more important. So when the child becomes an adult, feelings of unhealthy guilt arise whenever one takes care of their needs or wants.
• Perhaps as a child one was constantly blamed for things that were not their fault and ended up feeling responsible for other people’s problems after this. And then when they see another person experiencing pain or suffering, they feel unhealthy guilt.
• Another example is if the child was told that the caregivers are going without, so that the child can have what it needs. This can make one feel that other people will go without if they get or have what they want; which will lead to feelings of unhealthy guilt.
However, at such a young age one is unlikely to be aware enough to question and reject this unhealthy guilt. As a child, all one can do is to accept and identify with it.
The reason this guilt is being passed onto the children is because the caregivers have repressed it to such a degree within themselves, that they have lost touch of these feelings. It then becomes a lot easier to cause another person to feel unhealthy guilt without feeling healthy guilt oneself.
Although ones caregivers may have been unaware of their own internal processes, one doesn’t have to be the same way. By becoming aware of one’s past and embracing what happened; seeing it as a being impersonal and purely a reflection of what ones caregivers had not acknowledged, one can gradual let go.
Because the ego mind will hold onto these early memories and this is due to its whole identity being based on these experiences. And its identity comes from the past; so it will use every defence mechanism that it can to avoid looking at what happened, but it is in facing the past that one can become free to be who they truly are.
When one looks for a relationship, there are emotional needs that one is looking for another person to fulfil within them. These needs can be conscious and known, and they can be unconscious and unknown.
And some of these needs will be possible for another person to fulfil and meet and some of these needs will not be.
The needs that I am talking about include: validation, acceptance, attention and approval. On the surface these needs can appear to be healthy and functional.
However, the desire to have these needs met shows that they are lacking in some way or do not exist in the individual already. And as we are not perfect human beings and neither are we meant to be; it is normal to have needs.
What is important here is to find out what these needs are; if it is possible for another to fulfil these needs and where they are coming from.
The Power Of Needs
The drive to have these needs met is incredible powerful and when these needs are not met it can lead to all kinds of mental and emotional consequences. In the short term this could cause one to feel frustrated and angry. And in the long term this could result in one feeling disempowered and even depressed.
When these needs are perceived as only being able to be fulfilled through other people, it can create dependence, manipulation and desperation.
If one perceives these needs as only being able to be fulfilled through other people; it is natural for one to feel at the mercy others. And then to either control another or to be controlled can seem to be the only options.
The Ego Mind
One of the things that the ego mind does is project onto the outside world what has not been realised and acknowledged within. And this is what happens when it comes to certain emotional needs.
As we can see, these needs appear to exist externally and in the form of other people. But when one is with other person and feels these needs, it is a process that is going inside. With the other person acting like a catalyst or mirror, that allows one to feel these needs being fulfilled.
What then happens is one’s ego mind begins to associate these needs as only being able to be fulfilled through the other person. And ones wellbeing begins to depend on the other person.
This can lead to two scenarios. If the other person ends the relationship it can lead to feeling rejected, abandoned, betrayed and not wanted any more. Or one can end the relationship oneself and find another person that fulfils the needs in the same way.
And in each of these two scenarios one can feel emotional and mental pain. If one cannot observe their internal processes the same cycle is likely to continue. This can happen without one ever questioning where these needs have come from and if it is possible for another to fulfil them.
As these needs are projected externally by the ego mind and then show up in others, it is not easy to observe what is going on. With the emotions, thoughts, feelings and sensations and the external reality that these create; it can be extremely difficult to detach from what shows up.
One can then feel trapped by circumstances and enslaved to these needs. But if the ego mind has projected these needs externally, why has this happened?
And if one doesn’t accept or approve of oneself for example; is it possible for another to do these things?
Through observing the processes of the mind and body, one can come to question and answer if this is actually possible.
In order to understand why these have been projected externally one needs to look at their history. And one of the biggest blocks and challenges in looking at ones history is the defence mechanism known as - repression.
Here the past situations that were traumatic and therefore unprocessed remain frozen and stuck in the body. One is unlikely to be aware of this occurrence and all of these memories will influence ones behaviour and perceptions.
It is during ones childhood that these needs first appear and at this stage is it not possible for the child to take care of these needs. Here the child will need to be; mirrored, accepted, validated and soothed by the caregiver.
An in an ideal world this needs would be taken care of; so that the child can grow up to be emotionally and mentally functional and well adjusted. However, this is something that doesn’t always happen and then these needs are partly taken care of or they are completely ignored.
After one has experienced the rejection or invalidation of their needs as a child, one is likely to have repressed these needs. Here one will either look outside for their fulfilment or deny them altogether.
Due to this process going on unconsciously one is often unaware that this process is even taking place. And as an adult one can regress to this earlier stage in their life and take on the role of the inner child.
Because even though one is an adult and therefore has different needs to what a child has; if one regresses to the inner child one can perceive another as a being a parent or a caregiver.
And the only way for the child to have any of its needs taken care of was through another person. It was not possible for the child to take care of these needs. So what the trauma of the past does is associate these needs as coming from another person.
One of the things that relationships can assist with is to mirror all that one has not acknowledged and let go off from their past.
And during the stages of a relationship, one can feel that these needs are finally being taken care of. One can be aware of their inner child here or they may not. But what is clear to see is that although another can be a mirror to processing what happened in the past, they cannot give one what didn’t happen in the past.
The needs that one has during a child are inevitably going to be different to the needs that one has as an adult.
The Past Repeats Itself
And whether these have been processed or not, will go a long way to defining what will happen in ones development. One could end up on an endless cycle of going from one relationship to another and unconsciously searching for those neglected childhood needs.
Being The Observer
When one has identified with their ego mind and merged with the inner child, it can create the illusion that one is missing something within and that these missing parts can only be found through another person. What another person can do, is allow one to realise that they already exist within.
These are perceptions that are coming from the past and unless one can observe the past it will be experienced as present day truth. It is through the observing the mind that one can begin to let go of these illusions, projections and regressions of the ego mind.
Parents that are abusive often deny that the abuse has ever taken place. And if it is not denied, then it may even be minimized. Both of these actions can have devastating consequences on the lives of those that were abused.
So here I want to take a closer look at why parents deny or minimize abuse and why adult children of abuse are affected by this denial and minimization.
Denial And Minimization
These are known as defence mechanisms that the ego mind uses. And like any defence mechanism, these are used for protection and stability. The ego minds main purpose is to be safe; it does not care if something is accurate or inaccurate or whether it is functional or dysfunctional.
So anything that the ego mind perceives as a threat to its own sense of safety and internal equilibrium will be dealt with via a defence mechanism. The saying ‘The truth hurts’ comes to mind here and one of the reasons for this is that the ego mind does not run on what is true it only cares about what is familiar and therefore safe.
However, although we all have an ego mind, we are not the mind itself; we are the observers of the mind. And it is the level of awareness that one has, that will define if it is possible to be aware of when these defence mechanism are being utilized.
And when one has minimal to no awareness; the ego mind becomes like a parasite. Here the ego mind can completely take over and what is actually going on will become very difficult for one to see and therefore to take responsibility for. It is then possible for the past to completely forgotten; at least consciously and a kind amnesia can occur.
Why Do These Exist?
In order for the abusive parents to use these defence mechanism, there must have been something that happened earlier in order for them to need them. Because through there use, they are protecting themselves from something.
I have come to believe that the reason abuse is carried out in the first place is to regulate what was going on internally for the abusive parent. For example; the parents felt angry, frustrated, hopeless or powerless and as a way to deal with those painful feelings, the parent behaves in a certain way toward the child as a means to regulating this inner conflict.
And so for the abusive parent to admit to what happened they would have to get back in touch with the feelings, thoughts, sensations and emotions that occurred in the first place. This is likely to be an extremely painful experience and therefore the defence mechanisms hold the experience at bay.
Is There More To it?
It would be easy to say that this is all there is to it. However, where did the anger, frustration, hopelessness or powerlessness for example, begin in the first place? And the reason I say this is because abuse is typically something that is a regular occurrence and is not something that might happen once in a while.
Were all human and can all experience the above emotions from time to time, but parents that are abusive, experience this on a regular basis. And in order to carry out this abusive behaviour, these emotions are clearly occur without the
awareness to change them.
From One Generation To The Other
The abusive behaviour of adults usually starts in their childhood and abusive parents are no different in this respect. The Internal processes that the abusive parents are trying to regulate through their children, in the form of abuse; is a consequence of how they were made to feel by their parents.
And as a result of not becoming aware of this trauma and processing what happened all those years ago, there will naturally be a lot of defence mechanisms in place for their own protection. These are likely to be defence mechanisms that were first formed while they were being abused and had to be implemented for their own survival.
The Truth Hurts
So not only would the abusive parents have to re-experience the feelings that they felt during the abuse of the child; they would also have to experience the original unprocessed trauma that happened to them as a vulnerable and innocent child.
Whether these feelings could be classed as being different is debatable, as they are coming from the same place. They may have grown physically since those times, but emotionally and mentally there may not be much of a difference.
And as I have mentioned above about amnesia occurring; at first these defences would have been experienced in a certain way and over the years they would have just got stronger and stronger; until they took over completely. So here one forgets that they have forgotten and then it doesn’t matter what is going on externally or what evidence is available. The ego mind only sees what it wants to see and will filter out anything that opposes its views.
So Why Does It Matter?
When the child has grown into an adult and no longer needs their abusive parents to survive it would seem strange that there would still be any tension or that they would still be affected. Logically this may make no sense whatsoever.
And the reason for this is that although one may have grown physically; their emotional development will have been inhibited through what happened. On one side there is the abuse which will cause problems for the child when it grows up and on the other side there is the invalidation of what happened.
Within ones subconscious mind and in the cells of their body these memories have become trapped and will continue to recreate the same feelings, thoughts, emotions and sensation until hey have been looked at and processed. The reason for this is due to the repression that happened and nothing ever changes by repressing it; it only becomes stronger and more dysfunctional.
The inner child resides in the stomach area and when these past memories have not been looked at, one is at the risk of regressing to this inner child. And with a history of abuse that has not been looked at; it is unlikely that this inner child going to be in a good way.
Here the inner child will be attached to the abusive parents out of the need to survive. And will then need the approval, acceptance, validation and attention of the abusive parents to survive. So the very things that the inner child needs from the abusive parents is something that was never given by them in the beginning and will never be given from them in the end.
What this shows is the importance of awareness in ending the cycle of abuse. It is clear that gaining validation and acknowledgment from abusive parents is more or less impossible.
And although the inner child needs this from the parents, it is not something that one truly needs. The inner child can be validated and acknowledged through the help of a therapist, trusted friend, support group or healer for example.
This is because one is the observer of all these aspects and is therefore not limited or trapped by them. To fight and resist what happened will only create struggle and further enslavement to them. Through observing these aspects one can gradually let go of the past.
In the world of psychology and self realisation there are two terms that are often mentioned. And these are known as the true self and the false self. One usually comes to understand what is true about oneself, as a consequence of becoming aware of what is not true. By seeing the contrast or space between these two options; it becomes possible for one to gain a clearer perspective.
Where Do I Begin?
This sounds like a fairly simple approach, but what if one has no idea of what there false self is? And what if one has no awareness of oneself? And perhaps there is just a sense of something not being right in one’s life.
I have come to see that there are general patterns that are in operation here and that by becoming aware of these common patterns, it is then possible to pinpoint what is true and what is not true about who one is.
And as with most things in life, this is a process and doesn’t happen overnight, but with perseverance and patience amazing things can happen.
Something Is Not Right
Although the feeling that something is not right can be sensed, it might not even be as specific and as clear as that. There could be a feeling that life is just happening and that there is a disconnection between what is happening and what one would like to happen.
This is if one is aware of their feelings and in tune with their needs and wants. Here one could just feel emotionally numb and even experience moments of depression.
This is an experience that one can have at any time of their life. And perhaps this is what has created occurrences like the ‘mid life crises’ in our society.
It would be easy to assume that someone with a false self is neither confident nor empowered; this is not always the case. The false self can come across in two ways. Someone with a false self can come across as confident and empowered; just as easily as they can come across as unconfident as disempowered.
The individual that is the high achiever and highly confident may appear to be the antithesis of the low achiever and may seem to be extremely different, but this could be a cover up. And the only reason that this behaviour exists is to defend against facing what is actually going on within.
Their sense of self seems to be very strong and can come across as though they know who they are.
Other people are likely to admire and validate these people. With society often giving them all types of awards and accolades for what they have achieved.
Here we can come across an individual that is not empowered or confident in their abilities. And when it comes to their behaviour they can be perceived as the followers of the world and not the leaders.
Their sense of self appears to be nonexistent and that they have very little idea about who they are or what they want from life.
And unlike the high achiever; this person is unlikely to receive anything like what the high achiever does in terms of approval and validation. In comparison, this person may feel ignored and insignificant.
On the surface the low achiever has nowhere near the kind of joy and admiration that the higher achiever gets. We have all seen the pop star or the film star that can at one moment appear to have it all and in the next moment they are checking into rehab or some kind of clinic.
So what we see within each of these extremes is that one has become cut off and alienated from what it is that would make them happy and fulfilled. Their real feelings, wants and needs are being largely ignored. And how appearances can be deceiving and that the face that one shows to the world is not always accurate in how one feels inside.
It is clear that one of these sides gets significant approval and acknowledgment from others and the other option does not. One can have a whole personality; way of behaving and relationships that don’t express who one truly is on the inside.
The Invisible Prison
What is it that stops one from looking inside, and getting in touch with what they want and need to feel connected to themselves? I believe that this is because of the invisible prison that ego the mind creates.
The ego mind main priority is to be safe and that usually means keeping everything the same. It is through this familiarity that it feels safe. And what is perceived as familiar and safe, is usually created during ones childhood.
If one has not looked at what happened in those younger years and has no awareness; it is highly likely that one will regress to those stages in their present life. And in these situations ones survival would have been based on gaining the approval and acceptance of ones caregivers.
It is here that one’s own feelings, needs and wants can become repressed and lost. One of the reasons for this is that one’s own caregivers had been out of touch with their own inner needs and this was probably because their caregivers were the same. So the caregivers end up being emotionally underdeveloped and use their child as a way to fulfil their own needs. The child then has to ignore these needs to take care of the caregivers needs. By doing this the child receives acceptance and approval and ensures its own survival.
So where as the low achiever may have been used to fulfil the caregiver’s needs in a way that was directly related, the high achiever may have taken care of the needs that were indirectly connected. By this I mean that the child gained the acceptance and approval of the caregiver by fulfilling their needs in a different manner.
Perhaps the Childs high achievement covered up the family’s feelings of not having achieved enough, and then used their child to improve and cover up their own dysfunctional image.
The Adult Child
And once these associations have been formed, it then becomes natural for the child to grow up doing what gains the most approval and acceptance of other people; all at the expense of their own forgotten wants and needs.One may even feel guilty and ashamed if they were to follow their own needs.
Of course the present situations may have very little to do with one’s own survival, but unless one has the awareness to see that there is a difference, one will regress and perceive the present as if it is the past.
In each of these scenarios we can see that one’s own development was affected through ones caregivers not accepting them for who they are. And at the root of it all, this is likely to be consequence of their dysfunctional childhood. This has probably been passed on from one generation to another.
What one can do is come to accept oneself and get back in touch with these repressed wants and needs. This is possible through awareness and by realising that one is not the mind. And these memories of the past have to be looked at and processed.
In today’s world the primary focus is on the intelligence and knowledge of the ego mind; the heart is often ignored and dismissed. It’s only in the recent years that it has been considered by the mainstream as anything other than just an organ.
So here I will give my current opinion on why the heart has been largely ignored in the today’s world.
From the moment one is born, one is taught to listen to the advice and recommendations of other people. And at such a young age this is important in the development and maturation of a child. If this external support was not there a child would not last very long.
And after these formative years of being informed by others about the do’s and don’ts of life, one will then go onto experience the same from teachers, peers and from many societal influences.
What this naturally creates is a tendency to look outside for what one should be doing and what one shouldn’t be doing. If this is what one has been brought up to do and has not been taught to do anything else; why would one do anything else?
Point Of Focus
Through the conditioning that had started from the time of birth and that has gone onto ones present life; there will be the tendency for ones attention to become fixed in the mind.
And perhaps this is because we are not taught that we are not our mind and that we are the observer’s of our mind. So it is only natural that we have come to identify with our mind.
During these early experiences the ego mind comes to form ideas about what is safe and what is not safe. And through this external feedback; one is likely to feel safe through looking outside of oneself.
Why Is This?
What will go a long way to defining whether one feels safe to look inside or not, will depend upon the types of experiences that they had as a child and in there proceeding life experiences.
For example: if one only felt accepted or approved of when they did what their caregivers asked of them, then this will naturally create associations of fear around doing what one wants.
And if their feelings or emotional expressions were denied or dismissed, this will also go a long way to cutting them off from their heart.
As well as being conditioned to only feel accepted by pleasing others; there is also trauma that one is likely to have experienced to some degree or another. For some people this might have consisted of numerous extreme experiences and for others this may have been the odd unpleasant experience.
Regardless of this, we all human so it is investable that we have felt pain and have been hurt at some point in our lives
Frozen In Time
And what will make all the difference here is awareness or the lack of it. If one has not looked at these past experiences or has not processed this original trauma; their unconscious mind will have become trapped in these old patterns and ways of perceiving life. And this means that their conscious mind will constantly be drawn to these unconscious memoires.
It will not be possible for one to see life through fresh eyes or to experience the different parts of there being. The original trauma and fear will keep ones attention stuck in survival mode.
Ones awareness will be drawn into the body and the ego mind. There will be very little awareness of one’s heart or that one can be aware of their whole being and not be trapped to any one part or expression.
The Traumatized Heart
What this trauma will also do is make it extremely hard for ones awareness to connect to the hearts intelligence. Not only will this unprocessed pain be lying dormant in the body, it will also reside in the heart itself.
The traumatic experiences that one has had with their caregivers and in later life will be felt here. These can be felt as: rejection, abandonment and emptiness for example. And as anyone who has experienced these things during life will know; the heart often closes up and retracts as a result of these experiences.
It does this to protect itself and during this time ones awareness is brought to the ego mind and the ego minds main priority is to keep one safe. So again we can see the focus comes back to survival again. And one can no longer operate from every aspect of their being.
The Ego Mind
This trauma then makes it hard for one to tune into their hearts intelligence and knowing. And when one identifies with the ego mind, there will be the likelihood of regressing to the inner child.
And all the ego mind knows is the past and what is known, it cannot operate from the new and the unknown as the heart can. The ego mind can only regurgitate what has already been done; creativity does not begin in the mind. We can see that the mind sees the world though duality and has important abilities to offer, that include; organising and planning.
It has its uses of course, but to completely live from the ego mind will leave one enslaved to it. And ones whole attention will be focused on the external world.
However, the nature of the heart is completely different experience. The energy field of the heart has recently been found to be exponentially larger than that of the mind. This might be news in mainstream; but it has surely been known for many years on some level to people who are in tune with their heart, that there is a massive difference.
There is an inner peace that exists in the heart space. It does not see the duality or the separation that the ego mind does. Ones inner calling can be found here and although inspiration is often required, it is not relied upon. Inspiration works as a catalyst; so that what already exists within can be expressed.
There is something that is known as self sabotage and what this actually means may not be clear to many people. So let’s look at what the word sabotage means first.
On the dictionary.com website sabotage is described as: any underhand interference with production, work, etc., in a plant, factory, etc., as by enemy agents during wartime or by employees during a trade dispute. And as - any undermining of a cause.
What is clear to see is that sabotage means to undermine; so therefore self sabotage means to undermine oneself. This might sound nonsensical; why would one undermine their own life or their own success?
In biology there is something called an autoimmune disease or reaction. And here the immune system, through having incorrect information, attacks its own cells. So then, not only can this go on at a mental or behavioural level for example, it can also happen at a biological level.
Is there a connection here? Is the mind and body connected or have they just happened to end up playing the same game?
This shows that Self sabotage is not limited to a single expression of one’s life; it can also be seen as operating in many different areas. What is also clear to see is that there is opposing factors involved and that as a result of these differing factors one is in conflict. And not only is there conflict with the outside world, there is conflict in the inner world.
On one side one might have the desire to attract the perfect mate and then as soon as this person comes along, something happens and out of the nowhere the relationship ends. Or maybe it doesn’t even go as far as that. Perhaps one says they want to achieve something, but don’t even bother to ‘show up’ or participate in the area of their pursuit.
There may be a certain point or peak that one is aiming for and just as this point is going to be achieved something happens and this moment is taken away from their grasp. And what makes this so frustrating is that this is often a constant occurrence.
How Could This Happen?
So although there is self sabotage working it might seem as though this is all going on externally and that one is at the whim of external factors. Consciously why would one ask for something and then end up behaving in ways that would sabotage the very thing they have asked for?
And this is where the importance of the ego mind comes in. Consciously there are needs and wants that one has. However these might not match up with or correspond what one feels safe with at a deeper level.
This deeper level could be classed as the unconscious or what one is simply unaware off.
And unless these two areas are in sync and with what one is going for, there is likely to be conflict and this creates the potential for self sabotage. This is where awareness comes into it. If one is not aware of the two aspects and just experiences the sabotage in their life; it is only natural to feel unlucky and that life is not on ones side.
The Hidden Parts
The parts that are in opposition to what one wants and needs on the surface are usually unknown to the person that is experiencing self sabotage; with the ego mind repressing these memories due to the pain that they initially created.
And although these past memories could be causing one to act in ways that diminish their chances of achieving what it is they want, to the ego mind they are familiar and therefore safe. The ego mind does not respond to what is functional or dysfunctional, it simple responds to what is familiar.
So if one is sabotaging an area of their life or keeps returning to an experience that one wants to evolve out of, it is probably because there is an association of being safe with that experience. This is also known as a secondary gain. What this means is that on the surface there appears to be no benefits whatsoever, but if one were to look a little deeper they would see there are benefits.
In order to do this one needs to observe the mind. Because the ego mind will always come up with an excuse and it can always defend its own position.
At the root this will be to do with feeling safe and from there it is likely to include feeling accepted and approved. And if one were too evolve and let go, it might cause one to feel that they would be rejected. And this rejection is often experienced as being equivalent to death.
These associations might have very little to do with ones current life and might be seen as inaccurate. And in ones present situation this is probably true; although the ego mind will project the past onto the present unless it has been processed. This means the past will be perceived and created through old eyes.
If one is seeing the present through the eyes of the past it shows that regression is occurring. Here one is likely to feel and behave as they did in a previous situation or how they did as a child. And these experiences now exist as the inner child.
Although one has grown physically, the inner child may be holding onto these old associations; with these old associations also coming together to form the ego mind.
Whether one calls it the inner child or prefers to just see it purely as the ego mind and conditioning does not matter; what is important is awareness. By becoming aware of these hidden and repressed parts one can begin to see why the conflict exists.
In the past there may have been good reasons to hold onto these experiences that are now causing present pain and stagnation; but now these associations and memories are no longer necessary and have become disempowering.
And unless one is aware of these patterns there will be the tendency to embody the experience again and regress to what is safe.
This is not about blaming or scolding oneself. In each moment of our lives we are doing what we are doing, because of the awareness that we have in that moment.
And our awareness can always increase and with that our life can change into what empowers us and honours our true expression.
A common relationship problem in today’s world and one that has been around for many years is control. The form that this behaviour takes may have changed over the ages, but the results are still the same.
What is also clear to see is that both men and women can be controlling. However, here we will primarily look at the dynamics of controlling men. And when it is appropriate or needed, I will look at the role that women are playing in all of this.
Because for one side to play out there needs to be the opposite side available. By this I mean that in order for control to be to be possible; there needs to be someone who is willing to be controlled.
How Does This Look?
This behaviour can be displayed in various ways, from the most subtle to the most extreme. Controlling men are often described as: jealous, possessive, domineering, manipulative and violent; to name but a few examples.
Here, a woman could feel emotionally upset and compromised on one side of the spectrum. To being physically hurt and mentally and emotionally abused at the other side of the scale.
Although this behaviour is dysfunctional and destructive; it will often be justified. This means that this behaviour will be described as being an expression of love, care or protection for example. And anything that the woman says that opposes this view will be denied and dismissed.
So this means that the man’s true motives will remain unknown to the women; they might even be unknown to the man. It will all depend on how aware he is.
Another consequence of this is that the women may feel invalidated and start to question, doubt and deny her inner senses.
The act of justifying, denying and dismissing are all defence mechanisms the ego mind uses; with their sole purpose being protection. So in order to understand what causes a man to be controlling to a woman; we have to go a little deeper.
We have to look through these defence mechanism to understand what could be going on underneath them.
The act of control is simply being used as a form of protection. So although it may seem as though this behaviour is coming from a place of power and strength, it is actually coming from a place of fear and disempowerment.
And the reason these behaviours are being utilized is to avoid and compensate for this inner conflict and disharmony.
Through the use of these behaviours the man is able to emotionally regulate himself from the outside in. And if he were to drop the control; it is highly likely that repressed emotions, feelings, sensation and thoughts would come to the surface to be processed.
What this external control produces is the illusion of having inner control. This is why it has to be a constant process, because as soon as the external control stops so does the internal control.
Where And How Did This Begin?
So if these defence mechanism and behaviours are simply being used by the ego mind for protection/safety and for emotional regulation; what might have happened in the first place?
Firstly we can see that in order for this behaviour to be carried out, ones ego mind is not being monitored and is therefore in control; because if one was aware one would change this behaviour. And secondly in order for one to protect oneself, there must have been a situation in their history where it was necessary to do so.
After all, at its core this behaviour is only being deployed by the ego mind in order to feel safe.
So what might have happened in a man’s history to cause him to feel the need to protect himself? And how did this trauma originally occur?
I believe that in order to understand what is causing this behaviour, what needs to be looked at is the original model a man usually has of a women – the mother figure. Even though these experiences might be many years old, they still exist within the man.
The question is: have these experiences been looked at or have they been repressed? The relationship that a man has with his mother is incredibly important. It is one that will define how he perceives women.
The Inner Child
The child that the man once was still exists within the man. And this is often described as the inner child. Both men and women can merge and become this inner child without having the awareness that they are doing so. From this place of being the inner child, one can perceive the world through these old eyes.
And by regressing to the inner child women can be perceived as both mother and father figures and men can just as easily be perceived as mother and father figures. Other words for this are - projection or transference.
It is highly unlikely that these experiences with the mother figure were perfect and that doesn’t mean that the child had to be abused in order for this to be so. We are all human and are not here to be perfect. However, during these early years there might have been situations where the child wasn’t properly nurtured and they may have been situations that were abusive.
These situations can lead to the childs needs being denied and ignored. With the Childs emotional and physical needs not being adequately met. Here the child could have been rejected, abandoned or neglected and had no way of regulating the emotions that were created during this time.
This could be due to a number of reasons. Maybe the mother was unable to regulate the child emotions, because the mother was unable to regulate her own. So she was there physically, but emotionally absent. Or perhaps the mother couldn’t regulate her own emotions and left the child completely.
At such a young age the child does not have the ability for emotional regulation and learns about this through the primary mother/caregiver. So if the primary figure has very little emotional intelligence, it is highly unlikely the child will gain any either.
Frozen In Time
This can lead to the Childs internal processes not being validated or mirrored. And what occurred during those younger years could have stayed there and now exists within the inner child. So now whenever a situation arises with a woman that is similar to the original trauma; the past is triggered and the man regresses to the inner child.
And as has been described above; unless this past has been processed it will re-appear in the form of reactive or unconscious behaviour.
Although this could result in the man being the perpetrator and controlling the women to avoid re-experiencing the trauma that happened all those years ago; it can just as easily take on the form of the man creating a situation where he is the victim.
Which will of course put him straight back into the role that he was forced to embody all those years ago. This will depend on numerous factors.
Advice For Women
So what can a woman do who is in a relationship with a controlling man or who wants to avoid a controlling man? I would say that it is important to become aware of oneself. To observe the inner child and to have the assistance of a therapist/healer or someone that can assist with the processing of the past.
On some level there must be an association of safety around being with a controlling man. However, because this is out of conscious awareness, it will seem to just happen and one can feel like a victim or powerless. This is the result of conflict within and is still a choice. Perhaps ones inner child is still playing out the same childhood patterns.
The child could have been controlled or abandoned and so now one puts up with the control because of two reasons. One – the inner child was brought up to associate intimacy or love as being control; so the inner child feels safe being with a controlling person. Two – and as a result of this perceives there being only two options – being controlled or being alone.
As one comes to appreciate and value who they are, they will not put up with relationships or situations that limit who they are and their true expression.
Oliver JR Cooper
Author, Transformational Writer, Teacher & 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.