How to Heal Emotional Wounds
One of my clients, who I will call Sam, grew up in a physically and emotionally violent home. He came to me because of severe anxiety attacks.
Sam described himself as a lonely and isolated child, emotionally homeless, living in a war zone bound by fear and a total sense of helplessness. He grew up to see the world as unsafe and to experience people as hurtful and untrustworthy.
Being painfully shy and extremely vulnerable, he found it difficult to express himself. He shared with me that the few intimate partners he had had were men who were neglectful or abusive. It was clear to me, and later to him, that he was repeating his childhood relationship with his father, a drug addict who had violent fits of anger.
Sam saw his mom being beaten on a regular basis. He and his two sisters were terrified of their father. They would be beaten over any behavior that was interpreted as disobedience. Most of the abuse seemed to come out of nowhere. and the children lived in constant fear, unable to predict their father’s next attack.
Sam shared with me a memory of hiding in the closet for a whole night, fearing for his life because his father had threatened to kill him. He then snuck out and ran away from home to his uncle’s house, seeking shelter for a few days.
Sam admitted to me that over the years, he’d become increasingly more desperate and hopeless about finding a love partner. It took a little while to help him see that he was living in the world of his childhood and re-creating it, imprisoned by fear and lack of self-worth. He needed to discover that his current view of life was not the only possible one.
At some point, he made the important distinction between his current perspective and other possibilities available to him. He no longer identified his experience as the “truth about life,” and he was willing to shift his perspective.
We explored his childhood experiences and the interpretation, beliefs, and behaviors that had sprung out of these experiences. The exploration was cognitive and then experiential, physical and expressive. All the Gates were involved in his process of reexperiencing and realigning.
Feelings, memories, and belief are energetic experiences. In order to reshape them, we need to go beyond just understanding them intellectually. We need to move into the center of the heart, unlock the door, be moved, express, release, and confront, thereby shifting the energy patterns.
We need to discover and re-create. When we uncover our emotions, we unlock a powerful force that helps us break the hold of the old inner maps and loosen the grip of their negative beliefs and behaviors.
Sam resisted the process in the beginning. He was understandably afraid to relive the pain of his childhood. Slowly, one step at a time, with the help of his Expanded Self, he found the courage to dive deeper. Every time he allowed himself to experience a part of his past, he was able to release some of the grief and feel freer and more forgiving toward himself and his father.
He learned to acknowledge and respect his emotional needs and gained skills of self-parenting. His inner dialogue shifted to being constructive and loving. At present, he is enjoying the company of some new friends and is enjoying a loyal and fulfilling relationship with a life partner. In the process of Sam’s healing, as in all realigning processes, the soul seeks to recognize its essence and source.
We long to know who we truly are, beyond the obvious manifestation of our body and mind. We are cut from the same cloth as Universal Consciousness. We are one with it. Our Expanded Self has the ability to directly experience this oneness.