Are you a firecracker or a pickle jar? Life is a continuum and you may lie somewhere in between. Firecrackers explode. It can be an unregulated emotional experience. Pickle jars bottle things up, quietly contorting their inner space; wondering if the lid will still fit on.
Emotions are messy things by society’s reckoning. Were they valued in your family? Did you see your dad cry? I did. Or were your expressions of emotion, minimised, disregarded or worse still invalidated? Did you begin the common coping mechanism of cut and divide, severing those parts of you that didn’t fit the parental paradigm?As a kid, did you believe the opinions of the big people in your life?
Kids are born open, loving and trusting. My grandson teaches me everyday about inclusion and acceptance. He is spontaneously loving. But we were all children once … Are you still able to embrace the world this wholeheartedly? I can’t say that I can. When I look at the landscape of my inner world, I wonder when it paled. I’ve become a faded towel that once screamed hippie colours on a summer afternoon. When did I begin to lose touch with myself and begin to believe that others understood my needs better than I did? Why did I continue to give my power away?
Kids blame parents for their hang ups and parents blame their parents! But the fundamental beliefs we hold were coined in childhood. Every person alive has a collection of painful childhood memories that make them feel small, confused or unwanted. Invalidation of a our feelings as children create an internal rifts that that we carry. If we are serious about our healing, we should visit the sepia colours of the past. Take time to investigate the fragments: body sensations, smells, visual recall. Put the picture back together.
Most of us can identify crisis points that led to hurt, commonly centred around themes such as:
- I’m not enough
- I can’t do anything right
- I’m not smart enough
- I don’t fit in
- I can’t say that
It’s much easier to have clarity in circumstances outside ourselves. Blaming our parents for our wounds absolves us to a degree. But maybe our parents carried wounds which turned them into the adults they became. Did they also carry childhood trauma? And have they unwillingly passed their trauma onto us? Psychologists now recognise that emotional trauma can transcend generations resulting in physical and mental health disorders.
Most parents do the best they can with what they know. Whether you express or suppress, emotional healing begins with:
- Identifying childhood hurts
- Sitting with the feelings
- Embracing the vulnerability in that space
- Allowing healing and change
This work requires patience and a gentle loving approach to the part of you that is hurting. It is a deeply personal experience into the unknown because many of us who need to reconnect our fragmented selves have been negligent to ourselves on the emotional level.
Please reach out if you need support: