Recently in a therapy session, I started talking to a client about some depression and anxiety he or she was experiencing. When I started asking about some of his/her background, history, parents, childhood, the push-back I got was ‘I don’t want to talk about it’, ‘it all happened so long ago’, ‘I don’t know what the point is, I’m a survivor and I left it all behind’…
I want YOU to thrive and not just survive I tell my clients. I invited my client to consider another way to look at it.
Painfully familiar, that push-back against a painful shadow, I went back to my own experiences with therapy, avoiding talking about my traumatic past. ‘What’s the use’, I used to argue with my therapists, ‘I am a survivor, I have buried it all, it’s gone…’
But, ‘feelings buried alive never die’, (a book by Karol K. Truman ‘Feelings Buried Alive Never Die’), and most of the time we suppress those memories and the emotions they bring up.
For many of us, setting the goals and intentions of not ‘becoming victims of our past’ and ‘being empowered by our present’, fail to recognize the pains and scars that follow us like shadows.
When we start to recognize our ‘wounded inner child’, we can begin to include him or her, in our experience, and learn to comfort, care, and reassure those wounded parts of us.
Yes, childhood traumas may be decades behind us, and though many of us have survived well, having families, careers, communities, exploring, achieving, and becoming movers and shakers.. still those past wounds will continue to surface.
Recently, I was lucky enough, to come across, and resumed therapy, with a gifted therapist and life coach: Allan Hardman. I went to Chacala, Mexico, where Allan resides in the winter, to study and go deeper on my own journey, finally willing to talk about what I was skillfully avoiding for decades.
“All relationships are based on agreements. The largest percentage of those agreements are usually unconscious and unspoken. In order to create relationships that serve the highest good of individuals and society, I suggest that we must create new agreements that are conscious, spoken, and based on integrity and self love.” ~ Allan Hardman.
It has been a fascinating journey, and a new brave look at myself, my relationships, and the immense force of my old wounds, that my ‘inner children’ did not want to talk about, as they were busy protecting, strategizing, and organizing my life around.
“These five new agreements can break many of the old beliefs and agreements that limit how you love”.
Allan Hardman is an author and expert on personal and spiritual transformation, relationships, emotional healing– and a Toltec Master in the lineage of Don Miguel Ruiz, author of The Four Agreements.™
Allan teaches in Sonoma County, CA, and from “The House of the Eagles,” his winter home in Chacala, Nayarít. He is the author of The Everything Toltec Wisdom Book, and co-author of two books with Deepak Chopra, Caroline Myss, Dr. Andrew Weil, Prince Charles, and others. Allan’s extensive website is at www.joydancer.com.
I’m so grateful to Allan for sharing his knowledge and for this amazing unique opportunity to study and expand my own understanding about love and relationships.
New Agreement #5:
“True happiness is the result of love coming out of you.
Knowing that your nature is Love itself, you discover a happiness that cannot be taken away from you. You are not concerned with how your love is received, because it is your loving, as an expression of your Divine nature, that fills you. Your only desire is to love all of Creation, to see its perfection, and to know and love yourself as a reflection of that perfection. You New Relationship is based on this love. You are free to love without conditions or expectations. You are free.”
My own journey of healing has been deep and painful, but I know there’s a light at the end of the dark tunnel. I know that I need to do this work. (And I for sure live by: ‘physician heal thy self’ .. and NOT ‘do as I say, not as I do…’)
To my client I reassure, ‘I know what you mean’. I don’t push or mandate opening all those wounds.
At times, caught in PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), we may need to wait for the right time to be ready to work through, and own those wounds. The problem can be, that at times, those ‘old wounds’ may shows up as anxiety or depression, and acting out in our relationships. It may masquerade as numbness and boredom, or even over-achieving and success driven, but they do not ‘just go away’, and may continue to affect and hijack our relationships and connections.
For myself I wish I didn’t wait so many decades, but, the time had to be right.
One important part of the work I do with couples, is to help partners start to recognize how some of those old wounds may hijack the relationship at unexpected or predicted time.
Those attachment injuries and ‘raw spots’, can show up in our current relationships as panic, anxiety, anger, rage, or withdrawing.
Thanks to the research and work of Dr. Sue Johnson, we can now recognize how attachment injuries such as abandonment, rejection, betrayal, and not being good enough, can show up over and over and ‘take us out’ and ‘break us down’, in our romantic pair bond relationship.
In my psychotherapy practice, and in our Hold Me Tight® Couples Workshops, we create a SAFE SPACE, where I can help couples unpack and unfolds some of those old traumas, helping them to SHARE (at times for the first time) those emotions, needs, fears, and longings, with their partner.
At our Hold Me Tight® Couples Workshop, in a safe, intimate, private setting, we hold space for couples to become vulnerable and open to explore, experience, touch and talk through issues that have been untouched. It is time set aside to have these conversations that have been waiting for a long time to happen.
“Hold Me Tight®” is a registered trademark to Dr. Sue Johnson, founder and originator of Emotionally Focused Therapy.(EFT).
The focus of EFT (Emotionally Focused Therapy), is to help partners understand more clearly each other’s deepest emotions. Feelings are often hidden, unexpressed or misunderstood. Our relationships can be a cause of stress and pain or a source of comfort and joy. In EFT, we help couples learn how to deal with their feelings together, reach towards each other, and be responsive in more loving and positive ways.
At our Hold Me Tight® Couples Relationship Workshop, you will learn and experience how to:
• Affirm strengths in your relationship by developing understanding, communication, and bonding.
• Address negative cycle patterns, and learn why they show up, and how to get out of them.
• Learn how to repair and forgive injuries, and become vulnerable with each other.
• Enhance your emotional, physical, and sexual closeness, and INTIMACY.
It is my delight to invite Owen Marcus to assist me in the upcoming workshop. It is not easy for guys to come to couples workshops. It is intimidating and uncomfortable. Owen has been leading men retreats and helping men to access the longing they have to connect.