A difficult childhood can shape our lives and personalities
We all perceive things differently. If we perceived that we were hurt or misunderstood or humiliated in some way, then such an experience can trigger our ego and subconscious to need to protect ourselves. As we grow up we may do whatever it takes to never be hurt again. Or, if we are hurt by someone, to lash out and make sure that person gets hurt right back.
What does self protection look like?
There is an endless list of ways we protect ourselves when we are coming from fear. Anger, shutting down, depression (turning anger inwards), being inflexible so there is no chance to ever feel out of control and exposed, fear of intimacy, lack of self worth (so we never reach our full potential and can blame our parents for that), addictions, holding on to grudges, always having to be right. The list goes on…..people who need to self protect are vulnerable and when we are vulnerable we do whatever it takes to not feel it.
My experience of self protection
I became anorexic which for most part, was an illness in which I tried to have some control over my life because my parents were extremely controlling. I needed to protect myself (see: A letter to parents of an anorexic child}. It was an illness where my voice was my body, and it showed a clear picture of despair. However, I recovered and carried on with life. But still through a lens of needing to keep a safeguard around myself. So instead of having anorexia, amongst many things I was angry, rigid and had a desperate need to always be right .
Not content with being like this (I never felt I was truly enjoying this so called ‘wonderful’ life experience) I found myself heading in a personal development/spiritual direction. This brought an awareness of understanding that one of the things I needed to do was forgive my parents. This seemed very unreasonable, given that I felt I was emotionally abused as a child. However, with the help of Psych-K I made sure that my subconscious was positive to this being the right way forward. In doing this, Psych-K also addressed any other negativity held in my subconscious relating to how I saw my childhood. It turned the negativity and any resistance to change into positive beliefs. This then made it much easier for me to consciously start looking at things from my parents perspective. I learnt to appreciate that they were coming from love and they showed it in the only way they knew how. I realised that they couldn’t have given me what I needed because they didn’t have the knowledge or tools to act any differently. For whatever their reasons, they were stuck.
Once I had done this my mind quite reasonably thought great that’s that ticked off the personal development list. I had a much better relationship with them and I was feeling a bit better about myself. But I was only on the outskirts of the forgiveness journey. Unconsciously I had started a journey on becoming more congruent with my soul and it wasn’t going to stop there.
I went back to London to visit my parents and found myself rummaging around my old room. This in itself was unusual as I hadn’t had any interest in doing this for about 20 years. I went through old photos, school books, letters, and then I came across a diary from when I was 9 yrs old. As I opened it I thought it would be filled with darkness and negativity because that was my recollection of my childhood. But something happened while I read it….. A grief poured over me and I cried my heart out.
The diary was filled with sweetness …nothing but sweetness. I saw in every page a child who saw the world with amazing gentleness, positivity, warmth and kindness. My tears were my grieving for the person I had once been. A person I had completely forgotten. I cried and mourned for having lost what was once a wonderful open heart. I had let go of her and replaced her with someone who feared life. I never realised till then that the negative thoughts and feelings I had lived with for so long were so opposite to my true nature.
So it had taken me so many years to get here, but in that one moment I reclaimed that sweet girl. It felt extremely vulnerable doing this because what I was actually doing was dismantling a world which I felt protected me and instead letting my heart open again and be exposed.
How did forgiving myself change life
Real forgiveness gives freedom. Freedom to love myself unconditionally so I can now love others unconditionally. Because I know that if someone or something hurts me I may be upset in the moment but I will never again allow myself to become someone I don’t want to be. I no longer judge anyone and compassion comes easily to me because I have also been someone who has come from darkness and fear.
There is no doubt in my mind that the happiness and lightness I feel now is because one of the things I was meant to learn in this lifetime was forgiveness. I appreciate my parents for the part they played in this. They gave me the opportunity to learn this lesson and I am beyond grateful for that. Yes it hurt on a human level but on a soul level it was perfect. And it took a diary to break me …… and I have gratitude for that too!