We do not seem to be able to let go, we struggle with trust and the ability to love, forgive ourselves and others.
So what has happened???
In our early months and years of being, we received wonderful gazes of love from our parents, and those who surrounded us.
Mirror neurons were formed which provided the physiological foundation for love of self and intimacy. They allowed us to grow into an adult capable of intimate, close, tender relationships with ourselves and others.
Along our journey, each stage of our development, these crucial images became distorted by whatever ways we did not feel loved and accepted.
These distortions are at the root of those patterns of sin to which we become so vulnerable and believe as true; we carry them with us throughout our life.
When we were born, we were handed multiple lenses; genetic influences, inheritance, gender, specific culture beliefs, and family environment:
The history of the family over generations reveals recurrent motifs.
When genetic predispositions play their role, which they always do, it is clear that families transmit their vision of life from generation to generation.
The lens passes from parent to child and that fixed perspective, choices and consequences are repeated.
The first step towards making the Middle Passage into the second half of life is to recognize that the lens we received generated a conditional life, which represents not who we are, but how we were conditioned to see ourselves; see life and make choices.
We defend our vision of the world as superior to that of others.
We believe that the way we have been brought up and what we have experienced about ourselves is truth, correct and the right way to see things. We seldom question this view or challenge it.
There in no perfection and just as we are not perfect neither were mommy and daddy nor all the others that surrounded us then and are in our lives today.
We were connected to the heartbeat of the cosmos in our mother’s womb.
Suddenly we were thrust violently into the world to begin an exile and a search of the lost connectedness.
Our inner child; I call our organic memory; and our various developed neurosis (early coping mechanism,) represent strategies evolved unconsciously to defend and protect that child. (YOU------ME)
The child attempts to read it’s environment and the parent/child relationship.
Even in the most privileged of childhoods, life may be experienced as traumatic.
The child interprets his/her experience in three ways:
- The child interprets the tactile or touches as well as emotional bonding, or lack thereof as a statement about life in general. Is it predictable and nurturing, or is it uncertain, painful and inconsistent? This primal perception then shapes our capacity to trust.
The child internalizes specific behaviors of the parents as a statement about self. Since the child rarely can make sense of his/her experience or perceive the inner reality of the parent: the parent’s depression, anger, or anxiety; AND HOW IT IS EXPRESSED;
This will be interpreted by the child, was interpreted by YOU AND ME) as a factual statement about that child. The belief then is “I AM HOW I AM VIEWED) or I AM HOW I AM TREATED.
The child does not have the tools to say, “My parent has a problem, which has an effect on me.” The child can only conclude that life is anxious and the world unsafe.
James Hollis world renowned Jungian Analyst, tells a story about a patient of his.
“Bob age 37 asked his dying father: Why were we never close?
The father launched into a tirade, “Do you NOT remember when you were ten and you dropped your toy in the toilet and I had to work for hours to get it out?” The father continued on and on----- mentioning trivial events with blame!! Bob walked out of the hospital a free man. He had always thought of himself as unworthy of his father’s love; his father freed him for a new self-image by revealing his craziness. Again there is no criticism just a new capacity to see things as they are, (were). WITHOUT THE GLASSES ON.
The child observes the behaviors of the adult’s struggles with life and internalizes not only those behaviors but the attitudes towards the self and the world.
The child draws large conclusions about how to deal with the world.
The conclusions about one’s self and the world are based on the very limited experience of the parents and their upbringing / and their learned response to particular issues.
In early childhood, a growing split develops between our inherent nature and our socialized self. “OUR TRUE SELF AND OUR PERSONA’S THAT WE DEVELOPED TO FEEL LOVED AND FIT IN.”
So let us broadly generalize the nature of childhood wounding into two basic categories’: 1) the experience of neglect or abandonment. And 2) the experience of being overwhelmed by life.
There is an astonishing range of strategies that a child assembles by age five all for the purpose of self-preservation. This is called the provisional personality: the series of strategies chosen by the fragile child to manage the angst that it is living amidst.
While external forces such a war, poverty or personal handicap play a large role in the child’s perception of the self and world; the primary influence on our lives comes from the character of the parent-child relationship.
So out of the wounding of childhood, the adult personality is less a series of choices and more of a reflexive response to the early childhood experiences and trauma of the early lived life.
We can identify these childhood experiences in our adult contemporary life by the CHARGED FEELING RESPONSE. We might label these childhood internalized experiences as “Complexes” The stuff that comes up again and again and that we react to in our life. THEY ARE CHARGED WITH ENERGY AND FEEL REAL.
WE BELIEVE THEM REAL
These that appear to be stumbling blocks along our spiritual journey are in fact building blocks.
Complexes are always more or less unconscious; they are charged with intensity =====energy.
Although usually activated by something in the now---event in the present, -----the unconscious psyche operates with a sense or feeling that: “Perhaps I have been here before.” The stimulus in the moment may only be similar to something that happened in the past, but if the situation is emotionally, unconsciously, even vaguely familiar, then the response from the past, ORIGINAL WOUND is triggered.
The greater the intensity of the initial childhood experience or the longer it was reiterated, the more power the complex has in ones adult life.
There are few, of us, who do not have an emotionally charged response around issues such as sex, money, and authority because they usually are associated with important experiences in the past.
Of all of the complexes, our experiences of our parents are the most potent and influence us the most.
These are generally the two most important people that we have ever encountered.
So we all live out, unconsciously, reflexes assembled from the past.
This is the inner journey the work in the first half of life moving into the second.
We must find meaning in that which we are already living.