Many of us learned not to feel our feelings while
growing up. And not just in dysfunctional families. We were often subjected to our parents rejecting our feelings by using phrases such as: ‘Don’t feel like that. Cheer up, it may never happen.’
Generally, what this says is: no one is interested in your feelings and they don’t count so you may as well stop feeling them. Added to this, if we were raised in a dysfunctional family, the chances are our foremost feelings would possibly be sadness and anger. These are the two most difficult feelings to manage, and as a result, we learned at a very young age to numb ourselves and not allow our feelings to be present.
As adults, that continues. However, not only do we have the stored feelings from our childhood, we also have accumulated feelings since our childhood. All of these feelings have been numbed and stored deep inside us. Once they begin to emerge, it’s difficult to know which belong to the past and which are applicable to the present day.
It’s easy to become overwhelmed when something triggers old memories. It’s for this reason that we must continue the work of diving back into our memories and healing them. We do this by remodeling the old memories that depict self-shame, and planting a new voice. Think of a memory that you have previously worked on; if you want to work with a memory that you haven’t yet looked at, go easy, because this work can bring up powerful feelings. It may be advisable to work on a new memory with a trusted friend, therapist or fellow Miracle Worker.
STEP 1: Imagine yourself watching TV. You’re sitting in your cozy chair, staring at the screen. It’s blank. Now the scene fades in. It’s your traumatic memory. Watch it replay in front of you. Now make what is known in hypnotherapy speak ‘an anchor’. An anchor is when you press your thumb and index finger together and squeeze. This anchors you to this moment.
STEP 2: Imagine the whole scene as you remember it. Watch the young you trying to deal with the trauma/abuse that’s being fired at you. Look at yourself as that young person carefully. Be aware of your anchor as you watch.
STEP 3: Now release your fingers and walk into the TV screen until you are standing next to you as a young person. Bend down so you are at eye level with yourself. Start talking to your young self and say something that you wished you could have had said to you at that time. This could be something like I’m here for you now or that was abhorrent what just happened to you and it wasn’t your fault. Tell your young self that your reaction to that incident was perfectly normal in this terrible circumstance. It may be that the scene was a case of simple neglect in which case you could say something like it wasn’t fair that you were ignored but I’m here to look after you now. You will never be ignored again. Ever.
STEP 4: Now replay the scene on the TV again with you standing beside your younger self. Watch what happens and continue dialogue by explaining thoroughly what just happened and how this was the adults’ responsibility. Go over the scene again until the younger part of you understands it was inappropriate or abusive or just bad luck that you were a witness to it. You may need to go through the memory many times in order to wash your younger self of the traumatic memories and help him/her to feel safer and trusting that you really are there to look after them.
Ask your younger self if you can stroke him/her. It may be take a few replays of the memory for your younger self to concede to you. Be patient. Your younger self may still hold the shock of what happened (see PTSD) and will need to take baby steps to release the shock.
Practice Soothe Work daily until you begin to feel it at a level that is so deep you can’t name it. This is ongoing work that needs time to embed itself, and for your younger self to trust enough to thaw and begin feeling.
In time we find that we can accept soothing from others.
You may find it helpful to contact another Miracle Worker and ask them for soothing in the form of affirmation or positive feedback on a current situation that has caused you some pain. As our Soothe deficit decreases, we discover the joy of giving soothing to others.
We must ensure we have sated ourselves with plenty of Soothe Work before we begin the next Step. This builds the start of a new foundation in which we can grow. The next Step takes us from the side of the safe harbor and pushes us out into the world. It’s vitally important that we are ready, because we are going to share our story with another person.