Recently I have been considering my role in relationships. Granted, our role changes within each individual ‘relationship’ we have. Indeed, within each we can play out so many aspects of ‘ourselves’.
What do I mean by ‘ourselves’?
In shamanic terms when we have known trauma of any extent a ‘part’ of our soul ‘leaves’ and goes
to somewhere it feels safe. Until a time when we feel safe enough to reclaim it.
However, in most cases we do not ‘deal with’ and resolve the trauma. Most times we ‘just carry on’. Peter Levine and his profound Somatic Experiencing speaks of how the wild animal when experiencing trauma stops, shakes then gets up and carries on. Trauma resolved. Humans? Nope, we tend to freeze and…..carry on. Cognitive processes taking over. ‘Stuff upper lip, worse things happen to others, I got off lightly….’ justification, justification. This finds the trauma stays locked in the body. Parts leave.
Parts of ourselves get wounded. These wounds are not dressed, loved and checked nope generally just bound so tight they forget how to breathe and express themselves. They get locked away and with any luck we ‘loose’ the key.
What happens here?
We get lost. We shut down vital parts of ourselves and as a result these ‘wounded parts’ have other parts of ourselves come forward to work very hard to ensure us as humans feel safe, loved, wanted and get our needs met. Our wounds seep and turn septic oozing and projecting into our lives, our relationships. Or constipate us so much in our emotions we forget how to have fun, emote healthily and fully LIVE.
We become the victim, the perpetrator, the mother, lover, father, protector, warrior, princes and princesses etc etc these become the aspects that operate on our lives. All have value and gifts. All have a shadow aspect (look at Caroline Myss work for more information on these).
I know myself that I have operated often (and still do) with some very strong archetypes running the show my strongest ones:
Victim (makes me feel people care, I’m wanted and loved, someone will look after me)
Perpetrator (manipulator to get my way so I feel safe as I am in control)
Bitch (protects me when I feel unsafe or afraid)
Healer (the one that wants to ‘help’, give advise/fix)
Wounded child – many of us ‘healers/therapists etc hold this. We know what it is to be hurt, lost, alone so we seek to help others feel better so we can feel better in ourselves. It’s our ‘role’ to look after, be good and ‘save or fix’. Crikey, complex isn’t it.
Maybe we didn’t bond as a child, we were abandoned, betrayed, abused, a sibling was born and we suddenly felt rejected and not good enough, we were injured you get my drift? There are so many possibilities.
As we seek to save/fix others we may go on a deep journey of self healing, self reclamation and become aware of which wounded parts of ourselves are playing out. I know myself, I have undertaken this. I still mess up, yep, I hold my hands up to this yet I am open to learning.
The danger is we stay stuck in that role, and others. We become dependent on this for making us feel good. Looking out for the next wounded being that crosses our path. The next incident we can ‘act out in’. Yet, we don’t realise we are ‘acting out’ as it is so second nature.
Sound familiar? Always ready to help, don’t know how to say no? Put others before yourself care and needs? Struggle to actually be with yourself and your feelings? Addicted to phones, substances, shopping, sex to avoid feeling?
I know I’ve been playing these out all my life. Still so. Yet, less so.
As humans in the 21st century we can get most things we desire pretty quick. We go on line click a button and boom it lands the next day, we take a pill and it makes the pain go…..but then another pain appears so we take another pill. Do not get me wrong conventual medicine is a miracle, it is genius and saves lives. Yet, do we reach for the pill a little ‘too quick’?
For example – Say we begin to feel something and it hurts and as we haven’t felt much or this particular ‘pain’ we think we are depressed and having a break down and reach for the pills. ( I know I have been in both of these places more than once).
However, learning to be fully human, fully present in life. Doesn’t happen at the press of a button. Some may get there , I salute you. I also, question: are totally present to life and all its faults or do you wear some coloured shades, avoid the news and to use a popular term ‘spiritually bypass’ reality?
Myself? I have found I’ve had to learn about myself. I’ve had to really sit with myself and believe me that ain’t been pretty. It’s been messy, snotty, rageful, tantrums, wanting to shoot myself in the head (thought that too messy) and it’s meant I’ve had to sit with every part of me screaming at me in all different ways, with different voices and wanting different things from me and life. No where to run, no where to hide, not wanting to be in it but unable to escape it.
You know what? I got through it, each time. Each time it becomes a little easier because I learn more about my’selves’ I learn to listen to which part is playing out and wanting attention and I listen. Not always, admittedly I still get it ‘wrong’ then wonder why things are not flowing.
For example some years ago a ‘part’ of me I hadn’t realised had been really wanting some tender mothering and had been looking and projecting onto someone that offered this. They loved me deeply, cared for me and I felt so safe. Then they went. Oh my golly…my life imploded I hadn’t realised just how codependent I was on them totally looking to another to ‘fix me’ as I was busy running around ‘ fixing others’.
Where is the congruence? Yes, you may well ask. I do know this….you don’t know until you know. I’ll repeat
You don’t know until you know.
This meant I can be compassionate to myself for this. I can take responsibility’ for this part of myself, these parts and take ownership of my part in that relationship. Remember, each relationship has two parts so the other was also ‘Playing a role….
What might happen if we stayed with the seam as it began to become undone (I don’t mean till there is no sense of return and that there is a real need for medical intervention) but we we became curious about the feelings, what was happening. To begin to watch the threads. See where they led?
We were put on this planet to feel. So many of us shy away from this. It is “too painful, I don’t know how, it will never end, I can’t, I don’t want to, it is a weakness”…….
Yet, here we are…running away, numbing out. Can we learn to be gentler with ourselves. To be FULLY with ‘ourselves’. Learn to identify which part is playing out? Learn to lean into ourselves. To reclaim ourselves?
As I lay in bed this morning before going to the gym I was really aware of parts of myself that were wanting attention. My 4 year old, my 7 year old, my 16 year old and my adult self who is longing for intimacy with another. What did I do? I one by one then all together invited them to become present, gave them space and welcomed them into the day. With the words:
You are loved
You are wanted
You are safe
You are special to me
And you are welcome here…..”
I invite you through the discomfort to begin an exploration….. who knows it might lead to something wondrous…I know it has for me..
With all grace, here is to an embodied full and authentic life….coming home to self…..Sarah