Compassion For Ourselves and Others Can Grow From the Pain of Our Childhood

4244896858_85b07caa7d_z“Often, our misunderstandings about love are born in disruptive family relationships, where someone was either one-up or one-down to an extreme. There is an appropriate and necessary difference in the balance of power between parents and young children, but in the best situations, there should be no power struggles by the time those children have become adults – just deep connection, trust, and respect between people who sincerely care about each other.

In disruptive families, children are taught to remain one-up or one-down into adulthood. And this produces immature adults who either seek to dominate others (one-up) or who allow themselves to be dominated (one-down) in their relationships – one powerful and one needy, one enabling and one addicted, one decisive and one confused. In relationships with these people, manipulation abounds. Especially when they start to feel out of control.”     ― Tim Clinton

The Red Book of Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACA) lists three ways we learn to disassociate from painful feelings. We learn to use: (1) rationalizing, (2) using substances. and (3) creating negative excitement such as phobias, obsessions, etc. These force the body to produce physical armor–adrenaline, endorphins, melatonin–to stay imprisoned in a narrow but familiar range of behavior.

So because I grew up in a home controlled by alcoholism, I learned emotionally how to create my own little cage that I lived in for over 60 years. I’m lucky. I learned how to come out of the cage and really be free. I meet others along my journey who have learned this complete release of the ties that bound us up inside ourselves. And they write about their journey in a way I can completely identify.

From laurieworks: “Just Keep Following (The Heartlines on Your Hands)“:

“I have struggled with anxiety for years. It came to the forefront when I stopped drinking, but it was there beforehand. I just had no awareness of it. When I stopped drinking, I got to see my anxiety front and center. I’ve had the chance to observe it the past almost 3 years. And as I do I realize it’s plagued me since I was a small child. I grew up in an atmosphere where I was only allowed to do things if they followed “the family rules” which were inconsistent and hard to determine. As a result I developed a ridiculously sensitive conscience and what I think is the origin of my anxiety.”

“Doing things in a self-empowered, heart-centered way is extremely foreign to me. Beginning last year in May/June, I started switching to this mode of life. It’s the reason I stopped going to 12 step recovery, stopped my love addiction recovery, started my yoga teacher training. I selected this teacher training mainly due to the empowerment aspect of it. I’m not seeking another person to tell me what to do. I’m seeking an empowered life.”

“It’s not easy. Because it requires finding the “still point in the turning world” (as e.e. cummings says) and rising out of the dark of that silence to quietly pursue what my heart prompts of me.”

“I have a different view of the heart, also. There’s millions of life coaches on the internet right now preaching following your desires, finding work you love, that kind of thing. While this has its merit, I think it can get a little skewed. Because in many ways I think you first have to reveal the heart. Which is another reason I took up Yoga. Yoga is all about learning to reveal the heart that lies beneath.”

“So yes, follow your bliss. But first – clear the mirror so you know what your bliss IS. That’s the message for me. Follow the bliss, from the True Self and the true heart center. Easy? Not necessarily.”

Photo credit.

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