Our wounds, patterns and beliefs start to make sense, once we see our backstory.
Wounds are the result of the beliefs we make and fix, for the most part before the age of seven.
During those early years, we haven’t got a lot of experience of life. We haven’t developed sophisticated methods of questioning and reasoning. We live in a very small world, you could say, a bubble. And the adults we spend most of our time with, our parents (if we haven’t got parents, our significant care-givers) are our priority cues. We watch and learn, we have to work out who we are, where we fit, who other people are and where they fit and what the world around us is all about. And we have to learn fast because our survival, physically and emotionally, depends on it.
We don’t have complex mental or emotional skills at that age, so our reactions are instant. We create beliefs very quickly and then, since beliefs are absolute, they are fixed and we live by them. We use them as our immediate go-to, in order to protect ourselves in new situations. We have little flexibility and in our brains, the neurons hardwire those early beliefs for life. They are not a part of our conscious thought, they are too deep for that, so we don’t even notice the way our beliefs dictate our life.
What beliefs might we learn before the age of seven? Since, in our little minds, everything is about us, all the patterns and wounds our significant adults, our parents, carry and display are personal. They are about us. So, if we are not acknowledged, not seen or heard, not valued or validated, we create beliefs that we are not good enough, not worthy. Not loved or lovable. If our parents are absent, either physically or emotionally, we believe that we are on our own, that people leave us, that we are not lovable or good enough. If we are put down or criticised, we are never good enough. We give up our self to be what they need us to be in an attempt to find approval, but we never find it because they were never able to give it. We become a pleaser. If a parent is controlling and dominating, we become dependent, accepting that they make all the decisions, dictate who we are and what happens in our lives. If a parent is needy, emotionally or physically, we believe we have to solve their problems, carry their burdens. And so it goes on.
Those beliefs remain with us and certain situations trigger them for us again and again, and we probably won’t realise it. When they are triggered, we fall into old patterns. The patterns are our behaviours, thoughts, emotions belonging to the belief of the little child who first created that belief. Triggers may be when someone rejects us or leaves us, when we fail at something, when we are criticised, when we become ill, when others seem needy, when we enter a new relationship. It can be anything that threatens the belief we carry from our younger years. And we don’t carry one belief, we carry many, so it gets complicated.
Our wounds are the traumas that we experienced that caused us to create a belief that was meant to help us survive. When we were put down, when we felt unseen. When we felt unloved, when we were not enough to keep a parent around, maybe our parents separated, maybe a parent was away working. Any situation that diminished our sense of self up to the age of seven when we didn’t have the skills and sophistication to understand that sometimes, things are not about us and we don’t have to own them.
So, there we are, all of us, carrying within us wounds and beliefs that still, to this day, create patterns and behaviours when they get triggered. And that keeps us hostage to a past that, not only is not relevant now, it never was. It was never about us, it was never true, these were the limited understandings of a little child with a limited view of themselves, the world and everybody else.
But, if we think about our story as we were growing up in those early years, if we think about our parents or other key care-givers, we can see how that happened. If we know our parents’ backstory, we can see where they were coming from, if we know our grandparents, backstory, we can see the lineage of wounds that have been handed down. As long as we know their early story and relationship with their parents, we can see it in our friends, we can see it in our partner, we can even see it in our own children.
There is no shame and no blame here, everyone was subject to a process they could do nothing about. But there may come a time when we are grown up and notice all this. We see the patterns and understand the backstory, so we begin to work out the beliefs we carry and the wounds and traumas that created them, when we were little children before the age of seven.
That is when we can heal. We heal, not only for ourselves but for our children because they are still seeing how we respond to the world, ourselves and others. They are still learning from us, always. Our parents may never see or know about this in themselves, not consciously, but we are able to end the ancestral patterns when they couldn’t.
I have found, in my healing, that when I notice a pattern and a wound is triggered, that is the time to do some healing. Perhaps, something someone says hurts me, perhaps it has triggered a ‘not good enough’ wound. What happens then is I can engage with that hurt and go through all the feelings and thoughts of not being good enough, of blaming the other person, of feeling hurt, maybe becoming distressed, feeling lonely and depressed. I may shut myself away. I may over-eat the wrong kind of foods. I may get involved in an emotional and escalating exchange with my friend. The thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations and behaviours then feed themselves and things can go downhill quickly. Maybe I notice that this is a pattern that comes up for me from time to time. So, this time, I’m going to choose to do it differently. Instead of engaging, I’m going to say to myself, “ah, this is a pattern, I’ve been triggered.” Then, I will find a quiet space and take 20 minutes to go through a healing. That’s all it takes to connect with the inner child who created that initial belief and those patterns. I listen to that child, validate that child, love and really see and hear that child, heal that child and reintegrate that child within my heart space, all in 20 minutes – and we are done. And from then on, that particular belief and those specific patterns will not trigger me.
So far, I have healed about twenty plus inner children and I have about the same number again of wounded inner children to find, heal and integrate. But I have come a long way, so many patterns have stopped being triggered and it feels like freedom from bonds that have held me prisoner for all those years. We all have a different number of wounded inner children, we all have more or less healing work to do, but it’s a life-changer and once you see the difference, and how instant the change is, you will see how beautiful your life was always meant to be.
Go here for a free inner child healing tool. This is the one that I use because I like working with Jen Peters, but there are more similar therapists and tools to be found online.
[This is an old photo of me and my niece, Chloe Elgar
Chloe writes about her own ancestral patterns and trauma in her new book, ‘Revealed By Darkness: a psychic memoir’ available from her website. Her book is a catalyst for our own healing as she leads us through her experiences and supports us in looking deeper into our selves.]