While the whole world was in panic about the coronavirus, I wrote an article to show how the current Covid19 pandemic was used for global mind control, and that many of the measures implemented to fight the pandemic such as strict confinement and lock down were mostly counterproductive. We can be so easily manipulated when we act out of fear. It is just a matter of time that the truth will eventually come out. I am glad that many people are starting to see through the mass of disinformation and propaganda and that some of my views are becoming more mainstream.
As people wake-up, they are first in shock and feel powerless. However, many have asked me what they could do. This is a hopeful phase as we are now looking for solutions to wake-up from the nightmare of our reality. I would like to inspire people to take back their power into their own hands and stop relying on outside forces to take them away from our misery. There is so much we can actually do. It takes work, dedication and intelligence but it can be done. We are so much more powerful than we could ever imagine. It is just a matter of remembering who we truly are. This process of personal liberation is similar to emancipating ourselves from our own family structure. We actually elect governments that are the most similar to the collective experience of our primary caregivers. Generally speaking, the French have very caring, protective but controlling mothers so this is why we have a government with many social benefits but also that dictates every aspect of our lives. Confinement in France has been one of the strictest with the majority of the stores closed and requiring written authorization for leaving the house. In the USA, children are made to be independent and fend for themselves at an early age. It is a country of pioneers and self-made men & women. Despite the fact that the USA has the most fatality in the world, they will reopen business way before France. People in the USA want to be back to business and find again their independence, similar to their childhood experience. In order to leave our birth family to develop as a fully functional autonomous adult, we need to be able to see and accept the flaws of our parents, develop healthy boundaries with them and then dedicate tremendous energy towards creating a life that match our personal aspirations. We may continue to give back and engage or not with the birth family structure depending on how we feel about them. When we are a child, we are completely powerless to our parents. We need to rely on them for about everything. However, once we become adults, we have the power and the ability to change some of the negative programming that came from our upbringing. The same logic can be applied to society as a whole. It is not easy but definitely possible. We do not have to stay the victim of a dysfunctional society. We do not have to engage with its aspects that feel toxic, harmful and counterproductive. There is always a choice. Here is a roadmap for our emancipation.
Disillusionment, the first step towards autonomy
While there is so much to be appreciative in our society, there is also so much to be profoundly disappointed with. Over 70% of people understand the political system is rigged. This is just a puppet show to give people the illusion of democracy while real decisions are made behind closed doors by a few unknown to the public. While healthcare has considerably advanced and is doing miracles every day especially as regards life accidents, it is mostly ineffective or even harmful in the treatment of chronic, psychosomatic and mental health diseases. For a large part, the media should be really renamed propaganda as it is used for mind control rather than encouraging people to think for themselves by sharing actual facts. Our educational system makes our children learn many concepts and knowledge that will be mostly irrelevant to their future life, and some of the most important topics such as financial intelligence, parenting, the development of empathy, intimate relationships, personal development, the protection of the environment are simply not covered at all. From my own personal experience, the justice system should be renamed the injustice system as money and political connections are far more important than truth and justice in the court system. The mission of the police is to enforce the will of the state before protecting its citizens. The world’s richest 20 people have the same wealth as the bottom half 4 billion people on the planet. Two billion people live on less than $1 a day while we have spent over 2.4 trillion dollars on the useless Iraq war that was started on the false pretense of weapons of mass destruction. I am stopping here because I could go on forever. At the end, we have the institutions we deserve as a collective. As an ordinary human being, it is easy to feel powerless when confronted with society problems as a whole. We feel too small to make any impact so we comply and become enablers of the dysfunctions that revolted us in the first place.
What not to do!
There are other reasons other than a virus to force people into strict confinement. Before we can get people into abandoning their fundamental freedoms, accepting to be vaccinated, believing blindly the mainstream narratives, reporting on neighbors for not following the most ludicrous rules, we need to lower their vibration. The consumption of alcohol has skyrocketed since the lock down, people are watching TV significantly more, eating more unhealthy food, exercising less, and are limited to virtual social contact. They are losing their contact with nature which is so critical to bring them back to balance. The most toxic influence is however by far the news that people watch many hours every day. It amplifies people’s fears and paranoia so that people would accept any solution later proposed by the media such as a high-tech vaccine. Human psychology has proven that if the same lies are repeated over and over again, people will accept them as truth through the power of repetition. Actually, the bigger the lie, the better it works! Humanity is currently at a crossroad. We either get deeper into the matrix or we awaken. There will be nothing in the middle. While the first option of dependency takes no effort, significant effort and awareness are required to succeed our escape. We need to become like the salmon swimming upstream the rivers to develop autonomy. “You should wear a mask” is a metaphor to abandoning willingly the first amendment, basically our freedom of speech as our voice is now made inaudible by a mask. All leisure activities (beach, mountains, sports) have come brutally to a stop as there are the privilege of the free. Look no further, you are under house arrest.
There is hope however because we live in quantic universe!
“As above, so below” is an aphorism from advanced spiritual teachings. It tells us that we are all connected, that the drop in the ocean can affect the whole ocean. In chaos theory, the Butterfly Effect teaches us that a butterfly flapping its wings in New Mexico can cause a hurricane in China. It may take a very long time, but the connection is real. The reality is that we do not need to change the world, we just need to change ourselves and strive for happiness. And paradoxically, this is in essence the fastest way to change the world. Epictetus, the philosopher that founded stoicism, realized that there are things we control, and things we don’t control. In order to become happy, we should focus on the things we control, and accept the rest as it happens. We cannot change what already is, but we can choose what to do with the given circumstances. There were times in my life where the whole world was mostly doing good, but I faced personal hardships such as divorce, parental alienation or health issues. There were other times when the whole world was depressed such as now however everything in my life would feel great with a beautiful intimate relationship, a fulfilling career and business success. Which experience do you think I preferred? We have the power of creating our own reality independently of the collective reality of the world. I would like to inspire all of us to focus on the aspects in our life where we feel we have some level of control. This may be very little at first, but the more we educate ourselves, train our will and learn from our life experiences, the more positive impact we will have in our life and with the people around us. I have walked this path and it works! Everything I am about to share with you comes from my own life experience. One of my meditation teachers used to tell me “you cannot win the game but you can exit the game”. In the same way, we cannot fix the matrix but we can escape it. I am now going to give you simple (but not necessarily easy) steps to get there. The key is to develop autonomy within ourselves as all forms of control are built upon dependency.
Health is the foundation of our existence. If we don’t have our health, we don’t have anything so it is critical we invest time and energy every day to take care of our physical body, which is the temple of our soul. The easiest way to take control back of our life is by training our body. What we do with our body is tangible and it is harder to make up stories. You either work out or you don’t. You eat healthy or you don’t. You take time to rest or you don’t. There is limited space for ambiguity or subjective interpretation for anything related to our physical body.
Physical strength exercises
Physical exercises not only reinforce our immune system but they improve our emotional state, boost our self-esteem and personal motivation. We don’t need to go to the gym, pay any membership, get a personal trainer, take any food supplements, drive anywhere to practice an easy-to-follow and powerful exercise program. We can become incredibly strong by following exercises that only use the weight of our own body. This is the principle of calisthenics. I recommend to any beginner on the topic to read “Convict Conditioning” by Paul Wade who developed a program to achieve superhuman strength. If Paul was able to do it within the confines of most guarded penitentiaries in the USA then we can do it too from the confines of our home. This exercise program is completely free. You just pay with your own efforts. Chris Heria is a calisthenics YouTube star who offers many valuable exercises too. An intense 20 minutes a day, 5 days a week program is all you need.
Breathing exercises and cold training
The Wim Hof method is known to boost our immune system, increase our energy level and help us reach peak states of performance.
A plant based diet decreases inflammation in the body. Limiting food intake to one meal a day will save you time, money while increasing your energy level and helping you reach your ideal weight. Performing your physical exercises at the end of your daily fast will increase your internal production of growth hormones tenfold, making you feel younger with more vitality. Fasting can do you more good than any medication treatment as this is the natural way to detoxify the body. Drink water that you purify using an advanced filter and natural juices. Eat a large variety food that is alive, and lots of fruits and vegetables. You will also save money this way.
Thousands of people are able to live on this planet without any intake of solid food. We call them breatharians. The best documentary on the topic is “In the beginning, there was light”. While it sounds impossible, I have changed my opinion on the subject after doing 22 days drinking only water under the supervision of a breatharian who had not eaten for 7 years.
As extraordinary as it may seem, it appears that the human body has the capability to increase its frequency to perform at very high level with only air, water and a dedicated spiritual practice. This is one of the highest levels of autonomy to achieve. I will soon write a blog about it as this is a fascinating topic.
Change your mind, change your life
The self-improvement and personal development fields have millions of books to help you upgrade your thinking to improve your life. Here are some examples of the current mainstream powerless thoughts that keep people to lower levels of existence and what could be the empowered form of these thoughts
“There is a dangerous virus out there that strikes randomly and could kill me and my family. We are at war against an invisible enemy.” to “Viruses are our friends. They create conditions to boost my immune system to catalyze my healing. As long as I have a strong immune system, no virus can affect my health negatively”
“I rely on my doctor and my medication when I get sick” to “I am responsible for my own health. Unless there is an emergency, I avoid all medication as I understand that good healthy food is the best medicine. I commit to body awareness to become my own personal doctor”
“I feel empty and worthless without my job” to “I don’t need a job. I can create my own job by creating a business that best leverages my talents, ability and creativity”
“The state, my government and the experts know better what is good for me. I just need to follow their instructions and everything will be all right” to “No one cares more about my personal well-being than myself. I make my own decisions after carefully listening to many viewpoints because I understand I will be the one bearing the consequences for my actions not the people with their good opinions”
“I know there is something wrong but it is better I shut up as I could get hurt by the people in power, or at the very least criticized and judged by my family and friends.” to “I need to speak out and act when something is wrong otherwise I am an enabler and a passive participant to society’s dysfunctions”
Taking control of our mind includes taking full responsibility for our life and dismiss all narratives that support powerlessness. What we believe have enormous impact on our life. We have everything within ourselves and we are powerful creators. Similar to the body, the mind is a good servant but a poor master. Let’s use it to our advantage.
The quality of my life is first the quality of my relationships
I have a Russian friend who was born in Argentina. After the military coup in Argentina, the authorities started looking for him as he voiced his opposition to this brutal regime. He managed to stay alive as some of his friends risked their lives by hiding him until he was able to emigrate to the United States. Through that experience, he learned that relationships and the kindness of others were much more important than money. Actually, considering our current national debt and 12 years of quantitative easing, hyperinflation seems more and more likely. In this situation, similar to what happened to Germany in the 1930s, paper money would become worthless, and relationships & communities would become the only way to meet our basic needs. Helping others is critical for self-love. The most people we help, the more goodwill we get even if the acts of kindness may not come from the same people we have helped. It builds positive karma. The reverse is also true, as we are all connected in this quantic universe. We are the drops of the ocean which are the ocean too. What goes around comes around.
When I enter a relationship, I start by giving hoping to inspire the other person for some reciprocity. If it is not there, I do not insist and keep searching for more fulfilling and reciprocal relationships. We want to create relationships that are heart-centered rather than transactional. We do not create expectations that put the other person in a box. Once we have autonomy, we would rather be alone than being with toxic people. Actually, from this space, we can attract many amazing relationships as we are not dependent upon relationship for our core happiness. External loving relationships are simply the effortless reflection of our own self-love.
Emotional alignment is critical to our physical well-being. From my experience, most diseases have an emotional component. This is why it is so critical to embrace and express consciously all of our emotions, especially the negative ones. Free flowing emotions are critical to a strong immune system. This is why children generally don’t have chronic diseases.
The politics of confinement and social distancing have been extremely damaging to people’s mental health. It has increased even further the isolation that was already so rampant in our disconnected society. I am convinced that social distancing is creating more damage than benefits. I predict a massive climb in depressions, suicides, PTSD and stress-related diseases. As we face together this difficult crisis, we need more social closeness, not social distancing! Of course, the more disconnected we are from one another, the easier it is to control us. So the policy of social distancing may have a political agenda. Touch is important to us. We need to shake hands, to hug and kiss to show our affection to each other. This is an important part of being human. And I will continue to show these external signs of warmth and tenderness to anyone who is comfortable with it.
Autonomy with money
Lower your spending
When I lived in Silicon Valley, I used to make a lot of money but spent even more! I was fully in the rat race working 6 days a week, on average 11 hours a day, never having enough time for my family, friends and personal hobbies. Actually, there is a lot of places in the world where we can live on very little money. The key in developing financial autonomy is first to reduce our spending. A lot of fun and fulfilling activities do not require any money. We can cut the expenses on many things that are not good for us (expensive meat dishes, liquors, cigarettes, video games, gambling, porn, …). Some of the best things in life are mostly free: being in nature, quality time with friends or a lover (hopefully!), physical exercises, listening to music, meditation and introspection, or watching interesting videos. If you have the financial means, it is fine to spend money on the things that you love but make sure they are good for you too. If you are able to lower your spending, you will have less financial stress in your life and it will be easier to survive the most difficult financial crises.
Financial dependency doesn’t feel good
Many leaders such as Pope Francis are now talking to implement a universal basic wage. While this is a lovely idea to help people through hard times, it has some important negative repercussions. Personal freedom comes from autonomy, but control comes with dependency. If you rely on the state for survival whether it is through a universal basic wage or disability, then you are not going to take the risk to challenge the mainstream narrative. The state owns you as it gives you money to survive. Additionally, it feels horrible for our self-esteem to rely on the state. It makes us feel incompetent, useless and a burden to society. Being an employee is better. However an employee will feel restricted in his freedom of speech. An employee will be too afraid to be judged by colleagues and management so employees will follow the mainstream narratives to ensure job security. Instead, we need to learn to make our own money through entrepreneurship if we are truly committed to autonomy. Except for some rare professions, the working class has gotten poorer and poorer over the last 30 years. The median salary in France which is considered a rich and developed country is 1800 euros/month or less than $2,000/month. Considering the cost of living in France, it means the average French household needs to keep a very tight budget to make ends meet. Over the last 30 years, salaries for the most part have increased marginally in developed countries while the cost of living has increased drastically. Being an employee is becoming less and less attractive every year.
Becoming an entrepreneur is difficult. It requires creativity, hard-work, perseverance and excellent interpersonal skills. However, it is well worth it. It is a great feeling to own a business, we grow tremendously through this process and there is a great sense of accomplishment that comes with it. This is one of the best way to unleash our full potential and to do something really satisfying. As an entrepreneur, we focus on creating value on the market instead of pleasing a subjective boss. When we own a business, there is no more need to compartment our personal and professional lives. Both can now be integrated so that we can stay the same authentic person whether we are at home or at the office. There are so many ways of becoming an entrepreneur and I believe in taking a step-by-step low-risk approach. Using my personal experience of building 5 companies from the ground up, I have helped many entrepreneurs over the years to succeed and avoid the most common pitfalls. Once the shutdown is over, it is going to be very important to help all the small businesses that are now on the verge of bankruptcy because of the imposed confinement. Rather than buying through mega corporations, it is critical we buy from local businesses even if it is going to be a bit more expensive. The local restaurants, hotels, AirBnBs, the farmers’ markets, coffee shops, local banks and credit unions, retail shops, therapists or anyone offering personal service are going to need our help. We need to make the commitment to help small businesses. By doing so, we are helping the 99% to strive. This financial autonomy will help people reclaim their power and not give up on their freedom of speech. Let’s spend money on the people we know when possible or at the very least on our extended community. It is time to go small and buy from people we can have a personal relationship with. We need to make every effort that our money goes back to hard-working families instead of pension funds that own large corporations that in turn control politicians who control us.
Only invest in things you can control!
I stopped investing in the stock market many years ago. It is nothing else than a gigantic casino where our hard earned money can disappear overnight without any control. In 2000, I started playing with stocks. I used about $20,000 of savings to speculate during the dot.com euphoria. I got my portfolio to over $100,000 until it all crashed and I was left with only $1,000 or 1% of my peak value! In the USA, we need to set-up our own retirement fund called a 401(k) or an IRA. They automatically make you invest in the stock market. There are ways to avoid investing in the stock market. You can request to keep your 401(k) contributions to a money market account, and then roll it out into a self-directed IRA. You can then buy real estate, gold, land, company shares or make promissory notes with your self-directed account. All of this is tax free. When there is a will, there is a way. Real estate offers a much higher level of control than an investment in the stock market will ever give us. We can live in our real estate, choose the location, remodel it to our taste, rent it long-term or short-term with AirBnB, adjust prices to increase occupancy, hire or fire property managers and cleaning personnel. It also offers protection against inflation, many tax benefits and potentially some cash-flow for retirement. We may also invest in a small business where we have an operational role, or make a loan that has some guaranteed collateral. From my perspective, jewelry or art are a better investment than stocks because you can at least enjoy them even if you may not make a profit. Also, when you invest in the stock market, you are likely to benefit the 1% not the 99%.
The dollar is king as it is used for most trading exchanges in the world, and its value is based on the subjective belief in the US government’s promises, in the stability of the US government, monetary supply and its military power. This is why a dollar collapse is not out of the question. The euro is the second most common currency far behind the dollar. Nations have been printing an enormous quantity of money since 2008 and the current crisis is making things worse. Most nations carry vast unsustainable debt. This combination is making hyper-inflation more and more likely in the years to come. Over the century, gold has been used as a collateral for currencies. Actually, the USA followed the Gold Standard until 1971. As a rule of thumb, gold is a good protection against inflation. Over the past several years, many cryptocurrencies have emerged. They offer advantage over traditional currencies such as privacy and limited inventory like gold. They are however highly speculative and the powers in place could easily shut them down if they feel threatened by them. The most famous cryptocurrency is bitcoin. Considering the current global instability, I would recommend a diversification strategy of holding US dollars, euros, gold and some cryptocurrencies for those who can afford it. A low locked interest rate for your real estate loans is also a good protection against hyperinflation in the long-run.
Start influencing politics rather than being controlled by politics
I don’t do politics, because it gives the false illusion of control. From my perspective, believing in politics is indicative to the utter powerlessness of the collective consciousness. Most countries have a two party system and at the end, it is typically the same politics whether you vote right or left. Politicians are however driven to get elected so will follow what the majority wants. Unfortunately, the majority is controlled by the media or Hollywood which controls the information. This means the elections are rigged unless people take back control of the flow of information and this is possible through social media. Trump got elected because he had a team that follows all the trends happening on social media and he kept appealing to them with a language that resonates with them. I called on civil disobedience to break strict confinement on April 7th before anyone at a time it was highly unpopular. Two weeks later, civil protests to break strict confinement have now become a trend that is even endorsed by POTUS. You can be an influencer without belonging to any political party. Many people have labelled me far right for this reason. I keep myself independent of any political party and I vote on a topic by topic basis rather than through a party line. Politicians are supposed to be civil servants and this is why we elect them. Let’s reclaim our power and let’s express our opinions openly and clearly so that they may have more incentives to listen to us rather than the lobbies financing their political campaigns. Let’s keep our politicians accountable for their actions. From my perspective, it is a scandal that Dick Cheney and George W. Bush were never put on trial for their invasion of Iraq under false pretense. Let’s not hesitate to apply non violent civil disobedience when our governments take measures against our fundamental rights. It is high time we brought a new generation of politicians that will serve the 99% rather than the 1%.
Meditation is the act of inner listening, reconnecting to our core and centering into our heart. Meditation allows us to connect to higher truth through intuition, and perceive manipulation when it occurs. It is completely free. This is why meditation is a key to personal autonomy. It helps us raise above fear and control. It connects us back to our eternal and invincible spirit. It shields us from the mainstream media as it allows us to live from within rather than becoming a robot programmed from outside influences. Through meditation, we acquire self-knowledge and we cease to be so easily controlled. Meditation allows us to know the truth at an intuitive level without imposing it onto others. Only insecure people try to impose their subjective truth on others. Many of the GANP (“Good and Normal People”) try to impose their views on others to validate their limited beliefs because they are so disconnected from their core. As a result, they cannot feel what is actually true and good for them. They need to rely on external influences to guide their lives.
Choose a country that is in alignment with your values
The world is a big place and it offers many cultures and different ways of being. For example, Nicaragua has refused any lock-down because of the coronavirus. So if we wished to continue living normally, we had the option to move to Nicaragua before strict confinement was put in place. Practically speaking, an expatriation takes a long time and all the preparations have to be done far in advance of any crisis. For those who can afford it, it is best to have citizenship or residency in several very different countries and know the language in each one to have options in case of a global crisis like the one we are facing today. This takes a lot of efforts but it can be well worth it especially in case of a global conflict. The Jews who anticipated the rise of the Nazi state and emigrated early to the United States got their lives saved. Unfortunately, a war is not out of the question. Over the past century, the elites have been using wars to boost the economy as a way to get even richer, often financing both sides of the conflict. A war brings a vast amount of destruction which creates the need for reconstruction, and the people or organizations that are able to finance it can make enormous profit. Wars create extreme situations that allow to push political agendas that would not be possible otherwise. When people are afraid for their survival and their safety, they are ready to accept many conditions that would be otherwise unacceptable. This is why our politicians keep using these terms: war on drugs, war on terror or war on the invisible enemy. However, people want peace not war as it destroys everything they cherish the most in their lives. Why do you think the first consequence of this crisis was border closure? This measure prevents us from moving to a country with more freedom if we are dissatisfied with our government.
Stop looking for a guru or savior. Become your own master
Many of us do not love ourselves enough to see the light from within so we have a tendency to put other people on a pedestal whether it is a singer, a politician or a spiritual teacher. This is natural and there are some positive aspects in doing this. Admiring someone will help us to learn from them, and bring focus on the inner qualities that we have projected outside. Actually, when we are really fond of someone, it is an indication that we need to manifest within ourselves the qualities that we see in them. However, if we content ourselves from the external projection, we dis-empower ourselves, and we just create even more dependency. My last wife is a YouTube star. I got to meet so many people obsessed with her. Some would tattoo their bodies with her name, many would despair from months even stop eating waiting from a message from her, others would max out their credit cards to attend one of her private workshops, and many people from her own community would cut themselves from any personal relationship or activity to have a chance to keep living with her. This is not healthy. We are all made of light and shadow so when we get obsessed with someone, we bring focus not only on their qualities but also on their flaws. This is why discrimination is so important. Some influencers may be exceptional in some areas of their lives but be a complete mess in other areas.
The new civil disobedience is about keeping living your life freely!
Mahatma Gandhi led his country into freedom through nonviolent resistance. Through his actions, he changed the face of political protest and freed his country from colonialism. However, the world has changed and we need to bring a new form of non violent resistance that takes into consideration that the majority of people are very much influenced by mainstream media and are very fearful in challenging any form of authority. The yellow vest movement in France failed because it was infiltrated by looters and marginalized as a threat to public safety. The best form of civil disobedience is to keep living our lives fully according our values and the fire that are within our heart. Let’s ignore social distancing and keep hugging and kissing the friends with the people that are comfortable with it (we will never impose our beliefs on others). Touch is such a big part of being human. Let’s not wear masks but have empathy for people that believe they need to wear them. Let’s keep going to beautiful places of nature, and avoid getting caught. Let’s support any initiative that support people’s recovery of their fundamental freedom without being politicized. Let’s find ways to keep practicing our favorite sports. And if we are caught and get a fine, let’s use the law to contest these fines. Let’s continue to connect with each other in person. If restaurants are closed, let’s cook for one another. Let’s continue to make love and live life to the fullest. Let’s continue to strive to become the best version of ourselves independently of the powers in place that want to make us small. Let’s keep being creative, learning and growing. Let’s live fearlessly and humbly at the same time. Let’s keep expressing what we know to be our truth without imposing it on others.
The ultimate goal is true and genuine self-love, which is synonymous with awakening. Let’s learn to love consciously and see the love that we project outside as the beautiful reflection of the love that lies within your heart. Bill Gates is not going to save you with his vaccines. Donald Trump is not going to save you from the NWO. Joe Biden is not going to save you from Trump. Christ is not going to come back to save you. BUT YOU WILL. It is all in your hands once you remember your true nature and how powerful you actually are.
This blog was inspired by some harsh comments I received on Facebook. Though I understand that people are afraid of the exponential growth of the pandemic, I made a point that the mortality rate of Covid-19 was still way under the flu, cancer, car accidents, suicides, addictions, cancer or hunger mortality rates. This data can be easily verified.
An individual who is a competent professional, a family man and highly regarded in his community called my post stupid and reckless. When I disagree with someone, either I ignore them because I see there is no point in convincing someone who has already made up his mind or I attempt to have a rational dialog with them but I do not belittle them. Amendment 1 of the US constitution is freedom of speech. So why are the so-called “good and normal people” (GANP) becoming so hysterical and zealously trying to get everyone to conform to their opinion? Another GANP was calling murderers a couple that simply went hiking to the mountains while everyone knows that nature and physical exercise are excellent for the immune system. While I commented “Live and let live”, she started insulting me, removed my comment, and unfriended me on facebook. Will people who do not blindly follow the current mass hysteria be soon judged for voluntary homicide? What is fascinating is that the worst enforcement is not done by corrupt governments but by the GANP, all these hard-working people with “good reputation”, families and jobs. The GANP are actually enablers of most of the society’s dysfunctions as they carry mindlessly instructions that often come from a corrupt elite. To be able to understand this apparent contradiction, let’s dive deeper into mind control.
First, we have seen this before. After the shock of 9/11, the media were brainwashing us all day long that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and we had to invade Iraq and remove him from power to guarantee the safety of good Americans. To frighten us even more, they added all the Anthrax attacks. Incidentally, anthrax was a biological weapon created by Russians in a lab back in the 1970s. In 2003, people who did not fall for the official narrative were called anti-patriotic. France opposed the USA at the United Nations to invade Irak so the Bush administration decided to rename French fries Freedom fries as retaliation 🙂 I had some French friends who lived in Texas who got their house covered with graffiti by patriotic GANP. Since, it has been well documented that the Bush administration lied to the American public to invade Irak in order to control their oil resources. However in 2015, still half of Republicans believed that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. Politicians understand that perception is reality rather than truth, and this is why most media are controlled in order to disseminate propaganda to serve their agenda. In the run-up to the Iraq War, Halliburton was awarded a $7 billion contract for which only Halliburton was allowed to bid, the company that Dick Cheney received a $36 million severance package from when he became George W Bush Jr Vice President in 2000. Countless lives and 2.4 trillions dollars of taxpayers’ money were lost on this war, but the people responsible for this disaster continue to be covered with distinctions and honors instead of being put on trial for crimes against humanity.
My own life experience makes me qualified to speak about the subject of mind control. My parents had severe attachment traumas. My father was basically an orphan for the first 10 years of his life and my mother was raised in the foster child system. As a result, I lacked belonging. This made me a match to joining a cult when I was 20-year-old for 3 years. When I was 26, I became involved with a woman with a tight family structure that functioned in many ways like a small cult. I was too busy at work to pay attention to what was really happening as I was compensating my lack of self-love by providing them with the status they needed to compensate for their own self-hatred. But when the separation occurred after 15 years together, they alienated me against my own children, which was by far the most difficult hardship I had to integrate in my life. Parental alienation is one of the worst forms of mind control as it puts hatred where there should be unconditional love. When I turned 42, I lived a passionate love story and got married with a very popular New Age guru who was raised in some of the most malevolent, sophisticated and powerful cults of the world. Many people are viewing her as a dangerous cult leader too however the reality is far more complex. All of this made me a mind control survivor.
Through these experiences, I got to understand that people’s truth is quite subjective. While objective truths exist, they are mostly not accessible to the common man. The fact is that men and women will just consider truth what the people they love or respect consider truthful. Truth is therefore based on the social link so, by essence, it is completely subjective. I got to observe this when I was in the Fellowship of Friends (FOF) in my early twenties. Actually, many people who were in the cult were remarkably intelligent and had high IQ. There were many entrepreneurs, business owners, artists or professionals. Despite the fact that many of us were quite intelligent, we would blindly follow and believe the absurdities of the guru Robert Earl Burton (REB) whose sexual, financial and emotional abuse have now been fully exposed. So what type of idiocies would we believe? That he was more conscious than Jesus Christ, that he was best buddy with Leonardo Da Vinci (this is why we often left an empty seat next to REB), that he would have sex with members to awaken them, that we were the chosen ones to survive humanity downfall and repopulate the earth, etc… Actually, and this is a fact well-known among mind control experts, intelligent people are often easier to manipulate because they have a bigger ego, are more disconnected and less grounded. They are head-centered rather than heart-centered, and can easily let go of common sense when confronted with dogma.
I got to observe that effective mind control always happens with the same several steps:
- Create the bond
- Punition & Reward
Let me show you how this 4 step process works with examples extracted from my life experience.
In FOF, the bond was created by making connections with people who felt initially remarkably open-minded, warm, supportive and intelligent. At first, it felt like the family I never had so it fulfilled my deep desire for belonging. Then the same dogma, beliefs would be constantly spread by the members. Isolation was then created by boosting our ego (we are better than other people as we are the chosen ones) or by adopting a language or a set of beliefs that is not compatible with regular people. Once we were committed to the cult and more disconnected to the outside world, then more pressure could be applied. Good zealous members following mindlessly the corrupt leadership would be rewarded while anyone challenging the current power structure would receive fines or face ostracization. As most cults, FOF strictly forbad contact with former members so leaving the cult meant starting a life from scratch and losing all your friends and connections overnight. This is how most cults retain their members as belonging is such a strong need for all of us, and when the connection with the birth family is weak, it means facing complete loneliness.
With the mother of my children, the bond was created by a romantic relationship and the unhealthy love dynamic between codependent and narcissistic people. The repetition and brainwashing was mostly done by my mother-in-law who kept repeating how great and loving her family was, how they were the only good grandparents, the only ones who cared about us and our children, how their daughter was the best and how I was lost before I found her and her family, etc… Of course, at the same time, she would not mention all the family skeletons that hid in the closet. My parents were first alienated as deemed unworthy as she wanted to be the only grandmother by eliminating competing grandparents. She praised narcissistic love as the only true love. If I were to challenge the narrative, I would subject myself to endless arguments and wrath. Though I took care financially of them for many years and improved their lives in so many ways, when their daughter and I mutually decided to split, I was shun by the whole family. Their daughter then rewrote the narrative that I had abandoned her to play the victim and win the children over that would be used as weapons of war against me.
For my children, the bond was created naturally by birth. They were subjected by the same constant brainwashing of my mother-in-law. They were groomed to relate to only specific people from the community however this can only go so far as children who go to school will meet people from all walks of life. The consequence of deviating from the family line was shown clearly to them by making an example with their own father: complete abandonment, constant criticism, relentless attacks and harassment. It was made clear to them that they would not want to follow my footsteps.
My last wife’s cult abuser pretended to be her real father to create this bond and it took her years of therapy before realizing he had been lying to her all along. She was made to attend some of the most horrendous rituals where the cult’s dogma would be reinforced. If she started to attach to anyone outside the cult like a boyfriend, there would face unbearable consequences such as the killing of her dog. Her cult trainer would also ensure that she felt disconnected from her brother and parents. Also, disobeying the satanic cult was out of the question as she was frequently exposed to torture, gore or even death that resulted from deviating cult orders.
While she had done amazing considering her horrific background, she was not completely healed and fell at times for the same manipulative techniques that she suffered as a child. It is a principle that the suffering that is not integrated gets passed on. The bond was naturally created by a powerful passionate love story between both of us. As a prolific writer and a very intelligent woman who had to be always right, she would need to control the narrative. Her community composed of codependent people with limited life experience and cut off from their own family would also mindlessly repeat everything that she was saying. People with different ideas would be cut off and pushed away. They would lose connection with her and her followers while she kept repeating in her teaching that connection was the most important thing in the world. After we divorced, when I came back to the Costa Rica retreat center that I had founded to pick-up my belongings, I had a zealous community member treat me like a criminal. And this was the very same member I had invited to our wedding two years prior and gave personally an opportunity to join our community.
What we are witnessing now with Covid-19 is mind-control at a massive, global scale. The bond is created by the fact that we are a social species, the respect we have for authority, experts, science and our dependence on the media. I was in France when I witnessed the transition from normal everyday life to total confinement in just 3 weeks. First, the media started speaking about the coronavirus non-stop to instill fear and prepare public opinion for compliance on the orders to come. All people with a different opinion from mainstream media would then be isolated, ridiculed, or marginalized as conspiracy theorists or even criminals endangering public health. Social contact became prohibited on the basis of safety. People disobeying the confinement would be fined 135 euros ($150) while repeated offenders could go to jail. The worst punishment is however the aggressive judgment aggressively from the GANP.
Most people are educated and rewarded to become good executants, soldiers and workers but not to think for themselves. Independent thinking is more and more scarce in a society where we are constantly flooded with new information. We are made to believe that we are free from dogma and live in a democracy as we have supposedly left behind religion and dictatorship to the benefit of science and reason, however in many ways, science has become the new cult. People blindly believe what is coming supposedly from science without verifying with a critical mind the hypotheses, mental processes and conclusions. Science has many interesting theories, but these theories need to be challenged. This is the principle of taking a scientific approach to a problem. If we just trust science blindly just because it comes from scientific experts with impressive degrees, then we are following the same pattern of a cult. I had 2 master degrees by age 22 and I have one of the best engineering diplomas from France so people cannot dismiss me on the basis of poor scientific education. Instead, the GANP are expressing their disappointment with me for not following mainstream beliefs considering my respected scientific background.
Actually, it is very hard to know the truth when we are just fed information that we cannot verify and this is why we are so easily manipulated. As you can see, I had to survive extreme mind control environments in my life. As a result, I created my own methods to assess the truth or more accurately my truth as unlike the GANP, I have no plan to impose my limited beliefs on others. The thoughts I express here are mine and I just hope this sharing will encourage others to think for themselves, and look for their own truth. Self-reliance, inner strength and resilience have come to me as part of this process. I will now apply the same principles of independent thinking to the current pandemic and share with you my personal insights.
First, I want to trust that I have directly experienced with my senses that include sight, feeling, intuition, hearing, touch, personal wisdom, cognitive abilities rather than information from a third party. Of course, it can be argued that we are subjective and this is why I will never impose my views on others. However, I know this direct experience is always the highest truth I have access to.
I am a social person and I know a huge number of people at a personal level. To this day, I do not have a single first degree connection affected by Covid-19. I had a friend who had a bad flu for a couple of weeks after a break-up. Things continued to get worse and she ended up in the hospital. She was tested for Covid-19 and the result came back negative but she was diagnosed with pneumonia. My 78-year-old French father has been sick for several weeks too. He asked to be tested and he was denied the test because they had a limited number of tests and would rather use them on younger people. One of my close friends in Utah had a bad flu for a couple of days but did not have the money to be tested or see a doctor and he recovered within a few days. But, so far, none of the people I know personally have been tested positive for Covid-19. However I have met a few people who knew personally some people who have been tested positive. A friend’s family member that was over 80 year old supposedly died from coronavirus in Louisiana with 2 other people in a nursing home. So in truth, I know very little at a personal level about this disease and it has had no direct impact on me and my loved ones. However, it has already had dramatic indirect impact: loss of social contact, loss of revenue, diminished assets, confinement, inability to travel, cancelled events, removal of civil liberties, etc… So from my own little world, Covid-19 is mostly simply an abstract concept that dramatically affected my life due to the decisions people made about it or more precisely the fear of it. In truth, I cannot disprove it is a hoax in complete certainty and I cannot disprove the opposite as well. I have no direct experience with it, only what I have read about it. So I am keeping an open-mind about it until I have direct experience such as contracting the disease myself. I have taken no additional precautions over the past months besides keeping a healthy lifestyle while I have continued to be in contact with a large variety of people.
If I cannot have a direct experience with the subject, I do facts checking and try to rely on my cognitive abilities. To me, it is far as reliable but this is the best I can do given the circumstances. However, with the absence of direct experience, I take everything with a grain of salt and in terms of probabilities. In a nutshell, here is what I can assert so far with a 80% probability:
- There is an infectious respiratory disease called Covid-19 and it was reported that it has killed over 60,000 people worldwide. It is more contagious and more fatal than the flu. People are concerned about the exponential growth of the disease. So far, Covid19 shows a mortality rate about 10 times higher than the flu
- Covid-19 severe cases are concentrated with people who have a compromised immune system. 99% of healthy people that get the coronavirus heal relatively quickly from it. The mortality rate of people infected with Covid19 with no pre-existing conditions is less than 1%
- A number of personalities have died of the coronavirus. Almost all of them were old and suffering with other serious diseases
- There is confusion in the numbers as it appears people are included in Covid19 mortality number even if they die from something else as long as they tested positive for the virus. The amount of flu or pneumonia related death dropped significantly during the same period of time which would indicate some bias
- There are a number of different theories about the origin of the virus. Some argue it came from animals and others from a biological weapon lab in Wuhan (whether intentionally or accidentally)
- It was reported that the healthcare system of most countries affected is saturated due to the rapid growth of the disease. It can be noted however that many countries’ hospitals were already overwhelmed and under-resourced before the pandemic. Citizen reporters are sharing with us on the opposite movie clips of empty hospitals. Unless I visit one of these hospitals myself, I have to acknowledge that I really do not know how this pandemic has affected healthcare systems across the globe
- Chloroquine has been portrayed as a viable effective treatment when combined with antibiotics in the early stage of the development of the disease. The mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi and other public figures who underwent the treatment had a rapid recovery.
There are however a number of decisions that authorities have taken very rapidly that I am taking the liberty to challenge.
Is the extreme confinement that has been ordered in Italy, Spain and France really effective?
The facts would actually show the opposite.
- Countries such as Italy, Spain and France with the most confinement continue to have the highest mortality rates. I understand that people would argue anyway that things would be much worse without confinement. In any case, I would like to see better and not worse outcomes in this case. Sweden and Japan are not enforcing confinement and are doing much better than the countries above
- One of the most highly respected experts in respiratory disease Dr Raoult is arguing for another method. He is advocating to perform testing at a massive scale and only isolating the people who are vulnerable and the ones who are tested positive. He is also recommending reducing the time these people are contagious through a medical treatment. South Korea which has taken this approach shows mortality rates 100 times lower than the countries mentioned above
- Confinement leads to social isolation, depression, idleness, financial stress, lack of physical exercise and contact with nature which we know weaken the immune system and actually make people more vulnerable to the virus. Dr Bruce Lipton speaks brilliantly about this
- Social distancing and masks are not that effective against the propagation of the virus
- Social distancing is creating a society where we are even more disconnected from each other which negatively impacts our immune system. People are now unable to attend spiritual service, entertainment or social events. While I understand the logic behind social distancing, it comes with a high cost to our emotional health
- Professor Knut Wittkowski, a respected epidemiologist with 35 years experience, feels strongly that confinement is counter productive, and goes against what mainstream media and our politicians have been advocating. As he says, he is not paid by the government and believes in science rather than propaganda. By keeping our children home, we are preventing herd immunity so we are exposing ourselves to a second wave of the coronovirus in the fall. He states that this pandemic is not that very different that flu pandemics we get on a yearly basis
We have had much worse pandemics in the past.
The Black Death was the first major European outbreak of plague and the second plague pandemic. The Black Death is estimated to have killed 30% to 60% of Europe’s population. In total, the plague may have reduced the world’s population from an estimated 475 million to 350–375 million in the 14th century. The influenza pandemic of 1918-1919 killed more people than the Great War, known today as World War I (WWI), at somewhere between 20 and 40 million people while the population at that time was estimated at 1.8 billion. If Covid19 creates as much damage as the Spanish flu with our current world population, it means that the coronavirus should kill about 150 million people. We have got over 60,000 deaths (about 0.03% of the corresponding deaths of the Spanish flu) so far with Covid19 and even if the disease continues to spread exponentially, it is hard to believe we will even come close to the 1918 influenza pandemic numbers fortunately!
Let’s now examine some so-called conspiracy theories that are circulating over the Internet. I recommend taking a closer look at David Icke’s materials for the people who are interested in diving deeper into the topic as he has done some very extensive research in the last 30 years.
Is 5G linked in any way with Covid19?
Many people have suggested that there are higher concentrations of Covid19 cases in areas where 5G has been deployed. While this could very well be a coincidence, I am well aware of the fact that governments’ secret programs have developed very sophisticated mind control technology through electromagnetic waves over the past 50 years, one of them being HAARP. Most of the results of this research have been kept hidden from the public. I researched this topic while I was married to an individual who had been subjected to the most brutal mind control technologies as a child. A human being is nothing else than a complex electromagnetic field. We all know how much our environment can affect us. We feel very differently in an impoverished polluted environment than when we are surrounded with beautiful nature. The fact that a corrupt elite could use this existing mind control wave technology to fulfill their agenda is more than likely. Secret government programs such as Operation Paperclip or Project MKUltra have been well-documented and are not conspiracy theories anymore. There is ample information on the Internet about the correlation of 5G with the coronavirus. Some experts are linking the adoption of new wave technology with past pandemics such as the 1918 influenza or the Hong Kong flu. They are also stating that viruses are reactions of the poisoned cell that, in defense against the poison itself, secretes the viruses to allow the cell to survive. If this is the case, confinement and social distance is completely useless so we would have brought an economic collapse for no reason. We live in a digital soup and the radio-frequencies coming from all of our devices is clearly affecting us. It is a fact that there are many more cases in countries that have deployed 5G technologies. Fortunately, the human body is amazingly adaptive and most of us will be able to develop immunity to this type of radiation as we continue to raise our vibration. The technologies we have developed have improved our life dramatically but they can also lead us to enslavement. Rudolf Steiner the founder of the Waldorf education, biodynamics and anthroposophy stated as early as 1917 that man needed to increase his spiritual power to adapt to the increased electrification of the earth. I understand this type of knowledge is not for everyone. People need to study it and make up their own mind.
Through my 3 year relationship with a woman who was raised in a satanic cult, I got to understand the sophisticated mind control technology currently available to these secret societies. From my perspective, the best books on the topic have been written by Svali, a former trainer of the Illuminati as it matched almost perfectly with the personal experiences of my former spouse. Through her direct account, I got to understand that one percent of the population is mind-controlled from birth, and placed in key places of society. Many politicians, pop stars, judges, top athletes, celebrities, journalists, TV and media presenters, actors, business and financial moguls are mind-controlled slaves. They may have everything on the outside: wealth, fame, beauty, talent but be the most miserable person behind the curtains as they struggle with severe PTSD coming from the traumatic programming of their childhood. According to my ex-wife, but also whistleblowers such Los Angeles FBI chief Ted Gunderson or Robert David Steele, hundreds of thousands of children are exploited every year in the US alone for the benefit of these secret societies. Children are tested for special abilities through brutal training and testing. The ones that succeed become mind-controlled slaves who will be inserted in key places of society while the others will be used in pedophile rings or sacrificed in satanic rituals. For these shadow organizations, children are treated with even less humanity than pigs in a slaughterhouse. People stay mostly unaware of this terrible truth as most children come from “breeders” (cult members programmed to give birth to children to be used by the cult), orphanages or the foster care system. The whole world is shutting down because we have supposedly over 60,000 coronavirus deaths of people with an already compromised immune system, while we are oblivious to the vicious extermination and exploitation of millions of children across the globe every year. This truth is so disturbing that most people will dismiss it as a conspiracy theory. I was no different until I started a personal relationship with one of these satanic cult survivors.
Martial law, house arrest and group gathering prohibition
The pandemic has created conditions that any warmongers would have dreamed of. Curfew is imposed, and people are forbidden to meet. By extension, demonstrations are not allowed any more and fearful citizens are rallying behind their corrupt leadership. People in many countries are limited to one visit per week outside their home for basic necessities. Citizens are required to carry certificates if they go outside their home at the risk of getting important fines and even of getting arrested in case of repeated offense. Most people are happily complying with the sudden disappearance of personal freedom because they are made to believe that they are saving lives this way. All this is done without much data. Actually the countries with the strictest confinement rules are showing the most deaths at this point. Japan and Sweden are doing much better than Italy, France or Spain. We are now at war against an invisible enemy that justifies the removal of our civil liberties. This reminds me of the US government war on drugs by Richard Nixon whose aim was really to remove the competition and give a monopoly for the US shadow government to smuggle drugs into the USA to finance its black budget. This war on drugs achieved very little and on the contrary boosted the jail population to about 10 million people in the US by 2008 helping many unscrupulous individuals to get rich and profiting from the misery of others.
Destruction of small businesses
Employees are far more controllable than entrepreneurs. They need to comply with a top down hierarchical structure to keep their means of subsistence. While this is not always the case, strict compliance to a role is favored over creativity in large corporations or institutions. People lose their individuality to fulfill a corporate role. Most employees experience the fear of losing their job or the frustration of feeling controlled by a supervisor. Entrepreneurs feel more fulfilled and creative though their personal freedom comes with the price of hard-work and accountability. By shutting down all restaurants, lodges, stores, or any business dependent upon human interaction, the small businesses are the most impacted while the large corporations are here to profit. Amazon hired 100,000 more employees to meet with the increased demand due to the pandemic while small businesses are forced to shut down with almost no compensation. By enforcing strict confinement, our governments are destroying millions of small businesses while providing nothing in return. This can be equated to a forest fire that eventually will profit to the big trees, i.e. the large corporations. The large corporations are controlled by these same 1% or secret societies so it provides considerable advantage for the corrupt elite to enslave the masses by making them dependent financially. Dependent people are less likely to contest authority.
The stimulus package will impoverish the middle class even more
People naively think that the government stimulus package will save them. What would you think of a household that is already $230,000 in debt but only making $30,000 a year? Would you lend them another $20,000? Surely not if you were a bank. Well, this is the state of the US government. The US already has a $23 trillion dollar deficit but total tax revenue in any given year hardly exceeds $3 trillion dollars. It means that any US taxpayer owes the government $200,000 so the taxes that US citizens pay are really just paying interest on the money borrowed by the US government to the federal reserve, which is actually a private institution owned by invisible financial moguls. When the US government creates a stimulus package of $2.2 trillion dollars, it actually takes $20,000 from the pocket of every US tax payer. While Trump is insisting that the stimulus checks should have his name on them, this money is not coming from him but from all of us! This is not free money. All of this money printing will weaken the value of the dollar and will eventually decrease the purchasing power of all Americans. Unless small businesses are allowed to reopen soon, most of this money printing will end up in the pockets of large corporations and financial institutions. This will contribute even more to the disappearance of the middle class and we will be only be left with a privileged but controlled 1% and 99% of working poor and destitute people. The same logic can be applied to most European countries.
Vaccines and RFID
The media has already instilled a lot of fear in people to prepare them to accept any solution that will be presented to them. Along the lines of the movie Contagion starring Matt Damon, Jude Law, Kate Winslet, Gwyneth Paltrow and Marion Cotillard, all the people become desperate for a vaccine that they see as their only means for survival as per the propaganda. The media is already brainwashing the people into viewing vaccination as the holy grail. The concept of vaccination is a big debate in our society and I encourage people to make up their own mind about it. Mandatory vaccination is however a significant infringement on our most fundamental freedom. On a personal level, I do not trust the science behind vaccination and I will do everything in my power to avoid the future coronavirus vaccine. We now have the technology to insert RFID chips during vaccination and I simply do not trust the people in power to do anything without a hidden agenda. The governing powers are arguing that people without the vaccine are dangers to society as they could contaminate others. This reasoning is flawed as if their vaccine was that effective, vaccinated people would be immune to the disease so could not be contaminated. Starting with Bill Gates and Anthony Faucy, the elite that is promoting vaccination should be vaccinated first to put their money where their mouth is. Chip implant will make us no different than the pets or livestock that are already RFID’d.
In one of Silicon Valley I founded, I had a CTO for 7 years that worked closely with Bill Gates. His boss reported directly to Bill Gates and my CTO used to have frequent interactions with Bill Gates. According to him, Bill Gates would often get into rages and use foul language with his employees. However, the public image of Bill Gates is very different. The media is portraying him as a stable and cool-headed individual, an innovator and a philanthropist. However things do not add up. Why would someone put so much energy to project an image of himself that he is not? Steve Jobs may have been a jerk but never tried to be someone that he is not. Microsoft had a poor reputation in the industry before, stealing ideas from others and practicing unethical business practices to crush the competition. After retiring from Microsoft, Bill Gates created a group of billionaires dedicated to spend their fortune to better humanity. However, his fortune (now over $100B) keeps increasing instead of decreasing while he vaccines the world away! How is that possible? He was close to Jeffrey Epstein who was conveniently suicided after being indicted for leading a prostitution and pedophile ring. He came from a wealthy family and his father had important ties with some of the most powerful American families. He warned the public years before about the pandemic to come in very exact terms. Is he simply a visionary or did he contribute to the problem in the first place? Now, he is omnipresent on the news as the media try to portray him as our new savior. He is pushing an agenda of mass vaccination and very strict confinement. It feels like he has groomed for a new and important role in the NWO for a long-time.
Conveniently, central banks and big tech companies are trying to push the agenda of a cashless society by stating that physical bank notes can be a carrier of the coronavirus. While there are benefits to a cashless society, there is too much at risk considering the level of depravity and corruption of the people in power. Using artificial intelligence, they could then instantaneously freeze the assets of anyone opposing their views on the basis of national security. Money is power, and there is already too much power into the wrong hands.
The New World Order (NWO)
Technology has reached a level of sophistication that it is now possible to create an Orwellian state. Artificial Intelligence and social media can be used to precisely identify the political views and interests of any citizen. Most of us are astonished at the accuracy of the online ads we receive on a daily basis. 5G networks make it possible to transmit a much larger amount of data for analysis and citizen tracking. More and more money circulation is electronic and can be easily followed. Is the coronavirus pandemic used to implement the last stages of a new technocracy? Will all people refusing to accept the NWO become marginalized in this new society?
The topics above are quite controversial and I have mentioned them to provoke people’s critical thinking. I will now address issues that cannot be contested from my perspective
When the remedy of the problem becomes far worse than the problem itself!
With over 1 billion people confined in their own home, we are creating an economic collapse that will be the worst one of our lifetime. This is nothing else than a planned demolition of economies all over the world. Confinement is a luxury of the rich. When confinement is applied in developing countries such as India, Philippines or many African countries, it condemns to starvation large sections of the population that are incapacitated to earn any income. Desperate people take desperate actions. Civil unrest follows which can then justify brutal actions from authoritarian regimes. We may even create the conditions for a global conflict. I do not think I am taking any risk in saying that the controlled demolition of the worldwide economy will create more death than the pandemic itself.
Fear compromises the immune system
Most countries’ media are now instilling fear in people about the threat of the coronavirus 24/7. Because of this propaganda, most people are getting obsessed with being infected with the virus. As soon as they do not feel well, they immediately imagine the worst and dying a horrible death from Covid19. Dr Bruce Lipton is speaking eloquently on how the fear of the coronavirus has created much more damage than the disease itself. In the medical field, we need to account for the placebo effect when testing for drug efficacy because we understand that health starts with the mind. At least 5% of all diseases are estimated to be psychosomatic. People are not only getting worried for their health but they are now getting overly stressed financially because of the economic collapse triggered by strict confinement. House arrest combined very limited physical and social activities is creating conditions that considerably weakens the immune system of the population.
How the current pandemics reflects the complete powerlessness of the human collective consciousness
People have forgotten their true nature and how powerful they actually are. They see life as random and tragedies happening for no reason. They have forgotten that we live in a divinely orchestrated universe. After over 30 years of exploration and personal experiences, I can say without a doubt that the body cannot become sick unless there is dysfunction in our mental or emotional bodies. Our immune system is our best ally and not external drugs or vaccines. Prevention is always better than cure. I do recommend taking a promising treatment such as Dr Raoult’s chloroquine in severe cases but you will see adverse effects with any drug treatment. It is about assessing if the benefits of the treatment are higher than the risk. We increase our immune system vitality through physical exercises, good sleep, healthy diet, being in nature, exposure to sunlight, meditation, shadow work when difficult emotions emerge, being creative and social contact. As long as we keep a high vibrational state, we cannot be a match to any virus. Paul Micheal Glaser was the famous cop Starsky in the 70’s household TV series Starky & Hutch. He continued to have sexual intercourse with his wife Elizabeth even after he knew she was diagnosed with AIDS. He never contracted the disease. He had so much love for his wife that he never believed that she could give him anything that could harm him. Social distancing with loved ones is actually damaging to our immune system because we are a social species. We need to connect, to touch and to love. To love and to be loved will continue to be our most fundamental need even before food. We have much more power over our health and vitality than we could ever imagine. Many cancer survivors say that cancer is the best thing that happened to them because it forced them to re-evaluate their life and switch to a healthy lifestyle. Life is not random, and if we catch the coronavirus, let it be our teacher like any other hardship that has affected our life. Whether the coronavirus was man-made or an act of nature to reflect our harmful actions, it is at the end the same. We have become a match to that experience for a reason. By taking a holistic and introspective approach, we can gain from this global tragedy. In anything negative, there is always a positive intent and it is up to us to create meaning from this experience to grow in wisdom and self-awareness. Respiratory diseases are connected to the dysfunction of the heart chakra and I invite all of you to meditate upon this. I would just add that a society based on the exploitation of earth resources, animals and people goes fundamentally against unity consciousness.
There are worse things than death
We can see people’s true character when they are under pressure. I have always liked Wayne Dyer’s analogy that you know what a fruit is made of when it is squeezed. So when we are squeezed and pushed to our limits, what comes out of us? Love or selfishness? Anger or kindness? Depression or fighting spirit? During my spiritual explorations over the last 30 years, I got to realize that self-love and spiritual enlightenment is one and the same. For this reason, I have committed not to take any actions that will impede my ability to love myself, such as profiting from other people’s distress, lying to myself, lacking personal integrity or intentionally hurting another human being. Dying an honorable man is more important to me than surviving as a scelerat. We are on earth for a very short time anyway. Let’s make it worthwhile. The rush towards buying toilet paper, foods and weapons are indicative that most people are willing to lose their soul out of the fear of survival. Once we connect to our true nature, this type of short-cuts cease to be appealing.
Our hyper reactivity of the coronavirus pandemic is indicative of our selfishness.
We freak out about catching the coronavirus and we show no concern for the millions of children dying of starvation, for the raging wars in Syria, the flooding in Bangladesh or the earthquake in Haiti while they have caused so much more human casualty. But, when we are made to believe that anyone of us can get Covid19 and die a horrible death, only then so we start paying attention. This shows the lack of empathy of our society towards each other, and how self-centered we actually are.
Some GANP did not hesitate to say I should die or get severely sick from Covid-19 to dare contesting the mainstream media narrative. Death is the great mystery. This personality and this body eventually dies and if it is my time, I will accept it but not without a fight as I love life. I am not willing to stay alive at all costs however. I believe in the aspect of me that is immortal, life itself that is everywhere, eternal, always mutating and changing. Life always finds balance and unity. I have had spiritual experiences that have convinced me that love is the greatest force of the universe. Hardship and life challenges make us more humble, trusting and stronger. I simply refuse to live life from fear and control. There is always a choice. We can wake up to our true nature or alternatively become a piece of machinery in the gigantic matrix based on profiteering and the illusion of separateness. We can believe in unity consciousness or exploitation. The choice is ours. No one can take away your freedom unless you allow them to do so. Even if your external freedom is seriously infringed, there is always a way to keep your internal freedom and to stay true to your core values.
Differentiating fear of engulfment with codependency and trauma bonding
Codependency is different from fear of engulfment. Codependent people have no sense of self, and have an extreme focus on others as a result. They are needy, terrified of being alone, and cannot function on their own. They have no autonomy. They want people in their lives not because they love them but because they cannot exist as an independent being. They can have anxious attachment though it is not always the case.
Trauma bonding came from bonding with an abusive parent or caretaker. The child had to face constant invalidation of their feelings. Borderline personality disorder and disorganized attachment develop as a result. It is different from fear of engulfment because the person wants to stay attached to their abuser though they may be terrified and resentful. It follows the “I hate you, don’t leave me” pattern. They may have been the scapegoat in a family dynamic.
So what is fear of engulfment?
Fear of engulfment is the fear of getting controlled by the romantic partner or losing yourself in the relationship. It is a very strong fear of being swallowed by the partner. Fear of engulfment comes from enmeshment trauma and acts as a major obstacle in intimate relationships. Their attachment style is the avoidant. They are often over independent or self-reliant as they are so afraid on relying on others to get their needs met. It is difficult for them to receive from other people as they do not want to owe anything in return. They are terrified of trapped-indebtedness. They are suspicious of other people initially as they are perceived as dangerous. They live their intimate relationship in their head instead of their heart. They compare and have often impossible high standards for their partner who can never be enough. They see their partner as someone restricting their freedom. They are overwhelmed by being responsible for someone else’s feelings as they were taught it was their job to fix if their loved one was unhappy, even if it means we are losing ourselves in the process. They are confused between self-love and selfishness so carry a lot of shame about taking care of themselves in a nurturing way. As a result, they often do what they do not want to do in a relationship and resent it later. These people have often a compulsive need to succeed to compensate for the lack of love and connection in their life. They desperately need to prove to themselves that they are lovable and worthy and external success is a way they reassure themselves. They experience a form of social isolation and spend less time than others in social settings. As a result, they get less feedback than others about social clues and develop personality quirks that are often socially inappropriate. Because they were the Golden Child, they experience emotions as an adult that are polar opposites: talented and worthless, blessed and cursed, favored and picked on. As soon as someone wants something from him, his terror of losing himself is activated, and he automatically resists his partner. He does not even think of asking himself if he wants to do whatever the other person wants from him or if it is in his highest good. He just resists. He resists because not being controlled is more important to him than anything. Not being controlled is more important than being loved. The irony is that he is being controlled by his obsession of not being controlled.
The fear of engulfment hides a fear of rejection and abandonment
In truth, the avoidant avoids himself before he avoids others. When the avoidant shuts down to others, it is just a reflection of his inner walls because he is so afraid of being hurt again. He doesn’t want to attach to someone special because he is so afraid of the pain of separation. However, if he doesn’t attach, the relationship is doomed so he keeps experiencing abandonment which comforts him in his conviction that attaching is dangerous. This becomes a vicious cycle. It seems counter intuitive that the Golden (Chosen) Child would feel unlovable however being enmeshed with one parent often provokes the resentment of the other parent and siblings. The avoidant is so afraid of being rejected that he would rather take care of all his needs himself. He makes it impossible for others to provide for him and cater for his needs. He feels threatened by intimacy because of his fear of rejection and getting badly hurt in the process. This connects to childhood trauma. Like everyone, he wants to be loved but he has decided that love is too dangerous. When someone gets too close to him, he gives up on his desire to be loved because he sees it as the only possibility not to get hurt. He shuts down the part of himself that is starving for intimacy. He doesn’t believe his heart is resilient enough to recover and learn from a break-up.
Resulting relationship issues
The adult Golden Child who defended against the invasive parent by
building a wall will not let in their spouse. The love avoidant is typically attracted to the love anxious because she represents his disowned self: the insecure child that had to disconnect not to face the pain of rejection. The partner feels unloved, rejected and uncared for. When they become too starved emotionally, they just leave the relationship. They are often attracted to self-centered partners as well. This is their way of re-creating unconsciously the dynamics of the parent-child relationship. These partners will reflect that other people’s needs are more important than their own, another trauma from their childhood. Or they may attract someone who is just as inattentive and emotionally unavailable as they are so that they may experience what it feels to be with someone who is guarded. It may be very difficult for anyone of their partners to match with their enmeshed parent who is idolized. No one is good enough compared to mum or dad. The favored parent replays the same dynamic in return to show that no partner will ever have a closer relationship than they have. The avoidant is prone to have affairs as it fulfills his desire for physical intimacy and ego rubbing without any emotional commitment. He is very critical of his mates as this allows him not to become too close to them. He always believes there is another better option, someone more beautiful, younger, smarter or wealthier.
What are the childhood traumas that created the fear of engulfment?
I was deeply enmeshed with my mother as a child. She had deep abandonment traumas because she was raised in the foster care system. I was parentified to meet all of her emotional needs. I was the Golden Child. Then, when I was 9, she left me behind to start a new life and I was left with my absent father for 18 months. Considering this background, this is no surprise that I have had such a hard time with the fear of engulfment in my romantic life. We become intimacy phobic when intimacy and closeness were associated with pain in the past. As the Golden Child, we learn to deny our own needs to the benefit of our parent. We understand that our parent’s life is better when we ask for nothing and our parent feels better because they believe they have risen a model child. Here are some of the signs that you were enmeshed:
- The child is a source of emotional support for the parent, and is the parent’s best friend
- The parent shares age inappropriate information with the child
- The parent says in confidence that he is the favorite, most talented of lovable child
- The child connection with other children is discouraged
- The child feels guilty when he spends too much time away from the parent
- The child unique and positive qualities are not reinforced
- The child independence is discouraged
- They are very porous boundaries between the child and the adult
- One parent was chronically lonely, angry or depressed
- The parents live an isolated life with few friends
- The child feels responsible for the parent
- The child is parentified
- The parent is over-involved in the child’s life
- The parent pretends to be self-sacrificing
- The child is not provided with a structure and limits that guaranties his safety
- The parent is incapable of taking care of his adult needs
- One or both parents had substance abuse problems
- The boyfriend of girlfriend is never good enough for the parent
- The parents were divorced, widowed or did not get along
- There was a lack of money that caused parents and children to stay home with each other more than it is healthy
In summary, the parent is ignoring the needs of the child. The parent uses the child to satisfy needs that should be met instead by other adults – romance, companionship, intimacy, advice, problem solving and ego fulfillment. Children cannot handle that much psychological pressure as they are not equipped to fulfill adults’ intimacy needs. When the parent says “You are such an easy child”, it is meant “Don’t feel any negative emotions”. When the parent says “You are so special”, it is meant “Be what I need you to be. I have needs you have to satisfy”. Their future love life will suffer immensely as a result. The child is not given the attention he needs to grow-up as a healthy emotional being. There is simply not enough adequate protection, guidance, structure, affection, nurturing and discipline. Their development stops and they get stuck in a narcissist stage of development. The cycle of disconnection continues as we treat our loved ones as we were once treated. Because the enmeshed relationship is all-encompassing, we recreate the need for this intense fusion at the beginning of the relationship that quickly erodes to meet with resistance.
Solutions to break away from enmeshment
Because the enmeshment started with the parent-child relationship, we need to realign our relationship with our parents. The relationship with our parents is very important because it influences the rest of our relationships. We need to relate to our parents from our adult part rather than the child in us that feels controlled. We set clear boundaries with our parents when it is necessary without feeling overly disappointed if they fail to honor them. We become objective about who they are, their qualities but also their shortcomings. We accept them as they are without compromising ourselves in the process. We are supportive but not to our detriment. We stop blaming them for our difficulties as we empower ourselves to make the necessary changes in our lives. We understand that the aspects in them that trigger us the most, are the ones that caused the most psychological damage in us. They also trigger us the most because they mirror unsavory aspects of us that we are too ashamed to see.
If we have children, we can deprogram the enmeshment by raising our children differently. We keep reassuring our child of our unconditional love. We refuse all forms of emotional manipulation through guilt or coercion. We may use the Love and Logic educational method instead to encourage them to take good and positive actions. We do not hesitate to apologize and explain why when we make mistakes as parents. We practice what we preach. We only share with them information that they can handle given their age and maturity. We encourage their independence without making them feel pushed away. We respect their free will without giving up on our important responsibilities as a parent.
The most important work we can do is however with our romantic partner. We commit to an authentic relationship where we overcome our shame to express our true feelings in a constructive way. We transcend our fear of rejection to be truthful. We face the guilt of hurting our partner by sharing our authentic truth. We are attuned and compassionate in the process, not cold and disconnected. We express our boundaries with clarity and in the most gentle way. We refuse any form of manipulation and calculation for our own little benefit. We make space for the aspects of us that are afraid of intimacy and we explore the traumas and the hurt that are behind. This will catalyze our healing. We treat the other person as we would like to be treated. We commit to listen to our own feelings, and to listen to this inner compass no matter what the consequences may be.
Your ideal partner is the one that represents your repressed inner child. Instead of shutting them down as we have done in our early life to survive emotionally, we reverse the process to celebrate them. We give them everything our inner child did not receive. By loving them this way, this immature part that is the seat of our soul can grow again. Then we can become whole and wake up to a life that feels good.
French translation below – Article en Français ci-dessous
Qu’est-ce que la peur de l’envahissement au sein d’une relation intime? Et comment la dépasser?
Il est important de commencer par différencier cette peur affective de la co-dépendance et de l’attachement pervers. La co-dépendance est différente de la peur de l’envahissement. Les gens co-dépendants n’ont pas d’identité propre. Par conséquent, tous leurs comportements tournent autour d’autres personnes qui sont en général narcissiques. Ils n’ont aucune idée de leurs propres besoins ou identité, ils sont terrifiés d’être seuls, et ne peuvent pas fonctionner par eux-mêmes. Ils ne disposent d’aucune autonomie. Ils veulent des gens dans leur vie non pas parce qu’ils les aiment, mais parce qu’ils ne peuvent pas exister en tant qu’être indépendant. Ils peuvent avoir un attachement anxieux/ambivalent même si ce n’est pas toujours le cas.
L’attachement désorganisé/désorienté vient de la relation avec un parent maltraitant. L’enfant a dû constamment faire face à l’invalidation de ses émotions. C’est ainsi que se développe le trouble de la personnalité limite (borderline). Ceci est bien différent de la peur de l’envahissement car la personne souhaite rester attachée au parent maltraitant. Cette relation suit le modèle « Je te hais, ne me quitte pas ». Ils ont souvent été le bouc-émissaire dans une dynamique familiale narcissique.
Qu’est-ce donc que cette peur de l’envahissement?
La peur de l’envahissement est la peur d’être contrôlé par son partenaire ou de se perdre dans la relation. C’est la peur d’être envahi par le partenaire. La peur de l’envahissement vient d’anciens traumatismes et est un obstacle majeur dans les relations amoureuses. Leur style d’attachement est “évitant” selon la célèbre théorie de l’attachement de John Bowlby. Ils sont souvent très indépendants car ils ont très peur de compter sur les autres pour satisfaire leurs besoins. Il leur est difficile de recevoir car ils ne veulent pas devoir quoi que ce soit en retour. Ils se méfient des autres personnes qu’ils ne considèrent pas comme dignes de confiance. Ils vivent la relation intime dans leur tête et non pas dans leur cœur. Ils comparent et ont souvent des exigences impossibles pour leur partenaire qui n’est jamais assez bien. Ils voient leur partenaire comme une personne qui restreint leur liberté. Ils se sentent envahis à l’idée d’être responsable de quelqu’un d’autre. Ils sont ont du mal à discerner l’amour de soi de l’égoïsme. Ils ont honte de prendre soin d’eux-mêmes. Ils font souvent ce qu’ils ne veulent pas faire dans une relation par peur du rejet et en éprouvent du ressentiment plus tard. Ces personnes ont souvent un besoin compulsif de réussir professionnellement afin de compenser le manque affectif de leur vie. Ils ont désespérément besoin de se prouver qu’ils sont dignes d’amour et respectables donc le succès extérieur est un moyen de les rassurer. Ils sont isolés socialement et passent moins de temps que les autres en groupe. Par conséquent, ils reçoivent moins de retour que les autres sur les normes sociales et développent fréquemment des personnalités excentriques voir anti-sociales. Parce qu’ils ont souvent joué le rôle de “l’enfant parfait” au sein d’une famille narcissique, ils ressentent beaucoup d’émotions contradictoires une fois adultes: talentueux ou nul, béni ou maudit, avantagé ou persécuté. Dès qu’un partenaire leur demande quelque chose, leur terreur de se perdre dans l’autre est activée, et ils s’opposent automatiquement à ce dernier quelque soit le bien-fondé de la requête. Ne pas se sentir contrôlés devient pour eux la chose la plus importante, bien plus que de se sentir aimé. L’ironie est qu’ils sont en fait contrôlés par leur obsession de ne pas être contrôlés.
La crainte de l’envahissement cache une peur du rejet et d’abandon
En vérité, la personne “évitante” s’évite avant d’éviter les autres. Lorsque les personnes “évitantes” se ferment aux autres, elles le font essentiellement par peur de rejet. Elles ne veulent pas s’attacher à un nouvel amour parce qu’elles ont en fait peur de la douleur de la séparation qu’elles ressentent comme inéluctable. Cependant, à moins qu’elles ne s’engagent dans la relation, le couple est voué à l’échec et elles se retrouvent donc dans un cercle vicieux. Les cycles de rupture amoureuse dus à ses propres blocages émotionnels les isolent chaque fois un peu plus.
Le fait que “l’enfant parfait” ne se sente pas digne d’amour semble contradictoire. Cependant la préférence d’un parent provoque souvent le rejet de l’autre conjoint et aussi celui des frères et des sœurs. La personne “évitante” a tellement peur d’être rejetée qu’elle préfère être la seule en charge de tous ses besoins. C’est donc très difficile de lui venir en aide et de lui apporter un réconfort car elle garde tous ses proches à distance. Elle se sent menacée par toute relation intime à cause de traumatismes passés qui viennent en général de l’enfance. Comme tout le monde, cette personne veut être aimée, mais elle a décidé que l’amour et l’intimité sont trop dangereux. Quand quelqu’un devient trop proche d’elle, elle renonce à son désir d’être aimée parce qu’elle considère que c’est la seule possibilité pour ne pas avoir le coeur brisé. Elle ne croit pas que son cœur soit assez fort pour guérir et apprendre d’une rupture amoureuse.
Des problèmes relationnels récurrents
L’adulte qui était auparavant un “enfant parfait” et qui a mis en place des mécanismes de défense contre le parent envahissant et narcissique aura beaucoup de difficultés à s’ouvrir à son conjoint. Selon la théorie de l’attachement, la personne “évitante” est en générale attirée par un partenaire “anxieux/ambivalent” car il représente un aspect en elle qu’elle a réprimé: cet enfant intérieur rempli d’insécurité qui a dû se déconnecter de ses proches pour se protéger émotionnellement. Et par effet miroir, son partenaire se sent aussi mal aimé, rejeté et laissé pour compte. Et quand la relation devient insupportable, ils rompent. Ils sont aussi souvent attirés par des partenaires égocentriques. C’est leur façon de recréer inconsciemment l’ancienne dynamique de la relation parent-enfant. Ces partenaires narcissiques leur renvoient que les besoins des autres sont plus importants que les leurs, un autre traumatisme de leur enfance. Ils peuvent aussi attirer quelqu’un qui est tout aussi inattentif et émotionnellement indisponible qu’eux-même afin de ressentir leur froideur affective. Ils continuent à idolâtrer leurs parents même à l’âge adulte et leur partenaire n’arrive jamais à la hauteur du parent, qui en retour n’hésite pas à critiquer le conjoint pour renforcer l’idée qu’aucun partenaire ne pourra jamais rivaliser avec la relation parent-enfant. Tout cela est aussi un moyen pour garder leurs partenaires intimes à distance et de trop s’attacher à eux. La personne “évitante” est susceptible d’avoir des aventures extra-conjugales car cela satisfait son besoin d’intimité et d’amour physique sans le risque d’engagement émotionnel. Elle croit toujours qu’il y a une autre meilleure option, quelqu’un de plus beau, de plus jeune, de plus intelligent ou de plus riche.
Quels sont les traumatismes de l’enfance qui créent la peur de l’envahissement?
J’étais en fusion avec ma mère quand j’étais enfant. Ayant été élevée à l’assistance publique, elle avait des traumatismes profonds d’abandon. Je devins donc parentifié pour répondre à tous ses besoins émotionnels ce qui était amplifié par le fait que mon père ne remplissait pas émotionnellement son rôle de mari. J’étais dans ce contexte “l’enfant parfait” selon la terminologie de la théorie de l’enfant parentifié. Puis, quand j’ai eu 9 ans, elle a quitté le domicile familial pour commencer une nouvelle vie et je suis resté alors seul avec un père qui ne me manifestait guère d’affection pendant 18 mois avant qu’elle ne me récupère. Compte tenu de ce contexte d’abandon, il n’est guère surprenant que j’ai eu des difficultés dans mes relations de couple. Nous avons peur de la proximité amoureuse quand cette même intimité nous a apporté tant de souffrances par le passé. En tant qu’“enfant parfait”, nous apprenons à nier nos propres besoins au profit de ceux de nos parents. Nous avons appris que nos parents sont de meilleure humeur quand nous ne demandons rien et qu’ils croient ainsi avoir fait un enfant modèle. Nous étions impuissants et ne faisions que subir ces traumatismes lors de l’enfance, cependant nous avons désormais le pouvoir de guérir ces troubles affectifs par le travail intérieur.
Voici quelques-uns des signes que vous avez eu une relation trop fusionnelle avec un parent qui peut être source de cet envahissement:
- L’enfant est une source de soutien affectif pour les parents, et est le meilleur ami du parent
- Les parents partagent des informations qui sont inappropriées au vu de l’âge de l’enfant
- Le parent dit à l’enfant en toute confidence qu’il est le favori et le plus talentueux de ses frères et soeurs
- Les relations proches avec d’autres enfants sont découragées
- L’enfant se sent coupable dès qu’il passe trop de temps loin de la mère
- Les dons et qualités uniques de l’enfant ne sont pas renforcés si cela n’est pas utile au parent
- L’indépendance de l’enfant est découragé
- L’un des parents souffrait de solitude, d’alcoolisme, de dépression ou de rages incontrôlées
- Les parents vivaient une vie isolée avec peu d’amis
- L’enfant se sent responsable du bien-être du parent
- L’enfant est parentifié
- Le parent est trop impliqué dans la vie de l’enfant
- Les parents se plaignent souvent de se sacrifier pour leurs enfants
- L’enfant n’a pas un cadre qui lui permet de se sentir en sécurité
- Le parent est incapable de subvenir par lui-même à ses besoins d’adulte
- Un ou les deux parents avaient des problèmes de toxicomanie
- Le petit ami de la petite amie (ou vice et versa) n’est jamais assez bon pour le parent
- Les parents ont divorcé ou ne s’entendaient pas. Un des parents est mort jeune
- Il y avait un manque d’argent dans la famille ce qui incitait à rester tout le temps à la maison
Dans ce contexte, le parent ne tenait pas compte des besoins propres de l’enfant. Au contraire, le parent utilise l’enfant pour satisfaire des besoins qui devraient être satisfaits par d’autres adultes – l’intimité, l’amitié, la résolution de problèmes d’adultes ou se donner un sens dans l’existence. Les enfants n’ont pas la capacité émotionnelle à faire face à autant de pression psychique. Lorsque ce genre de parent dit: « Tu es un enfant si facile », il sous-entend «N’exprime pas d’émotions négatives». Lorsque le parent dit: « Tu es si mignon », il sous-entend « Sois ce que je veux que tu sois car j’ai des besoins à satisfaire ». La vie affective future de l’enfant souffrira énormément de ce conditionnement car l’enfant n’a pas reçu l’attention et l’amour inconditionnel dont il avait besoin pour grandir de manière saine et harmonieuse. Leur développement émotionnel s’arrête et comme leurs parents, ils restent bloqués dans une phase narcissique. C’est un cercle vicieux qui se répète de génération en génération jusqu’à ce que l’enfant devenu adulte fasse le travail intérieur nécessaire. Sinon, nous sautons d’une relation passionnelle à une autre afin de recréer le sentiment de fusion avec le parent avant de revivre le même envahissement. Mais une relation amoureuse ne peut supporter autant de projections et de pression et ce n’est qu’une question de temps avant que les disputes et les reproches ne remplacent l’infatuation première.
Solutions pour dépasser l’envahissement affectif et psychique
Parce que cet envahissement a commencé avec la relation parent-enfant, nous avons besoin de remettre en question les relations avec nos parents. La relation avec les parents est très importante car elle influe sur le reste de nos relations. Nous devons apprendre à communiquer avec nos parents en tant qu’adulte plutôt que de rester figer dans le rôle de l’enfant qui se sentaient contrôlé. Nous fixons un cadre claire avec nos parents quand cela est nécessaire mais nous ne sommes pas trop déçus s’ils sont incapables de le suivre. Nous devenons objectifs sur qui ils sont, leurs qualités mais aussi leurs défauts. Nous les acceptons comme ils sont sans pour autant tolérer tout comportement toxique. Nous les soutenons comme nous le pouvons, mais pas à notre détriment. Nous arrêtons de les blâmer pour nos propres difficultés et nous nous faisons confiance pour créer la vie que nous souhaitons.
Nous comprenons que les situations qui nous blessent le plus sont reliées à des traumatismes passés non résolus. Nous souffrons émotionnellement car nous résistons à voir ces aspect en nous qui font ressortir la honte ou la peur. Une manière efficace de travailler sur l‘envahissement parental est d’élever nos enfants différemment, en les rassurant souvent sur notre amour inconditionnel, en refusant toute forme de manipulation émotionnelle par la culpabilité ou la contrainte, ou en suivant des méthodes éducatives d’autorité positive et bienveillante afin de développer leur autonomie dans la responsabilité. Nous n’hésitons pas aussi à demander pardon à nos enfants lorsque nous faisons des erreurs tout en leur expliquant pourquoi. Cela évitera qu’ils nous idolâtrent et cela va les aider à s’aimer eux-mêmes en tant qu’êtres imparfaits. L’important est d’être un exemple car nos enfants apprennent avant tout de notre comportement plutôt que de nos préceptes. Nous prenons en compte leur âge et leur maturité avant de partager avec eux des informations sensibles. Nous encourageons leur indépendance sans qu’ils sentent abandonnés. Nous respectons leur libre arbitre, sans renoncer à nos responsabilités importantes en tant que parent.
Le plus important travail est cependant à faire avec notre partenaire afin de sortir de nos troubles affectifs. Nous nous engageons dans une relation authentique où nous nous efforçons de surmonter notre honte et notre culpabilité afin d’exprimer nos sentiments de manière constructive. Nous dépassons notre peur du rejet afin de dire la vérité de notre ressenti tout en restant dans l’écoute et la compassion. Nous exprimons nos limites et nos besoins personnels avec clarté et bienveillance. Nous refusons toute forme de manipulation et de calcul pour notre avantage personnel. Nous laissons s’exprimer ces aspects en nous qui ont peur de l’intimité avec présence et compassion. Nous n’avons pas peur de revivre consciemment les traumatismes qui se cachent derrière afin de catalyser notre guérison émotionnelle. Nous traitons l’autre avec le même respect et gentillesse que nous souhaiterions recevoir.
Nous attirons en général des partenaires amoureux qui expriment naturellement notre enfant intérieur réprimé. Au lieu de les brimer comme nous en avons souffert par le passé, nous inversons le processus et nous les célébrons afin de libérer ces aspects en nous également. Nous leur donnons tout ce que notre enfant intérieur n’a pas reçu. En les aimant de cette façon, les aspects immatures en nous peuvent se développer à nouveau. Nous sommes ainsi en route vers une destinée heureuse.
A lasting and fulfilling love relationship may be one of the rarest things to experience in this life as mere mortals. Couple issues are common and the divorce rate has been exploding all over the world over the past decades. When people needs are moving up the Maslow pyramid, from pure survival to creating a life that feels good, they have higher expectations and they aspire to an emotionally fulfilling intimate relationship. Many people are expert at projecting how good they are doing as a couple to the outside world but as soon as they are home alone, difficult arguments may start. Actually, very few couples are experiencing the following attributes that would characterize a successful intimate relationship:
- Feeling loved, seen, understood and cared for
- Enjoying spending time together
- Heartfelt intimate connection that translates in feeling the other in oneself such as giving to our beloved feels better than giving to oneself
- Physical affection including great sex
- Lots of laugh together
- Mutual trust
Such relationships are a very rare gift, and nothing can come even close to bring us intense happiness. Keeping it for the long run is even rarer.
THE LURE OF PASSION
There is a common belief that love stories always end up badly. This is why we say falling in love instead of waking up to love. Romantic love is this intense and all-consuming feeling to merge with another. It is not rational, explainable or conscious. It feels more like a mystical state than anything else. It stems from the depth of our subconscious. It yields incredible power to change the course of any life, and its primary purpose is to break the walls required to promote our inner growth.
Romantic love is a way for nature to urge us into forcing us to solve our unresolved fragments, to bring our shadows into light and to work out our Karma. It is one of the ways for spirit to orchestrate our growth as a spiritual being having a human experience.
First, intense love attractions are about our traumatic past so that we may re-experience them in a different form to bring them back to our conscious mind, and complete healing. Girls with an absent father will automatically look for an emotionally unavailable man. They try hopelessly and futilely to be loved by them. It is their subconscious attempt to get loved by dad again. A man who was abandoned as a child will repeat over and over this pattern of abandonment with his partners. We replay the trauma of the past tragically and we get hurt badly. Some of us are able to reflect upon these difficult experiences to heal our painful past to create a life that feels good. But many of us sink even deeper into addiction, or develop mental and physical health issues.
There is nothing like love to transform us to our very core. Love relationships also act as a strong indicator of the qualities we need to develop within to become whole. We fell in love with someone because they have attributes that we want to possess. They are guiding us through our journey of self-development. We are not even conscious of this process. Attraction is based on how much a person is able to reflect our disowned self. This is why shrewd businessmen lacking empathy are often attracted to highly sensitive women. They represent the heart they have lost along the way of their financial success. Unfortunately, we quickly start doing to the object of our love what we have done to the aspect of us this person is mirroring, the aspect of us that we have disowned. We shut it down, we judge it as weak and incompetent with the repercussions we know to the detriment of the relationship. This is largely the reason why many love stories end up badly.
The first beautiful phase of a romantic relationship shows us what we can become as we achieve our full potential. These states of consciousness include feeling incredibly alive, ego dissolution, feeling one with all, sharing and feeling love with an open heart. So why don’t we go directly towards this magical potential that we all possess instead of getting lured by the reflection of this love in another human being? Why don’t we go directly for the fire of self-love and trust that a beautiful intimate relationship will manifest in this physical dimension to mirror that love?
On an amusing and anecdotal note, many people give up on human love and just buy a dog. They know that no one would ever be able to provide this level of unconditional love exhibited by their pet. Some others just turn towards God, Jesus or Buddha because an imaginary being that they project as perfect could never do them wrong. They just project the pure love potential that exists within all of our hearts to an external projection. And some others again look for self-realization. At the end, it is all the same search for love, to realize that it lays within our own heart.
LOVE AS MANIPULATION
There are many wrong reasons to be in an intimate relationship with someone. We may be afraid of feeling lonely. We may feel incapable of taking care of ourselves financially, emotionally or physically. We may want to look good (or avoid looking bad) to our family, friends or community. We are ashamed of all these reasons so we manipulate to get our needs met. Seduction takes the form of manipulation. We show the other person the aspect of us that will appeal to their own insecurity and lack: we want partners with a sexy body to boost one’s self-esteem, another one with a muscular one to feel safe next to him, a wealthy partner for financial security, a witty boyfriend for fun, an intelligent girlfriend for stimulation or someone empathic for warmth and support. We all intuitively do this as part of the seduction game. So we start the relationship on the promise of what the other person is looking for, but this is a small aspect of us. Quickly, we cannot help showing who we truly are, especially if we live with our lover. All our flaws and all the dark reasons why we wanted to be in a relationship go on the open. This is the moment of shock where the beloved becomes ugly and scary. Unfortunately, we are already hooked and it is too painful to leave. It will remind us possibly of how unlovable or unattractive we are, or of the traumatic childhood event where we were abandoned. We prefer not to say anything, not to rock the boat. Tension builds in the relationship. More distance or activities outside the relationship are required to soothe this terrifying intimate mirror.
However, a relationship that was based initially on something we are not or very partially is doomed. It is simply not sustainable to keep pretending. Less and less of our energy gets invested in the relationship. We start looking at other options, project our own limitations into our lover, and build resentment. We enter the relationship on the basis of manipulation and we get surprised when we get manipulated in return. This is the story of the 65-year-old dating a 25-year-old who gets shocked at the price tag that comes with it. This is a business transaction, not a relationship. One of the most common and unconscious forms of manipulation is the game between the love avoider (typically played by the man but not always) and the love anxious. As long as the woman is not attached, the man showers the woman with attention, gifts, fun outings and compliments. But as long as the woman opens her heart to the man, he gets scared, feels suffocated and the fear of commitment takes over. The woman hurts deeply as a result so she starts detaching. He panics about the lost love and with the extra distance, the man is comfortable again to pour love again into the woman and does everything he can to win her over again. But he becomes commitment-phobic as soon as he wins her back. This game can continue indefinitely.
At worst, romantic love may also become a mirage, a coping mechanism not to face our inner void or even an addiction. At best, it opens the gates of our heart and to the divine.
I have a long-time friend now in his 70s who has a long history of relationships. He has done it all. In the 90s, I knew him in a polyamorous setting with 3 beautiful women. While this could have appeared like a dream for many men reading this article, he told me recently that being alone is better than being with multiple partners. And being with a special person is better than being alone. This was his wisdom after over 50 years of relationships and it was genuine. It is so easy for us to play games, lie to ourselves, get lost in distractions rather than opening our heart to true intimacy.
LIMITS OF COMPATIBILITY
After being burned out so many times with the lure of passion, we may decide to take a different approach. We go online and answer the hundreds of questions of match.com and eHarmony to find a perfectly compatible partner. Enough of the drama, of the crazy step kids and the misunderstandings. We finally find someone with the same interests in life, the same culture, the same sex drive, the same diet, the same vision for life, the same social status and with kids of the same age. The relationship feels good and drama free. We feel we have finally transcended our past traumas to experience a relationship that feels good. We realize we can be friends in addition to lovers.
But after a while, we feel something is missing. We are missing the butterflies in the stomach. We crave for that intense passion that made us lose our mind. We are missing this feeling of fusion where our ego dissolves. We start wondering about the opportunity cost of compatibility. We cannot deal with the grief of missing real love, especially when we have experienced it before and we know how it feels. We may have a great loving friend but we start thinking this may prevent us from meeting our soulmate. A compatible relationship may feel more like a friendship than love. While a strong friendship between lovers makes life much easier to live, there is still the part of us that likes to be out of control and even obsessed about the object of love. This intensity is making us feel alive. When routine takes over, our lover may feel more like a roommate who shares now with us all the stress and burden of our life. At the same time, just meeting for the good times and doing fun things together feels empty after a while. We want something more, a fusion where we are able to share all of who we are, not only the bright side. We starve to be seen fully in all of our light and shadow, and to be loved with all our idiosyncrasies. But we are terrified that our partner would run away if they see our dark side. After all, the personality tests we took were all about our conscious aspects and not the defects we are ashamed of.
In my practice, I see people with high conflict relationships that have been together for a long time, and some that never had an argument who just decide to separate. Conflict is not what ends a relationship. To some extent, we fight for things we care about. To stop caring is what ends a relationship. Some people see relationship just as a way to get one’s needs met. This is so prevalent in this time of consumerism and social media. However, a love relationship is more defined by what we are able to give than by what we are able to get. Love is not rational. It is not about convenience. It is more an art than a science. It is all about feeling, and it is hard to make sense of all these feelings. We like stability and peace, but too much of it makes us feel uneasy. The moments of doubt and uncertainty in the relationship make us remember not to take anything for granted, that we are together by choice and not because we have to. We marvel at that irrational love we cannot explain because it is unconditional. Great sex is based on duality, on the opposites that challenge each other. When we are too similar, the polarity decreases as well as the sex appeal. Sometimes, a lover may even create some futile arguments to spark some flames because she/he becomes afraid that the relationship may become dull.
DEVELOPING DEEPER INTIMACY
Relationships are difficult because we are a multiplicity instead of being a unified whole. There is an aspect of us that is looking for fusion. However, there is another aspect that is looking for individuality and freedom. As a person, we are the composite of many layers of our past development that encapsulate with each other. The baby part wants to find fusion again with mum, and the toddler in us wants to explore away from mum. And we possess many other aspects that contradict each other. To be a human being is complex and it gets worse as we age. This is why it is so important to be introspective to know oneself and become more attuned. This way, we can compensate this inner complexity with good communication to accommodate the needs of both our internal parts and the ones of our partner. Of course, it is easier said than done.
Love starts with getting infatuated with the partner’s qualities that we desire subconsciously, the aspects of us that we have disowned. This is a form of narcissistic love, where we are in awe of our own potential through the mirror of the beloved. I believe however that true love is based on embracing and even loving the other person’s shadows or quirks. This is what is going to make a relationship last.
The reality is that we do not want to work on a relationship. We want to be in the flow. Of course, when children, material and status considerations, fear of abandonment are in play, there are very big incentives to make the relationship work. So we start problem-solving the relationship like a problem at work. We read relationship books looking for the magical recipe to fix the relationship. Love becomes a project. We become roommates or business partners with our mate and the intimacy fades away. We calculate, monitor closely what we do or say to reach an outcome. However, the flow of love requires free expression and spontaneity. It is about creating a container large enough for the person to express themselves fully so that they may be seen in their totality. It is about living in the present without any parachute. It is about reminding ourselves that love is a gift and not a due and it may vanish or come back at any time. It is about letting go off control. This is where self-love is so important. If we do not possess enough self-love, the idea of losing the object of our love is unbearable. Jealousy sets in. Otherwise, we understand that our lovers just reflect the love that is within us.
It is a wonderful feeling to be in a relationship because we want to and not because we have to. This is only possible if we have enough autonomy. Two hearts that love each other in total freedom is magical and it can be so terrifying at the same time. And it is even better when we cannot even explain why we love someone. It is an act of grace. I have learned to enjoy missing a lover and it is a such good indicator of the love I feel for her.
A relationship needs space to grow and this amount of space is dependent on the people in the relationship. Creating space helps to counter the tendency we have to take people for granted, to remember the qualities instead getting stuck on the deficiencies. The time when we miss each other genuinely takes away the natural erosion of life and routine on the relationship.
I go back to the words of intimacy expert Peter Sandhill. According to him, it takes 3 main ingredients for a fulfilling intimate relationship. First, we need love or the powerful subconscious pull that brings two beings together. Every relationship goes through ups and downs, and without this powerful attraction, we simply will not have the perseverance and the commitment to face the challenges coming our way. Secondly, we need compatibility so that we may experience more beautiful memories, enjoyable shared moments and connection time instead of conflicts. This will keep the relationship fresh and limit the natural erosion of everyday life on the relationship. Third, we need the tools which are the combination of our inner work, effective communication and relationship knowledge. We need to stay students of life and commit to become the best version of ourselves because a relationship is nothing else that the closest mirror to the totality of who we are.
What makes love so unique is that there are no rules. It is a continuous exploration. As we evolve and reflect, we have the ability to co-create a relationship that feels good for both partners or part ways. There is no magic formula but we have much power than we can imagine to heal and experience gratifying relationships. We may learn from the experience of others but, at the end of the day, it is really up to us. Authenticity, communication, creativity, commitment, openness are the constants. And let’s remember that love is more about an art than a business where flow, inspiration, courage will always mean more than willpower, problem-solving and planning.
Version de l’article en Français (video in French below)
The black widow is a spider that is well-known for sexual cannibalism. She would sometimes eat her male counterpart after being impregnated. While the idea of devouring your mate may seem terrifying, the idea of eating your own offspring may sound unthinkable, but it has been observed with a number of animal species. Female wolf spiders frequently practice filial cannibalism. Zoologists are assuming they get an energy benefit from this unnatural practice and they might be using it as a source of food when other sources are scarce. This same behavior is unfortunately much more common than we may think on a psychological level with human beings.
Many of us enter parenthood more for unconscious reasons than conscious ones. For example, our parents had children so we feel it is the right thing to do. At a subconscious level, we may want to heal our own childhood by having children of our own. We may be afraid of being alone or need to make our existence meaningful by having offspring that will survive us. In some culture, there is some expectation that children will take care of us during our old age. On a more positive note, we may aspire to have children to experience unconditional love. While it is painful to separate from a romantic partner, time heals everything and we move on with our life. The same cannot be said with children. Children are the flesh of our flesh, and we are never able to move on completely from the loss of children. Conflict with our children torments our soul. On a psychological level, our children reflect our light and shadow even more than romantic relationships. This is why parental relationships suffer a high level of projection. As such, our children are ultimately our most challenging teachers, and often choose to fulfill many of our unrealized dreams.
The ideal parent is able to see the uniqueness of his children, does not project his own unfilled desires and aspirations into them and encourage his children’s development according to their own abilities and desires. The ideal parent brings unconditional love, presence and support to the child so that he may eventually become autonomous and create a life that feels good on his own terms. Parental love should be about what is best for the child independently of what could be best for the parent. This is why we call unconditional love and the hidden purpose of parenthood is to bring us closer to this state of being.
Unfortunately, many of us have experienced trauma and we are far from being an ideal parent. As a result, we suffer a number of psychological ailments such as fear of loneliness or abandonment, depression, disconnection, low self-esteem, scarcity consciousness and many other insecurities. As long as we are not whole and we have not experienced the fire of self-love into our heart to become a sun of our own, the reality is that we are likely to vampirize our children. When children come to this world, they are pure and radiate unconditional love. They are still connected to Source so they easily fall prey to parents that are not whole and will pass on their own traumas to their children. I have a number of coaching clients that had neglectful or abusive parents. They may be scared to revisit the painful memories but they had no choice but to accept the shadow of their unfit primary caretakers. As such, they can move rapidly through emotional healing as they are not trying to protect the ghosts of their painful past. However, I commonly have clients with parents that exhibit narcissistic love. These are actually harder to work with, as it is so difficult for everyone to let go of the idea that they were not really loved when they were the center of attention of their parents. Wires are crossed in these children. The child (or the grown-up adult) is still convinced that he was loved whereas he was actually used and manipulated for the parent selfish motives. It may be difficult to observe and accept as the parents apparent actions only seem to indicate love & care.
This type of narcissistic parental love may be expressed in many ways. Parental narcissism is actually so prevalent that many people may become angry while reading my examples below as these may be the only times where they felt actually loved and cared for. Narcissism is just a mental state that limits us to see only our own reflection and not the child’s uniqueness when we relate to them. Unconditional love is rare and precious, but once we experience it, it is easier to let go of this form of conditional love.
Too much emphasis on school grades
So-called “good” parents are very identified with their offspring school grades. They make sure homework is done perfectly. They get offended if their child gets less than a perfect grade and do not hesitate to schedule a meeting with the teacher in such case. They punish the child emotionally when they get an unsatisfactory grade. Actually, this parental behavior is unhealthy for many reasons. First, it teaches the children that they are loved only upon achieving specific results, therefore they are not worthy as they are. This is conditional love. Additionally, this attitude does not nurture autonomy in children. They work to get good grades to please their parents and not get in trouble with them rather than for their own good. This is programming them to choose a career in the future to please mum and dad instead of choosing a path that is truly fulfilling. Over focusing on school results is a way for parents to avoid their true role as educators. The smarter parents understand the limits of the school system, and coach their children in other areas that is not covered by standard education. They develop their children emotional intelligence, character, compassion, expand their horizons, teach by example, promote their interest in sports and hobbies. While it is important to coach our children to have good results at school, it is far from being a necessary condition for living a successful and happy life. Many parents with low-esteem will use a child with good grades to compensate for their own insecurities and personal sense of failure. If they have one child with good grades and another one struggling at school, such parents will cause deep psychological damage to the child that is challenged academically. This child will feel even more unlovable, unworthy and is likely to resent his sibling. This is setting up the unhealthy dynamic of the Golden Child and the Scapegoat that is well known by therapists.
When extra curriculum activities are used as projective identification
While it is natural for a parent to initiate their children to activities they are familiar with for their mutual enjoyment, there is a healthy balance to reach. I knew a woman who dropped off musical school when she was 16 as her parents had prepared her to become a concert pianist. She refused to play at home for her family and friends as the memories of the pressure of having to play 6 hours a day had been traumatizing. However, when she had a son, she made a point that he would take piano. She would teach him piano from time to time but every session ended with her son’s tears. She was repeating her own trauma through him by giving him the same harsh treatment that she was once the victim. There are some professional athletes that had to endure a high level of projection from their coach parent. The 8 times grand slam tennis champion Andre Agassi went public about his father who put him through a brutal training as a young child. When young Agassi rebelled, his father just shouted at the top of his lungs “You’re a tennis player! You’re going to be number one in the world! You’re going to make lots of money. That’s the plan and that’s the end of it”. Mary Pierce is one of the best French female tennis players of all times. Jim Pierce, her father, once reportedly screamed “Mary, kill the bitch!” at a tennis tournament his daughter Mary Pierce played in. He verbally and physically abused his daughter. His outbursts at events were so bad that the World Tennis Association banned him from attending all tournaments. Many parents use their children to raise their social status vicariously. They use their children to look good to their family & friends. Sometimes, they have something to do with their children achievements but more often than we think, the children’s accomplishment are reached despite the parents’ unhealthy projections. These children feel excruciating pressure from their parents to perform and this is hindering their ability to truly enjoy their sport or activity. They tend to exhibit a lot of stress and anxiety. Failing in the activity would just reinforce the subconscious belief that they are not lovable.
Using children as weapons of war
Unfortunately, children are often caught in loyalty conflicts. In case of high divorce conflict, the narcissistic parent would turn his own children against the other parent. The children are brain-washed to take the alienating parent’s hatred towards the former spouse as their own. These parents are extremely toxic they are putting the child in a position to hate half of themselves. The psychological damage that these children suffer has been well-documented. Even outside of parental alienation, it is quite common for a parent to project their own resentment toward a friend or family member with their own children. One of my clients used to have a very close relationship with her stepdad. However, when the relationship ended the mother manipulated her daughter to behave very harshly towards the stepdad to get back at him. As a result, this young woman has had very unsatisfactory intimate relationships with men as she is very tormented subconsciously with the guilt of hurting someone she loved. The same process of alienation is not limited to the narcissistic parent’s former partner. Loving connections from uncles, aunts, grandparents, cousins and friends can be severed the same way.
My daughter as a Barbie doll
If the girl is good-looking, she may be used as an object of self-glorification and unhealthy pride for the parent, typically the mother. She is made to wear pretty little dresses and apparel to become a way to boost the self-esteem of the parent. The daughter is therefore compensating for the mother’s fear of getting old and losing her attractiveness. There is nothing wrong in the action of making our children look good when we can afford it. It is all about the intent behind the action. We need to examine if we have selfless or on the contrary self-centered motives. Because there are so many parents who think their children are so incredibly pretty, many photography agencies are exploiting this parents’ weakness by promising to submit the photo-shoot to modeling agencies. They charge an outrageous price for the photo-shoot but never submit anything. In such instance, the mother is grooming her daughter with the sole intent of getting attention and this is not coming from a nurturing instinct. In another example, a mother felt some jealousy towards her sister. She went over the top to make her daughter look gorgeous before visiting her aunt. The purpose was not a friendly and caring family visit. Her real agenda was to show that she was better than her sister because she had such a lovely, well-behaved and pretty daughter. Good behavior in this mother’s book is synonymous to anything that her daughter does to make her look good, and bad behavior is the opposite. The child’s best interest is never considered. She is just seen as an extension of the mother and any attempt to escape from her control is severely punished.
Children used as retirement and financial support
This is more prominent in cultures that do not offer a satisfactory retirement plan to their citizens. Parents have children so that they may support them financially and even physically during their old age. Parents see children as an investment, and if the child deviates from the plan that the parents have set-up, they are condemned as ungrateful, selfish and unworthy. This is the opposite of unconditional love. Children are geared towards careers that bring more money such as doctors or lawyers instead of following their passion. This way, they will not be a financial burden on the parent but on contrary could contribute to the parents’ materiel well-being in their old age. A friend of mine got a law degree just for his father. When he graduated, he told his father “This diploma is yours, now I am going to do what I like” What a waste of time! A caring parent is preoccupied first and foremost with his child’s happiness, not with the benefits he will draw from his children’s material success. While transactional relationship are required in the field of business, the world of family and friendship is there first to teach us about unconditionality. Real love is about giving without any expectation in return. I have a friend who used to help a lot financially his wife’s parents when they were married. When they decided to separate, she kept the expectation that her ex-husband should keep paying for her parents’ lifestyle. She has been suing her ex husband for the last 5 years for exorbitant child care fees charged by her parents for spending time for their own grandchildren! The irony is that she is also preventing her children to spend any time with their father.
These self-centered parents are distorting reality to manipulate their children to feel a sense of indebtedness so as to better control them. One of my friends had a mother who had an affair with a young man during their marriage. She told her daughters that he was the love of her life but she decided not to leave their father as a sacrifice to them. In reality, she never had any intention to divorce as she enjoyed the financial stability of her emotionally unavailable husband. The daughters felt terrible as they felt responsible for their mother’s “sacrifice”. Many of these children, once they become adult, become very concerned when they receive anything in a relationship. They are afraid this may be used against them in the future. Some mothers may say they sacrifice having a fulfilling career because they had to raise their children while in fact they were afraid to face the workplace. People should never give out of sacrifice. Either they give from their heart or they should not give at all. I have heard from many grown-up children that they would have preferred not getting anything than feeling guilty because of their parent self-sacrificing behavior. They understand this is just plain manipulation. These parents have the habit of convincing their children that their own selfish behaviors were in fact self-sacrificing. They are just teaching their children that it is wrong to have needs of your own, and the only way to fulfill desires is through manipulation.
The helicopter parent
An helicopter parent pays extreme close attention to a child’s or children’s experiences and problems. This a coping mechanism not to experience their own inner void, self-worth issues and dissatisfaction about their own lives. They oscillate between being over-loving, over-protective or over critical to their children. With their actions, they are depriving their children of their own experiences and are severely limiting the child ability for autonomy. Children raised with helicopter parenting show poor emotional regulation as they are never given the space to handle, process and reflect on their own emotions. Whether they are feeling sad, angry, disappointed or distressed, the parent immediately takes over in solving the situation for them. Hence, they are disabled to handle real-life situations without their parent. The parent is enabling the child’s over-dependency of the parent. If the child is on school trip, the child will insist for example to talk with her mother at night before she is able to fall asleep. This child will continue to call her parent every day even far into adulthood. The child never cuts the umbilical cord with the parent which severely impacts his/her ability to experience life. The parent stays omnipresent and this leaves no space for other intimate relationships in the grown-up child.
The “gift” as a control mechanism
Such parents may give very generous gifts to their children however they may take the desired object just as quickly if the child deviates from their line of conduct. One of my friends had a boyfriend she was madly in love with. He was receiving financial support from his parents, and the parents found that she did not have the appropriate social status for their son. They threatened to cut financial support if he were to stay with her. He broke off with her shortly after. Another one of my friends got a dog when she was a teenager. She adored the dog as she received unconditional love from the animal in sharp contrast with her parents. The mother did not like the fact that her daughter could pour so much love outside of her. She got her husband to tell their daughter that they could only keep one dog because of the size of their house, but because her mother was very attached to her own dog, they would then give away the daughter’s dog. The daughter became so enraged with this decision that she actually became cruel with her mother’s dog. As a result, the dog started to exhibit some dangerous behaviors and they had to part with that dog too. The daughter developed some toxic guilt traumatizing this animal, and had to eventually work through it in therapy. This type of parent shows his or her omnipotence by making clear to the child that he has the ability to give but also to take away. In the most extreme form of this pattern, it is common for satanic cults to make little children attached to kitties before sacrificing the young cat in horrific ways in front of the child months later. This is imprinting the child with a deep sense of powerlessness so that they may be more easily controllable to follow the cult’s agenda. When the child becomes aware that anything they care for may be taken away at any time, they refuse to connect intimately with anyone or anything outside the toxic organization.
Preventing competing child’s intimate relationships
There are some parents that cannot stand if their children may start showing more affection towards someone else than themselves. They have a strategy of “divide and conquer” to stay #1 in their children’s heart or mind. Such parent would criticize the child’s boyfriend or spouse behind their back to ensure the child shows loyalty first to the parent and not to the romantic partner. One of my clients’ mother had left “inadvertently” an open bottle of pain medicine at her house and my client’s dog ate dozens of pills. The dog barely died as a result. Toxic mothers may even get jealous of their daughter’s attachment towards their newborn. In another situation, one mother took away her pregnant daughter’s chair as the latter was going to sit down. As she didn’t notice that the chair has been removed, she fell abruptly and almost got a miscarriage. These parents are very proficient at slandering anyone that may become too close to their child. These could be children, romantic partners, other grandparents, friends, animals or even competing activities that could prevent the narcissistic parent to feel his/her dominance. These parents only know possessiveness because they know no real love in their heart. There is a common pattern in families when the mother becomes jealous of the daughter as she becomes an attractive teenager. This mother would then use her husband to punish the daughter on futile ground. This achieves multiple goals at once. First, it reassures the insecure mother about the loyalty of her husband. Secondly, it antagonizes the daughter towards the father to ensure that the mother-daughter bond stays primary. Another mother would make sure to exhibit all his son’s pictures with his past girlfriends every time a new girlfriend of his would visit. This would make the new girlfriend feel insignificant and create strife in the relationship. The hidden purpose is to ensure that she stays the dominant female figure in her son’s life.
Before we can experience real love, we need to recognize what is not love. Narcissistic love can exhibit many of the attributes of real love: deep care and concern, commitment, gifts, affection and positive compliments. To differentiate conditional and unconditional love, we need to consider if the parent is able to see the child as separate to him, that he possesses his own desires, aspirations and dreams that may be different from the parent. While we come to this world in a state of fusion with our mother, the process of maturation is about recognizing our own individuality separate from our parents as we grow-up. It is also natural to be egocentric and think we are the center of the world as a small child. Problems start arising when we do not develop past this stage because of childhood traumas. Real love stems in complete freedom when we choose to spend time and affection with people we care for. Not because we have to, but because we want to.
French translation below – Article en Français ci-dessous
La Veuve Noire
La veuve noire est une araignée qui est bien connue pour son cannibalisme sexuel. Elle mange parfois son homologue masculin après avoir été fécondée. Si l’idée de dévorer son compagnon peut sembler terrifiante, l’idée de manger sa propre progéniture devient alors impensable. Toutefois, cela a été observé chez un certain nombre d’espèces animales. Les araignées loup pratiquent fréquemment le cannibalisme filial. Les zoologistes supposent qu’elles obtiennent un bienfait énergétique de ce repas contre nature et elles le font d’autant plus que d’autres sources de nourriture deviennent rares. Ce comportement est malheureusement beaucoup plus fréquent que l’on ne pourrait le penser à un niveau psychologique chez les êtres humains.
La plupart du temps, nous devenons parents plus pour des raisons inconscientes que conscientes. Nous pouvons le faire par simple mimétisme de nos propres parents. À un niveau inconscient, nous pouvons vouloir guérir les traumatismes de notre propre enfance en ayant nous-mêmes des enfants, voire même pour combler notre propre vide affectif. Nous pouvons avoir peur d’être seul ou nous voulons donner un sens à notre existence, c’est pourquoi nous voulons une descendance qui nous survivra. Dans certaines cultures, nous comptons sur nos enfants pour prendre soin de nous pendant nos vieux jours et ce également sur un plan financier. Dans l’ideal, nous pouvons souhaiter avoir des enfants afin de leur donner un amour inconditionnel et qu’ils puissent se développer afin d’améliorer le monde dans lequel nous vivons. Bien qu’il soit très douloureux de se séparer d’un partenaire romantique, le temps finit par apaiser un coeur blessé. Cependant, nous ne pouvons pas en dire de même en ce qui concerne nos enfants. Nos enfants sont la chair de notre chair, et nous ne sommes jamais en mesure de guérir complètement de la perte de nos enfants. La blessure persiste et tout conflit avec nos enfants nous perturbe profondément. Sur le plan psychologique, nos enfants amplifient nos aspects de lumière mais aussi notre part d’ombre, encore plus que ne le font nos relations amoureuses. Voilà pourquoi les relations parentales souffrent d’un fort niveau de projection. À ce titre, nos enfants sont en fin de compte nos enseignants de vie les plus difficiles. Ils choisissent aussi souvent de réaliser les rêves que nous n’avons pu réaliser.
Cependant le parent idéal est capable de voir le caractère unique de ses enfants, et ne projète pas ses propres désirs et vocations manquées sur eux. Ils encouragent le développement de leurs enfants en fonction de leurs talents et de leurs propres désirs. Le parent idéal apporte l’amour inconditionnel, la présence et le soutien à l’enfant afin qu’il puisse devenir autonome. Il les aide à se créer une vie heureuse. L’amour parentale devrait se focaliser sur ce qui est le mieux pour l’enfant indépendamment de ce qui peut être le mieux pour le parent. C’est ce que nous appelons l’amour inconditionnel et c’est ce vers quoi nous devons tendre en tant que parents.
Malheureusement, nous sommes loin d’être des parents idéaux du fait des traumatismes que nous avons vécu lors de notre enfance. Par conséquent, nous souffrons d’un certain nombre de maux psychologiques comme la peur de la solitude ou de l’abandon, la dépression, l’indisponibilité émotionnelle, une faible estime de nous-même, la peur du lendemain et bien d’autres angoisses. Tant que nous n’avons pas intégré et purgé tous ces aspects en nous et que nous ne sommes pas capables de nous donner de l’amour, nous sommes très susceptibles de vampiriser nos propres enfants. Lorsque les enfants viennent au monde, ils sont purs et rayonnent d’un amour inconditionnel. Du fait de leur innocence et pureté, ils deviennent les victimes de parents qui leur transmettent leurs propres traumatismes. Un certain nombre de mes patients qui ont eu des parents négligents ou abusifs, ont souvent peur de revisiter les souvenirs douloureux du passé alors que la guérison émotionnelle peut aller d’autant plus vite lorsqu’ils ne cherchent pas à protéger les illusions d’un passé cruel. Beaucoup de mes patients n’ont connu qu’un amour parental narcissique. Il est très difficile pour l’enfant une fois adulte d’accepter qu’il n’était pas vraiment aimé alors qu’il se croyait le centre de l’attention de ses parents. C’est une situation très confuse. L’enfant maintenant adulte veut se convaincre qu’il était aimé alors qu’il était en fait utilisé et manipulé a des fins égocentriques par ses parents. Cela est d’autant plus difficile à accepter que les apparences sont trompeuses, et que les gens extérieurs renforcent cette même image du parent parfait.
Ce type d’amour venant d’un parent narcissique peut être exprimé de plusieurs façons. Le narcissisme parental est en fait si répandue que beaucoup de gens pourraient sentir la colère monter en eux en lisant les exemples ci-dessous car ceux-ci peuvent être les seuls moments où ils se sont sentis vraiment chéris et aimés. Le narcissisme est juste un état de conscience qui nous empêche de voir à l’extérieur de notre bulle et donc de voir le caractere unique de l’enfant en face de nous. L’amour inconditionnel est rare et précieux, mais une fois que nous en faisons l’expérience, il est alors plus facile de cesser de s’accrocher à l’amour conditionnel.
Trop d’emphase sur les résultats scolaires
Ces soi-disant parents parfaits accordent une importance démesurée aux résultats scolaires de leur progéniture. Il faut que les devoirs soient faits parfaitement quite à ce qu’ils les fassent pour eux. Ils s’offensent si leur enfant n’obtient qu’une note moyenne et ils n’hésitent pas à exiger une rencontre avec l’enseignant dans ce cas. Ils punissent aussi l’enfant quand il obtient une note médiocre. Ce genre de comportement parental est malsain pour de nombreuses raisons. Tout d’abord, il montre aux enfants qu’ils ne sont dignes d’amour que par leur performance, ce qui veut dire qu’ils ne peuvent être aimés en tant que tel sans une action qui leur donne une valeur. C’est l’amour conditionnel. De plus, cette attitude ne développe pas l’autonomie chez les enfants. Ils travaillent pour obtenir de bonnes notes afin de plaire à leurs parents et ne pas avoir des ennuis avec eux plutôt que de réussir académiquement pour leur propre futur. Ils vont souvent choisir une carrière qui vont plaire à maman et papa plutôt que d’opter pour une vocation qui leur convient. La pression sur les résultats scolaires est aussi un moyen détourné pour les parents d’éviter leur véritable rôle d’éducateurs. Les parents plus expérimentés comprennent les limites du système scolaire, et aident leurs enfants à s’épanouir dans d’autres domaines qui développent leur intelligence émotionnelle, leur caractère, la compassion et l’empathie, l’élargissement de leurs horizons, et leur intérêt pour les sports et les loisirs. Alors qu’il est important de suivre nos enfants dans leur scolarité, les bons résultats sont loin de leur garantir une vie réussie et heureuse. Beaucoup de parents avec une faible estime d’eux-mêmes utiliseront un enfant qui a de bonnes notes pour compenser leurs propres insécurités et leur sentiment personnel d’échec. S’ils ont un enfant avec de bonnes notes et un autre en difficulté à l’école, ces parents causent des dommages psychologiques profonds en reproduisant la dynamique malsaine et bien connue de “l’enfant parfait” et de “l’enfant bouc-émissaire”. Cela montre non seulement que l’enfant est aimé de façon conditionnelle, mais cela engendre aussi une rivalité destructrice entre frères et soeurs ce qui permet au parent narcissique de renforcer sa toute puissance.
Lorsque les activités extra-curriculaires sont utilisées comme identification projective
Bien qu’il soit naturel pour un parent d’initier ses enfants à des activités qu’ils aiment personnellement, il y a un équilibre à atteindre. Une de mes connaissances avait abandonné le conservatoire quand elle avait 16 ans alors que ses parents l’avaient préparé à devenir une grande pianiste. Elle refusait de jouer à la maison pour sa famille et les amis car elle avait des souvenirs traumatisants à devoir jouer 6 heures par jour et regrettait de n’avoir pas eu d’enfance. Cependant, quand elle eut un fils, elle mit un point d’honneur à ce qu’il apprenne le piano. Elle commença à lui enseigner le piano, mais chaque leçon finissait par les larmes de son fils. Elle ne put s’empêcher de répéter le même traitement dont elle avait été plus jeune la victime. De nombreux athlètes professionnels doivent subir la pression et les projections de leur parent entraîneur. Dans le monde du tennis professionnel, le grand champion André Agassi a rendu public dans son livre autobiographique “Open” les entraînements terribles qu’il devait subir. Lorsque le jeune Agassi se révoltait, son père se contentait d’hurler à pleins poumons « Tu es un joueur de tennis! Tu vas être le numéro un mondial! Et tu vas aussi gagner beaucoup d’argent. Il n’y a aucune discussion possible! ». Mary Pierce est l’une des meilleures joueuses du tennis féminin français de tous les temps. Jim Pierce, son père, avait une fois crié pendant un match en parlant de son adversaire lors d’un tournoi professionnel « Mary, allez, tue-la cette salope! » Il abusait aussi verbalement et physiquement sa fille. Ses explosions de colère lors de matchs professionnels étaient si menaçantes que l’association mondiale de tennis lui a interdit d’assister à tous les tournois. De nombreux parents exploitent leurs enfants afin d’élever leur propre niveau social. Ils utilisent leurs enfants pour se faire valoir auprès de leur famille et de leurs amis. Alors que ces parents s’attribuent le succès de leurs enfants, bien plus souvent que nous le pensons, leurs accomplissements sont souvent atteints en dépit des projections malsaines des parents. Ces enfants ressentent trop de pression venant de leurs parents et cela les empêche de profiter pleinement de leur sport ou de leur activité. Au contraire, ils montrent souvent beaucoup de stress et d’anxiété. Ce genre de comportement parental renforce simplement la croyance subconsciente qu’ils ne sont pas dignes d’amour.
L’utilisation des enfants comme des armes de guerre
Malheureusement, les enfants se retrouvent souvent pris dans des conflits de loyauté. En cas de divorce très conflictuel, le parent narcissique n’hésite pas à retourner ses enfants contre l’autre parent. Les enfants sont manipulés pour prendre en eux la haine du parent aliénant envers l’ex-conjoint comme si c’était leur propre haine. Ces parents sont extrêmement toxiques car ils mettent l’enfant dans une position où il doit haïr la moitié de lui-même. Les troubles psychologiques que ces enfants vont alors développer ont été bien mis en avant par les experts. Il est aussi fréquent que les enfants s’approprient les ressentiments des parents envers un ami ou membre de la famille. Une de mes patientes avait une relation très proche avec son beau-père. Cependant, lorsque la relation a pris fin, la mère a manipulé sa fille afin qu’elle se comporte très durement envers le beau-père pour le punir d’avoir rompu avec sa mère. Par conséquent, cette jeune femme a eu de nombreuses difficultés en couple avec les hommes car elle est restée très tourmentée inconsciemment par la culpabilité envers son beau-père. Ce processus d’aliénation ne se limite pas à l’ancien partenaire amoureux du parent narcissique mais inclut souvent toutes les relations avec les oncles, tantes, grands-parents, cousins, cousines et amis.
Ma fille comme ma poupée Barbie
Si la jeune fille est belle, elle peut être utilisée comme un objet d’auto-glorification pour nourrir une fierté malsaine chez le parent, généralement la mère. On lui fait porter de jolies robes et vêtements afin de rehausser l’estime de soi des parents. La fille est simplement là afin d’atténuer la peur de sa mère à vieillir et de se sentir moins attirante. Il n’y a rien de mal à ce que nous voulons que nos enfants aient le meilleur quand nous pouvons nous le permettre financièrement cependant il faut regarder quelle est la véritable intention derrière nos actions. Nous devons nous poser la question si nous agissons de manière désintéressée ou égocentrique. Beaucoup de parents ont la conviction que leurs enfants sont d’une beauté extraordinaire. Beaucoup de photographes exploitent cette faiblesse en leur promettant de soumettre les photos de leurs enfants à des agences de mannequins. Ils facturent un prix exorbitant pour la séance photo sans jamais rien soumettre à l’agence. Dans d’autres cas, la mère habille sa fille dans le seul but d’attirer l’attention et de se faire valoir. Par exemple, une mère était jalousie de sa sœur. Elle s’assura que sa fille soit absolument superbe avant que cette derniere aille rendre visite à sa tante. Il ne s’agissait pas là d’une simple visite familiale amicale et chaleureuse pour la mère. Sa véritable intention était de montrer qu’elle était mieux que sa sœur parce qu’elle avait une fille si sage et si belle. Pour ce genre de mère, les comportements de son enfant ne seront jugés bons que s’ils vont dans son sens à elle et si elle peut en retirer quelque chose personnellement. L’intérêt de l’enfant n’est jamais pris en compte.
Les enfants utilisés comme un soutien financier
Ceci est plus commun dans les cultures qui n’offrent pas de régime de retraite satisfaisant à leurs citoyens. Les parents ont des enfants afin que ceux-ci puissent les soutenir financièrement et même physiquement pendant leur vieillesse. Les parents voient leur enfant comme un investissement pour le futur, et si l’enfant se détourne du plan que les parents ont mis en place, ils sont sévèrement jugés. C’est l’opposé de l’amour inconditionnel. Ces enfants sont orientés vers des carrières qui rapportent plus d’argent comme médecin ou avocat au lieu de suivre leur vocation. De cette façon, ils ne seront pas un fardeau financier pour les parents mais au contraire pourront contribuer au bien-être matériel de leurs parents âgés. Un de mes amis a obtenu une licence en droit juste pour son père. Quand il a obtenu son diplôme, il a dit à son père « Ce diplôme est pour toi, maintenant, je vais faire ce que je veux » et il commença de nouvelles études dans une branche complètement différente. Quelle perte de temps! Un parent attentif se préoccupe avant tout du bonheur de son enfant, et non des avantages qu’il tirera de leur réussite matérielle. Bien que les relations transactionnelles sont nécessaires dans le domaine des affaires, la famille et l’amitié devraient être basées sur un amour inconditionnel. L’amour véritable est de donner sans attendre en retour. J’ai un ami qui aidait beaucoup financièrement les parents de sa femme quand ils se sont mariés. Ensuite, quand ils ont décidé de se séparer, elle a consideré que son ex-mari devait continuer à payer pour que ses parents maintiennent le même mode de vie! Elle poursuit en justice son ex-mari depuis 5 ans pour payer les frais exorbitants de garde d’enfants réclamés par ses parents pour passer du temps avec leurs propres petits-enfants! L’ironie du sort est qu’elle empêche aussi ses enfants de passer du temps avec leur père.
Comportements pseudo sacrificiels
Ces parents égocentriques déforment la réalité dans le but de manipuler leurs enfants afin qu’ils ressentent un sentiment d’endettement et de culpabilité pour mieux les contrôler. Une de mes amies avait une mère qui avait eu une liaison avec un jeune homme au cours de son mariage. Elle a dit à ses filles qu’il était l’amour de sa vie, mais qu’elle avait décidé de ne pas laisser leur père car elle devait se sacrifier pour sa famille. En réalité, elle n’avait jamais eu l’intention de divorcer comme elle appréciait la stabilité financière de son mari même s’il était froid. Ces pauvres filles se sentaient donc responsables du malheur de leur mère. Un grand nombre de ces enfants, une fois adultes, deviennent très soucieux dès que quelqu’un leur donne quelque chose car ils ne veulent rien devoir à personne à cause du traumatisme lié à leur mère. D’autres mères disent qu’elles ont sacrifié une belle carrière professionnelle afin d’élever leurs enfants alors qu’en fait, elles avaient peur du monde du travail. Les gens ne devraient jamais donner par sacrifice. Il est préférable de ne rien donner si l’on ne peut pas donner de bon coeur. J’ai entendu de nombreux adultes dire qu’ils auraient préféré ne rien recevoir de leurs parents plutôt que d’être constamment culpabilisés. Ils comprennent finalement que tout était manipulation. Ces parents sont passés maîtres à faire passer leurs comportements égoïstes pour de l’abnégation. Ils enseignent à leurs enfants qu’il est mal d’avoir ses propres besoins, et que la seule façon de satisfaire ses désirs est par la manipulation.
Le parent “hélicoptère”
Un parent “hélicoptère” est trop identifié à l’enfant ou s’immisce de manière exagérée dans toutes les expériences et tous les problèmes de l’enfant. Il s’agit là d’un mécanisme d’adaptation afin que le parent ne fasse pas l’expérience de son vide intérieur, de son manque d’amour de soi et de son insatisfaction quant à sa propre existence. Ils oscillent entre des états remplis d’affection, sur-protecteurs ou très critiques vis-à-vis de leurs enfants. Avec leur ingérence permanente, ils privent leurs enfants de leurs propres expériences et limitent la capacité de ces derniers à devenir autonomes. Les enfants élevés par de tels parents montrent de la difficulté à gérer leurs émotions car ils n’ont jamais reçu l’espace nécessaire pour faire face par eux-mêmes aux problèmes de la vie. Qu’ils se sentent tristes, en colère, déçus ou en détresse, le parent prend immédiatement le contrôle dans la résolution de leur problème, et pas toujours à bon escient. Ces enfants se sentent donc perdus une fois qu’ils quittent le domicile familial. Le parent a créé une dépendance excessive de l’enfant. Si l’enfant est en voyage scolaire, l’enfant insistera par exemple pour parler avec sa mère la nuit afin de pouvoir s’endormir. Cet enfant continuera à appeler ses parents tous les jours quand il sera adulte. Cet enfant ne coupe jamais le cordon ombilical avec le parent, ce qui a de lourdes conséquences quant à sa capacité à vivre sa propre vie. Ces parents sont omniprésents, et n’hésitent pas à débarquer à l’improviste dans le domicile de l’enfant une fois adulte pour faire par exemple de nouveaux aménagements comme s’il s’agissait de leur propre domicile ce qui ne laisse par conséquent aucune place pour d’autres relations intimes.
Le « cadeau » en tant que mécanisme de contrôle
Ces parents peuvent donner des cadeaux très généreux à leurs enfants mais ils peuvent reprendre l’objet désiré tout aussi rapidement quand l’enfant s’écarte de la ligne de conduite qui a été tracée pour eux. Une de mes amies avait un petit ami dont elle était très amoureuse. Il recevait un soutien financier important de ses parents qui n’aimaient pas le niveau social de sa petite amie. Ils l’ont donc menacé de retirer tout soutien financier s’il s’entêtait à rester avec elle. Il a rompu avec elle peu de temps après. Une autre de mes amies avait un chien quand elle était enfant. Elle adorait ce chien car elle recevait un amour inconditionnel de l’animal, ce qui contrastait fortement avec celui de ses parents. La mère qui n’appréciait pas que sa fille porte plus d’attention à son chien qu’à elle-même, a mandaté son mari pour dire à leur fille qu’ils ne pouvaient garder qu’un seul chien à cause de la taille de leur maison. Comme sa mère était très attachée à son propre chien, ils ont alors donné celui de leur fille qui en a été très malheureuse. La fille était alors si en colère qu’elle est devenue réellement cruelle avec le chien de sa mère quand ils avaient le dos tourné car malheureusement les comportements pervers se transmettent généralement à la génération suivante. Par conséquent, le chien a commencé à montrer certains comportements dangereux et ils ont dû également s’en débarrasser. La fille a alors développé une forte culpabilité d’avoir traumatisé cet animal et d’avoir fait du mal à sa mère. Une fois adulte, elle s’acheta à deux reprises des chiens qu’elle finit par donner à sa mère. Le deuxième chien fut acheté pour son fils mais elle se plaignit de ses aboiements et le donna également a sa mere qui en fut ravie. Ce n’est qu’en faisant une thérapie qu’elle compris ce qu’elle avait rejoué inconsciemment. Ce type de parent montre son omnipotence en indiquant clairement à l’enfant qu’il a la capacité de donner, mais aussi de reprendre. Dans la forme la plus extrême de ce schéma, il est fréquent pour les sectes sataniques de faire en sorte que des enfants s’attachent à un petit chat avant de le sacrifier de façon horrible devant l’enfant des mois plus tard. Ceci fait naitre chez l’enfant un profond sentiment d’impuissance afin qu’il devienne plus facilement contrôlable par la secte déviante. Lorsque l’enfant se rend compte que tout ce qu’il aime peut être enlevé à tout moment, il évite de se lier profondément avec quelqu’un ou quelque chose. Son isolement est alors utilisé par l’organisation toxique à des fins utilitaires.
Nuire aux relations intimes de l’enfant qui pourraient menacer la suprématie du parent
Il y a certains parents qui ne peuvent pas supporter que leurs enfants puissent montrer plus d’affection envers quelqu’un d’autre qu’envers eux-mêmes. Ils adoptent alors la stratégie « diviser pour mieux régner » afin de rester maître dans le cœur ou l’esprit de leurs enfants. Un tel parent critique donc le petit ami ou conjoint de l’enfant pour que l’enfant continue à montrer sa loyauté envers ses parents plutôt qu’au partenaire romantique. La mère d’une de mes patientes avaient laissé « par inadvertance » une boîte grande ouverte de comprimés pour la douleur. Le chien de ma patiente a mangé des dizaines de pilules et il en est mort. Ces mères toxiques peuvent même devenir jalouses de l’attachement de leur fille envers leurs propres enfants. Dans une autre situation, une mère a enlevé la chaise de sa fille enceinte où celle-ci s’apprêtait à s’asseoir. Comme elle n’avait pas remarqué que le siège avait été enlevé, elle est tombée brutalement et elle a failli faire une fausse couche. Ce genre de parents sont très habiles à diffamer toute personne qui deviendrait trop proche de leur enfant, que ce soit des partenaires romantiques, d’autres grands-parents, des amis, des animaux ou même des activités concurrentes qui pourraient menacer la suprémacie du parent narcissique. Ces parents ne connaissent que l’amour possession et l’objetisation. Il est aussi commun dans ce genre de famille que la mère devienne jalouse de la fille lorsqu’elle devient une belle adolescente qui attire le sexe opposé. Cette mère utilise alors son mari pour punir sa fille pour des raisons futiles. Cela lui permet d’atteindre plusieurs objectifs à la fois. Tout d’abord, cela rassure la mère quant à la loyauté de son mari. En second lieu, elle créé ainsi un conflit entre la fille et le père afin de rester toute puissante. Une autre mère ne manquait pas d’exposer les photos de son fils avec une ancienne petite amie chaque fois que son fils venait avec nouvelle compagne. La nouvelle petite amie se sentait alors insignifiante, ce qui ne manquait pas de créer un conflit dans la relation. Le but caché de cette mère est de veiller à ce qu’elle reste la figure féminine dominante dans la vie de son fils qu’elle ne veut pas partager.
Avant de pouvoir expérimenter le vrai amour, nous devons apprendre à identifier ce qui n’est pas vraiment de l’amour même si cela ressemble à de l’amour. L’amour narcissique peut présenter un grand nombre des attributs de l’amour véritable: la préoccupation, l’inquiétude, l’engagement, les cadeaux, l’affection et les compliments. Pour différencier l’amour conditionnel de l’amour inconditionnel, nous devons nous demander si le parent est en mesure de voir son enfant comme un être séparé de lui-même et de voir qu’il possède ses propres désirs, ses aspirations et ses propres rêves qui peuvent être différents de ceux du parent. Alors que nous venons dans ce monde dans un état de fusion avec notre mère, le processus de maturation de l’enfant veut qu’il développe sa propre individualité au fur à mesure qu’il grandit. Il est bien naturel d’être égocentrique et de penser que nous sommes le centre du monde quand nous sommes petits. Les problèmes commencent lorsque nous ne dépassons pas ce stade infantile en raison de traumatismes affectifs. L’amour véritable s’exprime lorsque nous choisissons en toute liberté de passer du temps, d’aider, de faire plaisir et de montrer de l’affection sans rien attendre en retour. Non pas parce que nous le devons, mais parce que nous le voulons.
These are mature coping mechanisms that are transcendental in nature. They are followed by men and women who have realized that life is much bigger than the naked eye and what society has taught us. They are driven to explore their full potential, discover the meaning of life and find the God within themselves.
Meditation has become a very popular and mainstream practice. San Francisco airport has a meditation room called the Berman Reflection Room. Companies such as Apple, Google, Yahoo and Nike offer relaxation and meditation rooms. The general public sees meditation as a technique as the wikipedia definition indicates. At the beginning of the spiritual, our ego learns meditation techniques in search of benefits such as relaxation, inspiration, happiness and inner peace however true meditation can never be achieved this way. As a young man interested in spirituality, I would often attempt to meditate. My personality knew that it was important to meditate to evolve spiritually. If I were to lay down trying to meditate, I would fall asleep most of the time. So I would sit, try various exercises or guided meditations. I was actually learning concentration not meditation. Both are generally confused for each other. While this was useful to acquire more control over my thoughts, after a while my body would bother me and I would stop. Not much insight would come out from these meditation attempts. In my mid-thirties, I got a concussion from a ski accident which made me very dizzy for a month. After I had recovered, as an act of grace, the nature of my meditation was completely transformed. I started to be able to meditate effortlessly for over an hour without my body bothering me. I was meditating from my heart for the first time. Previously, all my meditation attempts had originated from my lower mind. Meditation started to feel like taking a sunbath rather than something laborious to do. It became an act of non-doing. I started to feel my creator, my divine self, my body, my feelings and my thoughts. I realized that meditation was first an act of listening, feeling myself deeply and not a technique. Until we reach a point where meditation is done effortlessly from the heart, we do not understand what true meditation is. Meditation can open the channel of our higher self as long as our heart is aligned, giving us ecstatic states of consciousness. In meditation, we can listen to the subtle spheres and advance much faster on our spiritual journey. Meditation can also be used for this physical dimension. We can feel the people in our life, the potentials in our life and, as such, make much better decisions. I could feel my loved ones and their personal struggles. As a business owner, I could feel the state of mind of my employees so it was a very useful management tool too. Meditation helps us to stay aligned to live a life that feels good. Over the years, meditation has become my refuge or my conscious coping mechanism. When I am faced with challenges, I automatically meditate to regulate my emotions, calm my mind, evaluate a situation and get clarity and insights about what to do next.
- Shadow work
We are all light and shadow, made of conscious and subconscious aspects or personalities. We are a multitude within ourselves. There are times where we feel stuck in an aspect that feels bad, or one that is completely numb. These shadows or dark aspects are created in 3 main ways. First, when we experience a trauma and we are not able to digest the experience, the mind would bury it into the subconscious so that we can get on with our life. For example, a woman who was sexually abused as a child could suppress her femininity because subconsciously she believed she got in trouble because of it. Others could become unattractive and overweight as a layer of protection against men. This aspect lives in constant fear of men and sees the world as threatening and predatory. Secondly, the shadow could be a protector personality from the traumatized inner child. Using the same example, there are many sexually abused women in their childhood who are hyper sexualized. To overcome their fear of men, they learn to use their sex appeal to take control over men to overcome their own powerlessness. However, because this process is unconscious, the individual has really two shadow personalities on top of each other. In this case, it would be a succubus protecting a terrorized abused inner child. In my case, as a teenager, I had developed a mean personality to protect my powerless and unloved inner child. This personality would say hurtful words to anyone trying to bully me. When someone is mean, it is always a protector personality protecting a hurt aspect of him/herself. There are no real perpetrators, only victims who cope in unhealthy ways. Third, shadow personalities are created from shadow aspects from our primary caretakers (transgenerational traumas). We have internalized unsavory aspects of our parents so that we could keep bonding to them even if they are hurtful. This is why, as we become conscious, we need to clear the traumas of our whole family line.
These subconscious shadow aspects act like magnets. They attract life situations or people with similar vibrations that feel terrible. The slow way of evolution is to learn from these painful experiences that we have manifested from our shadow self in this physical dimension. However, as we become more aware, we are able to identify early the feelings when we are taken internally by these dark clouds or pulsions. It feels gluey, similar to feeling possessed by a negative entity. We cannot think straight and we disconnect from our daily life. We feel horrible and out of control. Attempting positive thinking would do more damage than good in this frame of mind as it would repress these aspects even deeper into our psyche. The optimal approach is what we call shadow work. We use these times of torment to perform powerful healing. There are thousands of different soul retrieval processes, each one with their own benefits but the principles are always the same. First, we embrace the negative sensations and emotions instead of resisting them. This is the process of diving into the shadow without resistance. Secondly, we validate and show unconditional love & presence to this buried aspect so that it may fully come to the surface. Thirdly, the shadow aspect comes to expression. If this step is successful, a noticeable emotional release happens such as crying. Fourth, we bring unconditional love & presence for the healing to complete and let our extraordinary body perform its magic. Fifth, the mind can then analyze and understand what happened. This last step is optional. Shadow work is extremely powerful. When done correctly, after a couple of hours, we start feeling much better and can enjoy days of feeling much better.
- Disciplined thinking
When a situation upsets us, our mind has a tendency to go all over the place. We may go to catastrophizing, stop sleeping at night or struggle to concentrate on our daily activity. All of our energy is usurped by the problem. As we sincerely attempt to start controlling our thinking process, we will realize how little control we have over our mind. We observe that thinking happens mechanically most of the times. Disciplining our thoughts and mental attention is a lifelong process. Progress is slow but well worth it. Here are the most important techniques I have used all over the years that have served me well. Let’s say that a stressful situation just entered our life and we feel overwhelmed. Not knowing what to do puts us in a very powerless state so thinking on how to respond is healthy. Putting all of our thoughts on paper, evaluate the pros and cons, the benefits and the risks, best and worst case situations can help us get clarity. Then we define a clear strategy for action. Despite this, our mind will have a tendency to wander, and we need patiently and consistently to bring it back to what we decided with our rational mind. At other times, we go to bed full of worries so we are unable to sleep. The circling worrying thoughts are what keep us awake. Stopping thoughts is possible but very difficult. Instead, I recommend we focus our attention on our body sensations to fall asleep. We focus 3 seconds on the sensations of our right shoulder, relaxing it if tensed, then 3 seconds on the left shoulder. If our mind wanders again, we immediately bring it back to the body part sensation without belittling ourselves for our short attention span. We follow the same process with the right thumb, index, middle finger, ring finger, pinkie, and every other possible part of your body. Depending of our anxiety level, we will feel automatically asleep within minutes. This practice gets better with practice.
When we go onto our daily activities, it is very important to do only one thing at a time, and not start something else until the activity is complete. In addition to making us more productive, it is an excellent habit to discipline the mind. This way, the mind will be stronger when we face really difficult situations. There are life situations that stretch us to the limit. For example, our wife is threatening us with divorce or our business is risking to go under or we are stuck at 15,000 feet in high altitude sick with no energy to go down. This came from personal experience. In this situation, we are overwhelmed with scary and self-defeating thoughts. My practice then is not to believe the thoughts. I watch them and let them pass. These thoughts would be « I am going to be alone », « I am going to lose my children », « I am losing everything I have worked so hard for », « I am unlovable. I am always abandoned at the end » or « I am going to be bankrupt », « I am a failure, a loser », « I am going to be the laughing stock of my business community », « My employees are going to hate me for letting them down », « I am going to lose my house », « I will never be successful » or « I am going to die », « I have so many regrets of things I have not completed », « I can see my own funerals and people talking negatively about me ». I let them run through the body. This can result in shaking, shedding tears, sweating or freezing. Then I go back to my resolve which could be « you are my wife, I love you and we will find a way », « I went through many challenges and I always overcome them. I will find a way », « I will put one step after another, and with God’s grace I will return safely » following the scenarios above. In the spiritual field, we talk much more about the heart than the mind. However both are just as important. A clear and disciplined mind is critical for our daily life and the advancement of our spiritual journey. And it only comes by working on it every day. The Buddhist religion offers a great variety of tools and techniques to still the mind for anyone willing to dive deeper on this topic.
Presence is a simple concept but a very difficult one at the same time. If we ask everyone if they are present, they would quickly respond affirmatively, not understanding what presence actually is. Presence was recently popularized to the mainstream by Eckart Tolle with his best-seller The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment but all spiritual traditions talk about it in some ways. When we experience true presence for the first time, we realize we have been asleep all of our life. Presence is a feeling state that is hard to describe. It is like shifting our consciousness to an observer who can see us and what we are thinking or doing at the same time. As a young man, I first practiced presence by taking some walks. As I was watching the surrounding sceneries, I was aware at the same time of the « I » that was looking. To keep my focus, I would keep my awareness on my breath, the sensations of my body or the impressions coming to all my physical senses such as birds’ chirping. Before we experience the revelation of presence, we live a very mechanical life. We are like a machine programmed by our upbringing, education and environment. We react mechanically to external stimuli and we are fully identified with any activity we perform. We have little self-awareness and introspection is superficial. We have little access to our inner world. Presence changes everything. It is the light that starts illuminating our internal life from the inside to start freeing ourselves from the programs so that we may know ourselves. At first, presence may come only a few times a day for very short moments but with practice and perseverance, we can increase how long we can be present every single day. It starts with the process of self-observation. Presence is a form of divided attention when we stay aware of our observer self, what we are doing or thinking and sometimes even our transcendental self. It is very difficult at first so it is best to start with uncomplicated activities such as walking, driving or exercising. Later on, we may move to more mental activities such as reading or writing a paper. As we start practicing presence, we become aware of the principle obstacles of achieving this state : scattered mind, undisciplined body, overwhelming pulsions and emotions, fear, identification to activities, attachments, exaggerated concern for other people’s opinions, limited energy, inner fragmentation, false personas and inner lies. Presence indicates our level of being and it is the best indicator of where we are in the spiritual path. People who have more presence have a distinct feel. They have natural charisma and an aura that affect everyone around them. People are naturally drawn to them. We cannot acquire more presence unless we work on all other unrefined aspects of ourselves. It takes personal efforts and perseverance to be more present. I recommend having practices in our life that increase self-awareness such as meditation, yoga or developing the habit to remember ourselves as we perform daily activities. However, true presence is always an act of grace. It is the non-doing in the doing. It can never be forced as we need to bring a sensitive feeling state that can only come from the heart. In the beginning of the spiritual path, it is often the ego who wants to be present to achieve all the benefits of enlightenment…with very limited results. Overtime, the ego gets smoother (and bruised) through life experiences, becomes more conscious of its limitations, and presence can be initiated from a heart space. Presence can be practiced anytime in any circumstances. This is the most important spiritual practice of all. Presence is the light of consciousness. As they go through hard times, the people who are committing to personal development naturally practice presence. This allows them to find the answers of how they attracted the current unpleasant states in order to step out of it. This is why it is a mature coping mechanism. The inevitable struggles of life become then a stepping stone to develop more presence.
It is no surprise that a number of religions such as Islam are promoting fasting. Actually, fasting, statistically, shows the highest efficiency among physical methods of healing. When animals are sick, they have no appetite. And they will fast until they become healthy. Through my personal circles of acquaintances, I got to hear about a number of people who had terminal diseases and given only a few months to live and who were able to become healthy again by the simple act of fasting. Contrary to popular belief, many diseases are caused by eating, while fasting heals. Having gone through extended fasts, I can share my personal experiences. My definition of fasting is no intake of food but as much water as your body requires. I see fasting as a powerful detoxification process. The body saves tremendous energy by not digesting and can then focus on healing. The unhealthy parts of our body become then activated. This process can be uncomfortable but if we do not resist them and let the body perform its healing work, miraculous healing occurs. In addition of detoxifying the body, there will be the activation of suppressed memories, and a lot of difficult repressed emotions and internal aspects will then be released. This is why I recommend that people going through long fasts should do it in a safe and supportive environment such as a retreat with a skilled, medically-trained and compassionate facilitator. There is another reason why a holistic setting is ideal. Fasting gives its optimal benefits when the person is able to stay centered, introspective, relaxed, attuned and contemplative. Daily guided meditation combined with energizing exercises such as Tai Chi, Qi Gong or Falung Gong practices are extremely beneficial to facilitate the cleansing process. When we are not in a stressful environment and do not suffer from a major health condition, we have the ability to survive 4 months without food (but with water) so an extended fast of 21 days poses very little risk with the right environment. It is very beneficial and much easier than people think. However, fasting should stop immediately if there are any warning signs such as prolonged weakness or emaciation. This is again where having a medically trained facilitator is so important. Many medical experts are now recommending for people to do a full one day fast per week. Another very common form of diet is called the fast 5 diet that is followed by Wim Hof. With this diet, we eat everything we want everyday for only 5 hours a day (ex. 5 PM to 10 PM), and we fast for the rest of the day or the other 19 hours. For most people, this would be the equivalent of one meal a day giving our body a break the rest of the time. During my research, I found that streneous physical exercises at the end of the one day fast boost testosterone production which increases libido, muscle mass and energy levels. Working out on an empty stomach increases the production of human growth hormone up to 1300% in women and 2000% in men. HGH have enormous anti-aging properties, increases muscle mass and improves recovery. I have followed the practice of one meal a day with exercising before with extraordinary benefits. At 46, I am enjoying again the figure and stamina of my 20s. As an extra benefit, we feel extremely alive while performing our exercise routine. For all these reasons, I have included fasting as a conscious defense mechanism.
This concludes our series on coping and defense mechanisms. As life happens, we are always coping in one form or another. I invite you to use these articles first as a means for self-observation, and slowly to start upgrading your coping mechanisms to more conscious ones that better serve you. Before all, remember to be kind to yourself on your journey of self-improvement.
These are mature coping mechanisms that do not involve others and that are not transcendental in nature. They are acquired by wise men and women with the sincere desire to live to a higher level outside of any spiritual or religious affiliation. They constitute a higher path to deal with life struggles at a personal level.
Introspection is the most important quality of someone who is willing to grow as an individual. It allows us to reflect on the challenges of our life while taking responsibility for them. Someone who is introspective takes life as the ultimate teacher. We take refuge in self-reflection when we experience personal hardships as we understand that the outer world reflects the inner world. When attempting to change a situation, we reflect on our internal emotions and thoughts, without forgetting to take practical actions externally as well. Pain reminds us that we have more lessons to learn and we embrace the new struggle without resistance. We develop a new habit of developing self-awareness when life becomes more challenging. This way, we always make a profit no matter what comes our way. When life is good, we are enjoying it with gratitude and when things are tough, we focus on our personal growth. Journaling and meditation are activities that are the most conducive for introspection. Introspection can also be facilitated by a skilled therapist, a sympathetic friend or our life partner. Self-honesty and the willingness to see the truth about ourselves, no matter how painful it may be, is the healthy foundation for introspection. Our higher conscience has the ability to recognize truth from self-delusion. Truth has a very distinctive taste. It may hurt at first but only truth can set us on the path of liberation and healing. Introspection gives us the ability to ask the difficult questions about ourselves. After 15 years spent with a woman who was not introspective, I decided that introspection was the most important quality that I would look in a life partner. I am committed to personal development and my life partner needs to share the same desire. Genuine introspection is the best indicator for someone’s willingness to embrace change.
We are often faced with unpleasant situations. I am someone who would first try to alter the uncomfortable condition. However, there are times that no matter what we attempt and despite our best efforts, we keep hitting a wall. At that point, acceptance is the only path to inner peace. This is where experience and knowledge can be so useful as they can tell us what can be changed and what cannot be changed. All of us have a pet peeve with our romantic partner. They may be messy, snoring at night, not putting the lid down when they go to the restrooms, talking too much, being too negative, raising an obnoxious child or an annoying pet, eating differently than we do or dressing too casually for our taste. It is difficult for people to change so it is often best to accept the small flaws in our partner and continue to enjoy all the benefits of the intimate relationship. And this will encourage them to do the same with our own flaws. True love is first about embracing the imperfections of our loved ones, and paradoxically it will encourage them to change as they do not feel judged or pushed away. Accepting them does not mean however enabling our partners’ shadows. This is a delicate balance to achieve. Life is full of ups and down. We may lose a spouse through divorce, a house we love from financial hardships, a business because of a change in the industry or precious belongings from a fire or a burglary. The more energy we put towards the object of our desire, the more difficult it is to let go of it. After we have tried everything to remedy the painful situation, accepting the unpleasant reality is the only way to find peace again. I lost my two children to parental alienation 4 years ago. Five different therapists, three years of court battle, endless messages to my children led nowhere. I am not sure what can be more difficult in this world than losing our children. They are the flesh of our flesh. I studied in-depth the top parental alienation experts, listened to many other alienated parents’ tragic stories, went through many inner journeys to find answers in the personal tragedy I was experiencing. Though it felt incredibly unfair, and so damaging for my children I am unable to protect, there was a point where I had to accept the reality of the situation, and that both the mental health and justice systems are not equipped to deal with parental alienation in our society today. I had to accept that I have to wait for my children to mature, see from themselves the manipulation they were a victim of. I can only continue to work on myself to be ready for the time when we are able to reconnect, if this time ever comes. Resetting expectation is a useful tool to reach acceptance. We may have wanted to become a millionaire when we were younger, but life did not happen as planned. We may reset our expectation that having a happy and healthy family is more important. Or at the very minimum, we can simply be grateful to be alive. Life does not get easier, but gets much more challenging as we age. If we are able to live a long life, we are going to suffer the loss of loved ones, the decline of our health, drastic limitation in the activities we used to enjoy and whatever wealth we accumulated will not follow us into our grave. Acceptance is the antidote to the mental suffering caused by external or internal realities we feel powerless to transform.
- Letting go
Letting go is the process that allows us to reach acceptance. It is a process of elimination of the unnecessary. It is emptying one’s cup so that it may be filled with something new. Letting go is the act of moving from the limited mind controlled by the ego to open to the infinite wisdom of the universe that only our heart may access. Letting go is an essential part of manifestation. After we have expressed the intention of the manifestation of our desire, we need to take steps towards its realization but unless we are able to let go of the outcome, we will not get what we truly want. Our ego is an impostor. It makes us believe that it is who we are. It makes us believe that it is in control of our life and that it is the one that creates everything in our life. By doing so, it gets in the way of the abundance and effortlessness of creation. Letting go is the process of trusting life, understanding that life knows best what is good for us. Letting go is not to be confused with passivity and drifting. Letting go is the act of non-doing that needs to be joined with the doing. It comes with the understanding that we live in a quantic universe where everything is connected. As such, non-doing and letting go bring the necessary outside help so that our heart desires may come to fruition. To free the flow of creation and healing, we need to learn to let go of our ego attachments. First, we need to let go of our attachment to suffering, how we have been wronged and our personal misery. We felt so empty and alone that the identification with grief felt better than facing our inner void. Secondly, we need to let go of the illusion that we are in control. Our ego and personality have to realize their own limitations, and recognize humbly that they were created by a higher conscience. Third, we need to let go of all the lies about ourself and the world, and all the false personas we have created not to see the reality of who we truly are. There is nothing more difficult and terrifying than seeing ourselves without filters but truth shall set us free. Fourth, we need to let go of our need for comfort. It is impossible to growth unless we stretch ourselves to new limits everyday within reason. The ego mind is a powerful tool however it constantly wants to take roles that do not belong to him. It tells the body what to do instead of listening to it. It overwrites the heart desires. Letting go is the process of putting back the ego mind to its place so that we may become a unified body/mind/heart (heart is the path to spirit).
- Faith or the power of belief
Faith has a religious connotation however it is simply the power of belief. There are many people with a strong faith in themselves without being spiritual or religious. When we are confronted with difficult situations, our mind often goes to self-doubt or pessimistic scenarios that weaken us. Faith comes from the higher partnership of our mind and heart. Heart brings self-love, self-esteem, higher intuition and the support of the quantic universe for manifestation. Mind brings resolve, consistency and true knowing. This is why we say that faith can move mountains. I used to be a consultant in Silicon Valley. When I told an associate that I wanted to create a successful small company with 30 employees, I was mocked. But I had faith and every day, I worked towards building my company. 7 years later, the company I had started had 95 employees and contractors. I fell in love with a gorgeous woman who was a YouTube star, both an artist and a spiritual teacher. I knew nothing about her apart from her YouTube channel. When I told some of my close friends about my romantic interest, they thought I was dreaming. It was quite a surprise to them when they received several months later a wedding invitation! Faith needs to be anchored with a sincere heart desire and a strong mind but perseverance and patience are ultimately what bring our dreams to reality. When our mind goes astray in face of adversity, it is natural to be assaulted by many negative thoughts. My practice in this situation is not to believe the thoughts, let them pass and remember my resolve. It is at first very difficult but it gets better with practice. The logo of my coaching business says « À cœur Vaillant, rien d’impossible » which means that nothing is impossible with a brave heart. I have faced in my life numerous challenges and I am the living proof that everything can be healed, digested and transformed into something better. It does not take special gifts but the sincere desire to work at it every day.
After we go through a painful or even a traumatic event, the first sensible step is to validate the hurt inner child. At that stage, it is healthy and very healing to embrace victimhood, powerlessness, anger, fear, shame or any negative emotion we may be experiencing. Once the stuck emotions are released and diffused, the stage of self-responsibity is just as critical. We become introspective and ask why we have attracted or even created this painful situation into our lives? We look for the gift that lies behind the suffering. Self-responsibility makes us rise above victimhood, apathy and powerlessness. At the personality level, some of the situations we encounter are completely unfair and powerless. A child does not chose his parents or the environment he is born into. A child never chooses to be abandoned, beaten or raped. However, as adults, we have the choice to heal and get better instead of repeating the cycle of trauma. We have the choice to re-parent ourselves for everything we did not receive as a child. We may have no control of what is happening to us, however we always have a choice as an adult how we respond to even very powerless situations. Unless we take responsibility for our life and we understand that our external life is a perfect mirror to who we are internally, we cannot even start to make constructive changes in our life. Self-responsibility is what brings us to action and takes us out of powerlessness. Now, at a transcendental level, everything that happens to us, even the most horrific and unjust events, are something we have chosen as a soul. This is something I have experienced personally but unless you have the same realization, do not take my word for it as this belief can damage you if it is used as a form of spiritual bypassing. One of my interpretations of the Ho’oponopono prayer is the plea from the soul to the personality : « I am sorry for the pain you are experiencing. Please forgive me for creating this cruel event meant to lead you towards the path of perfection. Thank you for your courage and not giving up. I love you for everything you are and you do, and I will be always there watching over you ». After we fully realize that we are responsible for everything that happened to us since our birth, the most difficult step is to forgive ourselves.
It can be argued that life has no meaning or that the meaning of life is simply to be experienced and lived. When faced with the same traumatic event, different people create very different meanings. Some will say that they are damned and life is not worth living. Others will see the world as dangerous and will shut down to others and new experiences. A last category will see the gifts that came from the tragedy and would even say this is the best thing that ever happened to them. Actually, so many cancer survivors are talking this way about their terrible disease. If you Google « cancer is the best thing that happened to me », you will get 1,210,000,000 results! Who is right? Actually, everyone is right as we create our reality according to our beliefs. So why not choose a belief that may best support our happiness? Does it really matter if we are right or not? Isn’t how we feel in our heart more important? Why not become more detached with our judgments, and simply adopt beliefs that may serve us best in our present life. Once these beliefs do not serve anymore, we can let them go and adopt new ones that better serve us. Human beings are creators of meaning and this is one of the most powerful tools against adversity. Viktor Frankl created a new healing modality from this concept called logotherapy. Viktor was a psychotherapist in Austria, and he challenged the nazi regime by refusing the euthanize the mentally ill in the psychiatric hospital he was working at. He was sent to concentration camps with his family in 1942. Viktor, against all odds and while considering himself much weaker physically than many of the other prisoners, managed to survive while almost everyone around him, including his own family succumbed to the horror of the holocaust. He noticed that the ones who survived were often the ones who were able to create meaning from their suffering. Viktor had committed to write about the conditions of the concentration camps so that it may never happen again and this is what kept him alive. He saw meaning as the way towards happiness and self-actualization. Nelson Mandela was sentenced to life-imprisonment in 1964. The living conditions of the in-mates were brutal. They had to be up by 5:30 AM. They had a bucket with cold water for their toilet, and had to break stones until 4 PM. Food and living conditions were horrendous. His son died while he was incarcerated. Despite this, he transformed his prison into a university by educating himself as much as he could during his spare time. He grew his own garden with tomato, lettuce, radish and watermelon. He spent 26 years in prison and was only released when he was 72 to become the political leader that we know. He never lost sight of his mission and the belief he had to transition his country out of apartheid. He created meaning from every hardship he encountered to create an extraordinary life from the most powerless circumstances. We need to remember that we always have a choice. In parental alienation cases, targeted parents face the same powerlessness as the children are brainwashed by the narcissistic parent to be used as weapons of war. In most cases, the mental health and legal systems make things worse instead of protecting children to have both parents in their life. Even in this situation, the targeted parent can decide to grieve and heal to become the best version of themselves during this long period of separation. They can create the meaning that their children will greatly need them when they finally break free from the chains of the alienator. From this new meaning, they are able to transmute their personal tragedy into the most formidable self-actualization.
Life brings challenges that often stretch us to our limits. Coping and defense mechanisms are necessary to help us survive these traumatic events. We can actually take advantage of these hardships to help us develop higher responses to life struggles and build our personal character. This process is essential to develop virtue, personal integrity, and experience inner peace. As we make these mature coping mechanisms second nature, our quality of life significantly increases and we develop higher self-esteem, self-confidence, self-control as we live a more compassionate life. The mature coping mechanisms listed below are connected with other people so we are calling them interpersonal.
Undoing is a defense mechanism in which a person tries to remedy an unhealthy, hurtful or otherwise threatening thought or action by engaging in good and repairing behaviors. When we extend sincere apologies, it is a form of undoing. If we feel we have been neglecting our wife, undoing would mean coming home with a beautiful bouquet of flowers with some chocolate. If we feel we punish our child too severely, we can organize a trip together to the local amusement park. At a collective level, the United States, the United Kingdom and many countries of the international community supported or did not oppose the take-over of Palestine by Jewish people after realizing the scale of the holocaust that took the lives of 6 million Jews. It confirmed Zionists’ claim that Jews needed a country to escape persecution and antisemitism. While undoing comes from a good intent, we need to become fully conscious of the consequences of actions meant to undo the previous wrongful deeds. As the old adage says, hell is paved with good intention. One of my best friends has two children with a ex-husband man that we will call John. John is 40 years old, but is quite immature and irresponsible. He still lives with his parents and can rarely hold a job more than 6 months. He behaves more like an entitled teenager rather than a caring father. His parents give him a monthly allowance and pay for any trip he takes with his children. During his custody time, he often drops his children with his parents as he indulges in parties, drugs and girls. John does not provide the structure and the stability that his children need, and his erratic behavior exposes them to unnecessary harm. John’s parents feel guilty towards their son as they are workaholics and were never present emotionally with him when he was a child. They do not realize their financial support is enabling their son’s bad behaviors and is preventing him from taking responsibility for his life. Along the same line, if we give a gift to our wife every time we hurt her, she may start hating our gifts as they will be associated with pain. The donation of the state of Israel has been responsible for 75 years of war in the Middle East. While Jerusalem holds special significance, the Jews may have been provided with a territory that could have caused much less conflict and allowed them to thrive economically while living in peace. In the state of Utah which is mostly a desert, the Mormons represent 70% of the population. They are now the richest cult in the world and they are remarkably integrated. The Jews would have probably enjoyed an even higher prosperity and peace if they had been granted a territory that was not already populated. Undoing is useful but it is important to reflect if the repairing action will yield the positive results that we intended.
Compartmentalization is actually a form of repression that is mature. We may have been adversely affected by an event but the current situation may require us to focus on something external instead of working internally to process our raw emotions. It is mature only if we are making the conscious choice to commit to take time to process the compartmentalized difficult emotions once it is safe to do so whether through meditation, with an outside therapist, or with a skillful coach. Otherwise, this becomes repression and not compartmentalization. I remember a time when my partner was triggered but we had hardly any time to make our flight connection. We decided to take care of her emotions once we were settled in the next plane. Alternatively, we may be at workplace where it is not safe to process and share emotions so we wait until we can be alone or with loved ones at home who can hold a safe place for us. Or you may find yourself in a dangerous situation with your family. Before taking care of your own emotions, your focus needs to be rightly so on the safely of your loved ones. Compartmentalization gets better with experience and practice. It takes a double awareness, first of our internal state and second of our external environment. Then, we apply good judgment in prioritizing each. This is how we train our nervous system to become more mature. This is an exercise of balance. People who are too concerned about the external environment may be too repressed, and there are others that express whatever comes through them with no concern how it may impact other people. The codependent falls in the first category while the borderline falls in the latter. The conscious individual evaluates both his internal and external world to determine if s/he should compartmentalize or focus on processing his emotions.
- Conscious emotional release
Our society at large does not have a healthy relationship towards negative emotions. Actually, many people have made an enemy of negative emotions. They see them as unnecessary, and they do everything to repress or suppress them in themselves and other people. They just end up damaging themselves and others, and repression makes things worse not better. And the very thing they are repressing or resisting are then manifesting in their lives in tragic ways. While negative emotions are made of lower vibrational psychic energies, they have a very important purpose for healing. Their purpose is to help releasing traumas, grief and any perceived attack on our psyche. While it is possible to process and transform lighter negative emotions through meditation, introspection and right thinking, we may need to use our body’s incredible healing ability for a conscious emotional release. Once, I participated in a conscious emotional release session at the Pachamama community in Costa Rica. Loud music was played, and we were allowed to scream, cry, hit pillows and lash our anger using swimming pool noodles. The only rule was to keep each other safe and not damage the facility. I experienced my internal hate and anger in ways I did not imagine as I had developed a cover spiritual personality that had censored all these dark emotions. I allowed myself to go fully through the process however. While I was feeling down before starting the conscious emotional release, I enjoyed a blissful state of mind the following days as I had been able to expulse from my system much grief. Holotropic breathwork is also a very cathartic experience for the same reason. It helps to release all the past accumulated traumas in the cellular memories. The body may be crying, yelling, jumping around, hitting a pillow or even vomiting as it goes through its own purging and healing. In an even more intense way, an Ayahuasca journey is meant to help us purge and let go of past traumas and repressed negative emotions. The concept of the necessity of conscious emotional release is slowly becoming more widespread. Public punching bags were recently installed in New-York City in an attempt to stop people from taking their frustrations out on each other.
- Altruism and compassion
Altruism is the concern for happiness of other human beings, animals and even plants. Altruism is form of selflessness which is the opposite of selfishness. It is a traditional virtue in many cultures, various religious traditions and secular worldview. Compassion motivates people to go out of their way to help the physical, mental, or emotional pains of another. Compassion is often regarded as having empathy, and feeling the suffering of others and it is based on the concepts of fairness, justice, and interdependence. Focusing on alleviating the suffering of others can be a remarkably effective to step out of depression and rebuilding self-confidence. Several years ago, as I was going through a brutal divorce, I had the spiritual practice to volunteer once a week in jail. I would teach meditation there, provide spiritual counseling and facilitate transformational emotional release with in-mates. While I would typically arrive tired, worried and frustrated from the day, helping in-mates elevated my state of being considerably. They were very receptive to my classes and we often had major break-throughs. This helped me regain self-confidence, feel a sense of purpose and break away from powerlessness and depression. I would come home late at night fully energized. Again, in 2018, after a painful break-up and losing my children through parental alienation, I set-up a healing house where I helped hundreds to work through and heal emotional traumas. It worked like magic to accelerate my own path of healing and recovery while being useful to the community. When we help others unconditionally from the purity of our heart, we are reminded of our true nature and the universe conspires for our happiness. Therapists, social workers and various healers are often people who have been serious traumatized in their childhood. They are looking to heal themselves by helping others. This is the archetype of the wounded healer. My vocation as a coach is following the same pattern. I can bring people out of their own misery because this is a path I have taken myself. By using the wisdom of our suffering to serve others, we transcend our limited ego and the illusion of separateness. The saints that are walking this earth see God’s mirror in every human being and in the whole of creation, and they are obsessed with improving the lives of anyone they touch as an extension of the self-love they feel from within. Selfishness grows from the hurt little boy or little girl in us. This aspect of us got emotionally hurt because no one was there to support us emotionally during a tormented time. We felt abandoned, lonely and we started to feel disconnected and separate from others. We started to perceive this world as dangerous and threatening. Fear took the place of love. We shut down emotionally to others and to the external world. In a desperate attempt to survive, we draw all resources to ourselves. Spiritual awakening is nothing else than moving from this disconnected hurt inner child to our divine child that knows itself as pure love. A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens, is the inspiring story of Scrooge who undergoes a spiritual illumination to move from selfishness to altruism.
Humor is the act of provoking laughter and providing amusement. The term derives from the humoral medicine of the ancient Greeks, which taught that the balance of fluids in the human body, known as humors controlled human health and emotion. Laughter and humor are indeed some of the most effective forms of emotional release and can help us eliminate toxic negative emotions. Many stand-up comedians are able to transmute their own traumas through humor. I have a friend Amber Dawn Lee who survived a childhood of sexual abuse from a deviant polygamous Mormon. Her brillant stand-up comedies have provided her with a creative outlet of this traumatic childhood. On a similar note, I attended last year in Salt Lake City the TEDx speech of Collin Williams. He expressed how stand-up comedy saved his life by helping him overcoming a childhood where he was sexually molested by a family member. In the same way as altruism, humor allows us to take distance from the traumatic memories. It allows us to disidentify with our limited ego and promote emotional healing. The attachment to our suffering is one of the most important factors that prevents us from integrating our painful past. Humor catalyzes us to stop taking our suffering so seriously. It goes without saying that only the person that underwent the abuse should be permitted to make humor about it. Also humor can only take place after we were able to validate all the painful emotions associated with the trauma. Unless genuine forgiveness has been reached, humor may just damage us emotionally further. Even as we go through the worst ordeals, we can tell ourselves « one day, I will be able to laugh about it ». Yesterday, a friend of mine was amusing us with horrific stories from his divorce 30 years ago. When we are able to laugh about a difficult past experience, the circle of healing has been accomplished. For this reason, I can laugh at my time with a cult in my 20s, some of dramatic past relationships or turbulent business experiences. But there are some still painful situations that I am unable to laugh at. This is a good indicator of what I have been able to heal fully and where there is inner work left to do.
This is the highest form of coping mechanism. With sublimation, we take the most painful aspects of our life, and we take action so that other people may not experience the same tragedy. Ryan Thomas was an alienated child and did not have any contact with his father from age 10 to 25 as he had been used as a weapon of war against his own father by his mother and the parents of his mother. In his mid thirties, after fully understanding the dynamics of parental alienation that affected him so adversely, he left a successful corporate career to dedicate himself helping alienated parents and children. His teaching, books and sessions are helping thousands to survive and overcome parental alienation. Our society gets better by the sublimation of people overcoming and digesting their own pain to help others. In less than 100 hundred years, the place of women and minorities in our society changed radically for this reason. Many minorities were able to break away from powerlessness, challenge the status-quo and rise above victimhood to show there was a better way to live collectively. The sublimation of life’s deepest sorrow can serve as an engine for launching a career that we feel truly passionate about. Steve Hassan was a moonie (a member of the Moon cult or Unification Church). After a car accident, he was able to realize his own indoctrination and started to break free from mind control. He has dedicated his life to help people to exit destructive cults since 1976. A personal tragedy can become a stepping stone to change the status quo. What is or has been your deepest pain ? How can you use it to make this world a better place ?
- Asking for support
Many of us have learned to be overly self-reliant because we became so afraid of rejection. It takes courage to ask for help and support when we are facing a difficult time. When we are already feeling down because of the struggle we are facing, getting rejected on top of it may just seem unbearable. After my wife and I separated last year, I reached out to my friend Jacques and his wife Valérie to stay with them near Paris to get their support for my aching heart. I was definitely afraid to reach out out of fear of rejection but I am so glad I did as our week together was so important in my recovery. Parents can also be a great source of support. When this is not the case, it is critical to have access to a friend, coach, healer or therapist that can make themselves available on a short notice. Having a support system can be a life-saver in difficult situations. It is important to nurture this support system outside of personal crises so that it may be available when we need it the most. Thinking of birthdays, giving small gifts, keeping in touch through small attentions are part of that nurturing. Personal crises are also the time when we can differentiate real friends from acquaintances of convenience. When I divorced, many so-called friends became unsupportive and even antagonistic and they were influenced by my ex-wife’s propaganda. This is also why we should take any opportunity to help our close friends when they are in need. This will inspire them to do the same from the bottom of their heart when we need it the most. Moving from relationships that are transactional to ones that are more unconditional makes life feel so much better. Most people love helping other people when they feel valued and that their efforts are appreciated. It boosts their self-confidence and makes them feel good about themselves. Asking for support is more often than not a win-win proposition.
Humility is a liberation from the consciousness of the limited ego, a form of temperance that is neither having pride nor indulging in self-deprecation. Humility is the awareness to be simply dust in this infinite universe while understanding we are connected to the whole. Humility keeps us aware of our mortality and our limitations without feeling bad about it. On the opposite, it brings contentment and inner peace as we stop fighting for an imaginary sense of self. Humility is the protection against the inflated ego, the illusion of being higher and separate from other people. This sincere humility grows from our personal experience of hardship, tragedies and losses. This suffering makes us intimately aware of the wrongful actions that create strife and misery. It promotes the development of empathy, makes us closer to other human beings as we get inspired to stop the cycle of pain. Humility keeps us in touch with reality and our place in the world. I love tennis and Rafael Nadal is a tennis champion who shows great humility. Even though he is one of the greatest players of all time, he respects every opponent and never underestimates the opponent when facing someone with a lower ranking. He uses this form of extreme humility to help him deal with pressure and to stay concentrated on every match and every point. At this level, he is aware that complacency can be fatal. Additionally, humility is very much appreciated by other people especially after we attain a significant achievement. It continues to make us accessible and relatable to other people while our achievement distances us from them. Jesus said that others could do better than him “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father”. When it is heartfelt and genuine, humility only provides benefits. Paradoxically, it is indicative of a strong self-esteem. It shows the vulnerability of someone who has no false persona to protect.
In psychoanalysis, the ego is the part of the mind that mediates between the conscious and the unconscious and is responsible for reality testing and a sense of personal identity. It is composed of a group of personalities that projects our identity to the external world. It is located in our head rather than in our heart. It is the concept of who we are. So in this sense, ego is necessary as we interact with this physical reality. Ego is however perceived negatively because most of us do not have a “pure” or conscious ego that can act as a clear channel between the different aspects of our being. So ego becomes this imaginary sense of self that is based on separateness. Ego is a false sense of who we are. It is mostly preoccupied in hiding all the things it is ashamed of about oneself. It spends a huge amount of energy burying into the subconscious a lot of truths that are inacceptable, or bringing to the conscious lies that conform to our false persona. When someone is said to have a big ego, it means that they have an inflated sense of self that is not based on reality. One of the most important aspects of the spiritual path is the courage to see our shadows, and to feel ourselves outside of the filters of our ego. The following coping mechanisms listed below are just attempts for our false ego to hang on to its imaginary sense of self and resist the painful truths about itself.
- Social comparison
People have an innate drive to evaluate themselves, often in comparison to others. This comes from the fact that many of us did not come from a family with unconditional love. As a result, we believe we can only be loved or worthy if we are better than others. Because we do not experience true self-love, we see love as a scarce resource therefore we need to compete with others to get it. Many of us were raised in a conditional way and this reinforced that belief. When we did what our parents wanted, we were good (meaning lovable) otherwise we were bad or unlovable. There are two main forms of social comparison. With downward social comparison, we compare ourselves to others who are worse off than ourselves. Such downward comparisons are often centered on making ourselves feel better about our abilities. We might not be great at something, but at least we are better off than someone else. I was severely depressed as a kid, always feeling something was missing. In particular, my puberty started very late so I felt very ashamed about my small size. As a result, I had the obsession to always compare myself to others thinking this one was dumber than me or uglier than me. This was a hellish state. My habit of always comparing myself to others was simply a defense mechanism so as not to feel how unlovable I felt. With upward social comparison, we compare ourselves with those who we believe are better than us. This type of comparison may be inspiring to improve our performance, and work harder to achieve our goals. Unfortunately, most of us have too low of a self-esteem to handle upward comparison so we would typically put these people down because of envy. We would say of a rich person that he cheated to make his money, or that they are actually very unhappy people. Or we pick on the famous by going over everything that is wrong with their lives. This is why there are so many tabloid magazines and this is a multi-billion dollar business. Our ego is obsessed about being better, because it believes this is the only way to be loved. The ego is our false identify that believes we are separate from everything else. It feeds on the illusion of separateness. In truth, there will always be someone better and worse than we are. A healthy goal should be to be better than who we were yesterday, and to become more and more our authentic self every day. When we catch ourselves comparing to others, it is an indicator we need to work more on self-acceptance and self-love. This defense mechanism is similar to the cognitive distortion called personalization. Personalization is a distortion where a person believes that everything others do or say is some kind of direct, personal reaction to them. A person who experiences this kind of thinking will also compare themselves to others, trying to determine who is smarter, or better looking. It is just another symptom of low self-esteem.
Introjection occurs when a person internalizes the ideas or voices of other people-often external authorities. An example of introjection might be a dad telling his son “boys don’t cry”. This is an idea that a person might take in from their environment and internalize into their way of thinking. As a result, they will repress their sadness to match that belief and we know how dangerous it is to repress negative emotions. It is also very common for children to have the same political views as their parents (if they have a close relationship) for the same reasons. Some mental health professionals believe that introjection is a protective strategy that children employ in order to cope with unavailable parents or guardians. By unconsciously absorbing the characteristics of parents, children reassure themselves that some aspect of the parent is present even if the parent is physically or emotionally absent. Adopting the same beliefs as our primary caregivers is very reassuring for this reason. It gives us a sense of belonging even when they are not there. Cults and religious organizations are attractive to people because it gives them belonging and safety by sharing the same beliefs with other people. Many people would rather feel controlled and exploited rather than alone and unsafe. Negative introjection can also be part of a cycle of abuse. A person in an abusive relationship, for example, might begin to believe the claims of a partner who is abusive and internalize feelings of worthlessness or failure. In some cases, the victim might introject the abuser’s personality so strongly that the victim then becomes an abuser. I have covered how this works in depth in my blog about transgenerational traumas. Introjection is a defense mechanism to protect the imaginary picture we have of the authority figures in our life so as to feel safer. In order to transcend introjection, we need to have the courage to see the objective truth about the people we have modeled after.
- Cognitive dissonance
The term cognitive dissonance is used to describe the feelings of discomfort that result when your beliefs run counter to your behaviors. People tend to seek consistency in their attitudes and perceptions, so when what you hold true is challenged or what you do doesn’t match with what you think, a new belief must be formed to eliminate or reduce the dissonance. A classic example of this is “explaining something away”. A smoker may be told that smoking is bad for their health. They would respond that Jeanne Calment the oldest woman who ever lived whose age was well documented (dying at 122) smoked for over 100 years ! Donald Trump is heavily favoring US energy companies that are liable to pollute the environment and accelerate global warming. He used an unusually cold winter in the US and Canada to dismiss global warming as showed in the tweet above. Or if you tell a meat eater that s/he contributing to animal cruelty, the typical erroneous responses would be that the animal is already dead anyway or that we need animal proteins to live (which is untrue). Explaining things away is nothing else than a lack of personal integrity. Cognitive dissonance is a coping mechanism not to experience the discomfort of the conflicting emotions due to the lack of congruence between our personal values and our actions. If we have the courage to sit with the discomfort of the lack of congruence between our values and actions, then we may be able to make much better decisions for ourselves, people around us and our planet. Let’s imagine that you value looking good and slim, but you find yourself fat and out-of-the-shape. Sitting with that discomfort will actually get you to start going to the gym. When we let go of the coping mechanism, and we have the courage to face the difficult emotions then we can change our life for the better.
- Self-serving bias
A self-serving bias is any cognitive or perceptual process that is distorted by the need to maintain and enhance self-esteem, or the tendency to perceive oneself in an overly favorable manner. I had an acquaintance who was recently fired as an electrician. Instead of accepting that his qualifications and work ethics did not meet the expectations of his employer, he rewrote the story that he was unfairly targeted by people who were jealous of him. We are all using this coping mechanism in small and bigger ways. It stems from a lack of self-love. We want to look good to others so that they may love us so we project a false persona. Every time something rather unfortunate happens to us, we are trying to rewrite the story to look better in it. Ask a divorced husband and wife separately why they split and you will get two very different stories where each one rewrites the story to look like the victim or give themselves the good role. Authenticity is about resisting this temptation and giving the most accurate description of the situation as if we were not involved personally. Unless we are willing to commit to the truth, we cannot learn from our mistakes and take responsibility for our life. Our addiction to this coping mechanism comes a lot from our education. As a child, if we behaved in a way that displeased our caretaker, s/he would likely say that we are bad therefore unlovable. Therefore, we feel we cannot afford to fail in our performance so we make up excuses. Our self-love needs to be independent of our external successes for this reason. Here is a good exercise to work on our self-serving biases. Let’s take the perceived failures of our life (i.e. divorce, lay-off, failed business, challenging relationships, poor health) and describe them from an objective perspective as if we were writing about someone for whom we had no emotional attachment.
- Blind following of any person or human organization
I covered this topic in detail previously with religious cults. Following blindly any person or human organization is a way to avoid facing painful feelings whether it is confusion, loneliness, responsibility or powerlessness. On the positive side, religions have been important for men in their process of socialization. They are a vibrational improvement over human lives that are solely driven by impulses, instinct and selfish motives. They bring structure, meaning, community, an opportunity to open spiritually and to help others. However, they can also be a source of disempowerment and a coping mechanism. Religious cults know that the best time they may be able to recruit a new member is after a personal tragedy that makes them vulnerable. Faced with the inexplicable death of a loved one, profound loneliness, a debilitating disease or mental condition, we are in search for new meaning and the cult/religion has all the answers ready for us. So the cult can be used as a coping mechanism to avoid difficult feelings of confusion, uncertainty, loneliness (by getting new conditional friends), or responsibility (no need to figure things on your own anymore as you can just follow the cult dogmas to find salvation). Developing our own connection to spiritual dimensions without intermediary is the next step of maturity. We may then connect with and contribute to organizations dedicated to positive change with full autonomy and freedom. The most common place for this coping mechanism is however in families that are led by an individual with narcissistic traits. We previously explained why children need to make their parents right in order to feel safe. When this tendency is extended into adulthood, it becomes a coping mechanism not to experience unpleasant emotions such as loneliness, confusion or responsibility. Another common place for this coping mechanism is corporations. Are we aligning our personal abilities, and personal values with a business corporation in a symbiotic way or are we losing our own identity in the company mission not to face some uncomfortable aspects of ourselves? Unfortunately, we are largely programmed to believe that we need to let go of our opinions and free will when we receive money from an employer. The best employees are often those who can identify with the overall company mission and this means they will not be afraid of conflict with their supervisors for the benefit of the organization. This is unfortunately not always tolerated.
- Spiritual bypassing
Spiritual bypassing is a tendency to use spiritual ideas and practices to avoid facing unresolved emotional issues, psychological wounds, and unfinished developmental tasks. The term was introduced in the early 1980s by John Welwood, a Buddhist teacher and psychotherapist. This is basically how it works. We become spiritual because we had a difficult childhood that made us hate ourselves, develop a poor self-image and develop addictions. We become interested in self-help & spirituality, and we start developing better habits, more positive thoughts and a better outlook on life. We start feeling better as a result so this encourages us to develop a separate spiritual personality. However, our ego that is so incredibly smart then starts manipulating this new spiritual personality to judge other people, deflect shame on others, avoid uncomfortable shadow work or become complacent. Here are some of the most common forms of spiritual bypassing. We would label someone as non-spiritual if they are to experience any form of negative emotions such as anger, frustration or despair, expecting people to deny their own human condition. Some use spirituality to put themselves above others while other aspects of their life are in complete disarray. This is very common for self-proclaimed « awakened beings ». And if they do not have the self-confidence to make themselves a guru, they would use their own weakness to place themselves above others. « I am too empathic, and receive too much information that I am unable to filter ». « I am ultra-sensitive and unless people around me can create a sanctuary for me, I will be unable to fulfill my mission on this planet ». Others would abuse shamanic drugs as an escape instead of a powerful healing and self-awareness tool. Others become too dependent on external divination tools such as astrology, tarot, numerology or palmistry rather than trusting their own intuition. I have a friend who only dates partners from three specific astrological signs and simply refuses the idea to entertain a romantic relationship outside of that. Some delegate all their decisions to a spiritual guide that live in their head. Once I went to a Buddhist retreat with a friend and we got lost in the forest. She started invoking immediately Sathya Sai Baba for protection to help us find our way home. She did not like when I responded to her that Sathya Sai Baba’s pedophile tendencies were well known. It is similar to people going back to prayer every time something does not go their way. I am a firm believer in the power of prayer, especially when it originates from a pure heart. However I am rather doubtful with the type of prayers that makes God into mummy or daddy ready to give us some special treats.
Triangulation is a manipulation tactic where one person will have a separate and often opposite discourse with two different persons, antagonizing them against each other for their own benefit often by exploiting each person’s vulnerability. It is a strategy frequently used by narcissists but also by codependents. Triangulation is used widely because it is extremely effective to influence people for our selfish needs. If someone does something to upset us, we are likely to speak badly about them to others, amplifying facts or even making plain lies to turn people against them so as to get revenge on them. In case of parental alienation, the alienating parent triangulates their own children against the other parent. It is a form of parenticide that is criminal and causes severe psychological damage to the children. As a coach, I am often put in a position with risk of triangulation while helping a couple for instance. It is my responsibility to be equally supportive and tough on each person and not take sides. As long as they are in a committed relationship, my responsibility resides primarily in helping them both to heal their partnership so that they may get closer. If we are not triangulating then we should feel comfortable telling someone face-to-face what we are saying about them to an acquaintance behind their back. If we do not pass this test, it means we are manipulating. Playing politics is based on triangulation and is a cancer to any organization. I used to have a borderline girlfriend with the habit of demonizing her past partners. She told me some very alarming things about her ex, and I immediately came to her rescue as I did not question what she was telling me about him. A couple of years later, after we separated, she used her new husband against me in the exact same fashion. I realized I had been fooled and used as a weapon of war. Every single boyfriend/husband of hers has followed the same pattern.
- Self-deprecation, magnification and minimization
There is a category of people who blame themselves systematically always focusing on the things in their life that are not quite right. They would say « I am so stupid/dumb », « I always mess up », « I am a big zero », « I am a jerk ». They were probably raised by people who would devalue them when they were younger. Boastfulness was probably unacceptable in their family home, only humility was. The habit may be so ingrained that they keep belittling themselves even when they live their adult life away from their parents. Self-deprecation is a form of defense mechanism in the sense that people are less likely to say something mean about you if you say it first. Most people would actually try to cheer you up instead which feels good. It is also a way for people to reduce their stress level by lowering expectations about themselves. For this reason, many students would say before an exam that they are going to fail or how badly they performed before receiving their grades. While at the end, they are typically getting good grades. They believe their worth as a person is determined by their grades so they cannot afford to disappoint their peers or parents with poor school performance. This behavior stems from low self-esteem too. I play competitive tennis regularly. Sometimes, I play against opponents who insult themselves every time they miss an easy shot. Competition to them feels like a self-flagellation exercise. Similarly, with magnification and minimization, one of two things happens: the importance of insignificant events—like a mistake—is exaggerated or the importance of something significant, such as a personal achievement, is lessened. In other words, a person’s problems are blown out proportion, while the positive aspects of their life are ignored. I had a romantic partner who was a performer. She knew her craft well and people really enjoyed attending her events. At the end of each performance, she would however always focus on her perceived mistakes and would get very anxious about them. While it is healthy to ponder on what could be improved, this can be done without losing sight of all the positives. She was raised in an environment where mistakes were considered completely unacceptable, and this contributed largely to her high anxiety. Mistakes are however simply part of the process of learning.
We love spontaneous people and we find them inspiring and full of life. While we like the free expression of positive emotions, we are weary of impulsive people. Impulsivity is a tendency to act on a whim, without thinking or consideration of the consequences. None of us were born to think before acting. This is something that is acquired through experience and this is something that differentiates us from the animal kingdom as they only act through learned impulses. Going to the other extreme and only being ruled by our thinking brain is just as harmful as we appear to others as a cold heartless machine. The ideal is a healthy cooperation between the mind and the heart. In this mode, the spontaneous heart energy flows without obstruction and we use our awareness to channel it appropriately given the external environment. The most harmful forms of impulsive behaviors have already been covered in our description of pathological and neurotic defense mechanisms such as addictions. We are going here over less harmful but still childish behaviors:
- Acting out
- Passive aggressive behaviors
- Endless chatter
- Hurtful words
- Acting out
Acting out is the direct expression of pulsions or raw internal emotions without any filters. Children who have not learned to regulate emotions are expected to act out and have temper tantrums from time to time. Acting out is seen as anti-social as it only focuses on the external expression of the internal toxic emotions for the preservation of the self without any consideration to the people around. When we act out our anger, we may hurt other people and regret it later. Acting out is unconscious and takes no consideration of others. Expressing emotions, even strong emotions may be perfectly acceptable and even desirable in certain situations. While this may be counter intuitive, acting out is still, in most cases, better than repression which has a negative impact on both ourselves and our social environment. It is critical for the sanity of the people who are unable to regulate emotions such as PBPD to act them out because otherwise their toxic emotions would make them sick. Acting out our pulsions is not however conducive to self-awareness. Whether we act out the difficult emotion into rage, yelling, crying or an addiction, the action takes the better of us and we typically recover our senses after the fact. We wake up with self-disappointment and guilt about the actions we have just engaged in. There are some therapy modalities such as gestalt therapy or breathwork that attempt to develop self-awareness when acting out. This can be done with the right therapeutic container with great benefits. It helps release the toxic repressed emotions with keeping full awareness during the release process. Learning to regulate emotions requires a certain level of self-control however too much control will make us repress our feelings and hinder the healing process. It is a fine balance to achieve and which comes with experience. It is about expressing these emotions in a way that is conscious of our environment.
- Passive aggressive behaviors
Aggression or rebuttal is considered antisocial and undesirable, so when aggressive or violent impulses are experienced, people tend to avoid them as much as possible. However, the remaining energy driving such aggression may prove to be more difficult to contain, and may manifest in other forms, known as passive aggression. A passive aggressive person may be uncooperative in carrying out their duties or other tasks, may deliberately ignore someone when spoken to and might adopt a negative view of their situation, such as their job, and of those around them. It is very common in intimate relationships. A spouse is acting irritated. When asked if she is doing all right, she responds angrily “I am fine”. She may be afraid to have an argument or another useless conversation, terrified to be vulnerable and lose control or not be able to resist hitting her husband’s head with a frying pan! The passive aggressive people typically feel very powerless so it is important to create a safe container to allow them to express freely their raw emotions without consequences. The passive aggressive person sends a mixed message. S/he desperately wants help while rejecting anyone willing to help them. They are very frustrating to deal with as you can never win with passive aggressive people. They oscillate between powerlessness and anger. Anger is a vibrational improvement over powerlessness. However instead of channeling it for positive change, they go back to feeling like a victim hence perpetuating a vicious circle. A while back, I moved to another country with my wife. We decided to move and employ her unemployed ex-husband to safeguard the relationship between her son and father. Once there, he complained he was not making enough money to make a good living and his earning potential was much higher in the USA. Several months later, we had to come back to the USA but he refused to come back as he said he was happy there. Then he demanded that we pay him monthly plane tickets to the USA to see his child as we had taken him away from him. Eventually his girlfriend had to come back to the USA so he went back with her, but swearing to himself never to follow us again.
Venting is a coping mechanism that allows a person to rationalize and validate their own fears, concerns ,worries, dreams and hopes. It is actually beneficial because it helps us release difficult emotions which is detrimental to the human psyche and can even provoke ulcers, depression, high blood pressure, anxiety migraines or fatigue. Someone hurt us so we call someone else to vent about this person and to receive validation on how badly this person behaved. A friend who is attuned or just want to stay on your good side will realize that you are not looking for advice or wisdom so will just validate you. Once you have expressed the negative emotion and you feel better, are you being introspective and asking yourself why you attracted this situation? If not, venting is for you just an immature coping mechanism not to see some unsavory aspects of yourself. The more we are able to be introspective with life events, the less we will need to vent to another person. We are then able to do the venting, the validation, the accountability phase and the learning all within ourselves through meditation. The key is to make the process of venting conscious. There is a very powerful communication technique that is called mirroring in intimate relationships. It allows the venting to become fully conscious through the unconditional presence of the listener so that the “venter” will be invited to come to a place of introspection.
Let me give you an example. John comes home and has just lost his job as an electrician. He confides to his friend “This idiot of a boss just wanted someone to control so he fired me because I was my own person. He can only manage young people who will not challenge him! I think this is because he is so insecure!”
Friend “I understand this must be painful to lose your job. You really had some big hope with this company”
John “Yes, someone wanted to get my scalp and told the boss they saw me drinking on-site”
Friend “That must feel horrible that a colleague would do something like that to you”
John “I guess I was not really fitting with the company’s culture. There were mostly young people there with very little experience”
Friend “Yes, you felt as an outside there”
Validation goes on for a while, John feels better then the friend tries to move to the accountability phase
Friend “Do you think there may be other reasons why they chose to let you go?”
John “I had a hard time getting along with my boss. We could not see eye-to-eye. He is the boss. He can do whatever he wants”
Friend “Yes, this is hard when we cannot get along with our supervisor. Work becomes a grudge then”
John “I did have a bottle or two on the job but these were very light beers. It really does not impact my ability to do the job though. I guess he had to make an example”
Friend “Yes, with all these young people on-site, he could not afford that you could influence them”
John “Well, I was a bit too lax with my schedule. I would often visit my girlfriend in the middle of the day. Considering I am paid much more than all these young folks, he probably did not see he was getting his ROI on me”
Friend “I understand. The reality of business can be really hard”
John “And a couple of times, they did not feel I did a quality job. They hired me as an experienced electrician so they had high expectations that I could not fulfill”
Friend “This is very brave of you to see this. I am sure you will do better next time as you gain more experience and get your electrician license”
Gossiping is reporting negative stories or rumors about other people, involving details that are not confirmed as being true. Gossip is a combination of venting with displacement. Their self-esteem is too low to be able to share painful details about their lives so they focus on the painful aspects of other people’s lives as a substitution. I know a man who found a brilliant natural product to help his beard not to turn grey by rubbing his facial hair with an enzyme which takes the oxygen out of his hair pigment thus enabling his beard to keep its natural color. His ex-wife makes fun of him to anyone that would listen to her. The reality is that she is terrified of aging and she feels very ashamed with the transformation of her body. The combined revenue for the celebrity gossip industry — anchored by sites like TMZ and Radar Online, which often pay several thousand dollars for inside information — tops more than $3 billion per year in the USA, according to The New York Times. It is a big market because it allows millions of people to project their own shame, personal failures and insecurities onto other people. I used to be married with a YouTube star and I observed that there were a number of people who spent countless hours in gossiping about her in the most absurd way. In their conscious mind, they felt they were helping the world by reducing my ex-wife’s “harmful influence” but actually they were just projecting how they truly felt about themselves. Discrimination is healthy while gossiping is not. When we feel someone, an organization or a situation is toxic, discrimination helps us to turn our attention away from it. Gossiping does the opposite as it sucks our energy in. Gossiping is actually a form of reaction formation as we often secretly admire the very people we criticize.
- Endless chatter
There are people we call chatterbox. They talk all the time about everything and everyone with very little substance. They cannot handle silence between people. It is almost impossible to have a conversation with them. First, it is difficult enough to find that second of silence when we can start speaking. Secondly, we feel they do not listen to us as they will just continue on their own train of thought independently of what we say. These people feel incredibly lonely but they are blocking the inner experience of loneliness through constant chatter. They are typically married to people who never say a word and like to keep everything to themselves. They both feel very disconnected with the outside world but with opposite coping mechanisms. Chatterboxes live in their own bubble and do not realize that people are just waiting for an opportunity to end the conversation but are too polite to do so. Their continuous chatting is a distraction to their own insecurities and every painful experience they have repressed. This condition can degenerate with the person constantly talking to him/herself. This is common with homeless people on the street or older people living alone. This is how they cope with the intensity of their loneliness and fear of abandonment.
Some people may be surprised to see forgetfulness as a defense mechanism, but it is one that I often find in my coaching clients. That is why I strongly believe that having a tidy and organized environment is one of the first steps to gain back control over one’s life. Many of us disconnect from this physical reality to cope with our emotional traumas. We get lost in thoughts and spend a lot of our time unaware, lost in thinking fantasies. As a result, we lose our keys, misplace or leave our belongings everywhere. When I was 23, I was renting a room in a house. The landlord’s pet peeve was finding the toilet lid up and I kept forgetting about it. It really made him angry so I even put a sign in the toilet to remind me. Despite this, I would still forget it from time to time! He thought I was doing it on purpose and got very irritated with me, but I was not. It was an unconscious coping mechanism for my resistance in being in my body. My professional Silicon Valley career was very instrumental in grounding my first chakra, through project and people management, attention to details and improving my self-esteem. It actually takes a lot of dedication over many years to overcome forgetfulness and many people never do it. It is a defense mechanism that is very common with New Age people. Regular physical exercise, consistency in putting energy towards goals that involve a physical manifestation, keeping a schedule, keeping our house tidy and welcoming without going overboard, all help tremendously
- Hurtful words
Words can often do more damage than a sword and it can be used as a powerful but immature defense mechanism. My puberty started only when I was 16 and I looked like an 11 year-old boy then. This contributed to my low-esteem and I was often put down and even bullied, especially because I had the best grades at school. I wanted to fight back but my classmates were often much bigger and stronger than me so this was not an option. However, I was intuitive enough to know exactly what to say to strike that cord that hurts the most and I used it. My classmates called me cactus as they knew they could get stung by my words if they attacked me. When we have an internal « hurt » little boy, we typically create a protector personality that is a « mean » little boy. If this « mean » little boy attacks an even meaner person, he may get support from people around which may motivate him to stop his hurtful behavior. However, this form of attack, even when it is motivated by self-defense, builds additional resentment from the bully who will feel justified getting back at you in even worse ways. Besides people may not want to associate with us anymore as they start seeing us just as a mean and dangerous person. Hurting someone intentionally unless there is a legitimate reason for self-defense can be seen as a form of self-hatred projected onto others. There are situations however where we need to share some painful truth to our loved ones. There is a good formula to follow to ensure we are not hurting the person out of this immature coping mechanism. But before sharing potentially hurtful words, we need to ask ourselves « 1. Is it true? 2. Is it good or kind? 3. Is it useful or necessary? ». This is the triple filter test from Socrates. If we get a « no » on anyone of these questions, then it is best to keep these words for ourselves. When we have a disagreement with someone, and they go on the attack by saying harmful things, it is best to ignore it. This just tells you how powerless they feel. They want to take back control of the argument by triggering you. In most cases, responding will unnecessarily escalate the argument as they are already triggered and unable to process any feedback, no matter how constructive it may be. Remember that the way people treat you is their karma but the way you respond is yours.
Fear is an automated response to signal us a danger or a threat. It releases chemicals that cause a racing heart, fast breathing and energized muscles, among other things, also known as the fight-or-flight response. It provokes huge energy expenditure to increase our chance for survival. This is an appropriate response when we are running away from a predator but it is unadapted to the perceived threats of our modern life that typically requires clear thinking and awareness. We become consumed with stress when fear takes unnecessary control of our life. Fear is the most primitive defense mechanism and originates in our reptilian brain which allowed our race to survive for millions of years. Fear of heights, snakes or spiders was programmed into our genetics because these situations represented a potential danger. Becoming conscious means trying to understand what lies behind each fear.
- Me first
This is a very common coping mechanism for most of us. When we are under pressure, we become more selfish and focus on our own needs to the detriment of other people’s needs. This is driven by the fear of lack and the illusion of separateness. You will see most children acting this way. In a large family, if someone brings some chocolate or candies, there will be always some children taking more than others and some of them will inevitably cry, complaining that they did not get their share. While this behavior is understandable with children, it is unfortunately well too common with adults. In the USA, on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, people could push each other to get the best sale items. In survival situations, this behavior is amplified. For example, a kapo or prisoner functionary was a prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp who was assigned by the SS guards to supervise forced labor. The kapo would often be even more brutal than their SS supervisors towards other prisoners in exchange of better food, better clothing, absence of physical abuse or a private room. This was the way for the Nazis to turn victims against victims, and it was sadly effective. This is also the reason why people lose their mind when money is involved. Salespeople fight over good territories. Business partners embezzle money and end up sinking their own business. Money feels to them a scarce resource and they act unethically to get more of it. At a higher level of consciousness, we are one, so taking from someone is like taking from oneself. A more mature behavior is to allow the most vulnerable population to have priority access. We can witness this behavior when someone gives his seat to the elderly in a bus, with handicap parking spaces, or giving priority to children and women in rescue situation. Intimate relationships that are based on consumerism, basically focused on what we can get instead of what we can give never work. This is why it is so important to only get involved with a partner we truly love where both will be focused on each other’s happiness.
- Leaving first out of abandonment fear
Many of us carry abandonment traumas from childhood. It seems counterintuitive that people who are so afraid of loneliness would leave the relationship first. However, someone with an extreme fear of abandonment knows that they will not be able to survive being dumped so they will take the first step as soon as the relationship feels shaky. They will start demonizing their partner so as to detach emotionally, and then leave first. While this course of action still feels very difficult, the person leaving knows that they can survive it because they have done it before. However being discarded feels worse than death to them. This is why the borderline is well known to oscillate between « I hate you » and « don’t leave me ». Their whole mindset is driven by the fear of abandonment. For years, I had a wife who threatened me for divorce. One day, I agreed with her and we separated. Then, she turned it against me that I had abandoned the family and she punished me by using our own children as weapons of war against me. A mature person is able to share authentically his/her relationship concerns and work on it consciously with the other partner. If they cannot come to a meeting of minds, they find a way to split with decency. Along the same lines, a person may feel not good enough for their intimate partner. We have an ego defense mechanism that prevents us from confronting our insecurities as we see ourselves as “less than” our partner. This may mean that our partner is likely to leave us because we are not good enough so we will start criticizing them and bringing them down to a level that we perceive as ours. This quickly feels like an abusive relationship as we want our partner to make us feel better and not worse. For this reason, it is important for intimate partners to have a similar self-esteem.
- Fantasy, magical and wishful thinking
Magical thinking is the belief that one’s ideas, thoughts, actions, words, or use of symbols can influence the course of events in the material world. Magical thinking presumes a causal link between one’s inner, personal experience and the external physical world. While our thoughts do impact our reality, the New Age community is taking it to an extreme and holds the naive belief that thoughts are enough in themselves for physical manifestation while forgetting that congruent actions, persistance, willpower, discipline and a conducive environment are even more important. It is another form of denial that originates in the fear of taking action, the fear of taking responsibility and our resistance of getting uncomfortable. A friend of mine has 15 children and needed some financial help to secure accommodation for her family. While some of her siblings have a very successful business and could have easily helped, they responded instead that they would pray for her and her children! I have another friend who is new to spirituality but heard from his New Age mentor that he needed to get uncomfortable to become successful and ensure that he has no backup plan. He quit his job, started going to trips and enjoying many wonderful adventures. He maxed out his credit cards and overdrew his bank account. He then thought to himself that his financial struggle came to him because he was not open to receiving so he started a GoFundme campaign asking for people to take care of his debts. It made a lot of his facebook friends angry, in particular the single mums who have to count every penny to ensure a roof over their head and food for their family.
- The Rose-colored glasses syndrome
Optimism and self-confidence are great assets but too much of it can lead us to making fatal mistakes, ignoring or minimizing important obstacles standing on our way. While positive thinking and focusing on the good aspects of people have many benefits, it can become another form of denial when pushed to the extreme. My ex-partner who has a controversial successful career has been working with an associate with this syndrome. He would often communicate with her worst detractors with the naive hope that he could convert them to like her, giving out inadvertently compromising information that may put her in danger. People with this syndrome are trying to avoid uncomfortable feelings of insecurity by turning potentially dangerous situations into a safe fantasy. The paradox is that they are making people around them far more unsafe as a result. They only focus on the best outcome and refuse to consider the worst case situation. They can only see the light but refuse to see the shadow in themselves and others. They failed to understand that all of us are light and shadow, and that shadow with awareness is relatively safe. It is when there is no consciousness of the shadow that it becomes problematic. A person who is unaware of their shadow is unsafe. It takes courage to see reality for what it is, and even more to attempt changing what we were afraid to see.
- Panic attack
A panic attack is the abrupt onset of intense fear or discomfort that reaches a peak within minutes and includes some of the following symptoms: pounding heart, sweating, shaking, shortness of breath, confusion, fear of death, powerlessness, and obstruction of rational thinking. A panic attack is an uncontrolled fear that we feel incapable of regulating. Phobia often includes a panic attack. In order to combat a panic attack, we first need to acknowledge the fear and validate it. When I was a teenager, I would get panic attacks before math exams because I associated not having the perfect grade with being unlovable. More recently, I had a panic attack climbing the top peak of Europe as I felt sick and incapable of going down on a very technical path. I was afraid of dying. We have defense mechanisms for a reason. The key is to make them conscious. Here is my personal technique to handle panic attacks:
- Recognizing we have a panic attack and accept the body’s reaction to it so that it does not trigger more fears (ex. fear that our heart will stop because it is racing too fast)
- Acknowledging the underlying fear (what am I really afraid of?)
- Seeing the part of us that is having the panic attack (ex. hurt child in us)
- Become conscious and slow down the breath. Connect to a higher aspect of the self
- Bringing unconditional love & presence to this traumatized part of ourselves from that higher perspective
- Self-talk of reassurance and helpful thoughts until we go back to a normal state
People who procrastinate are using avoidance to cope with emotions, and many of them are non-conscious emotions. We all have a six-year-old running the ship. And the six-year-old is saying, ‘I don’t want to! I don’t feel like it!’ When we resist an action, we need to ask the question what we are really afraid of. The most common resistance is our dislike of discomfort. This is easy to see with any physical exercise routine. With repetition, we can rewire our brain towards the benefits of performing the action instead of the discomfort while we perform the action. This is one of the great benefits of the Wim Hof method. It rewires the brain to associate discomfort with the elevated sense of feeling alive. Self-discipline is a very important part of personal development. Procrastination may come from the fear to fail but that will surely make us fail! It may come from our resistance to authority which is common if we have enmeshment traumas. When we procrastinate, we need to become conscious of the emotions we are trying to avoid and start an internal dialog with them. I like to make deals within my internal parts. Let’s say I want to finish a project but some aspects of me are resisting some of the efforts. I will tell them that once I complete the activity, I will let them have a reward such as watching a movie. As we learned at school, putting work first, and pleasure next is a good life habit. Another covert form of procrastination is to be become very busy doing things we do not need to do in order to avoid anything we are actually supposed to do! Not all procrastination is bad as it may be an indicator that you are resisting an action that you have some very good reasons to perform! You may have a toxic job and it may be time to change it. You may procrastinate seeing someone because this person is abusive to you.
- Looking for a savior
This coping mechanism is deeply ingrained since childhood. As we enter this world completely powerless, we need to rely on our primary caregivers to take care of us. This creates the belief that there is someone all powerful out there to ensure our survival. It is terrifying to take responsibility for our life so we always need to idealize an external person or spirit to feel safer. The passage to adulthood requires cutting the umbilical cord with our parents but many people are unable to do it. And when we do, after realizing the limitations of our parents, we often substitute them for another savior. We can discover who we have projected as our savior by asking ourselves who we are reaching out first when we feel desperate and in the midst of fear. It can be a parent, a spouse, a family member, a friend, a doctor, or a therapist. If we have been disappointed with people, we often turn to a spiritual teacher (alive or dead), a deity or our idea of God. While this is healthy to reach out for help in difficult situations, we can observe our own powerlessness in our desperate need for a savior. The truth is that our life is the perfect reflection of who we are, in positive and negative. This is what is so difficult for us to accept, especially if we started out from a difficult family environment. I believe in people’s ability to tap into their own resources and other people’s resources to improve their lives. This is why I am a coach and not a spiritual teacher. I do not want people to idealize me and disempower themselves in the process. I want them to feel that they can overcome obstacles just like I did because I am just like them. I can learn from them just like they can learn from me. Nonhierarchical relationships have so much more potential for growth. My goal as a coach is to make myself eventually unnecessary and ensure that my client has all the tools to heal and create a life that feels good on their own. When I climbed Mont Blanc, the highest peak in Europe, I got very sick close to the summit. I experienced a panic attack as I felt incapable of going back down through the same technical path I had been through. I was able to observe the little boy in me who wanted to be rescued by a helicopter. However, they only send helicopters in France if you have a broken bone and are unable to walk, not in case of sickness. At the end, I had to accept that no one was going to save me. I had to use the strength I had left and the diligent support of my guide to get back down. The walk down the mountain with a 104 degree fever was excruciating but I finally made it, and it reinforced the belief in myself. This is hard to accept but no one is obligated to give us support even when we desperately need it. When we look for help, we need to learn to ask for it without entitlement so that people would like to do something for us from their good heart instead of guilt. This way, it feels good on both ends.
- Intellectualization and rationalization
Intellectualization is a defense mechanism by which reasoning is used to block confrontation with an unconscious conflict and its associated emotional stress – where thinking is used to avoid feeling. It involves removing one’s self, emotionally, from a stressful event. Intellectualization may accompany, but is different from, rationalization, the pseudo-rational justification of irrational acts. The person avoids uncomfortable emotions by focusing on facts and logic. The situation is treated as an interesting problem that engages the person on a rational basis, whilst the emotional aspects are completely ignored as being irrelevant. I got involved in a bad car accident during the summer 2015. When I was making a left turn on highway 50 in Lake Tahoe, a drunken driver going 80 mph on a 35 mph zone with no visibility hit us on the side. My daughter fainted during the impact and I had the fear of my life when I saw her unconscious body in the back of the minivan. At the end, we all had some bruises, some PTSD for my daughter but no serious injury. I completely shut off my emotions at this point. I just went to get a car rental, drove my friends back to the AirBnB, drove to the Reno hospital where my daughter had been sent by helicopter, and then picked up my ex-wife at the Reno airport. When I called my girlfriend that same evening to let her know what happened, I appeared to her as a sociopath as there was no emotion when I was relating the accident. She got scared of me but I was incapable to show any emotions at that time. It was only the following day when I called the insurance company, and started describing the accident that I crashed on the phone with tears in my eyes. Many people in cults use intellectualization and rationalization to explain and justify abuse from the leadership with absolutely no emotions. Intellectualization and rationalization are more common in men than women because men are more head-centered and women more heart-centered in general. During the group healing workshops that I facilitate, I would have workshop attendees sometimes describe the most horrific abuse (i.e. rape or beating) with no emotion and even sometimes giggling! One woman who was victim of incest even said that no one has ever loved her as much as her dad did. In this case, I put them through a process to reconnect consciously with the raw negative emotions that they have buried to avoid the pain. In this case, negative emotions are our friends as they are the bridge that calls the body to start the process of healing the traumatic experience. People not experiencing them feel scary to us as they seem they lost their humanity.
While pathological and neurotic defense mechanisms are in the realm of mental illness, immature defense and coping mechanisms are considered “normal” while not optimal. The fact is that 98% of us still have a hurt inner child that is still running the show. We call these coping mechanisms immature because we expect children to display these behaviors. When they are observed in grown-up adults, we may raise our eyebrows and recognize them as a weakness or an eccentricity. We would however never put them in the category of mental illness, or requiring therapeutic intervention as they are so common in every day life. When I meditated on that topic, I found 23 of them so I split them in 4 separate categories to make this blog series more digestible:
Projection-based immature coping mechanisms
Projection is a defense mechanism where a person projects his/her impulses, feelings, habits, and/or traits onto someone else and begins to identify his own traits in that ‘someone else’. Projection is so common that it is everywhere. We see in others what we resist to see in ourselves. Most judgments have some level of projection. The closer the relationship, the more likely the projection is, and this is why there are so many projections in intimate relationships. When we receive constructive feedback, it is healthy to see to what extent the person is right about their observation so that we may learn and grow from it. If we do not understand their critique then we can ask questions until we are able to see what they saw in us. This is why brutal personal honesty is so important in this work. However, it is important to see what projection may be in their feedback too. There is no need to share back what we observed unless we feel the person will be able to receive it and learn from it. I talked sbout the philosophical aspect of projection in a previous article.
- Projective identification
Projective identification is a type of projection that involves both people. The one person does not use the other merely as a hook to hang projections on. He/she strives to find in the other, or to induce the other to become willingly, the very embodiment of projection. Throughout our relationship, I had a partner who kept repeating a number of complaints she had against me. First, she said that I had duped her into the relationship, promising her a dream that never came to fruition. I accepted this feedback because I was so much in love with her that I displayed unconsciously (and in a codependent way) what she wanted to see to win her over. Also, there were a number of unfortunate hardships that came our way. However, I got to realize that her insistence on being “duped” was projective identification. She suffered from severe separation anxiety and needed her partner to be with her all the time, always focusing on her, basically becoming an object in her reality. She did not know how to function otherwise but carried deep shame about this aspect of herself so felt that she had no other way than “duping” her partners to become her crutch. Additionally, she kept accusing me of putting my needs over hers. I am clear now that it was projective identification. As a recovering codependent, I was learning about my authentic needs and I was starting to set healthy boundaries. In her perspective, her needs were most important than mine so they had to come first. I was not allowed to have needs that would conflict with hers. She was not interested in an equal partnership and she carried some shame about it so projected it on me. She also complained that I had not put any energy into being a stepparent. While I made some efforts and committed to spend one day a week with him, my relationship with her son was not ideal because he felt her mum preferred to spend time with me rather than him (while this came from her separation anxiety) so he saw me as a rival. Also my own trauma in missing my own children lost through parental alienation created a difficult emotional dynamic to attach to my partner’s son. There was also a level of projective identification because she perceived my children as the biggest threat to our relationship so she felt a lot of guilt for not being able to support me through this ordeal. Generally speaking, narcissists will have a lot of projective identifications on codependents who gladly accept all the faults because of their low esteem. Narcissists carry too much shame to see these flaws within themselves so need to project them externally.
The concept of emotional tanking may be a bit complex to understand at first. When two people are in an intimate relationship, they are closely connected emotionally. We can visualize that each one of them is represented by a tank with emotions inside connected together by a pipe. So if one of them is repressing emotions, the pressure will be pushed back to the partner who is more emotional, empathic and less repressed. This pattern is typical with repressed brain-centered men married with an emotional woman. Let’s imagine the man is having difficulty with his supervisor and is afraid to lose his job. He does not want his wife to worry so says nothing. She notices something is not quite right so she asks him if everything is all right. He responds he is fine and starts watching TV. All his repressed anxiety « tanks » his empathic wife who suddenly feels very anxious without understanding why. She starts crying feeling sorry for herself. The man gets frustrated thinking « I have enough problems at work and now my wife is acting neurotic for no reason ! ». He asks her with an irritated voice « what’s wrong now ? » which does not help his wife’s state. He is not realizing that his wife is perfectly mirroring his repressed emotions, but because he is unwilling to see this aspect of himself, he is scolding his wife for something he created in the first place. Anyone married to an empath needs to be aware of the concept of tanking. When I was married to Teal, I made that mistake many times. I was trying to protect her from my children custody court case because this was making her very anxious but I repressed my own nervousness in the process which would erupt in her unexpectedly. This is another (selfish) reason why it is so important that we care for our loved ones’ state whether it is our spouse or children. If they are not doing well, they will tank us, especially if we are empathic.
In general, deflection means that we are passing something over to someone else in an attempt to draw the attention away from ourselves. I have written about my unfortunate bad habit of deflecting in a previous article. We deflect when we feel ashamed so our ego will deflect the shame back typically to the person who made us uncomfortable in the first place. Because we understand well the insecurities of our partner, it is easy for us to trigger their shame, and get them on the defensive so that we stop being in the spotlight. Our biggest ego fear resides in seeing our own shadows. In order to resist deflection, we need to remember that when our shame is triggered, we have an opportunity for personal growth so we are actually winning. We learn to sit with our emotion, and we take advantage of the trigger to start the process of healing. If our partner is supportive, we do it with them otherwise we isolate to take care of it on our own. If we feel there was an element of projection in our partner that triggered our shame, we let 24 hours pass and find a suitable moment to share our observation consciously with them in a way that does not trigger their shame and benefit their own inner growth. Deflection is often responsible for the quick escalation of argument between people. Taking time for self-reflection will neutralize this unhealthy habit and will require our letting go of the need to be right. For example, let’s say you are at a party and you spend most of the evening talking a pretty girl rather than being with your partner. Your partner then tells you “I really did not feel we were a couple tonight. You were all over this girl” and you respond “What are talking about? I saw how John could not stop following you all evening. Is there something going on between the two of you? Also, the dress you wore is way too provocative!”. When the deflector cannot find an argument, he can always use your own reaction against you. So in this situation, he could also say “Why are you so negative all the time? I am really tired of your constant jealousy. I feel I am suffocating!”
While useful in communication for our thinking process, labeling can become a coping mechanism to avoid feeling some unpleasant emotions triggered by other people. In cases of parental alienation, the alienating parent labels the targeted parent as bad, dangerous, irresponsible, hurtful and unreliable so as to encourage the children to abandon and hurt him/her. Because of morality and personal values, a person has to be made bad before we can hurt them. This is a well-known fact in the world of politics. The nazis called the Slavic people underman and the Jews filthy contagious rats so as to dehumanize their opponents before exterminating them. The far right French government of Vichy that was an ally of the nazis during the second World War treated the French resistance as terrorists. In the aftermath of 9/11, the US government made up a story that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction ready to use against the US and that he had ties with al-Qaeda terrorists to justify their invasion of Irak to the American public. However the real motive was to keep control over Middle East oil and preserve the dollar as the world’s reserve currency. These are extreme examples but labeling creates distance between us and the person we label and prevents connection at a basic human level. When we label someone, we shield ourselves from the uncomfortable reflection they provide to us. It is another way to avoid seeing our shadow. It is another attempt by the mind to shut itself from feeling. We can label someone as young to imply they are too inexperienced for us to learn anything from them. We can label someone as irresponsible and lazy so that we do not feel the guilt that we are not helping them. We can also use labels to put people on a pedestal whether they are a celebrity, a successful businessperson, or a spiritual teacher. We idealize them and we cease to see them as a person too. We use the connection to boost our self-esteem by association or to extract valuable information from them. This is why celebrities avoid associating with fans as they feel objectified. Only equal partnerships with a balance of giving and receiving feel nurturing. So we use labeling to connect and disconnect from people independently of how we truly feel about them. Instead we can make an effort to feel the essence of anyone or anything we come into contact whether it is a prince, a beggar, a child, an animal, a tree or even a crystal.
Individuals who score high on neuroticism are more likely than average to be moody and to experience such feelings as anxiety, worry, depressed mood, fear, anger, frustration, envy, jealousy, guilt, and loneliness. People who are neurotic respond worse to life pressures and are more likely to interpret ordinary situations as threatening and minor frustrations as hopelessly difficult.
Neurotic defense mechanisms are actually fairly common in adults, as they offer quick relief with the serious disadvantage of negatively impacting intimate relationships, work and quality of life.
- Somatization or conversion
Because of the mind body connection, mental and emotional issues may be expressed in the physical body. Conversion or somatization is a defense mechanism whereby the anxiety caused by repressed impulses and feelings are ‘converted’ into a physical complaint. It is the transformation of negative feelings towards others or oneself into a physical ailment. It is the attempt for the body to express the real emotional issue in order to bring it to conscious awareness for resolution. Psychosomatic diseases fall into that category. I have discussed this topic in-depth in a previous article. Children who are deeply enmeshed with a mother struggling with anxiety issues fall automatically sick when the mother is too stressed. This way, she comes to the rescue of the ailing child who fills her inner void. When I was 13, I started developing stomachaches, nausea symptoms and high anxiety before math exams though I was a top student. My mother brought me to various doctors who would prescribe me with aspirin or simply said it would get better with time. In reality, I had suffered severe abandonment traumas when I was 9, and for various reasons, my subconscious mind believed that I needed perfect math grades not to be abandoned again. This was too much pressure to “stomach” for a teenager. In the software company I was running in the Silicon Valley, I used to manage a bright CTO who had problems with authority because of unresolved trauma with his father. A couple of times every year, we would have disagreements that would quickly escalate. He would get very upset, then fall sick and things would calm down a couple of days later. This pattern must have happened over a dozen times. Because he could not afford losing his job, he would convert or somatize his negative feelings towards his superior into an illness. For this reason, it is important to listen to our body to early identify the process of somatization which would give us a clue on what we need to work on emotionally. There is a lot of valuable information on the Internet about the spiritual meaning of any disease or ailment. Read it when you are having a physical symptom and feel how this resonates with you to identify the emotional source of the ailment. Then perform a soul retrieval process to release and heal the emotions linked to the painful memory. If you are consistent and diligent doing this, you will hardly ever get sick. According to Dr Bruce Lipton, up to 90% of all doctor visits are directly related to stress. Through meditation and inner listening, we can work through the difficult emotions consciously so that they do not manifest physically. In case of somatization, a skilled therapist or life coach can contribute much more to healing than a family doctor.
- Tics and Tourette syndrome
Tics are rapid movements or sounds that are repeated over and over for no reason. A person with a tic cannot control the movement or sounds. Examples of common tics include throat clearing, eye blinking, arm jerking, shoulder shrugging or sniffing. Tics often get worse when a person feels stressed, tired, anxious, or excited which confirms that they are psychosomatic. This is a sub category of somatization as a defense mechanism. The body expresses the thoughts and feelings that are unacceptable for the mind to see.
Displacement occurs when a person represses emotions or impulses that they feel towards another person. Because they feel that it is irrational, socially unacceptable or too risky to demonstrate such feelings, the psyche prevents them from being converted into actions. However, the feelings are instead displaced towards a person or animal whom it is easier to express such sentiments for, and unfortunately it is typically someone more vulnerable. When I was 10 years old, after my parents had separated, I lived alone with my father. Once, he came home early in the evening as I was watching TV. He probably had a bad day and displaced it all on me. He started by turning off the TV, which elicited protest from me, which led into spanking and crying alone in my bedroom. Unfortunately, we all have been both the persecutor and the recipient of displacement with our loved ones. This is very common with married couples. After a hard day at work, we are likely to bring back the negativity back home, which creates inevitably an argument with our spouse. Animals are also common victims of displacement and the media abounds with stories of animal cruelty. Children who are cruel towards animals are often the ones who are abused by their primary caregivers, and this is how the cycle of abuse is passed on.
When the world around us appears to be unbearable, we may use dissociation as a defense mechanism to momentarily lose our connection to the world around us. We would feel separated from the outside world, as though we exist in another realm. We may enter a state of daydreaming, staring into space and letting our mind wander. When we are dissociated, we are highly suggestible and this fact is well too known by mind control cult trainers. When there is dissociation, the mind fragments as a way of self-preservation. The traumatic memories are compartmentalized into a separate fragment so that the front personality may continue to function. With repeated traumas, the front personality may lose conscious awareness of the other abused personalities that get more and more repressed. PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) originates from dissociation. Repeated exposure to dangerous situations will lead to complex PTSD and BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder). In most extreme cases, the victim will develop DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder) or multiple front personalities that have no conscious awareness of each other. Recovering the traumatic memories through journaling or with a skilled and compassionate therapist, doing parts work are the most effective ways to reintegrate the personality.
- Hoarding and excessive cleanliness
When individuals feel excessively powerless towards relationships and other people, they will move their attention from people to objects to regain a sense of control. Manic cleaners will compensate their internal chaos and powerlessness towards people by ensuring extreme control over the objects in their environment. On the opposite, the hoarders are creating layers of stuff to protect themselves from the perceived hostile environment in order to recreate a false sense of security. Hoarders are coping with their inner worthlessness by keeping all objects that are seen as worthless to other people. It is their desperate attempt not to feel disposable to other people. They identify with the junk that they keep. To overcome this disorder, they need to feel consciously the excruciating pain of worthlessness and powerlessness experienced towards other people that originated from their childhood. There are some famous hoarders. Nicolas Cage has a collection of rare stuffed birds, lizards, snakes, an octopus, a sixty-seven million year old dinosaur skull, and a collection of shrunken heads. Angelina Jolie started collecting knives at age fourteen. As a teenager, her interest in them veered towards self-destruction. She would use the knives she collected to self-harm, and has also been known to involve them while having sex. We need to remember that for a cutter, self harm gives a sense of release hence safety, which is counterintuitive. We are all hoarders to some various degrees and we will have a tendency to hoard items that make us feel safe. Collectors are refined hoarders, and the many rich people hoard money for the same reason: safety.
Hypochondriasis is the excessive preoccupation or worry about having a serious illness. By going from doctor to doctor in search of what is wrong with them, they avoid taking responsibility for the emotional dynamic that created the ailment in the first place. This is their way to avoid the painful buried emotions. They suffer from a deep sense of powerlessness, and they see themselves as a victim in a threatening world. They feel a great sense of relief when a medical professional can label their ailment. They have projected the omniscience and omnipotence of their parents onto health professionals. Their idealization of the doctors as the ultimate authority translates metaphorically as their resistance to see their parents’ imperfection in order to avoid taking responsibility for their own life. Making doctors or parents wrong would provoke too much anxiety as they feel incapable of overcoming life challenges on their own. I have a brother who is a hypochondriac. He is in fact resisting to see his mother’s shadows as he is too afraid to detach from her since he sees her as his only genuine support. By making what is wrong about them external, they do not have to face the shame of creating the ailment. Their low self-esteem would not be able to bear it. The heavily subsidized French health care system is making it easier for this disorder to develop among all social classes of the population while it is a luxury in the USA because of the prohibitive cost of healthcare.
Because of repeated emotional abuse or neglect, sociopaths have lost the capacity for empathy. They have lost the ability to feel. Their heart has been completely walled off and they are unable to feel the effect they have on other people. Many of them want to be a good person however but it is completely driven by their mind. They can perceive but do not feel. By shutting down their heart, they avoid the painful feelings in order to get on with their life. They do not understand why people have such strong reactions towards them while they meant no harm. Their lack of attunement causes them to hurt people unintentionally. They are unwillingly toxic. Because of this, they do not trust themselves and many turn into codependents (the ones that want to be good). Because they have disconnected from their heart, they do not have a core so they are unreliable, and they will throw you under the bus if someone more influential comes along. When people lash at them, they would typically deflect back to avoid facing the shame of their own emotional condition. It is difficult to heal sociopathy because the sociopath would first need to feel what is wrong with them but they do not feel anything. Typically, it takes some external tragedy to start cracking their walls and to rehabilitate their heart. Shamanic medicine can be extremely effective to help them feel again. One of my primary caregivers was sociopathic. He would often forget my birthday or if he remembered, he would make a mistake on my age when I was a kid. He would give me the wrong type of presents (free branded stuff he would get from his company), have no picture of me in his apartment while his new wife had pictures of their son (my younger half brother) everywhere or make me sleep on a couch while a bed with clean linens was available. I would get upset but he could not understand why.
- Reaction formation
With reaction formation, we convert the unconscious wishes or impulses that are perceived to be dangerous into their opposites and we display a behavior that is completely the opposite of what we really want or feel. We take the opposite belief because the true belief causes anxiety. For example, a man may experience feelings of love towards a married woman. Because the fulfillment of his desires would contradict social norms regarding acceptable behavior, a reaction formation occurs – the man may experience feelings of dislike towards her – the opposite of the original feelings. In the same way, a person who has been socialized to believe that intimate same-sex relationships are wrong or sinful, but is attracted to members of the same sex would show unusual animosity towards the people s/he is sexually attracted to, i.e. the LGBT community. In Victor Hugo’s novel Notre Dame De Paris, the priest Frollo experiences reaction formation towards Esmeralda. He is madly in love with her which is not acceptable for a man of God so he hangs her to death.
- Shoulding and musting
There are some people who cannot help giving constant free advice, correcting others or have more rules and regulations than the army, navy and air force combined! They are impossible to be around. Shoulding and musting is their own way to cope with their own inadequacy, core shame and lack of self-love. They constantly see what other people do wrong in order to feel better about themselves because of their poor self-image. They focus on others’ faults so that they do not have to see their own shadows. This behavior isolates them from other people so they end up reliving the abandonment trauma and the feelings of worthlessness that they had buried. Many so-called spiritual guides fall into that category and they cannot help but fix everyone around them constantly. A friend of mine has a husband who loves skiing. Yet, he cannot help giving ski lessons to his wife and daughter always emphasizing what they are doing wrong on the slopes. As a result, they do not want to join him anymore in his favorite activity and he fell into a depression, feeling rejected and unloved. As shoulding and musting are a form of projection, they need to face their own inadequacy and the childhood traumas that originated from it.
It is the temporary reversion to an earlier stage of development. Regression functions as form of retreat, enabling a person to psychologically go back in time to a period when the person felt safer. A child may begin to suck their thumb again or wet the bed after the separation of his parents. I believe I started my puberty very late because aspects of me did not want to grow up after my parents’ divorce. One of my partners’ child was stuck on the anal phase though he was 8 years old. This was his attempt to be back as a baby when he used to spend so much time with mum. Besides, stress of adult life and the related anxiety may lead us to seek comfort in things which we associate with more secure, happier times. Comfort food is the food we were given as a child and it is soothing to have it when we are depressed. It brings back memories of safety and happiness. We may be drawn to eat the same candies we used to have as a kid, or watch the old movies and cartoons of our childhood. I have a friend who has been through a bad break-up and meets friends every week to play Dungeons & Dragons. When done consciously, regression may be healthy, provide good feelings and can even be a form of inner child work.
Repression is perhaps the most significant of defense mechanisms in that repressed feelings and impulses can lead to the use of many other mechanisms. Repression blocks many unpleasant feelings that could cause too much anxiety for the conscious mind. However forgetting about a problem does not solve the problem. In the same way, the buried emotions keep influencing us in dramatic ways through the law of mirroring. Our society has the same fear towards negative emotions so the anti-depressant market size is $16B. It is critical that we learn to accept the discomfort of unpleasant feelings and emotions and learn from them. They point us to emotional aspects in us that require healing just like the pain of a physical injury is conducive to healing. For many of us, repression has become second nature so the toxic emotions can poison us from within, and can be the cause of auto-immune diseases and even cancer. In this situation, the use of shamanic medicine can be a life saver. After losing my children to parental alienation, I had accumulated a lot of toxic shame, I felt horrible and stuck. When I took Ayahuasca at that time, I purged intensely and cried for over 10 hours. This was a very difficult journey but it healed me profoundly and probably averted a serious disease. Meditation is a more natural and less drastic way to scan the painful emotions that want to come to the surface. It is important to embrace them and work with them consciously to stay healthy. They have a lot to teach us. We are light and shadow, and integration means accepting and loving both of these aspects.
Phobia are an extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to something. It may come from a traumatic memory or may be simply a transgenerational trauma. Adolf Hitler was the product of an incestual and pedophile relationship between his father Alois Hitler and Klara his mother who started to be sexually abused by Alois at age 9. Adolf’s little mouth also served as a servile, frightened female orifice for his violent father. It is then not surprising that as an adult, the supreme ruler of Germany, Adolf was afraid to sleep alone at night, and suffered a mouth washing compulsion. He was so sickened by the thought of putting flesh in his mouth that he became a vegetarian. I have acrophobia (fear of heights) but I believe this was passed on from my mother to me. I have worked on it for many years in order to climb a number of high mountains in the world. Because the fear is so deeply rooted in the subconscious, it is difficult to control and heal a phobia. I had a partner who would feel extremely anxious when it was very windy. As a child, she would be cruelly abused by a family acquaintance every time it was windy. Her perpetrator was in the same way abused by his own father when it was very windy. Other common phobia are aerophobia (fear of flying), arachnophobia (fear of spiders), ophidiophobia (fear of snakes), cynophobia (fear of dogs), astraphobia (fear of lighting), trypanophobia (fear of injections), agoraphobia (fear of getting trapped) or mysophobia (fear of germs). One of my former partners had trypophobia, which is is the aversion to the sight of irregular patterns or clusters of small holes, or bumps. After doing some soul retrieval work with her, we realized it came from repressed memories of seeing animal corpses decomposing in her traumatic childhood. Phobias often come with repression and displacement too. In American psychiatrist Scott Peck’s bestseller People of the Lie: The Hope for Healing Human Evil, there is a heavily enmeshed daughter with her mother who has arachnophobia. The daughter feels subconsciously that she is being eaten alive by her mother.
Catastrophizing is an irrational thought a lot of us have in believing that something is far worse than it actually is. Catastrophizing can generally take two different forms: making a catastrophe out of a current situation, and imagining making a catastrophe out of a future situation. There are many reasons why we may be affected with this condition. Bad things happened to us in the past so we are afraid they may happen again, the most extreme case being PTSD (Posttraumatic Stress Disorder). Because of childhood traumas, we may have the core belief that we are bad so bad things should happen to us. People suffering from BPD are catastrophizing because they suffer from disorganized attachment, meaning that they were abused by the same people they had to bond with. As a result, they always live on the edge and never feel a sense of safety. To heal from that condition, we need to create an internal part that can reassure us, and through repetition, as the doom scenario does not occur, the catastrophizer within us will have less and less control. If your partner suffers from this condition, make sure to always have your cell phone with you, and update her/him often not to worry them unnecessarily.
- Apathic withdrawal
Apathic withdrawal is a direct consequence of repression. We put ourselves to sleep so that the painful emotions would not surface. The repressed emotions poison our internal emotional world and we become depressed as a result, lacking vitality, enthusiasm and interest in life. We may spend over 10 hours a day sleeping and spending the rest of the time eating or watching TV. Apathy is one of the most powerless states we can experience, and to get out of it, we need to make space first for raw negative emotions such as anger, grief, fear, guilt or sadness before contemplating experiencing positive emotions. Over medicated people often have this condition as the anti-depressants are repressing their toxic emotions that need instead to be released consciously. To step out from this condition, it is important to perform activity that we really love or feel some sense of inspiration. We need to stretch ourselves but not to the point of breaking. Being in a supportive environment with people that genuinely appreciate us can make a world of difference too. Many husbands or wives have a minor form of this coping mechanism as they start feeling very tired, sometimes to the point of falling asleep, when a difficult argument erupts with their spouse.
Life as a human being is tough, and we are often given more than we can handle. When under stress, our psyche is determined to help us stay safe so that we may survive and overcome challenges coming our way. There is a large variety of common defense mechanisms that we employ to protect the ego, and they operate at an unconscious level to help ward off unpleasant feelings. Our defense mechanisms are another way we cope with anxieties. In psychoanalysis terms, coping mechanisms arise because we feel threatened, or because our id or superego (in psychoanalytic terms) becomes too demanding. Some psychologists differentiate between defense and coping mechanisms. According to them, a defense mechanism is unconscious and automatic, while a coping mechanism is a conscious attempt from the psyche to deal with a difficult situation.
Ego-defense mechanisms are natural and normal. We will always be using them when external situations that feel threatening and outside our control arise. As we grow older and hopefully wiser, our goal is to respond with more mature and adequate defense mechanisms.
On the other hand, because of past traumas, and unhealed aspects of ourselves, we are often displaying defense mechanisms that are not adapted to our external reality. In this situation, most of the focus has to be on releasing and healing the past traumas to minimize and eventually eliminate the trigger of the defense mechanism.
Finally, our lack of self-love, personal honesty, and self-awareness are responsible for many other maladapted defense mechanisms. The ego is terrified to see its shadows and will do anything to avoid seeing the truth about itself.
Initially, before changing anything, we need to develop an awareness of the coping mechanisms we use and observe our psyche without judgment. Eventually, through self-observation, we will be able to respond with better-adapted defense mechanisms to enjoy a happier and more fulfilling life.
Not all defense or coping mechanisms are created equal. We can categorize them in four main categories:
- Pathological: There is a loss of contact with reality. We are in the realm of noticeable mental illness and irrationality. There is potential danger, harm or abuse for the individual and the people surrounding him/her.
- Neurotic: Fairly common in adults, it offers short-term advantages in coping, but can often cause serious long-term problems in relationships, work and in enjoying life over the long run.
- Immature: Acceptable with adolescents, they are unfortunately far too common with adults who have not developed their emotional intelligence and self-awareness. They are maladapted to the environment and the external reality.
- Mature: They are only found with adults with high EQ, and they optimize success in life and relationships. They are respectful of others. They promote personal integration, resilience, creativity, learning and wisdom.
Part I – Pathological defense mechanisms
- Delusional projection, paranoia, grandiosity
This is often found in schizophrenia. The person lives in her/his own imaginary reality and is suffering from grossly frank delusions about external reality, often of persecutory nature. It is often found in cult leaders who have adopted a grandiose idea of the self, and are looking for weak followers to adopt their insane beliefs. For example, using my own personal experience, Robert Burton from the Fellowship of Friends believed he was an angel trapped in a human body. During dinner, he would often leave an empty space for his « buddy » Leonardo Da Vinci whom he saw as his divine father. I have another acquaintance who sees himself fighting evil forces with the Son of God. According to him, he constantly fights antichrists, vampires, demons and hundreds of thousands of Chinese, American and Nazi soldiers but he feels relieved having 100,000 pages of prayers to help him (his own words). I also had a former girlfriend who was convinced I was attacking her psychically after we broke up.
Splitting, also called black-and-white thinking or all-or-nothing thinking, is the failure in a person’s thinking to bring together the dichotomy of both positive and negative qualities of the self and others into a cohesive, realistic whole. It is quite common in romantic relationships where the object of love often turns into an object of hate. People suffering from borderline personality disorder will have a tendency to see their partner, as all good at the start of the relationship, or all bad, typically after the relationship is over to deal with their fear of abandonment. Brad Pitt was Angelina Jolie’s soul mate but after they separated, she could only see a child abuser in him. The person using splitting carries an enormous amount of shame and has low self-esteem. As a result, they are unable to see their own shadow and will project it back to the former lover or close friend. Splitting is also one of the marks of parental alienation. The alienating parent’s weak ego can only identify with the positive aspects of being a protector so s/he will turn the children into victims in order to make the targeted parent a dangerous perpetrator. Splitting is a defense mechanism that helps to attach to someone, detach from someone and deal with the anxiety related to rejection and abandonment as we are wired to run away from the bad and dangerous person, and bond with the nice and safe person.
- Extreme projection
People are so afraid of their own physical, moral, or psychological deficiency that they project it onto another individual or a group. This is also known as scapegoating. Adolf Hitler was a repressed homosexual for most of his life but he arrested over 100,000 of his fellow gay and lesbian German subjects on the basis of their sexual orientation. The most homophobic people are often homosexual themselves. This type of defense mechanism where we project onto others what we do not want to see in ourselves is also called reaction formation. Sometimes, multiple defense mechanisms are at play at the same time. In family systems, parents will project their good parts onto the golden child while projecting their shadows onto the identified patient, who serves as a scapegoat for the whole family. One of my former girlfriends, who survived horrendous abuse in her childhood, started seeing me towards the end of our relationship as her childhood abuser and a dangerous psychopath. By the same token, the most jealous people are often the ones having affairs on the side.
It is the refusal to accept external reality because it is too threatening. We ignore anxiety-provoking thoughts by stating they are invalid. In the BBC documentary The Secret Swami, Isaac Tigrett, the founder of Hard Rock Café, stated that he believed that there was truth to the rumors of Sathya Sai Baba’s actions of pedophilia and sexual abuse towards thousands of his young male followers. But he also stated that such behavior would not change his faith in Sai Baba as he had to preserve his self image and his relationship with the guru he had donated over $100 million. All cult members rely heavily on denial to turn the other way when confronted with overwhelming evidence of the deviance of their guru. Children raised with an abusive parent also resort to denial to make this parent safe to feel safe themselves. I had an acquaintance who was sexually abused by her father all of her childhood and she still believed that no one in this world had loved her more than her father. In 2015, 12 years after the infamous invasion of Irak, still half of Republicans believed that weapons of mass destruction were found in Irak.
Addiction is a psychological and physical inability to stop an activity or consuming a substance, even though it is causing psychological and physical harm. There are various degrees of addictions, and in its light form, it can be considered neurotic but the addiction can unfortunately often take a pathological turn. The most common addictions are alcoholism, smoking, drugs (both illicit and prescription drugs), overeating, gambling, sex, coffee, video games, workaholism and social media. I covered this topic in-depth previously. People, politicians and institutions often fail to realize that the addiction is only a symptom or a coping mechanism and not the core issue. As a consequence, in order to heal, we need to look and heal the emotional dynamic that the addiction is trying to block. Addiction to smoking is often linked to premature weaning, which resulted in poor self-image. Substance abuse is usually connected with the fear of being alone, and feeling disconnected with people. Genuine healing can take time so going to a less harmful coping mechanism can help tremendously too. Many alcoholics who were destroying their lives and those around them have turned to dogmatic religions (ex. Born Again Christian). This still represents a big improvement in their quality of life.
- Self harm
Nonsuicidal self-injury, often simply called self-injury, is the act of deliberately harming your own body, such as cutting or burning yourself. It is typically not meant as a suicide attempt but rather a drastic way to cope with extreme emotional pain, intense anger and frustration. One can only fathom the degree of emotional pain one must experience to feel release or even pleasure in self-mutilation. Unfortunately, while self-injury may bring a momentary sense of calm and a release of tension, it’s usually followed by the shame provoked by this behavior and the return of painful emotions. Teal Swan who used to be a cutter as a way to cope from a very traumatic childhood is one of the rare few who dared to talk about this taboo subject.
- Stockholm syndrome
Harmless victims feel so powerless in the hands of their perpetrators that they develop a psychological alliance with their abuser as a survival strategy. As they see their perpetrator as all-powerful, there is nowhere to hide. Unconditional compliance feels unconsciously the only way to stay alive. Patty Hearst, the granddaughter of publisher William Randolph Hearst, was taken and held hostage by the Symbionese Liberation Army, “an urban guerilla group”, in 1974. She was recorded denouncing her family as well as the police under her new name, “Tania”, and was later seen working with the SLA to rob banks in San Francisco. She publicly asserted her sympathetic feelings towards the SLA and their pursuits as well. It took years of therapy for satanic ritual abuse poster child Teal Swan before she could acknowledge that her abuser was not her real father. A lighter and more common form of the Stockholm syndrome will get people with abusive parents to select similarly abusive partners in their adult life. Their wires have been crossed, as they had to create the association danger=love to survive their early life of mistreatment.
- Excessive control, dominance, jealousy and possession
A person may feel so powerless from within, that they may compensate by exercising absolute control over other human beings, and sometimes animals. The most common form is the jealous husband or wife who gets into rage if their spouse speaks with someone of the opposite gender. They have an innate need to control all aspects of their spouses’ life. This control can also be seen in cases of parental alienation where the alienating parent is exercising full emotional control of their children, who have become their narcissistic objects. The same behaviors can be witnessed in the workplace where an authoritative boss is dictating the life of their employees for his/her personal benefit rather than advancing the company vision. Harvey Weinstein used his position in the movie business to sexually assault hundreds of young actresses such as Salma Hayek, Angelina Jolie or Gwyneth Paltrow. Cult leaders fall into the same category as they take full control of their disciples’ life for their personal benefit. In the David Berg’s cult Children of God, women were nothing short of slaves. In addition of raising children, taking care of the household, cooking, cleaning, they had to give themselves willingly to the elders (“sexual sharing”) and at night, they had to enroll new members prostituting themselves if required (“flirty fishing”). Dictators have the most negative impact with this pathological coping mechanism as they exercise absolute control over entire states. Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi who was Libya’s supreme leader for 34 years was one of these despicable human beings, but there are so many more today creating hell for their subjects. Actually, there are 50 countries in the world with autocratic government and this contributes to billions of people’s misery.
- Demonic possession
This is a more controversial defense mechanism that I am listing here however I have personally witnessed it on numerous occasions. Demonic possession has both terrified and fascinated humankind since the beginning of time, and this is why so many movies have been inspired by it. Under very severe stress or abuse, the front personalities may vacate the body, leaving an empty shell for demonic entities to take over. It is a defense mechanism, because it is a desperate attempt to survive by exiting the current reality. Unfortunately, when the front personalities come back into the body, they typically have to face, with indescribable shame, the horrible actions committed by the dark entities in their absence. Actually, many serial killers say that they were possessed by a demon that takes control of them when they are about to commit their heinous crimes. This type of personality dissociation is well known of satanic cults that use torture and the most extreme of sexual and physical abuse to insert demonic entities in children to transform them into obedient mind-controlled slaves. I became more aware of this sad reality as I fell in love with a woman that had been abused by a satanic cult all of her childhood.
Similar to a sociopath, a psychopath has lost all ability for empathy because of repeated and extreme childhood traumas. Whereas a sociopath is still striving to be a good and a moral person from their mind, the psychopath is immoral and has given up on restraining his dark pulsions. He has typically formed some insane dogma to justify his deviant actions. An example of this can be found in the book Mein Kampf that Hitler wrote before he took control of Germany. Because the psychopath has fully disconnected from his heart, he is also fully disconnected from other people and sees them as separate of himself. This is the basis of Satanic cults where exploitation and vampirism are seen as a way to get stronger and more powerful. In this gloomy view of the universe, energy is limited and each one of us is alone so needs to use others as objects for personal gratification. Psychopaths have very deep buried traumas within them but they have completely shut down so as not to feel them. They only feel alive when they torture, abuse and brutalize their victims to mirror the internal aspects of them that are in hell. The more horror they perform, the more they disconnect emotionally to cope with the little left of their conscience and the more deviant they get. A tragic dismal path of destruction surrounds them.
Even after many years of struggles in codependent and abusive relationships, it is possible to mature into a conscious relationship. Once the lessons have been learned, we finally see light at the end of the tunnel. Intimate relationships have been a source of torment, despair, frustration and powerlessness. They now become the most beautiful part of our life. Our life deepens and we get to experience the purity of the love within our heart through the most magnificent mirror of romantic connection. What does this relationship feel like?
1. Personal Work
Because of the law of attraction, the partner we love is the mirror of who we are, mostly the unexpressed aspects. Therefore, the better person we become, the better partner we will attract. A beautiful and enjoyable romantic partnership can only be the mirror of genuine self-love. For this reason, inner work is and will continue to be the biggest factor in attracting, loving and keeping this special person.
In a conscious relationship, we remember that our partner is a mirror. When they trigger us, we remember they are helping us to become aware of unsavory aspects we have repressed. We enjoy the good times, and we go into introspection during the challenging times to learn and become a better version of ourselves. If we think the behavior of our loved one has nothing to do with us, then we will not have strong reactions. We can either be supportive or feel indifferent, and lose interest. But if we are triggered, then we can be assured that it is about us. With experience, we learn to discriminate more and more accurately what is our stuff, and what is their stuff when a conflict arises. And we learn to discuss it in a vulnerable way to increase self-awareness and intimacy.
We learn to be alone while not feeling lonely. We do not need someone to complete ourselves. We do not need to marry someone to relive our childhood traumas. We are no longer afraid to be abandoned or betrayed. We understand that love is within us and not outside. So even if a breakup occurs, we know for certain that after we have grieved, the love within us will manifest an even better partner than before. This works as automatically as a sick body will eventually get healthy because health is our natural state of balance as we follow our inner guidance and get enough rest. We are able to make the best decisions for the relationship and ourselves because we are not driven anymore by the fear of ending up alone.
The people in a relationship are more important than the relationship itself. While it is wonderful to enjoy longevity in a relationship, we understand that there is no guarantee. As human beings, we keep changing and growing and sometimes people grow in different directions. It does not make anyone wrong, though the process of uncoupling can be so painful. We can only share happiness with our beloved if we are happy ourselves. To keep sacrificing oneself is not sustainable. We need to put our self first with the sincere hope that our partner will want to stick around, and we understand that they need to put them self first too. We understand the fragility of romantic love, as it requires so many conditions to truly blossom. For this reason, we never take it for granted and revel in every moment of deep intimacy. Sometimes, we love our partner so much that we understand that it is best for us to step away if we see that we are limiting their growth.
As we accept the free will of our partner, we are able to experience a new form of love that is not possessive. We do not feel threatened by the growth of our partner, thinking they may leave if they outgrow us. On the opposite side, we want them to reach their full potential. We understand that the love can only get better as each partner commits to becoming the best they can be. We want to experience two hearts that choose to love each other in complete freedom, a love that is genuinely unconditional. We accept that our partner may say no to us at times. It could be no to joining on an activity, no to sex, no to help us out, no to an external commitment and we trust them that they have taken our best interest in consideration. We work on our own abandonment or self-esteem issues or insecurities when this happens without attempting to manipulate them.
We commit to know ourselves and to be authentic. We commit to own both our light and shadow. Unless we know who we are, we appear unpredictable and unsafe to our partner. As we acquire self-knowledge, we understand our core needs and we are able to communicate effectively about them. We are honest, we act with integrity and we have healthy boundaries. When we have a conflicting need, we find a creative way for both partners to get their needs met.
The more we own our shadow, the more we can create a container for our partner’s shadow so that we can both bring more of ourselves into the relationship for deeper intimacy. The more we own our shadow, the less likely it is for any shame to disrupt the relationship. The more we own our shadow, the better we can support our partner’s emotional healing without judgment.
2. Building a life together
While the commitment to self comes first as it is the healthy foundation for anything we bring into our life, a relationship takes nurturing and commitment. A romantic partnership is like a beautiful flower that needs its daily intake of nutrients, good soil, sun, and water. An intimate connection is the co-creation of two individuals. It is a third entity in addition of the two individuals, not an entity that is supposed to overthrow the same individuals that brought it to life in the first place.
Take it Slow. It takes time to know a person. People have a tendency to move too fast together after having sex. Sexual chemistry may be irresistible at first but it will eventually wane off as incompatibilities surface. Sexual attraction is an indicator of the potential of a relationship for personal growth, while compatibility is the best indicator for longevity. Genuine trust is built slowly through repetition. Taking any step back in a committed relationship is very damaging so it is better to advance slowly but surely. Only commit when you are ready to do it, but then be consistent.
Become an expert on other person. We tend to forget it but the main reason to be in a relationship is to love and to be loved, to experience joy and happiness. Therefore, the better we know our partner, the easier it is for us to make them feel loved. It is critical to know their love language, how they feel appreciated, what opens their heart, how they feel cared for. The more you bring joy into their lives, the more your partner will feel inspired to reciprocate if s/he is not narcissistic. Be curious and keep asking questions to know your partner better every day. We should give at least five times more compliments than constructive feedback on how our partner’s behavior is affecting us negatively.
In its lower form, sex can be used for control and a way to release negativity. However, when used consciously, the benefits are immense. The regular mixing of Yin & Yang sexual energy of two lovers is excellent to their health. Sex can become a sacred ritual when the energy from the genitals gets refined in each subsequent chakra to eventually open the crown chakra. It allows the lovers to experience ego death in a divine embrace. It opens the door to some of the highest pleasures we are able to experience on this earth. It promotes playfulness and intimacy. It brings heaven on earth.
Many of us make the mistake of loving romantic partners for their potential and not for what they are today. While people can change, this is a long process so this type of expectation puts unnecessary stress onto the relationship. To truly love someone is to love his or her shortcomings. This makes it a safe place for our partner to grow without shame. We are able to see and love the whole person, without idealizing or demonizing him or her.
A conscious intimate relationship is the experience of togetherness without losing oneself in the process. It is the merging of freedom with responsibility and commitment.
We give without expecting anything in return. Unless absolutely necessary, we only do things for our partner when it comes from our heart to keep the relationship pure and unconditional. And by doing so, we raise our vibration and we move our center of gravity from the ego to the heart, to experience life at a much higher level.
We focus on creating joy and happiness for our partner. More and more, their bliss becomes our own, and their smile reflects the delight of our heart. We have no need to claim our value because it is already there as we wonder at the love in their eyes.
We strive to be sensitive towards our partner and we extend the same concern to our close ones. We ensure to be on the same page, and if we are not, we at least become aware that we are not. We are patient and understanding in solving our differences.
Self-improvement means encouraging and feeding the highest aspects within us, and starving the unsavory ones. We need to have the same commitment towards our partner. When a shadow aspect manifests but we do not feel our partner could take the constructive feedback, just ignore this aspect in silence. But under no circumstance should we feed their shadow otherwise it will come back to bite us. I once had a partner who had megalomaniac tendencies. I would be encouraging but never to the point where her ego could take the better of her. Unfortunately, she had a manager that was in love with her, and would continuously put her on a pedestal. He used her shadow to make her leave me so that he could get married with her. However, he is now the one who has to deal with the monster he has created.
There cannot be a relationship without communication. Communication can be verbal and non verbal. Communication is what harmonizes the uniqueness of two individuals so that a third entity, the relationship, may be created. The quality of your relationship is first determined by the quality of your communication. Communication is the invisible thread that makes the dance of relationships possible.
When our partner talks to us, we figure out the best course of action. Do they just need to vent? Do they need their pain to be validated? Do they need to be felt, seen and understood through active listening? Do they need to feel protected and loved? Are they actually looking for advice? (rarely) Do they want to explore a philosophical subject? (rarely)
We strive towards achieving the best balance in sharing our problems and worries. We share vulnerably what troubles us for deeper intimacy, however we are careful not to overwhelm our partner with our challenges. We develop a sense of how much our partner is able to handle without being dragged down. If they get triggered, they will make our state worse and not better anyway. We accept the fact that our partner has limitations just as we have limitations. We put our individual problems into the right container, as we understand our partner is sacred and should not be the recipient of our own dysfunction. We make it a priority to share the positive aspects of life over the struggles. We develop a habit to see the glass half full rather than half empty without living in denial.
In the medical profession, the Hippocratic oath teaches us to abstain from all intentional wrongdoing and harm. I believe the same applies to intimate relationships. While it is impossible never to hurt an intimate partner that is so close to us, we commit never to do it intentionally. And if we do hurt them, we become introspective so as to understand on how not to do it anymore. On the opposite, we commit to do everything in our power to bring more joy and happiness into their life.
Kindness is the antidote for shame. Kindness promotes safety in the relationship. When communication and interaction with our beloved is infused with kindness, we relax. We need less time alone to recharge because we are able to do it even more effectively in their quiet presence. Kindness allows an intimate relationship to become a refuge.
Authenticity comes with responsibility. We become aware how speaking our truth or acting from our authentic self may negatively impact our partner. We anticipate their reaction so that we can best communicate about our needs while minimizing negative impact for them. For example, if you have an urge to climb the Himalayas, you do it in a way that will guarantee your safety and at a time when your spouse can have extra support at home with the children.
Please be careful with what you are committing to because a broken promise can permanently damage the trust in the relationship. Trust is the foundation of intimate relationships. It takes one hundred consistent positive actions to earn trust but one failed promise can demolish everything. So be aware of your limitations. I recently saw a young couple where the woman was struggling with sexual inhibition because of a traumatic past of sexual objectification. We realized that she needed more space for her sexual healing so the young man committed never to initiate sex anymore and that he would leave it entirely to her. This idea came from a noble aspect of him however he was unaware of other parts of him that were unable to hold this promise. As a result, I suggested that they schedule sex once a week intentionally and leave the rest to her. This way, he will not be completely starved sexually and he could more easily create the space she needed for her sexual healing.
A relationship agreement is a wonderful way to clarify in writing how a couple can maximize happiness for each other. It brings focus and consistency in their efforts to nurture the relationship. It needs to be light and flexible for spontaneous love but precise enough to foster commitment. I encourage the couple to write an update of the relationship agreement every year as people keep changing and evolving. It should however never be used as an instrument of control, but as a gentle reminder for the partners’ dedication to love each other in the best way possible.
4. Conflict resolution
Shame is like a hot potato. We throw it at each other because we are afraid to get burnt. Arguments escalate the same way as we throw back and forth the burning shame to each other. Here is an example. The husband arrives late from a long day at work and a business dinner with clients. Wife says “The kids were acting crazy tonight. I am exhausted. I hate living with an absent husband. You are never here with us”. The husband feels ashamed. It triggers his self-worth issues so he responds “Well, there needs to be someone here to pay for the mortgage, and your weekly visit to the hairdresser”. Now this triggers the wife’s insecurities that she is not good enough, and she feels guilty to take care of herself so she goes into a fit of rage. Owning the shame is what breaks this circle. The husband could have simply responded “Yes, I feel bad that I let you down tonight again. I understand you need a caring husband on your side to raise our beautiful children. I am sorry”. Then she may vent a little bit more her frustration but there is no more escalation. This couple can come close again.When we need to give feedback on something that is bothering us in the relationship, we have to learn to do it in a vulnerable way and by taking full responsibility for our feelings. “I cannot stand my life with an absent husband. You are never here with us” becomes “I am struggling with the fact that you are so busy at work. I feel I am distancing myself from you because we do not spend enough time connecting with each other”. “You are such a nagging bitch” becomes “I am starting to struggle with my self-worth because I feel I cannot make you happy no matter hard I try. I am starving for appreciation and connection”. “You are so selfish and only thinking of yourself when you have sex with me” becomes “I felt very alone and objectified when we had sex last night. I am starving for a deeper connection between us. I want to feel that we care as much for each others pleasure as we do our own”. This approach mitigates shame and allows for the beginning of a conscious discussion instead of an argument.
A relationship is fragile, and has potential dangers from outside (life circumstances and other relationships) or inside (incompatibilities). The couple cannot be naïve about them and instead should develop full awareness of what is menacing their union. Some of these negative external influences could be: toxic in-laws, friends not in support of the relationship, difficult stepchildren brainwashed by a jealous ex, a very demanding boss, health or financial issues, or civil unrest. Relationship threats related to various incompatibilities are even more challenging, and it takes conscious communication and a lot of flexibility not to affect the relationship negatively. While most of the time together should be focused on positive aspects, it is critical to acknowledge what could have a negative impact and not sweep it under the rug. Love is precious but it is so fragile. Awareness will advert many dangers.
I am often asked the question on what to do when both partners get triggered at the same time. Ideally, both partners should isolate in a separate room to figure out their personal trigger. It can take the form of journaling, meditation or another healing modality. In this case, the partners are incapable of being a helpful container so it is best to do the work alone. Then they can come back together later and share what they have learned in a vulnerable way after they have calmed down. However, someone with an anxious attachment style may feel even more triggered if his or her partner disappears when a conflict occurs. In this case, I recommend they stay in the same room together as they work separately in silence with their own triggers.
It is a paradox but to be able to handle conflicts successfully, we should not be afraid of conflicts. If we give in because we are afraid of our partner’s negative emotions whether it is rage or despair, we are abandoning ourselves. Nothing gets solved this way, and we keep repeating the same unconscious patterns over and over again. It is natural to be afraid but a conscious relationship demands that we do not act from a place of fear. We acknowledge the fear but we continue to act from our highest truth, no matter what the consequences are. If our partner is not able to love us enough to handle our authentic truth, then we need to accept the fact that we may be better off with a different partner. Many teachers have said that fear and not hate is the opposite of love. Let’s learn to embrace conflict rather than running away from it. Let’s bring as much conscious awareness as possible during the conflict so that we can learn from our disputes.
It is natural to have preferences in the way our partner looks or behaves. We can express our personal preferences however we should never use any form of manipulation such as intimidation or blackmail to control our partner’s behavior or looks. We need to respect their free will and wait for them to take this action from their own volition. Let’s say your girlfriend does not shave her underarms and you find this unattractive. You may express your preference however if she is genuinely attached to her armpit hair, you should let it go. If this is a reason for you to break up with her, then she is definitely better off without you as it shows you are unable to love her the way she is.
Rather than seeing a relationship trigger as a curse, we need to rewire ourselves to see it as an opportunity. A trigger can be seen as a long and strong rope to recover lost and buried aspects within us. They can teach us invaluable lessons, promote self-knowledge and personal healing like nothing else. They bring to our awareness existing problems that need to be addressed. They help us improve our communication. If tackled properly, they help us deepen the intimacy with our partner.
Intimate relationships are challenging but there is nothing else that has the potential to bring us as much happiness, growth and wisdom. A conscious relationship is the ultimate reward of many years of trying, failing and learning to love. This is why many forms of art have been obsessed with romantic love and intimate partnership. It is the most beautiful reminder on this earth of the rapture of divine love. Never give up on the dream to love and to be loved.
We were born dependent. First, we were one with our mother in her womb. Then birth separated us from her. We had to start breathing on our own. As we grow up, we learn to move on our own, to feed ourselves, to make our own decisions and live our own destiny. Little by little, we are learning autonomy however we still long for the primordial desire of fusion with our own mother. Our parents did the best they could but they passed onto us their own deficiencies so we arrive to adulthood in a state of incompleteness. Love acts as a powerful spell because we feel incomplete and we are desperately looking for a better half to fill our void.
Falling in love is the subconscious drive towards completeness. Without this incentive, most of us will simply not have the courage to work on our shadows (mostly transgenerational). This is why intimate relationships are so difficult but also so rewarding. Shadow, more than light, is the foundation for the powerful attraction between lovers. Because we are all so afraid to change, nature gave us the perk of sex to incentivize us towards evolution. Nature gave us the ability to experience the ecstasy of integration at a physical level so that we may want to experience it at an emotional, mental and spiritual level.
I re-read recently the story of Orpheus. He was a demi-God, a legendary musician, poet, and prophet in ancient Greek religion. Even he could not bear the loss of his wife Eurydice. After he failed to retrieve her from the kingdom of Hades, he wandered randomly as a hermit and inconsolable, he fell prey to the Thracian Maenads. Romantic love is by far the most fulfilling experience here on earth, but it is also the most fragile. It is dependent on the free will of another human being because without genuine reciprocity, it is not a relationship. Even when both lovers are connected, many external events or people may disrupt their passion: parents, status or financial issues, visa issues, ex partners or children, illness. When it is not something external, even if they love each other very much, they may face incompatibilities that they may be unable to solve such as a different attachment style, power struggles, ineffective communication, different vision for life or preferences, or children conflict for recomposed families. And even when everything aligns, death may take away one of the lovers leaving the other one in utter despair.
Until we are able to love ourselves and experience autonomy, we are limited to be in codependent relationships. These relationships will still help us to grow and develop but a great deal of suffering is typically associated with them. The great attraction between the lovers is proportional to their own lack and incompleteness. These relationships have amazing potential as the partners commit to grow and to do their inner work. But they will feel miserable if they resist their own expansion. They both need to realize their own incompleteness with humility, and support each other personal growth.
From my personal experience, I would like to describe the characteristics of such relationships.
At the base of the dysfunction is always the lack of SELF-LOVE. Because we do not love ourselves, we feel dependent on our romantic partner to experience love. This weak sense of self will manifest in the following forms:
- Inability or unwillingness to give space
Even the most compatible partners will have some areas where they diverge. They may not like the same type of food, enjoy different set of activities or may want spend time with different people. People who are insecure will interpret mistakenly the unwillingness to join in an activity as a sign that they are unlovable so they will put pressure on the partner to stick together even if this means that one of them will miss out on something important for him/her. This will build resentment on both sides. Other times, we may not be in an emotional state to provide adequate support to our loved one. In this case, it is best to recommend that they see a good friend or a therapist. Unfortunately, the partner will interpret this as rejection or abandonment. Of course, giving space should be more the exception than the rule otherwise there may not be enough compatibility to hold the relationship together. At the same time, it is natural for conflicting needs to arise in the course of a relationship; so giving space to each others to meet these needs separately will release considerable pressure.
We all have weaknesses so we cannot be trusted in all areas. If you do not trust your partner to take the garbage out every Monday night because he is often distracted, then it is fine to give him a gentle reminder because history has proven that he is likely to forget. However, if we cannot trust our partner in aspects that are fundamental to us in the relationship, we should either work on our trust issues or exit the relationship. Without this underlying trust, there cannot be a relationship. Here are some examples of what could be a deal breaker for a couple but it varies from relationship to relationship and I highly recommend that the lovers discuss them clearly before fully committing to each other: sexual infidelity, emotional infidelity, physical or emotional abuse, circumcision of the children, caring for aging parents or stepchildren, providing financial support, regular sexual intercourse, emotional intimacy & affection. What may be a deal breaker for one couple may be insignificant for another so communication is key. The first step however is to know your own boundaries and love yourself enough not to violate them, even if this means letting go of the relationship. We can only trust our partner if we can trust ourselves.
- Projecting a false persona
Because we believe we are unlovable, we create a false persona in order to get that love we are desperately starving for. This however is a recipe for disaster. This is very common with men. Where they are in the courting mode, they perform lots of actions that they would simply not do in an established relationship: offering thoughtful gifts, organizing breathtaking dates, spending more money than they can afford on their beloved, being ultra gentle and considerate. Then, once their object of desire gets attached to their false persona, they relax and a less attractive personality surfaces. Inevitably, the lady feels duped and this is not a healthy foundation for a relationship. Being yourself from the start will limit the number of dates you may be able to get however what is important is the quality of the relationship and not the quantity. Here are some examples of not so innocent white lies. We may pretend we like some activities or food we dislike, or we exaggerate our wealth, success or sexual performance. It is just a question of time for your mate to know you intimately. If she or he fell in love with a false persona, she or he will surely leave once she or he discovers your true self because this is not what she or he signed up for. Ensure to only display behaviors or attentions in your courting phase that are sustainable over the long run not to disappoint your loved one down the road.
- Over reliance on the relationship for important needs
A mistake that many men providers do after getting married is to rely solely on their wife to organize their social life while all their energy is focused on work. If for any reason, their wife leaves them or even dies; they are left alone or completely unable to take care of themselves emotionally. The same applies for financial needs if one partner gets used to a certain lifestyle with the inability to earn money on their own. Too much dependency creates insecurity and a tendency to compromise oneself for the benefit of the relationship because we feel incapable of sustaining ourselves outside the relationship. It is healthy to be attached to someone special and it is natural to grieve when this person disappears from our life but we need to know that we have the ability, resourcefulness and the resilience to bounce back given enough time to heal. This certainty takes self-love. Unfortunately, life is unpredictable and tragedy can strike inadvertently. A certain level of dependency is healthy in a relationship so that both partners can focus on their strengths however not to a point where a person is unable to function at all without their other half. Where there is too much dependency, breakups end up being much more difficult than necessary and the abandoned partner may become revengeful and obsessed with terrible consequences.
- Fixing the other person
People with lower self-esteem may feel ashamed about who they are but do not have the strength to face it. It is less dreadful to keep focusing on other people’s flaws and keep fixing them. As they focus on their partner’s weaknesses, they get distracted so that they may not see their own flaws. They resent aspects of themselves but their ego cannot admit it. So they keep projecting their deficiencies onto others. They find compliant tormented souls that are well too aware of their imperfection and actually enjoy the constant reproaches because this reminds them of their early abusive family environment where they were repeatedly put down. Constant nagging is a relationship killer. We have to put at least ten times more pressure on ourselves for positive change than our partner. Let us inspire them with our own example. And when we share constructive feedback, it is best to address it vulnerably in the first person (i.e. I feel unloved and taken for granted when you make plans without including me)
- Constant self-promotion
People who believe something is wrong with them have an ego that needs to hide and repress their perceived imperfections at any cost. They do not believe their value can speak for itself so they use every opportunity to express how good they are, how much they are doing for the other person, how successful they are, how much money they have, how educated they are, how good of a parent they are, how good of a cook they are, etc… When you are certain of your own value, you are happy just being and there is no need for self-advocacy. And if people are unable to see your value unless you are claiming it, you may have an inflated sense of self or it may be time to renew your circle of friends.
In the second category of characteristics of codependent relationships, we do not trust the universe to bring someone even more special after we complete the healing of a painful breakup. So we resort to manipulation to keep our partner chained to us at any cost and there are many forms of CONTROL we can exercise:
If we keep denigrating or criticizing our partner, it will lower their self-esteem. They will lose their self-confidence and they will not believe that anyone else will be able to love and appreciate them. They should just be comforted that we stick around for them. This is one of the favorite tools used by narcissists. The recipient of such abuse needs to remember that if there is genuine love & attraction, there is mutuality so one partner is not entitled to feel superior. It is likely that the two partners are replaying the abuse of their childhood whether as a victim or a perpetrator, which are two sides of the same coin.
This is one of the indications of possessive love. While it is natural to have sensible expectations on one’s partner, jealousy is the irrational fear of losing the object of love of which we have become dependent. So we need to limit them (as well as their well-being and personal growth) when we should be the ones working on our limited beliefs and insecurities. We forbid them to interact or even to appreciate beauty from people of the opposite gender. We punish them emotionally through stonewalling, anger or withdrawing affection when our jealousy is triggered.
- Power play and emotional blackmail
Every partner in a relationship typically has assets that are desired by their significant other. It may be money, beauty, sex, fame or skills. It is natural for lovers to benefit each other as long as giving comes from the heart. Manipulation comes from our transactional mind. This is the type of actions that the transactional mind will take. We purchase a nice bag for our wife before we ask her to go to a wild bachelor party in Las Vegas with our best friend. We give her a nice massage to get sex afterwards. We buy her beautiful flowers because she is suspecting that we are having an affair with a colleague. We let our husband have sex with us so that he will stop stonewalling us. It is best to express one’s needs and concerns directly instead of resorting to manipulation. When the relationship stops feeling fair, we can communicate about it in a vulnerable way rather than punishing them without any explanation. They will probably not understand, and it will make things worse. When we do something in a transactional way, it would feel off from our partner’s perspective. She or he would feel objectified and then resentful. We will then feel unloved, confused or rejected, not understanding why our partner is always dissatisfied. It is a no win situation.
- Peer pressure
We are wired to accept as truth what the majority thinks. A manipulator will often draw family members, colleagues or friends that are already loyal to them to prove a point and show they are right. Someone who is sincere will be patient with their loved ones and use logic to share their perspective, or draw from experts’ neutral opinions. For this reason, a couple should be weary to live with family or community members especially if they will automatically side with one party in case of a conflict.
A good relationship takes maturity, experience and SELF-AWARENESS. Here are some of the difficulties that couples may face unintentionally because of their lack of wisdom and personal development
Our intimate partner is our closest mirror. As such, we often interact with the person in the mirror, which is ourselves, instead of our lover. If we make a list of what annoys us in our partner, we will find undoubtedly aspects of us that we have repressed and judged severely. A lot of the attraction we feel for our partner comes from the fact that they express naturally what we have repressed in us. Unfortunately, instead of bringing these aspects back to the conscious mind for positive manifestation, we irrevocably repress or shame these aspects in them, reproducing in them our own fragmentation. Never forget that your intimate partner is for the most part your repressed self, and as such they have invaluable lessons to share with you if you can pay close attention.
- Needs’ conflict
We may have a tendency to impose our needs over our partner’s needs or on the opposite, put their needs before our own. Both approaches are not sustainable. People can only repress their important needs for so long. First, it takes a commitment for spouses to understand their important needs and communicate them clearly to each other.