Part IX – Transcendental mature coping mechanisms

Read Part VIII – Personal mature coping mechanisms

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.

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  • Meditation 

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

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.

  • Fasting

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.

Part VIII – Personal mature coping mechanisms

Read Part VII – Interpersonal mature coping mechanisms

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.

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  • Introspection
Introspection

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.

  • Acceptance
Acceptance

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

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
The power of belief. Faith

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.

A coeur vaillant, rien d'impossible
  • Self-responsibility
Self-responsibility. Brian Tracy

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.

  • Meaning
Meaning-centered therapy. Logotherapy. Viktor Frankl

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.

Part VII: Interpersonal mature coping mechanisms

Read Part VI – Immature ego-based coping mechanisms

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.

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  • Undoing
apologies

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
Compartmentalization

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
Conscious emotional release - public punching bag

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
Dalai Lama compassion for a child

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
Amber Dawn Lee stand-up comedy

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.

  • Sublimation
sublimation of suffering

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
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
Humility quote

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.

Read Part VIII – Personal mature coping mechanisms

Part IV: Immature fear-based coping mechanisms

Read Part III – Immature projection-based coping mechanisms

alligator attacking man

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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
black Friday

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
woman dumping man

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 humor

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
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
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:

  1. 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)
  2. Acknowledging the underlying fear (what am I really afraid of?)
  3. Seeing the part of us that is having the panic attack (ex. hurt child in us)
  4. Become conscious and slow down the breath. Connect to a higher aspect of the self
  5. Bringing unconditional love & presence to this traumatized part of ourselves from that higher perspective
  6. Self-talk of reassurance and helpful thoughts until we go back to a normal state
  • Procrastination
levels of procrastination

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
Jesus saving superman

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

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.

Read part V – Immature impulsive coping mechanisms

Part III: Immature projection-based coping mechanisms

Read Part II – Neurotic defense mechanisms

projection

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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:

  1. Projection-based
  2. Fear-based
  3. Impulsion-based
  4. Ego-based

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

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.

  • Tanking
tanking

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.

  • Deflection
deflection

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!”

  • Labeling
labeling

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.

Read part IV – Fear-based immature coping mechanisms

Part II – Neurotic defense and coping mechanisms

Read Part I – Pathological defense mechanisms

neurotic Woody Allen

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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
clueless doctor with psychosomatic disease

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
Bob Saget 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
displacement of anger towards a child

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.

  • Dissociation
dissociated girl

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
old hoarder

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
Hypochondriac humor

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.

  • Sociopathy
I am not a psychopath, I am a high-functioning sociopath - Benedict Cumberbatch

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
Frollo and Esmeralda

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
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.

  • Regression
child wetting bed

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
repressing emotions

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
arachnophobia

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
catastrophizing woman

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 girl

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.

Read part III on immature coping mechanisms

Part I – Pathological defense and coping mechanisms

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Defense and coping mechanisms

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
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
splitting

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
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.

  • Denial
denial

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
addiction

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
self harm, cutting
hand with fresh and old scars of self destroyer

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
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
extreme control, dominance

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
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. 

  • Psychopathy
psychopath

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.

Read part II – Neurotic defense mechanisms

What are transgenerational traumas and how do we transmute them?

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Healing legacies of pain

There have been a lot of studies that have attempted to show that mental illness is genetic. For example, two percent of the population is bipolar. However; the probability of a person being bipolar raises to fifteen percent if they have one parent that is bipolar and to fifty percent if they have two parents that have this condition. I have facilitated hundreds of healing sessions. Therefore; I can explain why we get this correlation. From my perspective, this is not about genes but about the psychological condition of the people raising us.

The first important thing to understand is that, as a child, we are all wired to bond with our primary caretakers, typically our biological parents. This bonding is critical to our survival and our primitive brain has instinctively learned this behavior through many thousands of generations. In ancient times, children that erred away from the protection of their parents would be eaten by predators and their genes would be lost. So naturally bonding between parents and children became instinctive to improve survival rates. In order to attach to their parents and feel safe, children need to make their parents right, perfect and good even when there are far from being exemplary. This is how all transgenerational trauma get passed from one generation to the next.

Child bonded with parents

Let’s say someone had some severe spankings from his father when he was a child and continued to have a good relationship with him throughout his adulthood. Unless there was conscious work done around these punishments, this person had to make his dad right as a child to continue bonding with his father even despite the fact he was beating him. Therefore he started developing beliefs such as “Dad is right punishing me because I am bad” or “Dad beats me because he loves me and is making me a better person this way”. These beliefs get subconsciously anchored in the inner child and will resurface in adulthood. Such a person will have a high tendency to reproduce the same physical punishments on his children because his inner child still believes that loving someone means beating them at times. They could also attract violent partners because deep in their subconscious mind, beating equal love. Or they may simply suffer from low self-esteem because they had to make themselves bad to keep dad good.

One of my clients was raised by an unstable borderline narcissist mother. She would give him severe beatings even after he became physically stronger than her and could have easily defended himself. He learned to always stay in control, de-escalate arguments and never express anger to sooth her neurosis. His mother was very sexual and flirted often with him when he was a teenager. He felt very ashamed with his sexual attraction towards her and buried those feelings too. As a result, he has been married twice to severely borderline women. The first one committed suicide and the second one left him for another man after destroying his life emotionally and financially. His inner child had to make mum perfect and good so he had to make her erratic behaviors, her rages, her constant dramas and her collapses as something good or even sexy! This is why he has been attracted to women like his mother all his life. When the scary and dangerous behavior is displayed in a potential mate, he feels irresistibly attracted. This is why we say falling in love and not jumping in love. Sexual attraction is more driven by shadow than conscious compatibility.

Borderline Angelina Jolie

One of my other clients was abandoned by his mother when he was 9. His mother felt unloved in her marriage, met a new romantic partner, and wanted to give a chance to the promise of love. He had been deeply hurt by his mother’s sudden disappearance but he had to justify his mother’s behavior because he had to continue to love her. Later in life, he got married and had children. When his own daughter turned 9, he also broke up his marriage, fell in love with another woman and moved out of the state. He actually did not see anything wrong with his behavior because his mother did this to him, and his mother could not have done anything possibly wrong. So he passed on his own abandonment traumas to his children because he subconsciously had to make his mum right and good. Actually his mother had been herself abandoned by her own mother as a young child too.

Vaillant healing an African woman in Cameroon

When I was in Africa, I provided healing to a number of people who had been abandoned by their parents and given away to an aunt. This is actually common practice in some parts of Africa as children are often seen as objects or helpers. This old custom is not frowned upon, but does considerable psychological damage because these children believe there was something wrong with them to be given away. They wonder why they were given away instead of their biological brothers and sisters. These abandoned children have to make this harmful practice normal or even beneficial to keep a good image of their parents. Consequently, they have a tendency to repeat the same pattern with their own children. This is how unhealthy behaviors get passed from generation to generation. This is why 80% of juvenile sex offenders have themselves been victims of sexual abuse. Horrors such as incest also get passed through the family line in the same way. Incest victims are more likely to enable the same dysfunction with their own husband later in life. By failing to protect their own children from sexual abuse from their partner, they are making dad right again. This sick behavior comes from the unconscious need from the child to bond with parents at all cost. Unfortunately, these aspects get frozen in time and stay at a very immature level of development. They cycle of abuse then continue.

When we are abused by someone we need to love, we fragment and we bury the traumatic event into our subconscious so that our conscious mind can just remember a good, protective and flawless parent. The mind then files the traumatic subconscious memories in the same category as love/fusion/safety/connection/affection because they are the values we associate with a loving parent. The mind not only buries all the traumatic memories but also all emotions that come with them. Fear, grief, anger, despair and many negative emotions get buried at the same time. Instead of being released with the body for healing purpose, these discordant vibrations go deep within our psyche to poison it.

Some other times, the conscious mind is not able to accept or justify the abuse anymore, so it will go the opposite way and demonize the formerly loved caretaker. The child becomes obsessed in not being like the abusive parent. He rejects all good aspects of him too. From all good, the parent becomes all bad. All aspects of the parent within the growing child become then repressed but they still exist in his subconscious mind. Self-hatred and denial develop within the individual. As a result, she or he is even more a match to attract romantic partners or co-workers displaying the same attribute as the rejected parent. The law of attraction always reflects the individual inner world whether it is conscious or not.

African polygamous priest

One of my other clients had a father that was a womanizer. This was a source of distress for his mother and him, and from the time he was a teenager, he cut all contact with his father and he judged his behavior very severely. He was very righteous and became a successful pastor in a church. He was a model in the community and led an exemplary life with his wife and two children. As he was a gifted orator, he attracted a lot of attention from the churchgoers. Ten years into the marriage, he felt however that his sexual life was unexciting and unfulfilling, and that he was missing out. He could feel the sexual energy of these young women looking at him like he was the eighth wonder of the world. The pull to experience adultery was getting stronger and stronger, and he felt more and more confused and haunted by the devil. One day, the temptation became too great and he had an affair with another married woman that attended his sermon regularly. He felt very tormented as a result. By being obsessed about not being like his father, he had actually made these aspects control him.

When we hate a parent, it is like hating oneself because we had to internalize them at an earlier age to deal with the abuse. So we create a war within oneself and in a war, there is never a winner, only losers. We cannot kill these internal aspects without hurting ourselves. These aspects still needed to be expressed but because we made them unacceptable, they had to hide deep in our subconscious. Because of this, we are only able to experience them through projections, just like this righteous pastor who would judge infidelity so severely.

There is a better way and it is neither in idealization or demonization of our primary caretakers. Truth will set us free. This truth lies in accepting that we will always love our parents and when we have the courage to see their flaws, limitations and good qualities for what they are, without judgment, we will be liberated. When the truth of our past gets revealed, our conscience grows. We then allow the same aspects within us to surface in our conscious mind for integration. For example; if your father is a sociopath, it is likely that you would have aspects of you that are very insensitive and shut down. If you are able to see and observe these sociopathic behaviors in your father with compassion, then you are able to have the same awareness about your own insensitive behaviors and make the choice not to act upon it. This is why awareness is everything in the process of integration and healing. These aspects of ourselves may be repurposed and used consciously. For example, there are some situations in life when we need to think and not feel (ie when dealing with toxic people or situations). This would be a good time to bring our sociopathic part. A romantic dinner is not a good place for it! Alternatively, we can recover the pain that we felt being raised with our aloof father. By doing so, we are able to develop more awareness to make people around us feel more supported, cherished and nurtured. Every part of us, even the most hurt and undeveloped, can grow and increase in vibration if we have the courage to objectively see our flaws and how they impact others.

Honest not perfect parents

Before we can reach this state of objectivity with our parents, it is critical that we allow ourselves to feel all the emotions about them that we have repressed since our early childhood, whether they are feelings of rage, hate, envy, pity or fear. We express all these raw feelings to ourselves through meditation or to a skilled therapist. Through this process, we become aware of them, and the light of consciousness will automatically transform them into higher emotions such as sadness, acceptance or even gratitude. However, this process cannot be rushed and we need to stay authentic about how we truly feel. If we are able to see our parents’ imperfection with compassion, it means we have made our own generation more conscious, which is expected of us. It shows us the progress we have already made. We also want our children to go further than us. One of the most important things we need to do on this earth is to transform the transgenerational trauma that came from our family line. This is what will bring us the most happiness, joy and inner peace.

Integrated family

Someone who is not at peace with his parents cannot be at peace him/herself. It does not mean we need to have frequent interactions with them, because in some situations, it would not be self-loving if we have toxic parents. Peace is above the polarity of adoration and detestation. It sits in the middle. It can make space for both perspectives without judgment with full awareness. It is simply interested in the truth. There are many extraordinary people that had very abusive parents. Just like the lotus, which grows from mud, our soul grows from life struggles and we have the power within us to transform the most unsavory into the most sacred.

From the difficulties of our childhood, we learn important lessons that we can share with our children and our community to make this world a better place. We can extract the most wisdom from the most painful life situations. When we suffer, we cannot stay stagnant and it has the potential to accelerate our growth as long as we do not get broken in the process. We need to see transgenerational weaknesses as unexpressed potential. A sex addict can become the most amazing lover, violence can be channeled into athleticism or a desire for peace, the perpetrator or the victim can become protectors. We need to accept that we were co-created by our ancestry (earth/matter) and God (heaven/spirit). To become whole, we cannot reject one or the other; we need to integrate both together. Healing our ancestry is to transcend the polarities that we inherited from our genealogy in terms of abuse, abandonment or neglect. It is to recognize that all these parts exist within us and stop judging them. Through the miracle of unconditional love and presence, they can start growing again and mature. Eventually inner torment will make way to a lasting inner peace.

Most of us spend the first half of our life very heavily influenced by the transgenerational traumas of our family line. As we heal these fragments, we can start living a more conscious life from our authentic self. We become more anchored in the present, more sensitive to what actually is, in the moment, instead of living through the filters of our upbringing. Things begin to flow naturally and the scope of possibilities expands dramatically as we are not limited by our ancestral traumas anymore. It is then that life takes on a completely different dimension, and we are then free to be the expanded, transformational and joyful beings that we came here to be. 

Multiplicity and finding one’s way home towards integration

We are a multiplicity of selves

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I was looking to go to the movies recently with a friend, and I noticed that all movie theaters were playing the latest Captain Marvel movie. A reason why this type of movies attracts such big crowds is because most of us have a powerless inner child that we have buried. Super heroes movies are an enjoyable fantasy for our powerless young selves. This is how it works. We come to this plane of existence as a divine child with no limitation, and no negative imprints. But because of our previous karma, our soul may have decided to come into a family and society environment that is challenging (to say the least for some of us). Our soul has not made the decision to punish us because we are bad. It simply wants us to learn love, joy, faith, celebration, compassion or any other higher vibrational states by first experiencing its opposite. Our soul will then select an environment with a negative imprint that we are meant to transform, and our life purpose is typically the opposite vibration of this negative imprint. This is how our inner child finds itself initially in a traumatic environment. From this place of darkness, a new desire is born, and the first split occurs.

Child playing super heroe

As a baby, we are completely dependent on our primary caregivers. If they are not able to meet our physical and emotional needs, there is very little we can do besides crying or being sick to signal them something is not quite right. It is a very powerless state. In order to survive, we need to adapt to our environment and figure out which strategies will help us best meet our needs and feel the love we are desperately starving for. This process is mostly unconscious. It could be crying, developing an ailment, being quiet, being funny, ignoring one’s needs to the benefit of others (common in big families), being angry, becoming the golden child, not bothering the parents and staying alone, and so on, so forth… When we start going to school, the same process occurs but this time with peers and authority figures such as teachers. So by the time we have become adults, we have already created a whole arborescence of different personalities, and aspects of the selves that live within us. They were all born from the same process of desire and splitting. Some of these parts are repressed in the subconscious while others live in the conscious mind.  These parts may or may not be conscious of each other. These parts may be physical, emotional, mental or spiritual in nature. As a result, all of us are a multiplicity of personalities.

For example, one part may decide to wake up at 6 AM the next morning to go to the gym and start shedding these extra pounds. Unfortunately, when the alarm clock rings the next morning, there is another part that just wants to rest and it shuts off the alarm clock. As a result, we stay in bed until 7:30 AM, the time to get to work in a hurry. Or while we are at a conference, we find this girl super attractive and we decide to talk to her. She is talking with other people. As we come closer, another inner part of us jumps in. It tells us we do not have the time, that she is not that attractive after all, that she is busy with other people, that she will not be interested in us anyway, that she is probably with another guy. So we change our mind and we do not talk to her. This part was probably connected with a fragile aspect of us that got hurt through rejection. The list is endless and this is why we have so much difficulty manifesting a life that feels good. Our parts are constantly fighting each other, having contradictory opinions, sabotaging each other. Basically, it just feels like the US congress 🙂

If we had a traumatic childhood, our state of multiplicity and inner division is often a source of intense suffering. We may have repressed angry, desperate, lonely, suicidal, or bitter parts. They may show up uninvited under pressure or with our intimate partner. Because we have not done the work of inner integration, we are like a big overpopulated house where anarchy reigns. The person in that house with the most energy at a given moment takes control, but then may be replaced with someone else with completely different ideas. In that house, everyone is leaving a mess, it is a cacophony where no one can hear each other, where there is little concern for other house members and actions are only taken when survival is at stake. There are some good people there but they feel powerless to get anyone to listen to them.

Mob representing the different aspects within the self

Whether we are aware of this or not, we have the desire for better integration and this playground that we call life is simply a perfect reflection of our inner parts and how they interact with each other. It takes immense bravery to see that all the close people in our life are a perfect mirror of our internal parts. How is that possible? How could this authoritarian boss, this crazy ex wife, these rude teenagers, this friend that just betrayed us be all a part of me? They are everything what we cannot stand, and want to push away because they hurt us. Yes, this is why they represent parts of us that are repressed because they were deemed unacceptable by the conscious mind. But they keep manifesting in our physical reality to torment us because they are desperate to come into the light of awareness too. Our soul always attempts to bring light into darkness, or awareness into unconsciousness so this is why these hidden aspects keep manifesting externally. This is why someone on the spiritual path will look inwardly when s/he is triggered. They know that this is an opportunity to heal by bringing a repressed hurt aspect of their past into the light of consciousness for integration.

The first important thing to realize is that we can work on our own internal parts with the way we treat people. So working with other people to develop more collaborative, loving, harmonious relationships is doing the same internally with our own inner parts. This is one of the big secrets of life. This is why the quality of our life is first the quality of our relationships. Our relationships never lie and act as the most accurate mirror of our internal world. So the more strongly we feel about a person (whether positive or negative), the closer mirror s/he is. People we dislike represent aspects of us that we repress and people we like or admire represent aspects of us that we want to develop. Someone in your acquaintances may attract a lot of attention, but you may be mostly indifferent to him/her. This means that s/he is not presently mirroring you so you are ignoring it because this is not important for your personal growth. People that used to be very important to our life may disappear naturally as we keep changing and evolving. And because we live in an efficient universe, many of our immediate relationships would be typically close mirrors of our inner parts, and the relationships that do not provide this mirroring would eventually fade away from our life.

Osho's quote about relationship mirrors

There are people working in highly hierarchical and even dictatorial organizations. It means they may have one or more internal parts that are tyrannizing the rest of them. Most healers are wounded healers because they are healing their parts by healing other people. You will actually not find a healer without a traumatic childhood. The judges and lawyers are people with many critical parts that they need to constantly punish or save. The engineer thinks that his parts have a problem and needs fixing. The professions we have chosen are a very good indicator of our inner world. When a professional occupation ceases to be interesting, it means that it has stopped to be a good mirror to our inner world. Life is not what it appears to be. Many professions that are seen as successful and well paid are actually reflective of deep inner torment such as judges and lawyers. A doctor that sees sick people all day long is not in a much better place. This statement should not be perceived as a judgment. In order to be happy, we need to feel we are growing and healing and these environments are very rewarding so some people.

Judge

There are often two sides to these professions. From a karmic standpoint, a policeman is often someone who graduated from being a criminal (same as a criminal lawyer), a doctor from being a patient, a psychiatrist from someone with mental health concerns, a spiritual leader from a follower, a victim from being a perpetrator. The soul desires to understand both sides of the perspective. Actually, it is well documented that many of the Nazi officers during WWII developed very serious mental illnesses.  As they followed orders and killed their stated enemies, they were killing aspects of them at the same time. Scholars also speculate that Hitler suffered from schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder, syphilis, severe headaches, dizziness, insomnia, monorchism and Parkinson’s disease. So was Hitler the most powerful man on earth in 1941 or the most powerless one?

Let me repeat this very important shortcut for your spiritual growth. By working on external relationships, we work on ourselves. The hardest reflection is often our own children. For example, a conservative and righteous Christian father with a gay son is often indicative of his own homosexual desires that he had to repress earlier on to fit society model. A fearful ex wife doing protective gatekeeping with her children may prevent at all cost any contact between the father and their children. To be a mirror of this situation, the alienated father may have a strong protector personality that may have shut down his own hurt traumatized inner children in order to survive his own childhood. It is interesting to look at the challenges that children are facing, and how this may just be the reflection of aspects that one or both parents may have repressed.

Many people want fame but to become a star, one needs to be or become a reflector. Basically, s/he needs to project a persona that most people can identify with. A famous person is someone that can mirror the parts of millions of people. Ideally, this star is able to mirror a positive potential to inspire people such as Elon Musk, Oprah Winfrey, Roger Federer, the Dalaï Lama or Jackie Chan. But otherwise, one can become just as famous by projecting the repressed darker parts of the collective. Roger Stone, Donald Trump’s political advisor, knew that very well when he said “it’s better to be infamous than never be famous at all. And, the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about”. Fame, however, is a double-edged sword. If fame does not come as a natural consequence of who you are as a person from your core, then it is easy to get lost in the process of being famous and appealing to the masses. The projections of these millions of people will destroy the famous person who is desperately looking for that attention to have a sense of self. This is the paradox: to be famous and stay mentally healthy at the same time, it is critical to be unattached to fame.

Taylor Swift in concert

From my perspective, kindness is an underrated quality in our society however we all know that being kind and helpful makes us feel better about ourselves even (or especially) when we do not get anything in exchange. Kindness creates safety, trust, and positive relationships within us too. Loving-kindness is therefore one of the most effective approach towards true integration and this is why so many spiritual practices include it. This is the platform on which the most sustainable collective organizations are built. It is also the most effective way to share constructive feedback with someone. If someone feels shamed, judged or criticized, his or her ego will reject the observation as an attempt for self-preservation. However, it is true that kindness needs to be balanced with firmness so that other people or inner parts may not abuse it.

The kindness of children

So if life continues to mirror our inner world to help us grow and heal, what is our ultimate destination?  As we experience life in an introspective way, we learn to recognize what feels the best. What feels the best simply resonates at a higher frequency. We are naturally compelled to look for higher vibrational experiences, emotions & relationships. David Hawkins in Power vs Force made his own hierarchy of emotions and every individual need to feel it, experience it within themselves and build their own graph.

Power vs Force emotions ranking from David Hawkins

Theory without experience is counter-productive. The more wisdom we acquire, the more we are able to affect our reality in a positive way. When we have nothing more to learn from this hologram-based reality, which means when we have integrated all aspects of the self, shadow and light, our spirit graduates to another world or dimension to continue its progression towards oneness because evolution is infinite. Awakening is nothing else than the integration of all of our parts. First by becoming conscious of them and then making them work harmoniously with each other.

An alternative way to understand disease to take control of your health

Running in nature

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The USA is spending 18% of its GDP or $3.5 trillion in health care every year. This is a confirmation that healing is a key concern of our society and most individuals. As we all know, however, our healthcare system is far from being efficient. While I marvel at organ transplants, our ability to get people to survive the worst accidents and treat infectious diseases, healthcare is still predominantly a reflection of our collective vibration of powerlessness and dis-empowerment. Most people are still looking for this magic pill or that omniscient doctor to save them from their misery. The rapid rise of bariatric surgery (procedures performed on people who have obesity) perfectly illustrates this symptom. People would pay over $20,000 to reduce the size of their stomach with a gastric band before even considering changing their diet, following an exercise plan, examining their childhood traumas or changing their lifestyle. This trend is fortunately changing with more and more people taking control of their health, educating themselves with the ample information available on the Internet and looking at alternative medicine, just in case mainstream approaches prove to be ineffective. Modern medicine continues to treat patients’ bodies as a machine independent of their emotional, mental and spiritual aspects, and therein lies its main failure. As a result, they treat symptoms rather than the root cause of the ailment.

I have been exposed to emotional, mental and spiritual healing for the last 26 years, and I have developed many healing modalities that have served me tremendously throughout my life. My healing clients are able to benefit from this experience. We first need to realize that most diseases have an emotional component.

As an example, alternative therapists understand now that:

  • Stomach issues relate to stress related to our environment composed of people and situations that we are not able to “stomach” anymore
  • Constipation indicates our resistance of letting go of past situations, people or ideas often because of guilt.  The primary function of the bowel is to evacuate what is no longer useful to the body and our mindset can affect this function.
  • Back pain is a reflection to a perceived lack of support
  • Knee issues are a resistance to move forward both physically and psychologically
  • Headaches are indicative of over-thinking, over-analysis, judgment towards self and others. It is an attempt of our mind to control everything instead of working in harmony with the other aspects of the self for healing
  • And so on, so forth…
stomach pain

As we live our life, pollution, toxic food, people or environment, strenuous activities, radiation, stressful situations, personal tragedies or even accidents may negatively impact our health. Fortunately, we have everything within us to regenerate and heal ourselves, mostly through sleep, healthy food, positive relationships and environments, and an active lifestyle. Health is a state of balance that we strive towards naturally as we are attuned to ourselves and let go of resistance.

From my perspective, there are 6 major causes to all illnesses that we create from the lighter to the deeper:

  1. Not listening to our physical needs

Most people get a cold when they push their physical body harder though they are already depleted of energy. With experience, one can notice the early signs of exhaustion, the first sensation of a sore throat and give one’s body the needed rest before sickness comes in. Light ailment is usually just a call for a forced and needed rest. In the same way, we may stay in adverse physical environments (polluted, too cold, too hot, too much stimulation) too long and we disregard the signs when our body tells us to get out. At other times, the body needs to move & exercise, to get good comfort food, light healthy food or to fast and refrain from eating. A reason why health and wellness is such a confusing field with every expert saying something different is because there are no rules. We are different, and we need something different at different times. We live in a society that is predominantly ruled by the mental. This aspect of us always tries to be in control by rules & principles that are often disconnected to our physical reality in the present. 

listening to inner voice

2. Not meeting our emotional needs

What is true to our physical body is also true to our emotional self. We stay in toxic relationships or toxic work situations where we swim in harmful negative emotions. It is then just a matter of time that this emotional corrosion will eventually manifest physically. We have the fundamental needs to love and to be loved, to feel worthy, to feel safe, to belong, to be creative and to grow. If we feel continuously deprived of these core emotional needs, we will develop psychosomatic diseases. Depression, anxiety, mood disorders, ADHD, sexual dysfunction, stress disorders, and insomnia are some examples of the many unfortunate psychological disorders we may develop as a result.2. Repressed emotions

3. Repressed emotions

Life is movement, and emotions are powerful energies circulating in the body. When emotions are unable to move anymore, and cannot find an outlet, they may become poisonous. Every family or work environment has a set of emotions that are unacceptable to express whether it is anger, sadness, fear but also even excitement or joy. In order to be loved and accepted, we therefore repress these emotions. The organ corresponding to the emotion will then get impacted. Chinese medicine is well aware of this fact. For example; repressed anger will create liver imbalance, repressed sadness will affect the lungs, repressed fear will disrupt the kidneys and repressed joy will create heart issues.

Repressed emotions

4. Poor beliefs about self

We are all familiar with the power of belief and that mind creates reality. Negative core beliefs about the self will create lower-vibration emotions that will eventually take a toll on our physical health. The challenge that we face is that most of our negative self-concept is subconscious, as our ego desperately attempts to hide our dark side from the conscious mind. This is why it takes bravery and introspection for this type of inner work. The most common beliefs I have encountered in my practice are “I am unlovable”, “I am bad/evil/dark”, “I am dangerous” or “I am stupid”.

5. Unhealed past traumas

When our conscious mind is unable to deal with a traumatic situation, it automatically shuts down. Dissociation is a survival mechanism that we have used for millions of years. Unfortunately, we do not fully escape the trauma when we dissociate but a fragmentation of the self occurs. The traumatized aspects get buried deep into the subconscious so that our conscious self can go on with life. Some of the buried emotions are highly toxic without counting the tremendous energy required to keep these traumatic events to come back to the surface. The body will keep fighting subconsciously the traumatic events of the past. For example, I have seen women victim of incest or rape as a child, becoming obese, having adverse skin reactions or become overly masculine depending on the degree that they feel their beauty or femininity got them into trouble. Modern medicine is powerless towards these disorders as there is no pill that exists to heal a past traumatic event.

6. Obsolete coping mechanisms

As we go through challenging life situations, we develop coping strategies. For example, we may have developed inner walls or shut down emotionally to deal with a traumatic childhood. These coping strategies may have helped us survive a very abusive childhood environment but it is easy to see how it may isolate us in our adult life. On the same token, we may have developed an addiction (ex. smoking, drinking, drugs, pornography, gambling, video games, social media, being a workaholic etc…) every time we come close to a dreadful emotion. The addiction, which is actually a coping strategy, will eventually have a negative effect on our health. Another common coping mechanism is to numb our senses and in this case, hearing or seeing dysfunctions may follow. Our body always has our best interest in mind so there is always a positive intention in the disease itself. An autoimmune disease attempts to eliminate poisonous or discordant aspects of the self not understanding that by doing so, it is destroying us by the same token. The same is true for cancer. An obese person is creating extra layers of fat to feel protected against a dangerous environment when it feels so hard to keep any boundaries. We react to a perceived threat through freeze, fight, flight or fawn. We may repeat the same strategy over and over again independently of the environment. For example, an overuse of the freeze strategy may result in Bell’s palsy.

Meditation

This is why so many research studies have shown that meditation can have such a positive impact on our health. Most disease are created and spread because we are not attuned to our emotions, feelings or body sensations. Meditation is the practice to look inward to explore our feelings, emotions, thoughts and physical sensations. We are always receiving new impressions and we are always shifting as a result. Our modern life is unfortunately not tailored to this inner listening. It praises instead the tyranny of the mind over body and emotions. Eventually, the body revolts or crashes.

Though it may not simple at first, there are ways to reverse this process through the conscious listening of our inner world. All emotions, even negative emotions, are our friends. There are here to move the energy around and restore a state of balance. This is why healthy kids go through so many emotions in a single day, from laughing, to crying, being playful or feeling cranky. If you have suffered loss, the emotions of despair, anger and sadness will help you heal. If your boundaries are violated, the positive side of anger will direct you to take action to ensure your safety. Simply learn to create a safe container to express all emotions during your meditation with full awareness. The state of inner alignment is the most conducive to physical and emotional health, and your feelings will point you in the right direction.

Wim Hof in the Himalayas

I have not been sick for over a year, and I have not had a discomfort that lasted for more than a couple of hours while 2018 has been a very challenging year marked by personal tragedy. I can tell you from my personal experience that one can heal from everything. I have some simple principles that have been critical to my healing and well being that I have listed below. 

  1. Meditation is my refuge. I meditate frequently, ideally every morning, to check-in and create a day according to my values, inspiration and feelings of the moment. But at the very least, I meditate as soon as I do not feel quite right
  2. I am committed to become aware and express all my emotions. I am careful to create a non judgmental safe container for these emotions. Authenticity is the courage to see my feelings for what they are without judgment. It is the commitment to my personal truth independently of the consequences
  3. When required, and when inner listening of my feelings and emotions is not enough, I commit to follow through with actions. This could be calling a friend you have not heard from for a while, or going on a run if my body feels sluggish.
  4. I commit to self care through a healthy emotional environment, a healthy lifestyle, to rest when I am tired and to strive to meet my authentic physical, emotional, mental and spiritual needs
  5. I trust my body in guiding me in what I can eat and drink. Sometimes, this may be fruits, avoiding alcohol, vegetable or comfort food.
  6. I strive to live a conscious life, be positive and act as the best version of myself. But when I do not feel well, I do not bulldoze myself but commit to shadow work to use this opportunity to integrate unhealed aspects of myself. Shadow work means being present and exploring the negative emotion to elicit answers about the healing or actions that need to take place.
  7. I stretch myself positively with compelling goals but never to the point of breaking
  8. I believe in balance. Balance of physical, mental, social and spiritual activities. Balance of activity and rest. Balance of work and fun. Balance of solitude and together time. Balance in taking care of self and others. Balance of order and chaos. When done right, balance results naturally in a sense of peace and well-being.
Vaillant skiing in Utah

There is nothing more important than health because when we lose it, nothing else matters. We take it for granted and impact it negatively through many small actions every day by not paying attention. But worse, we live in a state of dis-empowerment regarding our health as we were led to believe that our health is dependent on external factors such as germs, genes, pollution or bad luck. It is time for us to take responsibility for our health, build a strong immune system to live a truly fulfilling life.

Integrating the three aspects of the self

Švenčiausioji_Trejybė

This blog is published in The Mindful Word

https://www.themindfulword.org/2018/aspects-of-the-self/

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Article translated in French below

Intégrer les trois aspects du soi pour s’éveiller

Les cercles de développement personnel et spirituel parlent souvent des concepts du Moi supérieur (ou l’âme), de l’enfant intérieur et du besoin d’une personnalité positive, introspective, reliée aux réalités de la vie matérielle et efficace. La plupart des ouvrages de développement personnel abordent un seul aspect, rarement deux à la fois et presque jamais les trois. Si quelqu’un me demande ce qu’est l’éveil spirituel, je réponds simplement « Vivre le paradis sur terre », c’est-à-dire la capacité à fonctionner dans cette dimension physique selon des principes spirituels élevés. De manière pratique, nous avons en nous trois aspects principaux et très différents : 1. l’adulte, 2. l’enfant et 3. l’âme, et les trois doivent coexister en harmonie afin que nous puissions être véritablement intégrés et devenir ce que nous appelons un être éveillé. Le développement d’un aspect sans les autres est en réalité un danger pour soi et pour les autres.

L’adulte ou adulte intérieur n’est rien d’autre que notre personnalité. Notre personnalité s’est construite selon notre éducation familiale, notre culture, notre éducation et notre environnement. En conséquence, elle est pleine de concepts erronés, de perspectives limitées, d’idées fausses et de contradictions. Par l’introspection, l’étude des grands sages, l’application des leçons précieuses tirées de notre expérience, la pensée positive et consciente, nous pouvons peu à peu améliorer notre personnalité pour mieux soutenir notre vie et celle des autres qui nous entourent. Beaucoup de livres sont consacrés à nous aider à développer une personnalité plus efficace afin que nous puissions avoir plus de succès dans la vie, qu’il s’agisse de gagner plus d’argent, d’améliorer notre relation de couple ou d’être plus heureux. Un adulte mûr a une pensée claire, répond aux situations de la vie de manière réfléchie, projette des valeurs positives et comprend les étapes nécessaires pour atteindre ses buts. Il sait aussi comment se protéger et protéger les autres. Il est capable de tirer parti de ses précieuses expériences de vie pour améliorer la qualité de vie de tous ceux qui l’entourent.

L’enfant intérieur est un concept plus récent. Bien que Carl Jung soit à l’origine du concept dans son archétype de l’enfant divin, John Bradshaw est en réalité celui qui a popularisé le travail sur l’enfant intérieur auprès du grand public dans les années 1980 grâce à ses best-sellers et à ses apparitions aux côtés d’Oprah. Tous les professionnels de la santé mentale sont maintenant familiers avec le concept de l’enfant intérieur. L’enfant intérieur correspond à notre essence et au noyau de ce que nous sommes. C’est un aspect hyper sensible, complètement ouvert et la source de notre créativité, de notre spontanéité et de notre joie intérieure. Quand nous grandissons dans ce monde difficile avec des parents imparfaits, notre enfant intérieur (ou nos enfants intérieurs) est victime de traumatismes. Ceux-ci vont engendrer une faible estime de soi, une pauvre image corporelle, des déséquilibres affectifs, l’auto-flagellation, des masques bloquants, des problèmes d’identité, d’intimité et d’engagement, des dépendances, etc. Le travail sur l’enfant intérieur a pour objectif de renouer avec cet aspect subconscient du soi, de revivre consciemment les émotions refoulées afin que nous puissions aider notre enfant intérieur à poursuivre son développement.

L’âme est notre moi transcendantal. Celui-ci est déjà parfait, pleinement développé et connecté à l’ensemble de l’existence. Le moi supérieur est au-dessus du cycle de la naissance et de la mort. C’est la conscience elle-même. Grâce à cela, nous pouvons faire l’expérience de la conscience de Dieu. Qui mieux que Rumi, le mystique soufi du XIIIe siècle, pour nous décrire le moi supérieur ? « Ces formes que nous sommes sont comme des tasses flottant dans un océan de conscience vivante. Elles se remplissent et coulent sans laisser de traces. Ce que nous sommes, c’est cet océan, mais nous sommes trop proches pour le voir, même si nous y nageons et le buvons. Ne soyez pas une tasse avec un rebord sec, ou quelqu’un qui chevauche toute la nuit et ne connaît jamais le cheval entre ses cuisses. » Nous ne travaillons pas sur l’âme, il s’agit simplement d’élever notre conscience et de nous rappeler qui nous sommes en tant qu’âme. L’âme est indestructible et ne peut être blessée, car elle est cet amour infini.

Permettez-moi d’illustrer l’évolution de ces trois aspects à travers mon expérience personnelle. Quand j’étais enfant, j’ai subi une série de traumatismes qui m’ont conduit à une dépression profonde et à une forte anxiété à l’âge de treize ans. Ma personnalité adolescente cherchait des possibilités de sortir de mon enfer émotionnel. Bien que les progrès aient été lents à cet âge, j’ai développé petit à petit des concepts et des idées pour rendre mon existence plus supportable. Mes progrès touchaient uniquement le niveau de la personnalité (ou mon moi adulte). Je suis devenu adulte trop rapidement et j’ai géré ma douleur affective en devenant le meilleur élève possible à l’école. Je manquais de spontanéité, j’étais très sérieux et me sentais comme un vieil homme à l’intérieur. À dix-neuf ans, j’ai passé tout l’été aux États-Unis, ce qui a élargi mes horizons. Je suis tombée amoureux d’une fille à mon retour à l’université, et une rupture douloureuse trois mois plus tard a ouvert ma conscience. L’intensité de la douleur émotionnelle m’a fait vivre pour la première fois un état de conscience mystique où je me suis senti extatique. Soudain, je me suis rendu compte que la vie était bien plus grande que le monde visible. Je me suis lancé dans une quête spirituelle et suis devenu obsédé par cet éveil dont parlent les grandes philosophies et religions. Pendant les sept années suivantes, sans le comprendre consciemment, j’étais à la recherche de mon moi supérieur que je n’avais ressenti que pendant quelques instants. En tant que chercheur spirituel, je suis tombé dans un premier piège, et j’ai rejoint une secte. Les sectes sont des organisations toxiques, qui se positionnent comme des intermédiaires dans notre relation à Dieu afin de nous exploiter. Après en être sorti trois ans plus tard, et après avoir pris le temps de me déprogrammer, j’ai poursuivi mes efforts pour m’éveiller. Cela a porté ses fruits et quand j’ai eu vingt-six ans, j’ai vécu un état de conscience où j’ai vécu un état extatique ou le pur amour pendant plus de vingt-quatre heures. Cela a ouvert une porte où j’ai pu retourner consciemment à cet état avec une discipline de vie spécifique. Tandis que j’éprouvais des états de conscience extatiques, je me suis rendu compte que j’étais devenu un junky spirituel et que ma vie ne reflétait pas extérieurement les états de conscience extraordinaires que j’éprouvais intérieurement. J’ai commencé à me sentir seul et j’ai concentré mon attention sur la manifestation physique. Sans le savoir, j’avais changé la focalisation de mon travail intérieur de mon âme à ma personnalité. Pour faire mûrir cet adulte intérieur, je me suis inspiré de gourous de du développement personnel tels qu’Antony Robbins, Wayne Dyer ou Brian Tracy. Je me suis marié avec une PAJ (princesse américaine juive), et j’ai fondé une famille. Je me suis concentré sur ma carrière pour réussir ma vie. Je suis devenu un entrepreneur prospère dans la Silicon Valley et le vice-consul honoraire de Monaco.

J’étais un lecteur assidu avec toujours pour but de m’améliorer. Mon succès professionnel était un mécanisme d’adaptation à ma douleur émotionnelle que j’avais continué à enfouir, et qui se manifestait à travers une relation tumultueuse avec ma femme. Quand j’ai eu trente-cinq ans, je n’ai plus réussi à contenir ces émotions sous-jacentes. Je suis entré en thérapie à ce moment-là et ai commencé à renouer avec mon moi transcendental, car j’avais constamment le sentiment que quelque chose me manquait. Je suis devenu un grand fan d’enseignants de non-dualité tels qu’Eckart Tolle, Adyashanti, Krishnamurti ou David Deida. Quand j’ai eu trente-huit ans, la grâce est venue au travers d’un événement inattendu. J’ai eu une commotion cérébrale à la suite d’un accident de ski, qui m’a recâblé le cerveau. Après avoir récupéré de l’accident, je pouvais méditer sans effort et le sentiment qu’il me manquait quelque chose a alors disparu. Je suis devenu beaucoup plus intuitif et me suis toujours senti guidé dans mes actions. À ce moment-là, j’avais fait un énorme travail pour développer une personnalité consciente afin de soutenir ma vie et ouvrir le chemin intérieur à mon âme. Cependant, jusqu’à ce moment-là, je n’avais fait que très peu de travail sur mon enfant intérieur (je n’étais pas au courant du concept à l’époque) et l’écart s’accentuait entre cet enfant intérieur sous-développé et brisé et le reste de mon être. J’ai connu une crise de milieu de vie et ai attiré une partenaire encore plus déséquilibrée que moi-même. Elle était un canal clair pour son moi supérieur, détenait la connaissance spirituelle la plus remarquable, mais toute sa vie était en réalité contrôlée et rendue misérable par les traumatismes de son enfance qu’elle se sentait impuissante à guérir. À cause de ses dons spirituels, elle pouvait voir à travers moi, et je ne pouvais plus cacher mes enfants intérieurs blessés. J’avais tellement réprimé la douleur de mon enfance pour atteindre le succès matériel et spirituel que mes enfants intérieurs perdus se sont manifestés sous la forme de l’aliénation parentale de mes enfants réels. Tout au long de ma vie, j’ai fait face à de nombreux défis, mais aucun n’était comparable à la brutalité de cette expérience. Mon dernier mariage s’est également effondré quelques temps après. Cette année passée a été difficile, mais riche en apprentissage. Elle m’a permis de réintégrer mon enfant intérieur avec ma personnalité d’adulte et mon moi transcendantal. Maintenant, lorsque mon enfant a mal, je m’assieds en méditation avec la douleur. Mon adulte et mon âme le rejoignent, lui prennent la main et l’aident à guérir. J’ai arrêté de le brimer et de le faire taire comme je l’avais fait pratiquement toute ma vie. Qu’il s’agisse de solitude, de trahison, de dépression, de colère, de jalousie, de suspicion, de méfiance ou de tristesse, je reste assis avec lui sans jugement. Avec suffisamment de patience, mon enfant intérieur est en train de se reconstruire lentement grâce à la confiance en mon adulte intérieur et à la sagesse et la présence de mon âme. En fait, je n’ai pas découvert un seul enfant intérieur, mais plusieurs, qui ont entre deux et onze ans. Il est clair que cet aspect de moi est encore un peu en retard par rapport à ma personnalité et à ma connexion avec mon moi transcendantal. C’est donc sur cet aspect que je me concentre afin d’atteindre mon plein potentiel, et ainsi finir par me reconnecter à mes enfants réels.

J’espère qu’en partageant  mon expérience personnelle, j’aurai réussi à illustrer l’importance de rester équilibré avec ces trois axes de travail tout au long de notre cheminement spirituel. Je pense intuitivement que Wayne Dyer aurait pu faire face à un déséquilibre similaire. C’était un professeur remarquable, doté d’une personnalité très intelligente et d’une profonde compréhension de l’âme. Sa troisième épouse, Marcelene, mère de cinq de ses enfants, a divorcé après vingt ans de mariage, et il est décédé plus tard d’une leucémie, révélatrice d’un traumatisme infantile non guéri (Wayne était un enfant de l’assistance publique). De la même manière, Jerry Hicks, l’auteur inspiré de la loi de l’attraction avec sa sixième femme Esther, est décédé d’un cancer.

Les individus qui font l’expérience de leurs aspects transcendantaux sans faire le travail nécessaire sur leur personnalité pour développer l’objectivité et l’intégrité nécessaires, peuvent facilement devenir des leaders de sectes. Leurs traumatismes non guéris génèrent alors des fausses croyances et des illusions.

Les Amérindiens ont souvent un lien authentique avec le divin et ont un enfant intérieur en bonne santé. Malheureusement, le manque de développement de leur personnalité fait cependant d’eux une cible facile pour l’exploitation, les abus ou la dépendance.

Les personnes ayant une personnalité très développée, mais peu connectées à leur âme peuvent avoir beaucoup de succès, voire faire des choses magnifiques dans la vie, si elles ont un enfant intérieur en bonne santé, mais il y aura peu d’incitation à aider les gens en dehors de leur famille proche. Celles dont l’enfant intérieur est traumatisé seront souvent autocratiques avec le désir d’exploiter leur prochain.

Ces trois dimensions sont faciles à voir chez les êtres éveillés. Par exemple, le Dalaï Lama agit souvent comme un petit enfant qui adore s’amuser ou plaisanter, mais peut exprimer des concepts complexes à partir de sa personnalité sans jamais perdre de vue sa nature transcendantale. Il peut basculer entre ces aspects à volonté en fonction de ce qui est requis dans le moment présent. Une personnalité développée peut comprendre et connaître Dieu, cependant seul l’enfant en bonne santé en nous peut en faire directement l’expérience en tant qu’amour, unité et créativité. C’est pourquoi on dit souvent que le cœur (auquel l’enfant intérieur a un accès direct) est le siège de l’âme. Ayant développé cette trinité en nous, nous pouvons maintenant regarder les étoiles avec les pieds solidement plantés dans le sol et créer le paradis sur terre.

Growing and healing together as a couple

3 part series of the dysfunctional dance between co-dependents and borderlines

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Part III – Growing and healing together as a couple

social stigma

For the most part, my last blog on Understanding and Loving the Borderline was well received except on a Facebook group that brings together a vulnerable minority group. My blog triggered them, as they felt stigmatized and shamed. I removed the post from this private group as my intent was to make people feel better not worse, and they were unable to make use of the information. They probably suffered a lot in the hands of a mental health system that often uses labels to prescribe drugs and to scapegoate them instead of providing them with genuine support for healing. Labeling is indeed a dangerous thing. It is fine for people to label themselves as borderline or codependent as a tool for self-observation, but we should refrain from labeling other people this way, as it would just trigger their shame. Shame and self-awareness are incompatible states. This is why, once our shame is triggered, any positive change towards our authentic healthy self becomes impossible. We become frozen and what can happen instead is more fragmentation, meaning that we would build a false self in order not to experience this feeling of shame again. This is actually the process of how false cult personalities are created, and how the false “good guys” personalities are built with codependents. The borderline is however unable to cope and goes into rage. I sincerely do not know which is healthier. Every tool can be used for empowerment or to hurt people. It is up to each one of us to use this information wisely.

We mirror each other’s disowned self

the angel and demon in us

As I was doing inner work, I remember when I first met my “inner borderline”. We call this process voice dialog or parts work. I display externally little of the BPD characteristics. As I mentioned previously, I have been struggling instead with codependency in my intimate relationships. This makes sense as we manifest externally what is deeply repressed in us. This is how attraction works. As a child, the borderline aspects of my mum and stepmom terrified me but I had to bond with them for my emotional survival. I had made the depression of one and the anger of the other one unacceptable emotions. I created these parts internally to mirror them but buried them deep within my psyche out of fear and in a subconscious attempt to feel safe. I could not have been a magnet for PBPD partners all of my life unless there was a part in me to reflect them. So if a codependent is in a relationship with a PBPD, we need to remember that the borderline is the repressed aspect of the codependent, and vice versa. There is futility in blaming our partner because they are you, both representing the positive and negative aspects of you that you have disowned. The most extreme form of internalizing the people we feel traumatized from, and that we feel dependent on for our survival is well documented as the Stockholm syndrome. An example was the adoration of Nazi concentration camp SS physician Josef Mengele by his victims. Josef Mengele performed the most horrific deadly human experiments on prisoners and in particular on children twins. I recommend a quick read on other famous cases of the Stockholm syndrome. Here is how it works. When a traumatic event occurs that we are not able to process consciously, we fragment. This means that aspects of our consciousness leave our body to find escape somewhere else. In very powerless situations, these fragmented selves actually find refuge in the abuser as it feels it is the safest place to hide. As a result, we create deeply repressed internal parts of the very same persons that traumatized us. We cannot acknowledge these aspects consciously as otherwise we would live in a constant state of anxiety so they manifest externally in particular in the form of romantic & intimate relationships. We have a tendency to fall in love with people showing the same dysfunctional aspects of our parent of the opposite gender. This is why women raised with an emotionally unavailable father would attract the same in their partners. And this is why I have been with PBPD most of my life. I am not a victim. They are simply mirroring the aspects of me that I have repressed. They are helping me to become conscious. In the same way, all the PBPD I have been with had a codependent father that I was mirroring back for them. It may be depressing news but most of us are simply trying to earn back the love we did not receive as a child (from our parents). We are actually replaying the traumas and the stories of the past instead of actually truly connecting with our partners. There is only one way out, which is bringing these lost aspects of ourselves back to the light of consciousness. Seeing these parts, accepting them, loving them and ultimately forgiving oneself for reenacting this drama subconsciously are the steps to recovery.

Think of yourself as the trinity: adult, child and soul

The sacred trinity: personality, inner child and soul

In the process of integration, I have found it a helpful tool to see myself as the composite of my (hurt) inner child, my adult and my transcendental self. The codependent identifies with his adult self, while the PBPD identifies with her hurt inner child. The borderline feels too much while the codependent is hardly in touch with his feelings. For a healthy development of the individual, we need a balance between these two aspects. The inner child gives us our spontaneity, our creativity, our joie de vivre, access to more subtle aspects to our being. The adult self keeps us out of trouble, has wisdom to draw from, and helps us function in this physical reality. A genuine partnership between our child and adult has to be formed to restart an inner development that likely stopped during an early traumatic event. We do not want an overbearing internal adult (codependent) or tyrannical and out-of-control inner child (BPD). Life has its way of recreating balance. This is why children of PBPD get parentified, and why codependents are irresistibly attracted to PBPD. If you able to create a healthy balance of these aspects within yourself, the universe will also mirror it externally with a more stable partner. How does this work in practice?

  • When you feel uneasy and stuck, do shadow work to bring these aspects of you into awareness. Do not bulldoze your inner child into performing other activities that may appear more important to the inner adult. I understand that life has constraints so if you cannot attend right away to the inner child (which is the ideal), commit to schedule this inner work within 24 hours.
  • Follow personal inspiration, creativity and your inner joy whenever you can. Look for simple ways to feel genuinely happy
  • Stay aware of the consequences of your actions. Spontaneity does not have to equate with recklessness
  • Temper your internal fears with the wisdom from your personal experience
  • Know your limits, and assess your personal boundaries wisely. Follow-through, be responsible but not at the expense of your authentic self.

Try to visualize some of the healthiest parent/child relationships you have witnessed in your life. This is what you need to create internally. The inner child is the seat of the soul. The bible says “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven”. But the child needs to develop to become this clear channel to the higher self. And he needs a wise, compassionate and supporting inner parent to grow-up. As we enter the spiritual path, many of us will find a hurt inner child whose development stopped at a very early age. We need to take this traumatized child where he is, without judgment and patiently re-parent ourselves. Another way to look at it is to see our inner child as our essence and our adult as our personality. When these two aspects of us start working in harmony, we can consciously access the more transcendental aspects of our beings.

Authenticity

unique red umbrella among black umbrellas with city background symbolizing authenticity

To get out of codependent relationships, we need to realize that “People in the relationship are more important than the relationship”. This sentence goes against many of our social bias. Miserable married people are often advised to stay together even when they have become toxic to each other. I understand that any intimate relationship will go through their ups and down and I am not advocating to breakup as soon as there is a bump in the road. Sometimes we struggle with the relationship but we deeply care about our partner and we feel this is helping us become a better version of ourselves. This is a situation where we need to fight for the relationship because it is supporting us as an individual. Actually, as we are able to successfully survive these difficult times, the relationship will then reach a much higher intimacy. There are other situations however when the marriage brings both pain and the loss of self. These are times to get out. Staying in a miserable marriage for the sake of the children does not make sense; they are well aware of the conflicts and this is damaging to them. We want to be models that they do not have to compromise their personal happiness to be in an intimate relationship. Putting the self above the relationship is a very scary and risky choice for the codependent. We probably entered the relationship pretending we were someone we are not because of our personal shame. Our partner may feel betrayed, duped or threatened as we reveal the real us. We may be rejected, abandoned as a result, and if your partner is narcissistic, they will surely do this and also discredit you to any common acquaintances. This is a very painful experience but a price worth paying to recover your authentic self. In any case, we need to remember that any other option is futile. What makes us attractive and sexy is our individuality; not being an accessory to someone else. As we compromise ourselves to fit into the relationship box dictated by our nascissistic partner, we will stop our attractiveness and our mate will abandon us anyway. We need to remember that it is better to be alone than being in the wrong company. We can remind ourselves that we survived brutal breakups in the past, and ended in a better place once the grieving was done. As we feel depressed by the loss of the relationship and see no end to our personal misery, we can bring King Solomon’s wisdom: “This too shall pass”. Actually, when we look back at the most difficult times of our life, we can see retrospectively that these were the times we did the most growth, and created the foundations of our future happiness. Life is a series of steep climbs and flat plateaus, then further climbs. Being in a relationship should always be a free choice. This is the only way to experience a true heart-to-heart connection to our partner. While there are external forms of coercion such as the threat of personal injury, losing one’s children or litigation when attempting to leave a relationship, these are quite rare and extreme. What is more insidious and common is the coercion coming from our own personal fears. Here are some examples.

If I leave her/him, if s/he breaks up with me:

  • I will have to compromise my personal lifestyle, take care of my personal finances and probably lose financial security
  • I will be alone which I cannot handle
  • I will have to be back on the dating scene, which I detest
  • I will lose face with my family, friends and community
  • I will have to go back to work
  • I will have to move
  • I will not have sex anymore
  • I will not handle seeing my ex with a new partner
  • I will have to take care of the children on my own which I feel incapable of doing
  • I will die because I cannot handle another breakup
  • I will not handle the guilt of hurting my children
  • I will have to start cooking and do my own laundry
  • I will lose all of our joint friends
  • I will have no one to protect me
  • I will have no one to take care of me if I am sick
  • I will lose the relationship with my children
  • I will lose the relationship with my in-laws
broken chain towards independence

Can you see these are all wrong reasons to stay with someone? It makes the person a means to an end and this will destroy your intimacy. The times for selecting our partner for survival reasons are well over. In this day and age, intimate relationships are primarily for emotional nurturing, experiencing love, feeling seen, felt and understood, personal growth and enjoyment. If you are just looking for transactional relationships, you can simply use service providers as our world can offer any possible service imaginable in exchange for money. This is why it is so important to develop personal autonomy in our life as this allows our closed ones to be with us because they want to be there and not because they have to. We can move from the conditionality of love of the sacral chakra with all its cords, control drama and power struggles to the unconditional and pure love of the heart chakra. Of course, we should not take the goal of personal autonomy to the extreme to the point of being afraid of asking for support from others. The key is never to put yourself in a state of dependency that may lead you to compromise your personal integrity or stop honoring your personal boundaries. When your personal situation does not allow for this right away, just make a goal to create this personal autonomy in the future and make it a priority. Authenticity cannot strive in a controlled environment because the price to pay for your personal truth would be too high. Also, when we are incapable of taking care of ourselves, we will create expectations in our union, which in turn will create tension. This is not a conducive environment for love to flow. If you want a clean house and both you and your partner dislike cleaning, best is to hire a cleaning lady. If you are in need of physical affection but your partner is drained, go get a therapeutic massage. As a codependent, authenticity can be daunting as we are so afraid to lose everything once we find ourselves, and start sharing our authenticity with the world. It is true that the world reacts often very brutally to codependents finally standing in their truth. If you express your authentic self to your partner in a vulnerable way but s/he is not able to carve a place for your authentic self, it is best to let go. Our authentic self is our most treasured possession and without it, there cannot be the possibility of a joyful and happy life. I had given everything to my relationship but once I stood in my authenticity, the relationship did not survive. It took courage and it was incredibly painful but as a result, I received the ultimate gift of living an authentic life and stepping out of codependency. It was all well worth it.

Loneliness

loneliness

Loneliness is one of the most painful feelings to experience consciously. We understand conceptually that we are one and connected to everything that is alive. I remember reading Radical Forgiveness years ago from Colin Tipping, and I had an epiphany when the author stated that our experience on earth is first about experiencing the illusion of separateness. Separateness is an enduring illusion because our physical body is separate from other beings. We are one with our mother then separate from her at birth to create an individual experience. We go through the process of death and many other painful experiences alone. We cannot go through life without feeling rejected, abandoned or criticized at times. In my personal experience, there is actually no biggest suffering than losing the connection to our creator. Even Jesus doubted on the cross if God had abandoned him “Father, why have you forsaken me?” Many of us with attachment traumas are suffering from profound loneliness and we become vulnerable to a variety of addictions as a result. There is a compulsory need to fill this void at any cost. This feeling of emptiness is actually caused by our internal fragmentation as we have lost many aspects of ourselves through the traumatic events of our upbringing. Filling this void with people or various addictions can only give us a temporary relief, and this is what codependents and borderlines attempt to do. It is like the person who lost his way in the forest who gets relief by meeting someone else only to realize this person is lost too. This may bring some temporary comfort however the two people are still lost. From my perspective, this form of pathological loneliness can only be healed in two steps. First, we need to feel consciously our deep and profound loneliness without trying to escape it. This is best done in a meditation setting where we create an internal container for the painful emotion with no judgment, letting our internal torment and fears run their course. From this place, if we are patient enough, eventually grace will come in and we will remember somatically our divine nature and recover our connection with God. As we realign with our soul and our sense of purpose, we can feel complete. We may still feel lonely at times as we go through phases when we do not have special people in our life to reflect our wholeness. However these phases are temporary and they do not destabilize us because we feel the security of our connection with our higher self that is connected with everything. Overtime, we learn to be alone without feeling lonely and aloneness becomes even a means to strengthen our connection to the divine. Our deep longing for an intimate connection becomes more a thirst to reflect our divine nature than to fill an endless void. Our divine nature is love, giving and receiving love. Is there anything better in the world than intimate relationships to experience it?

Stepping out of the drama triangle victim/persecutor/rescuer

Dreaded Drama Triangle

The PBPD is addicted to the victim role. She feels so unworthy and hopeless that she believes she can only get attention through pity and other form of victim control drama. The codependent is addicted with the rescuer role. He feels so unworthy that he feels he has no value unless he fulfills a specific role or does something for someone. To break this negative cycle, the codependent needs to apologize to the PBPD for putting her in a state of dependency, disempowering her and not creating the conditions where she could solve her own problems. Without bypassing her pain, the PBPD needs to find the strength to find the hidden treasure that came from her abuse, to realize that her persecutor is just another victim like her and eventually forgive her abuser and herself for creating this painful experience at a soul level. The Hawaiian prayer Ho’oponopono “I am sorry – Please forgive me – Thank you – I love you” is another powerful way to break out of the dysfunctional roles of the drama triangle and undo the false narration. But please remember to do this prayer from the adult or soul perspective but never from the hurt inner child as this could be very damaging.

Transition plan as we rewire our brain for real love

rewire the brain

Because of his unhealthy childhood environment, the codependent actually got addicted to constant drama. He thrives with chaos, conflict and dangerous situations as this gives him the opportunity to prove his self-worth by rescuing. Drama is actually associated with love in his brain. Because it takes time to rewire a brain and examine all false beliefs, I recommend the recovering codependent to engage in more productive activities where he could experience the same adrenaline rush. He can start a more risky professional activity (reward and risk often go together), or enjoy extreme sports. On the other end, the borderline is addicted to emotionally abusive situations so that they can get attention through victimhood. Abuse equal love in her brain. One of my partners had suffered in a horrific way in the hands of one of an extremely disturbing violent cult. The abuser of her childhood pretended to be her dad but was also sexual with her. As we can expect, her intimate relationships were very unstable as a result. She would start all of her relationships idealizing her partner but then would slowly start seeing her companion through the filter of her childhood abuse. She would then replay the escape of her childhood nightmare by orchestrating the end of the romance. Then, she would enter a demonization phase where she would try to convince anyone willing to listen to her that her ex was part of the same cult that inflicted her so much grief as a child. In a similar way than the codependent, the PBPD can turn her addiction to abuse to productive use by helping the unfortunate ones. Since 2001, Angelina Jolie has been on field missions around the world and met with refugees and internally displaced persons. She also adopted 3 children. French sex symbol Brigitte Bardot has dedicated the second half of her life rescuing animals. Princess Diana was involved in over 100 charities and she made a big impact fighting homelessness and helping victims of HIV/AIDS and leprosy. Overtime, as healing takes place, both PBPD and borderline learn to enjoy a more peaceful and simple love without relentless crises. They realize that can experience intimacy and love without the roller coaster.

The 80/20 rule in seeing the positive in your partner

images

The PBPD will have a tendency to catastrophizing and only focus on the negative in herself and her partner. The codependent will often err on the opposite. He will stay positive and apparently strong any time his partner feels bad or negative. This is his way to cope and exercise control in the situation. He has a tendency to act too optimistic in situations potentially dangerous to his partner. Even if his wife struggles with alcoholism, he could say “Let me give you a glass of champagne darling, this will help you relax”. He will let his wife go out with a man interested romantically with her trusting them a bit too much. He will give his daughter to a baby-sitter with bad vibes. He will decide to go out with his friends at the time his wife feels suicidal. Wearing pink glasses is his way of coping. He thinks he can make himself safer when imagining that we live in a good world with good people. He actually endangers himself and his family with this attitude. His borderline partner, on the opposite, feels too much the potential dangers and often amplifies them. She feels she cannot trust her codependent partner to keep her safe and will go ballistic at him when her anxiety reaches a threshold. The codependent will typically only crash emotionally and display negative emotions when his borderline partner feels happy! First, he feels very threatened by her happiness as he fears that she will not need him anymore if she feels good. Secondly, he built resentment through the many crises but did not allow himself to feel any of it because of the instability in the relationship. If he sees his borderline partner doing well, he feels this is his opportunity to share everything that upset him over the last few weeks, which unmistakably overwhelms and triggers his borderline girlfriend.

It is very frustrating for the PBPD as she feels she spends most of her time in doom, and when the sunshine comes, he immediately spoils it! In my twenties, I worked as an engineer in the Silicon Valley software start-up. We had a borderline male employee called Steve with constant conflictual relationships with many co-workers. The CEO liked him however because Steve’s mind was always focused on what could go wrong and this helped avert potential business threats as he felt that the rest of the management team was too optimistic. Though there are some positive aspects in looking at a glass half empty however there is a problem in always seeing the negative in your partner. The codependent struggles with shame too. If he is constantly shamed who he is and what he does, he will start deflecting the shame and pointing to his partner her own shadows. They will work on each other non-stop. It will cease to be a relationship. It will become a self-improvement torture chamber. To support someone towards positive change, it is well known that we need to receive more compliments than criticism. By continuing to reflect the positive of our partners, we will support their development towards their higher potential. On the other hand, the codependent needs to be more connected, aware of his environment and realize that the policy of burying one’s head in the sand is not the right strategy to follow. He should ensure to stay positive when his borderline partner feels good so that she can fully enjoy these brief moments of happiness. He needs to improve his communication so that he can bring constructive feedback in a way that would be best received by his borderline partner. He needs to express things as they come so that they do not have the time to fester in him. The borderline has to learn to see her codependent partner more objectively. She goes from idealization to demonization back to idealization and then again demonization in no time. She needs to recognize that her partner has qualities and flaws just like she has. Putting in writing how she feels about her partner will help her realize her “splitting” and eventually heal from it.

Become an expert in your partner

the woman's manual

First by becoming an expert in your partner, you will learn to spend enjoyable time together while minimizing triggers. Ask lots of questions, be inquisitive and curious about him/her. The better she feels, the better you feel or more succinctly “Happy Wife, Happy Life”. By better understanding your partner’s dysfunctions, you can also better support their recovery and avoid fatal mistakes. This knowledge is best received when it is inconspicuous and unconditional. It should not be a way to score points for a hidden agenda. In this day and age, we are lucky that so much valuable information is at our fingertips. About any question we have may be answered by an insightful YouTube video or podcast. We can make our car a university on wheels during our commute time and keep improving our relationships. There are optimal communication strategies for any type of person and this is what we need to become skillful at using the right words at the right time. If you partner is codependent, here are some of the approaches that may work:

  • If he feels disconnected, be inquisitive, ask him how he feels, use his love language to bring him back to his heart, help him bring out to the surface what is bothering him deeply inside
  • If he says yes but you feel no weight behind his words, challenge him in his commitment. Either get him accountable and make it easy for him to say no. Confront him every time you feel he is lying to him and others (mostly subconsciously because he is a people pleaser). Do not let him off the hook. Point out his lack of consistency and how this is impacting others
  • If his words or actions are hurting you, become vulnerable on how he is making you feel and take responsibility for your feelings not to trigger his shame. Empower him to make things better for you. Tell him you hurt because you love him
  • Get him in touch with his shadows. Create a safe container for him to express the parts behind the “good guy”, all of the unsavory aspects of his hurt inner child. Reward him every time he has the courage to go there

It is important that we learn to clearly communicate our needs and likes instead of expecting our partners to know them telepathically. While this feels great when our partner does things what we treasure without the need to ask them, why not make it easier on them instead of constantly testing their love for us? Let us coach them to speak our love language instead of doing things for them with the expectation of getting something in return. Even the most compatible persons will have difference in their love language so communication is key. Make separate lists of your needs, what you love and share it with your loved one. Provide loving and non-judgmental frequent feedback so that both partners can improve constantly of making each other feel loved.

The importance of the commitment to self

commitment to self

Happiness comes from the simple things of life: knowing who you are, feeling love for who we are, intimacy with special people and relationships, a supportive community, feeling creative, have our needs met at a physical level, being healthy, a connection to something greater than ourselves (ideal, God, values) and practicing activities that we enjoy. This is not rocket science but it takes commitment to fill our life with the ingredients of joy. In codependent relationships, we sacrifice our authentic self for the relationship. We are so desperate to be loved that we project a false idea of us so that we may be liked. The commitment to self has to come first as the people in the relationship are more important than the relationship. If the relationship stops supporting the individuals within the relationship, it does not have to mean a break-up. People can find creative ways to adjust the relationship in a way that they will feel better supported. This takes tremendous courage as these changes may trigger our insecurities and fears of abandonment. The commitment to self requires us to be OK to be alone, as we cannot control the reactions of others. This may not be our preferred way of being but unless we can sit in peace with ourselves, we will not be able to give our partner the freedom to love us by choice. Once our sense of self is secure, the commitment to the relationship comes with less anxiety so we can navigate the ups and downs in a more astute way. We typically make the worst relationship mistakes when we are triggered. As we dive deeper in intimacy, we start including the other into our personal field so the commitment to self will naturally encompass them too. Loving oneself extends to loving our partner and eventually to the whole universe as we increase our awareness.

Own your shame

shame guilt woman pointing fingers sad

Most fights between codependents and borderline are escalated when shame is triggered. Owning your shame is the best way to de-escalate the argument. Let me give you a couple of examples. Instead of “Why did book this shitty hotel? This is the last time you do the travel reservations”, say “I felt small and taken for granted when you booked this hotel for us. I really want to feel safe with you and it is hard to do when you do not seem to see me”. Instead of “Can I have some space now? I cannot take this constant drama” say “I feel at odds with myself and I do not think I can be a good company for you until I can sort things out. May I go meditate and reconnect with you after I am done?”. Instead of “How can you be friend with that asshole? He is just a narcissistic jerk” say “I feel triggered around your friend. He always speak about himself and never seems to care to listen about things in our life”. Instead of “Being with you is like being with a cold stone. It is obvious why none of your relationships never lasted very long” say “I do not feel seen, felt or understood right now. I feel unsafe as a result. I need you to really connect to me right now”. If you can show some genuine vulnerable emotions, your communication will be that much more effective. Owing our shame starts with the courage to believe that our innate nature is lovable, which would allow us to be vulnerable and therefore to build intimacy. It is important to stay humble because unless we are willing to acknowledge our own failings, we will continuously project what we refuse to see in ourselves into our partner. I had once a partner who kept saying obsessively that I had duped her to get in a relationship with her. This was partly true because as a codependent, I would portray myself as someone I am not in order to conquer the object of my desire because I felt unlovable deep within. However, what she failed to realize is that she felt even more intensely like a bad apple and did not believe anyone could love her for who she is. There were just as many things she hid about herself than her codependent partner. Projecting this deep shame solely into her partner prevented her to own it.

Therapy

Therapy

A good family therapist is important to help us navigate through the intricacies of interpersonal relationships with our partners, children and parents. There is a significant stigma in Europe with people using therapists. They are often labeled as crazy and unstable so most people in Europe would see a shrink in secret. People in the USA and even more Californians are very open to it. When a situation triggers both partners at the same time, a qualified therapist is critical. I do not recommend using a friend because the friend would typically be biased and they do not have the professional training to rise above the interpersonal conflict. The therapist primary goal is to help release the unconscious into the conscious, support introspection and empower the stakeholders towards a creative solution as their awareness is lifted. It is important to take your time to find a good family therapist. Many enter this profession because they feel damaged and they have not done yet all the inner work necessary to help others. A skilled family therapist is important at times to any intimate partnership but it is absolutely critical for codependent/borderline couple who need all the help they can get with their rocky relationship. The best therapists would actually be the ones that experienced earlier in their life the same negative patterns. I have an absolutely extraordinary family therapist. He is an older gentleman. He was raised in a horrendous family dynamic and he had a disorganized attachment style as a result. He was married and divorced 3 times before he was able to finally develop a healthy and intimate relationship with his 4th wife whom he has been for over 30 years now. He has done immense inner work to get where he is now, which makes him incredible knowledgeable and insightful in helping his clients.

Make the couple a sanctuary

sacred union

Codependent/borderline relationships are inherently turbulent and therefore experience power struggles. Power struggles come from personal insecurity and powerlessness. We attempt to control our partner to love us because we feel deep inside unworthy of love. If someone does not feel secure in a relationship, they have the tendency to enroll their personal friends to validate their opinions and show their partner that they are right. This can do no good to the relationship. While venting to your friends can be sometimes helpful to release some of the internal pressure and frustration one may experience, enlisting them to prove your points would just damage the relationship. We need to keep remembering what is more important to us, to be loved or to be right? I was once in a very unhealthy community situation where all the community members were either employees or followers of my wife. They worshipped her and she could do no wrong. It was very tempting for her to enlist them to make herself right to me, ignoring the fact that they were all biased to start with. If I had used my close friends or French family to rally to my opinion, they would have sided with me. That would not have made me right. This was not an option anyway because they were not in our living community. And this would have just made the conflict larger instead of contributing towards a meaningful resolution of the conflict. This is why a trained therapist should be used instead of friends or community members to work through a relationship conflict. Communities are a very dangerous place for committed intimate relationships. As a young man, I remember that most couples that moved to the Fellowship of Friends community in northern California would divorce the first year. Community life diffuse the commitment between the two individuals and there is a high temptation to get one’s needs met outside the relationship instead of doing the hard work of focusing and solving the conflicts within the relationship. In my recent situation, community members that were my wife followers surrounded her. It was like living at the queen’s court. They were always fighting for her attention and it was difficult to have time where only the two of us could be together alone to simply connect. If you are looking to live in a community, I would advise to look for an equal community where members relate to each other on an equal basis and have interdependent relationships instead of dependent and hierarchical ones. It would be a model where each family knows very well their neighbors, and where the community is enhanced through regular get together, instead of a pyramidal structure. My situation was extreme and is quite rare, but it is important for any couple to make their intimate relationship a priority. As we discussed, the self is the priority because if we are not true to ourselves, we cannot be in an authentic relationship but the relationship is next in line even before the children for a married couple. The children feed from the energy of a healthy marriage and get damaged by the constant conflicts of their parents. So by putting your marriage first, you are putting your children first. Recomposed families are more complex systems and they are outside the scope of this article. It is a big temptation once we have children to put our marriage after the children, after our hobbies and sometimes even after some of our friendships. The result is often disastrous because the marriage is supposed to be the foundation of our family life but no more energy gets invested into it. You need to treat your relationship like a sanctuary if you want a happy life. The codependent and the borderline need to stop their destructive habit of enticing people outside the relationship to look like victims and instead take full responsibility for their personality disorder and their relationship.

The law of mirroring in relationships

sacred relationship mirroring

Do not fool yourself that you will jump dramatically in terms of quality of partner from one relationship to the next. Remember that your partner comes to you through the law of attraction so they are an external mirror of who you are inside. What is far more important than finding a perfect partner is to find a partner that you can grow with. If you have attachment traumas, it is then far more sensible to find an introspective partner that has done a lot of inner work, and has learned from their personal wounds. Even if you meet someone with a secure attachment style, it is likely that there will not be any chemistry unless you have a secure attachment style yourself. For this reason, my future partner is likely to be a conscious borderline. After the initial honeymoon phase of a new relationship, we usually come back to the same personal flaws that contributed to our last breakup. Intimate relationships are a personal growth accelerator so there is simply no escape to what we are supposed to work on this lifetime if we are going to share our lives with someone special. I trust in the power of attraction in terms of intimate relationships. Many people have been hurt in intimate relationships so they learned to distrust their own chemistry & attraction feelings. They would rather cut their attraction sensors and focus solely on a compatibility checklist out of fear. Our body never lies. It is all about understanding and becoming conscious of what our body is attempting to communicate to us. Attraction is the path of freedom and back to oneself. However it is critical we move into this attraction with self-awareness because of our personal shadows. If there is no chemistry, there is limited growth. Our society is addicted to the removal of pain and struggles but suffering is a fact of life that needs to be embraced instead of feared so that we can become whole again. A friend of mine has a joke about the frozen packages of processed chicken in supermarkets. He called them boneless, skinless and flavorless chicken. Do you want a boneless, skinless and flavorless relationship or do you want to be consumed by love and be transformed to the full potential of who you are?

Final words

Love and intimacy are powerful forces because they reflect the movement of God towards integration. Many of us with attachment traumas, whether we are codependents or borderlines have been damaged through relationships. We can now heal through relationships too. This is why we need each other.

Hands making heart

I was fortunate to have many experiences in my lifetime. I have traveled in many parts of the world, I have built companies, non-profit organizations, I have connected with people from many different cultures, I have networked with the rich, wealthy and famous and experienced high-flying lifestyle. Among all these experiences, not a single one ever came close in intensity and happiness than the deep and intimate connection with a beloved. This experience is available to any of us as we open ourselves to authentic love no matter what may be our background.

Love,

Vaillant

Read part I – The dark side of the co-dependent

Read part II – Understanding and loving the borderline

A Conversation With “Grandmother”

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I went back to “grandmother” last week. I am not talking about my grandmother who just turned 101-year-old, but the plant medicine administered by the shamans more commonly called Ayahuasca. Some centers in Costa Rica can actually administer it in a completely legal way. It always amazes me that some of the most toxic and addictive pharmaceutical drugs are administered completely legally in the US while the most healing and non addictive drugs such as Ayahuasca are banned. Though it was beneficial in so many ways, my last Ayahuasca journey 3 month ago had been painful however I knew I had to come back. When I went last time, I was stuck and quite desperate. This time however, I felt pretty good, having a sense of direction and making good progress on my life current challenges. But just like we should not wait for a health collapse to start exercising or eat healthy good, it is also wise to go to “grandmother” before we hit bottom.

This time, I did not have any particular intention besides coming closer to living my life with an open heart in a state of spontaneity. This has been a conscious goal of mine for at least 20 years. I feel I have made so much progress towards that goal however the destination still seems so far. I felt both anxious and in a state of acceptance before meeting “grandmother”. As we grow wiser, the fear does not disappear. Instead, we learn to speak with it so that it does not freeze us into inaction. There were just 3 of us for this ceremony, one community member and a Yoga teacher from Drake Bay, Costa Rica. We were brought to a new beautiful location with a river and abundant fruit trees. We had a couple of hours to chill out before darkness. After exploring the property, I used this opportunity to take a nap. This is when I realized I was under more pressure that I was willing to accept. After I woke up, I chatted with the shaman who shared with me his own journey in finding God. He does not see himself anymore as a separate individuality who has to control his life to make things happen. He sees himself as one of the arms of the divine, and in this new perspective and identity, synchronicity is abundant as a more universal and larger “he” is working towards the fulfillment of his mission. As we were talking after dark, I noticed the beautiful fireflies or lightning bugs that were flying around us. The shaman asked if I wanted to see one closer. He made a few steps, took one in his hands and showed it to me. The firefly was completely at peace and seemed to enjoy for me to look at it so closely. There was instinctive trust between it and the shaman, and with me vicariously. After about 2 minutes after I had all the time to contemplate the two light dots on its dots, it went back to its business flying away into the dark.

It was now time. The shaman called me to take in the magical drink. The taste is quite awful. Despite this, I declined his offer of getting honey to sweeten the bitter potion. It never takes me very much to start on my shamanic journey. The fact that I always choose to fast for at least 2 days before the medicine could be a factor. Within 5 minutes, my heartbeat had accelerated and my body felt the need to dance, sing and move. The shaman gave me a maracas to beat with the music. It felt good to be able to express the energy this way, as I know that when the energy gets stuck, confusion and purging are next. I felt the need to be active with my body for about 30 minutes until “grandmother” called me back to my inner world as I was entering the psychedelic part of the journey.

This was only my third time doing Ayahuasca. I had done it for the first time 5 years ago. During this first journey, I was first called to a high definition, high-tech fractal space. The sharp and very colorful beings that appeared were frightening as I felt I could not trust them. They initially appears as predators to me. It was so scary that I became afraid of death and leaving my body. During my second journey, I saw them again. I was not as afraid however still chose to ignore them. In this last journey, we were able to establish a more trusting connection as I started to accept that they might be benevolent beings from a higher dimension. They felt like doctors from the future. They took me in what seemed like a spaceship for treatment and were quite busy. Their physical appearance seemed like high technology, very colorful, robotic flamingos. As I warmed up to them, I even entertained the fact that I could be one of them on a visit to Earth. They recommended to me to keep coming every 3 month for a check-up as it is critical that I keep working on my heart connection, as I will inevitably gather heart blocks and hindrances during the normal course of my life at this stage of my evolution on Earth. My heart is the receptor that makes it possible to listen to the truth from higher dimensions, and live in harmony with the laws of this universe. During this journey, I identify this truth as Christ Consciousness. They went on explaining to me that the Lord left his Kingdom to our care, and only by staying connected to our heart, can we administer his territory (Earth) according his Loving and Conscious Will.

I was then brought in the current state of the world. I was sent in the immense heartless gearing of a production factory. It felt like animal farming but for humans. It was all about production, power, control, profit with no consideration for human feelings and happiness. Facing the actual reality of the matrix and new world order was incredibly brutal for my conscience under Ayahuasca. As Teal’s husband, I became interested to better understand SRA (Satanic Ritual Abuse) and the abominable treatments she went through in her childhood in order to become a more supportive husband. Before I knew her, I was aware of conspiracy theories like most of us but I felt powerless to do anything about it. The information on the Internet seemed sensational, contradictory in nature and not very scientific. I felt I could not verify the veracity of one perspective against the other, so I let go and just went after my own business dealing with things I was actually in control of, which was my work, my relationship and diverse activities that increased my quality of life. A turn around of my thinking happened when I read Breaking the Chain from Svali, a former Illuminati trainer. It was so similar in many ways to what I heard from Teal direct cult experience that I knew she was telling the truth. Two other books from former president models Cathy O’Brien and Brice Taylor Trance:Formation of America and Thanks for the memories confirmed to me the corruption and moral depravity of our world leaders, and that the situation is much worse that I had initially envisioned. Most of what we are taught or hold for true are sadly just lies and manipulation. History is teaching us that we defeated the Nazis. They have actually won as their most lethal weapon Mind Control has infiltrated all parts of society that has money and power: politics, large corporations, media networks, music & sports industry all over the world. Actually, the top German experts in mind control such as Josef Mengele were placed in top US universities in complete secrecy to continue their research. The new world order is already in place as the elite realized it was much easier to control the masses when they are ignorant to what is exactly going on. The creation of superhuman slaves through trauma based mind control and dissociation is the covert tool for the elite to lead society in any way they chose to. Presidential elections are decided in advance or when they are not, they make sure to control both candidates that are presented to the people. This was the case in the USA with Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, and it was again the case in France with Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron. National elections are nothing but a puppet show designed to distract the masses to what is really going on. The actual world leaders are not the ones that are fed to us by the media. These leaders are just corrupt puppets that have already sold their soul to the devil through criminal activities, sex deviance and various addictions. The world as we know it is actually governed by black lodges that act in complete secrecy to feed demonic or low astral entities that have cut themselves from the Source. As a result, their only way to sustain themselves is through manipulation and stealing energy from beings who are still connected with their heart with the divinity, basically people like us. “Grandmother” showed me more clearly the covert ways of how we all get corrupted. I am going to give you some examples. Being vegan is quite inconvenient in our society, so we develop the taste and the craving for unethical food that require the systematic murder of our animal friends. These foods are heavily advertised through the mainstream media. By buying and eating this food, we become the partner in crime of the elite so now we have to defend them to cover our own shame. Let’s look at another form of insidious corruption. We work hard to develop skills and abilities to get us ahead and create a better world together. During our progression, we reach a spot where we get closer to a leader that we used to admire. As we get to know him personally, we realize then his level of moral depravity and we feel disillusioned and helpless. We exchange then our sincere desire to do good for the world and our longing for a merciful God for the vanity of belonging with the “big boys”. There is then no turning back as our thirst for power and security make us then commit some actions that if revealed would make us lose everything. As we get corrupted, we become easily controlled and manipulated. This is one of the reasons why the leading politicians are such sex addicts. They had to corrupt themselves to such an extent to get to the top that sexual deviance is used to sedate them as their conscience that is tormenting them. At least this is true for the ones that are not completely disconnected and dead inside. Many facets of society are conducive to traumas that promote disconnection and selfishness so that, we, the masses are more easily manipulated. There is only one escape from this somber reality. It is the connection to our own heart. Purity, personal integrity and self-discipline, the antithesis of corruption, is what keeps this heart link alive. At that phase on my shamanic journey, I see the voice of the Lord (Christ Consciousness) on the other end of my heart. This is the inner guidance and connection we desperately need not to give in the manipulation and venality of our leadership. In their gloomy reality, everything is transactional. People’s value is judged according a hierarchy, as they hold no value in themselves. It is a predatory environment based on exploiting rather than taking care. It is a world full of backstabbing, lies, manipulation, betrayal, selfishness and apathy. To realize the split in oneself between the two realities of our heart and disconnected mind is the first step towards healing, and loosening the grip with our own demons. How we spend our time, what we buy, who we connect with will strengthen or weaken the parts of this polarity. Become a vegetarian, avoid watching TV and mainstream media, develop authentic heart-based relationships, maintain a healthy balance in your life between work, family & friends, be kind with all living beings, buy an electric car with solar panels on your roof, honor the word you gave, be congruent with your value system in all of your relationships, and build a trusting connection with the divinity. These are some practical steps we can take to do our part in this confusing world to slowly develop an internal frame of reference when faced with the brutality of the truth regarding the world elite.

During that night with “grandmother”, I was brought many times to my wife. I felt so much love towards her that the words are lacking to express this ecstatic feeling. As a species, I saw how our need to attach is so critically important. Our society and even the spiritual field is so much about developing independence however it is unnatural. This is why understanding attachment theory is such an important key in one’s personal healing and in explaining most personality disorders. Attaching to someone we love is so critical and healthy to our personal development. This is another reason why I am excited to facilitate our next singles retreat in July, and catalyze people in finding new love. Relationships are hard but there is nothing else in life that can bring the same level of contentment and fulfillment. I could see at a deeper level my absolute terror for aloneness, and accept it as something healthy. We have been shamed for wanting intimate connection as it makes us look needy, weak and dependent while this is our birthright. It is also natural to be frightened to attach as it is so painful to lose the connection once the relationship breaks. This is why I want to educate people to recognize a match when they find one and then to empower them with tools to help grow the relationship and avoid rupture. There is something truly sacred when two people commit to each other. Only a life with love is worth living. I was shown how when a woman marries a man, she gives herself to him and to that extent, he becomes her owner. However, this is ownership in the sense of nurturing and taking care in the same way Teal & I feel responsible for the land we own at Philia with all the trees, plants, animals and bugs. We will not kill even a snake or a scorpion on our property. We are not speaking here of ownership the way that the corrupt elite think of, as their understanding of ownership is nothing but exploitation. The millions of mind controlled slaves today in the world can attest to this fact.

During this new experience with Ayahuasca, I developed a new relationship with purging. Purging is used by Ayahuasca as a purification mechanism. Let’s agree to call demon, a repressed and unhealthy attachment, belief, negative emotion or fear that is here to repress a sense of lack we have within ourselves. As we experience resistance to let go of our inner demons, Ayahuasca would sometimes attach them to our own fluid to purge both at the same time. This process is painful but salutary. 3 months ago, I did so much purging that I was really not looking forward to it again. Fortunately, this time, purging was only required on two occasions. The first one was related to the culpability around my children. Interestingly enough, I thought I was exempt of culpability as I hold consciously the belief that I always do my best so if it could have been better, it would have been. Actually, Ayahuasca made me realize that I was deeply repressing the culpability of losing my children. It was difficult to accept so “grandmother” had to get me to expel it physically. It felt such a relief once this energy was out of me. The second one was related to an action that I had taken that I knew was not in the interest of a loved one while it made financially sense. The mind had fortunately won and I was full of remorse. I had to suffer the potential consequence of damaging a very important connection for a monetary gain and realized deeply that it was not worth it. I made the decision to come clean to the person, take full responsibility for my decision and openly communicate about the shadow that had taken a hold of me. I ended up doing this a couple of days later and the person, while dissatisfied, did not hold a grudge as he felt I was sincere with my regrets. “Grandmother” challenged me throughout the night with some of my beliefs and actions. She would tell me “we can do this the easy way or the hard way”. This time, she only had to do it twice the hard way, which is something I am very thankful for. I developed a new understand regarding our relationships with demons. Demons are not able to have a hold on us unless we repress feelings or emotions. Denial is a necessary condition for demons. I got to understand better why Teal is so open with her emotions when sometimes it does not show her in the best light. By being authentic on how she truly feels, even if it can be frown upon as a spiritual teacher, she makes herself less vulnerable to these demonic entities. I am also trying to be more open about my own struggles so that many will follow, and together we can be more authentic and accelerate our path of healing and learning. The most deviant men today are often the ones that are looked with the highest regards: our presidents, heads of religious institutions or non-profit organizations, artists or sports idols. The books I mentioned above will make you realize this fact. They appear saintly for the media but participate in the worst perversions behind closed doors. Many people have become experts in projecting an appearance they give that have nothing to do with reality. As we come closer to seeing reality, the level of manipulation is such that we can feel lost in believing in anything or anyone anymore. In fact, when an action is made and tries to solicit positive attention, it is already suspicious. Productive narcissism as defined by Ross Rosenberg in the Human Magnet Syndrome is still narcissism. It is enough for our intentions, thoughts and deeds to be known by the divinity. Ultimately, as we need to cross over death, this is the only authority we will have to respond anyway.

I am currently counseling a business executive in developing a truly connecting and intimate relationship with his new partner. Despite his best intention, he is unable to feel into her, see her and understand her, which activate many insecurities in her and lead to conflict. He sees her as emotionally unstable and acting out for no valid reason. He thought I would help him to fix her so he became surprised when I confronted him that most of the work would have to get him to reconnect to his heart. When I talked to him, I felt true compassion, as I understand the struggle and suffering to go through to bring back to life our inner child. Unfortunately, in the business world, we are often rewarded to develop a sociopathic behavior. 10 years ago, I remember telling a new older executive I hired for my company that I was proud that I had never fired anyone in my company. He made fun of me and told me that he is going to get me tougher. Two years later, I had to go through a downturn and had to fire almost half of the company. He congratulated me for my “progress” and expediency. As a business executive, we need to make many decisions that impact people life and families. With the goal to succeed in a highly competitive environment, we do not give ourselves the time to feel and evaluate the consequence of our decisions on our employees’ emotional life. As a consequence, we learn to feel less & less. After 20 or 30 years in a position with responsibility, we have develop the capacity to disconnect so much that we have become incapable to develop a truly intimate and connecting relationship. We start treating our significant other like an employee as we start optimizing the home life in the same way as our office life. The irony is that most of our professional success is driven by the desire to be loved, admired and respected by our loved ones. It often leads us to a place where we are wealthier but actually alone. I am spending now a lot of my time undoing what I thought was useful to my career. I want to tell the younger generation that it was not worth it. Money & power is never worth selling your soul to the devil and disconnecting with your inner child. Do not compromise your personal integrity for short-term financial gains. It is however easier said than done and the temptations are plenty.

“Grandmother” brought to me a new understanding about people suffering with borderline personality disorder (BPD). This disorder comes often hand in hand with people who went through very severe abuse or have complex PTSD. These people do not have the means to cope with life. Borderline individuals are the psychological equivalent of third-degree burn patient. They simply have, so to speak, no emotional skin. For this reason, the slightest touch or movement can create immense suffering for the borderline. Yet, on the other hand, life is movement so they find themselves in permanent pain and crisis. I was shown that if everyone would lose their capacity to cope just like the borderline, then the world would rapidly become a better place. By coping, the rest of us are actually enabling and feeding the dysfunctionality of this world. Every day, we keep accepting the unacceptable: killing our animal friends for food when it is absolutely unnecessary, keeping our corrupt leaders unaccountable for their crimes, exploiting and polluting our earth for profit, ignoring the abuse of minorities as long as we are not part of it. What would happen if we were to become physically incapable to participate to all of this wrongdoing? A similar analogy can be made of autistic children who from a spiritual perspective are refusing to engage in our 3D reality as a wake-up call.

During the night, “grandmother” kept revisiting with me all these various topics, going deeper every time. At dawn however I shed my first tears as I felt fully the pain of separation with my two children, my little ones that will always be my babies. They are the flesh of my flesh (“la chair de ma chair” in French). It is so hard to feel alienated by them as I have not had contact for about a year. I am then shown the suffering of cows that are separated from their calves at birth for the dairy industry. The cows are then made to produce milk in an industrial way as they are in distress wondering what happened to their babies. The male baby calves are actually brought to a horrible death by the meat industry. The agony of the mother crying for her babies goes in the milk and the cheese that you eat everyday. As I relate to this suffering, I decide to let go of dairy products. It is not an easy for a French man as we are so attached to our cheese. I decide to use the natural cultural temptation of my body preferences and associate it with the future reconnection with my children. Every time I say no to dairy products, I connect with the suffering of these poor cows longing for their babies, which I connect with my own loss. This loss though uncomfortable is a way I can connect today with my children and send them my love on the inner planes. It does not matter how much it hurts, I make the commitment that I would rather be connected and be in pain rather than disconnected. I do not want to contribute more to the world misery. I still hold so much grief for losing my children. I realize however that I will be their caretaker for the rest of my life whether they accept it or not in this dimension. They live in me just as I live in them whether they are denying this reality presently. This is why it feels so ridiculous that they are currently made to believe they have no father or being assigned substitute fathers. Fortunately or unfortunately, the connection between biological parents and children can never be erased. I experience then compassion for my own parents and while I have diverging views with them, I promise to give an honest shot at loving them. I do not have to make what they have done OK to love them. I can love them even though I disapprove of many of their actions. The fact is they need peace and appreciation like anyone of us. If our children keep evolving and raise their standards for parenting, they will probably find that many of our behaviors were abusive. It is not always easy to love our parents especially if one of our parents keeps hurting us. However by being at war with them, we only are getting at war with ourselves. It is a difficult balance to achieve and only within the deepest places of our heart, can we know if it is best for us to maintain distance or develop a closer connection with them at a given time. Suddenly, I start breaking down as I relive the double abandonment from my mother and father when I was 11 year old. I am disappointed as I thought I had already worked through this trauma 5 years ago. Obviously, there was still much more to release as I now sob uncontrollably. “Grandmother” then shows me that my subconscious mind used my own children to re-experience the pain of this double abandonment. My daughter was the first one to disconnect with me. This feels like my mother who left me behind to live a new life as she is in too much pain. Then 6 months later, my son decides to stop all communication with me. This is a remembrance of my father who gives up on me, as he feels overwhelmed by the pressure he is under. I am called to apologize on this blog to my own children that I used them subconsciously to heal traumas from my own childhood. I want to tell them that the horrible experiences they had to go through are not their fault. This is not their pain. It is their mum and dad’s pains that were replayed subconsciously. It is unfair and cruel to them. This is why it is so important we do everything we can to heal emotionally before we have children. I have failed in this instance as I could not prevent the ordeal and tragedy my children had to go through. After I was able to fully relive this trauma, I hope they will feel more invited to reconnect with me as they could see I come more from a place to add to their lives instead of repeating the hurt from my past. In the meantime, I want them to know that they have teaching me unconditional love like no one before as I patiently wait for our reconnection. Papa thinks of you everyday and has never abandoned you.

And you “Grandmother”, I thank you for revealing to me so many insights that help me to become a better and more connected man. Your wisdom is grounded in simplicity, truth and heart connection. Thank you for guiding my steps. I will finish this blog with some humor from our friend JP Sears’ video “If Trump drank Ayahuasca”

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Inducing altered states of consciousness to speed up evolution

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I never took drugs or spiritual medicine outside of a safe shamanic container. A good friend and roommate of mine first introduced me to medicine work when I was 26. At the time, I took LSD and it completely shattered my reality. It short cut my mind and gave me an insight into the truth of spiritual reality, love, consciousness, my own life and my ultimate purpose. What I especially loved about it is that it gave me a direct access to reality, what people call God or Source and the truth of who I am. Because of this experience, I developed a lot of respect for medicinal plants and would commonly recommend to seekers who feel stuck or who have minds that get on the way on their heart. Because many of these substances are illegal in the US, I found in my early thirties a completely safe and legal way to bring altered states of consciousness using holotropic breathwork. As a psychotherapist, Grof was involved in earlier tests on the therapeutic potential of LSD. When psychedelics were peremptorily banned in the 1960s, Grof developed holotropic breathing as a means of simulating the psychedelic experience of LSD without the drug itself. I found an excellent facilitator where I lived in San Francisco at the time: Todd Zimmerman. Todd taught one of our best workshop to date at Philia from March 11th to 18th 2017. While breathwork does not provide the psychedelic elements that you may found with substances, it does bring altered states of consciousness, visions into the subconscious, deep emotional release and inner journeying. Another benefit is that one is able to bring much more memory from the journey as this is a body centered experience.

After I started dating Teal, I decided not to do medicine work. First, she was not that comfortable with shamanic medicine because it is bringing very high intensity emotions and could prevent people from feeling fully day-to-day reality that now become dependent of substances to get a high. The cult that abused her used breathwork as a way to program her as well so she was not open to try it at the time. However, after she had a private breathwork session with Todd at Philia, she changed her mind completely on this practice and stated this was the single best healing modality I had introduced to her. From my perspective, the states of consciousness brought by these shamanic processes are just guides to show your potential and bring you back into alignment with your higher purpose. They give you a window into the actual emotional truth of where you stand in order for you to take adjustments or changes to live your life at a higher level. They are a sacred tool that should not be used for recreational purpose. And many who have not treated them with respect have been burned. I was comfortable stopping medicine work at the time too because I felt that Teal was acting as my medicine as she continued to shake my reality, not letting me believe my own lies and challenge my perception while our love story provided so much movement that any increased stimulation felt unnecessary.

After we decided the move to Costa Rica, I become very busy with all the logistics and ensuring that Philia would be a success from the get go. As a problem solver, I threw myself in this endeavor fully while I started to pay less attention to my relationship with Teal. Teal started to feel more and more uneasy. She started to express a lot of discontent that I could not understand. From my perspective, we were living on a magical property in beautiful Costa Rica, with our family and friends, starting a retreat center to heal people, a common dream we shared. Our relationship continued to deteriorate to a point that Teal & I started to feel hopeless. After almost two years, I felt I needed to go on a shamanic journey to get out of the dead end I found myself. We had received an application through Philia of a local Ayahuasca shaman so I invited him and his wife to meet with Teal & I. Teal instantly connected with him and felt guided to take this journey too but the shaman recommended that we do it on different days as some of our struggles related to our relationship. She had decided to go one day before. When she came back, she had difficulty walking, crashed with the intensity of everything she saw but relieved in many ways. We only had one hour together before I had to leave to my own journey. I remember her eyes full of love as she saw through her third eye what Ayahuasca would teach me by crashing me too. However, she was not allowed to share anything yet about her own experience and what would unfold for me.

Four other friends decided to join me for this Ayahuasca journey. For three of them, it was the first time taking it. It was only my second time. I had taken it previously 6 years ago with a Hispanic group and it had been a hard but very important learning experience. While I was the last one to take a cup of the sacred mixture early evening, I was the first to feel the effect of the sacred mixture and started to vomit only after a couple of minutes while it was only the first round even though I had fasted the last two days. The rest of the group took three turns and a friend even had four rounds and hardly felt anything. There is a saying that Ayahuasca always gives you what you need. Every person experience of Ayahuasca is unique. I started to purge heavily and hallucinate. My head was buzzing in an uncomfortable way. The surrounding shamanic music and the Costa Rica constant background of secators were being amplified to a state of discomfort. I was able not to go into panic, simply allowing the various fears to run their course while enduring the physical, emotional and mental pain of the experience. Teal had recommended me not to resist the place where Ayahuasca wanted to bring me. It took me two hours of torment & confusion to finally get to that place while the Shaman and his friend were attentive to all my needs while I was expressing distress as continued to purged. But when Ayahuasca came to finally take me, it hit me hard. An immense grief took possession of every cell of my body and I started sobbing uncontrollably. I saw my children. At that time, I had not seen them for a year (and it was at the court) and I have not talked to them for nine months as they refused to have any connection with me. Losing one’s children is probably one of most brutal experience one could ever experience. All this time, I had blocked the grief and the pain of this loss. I stayed in this grief space for about 14 hours simply feeling and sobbing. It was emotional painful however the release felt good too. I had told Teal & Mark (Teal’s ex husband) a week before that collapsing emotionally served no purpose. I realized that I was completely wrong as the crashing I was experiencing was healing me. I had so much grief accumulated in my body that I had become fully toxic to my extra sensory wife and I was more often than not choosing to dismiss her instead of acknowledging her distress or worse deflect my pain back to her. During the journey, I realized that at the same time I was grieving my children, my inner child was also grieving the fact that he did not have parents that were emotionally present to him. I was also grieving the fact that my personality had abandoned my inner child at a very early age that I had to be strong and to deal with childhood trauma on my own as I became a parentified child. I remembered myself not crying at all after the divorce of my parents when I was eleven, or my mother telling me that only me was capable of taking myself of the anxiety attacks I was susceptible as a young teenager. I remember learning to deal with my emotional pain alone because no one could be present with me during these times. I realized I had been abusing my inner child for over 40 years too. As is the case for development trauma, I gave myself the right to adopt new parents that could be fully present to my emotional needs. I saw clearly my coping mechanism to disconnect under pressure in order to do what I have to do. This state of disconnection had only increased Teal’s torment about our relationship. As this happened, the intentional community became more weary which increased the pressure on me and consequently on Teal which created a vicious circle. This vicious cycle was exacerbated as Teal’s outburst would make me shut down even further. I realized I needed more support from the team through a reliable management layer so that I could be the nurturing and attentive husband that my wife deserves. I saw my tendency to assume that something is wrong with her or try to fix her instead of acknowledging my responsibility in her distressed state. Regrets came through. I felt my lack of compassion towards her while holding her to very high personal behavioral standards that are not aligned to the extreme childhood traumas she endured. I also remember how Teal had shared with me so many words of wisdom or accurate explanation of what she and I were going through that I had completely dismissed. I saw clearly my resistance to her. As I suffered in the hands of a megalomaniac guru between 20 and 23 year old, I have used my logical mind as my safeguard and I have refused to take anyone on faith since. I have a need to understand to an extreme, and assume a position that other people are wrong unless they can prove me otherwise, which is a stress on relationships. I also saw my tendency to discount and dismiss other people. From four in the morning to noon, I continued to sob and experience my irrepressible grief. During that time, neither the shaman nor any of my friends came to support me. Because I was in an altered state of consciousness, I was as incapable as an infant to express the emotional need that I needed someone to hold my hand and to be present emotionally with me in this process. I had finally realized my need to feel supported and cherished by others instead of making it on my own, which I had done all my life. This time spent alone in my own torment seemed to feel like an eternity. I knew that I needed to have someone next to me and care for me to heal my development trauma to always do it on my own. Before that time, I did not really understand Teal’s words that the only way to heal from a development trauma is to meet the need that was not met in the first place. I had involuntarily inflicted a lot of pain on her through the trips to California I had to take from professional obligations last year not fully understanding her separation anxiety and not realizing that these separations were re-traumatizing to her as I thought she would simply get used to them as I felt I was doing the right and responsible thing. During these eight excruciable hours, I had to taste my own medicine and I had to deal with grief and isolation combined, and undergo the same ordeal that I had prescribed Teal a year ago. I stayed there for hours that seemed like months waiting to be liberated. While this was pure torture, I felt intuitively that this experience was brought to me so that I could feel her pain, which was one of the intentions I had set for this journey. All of my friends were done with their journey by early morning. They chatted, exchanged jokes and went for a nearby hike to a waterfall while I stayed suspended in limbo waiting, not knowing when I would be freed. Finally, around noon, the shaman came to me. I found the strength to make him understand that I need to feel his love and care as I finally get him to hold my hand. He gave me his unconditional presence but then start sharing with me some positive spiritual principles such as “there is only light and love”. This hurt me as I felt he did not see me or wanted to be with me in my pain. I start talking to him painfully to explain my need not to receive spiritual bypassing and I only wanted him to stay with me in my grief without trying to change or fix anything. I wanted to be loved unconditionally by him through his full presence, I wanted my deep sadness acknowledged, I wanted his empathy and compassion on how cruel the situation with my children had been. He got it. According the law of attraction, the painful reflection I am getting in my life is perfect but it is heartless and not conducive to healing when people reflect that high level abstract truth. Only a human perspective that is full of empathy, concern and compassion with all its raw emotions may bring healing. I only managed to start walking around 2 PM, about 20 hours after the start of the ceremony. The shaman brought me to walk into the river close to the property. He looked at me in the eyes and thanked me for the words I had shared with him. It really felt he brought a new understanding to support people even more deeply into their shamanic journeys. We looked at each other in the eyes and connected with profound love & respect. It is ironic that I managed to teach a Shaman a truth that I have been resisting so much to learn from Teal as my spiritual journey before her had been mostly about positive focus, spiritual bypassing and avoiding pain through filters and manipulating reality through my mind.

When I came back home, it felt good to be back and reconnecting with my beloved wife and share our mutual realizations from the journey. As I was now more aware that I have been disconnected, we decided that I should open to the community and ask for their help to provide their candid feedback if they find me insensitive so that I can be more aware of some of my coping mechanism to build a sincere desire for change. Unfortunately, it did not go as well as I expected. Eric shared his frustration that he is not yet in the place to help me because of accumulated resentment. The next morning, when we stopped by Graciela’s house, she announced that she is done with me that she is tired of getting hurt and does not want to support our relationship anymore without explaining what it meant in actual terms. Graciela’s face was marked with shock, anger and pain as she expressed her feelings. I was in disbelief not understanding how she could have built so much resentment and not even noticing it. This situation became unbearable for Teal as she was now put in the position to choose between her husband and best friend. Five members of the community spent the full day working on my difficult personality. I felt humiliated. This felt so unfair that everyone seemed to see that I was the only guilty one, but fault of another alternative I had to swallow to a full day of painful feedback, horrified by the picture held about me.

While I was hopeful that the Ayahuasca would heal Teal & I relationship, the opposite seemed to be happening. All the accumulated resentment built by the custody court case and my company transition that had translated into Teal’s worst possible nightmare were now all in the open and put considerable stress into our relationship. Over the next following days, some difficult arguments took place that made me feel more and more powerless, not really understanding the animosity towards me while I felt I did the best I could do every step of the way, always convinced I was doing the right thing.

Graciela had to withdraw for a couple of days from Teal & I to deal with the intensity of her emotions towards me. Graciela is a very conscious young woman fully committed to her personal development. Though it was clear my insensitivities and disconnection was a big part of the blow-up, she was able to acknowledge her own shadow and childhood traumas that I reflected back to her. She came to me with a pure and beautiful spirit of resolution. She had decided to come to me with an offering that will help me open my heart. Graciela is a woman working with Kambo and suggested she could help me through this modality to open my heart and let go of my protective narcissistic bubble. While my ego had resistance as I had to admit my own flaws, I know her ability and gift as a facilitator and decided to accept her present, especially that I was feeling again at a loss to create a beautiful relationship with the woman of my dreams. It would be a series a three sessions. Because of my schedule, we spread it out over a period of weeks.

The day before the first Kambo ceremony that I scheduled with Graciela, Teal was quite busy during the day and I was looking forward to reconnect with her in the evening. Unfortunately, when she came, Teal was very irritated towards me and I became the target of her anger and resentment. Our discussion went quickly downhill from there, so much that I asked her to practice silence together until we were able to express words that were conducive to resolution. Ten minutes of painful silence followed. Teal felt very resentful of two traumatic events that happened to us in 2016 when I had to make some difficult decisions that made her suffer though I stayed convinced this was the right decision. I started to explain to her the conundrum that I faced by using a simple example as the two other situations were too painful for a construction discussion. We brought a beautiful chime from Park City and Teal had hung it outside below our bedroom at Philia as it looked great there. Unfortunately, Costa Rica can have very windy nights and the chime would wake me up at night. I asked her if we could hang it somewhere else but she felt rightly so that was the best place for it. She suggested to tie it at night with a ribbon but I told it was unnecessary as I did not want to impose on her to do this every night as I felt she has way more important things to do. This example illustrated perfectly my coping strategy. I lived all my life as there is only two ways to deal with an unpleasant situation: you either cope by making the thing you do not like OK, or I change externally. Overtime, I managed to educate my willpower and endurance to such a degree that coping is typically my favorite option as I take the burden upon myself and do not need to create a conflict, however often at the expense of parts of myself. Also, to compensate for the fact that I can be more flexible on many small things, I developed a very strong core that is unmovable. Therefore, I would take sometimes a very strong stand and be extremely stubborn about it no matter what is the consequence to keep some form of identity. All of my life, I basically only gave myself two options. Either I cope by repressing my own needs and wants, or bulldoze my needs over others, which then forces me to cope to not care about the resentment of others. It never occurred to me before that there could be a third solution where I could consider a solution where both my needs and the other person needs would be addressed at the same time! It seemed obvious however it never occurred to me until that discussion with Teal. I suddenly realized how much damage this limited belief had done to my life and people close to me. That night, Teal actually put a ribbon around the chime and both of our needs were met easily. We practiced a role-play where we went back to the events where I imposed my needs over her, with this time the desire to consider both of us at the same time. To my surprise, this was actually possible but now it stopped building resentment and built trust instead as I actually showed genuine concern for her best interests. When a need conflict happens, the partners would need to express both of their needs and wants in a vulnerable way and start exploring out a solution together that could work for both. This may seem simple but I had never done this before. It was only either suppressing my needs or discounting the ones of others. It was always a lose-lose. Also, I realized that I used my spiritual practice all of my life to cope. I had become a master at filtering and altering reality, creating positive meaning to painful situations in order to feel better. This pattern runs in my family. My grandmother who is soon 101 year old is the happiest in her nursery home. She is surrounded by people who are dying, miserable and in pain most of the time and she only sees the positive. My father has no real relationship with his children, and a difficult marriage with heavy resentment but thinks his wife is too perfect. By being in denial, and making a painful and unacceptable situation OK, we actually make change impossible. Our filters will stop making reality painful, however unfortunately we then become enablers of very dysfunctional patterns and the repressed negative emotions find their reflection in the immediate environment. If a wife copes with the abuse of her husband, she accepts it and do not then try to change an ugly reality. By coping, adapting to our circumstances and to our world, we actually make things worse instead of better as we allow the dysfunction to continue. This intense realization had come just before the first Kambo ceremony just as the frog had started working on me.

I am now in front of Graciela before we start the Kambo ceremony. She asks me if I have an intention. Kambo is a hard process as the frog poison you absorb makes you vomit and purge in the most unpleasant ways. I call Kambo a mini Ayahuasca as it makes you purge in the same way but the journey lasts only one hour instead of a full night. These are medicines that are hard to get addicted to, as the purging is so unpleasant. I really did not feel at that moment to go through this experience again. I then looked at my present life and I realized the horror of my situation. The 3 people I love the most in this world resent me also the most also: my wife Teal and my 2 children from my previous marriage. I have had a disgruntled wife telling me she is not happy. I had the same situation in my previous marriage. I can feel the love nevertheless of Teal and my two children. I realize in this moment that I could not have dreamt of a more perfect wife. Even in my wildest dreams, I could not have wished for someone like Teal who is so spiritual, smart, beautiful, creative with a grand purpose. My children are also great kids: smart, gifted in so many ways with a big heart. At that moment, I decide to dedicate my Kambo session with Graciela to Love. I am doing this to bring back the flow of Love in my life for these 3 people. In this space, I can finally let go of my fear, take a leap of faith, as I have known for a long time that a life without Love is not worth living. Graciela now asks me to drink 1.5 liters of water. This is not easy and I feel bloated by the water. She then proceeds to burn my skin with a small wooden skin on my heart shakra where she decided to apply the Kambo. While unpleasant, this pain is nothing in comparison to the emotional pain I have just contemplated. She now spread the frog poison on my burns. After less than a minute, my heart starts beating intensely. I see the fear in some of my thoughts that my heart would stop beating. I let go of the resistance. I start vomiting, mostly water, as I fasted in the morning. It feels awful and deeply humbling as I keep purging. Fortunately, after only a couple of minutes, I vomit a core belief from my childhood called “Personne ne n’aime” which means “no one loves me”. It is hard to explain but it feels like this French sentence was physical and I actually spit out from my body at that time. I reflect and see the truth of this statement. I do not mean to put my parents under the bus as they did what they could with what they had. My father did not have parents until he was 10 year old and my mother lost her mum when she was 3 and she does not even remember any contact with her father. Because of their own family traumas, they simply could not give me what I was longing so much for, because they never received it in the first place: love, closeness and nurturing. The belief that “no one loves me” crystallized the harsh reality of how I was feeling as a child and stayed with me for almost the next 40 years. Core beliefs are so strong that your whole reality will actually get organized around them and create misery when it is a limited belief like this one. Following Teal’s core teaching, I stayed with the feeling, became fully present to my inner child holding this belief and validated him. I realized that even my external and worldly success was simply a coping mechanism for the fact I did not think I could be loved for who I was, and only performance could give me love. When I was six, my father gave me money as I brought back straight As from school. Therefore, I thought that if I were a good enough student, I would have love. At age 20, I passed the exam of one of the best school of France but crashed a couple of months after the admission when I realized that this accomplishment would not give me what I was so desperately looking without knowing: love. As a result, I joined a spiritual group, which ended up being a cult a couple of months later as I was desperately trying to find a way out of my emotional torment. I thought this spiritual group was everything I had always looked for. However, I left disillusioned 3 years later after realizing all the corruption and abuse orchestrated from the leader. I had been used and not loved. At 26, I entered a 15-year relationship & marriage, which brought two wonderful children in a course for status, success and money in the heart of the Silicon Valley. Unfortunately, when we mutually decided to part, I was ostracized by my ex wife and her parents and lost my children as a result. At that moment, I saw that my marriage had been more a contract based on mutual benefits than a relationship based on real love. In order for me to heal the child that believes that no one loves him, I need to give him what he truly wants: Love & Appreciation. Even at Philia, I had created a situation where team members would resent me because of my domineering attitudes that were focused on execution rather than connection. I also made it OK for people to resent me as long as they do their job. I have watched Teal do the opposite, something spending up to a full day to solve a problem with a person. I thought initially it was a complete waste of time not realizing she was working on alignment, and once people are fully aligned they will go the extra mile, be proactive and amaze you with the quality of their work. I made a commitment at that moment that it was not OK for me to be resented anymore. I had to stop this especially that our retreat center is based on connection. I felt I understood authenticity for the first time. I cannot be authentic by coping or imposing my needs above others. Instead, I need to focus on a third alternative that can only come through when I interiorize the other person needs. I saw the community too. I saw clearly in my medicine journey that one of our team members with responsibilities had been resentful towards me. To heal my inner child, I became apparent to me I had to stop making it OK for me to be resented. I put my life savings in this property and enormous efforts both for the move and property. I have not done that to get people to resent me. It felt very unfair. While I understood I created this situation to prove the belief “no one loves me”, I had to put a clear stop to this to start healing this destructive belief. I decided to meet with this person the same day. It did not matter anymore how long it would take to solve our difference and I made the commitment to live an environment where I am liked instead of feared. I can still be true to my own needs and their needs at the same time. I committed to do what it takes for people to like me. I have had the attitude that I do not care what people think about it as long as things get done.

Ten days have passed and it is now the time for the second Kambo with Graciela. The positions of the burns are typically intuitively felt by the shaman just before the ceremony. But the night before, I had woken up Teal by talking in my sleep saying very clearly “6 points in the palindrome”. While I did not this before, a palindrome is a word that reads the same backward and forward such as “madam”. While at breakfast, we felt intuitively that it is a message for the Kambo ceremony as “points” are another word for the burn marks used to absorb the frog medicine. Graciela does a Google and tells us that “eye” is the only body part that is a palindrome. This discovery triggers me. After I started dating Teal, I had told her I did not need to take Kambo because she was my medicine. While this is true, the other reason I did not want to do Kambo because it makes marks on the body and all my life, I have been uncomfortable with anything that alters the original nature of the body. Now, they are talking about a burning stick in the eye! Teal asked me to think what it would really mean. I feel intuitively that it must be the third eye however I am thinking that the last thing I want to do is to have burn marks on my forehead especially that I am an important upcoming business meeting in the US. I start to complaint, revolt and state clearly that I do not want to do it. Teal looks at it and she starts experiencing genuine sadness and she shed a couple of tears. She said “How ironic” as, in the same token, I would rather look good than love her. Over the last previous days, we had a couple of arguments where I deflected my shame into her and made her feel like the one with problems while I was actually the one creating the trigger in the first place. During these times, I had chosen to defend my self-concept and look good instead of seeing the truth. I started to feel her pain, disappointment and sadness about me. At that moment, I remember the time where I would have given everything just for the opportunity to have a date with her. I reminded myself of my commitment to remove any wall that stands between me and her, and my promise to her that as long as I can breath, I will always choose to love her. Her Love had defeated me and I accepted reluctantly to get Kambo from my forehead as I reminded myself that my relationship with her is to me so much more important than looking good. I started thinking about wearing a hat, or put my hair in front of the marks to get more comfortable about the idea and get into acceptance with this higher guidance. She re-assures me that she can make them look good. An hour later, I am laying down ready for the application of Kambo, I remind myself of my intention “I want to see” focusing on my 3rd eye chakra. Six burns are applied on my forehead. Shortly after, I experience a faster heartbeat, and I start to emit some tones to clear energy in my throat chakra that is between my heart and third eye. The medicine takes much more time to work on me than the previous session. It took at least ten minutes before the need to purge. Teal is in the room typing on her computer writing her next Ask Teal episode. I reach out to her in a vulnerable to stop doing it, as I really need her undivided attention. This is ironic too as I am typically the one absorbed on my computer tuning other people out. A vision starts coming through. My consciousness becomes Teal as a child on a table. I am in the process of being tortured by Doc. He shows absolutely no empathy like he is working on a robot. I experience unbearable pain. On the other side of Doc comes the spirit of Teal’s mother. She does not see Teal’s pain and push it back onto her not understanding why her daughter is acting so uncontrollably and wondering what is wrong with her. She gets angry with her. Back on the table, I feel like I am made to swallow my own vomit. I am in pain as I purge but I realize suddenly that I am so lucky that I am able to scream or vomit. It feels like such a good release and I receive the loving attention of both Teal and Graciela in the room. When Teal was tortured, she did not have the luxury of any form of release. Doc would put something in her mouth to prevent her from screaming. The torture experienced felt so much more horrific when there is not even a possibility to release and to witness the complete emotional disconnection from Doc. I am now transported into a different mindscape that I see is connected to a vision I had 5 years previously during a breathwork facilitated by Todd Zimmerman (Todd came to Philia from March 11th to 18th 2017). At that time, five years ago, one of the women breathing in the room was reliving a rape she had experienced as a teenager. She yelled from such a profound part of her being that it started to affect me and I relived intuitively a sensation of a past life where I was a father where my father got raped and I made it worse through my own behavior. Now, under Kambo, what was an alluring feeling 5 years ago during that breathwork session appears as a very clear past life in high definition. We are back in time and I am a spiritual teacher in India with an important following. I am a scholar, I hold an impressive spiritual knowledge of the scriptures. I think I know everything, and I have always a response to any of my followers’ questions. My ego is huge and I am full of myself. I am respected and feared, and some of my domineering and inflexible attitudes create antagonism too. Through unfortunate circumstances, my only daughter gets raped by some of my enemies as they try to hurt me through her. I see myself being furious at my daughter telling her how she brought ridicule and dishonor onto our family and my reputation. I shun her and punish her. I make it all her fault. Because of my hardness, cold and cruel behavior, she commits suicide and dies. When my followers inquiry about this tragic event, I tell them with utter certainty as someone believing his own lies, that a life had come where she would awaken so she decided to take the opportunity and exit her body. Deep down, I know I am the one responsible for the death of my only daughter because I kept spreading shame on her open wound. During that life, I never let myself experience consciously the responsibility for her death. From that point on, I went downhill and created a lot of damage among my followers. I see how my cult experience in this life was a direct consequence of this karma. I see clearly who is the reincarnation of my daughter in this life. I experience sincere regrets towards this person and I got to better understand her antagonistic behavior towards me that never seemed to make sense. I experience a desire to make it better, and can now more easily let go of her behavior that I judged as unfair. I understand that lack of empathy is the most dangerous thing of the world. If every one of us could feel each other pain, the world would be so different. Family quarrels, work oppression, crime, wars would end immediately. I decide to make a total commitment to allow myself to feel. I realize that I used the tools of self-development and spirituality to make myself comfortable and avoid pain no matter what are the circumstances and I became a “master coper” as a result. I now consciously choose to feel in full awareness even if it involves pain in order to become fully alive.

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