When we become adults, we think that our childhood has ended, but that’s not the way it is.
Our child self remains alive within us. Perceptions and beliefs remain stored in the unconscious mind. And this affects the way we think, feel, and act as adult beings.
Behavioural programming during childhood
The unconscious mind works like a computer that stores information about every experience and our reaction to them since birthday. In other words, it merely reflects what we have stored inside.
From these references we guide our existence. So, the unconscious mind drives on our behalf according to how we perceive our past experiences.
It’s widely known that most information is stored inside the unconscious mind between gestation and eight years of age.
These life-shaping subconscious programs are the result of observing and interacting with people around us: parents, siblings, teachers, community, and culture.
In other word, we spend the first 8 years of life, “downloading” beliefs and experiences from our family and culture.
During the first 8 years of life, the way we feel is primarily reactive. This means that when we feel painful emotions and our parents don’t validate us, we are stuck in that pain with no knowledge of how to assimilate or heal it.
Only after 8 years, when our cognitive mind is developed, we can rationalize our way into thinking whatever makes sense to us, give a meaning to painful emotions and move forward.
This means that actually we don’t experience any new trauma after the age of eight.
“The cost of shaping ourselves to fit the desires, preferences, and expectations of others, is losing ourselves; and when we lose ourselves we become frozen without direction, unable to make our own choices.” – Teal Swan, (Spiritual teacher)
“Every negative or traumatic event in your life can become either an opportunity to grow or a prison in which you feel trapped.” – Ann Boroch, ND
“Anytime you experience something as upsetting or uncomfortable, it is a triggered memory. You are not, in fact, living anything new in your life. You are experiencing nothing but reflections from your childhood. There are no exceptions to this rule.” – Teal Swan (Spiritual teacher)
Emotional experiences are a reflection of childhood
What does really mean that we don’t experience any new trauma after the age of 8?
You may say, for example, that your heartache from breaking up the first love was very real.
And it sure is.
But the new trauma is, in fact, just a reflection of a prior wound.
In other words, you aren’t living a new trauma; you are experiencing nothing but reflections from your childhood.
You live and re-live the trauma. You are not able to live in the present moment because the past trauma continues to come up again and again in order to reintegrate itself.
This situation leads to an unhappy life, addiction, failed relationships.
But you can stop the cycle and live a whole different life.
Here are 4 steps for healing childhood emotional trauma and break free of negative emotions…
1. Embrace negative emotions
Any emotional upset you experience in the present is, in fact, just the echo of a traumatic memory. It’s a trigger from a prior wound that needs your attention.
This emotional upset (trigger) helps you see the wounds that you have tried to suppress. It’s like a messenger carrying the echo of something important.
Since triggers hurt so badly you may find it difficult to accept them as beneficial instead of detrimental.
Using a metaphor, you’re living your life escaping from a tornado. Don’t escape it anymore. Run into it, embrace your negative emotions. They are just a messenger.
2. Be fully present with your emotions
Be with your emotions regardless if they feel bad or good. Don’t escape from them.
Allow them to fully express. Understand that there’s nothing wrong with negative emotions.
Validate your emotions, learn from them, hear what they want you to hear, see what they want you to see. Completely be with how you feel.
3. Invite memories to surface
Now is the moment to go back in time.
While you fully experience your feelings ask yourself: “When was the last time I felt this sensation?” and then “when was the time before?”.
Continue the process and try to go back to the first time you experienced those feelings.
See and experience memories that come up from your unconscious.
Experience what your feelings want you to see, hear, feel.
4. Inner child work
Once you are in your unconscious memories, mentally alter the memory in a way that feels emotionally positive. This procedure is called inner child work.
For example, in your memory you were a child, you did something on your own and you felt a sense of accomplishment.
Your father discarded it and made it again because he could do it better than you. You felt worthless.
Now reframe the experience in a way that you’d like it to happen today. Send all the good feelings inside of you to everyone in that memory.
Imagine your adult self approaching the child and enable the child to feel better. You may imagine a person explain the entire situation objectively to the child and help him not take the experience personally.