Digging Out the Foundational Beliefs
Alberto Villoldo, founder of the Four Winds school I have attended, says that a repeating pattern in our life begins with an original wound, that event that shaped part of your belief system so profoundly that you keep manifesting the experience of it again, and again, and again.
In my life I have had confusing relationships with men where they can be very loving and kind and supportive, and then the shoe drops…and they disappear or they change to abusive. Abandonment. And I believed I must have done something wrong to make them leave me. I know the original wound in my life was when my natural father left and I never saw him again. As a two-year old, I didn’t understand that it was my mother’s choice to hide me from my daddy; I only knew that something bad happened that was all my fault and then my daddy left. If you read my book, Awakening To Me, you’ll see all the ways I have worked to shift the patterns in my life that stemmed from a tumultuous early beginning in life.
Throughout these last three years of healing and energy medicine, a lot has shifted. The relationships have seemed to improve, each time with a partner who seemed more available, more supportive, more loving. I developed a deep awareness that these external relationships with men were reflecting to me the inner state of my being as I was healing through the energy medicine. How much I loved myself on the inside was a direct reflection of the type of relationship I was experiencing with a man on the outside. I came to understand at a deep, profound level that it was not the man doing to me, it was my choice of man doing the pattern to myself. Another way of saying this is that whenever you want to blame someone else for doing something to you, re-frame it. “He ignores me” becomes “I ignore myself” or “I chose him to give myself the experience of being ignored, again”. Thanks Self!
Part of what happened to my internal security system when I was 2 and lost my daddy, and then lived for a couple of years with an abusive step-father who tried to kill my mother in front of me, is that I developed trust issues. Surprising, I know. Not only have I had trust issues, but I have leaned towards self-doubt and confusion when faced, yet again, with my pattern. I had a very loving and supportive father from the time I was 5 who showed me an entirely different way to be in relationship. And I’m a pretty intelligent woman; I graduated cum laude from Smith College, an ivy league college for women. Still, repeating patterns set when you’re 2 are smarter than you. The mind of a toddler is a sponge–we believe everything we see and we make lots of leaps of judgment because we lack logical thinking. The inner agreements we make as toddlers create the foundation of our belief structure. My inner toddler agreements created a foundational structure that automated the mechanism for having my trust issues touched and my self-doubt inflamed again, and again, and again: Pick a man who is unavailable.
If I run down the roster, I see the pattern clearly. I’ve chosen to date men who live remote, denying myself the joy of touch (I am very tactile) and triggering my abandonment issues by selecting men who are comfortable with infrequent communication. When I requested of my last man-friend that he give me a text message heads-up before going offline for 5 days (a regular occurrence), he rebuffed me as needy. When I asked if he would respond to my messages within 24 hrs, he said we should be friends.
He did not abandon me. I abandoned myself by choosing to date him. The fact that I allowed myself to be romanced, and I ignored all the signs that this person was commitment-phobic—is not his fault. It’s mine. Deeper into the rabbit hole, at some point I began to realize that the beacon inside of me calling to be abandoned was potentially eliciting this response from these men, who might actually behave very differently in relationships with other women. The healing is always with the Self. We are manifesting our lives in every moment based on our beliefs, and how we choose to act upon them.
So what advice do I have for getting oneself out of the repeating pattern?
- Stay the course with personal work. Especially when we are dealing with early childhood trauma, repeating patterns take time and perseverance to work through. Keep a spotlight on the places of self-deception and continue chiseling into those foundational beliefs. Energy medicine helps tremendously to shift the pattern more quickly. Don’t give up on yourself.
- See the light at the end of the tunnel (before you can actually see it). Maintain the awareness that there are an infinity of relationship experiences being had all over the world. If you keep having the same one over and over, that doesn’t mean that all relationships around the world are exactly like yours. Being caught in a loop is frustrating, but take comfort that other possibilities DO exist.
- Take a break from dating and sex. I have purposefully gone celibate for periods of time simply to shake off the confusion and rebuild my self-esteem and inner strength. Being on the human marketplace is vulnerable and often, self-defeating. Each time I have chosen celibacy, I have come back stronger and more confident with deeper self-awareness and understanding of my patterns. When you are clear and strong, it’s easier to avoid unhealthy seductions (or, let them go once you spot them).
- Cultivate other support structures. It’s brilliant to put your energy into friendships—they last a lifetime. Becoming an integral part of a supportive community is also wise. Maintaining connections to friends and community even once you are in a relationship is critical because it helps you stay you. And…often times your close friends can spot the pattern before you can.
- Continue learning. Take personal development courses, or read books to educate yourself and shine a light on places you need to heal. Recently, I read Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find-and Keep-Love. It’s very helpful information about aspects of different relationship attachment styles that might help you decipher the codes for your own relationships.
- Know that you are worth love. Doing all these things for yourself reinforces the deepest truth your toddler needs to know: You are worth love. Once all aspects of you really, deeply know that you are worth love, you won’t need the magical relationship to prove it. I must be getting closer to this deepest self-love because I had many awarenesses in my last relationship that it was all sugar. It was cotton candy. It was fluff. Compared to how I have loved myself, his love was unsubstantial, fleeting, and fantasy. I’m seeing the pattern for what it is—a seduction. Being seduced can seem thrilling, but being loved is deeply satisfying. It’s the difference between a candy bar and a five-course five-star meal. Being loved is nourishing all aspects of yourself. It’s giving yourself all the support you need to grow along the soul’s journey. Love is a marathon, not a sprint.
When I ended my last relationship, I felt frustrated. I asked my teacher “Does this work ever end? Will I ever be through the woods on this pattern? Does it ever get easier?” Her response: “The growing never stops or why would we be here? The more we see our shadow the quicker we move through these lessons until they become our strengths ..the very fabric of our lives and who we are becoming.”