There is nothing more healing than the startling realization that a deeply imbedded emotional wound has always and forever been based in a lie. Here the wound was the fear that I am not/was not loved. The realization is that in every situation where I was treated in less than loving ways, where I felt rejected or unloved, it was not because I am not loved…..it is because those who were doing the “rejecting,” don’t love themselves. Here’s how it happened:
For the past several months, I’ve been working with a trauma specialist, hoping to alleviate the symptoms of depression, anxiety and panic attack, due, in part, to past traumas. The specific treatment protocol we have been using is Brainspotting. (Please check out the Brainspotting website to learn more. If you are in the Oshkosh area and are interested in exploring treatment for healing trauma, I have been working with Kristin Gage, and I recommend her highly!).
In this week’s Brainspotting session, what surfaced was a life-review of sorts. In this life review, I was shown every single situation in my life where I felt rejected, criticized, condemned, or falsely accused. The life-review began with Mrs. Plager, my kindergarten teacher taping my mouth shut and locking me in the closet for the simple reason that I was a happy, gregarious, creative, 5 year old. I was punished simply for being me. The life review then continued through every conflictual relationship – my third grade music teacher who pounded my head against my desk for humming the wrong notes, the “mean girls” of middle school and high school, every boy who wouldn’t love me, teachers who hated me, Fr. Doyle who gave me a “C” in high school religion class for challenging his contention that he got to go to heaven first simply by nature of his ordination, my college nemesis, the self-appointed inquisition, the priest who became the final straw and our local bishop. I saw every situation in my life where I felt rejected and unloved …. Quite frankly, for simply being me.
After the life-review, I was then shown a different viewpoint. I saw every single one of these “rejections” not from my own vantage point, but from the inner experience of those who were doing the “rejecting.” What I saw BLEW ME AWAY.
It was not that they didn’t love me. It was that they didn’t love themselves.
Here is how it worked. Unless pushed to act otherwise, I have never, in my whole entire life, wanted to be anything but loving toward another. Yes, I have reacted in anger to feeling hurt or rejected. Yes, I did the normal sibling things of fighting, arguing, bickering, etc. Yes, I have been human and liked some people more than others. And there have been some people I have stayed away from because, quite frankly, they scare me. But in all of this….I still want to treat everyone with love.
What I have learned is that not everyone wants to be loved. Not everyone can stand in the light of love. When love comes toward them, it triggers their own unhealed wounds around love, specifically all the ways in which they do not feel loved within themselves. Once this wound is triggered, (and believe me, my own woundedness around love is triggered from time to time), we do one of two things:
- We recognize that our wound has been triggered and we do some self-care to help support the healing of that wound.
- We project that wound back onto the person who triggered it, making them the enemy.
The latter is what happened in each and every one of those cases where I felt unloved by a teacher, “friend,” stranger, etc. It is not that they did not love me, it was that my presence somehow triggered their own unhealed wounds around love and they either did not have the awareness, the courage or the tools to do something about it. So instead of treating their own wound, they turned it back on me, making me the enemy.
So again, it was never that they did not love me, it was that they did not love themselves. How freeing and empowering is that?