Do not ask me not to feel!

Last week, I had the pleasure of seeing one of my daughters on stage as Marianne Dashwood in the play “Sense and Sensibility”, based on Jane Austin’s novel. It was an amazing performance, drawing you in with laughter and tears, and transporting you back to England in 1792.

The confining atmosphere of society gossip and the desperation of many of the female characters to need to make a good match leaves you with an eerie feeling. The necessity of marrying well is one of the central themes of the story. In Austen’s era, a woman’s survival depended on her ability to acquire a husband, if possible, an affluent one. The more manipulative and cunning women were often the ones who ended up winning this game for the wealthy spouses. Yet, the two main female characters, Elinor and Marianne, end up finding true love and happiness without manipulation.

Sense and Sensibility, sisters and beaus

Performance and photography by Cawthra Park Secondary School

I could muse on the Universal theme of being rejected in love, or the patriarchal society and how patriarchal beliefs still affect us at a subconscious level today. However, what fascinates me most is the relationship of the two eldest Dashwood sisters. In the development of the story, the friendships of the sisters and what they learn from each other is at least as important as their relationships with their love interests.

Elinor and Marianne Dashwood are complete opposites. Every female reader or audience member can identify with either the older one or the younger one. They are a perfect example for how siblings carry each others shadow traits. Elinor is all “sense” and reason, while Marianne represents “sensibility” and feelings. Elinor makes cautious decisions based on rational considerations, on what is prudent and proper, while Marianne lives life impulsively and on an emotional roller coaster of extreme highs and lows, being guided by her feelings alone.

Sense and Sensibility, Elinor

Neither one of them is “whole”, as they have disowned the opposite energy represented by their sister. Just as Marianne needs to learn to adopt some of Elinor’s restraint and not to wear all her feelings on her sleeve, Elinor can learn to express her deeper emotions, warmth and spontaneity more.

We all have different primary personality parts and other more disowned parts or sub-personalities. As we witness Marianne’s impulsiveness which throws all caution or restraint to the wind, we recognize that part in all of us. We might anticipate and fear disaster for her as the story unfolds. We feel disappointment and sorrow when her love relationship with John Willoughby does not unfold as she anticipated.

Sense and Sensibility, Marianne

Marianne’s sorrow is frightening to Elinor, who just wants her sister to stop sobbing and to compose herself. But Marianne cannot help but live life from her primary self of passion. She exclaims, “Leave me, hate me, forget me, but do not ask me not to feel!” After almost dying from a serious fever and her “broken heart”, Marianne eventually learns to appreciate the value of a quieter and less glamorous admirer in the older Colonel Brandon. She begins to embrace the more level-headed energy which Elinor has been mirroring for her. She also has to forgive John Willoughby for breaking her heart and let go of the past to move forward with the Colonel, the better man.

Sense and Sensibility, Marianne sick

The story invites us to examine where in our lives we are out of balance between our rational and emotional sides, between caution and impulsiveness, between wearing a mask of civility and being our spontaneous and honest self. The plot calls us to consider how we show up in our relationships: passive or active, reluctant or forward-moving, polite or authentic. We are also encouraged to examine if we are stuck in the past and if we need to forgive somebody and let go, in order to move forward in our relationships.

We all grow up identifying with certain traits or parts in us and rejecting others. Jane Austin’s tale invites us to discover what we have disowned which might be useful to us. Accepting the ambivalence and moving beyond dualistic thinking of right and wrong, black and white, involves re-conceptualizing who we think we are and opening up to greater wholeness of our deeper selves.

What traits do you identify with and which opposite traits or shadows have you perhaps disowned? Do you feel judgment towards people who display what you have rejected for yourself? How does this affect you in your life or hold you back in your relationships?

Shadow work is one of the techniques I use as a Life Coach. If you are curious to find out more, contact me for a FREE phone consultation.

Angelika, 905-286-9466, greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca

You can also check the “Upcoming Workshops” schedule for the next four-day Shadow Energetics training or contact me for individual sessions.

If you are enjoying my articles, you can follow Greendoor to receive an e-mail notification whenever I post a new blog. All you need to do is to click the “follow” button in the right-hand corner of your screen.

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Once Upon a Time There Was An Evil Queen

“I’m still what’s inside of you. I’m all you’ll ever be,” says the Evil Queen, smirking at the woman in front of her.

Regina, the modern counterpart of the Evil Queen, is facing her darkness, about to kill her. Characteristic for this popular TV series, she ties the Queen up with a magic spell, reaches into the chest of the evil woman and rips out her heart.

“I hate you,” snarls the Evil Queen.

Regina is looking down at the black heart beating in her hand. She is about to kill her dark shadow side by squashing the heart, but then she hesitates.

She replies, “But I don’t. Not anymore… I am going to choose love over hate.”

She pulls out her own heart and melts the two for a moment. When she pulls them apart again, the dark heart has become lighter, and the light one now has traces of darkness. She puts both hearts back in their chests.

“I gave you some of my love… in return I am taking back some of your darkness, our darkness”, she explains.

The Evil queen looks stunned. “Why?” she inquires.

Regina answers calmly, “You are part of me and I am part of you.—And now I love myself!”

“Once Upon a Time” is a TV series about fairy tale characters who end up in our modern world and travel between realms, different magical realms and the contemporary world. One of the main characters is the Evil Queen from the fairy tale Snow White. At the beginning of this series, this Evil Queen, Regina, cast a curse which traps all the fairy tale characters, frozen in time, and brings them into our modern world. Different interactions between good and evil unfold throughout the six seasons.

Remarkable about this series is that no evil character is purely evil. Everybody demonstrates good and bad sides and even the antagonists change and develop. The viewer gets insights into how and why they have became so dark in the first place. There usually is some pain, hurt and lack of love behind their darkness.

Regina develops into a loving person in the contemporary world, yet her original character from fairy tale land remains dark. In the sixth season, it comes to the above described showdown between the modern Regina and her dark counterpart, the Queen. This showdown scene is the perfect example of how we are all facing our shadow selves and how we often hate that shadow. Instead of killing it and trying to get rid of everything that we have learned to believe is bad or wrong about us, we can embrace those shadow traits and end up actually loving ourselves the way we truly are.

Originally, the Evil Queen, who experienced a lot of personal pain and loss, trapped everybody in time to prevent all the fairly tale characters, especially Snow White, from getting their “happily ever after”. In the end, her modern counterpart, Regina, helps her to find her happy ending in Fairy Tale Land. The message being that everybody deserves to love him or herself and find that intimate connection with others.

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When we embrace our shadows we work towards a similar “happily ever after” in all our relationships. Integrating our shadows moves us into wholeness, into unconditional love of ourselves. We separate from the Inner Critic, the voice inside us that says there is something wrong with us for having a certain trait or behaving in a certain way. The more we separate from that judgemental voice, the easier it is to look into the mirror and say “I love myself.” By finding separation from the voice inside of us that says we need to hate our flaws and hide the way we truly are, we become gentle with ourselves and we can reconnect with our Inner Child. When we connect with that vulnerable part inside, we find our joy, our childlike wonder, our magic, our curiosity, our imagination, our creativity, our playfulness, and our intimacy.

As we accept all traits inside us, we can accept them in others. We release our judgments and projections. We develop a natural compassion towards others. We can accept other people more and more the way they are. When others feel our love and acceptance, it gives them permission to be their authentic selves. They feel safe because they will not be found wrong by us. Their protective walls come down and their masks come off. The result is the mutual ability to live loving and authentic relationships with each other.

couple, bike, love

Check the Upcoming Workshops schedule for the next four-day Shadow Energetics training or contact me for individual sessions.

Angelika, 905-286-9466, greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca

If you are enjoying my articles, you can follow Greendoor to receive an e-mail notification whenever I post a new blog. All you need to do is to click the “follow” button in the right-hand corner of your screen.

 

Like a Beaver Dam

Samantha is really frustrated. “I have been doing my healing work for years. I have tried many different techniques and they all helped, some more than others, but why am I still at this point in my life? Why have I not reached all my goals of abundance, health and the perfect relationship, yet? Why do I have to do more work? I want to finally be done.”

Samantha is not the only client sitting in front of me who express frustration with the fact that their inner work is still not complete. Their Inner Critic tells them that they should be clear and enlightened with no issues or struggles whatsoever because, after all, they have already worked on themselves, their fears, their beliefs, their emotions and their relationships.

At that point, I usually share with them my latest piece of personal work. And they typically say something along the lines of, “But you have been in this field for fourteen years! You should be done!” I also tell them that in my experience, the work never ends. Why is that? Doing our personal work is like peeling away the layers of an onion. Each layer allows us to go deeper. Life unfolds and we are nudged to peel away yet another layer.

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Sometimes it is like working away on a beaver dam that blocks the flow of the river of our consciousness. This dam represents all our obstructions and blocks due to our limiting beliefs, fears, emotions and shadows. With each piece of debris we pull out, the river can flow better and we become more whole. With each stick, we broaden our conscious awareness of ourselves and the world.

When we do deeper work, it is also quite normal that resistance comes up. Our subconscious has many useful programs in place, in fact programs that help us to function and survive. If it was easy to change all those programs, our survival might be in danger. Changing subconscious programs requires engaging this resistance in just the right way and using techniques to access the subconscious mind. Dhebi DeWitz’s L.E.E.P.s are such Life Enhancing Energy Processes that can assist us with our inner work.

The past week held two bigger pieces of work and learning for myself. What came up for me was a shadow trait I needed to integrate and an emotional interference pattern I needed to release. An individual had been mirroring the shadow of being argumentative and opinionated to me. Being opinionated and in some way closed and inflexible is often a trait which is looked upon as difficult. I am the first to admit that at times I can be opinionated and I am sure others find that difficult or discouraging. Many topics I just let go of, because I frankly don’t care enough about the subject at hand to argue with anyone. Yet, when it comes to work-related topics where I have a certain expertise I can certainly come across as having a strong opinion and expressing it clearly.

I usually minimize time with people who want to argue but this particular person had asked repeatedly to spend an extensive period of time with me and my initial judgmental approach was, “oh, no, I can’t take this arguing”. It was time for me to shift how I feel about being opinionated. In fact, I should have done this personal work much earlier when I first noticed a desire to avoid this energy.

jung-quotes

I used a process which I apply with my clients and also teach in my workshops: a Shadow Integration Process. For this method, another person stands in for the shadow part that is the trigger. We take note of what the initial relationship between the person and the part to be integrated is like. Usually, people report dislike, judgment, anger, fear or a feeling of disconnect from this part. We then use a meditative and intuitive process to befriend this shadow and to understand the gifts of this energy. Afterwards, the person gets to meet their now integrated part again and observe completely different feelings towards this energy. Disconnect, anger, or fear have made way for understanding, tolerance, acceptance or even friendship towards this part of us. We are able to love ourselves with this trait and are able to tolerate and accept others with it.

The second piece of work I had to do this week went deeper, as it touched a core wound that required some more healing. All of us have experienced negative or unhealthy emotional extremes at some point. When those emotions feel overwhelming, they can lodge themselves in our body-mind-energy field. They send out a continuous interfering resonance that can cause health issues but also hijack our peace of mind. We perceive our reality through our emotional pain.

Dhebi quote Some of our greatest hinderances

With an open heart, I had made an offer to somebody about a week ago who I don’t know that well but always quite appreciated. This financial discount offer was well-thought through and even muscle tested. I felt good about being giving. I was stunned and shocked when I received a reply in which this individual indicated she felt unfairly treated by me.

When I checked in with myself later that day, I realized that in response to her feeling unfairly treated, I had flipped into the same emotion of being unappreciated and feeling this was unfair towards me. “Our emotionally driven subconscious mind has the uncanny ability of bringing people and situations into our lives that force us to face, and feel, whatever we have previously resisted, denied, or suppressed because that is what it has stored there.” (Dhebi DeWitz, The Messenger Within) My emotional interference pattern from long ago had, despite all good intentions, drawn the same emotional issue into my field.

So whose work was this to do? Mine, of course. This emotion showed up in my reality and it vibrated something much older in me, a core wound, in fact. What needed to be done was not so much to explain and make her understand my position, but to release the emotional interference pattern from within my body and field. The Emotional Release Process, often used with my clients and also taught in the Shadow Energetics Workshop, turned out to be the right tool to resolve the emotional pattern.

When we resolve the interference pattern, the vibration brought to us by the other person does not resonate anymore with our own emotions and we can let the matter go with our heart at peace. Once I had released the emotion, I was also able to see things from the other person’s view. I was able to hear the overwhelm she was experiencing and able to relate to it, free of needing to be defensive. A non-judgmental and loving communication could unfold at that point, which she responded to in kind. After all, we are usually more alike than we can see when we are lost in hurt or emotional pain.

Do you want to embrace a shadow and be less triggered by others, release an emotion you feel stuck in or learn these processes and more in a workshop? You can either contact me for an individual session or join me for this four day workshop:

April 1/2 & 8/9, 2017 from 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

For more information please click here:

Upcoming Workshops

If you are enjoying my articles, you can follow Greendoor to receive an e-mail notification whenever I post a new blog. All you need to do is to click the “follow” button in the right-hand corner of your screen.

Angelika, 905-286-9466, greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca

 

 

What happened? Collective Shadows

This morning, I woke up to a lot of grief and disbelief shared on my Facebook feed about the results of the election. The shock and sadness echoed my own feelings of grief. There were also the voices of my spiritual friends reminding us not to give the hatred more power by going into fear, but to remember the spiritual truth of who we are and to embody love and light.

One of the questions asked over and over again was “why?” and “how could this happen?” We mustn’t forget that what we manifest originates from our subconscious mind, from our beliefs, our suppressed fears and our disowned energies, also called our shadows. The collective unconscious of a whole nation, perhaps even of the whole world, has ultimately co-created the outcome of these elections.

iceberg

The collective unconscious in Jungian psychology is “the part of the unconscious mind that is derived from ancestral memory and experience and is common to all humankind.” So the question would have to be, what shadows have been pushed underground, what fears and impulses have been disowned for one politician to represent all those energies?

Quantum physics teaches us that electrons which are created together are entangled. They are always connected and influencing each other. Since the big bang, we have all been connected on the level of our smallest particles. Or, in other words, we are connected through the collective unconscious mind and as each part of this mind, we carry responsibility. If what has been created is not what we would like to see, let’s move forward to create something different.

We cannot fight hatred with hatred, the only thing which allows us to move out of the low vibrational energy of hate, anger and fear is Love. Love is a clear movement towards unity. Love and light illuminate the darkness. Love heals all chaos. Chaos is a normal part of every change. Before we can emerge to create something new, there naturally is a time of unsettlement and chaos. No matter whether we welcome the change or fear it, the only thing we can count on is change. With change often comes loss. Loss is inevitable just like change itself.

When we experience a loss, for example the loss of security, or when we anticipate a loss, like the loss of human rights, grief is a natural response. This grief needs to be acknowledged, felt and processed. Only when we have taken the time to do that can we truly remember that we have choices to create something better, something new.

It is up to each and every one of us, no matter whether we had a direct vote in this election or not, to create a world free of hatred, judgment and oppression. Together we can change the collective unconscious by starting to love ourselves with all our fears and impulses and to begin to make conscious choices for freedom and equal rights for everybody, for unity and for love.

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In a Relationship With a Narcissist – PART TWO: What Are My Options?

(Narcissists are male or female. Please note that I have mostly used the pronouns “he” and “she” interchangeably to avoid the awkward “he or she”)

I have never had as many private messages as I did after posting part one of this blog series. Several people approached me who had not considered until they read the article that they had a narcissist in their family or were dating a narcissist. They have been wondering why it is always about the other person; they were looking for reasons with themselves, trying harder and harder to keep the peace and make the narcissist happy.

The narcissist treats others in a demeaning way, attacks verbally and has little or no respect for other people’s feelings or boundaries. For the other family members watching this from the outside, it can be hard to understand why someone would choose to continue dating or being married to a narcissist.

Let’s examine the options you have when you are indeed in a relationship with a narcissist. If the narcissist is a danger to your or your children’s safety, find professional help and get out. If his or her behaviour is destructive and toxic, yet doesn’t fall under physical or sexual abuse, you have different options. Lots of the books on the topic of narcissism simply recommend to “run, run, run and don’t look back”. If the narcissist is a friend, I agree that it is perhaps time to re-evaluate the friendship and its benefits versus its drama and emotional stress and let go of a narcissistic friend. However, in other cases, this advice might not be realistic or not that easy to follow. What if the narcissist is your boss and you don’t want to quit your job? Or the narcissist is one of your in-laws, or your own daughter or son, or your spouse, and you are not ready to divorce that partner or break the ties with that family member?

Don’t get me wrong; even in those cases you always have the option of “no contact” if the situation becomes too toxic. It might be worth finding a new job or not having any contact with the narcissistic family member. If you choose to go the “no contact” route with a family member, be prepared for a battle. Narcissists hate nothing more than to be ignored. They are energy vampires. They thrive on intimidating, controlling and manipulating others. Not to get a response out of others is the worst thing for them. They are afraid to be “invisible”. They don’t care when they hurt others, they care only about their narcissistic supply and any response from others will do.

No contact cropped

Once you decide to go “no contact”, the hoovering begins: the narcissist will try to charm, manipulate or bully his way back into your life. Why do we fall for narcissists in the first place? Because they are very good at this strategic game of manipulation and they convince us that they are “not bad people” after all, just victims of the circumstances. If you are choosing the route to cut all ties, you need to be strong and consistent. The no contact option is a marathon, not a sprint.

Narcissists are often very charming and charismatic—until their mask slips for the first time and reveal their immaturity. A narcissistic personality can make you feel like you are the chosen one and that you must be special. “In return, you’re expected to hold the spotlight steadily upon him, nod affirmatively during his orations, laugh on cue, never appear to be bored, applaud loudly and frequently, and never, ever expect to join him on the stage” (Behary, Disarming the Narcissist).

Narcissists constantly project unwanted parts of themselves onto other people. You will be accused of being controlling, manipulative, selfish, arrogant, entitled, hurtful, untruthful, angry, distrustful, opinionated, unempathatic and so on. The mirror principle is at play. The narcissist points one finger at you while being completely unaware that three fingers point back at him. And unlike the narcissist, you might be more self-critical and wonder whether he is partially right. Remember that this is all part of the smoke tactic to distract from his insecurities and issues. Projection is the name of the game.

You do not need the narcissist to agree that she is projecting. You need to understand how shadows operate and how your buttons are being pushed. “It needs to be enough for you to know that you have put the projections back where they belong in your own mind, regardless of how the Narcissist sees the situation” (Sandy Hotchkiss, Why is it Always About You?) Do not get into a right and wrong discussion. Do not invest any energy in wanting the narcissist to understand and admit her issues. You do not need anything from her; you just need to be clear in your own mind who you are and that you love and accept yourself the way you are.

arguing with a narcisist

Being in a relationship with a narcissist can be addictive, confusing and utterly devastating, especially when we expect the narcissist to think and act like most people. We have to remember that due to their childhood experiences they have a personality disorder. They do not have the same perception and do not play by the same rules as most adults.

The diagnostic manual of the American Psychiatric Association defines a personality disorder as a pattern which manifests in two or more of the following areas:

  1. Ways of perceiving and interpreting self, other people, and events.
  2. Range, intensity, lability, and appropriateness of emotional response.
  3. Interpersonal functioning.
  4. Impulse control.

The narcissist sees the world differently than other people. Empathy comes with maturity, except in the case of a personality disorder like NPD. To the narcissist, other people are there to supply their needs. Their idea of fair is that they get what they want when they want it. It completely escapes them that other people have the right to say “no” or deny them something.

Their emotional responses of anger are unpredictable, intense and completely out of proportion. These responses resemble the temper tantrums of a two year old. After the narcissistic rage follows a period of the narcissist pretending nothing ever happened. The narcissist does not apologize or take responsibility. They almost make us doubt that something inappropriate occurred. They explain and defend. Their immature explosion of rage is always due to other people or circumstances. They see themselves as victims of fate and of other people.

If you decide to go with “minimal contact”—or “contact” in the case of actually living with a narcissist—you need to learn how your own childhood issues tie in with the narcissist’s issues and how to navigate the relationship. A good book which describes our childhood schemes and how they are related to attracting a narcissistic partner is “Disarming the Narcissist” by Wendy T. Behary.

In order to change the interactions with the narcissist in your life, it is extremely helpful to examine and change the beliefs you have learned about yourself and other people, for example, do you truly subconsciously believe you deserve respect and boundaries? What other limiting beliefs have you learned which hold you back from refusing unhealthy interactions with the narcissist?

Shadows also play a big role in the relationships with a narcissist. Have you for example disowned your own anger or sense of entitlement to a point where you are not able to be assertive and stand up for yourself and advocate for your rights and needs? What if you were able to respond differently to the aggression the narcissist has no trouble stepping into?

When we feel threatened, our survival instincts are triggered and the fight, flight or freeze response sets in. That is what the narcissist counts on. The narcissistic energy vampire thrives on aggression and intimidation. In order to have an effective communication you need to work on modifying your own instinctive responses.

If you typical response is to fight back, curb that impulse. Instead, calmly stand up for yourself without counter attacking. If your usual response is avoidance (flight), give yourself the gift of a “time-out” and distance from the upsetting exchange but remember that in order to resolve a conflict, you need to eventually return. If you tend to freeze or surrender, remember that the situation is not helped by taking all the blame. A bully cannot be pacified by submission; it only causes more abuse.

The narcissist typically is a show-off, a bully or the “entitled one”. Of the three, the show-off is easiest to deal with. He feels not good enough and therefore tries to dazzle and impress with his achievements or possessions. Focus on affirming his moments of thoughtful kindness instead of the outstanding accomplishments he wants you to admire. Let him know that you interested in him, not in what he does or has.

The bully has a great mistrust of people and their motives. She is afraid that others will try to control her, make a fool out of her, or take advantage of her in some way. She fears that nobody truly cares about her. Her unacceptable behaviour stems from a deep sense of shame and inadequacy. Her protective mechanism is to criticize and control others. When others feel small and powerless, she feels strong and secure. Whether the other person responds with anger (fight) or with fear (flight, freeze), she wins. The only place to defeat a bully is to stay in contact with the advanced part of your brain that is able to think clearly and rationally. Respond from that rational part.

NPD Lucy

When dealing with the entitled one, remember that he makes up his own set of rules and feels he should be able to do whatever he wants, whenever he wants. He takes but seldom gives. He has issues being on the receiving end of the word “no”. He has no interest in understanding the other person’s opinions, feelings, needs or boundaries. Calmly hold him accountable and consistently set and re-set those limits and boundaries.

Behay points out that in order to shift the relationship with the narcissist, “you need more than an intellectual literacy in his issues and life story; you also need an emotional literacy in his inner world. In other words, you need to feel what his experience of the world is like.” (Disarming the Narcissist) This is what is known as empathy.

“Empathy is a capacity to truly understand the experience of another, emotionally, mentally, and sometimes even physically. It doesn’t mean that you necessarily agree with, condone, or support the other person’s feelings and behaviour, simply that you understand it in a ‘felt” way.” (Disarming the Narcissist)

Having empathy does not mean you continue to allow the narcissist to bully you and others, but that you understand that a key aspect of narcissism is attempting to feel visible and that—like with young children—it is better to receive negative attention than no attention. Empathy allows you to stand your ground without taking things personally and to hold the narcissist accountable for her own actions, without anger, defensiveness or submissiveness.

For the narcissist to learn empathy himself, professional help from an expert in the field of NPD is necessary. Unfortunately, the narcissist does not see that he needs to change. Unless he is afraid to lose something of importance, like the relationship, he rarely agrees to therapy.

Independent of the lack of empathy of the narcissist, you can still be empathetic—while making sure your own needs are met. When the narcissist flips into one of his or her narcisstic rages, superimpose the image of him or her as a lonely and unloved little child over the grown-up in front of you. Being able to see his deep shame, loneliness and emotional emptiness will help you to respond calmly when you do not allow him to get away with being hurtful, condescending, selfish, controlling and destructive.

In your communications with the narcissist, make sure you differentiate between fault and responsibility. Fault and blame put us in a place of defensiveness. Make sure nobody is to blame but everybody is responsible for the effects or consequences of their words and behaviour. Respons-ibility is the ability to respond and create different outcomes.

Blame vs Responsibility

Always be aware of and set limits and boundaries in the relationship with the narcissist. In order to do that you need to, be very clear in your own mind about what you are willing to accept and what is unacceptable and needs to change. Provide positive feedback when the narcissist is behaving in a more mature way. And last but not least, lovingly speak your truth. In order for the narcissist to feel connected in relationships, she must learn what she never learned as a child, that she is lovable for who she is.

 NPD Lucy 2

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Relationship Coaching, Belief Changes and Shadow Work

Angelika

905-286-9466

greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca

 

Good As Gold – How Siblings Carry Each Others Shadow Traits

I have written in the past about partners carrying each other’s disowned energies and how children mirror our shadows for us. Another way to find out what is in your shadow is to take a look at your sibling(s). Sometimes the differences between two or more siblings are subtle but in many cases they are quite obvious. Often siblings carry each others opposites.

The older sister—or brother—might be, for example, over-identified with being the responsible one, the one who is more conservative, careful with money and striving to save up for sensible goals like buying a house. He or she might be the one who studies and works hard. The younger sister or brother then often steps into the opposite energy. He or she shows up as “irresponsible”, fun loving, care-free and able to spend money on an adventure or instant gratification. One sibling perhaps seems to live for the future, worrying that everything turns out the way he or she hopes. The other one lives in the present and does not dream of owning real estate or saving up for retirement.

Is one of them right and the other one wrong? Neither one has made the “better” choices, neither energy is bad. In fact, to be whole we need to feel we have a choice whether we want to be responsible in a situation or less responsible, whether we want to make a sensible choice for future safety or possibly a choice to enjoy the present moment. It is important to plan ahead; it is also enriching to feel care-free and to fully live right now.

Being identified with one energy while disowning the opposite energy, affects our relationships. Instead of truly supporting each other and being friends, the siblings usually end up judging in each other what they don’t allow themselves to be. The older sibling will judge the younger one as “irresponsible” and the younger one might call the older one “boring”. Meanwhile there is a part in both of them which longs to be whole, which feels resentful when the other sibling’s approach seems to give them an advantage. The older one, who feels he or she has worked so hard and always does what is expected might feel annoyed to see that the younger one gets through life alright, apparently without worrying about money and having so much fun. The younger one might secretly feel inferior and wish at times that she had savings or better grades or higher qualifications.

Yet, neither approach to life is right or wrong, neither is better than the other. Those are two different experiences of life, based on different choices and a result of the fact that they are both not fully conscious of how energy works.

Both are depriving themselves from being truly whole and having a free choice in each given moment in life who they want to be or what energy they want to display. What the other one mirrors to them, what they are irritated by and judge in the other sibling, is actually, as Hal Stone says “the medicine they need”.

Hal & Sidra what we judge in others

Hal and Sidra Stone

The older sibling is not automatically the more serious and responsible one. John is the father of a 15 year old son and a 12 year old daughter. He has come for relationship coaching as he is greatly struggling with his son. He describes him as “disrespectful, irresponsible, messy, unreliable, not applying himself in school, lazy” or in short “incredibly irresponsible”. As John talks about his son, he is getting agitated and angry. It is palpable how much the teenager triggers him. When I ask him about his daughter, he smiles and his voice becomes soft. “She is good as gold”, he says several times. “She is always reliable and tidy and gets good marks in school. She helps around the house; she is always even tempered and so responsible. She is really good as gold.”

When I explain about opposite energies and shadows John has a hard time seeing how any of the traits his son displays could be useful energy or good in any way. He wants his son to be “good as gold” just like his daughter. However, that is not how energy works. The younger sister has taken on the brother’s responsible shadow and he is carrying his sister’s care free energy. Both children are not showing up as their whole complete selves. They have polarized into opposites and being labelled as “irresponsible” and “good as gold” manifests this situation. They don’t see a way out of this polarization. The daughter gets positive attention and affection by being a perfect little angel. The son gets attention by being the black sheep.

Angel 3

I ask John what happens when the daughter makes a mistake or gets a mark that’s not a perfect score. At first he says, “But that doesn’t happen! She is an A student across board!” Then he admits that she beats herself up for any mistake or less than perfect performance. She is tough on herself. She worries about the future too. She has a hard time relaxing, doing nothing for a few hours.

As parents we see this polarization between siblings from the outside. Often, we will look at one of them and feel more comfortable with their approach to life than with the other. We mustn’t forget that our children are a mirror for us as well, for what we don’t like about ourselves (our dark shadows) or what we maybe admire about others and think we are not (our light shadows).

It is our job to allow all our children to be whole. It is up to us to encourage a child who is identified more with responsibility or perfection to loosen up, to be okay with making mistakes, to enjoy life right now. And it is also our job to trust the child who shows up as more irresponsible that they are capable and willing to take responsibility for their actions. It is our—perhaps most difficult—task to allow them to learn their own life lessons. By embracing our own shadows which we see in them, we can come to a place of non-judgment and true unconditional love.

If you enjoy my posts, you can follow Greendoor to receive an e-mail notification whenever I post a new blog. All you need to do is to click the “follow” button in the right-hand corner of your screen.

 

Would you like to understand the energetic dynamics in your family more? Is there a relationship you would like to improve? Do you want to stop being triggered by certain family members?

To learn more contact me (Angelika) for individual sessions or Shadow Energetics Workshops.

905-286-9466 (free phone consultation) or

greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca

For 2016 workshop dates and locations go to Upcoming Workshop.

 

 

“I will not find you wrong”

At the end of the four day Shadow Energetics workshop, we all hold hands in the closing circle and share with a few words how we feel; gratitude, joy, peace, sadness for the weekend being over, and most of all unconditional love and acceptance are being expressed. The most magical moment for me always unfolds when we are playing the beautiful song “I Will Take Care of You” by Amy Sky: I can literally see into every person’s soul.

All the masks that we wear on a daily basis have come off after being together for four days. Everybody feels safe enough to let the other participants see their vulnerable, authentic self. Some people are really touched by the song. Some even cry, as I did when I first heard the lyrics and allowed its message to land inside my heart.

I will take care of you

The song tells the story of a baby being born and the mother taking care of her. It talks about the girl growing up to be a bride and her wedding vows being “I will take care of you”. It continues with the mother dying and the daughter taking care of her, and ends with another baby girl being born into this endless cycle of love and care. It expresses the longing we have in our closest relationships to feel safe, protected and taken care of. It is a song about our own inner child, that part inside us that needs nothing more but to feel safe and looked after.

As I look around the circle, there is no doubt in anybody’s face that we are one big family, in which you know with absolute certainty that you are accepted the way you are. The workshop reminded us of what we all know deep down to be true: We are one.

Incredibly blessed, deeply honoured and very much aware of the responsibility I hold as I am carrying forward the teachings of my friend and mentor, Darryl Gurney, I am once again reflecting on what it takes to get to this moment at the end of every single workshop. Teaching the Shadow Energetics Work is way beyond teaching techniques and even beyond providing the opportunity to all participants to make their own shifts and changes and do their own healing. The key to teaching this particular workshop lies in providing the experience of being unconditionally loved and accepted, truly feeling that we are enough exactly the way we are.

Darryl has many times shared what was the most intimate moment in his life, when he understood what allows people to heal. He was in a session with his Body Talk Teacher. Lying face up on the massage table something came up that made him feel defensive. His Body Talk Teacher gently put his hand on Darryl’s higher heart chakra, looked deeply into his eyes, and simply said “I will not find you wrong”.

I will not find you wrong img2

The experience of not being found wrong is deeply life changing. The courage of being able to be open and vulnerable is initiated and encouraged by the instructor, yet carried by every single participant. In all my years of taking different training and workshops, I have never come across a second person who so masterfully creates a safe space in which everybody is heard, seen and held. That Darryl has been able to do this over and over again is the result of many years of doing his own work, clearing out his own shadows and triggers and being conscious enough to know that the work never ends.

During the last workshop, a participant expressed surprise that Darryl himself muscle tested out a shadow and took part in a process I facilitated. She asked, “After all those years and all the work you have done, you still find shadows to integrate?” His response was an emphatic, “Yes, of course.”

He walks his talk. Darryl’s daily practice is to wake up in the morning and to work on his dream messages. Dreams show us what is going on in our subconscious mind and which beliefs we might want to change. In our family, we work on and with each other to clear out fears, limiting beliefs, emotions and integrate our shadows. Sometimes we say, “There is no time right now” and things are postponed and occasionally forgotten.

Doing your own work is about making choices and setting priorities. Often we wait until something is wrong, we are in pain, in a conflict or a relationship is endangered. What if we all healed our issues now, instead of waiting until we are seriously ill, or the other person we have a broken relationship with has died?

Having been entrusted with the Shadow Energetics workshops for the GTA, I have an extra incentive to continue my work on becoming clearer as a person, stronger as a teacher and more unconditionally loving in every way.

Please watch out for the Shadow Energetics Workshop Schedule for Early Spring 2015.

Angelika

905-286-9466

greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca

If you enjoy my posts, you can follow Greendoor to receive an e-mail notification whenever I post a new blog. All you need to do is to click the “follow” button in the right-hand corner of your screen.

The Shadow Side of Gratitude

When I casually asked my family a couple of days ago, “Any ideas for a Thanksgiving blog?” my daughter replied, “Only cheesy ones, about gratitude”.

Now, I don’t think that gratitude is cheesy at all. Gratitude has many benefits. It gives us an experience of joy and optimism, it strengthens our relationships and it actually improves our health. The better we feel about our life, the healthier our physical body is. However, the question is, how do we handle gratitude?

My grandmother who survived two world wars used to look at her grandchildren and say to us “You are so spoiled. You should be modest and grateful for everything you have.” I learned early on that being “ungrateful” is a terrible thing, a character flaw, something we need to hide and fight. Can you guess what happened?

It became one of my shadows. Each time when I felt disappointed about something and had the perspective of ungratefulness about an event, I felt really guilty and flawed. I felt like I had failed to be what one should be, which is always grateful.

shadow 1

And as it is the case with our shadows, one of the things which triggered me most as a parent were little children who showed up as “demanding” and “spoiled”. I remember vividly a little boy at my younger daughter’s birthday party, the forgotten sad middle child of three, who loudly and clearly expressed his dissatisfaction with his loot bag as opposed to his brother’s loot bag. Apparently, his brother’s loot bag had the items in exactly the colours he wanted.

Instead of being able to see what was going on for this little guy, that his life experience was being overshadowed by his only slightly younger brother and being able to feel compassion for him, I felt an inner anger rise about this entitlement and lack of gratitude. There was my grandmother all over again. I felt like saying to him, “You are so spoiled.” Obviously, I didn’t, but I could tell his father saw it in my face and heard it in my tone as I tried to respond with a calm I didn’t feel inside. All the little boy had done was mirror to me what I had learned to hate about myself.

I have thought about my grandmother and what she taught me to suppress—the feeling of dissatisfaction in this case—many times since. I’ve thought of birthdays growing up when I felt disappointment but smiled because one is supposed to be grateful for everything. Inside, I felt like a horrible ungrateful person. Somehow that feeling of “un-gratitude” grew more from year to year, and from birthday to birthday. Suppressing our shadows is like cutting off the heads of the Lernaean Hydra, the serpentine water monster from Greek and Roman mythology. When you cut one head off, she grows two. If you cut those two off, she grows four and so on. I had a multi-headed hydra in my life, waking up each October around my birthday with more and more heads.

It wasn’t until I was a mother buying natural fibred underwear for my first child and my grandmother repeated her sentence “You are so spoiled” that I realized, it wasn’t just a bad thing to be spoiled. Suddenly, I heard a different sub-text. I heard, “Who are you to think you or your child deserves the more expensive item? Who are you to think you are special?”

I didn’t know the answer back then but I know it today. Back then she managed to trigger the feeling of guilt for being so ungrateful and spoiled. Even though my rising anger inside told me there was something to do with this situation, I did not have the right answer because I did not really feel deserving. Today, I know I deserve whatever I decide I deserve. What can look like lack of gratitude to others can also be that you know what you want and you are able to treat yourself or your family to the best.

Louise Hay - I deserve

Fact is, we are all everything. Everything that exists in the world around us, in the macrocosm, also exists inside of us, in the microcosm. We are all grateful at times and ungrateful at others. Sometimes we see the light at the end of the tunnel or the gift something or someone is. Other times a nagging feeling of “this is not good enough” creeps in. That nagging feeling is not there to be judged and suppressed. It is a call to find a way to honour ourselves more—even if that means being judged by other people as ungrateful, spoiled or selfish.

Fifteen years ago, I started on my spiritual path. In spiritual circles it’s all about gratitude. And, as I mentioned above, gratitude is a fantastic perspective changer and key to happiness. Yet, let’s not forget to first honestly feel what is really there, acknowledge it, decide if it’s a call to do something and then, in the final step, shift to a different perspective—if we choose to.

Gratitude cannot be forced. Nobody has to be grateful, not on their birthday or Christmas or Thanksgiving. Those celebrations can bring out all sorts of emotions. Honour them. And when you are ready, feel free to try this thing called gratitude—not because we should all be grateful, but just because it might be fun to see what it’s like.

Angelika

Thanksgiving - Happy Thanksgiving

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Walk a Mile in My Moccasins

Carol has been married for over seven years; she is the mother of two little girls. But each time she used to see her own mother, she instantly felt like a little child again.

By that, she didn’t mean she had a wonderful fuzzy feeling of safety, security and love. On the contrary! She felt like her own two year old who wanted to stamp her foot and yell at her mother “I hate you!”

Carol was triggered by her mother in different ways. For example, Carol and her husband made the choice to be vegetarians, yet, the mother kept pushing meat onto her daughter and her grandchildren. She was telling everybody how unhealthy it is to be vegetarian and how irresponsible it is to raise your children this way.

Carol’s husband is French-Canadian and they had decided to send their older daughter to a French school. Carol’s mother was doing everything to find fault with this choice as well.

Carol felt herself triggered into angry comments directed at her mother, which then resulted in her mother being hurt and insulted, calling her daughter cruel and heartless. Carol tried to ignore her mother, tried to explain and rationalize with her. Nothing helped. “She just will not stop!” Carol told me in exasperation.

Carol felt disrespected, criticized and angry. Her own children had been asking to see their grandparents more, but Carol always had excuses to call other babysitters and felt more comfortable avoiding family get-togethers. One day, when Carol had a fight with her husband, he exclaimed in frustration “You are just like your mother!” Carol was offended and shocked. She came to see me.

As Carol and I started working together, Carol discovered—to her surprise—her mother’s desperation for attention and love. She realized that her mother felt scared and out of control through the different life choices Carol and her husband had made for themselves and their children.

Carol has found a way to set clear respectful boundaries with her mother while giving her the love and assurance the mother was looking for. In order to do that, Carol had to work with the mirrors which showed up for her and integrate her own shadows inside herself. She had to embrace the energy of being loud and pushy, and the part in her which is controlling. Her mother mirrored neediness to Carol as well. All three were traits Carol had learned to dislike and had disowned in herself. She judged herself harshly for her own controlling energy and when she herself felt needy and fearful. Carol also chose to do a relationship alignment with somebody standing in for her mother. That’s a process which balances the chakras in relationship to each other, and can greatly shift the energy from judgments to acceptance.

When Carol healed her own wounds and cleared out her triggers, she became really able to step into her mother’s shoes and feel her mother’s experience with compassion.

Moccasins & quoteWhen we walk a mile in somebody else’s moccasins, we realize that nothing is what it seems. Our shoe might pinch in one spot, somebody else’s shoe in another.

Ever since Carol has removed her own triggers and has been able to feel and radiate true unconditional love towards her mother, her mother has also slowly started to put herself into Carol’s place. The mother has realized that her daughter’s choices in life are not right or wrong, they are not a threat to her own beliefs or a criticism of how she raised Carol; they are just different from hers.

“The other day, I heard her defend our French school to somebody! Can you believe that?” laughs Carol. Yes, I can! Carol has done the work and is seeing the results.

Is it time to move beyond right and wrong for you as well? Do you want to have more peaceful and harmonic experiences with others? Are you ready to create better relationships? By finding the parts of your personality that you have pushed away, recognizing their value and then embracing them, you are opening up to unconditionally loving yourself and enhancing your relationships. You gain the freedom to truly walk in another person’s moccasins.

Contact

Angelika

Relationship Coaching

905-286-9466

greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca

 

If you enjoy my posts, you can follow Greendoor to receive an e-mail notification whenever I post a new blog. All you need to do is to click the “follow” button in the right-hand corner of your screen.

The Patriarch and Matriarch Within

Have you heard statements like “men just don’t know how to be caring and nurturing”, “men are responsible for the mess this world is in” and “if it were up to women, there would be no wars”? Or “men think with their penises and only want one thing”? Or what about, “If men had to give birth, the human race would be extinct”?

When we ask ourselves honestly, in the tradition of Byron Katie, “is this true?” and “can we absolutely know this is true?” we have to admit that these statements reflect the speaker’s opinion and belief system. All these statements are generalizations based on certain beliefs. They are just as untrue and general as saying “women should leave high profile jobs with good salaries to men”, or “women should stay home for the children”, or “a woman’s place is in the kitchen”, or “cleaning is women’s work”, or “women are more emotional and less rational than men”.

The latter statements we might categorize as chauvinistic and patronizing. We can see that they have originated from a patriarchal world view. We fancy ourselves modern enough not to buy into the idea that women are inferior to men. We feel they deserve equal rights and opportunities. Yet, what is going on in our subconscious mind? What beliefs have we been conditioned with in regards to gender?

In the Psychology of Selves, we have a model of the different parts in us which all make up who we are. There is also a part in us who has learned the patriarchal beliefs and has become the voice of the Patriarch inside of us. The Inner Patriarch voice sees women as inferior. While the outer patriarchy is visible and can be called out on its lack of truth or gender equality, the inner voice is sneaky. It is the invisible force that holds women back to be whole human beings and to freely choose the life they want to live.

That Inner Patriarch voice might be saying that the needs of men are more important; or that being a woman, it is not okay to speak up to a man, to say “no” to him, to disagree with him and/or be assertive. Or it might be reflected in a fear that it is not safe to be a woman in this world. The voice may be convinced that a woman is not as good in math and science and not capable of repairing things; that women in important positions cannot be trusted; or that a single woman or divorced women is a spinster who in some way is lacking and unable to catch a man.

When I first came across the concept of the Inner Patriarch, I was convinced that I had none of those beliefs. I had to admit that they existed in my psyche as well and determined certain feelings, decisions or behaviours. They sometimes sit deep in our subconscious mind. We are so used to them that we do not even recognize them anymore, but we might wonder why we feel and act one way and not another.

What about men? Do they have a similar inner voice that holds them back? What happens to a man who grows up without a confident male role model in a household of women who dislike males? A boy who has a strong mother figure who disapproves of or ridicules his feelings and behaviours just because he is male? For example, a controlling, overbearing mother or step-mother who secretly feels threatened by his masculinity and makes sure that all male energy is labelled as unacceptable.

The Inner Matriarch is proud of women. That part has a high respect for women and for traditionally feminine traits. She is a warrior: neither impressed nor intimidated by men. As such, this voice serves women and balances out the Inner Patriarch. The Inner Matriarch thinks women are actually far superior to men. They are stronger—even if not always physically—able to endure pain better, cleverer because they won’t be played by other women like men will; they are more mature and realize what is really important; they are in touch with their feelings; they are more compassionate, caring, loving and much more intuitive; thus they must be the better healers and spiritually much more advanced.

Sidra Stone - quoteThe Inner Matriarch voice can support women not to be ashamed, apologetic or defensive about being a woman. The Inner Matriarch encourages women to be proud of themselves. However, it puts down not only men but traditionally male qualities in men and women.

What happens when a man grows up hearing all the time that men are inferior to women because only women are biologically capable of taking care of what is really important? He feels the judgement of the women raising him and experiences that speaking up, standing up for himself and his needs, and claiming his male power is looked down upon or even smothered in the core.

I believe that this can only go two ways. Either the man grows up over-identifying with the traditional male qualities of power, competition, and being disconnected from his own and other people’s emotions. More often than not, however, the result is a man who is deeply insecure in his own masculinity and is afraid to speak up to strong women. Although intuitive and longing to step into traditionally more feminine qualities while still maintaining his masculinity, he is hesitant to claim his wholeness.

More and more men seem to be lost. They don’t know how to be compassionate, caring, loving, intuitive males who at the same time are strong, confident, self-assured and powerful. If they have learned that there is something wrong with traditionally more masculine qualities and that as males they are just never as good in traditionally feminine roles, they find themselves between a rock and a hard place.

The future of the human race, however, lies in the hands of all of us, men and women. Our planet needs both the Divine Feminine as well as the Divine Masculine. We need whole human beings who are loving, compassionate, caring, nurturing, cooperative, passive, introverted, emotional and at the same time strong, assertive, powerful, active, extroverted and rational—independent of their gender.

If you want to work on separation from the Inner Patriarch and/or the Inner Matriarch, or change other limiting beliefs into more supportive beliefs please contact

Angelika

Belief Change Coaching & Shadow Work

Tel. 905-286-9466

greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca

If you enjoy my posts, you can follow Greendoor to receive an e-mail notification whenever I post a new blog. All you need to do is to click the “follow” button in the right-hand corner of your screen.