Healing the Patriarchy Series: Part II - T ...

Healing the Patriarchy Series: Part II - T ...

There is great interest these days in balancing our inner masculine and feminine parts, to for example attract the right partner or unlock higher levels of spiritual consciousness. The missing piece however in most teachings is undoing our patriarchal conditioning and...

Healing the Patriarchy Series: Part I - Th ...

Healing the Patriarchy Series: Part I - Th ...

There is great interest these days in balancing our inner masculine and feminine parts, to for example attract the right partner or unlock higher levels of spiritual consciousness. The missing piece however in most teachings is undoing our patriarchal conditioning and...

Healing the Patriarchy Series: Part II - T ...

Healing the Patriarchy Series: Part II - T ...

There is great interest these days in balancing our inner masculine and feminine parts, to for example attract the right partner or unlock higher levels of spiritual consciousness. The missing piece however in most teachings is undoing our patriarchal conditioning and...

Healing the Patriarchy Series: Part I - Th ...

Healing the Patriarchy Series: Part I - Th ...

There is great interest these days in balancing our inner masculine and feminine parts, to for example attract the right partner or unlock higher levels of spiritual consciousness. The missing piece however in most teachings is undoing our patriarchal conditioning and...

Soul Path Series: Part I - Our Split From  ...

Soul Path Series: Part I - Our Split From ...

The Soul Path series is an eight-article series by Sabriyé Dubrie of Soul Teachings on the origin of our Soul path 'birth' and our evolution into the (human) incarnation experience. The teachings shared are gleaned from my own healing journey on a Soul path level and...

Soul Path Series: Part II - Our Galactic L ...

Soul Path Series: Part II - Our Galactic L ...

The Soul Path series is an eight-article series by Sabriyé Dubrie of Soul Teachings on the origin of our Soul path ‘birth’ and our evolution into the (human) incarnation experience. The teachings shared are gleaned from my own healing journey on a Soul path level and...

Soul Path Series: Part III - Our Lifetimes ...

Soul Path Series: Part III - Our Lifetimes ...

The Soul Path series is an eight-article series by Sabriyé Dubrie of Soul Teachings on the origin of our Soul path ‘birth’ and our evolution into the (human) incarnation experience. The teachings shared are gleaned from my own healing journey on a Soul path level and...

Soul Path Series: Part IV - Masculine &#03 ...

Soul Path Series: Part IV - Masculine  ...

The Soul Path series is an eight-article series by Sabriyé Dubrie of Soul Teachings on the origin of our Soul path ‘birth’ and our evolution into the (human) incarnation experience. The teachings shared are gleaned from my own healing journey on a Soul path level and...

The Complexity of Childhood Trauma, How the Wounded Inner Child Runs Your Life Even as an Adult

by Sabriyé Dubrie

Spiritual author, Multidimensional Healer, Founder of Soul Embodiment® Therapy & the School of Soul Embodiment.

Ultimate Guide to Soul Embodiment

In this Soul teaching on the complexity of childhood trauma you will learn:

  • How healing our childhood traumas is Ascension and Soul embodiment work
  • How childhood trauma changes us and affects our lives
  • What childhood survival, defense, and protection mechanisms can look like
  • How our wounded inner child still runs our life as an adult
  • And more….

Everyone has childhood trauma

Everyone has childhood trauma, except most of us don’t realize the extent to which we have been traumatized until we revisit the wounds of our childhood. You may think that because you don’t remember anything ‘bad’ happening to you as a child, you cannot or don’t have any childhood trauma. You would be wrong, we all have childhood trauma one way or the other, the reason we don’t realize that we do is because we sometimes honestly don’t remember, or because it was safer to pretend that it wasn’t that bad when it was or because we think that because our situation wasn’t as extreme as the examples on the news it wasn’t really abuse.

But here’s the thing you don’t need to have been abused as a child to have childhood trauma.

The loss of your favorite toy could have been traumatic, the death of a pet, a family accident, an earthquake, storm, fire, sickness, the relationship between your parents, being hospitalized, having a parent be hospitalized or dying, having a sick or younger sibling who demanded all the care, etc, can all be potentially traumatic experiences that created childhood trauma.

One of the most traumatic experiences in my life was my mother leaving me with my father and half-sisters to go on a three-month trip to the United States when I was four years old. It wasn’t that she left, it was that she was away so long in a time when mobile phones and the internet weren’t a thing yet. Maybe if it had been my father instead of my mother leaving it wouldn’t have been so traumatic, but my mother was my safe space and she and I had an immense deep bond. I have known all my life that my mom had been away when I was young, but it wasn’t until I started healing my childhood traumas that I realized how painful that three-month separation had been for me as a young child.

The fact that you don’t remember any traumatic experiences doesn’t mean there aren’t any, it just means that you haven’t made them conscious yet…

Our unresolved childhood pain is hidden in the subconscious

Before I started healing my unresolved childhood pain like many people I genuinely thought that I had had a relatively happy childhood. It wasn’t till I started to unravel my past that I could face the truth of my childhood experiences and how painful they had been. Some childhood memories were deeply suppressed and only came back through therapy in my adulthood. I was twenty-five when I recovered memories of sexual abuse by my father as a young child, but knowing is NOT the same as healing. It wasn’t until well into my forties that I actually started healing the wounds that the experience of incest had left.

My story is not unique, most of us have created early childhood protection, defense, and survival mechanisms that allowed us to carry on with our lives without having the pain of our past making our lives impossible to live. But just because we have effectively learned to block out the pain doesn’t mean that it isn’t still there. It’s also not just patiently waiting in the dark until we remember it. Instead, it’s seeping through into our lives in often painful ways in an attempt to be made conscious.

Our unresolved childhood pain and traumas affect ALL areas of our lives whether it’s our level of success, our ability to get ahead in our jobs, get recognized in our work, get paid what we are worth, have money in the bank, have fulfilling relationships in general, have fulfilling intimate relationships and satisfying sex lives. When our inner child is hurt it can show up in any area of our life in our health, our money, our work, our relationships, our love life, our business, our parenting, and so on. Leading to deep patterns of subconscious self-sabotage that we aren’t even aware of happening from inside of us. It’s not that our inner child doesn’t want us to be happy or succeed. It’s that our deepest self-sabotage is our inner child’s way of keeping us safe. It’s by making our inner child feel safe no matter what that we can allow ourselves to be, do, and have it all to our heart’s content which sounds easy enough but requires the healing of our childhood survival, defense, and protection mechanisms as they are how we are shutting out what is ours by Divine right.

The unglamorous truth of real Ascension work

This teaching is to help everyone ready, to go to the next level in healing their unresolved childhood pain and trauma. Our childhood and inner child wounding are part of the wounded ego that keeps us in separation from our soul, if we are serious about fully embodying who we are on a soul level we have to remove the distortions that are keeping us from fully embodying our Soul blueprint. Especially our childhood survival, defense, and protection mechanisms keep us in mental, emotional, physiological, and vibrational states that are not aligned with our soul truth. This is the real Ascension and Soul embodiment work. It isn’t ultra-sexy, but it has to be done – yet many on the spiritual path try to find a way around it because it isn’t flashy or makes you look interesting. It is also not super fun and it doesn’t bring you recognition or glory, but it is truly the only way to strip back the layers of the false self that keep us from truly being who we are on a soul level.

If embodying our true self would be as easy as many people on the spiritual path tend to think, the world would not be in the state it is. It’s because the majority of humankind is so wounded that we face the issues we face today. Our childhoods are for many people the first place to start to reclaim their wholeness before they move on to do the ancestral and past life work that is necessary to reclaim our wholeness on a soul path level.

This soul teaching shows you what can happen when we bring back all the split-off pieces of the inner child and reintegrate them into the self. You could say that just as we do soul retrieval on a past life level, on a current incarnation level we also need to bring back all the parts of ourselves that we lost or disowned due to traumatic and or painful experiences in our childhood. When we get to this level of inner child healing, we can heal our deepest wounds and even pathologies because they were created at this level of depth.

What makes childhood trauma so complex

There are a couple of factors that make childhood trauma so complex, the first being that you can’t predict the level of trauma based on the situation because it depends on the individual. Say you have two children experiencing the exact same level and type of trauma, for example, incest and one can be more traumatized than the other. Or two children are experiencing different levels of the exact same type of trauma the one more severe than the other, yet the one experiencing the less severe form of trauma shows a higher degree of traumatization. Biological sex can also play a role; studies show that about 15% to 43% of girls and 14% to 43% of boys go through at least one trauma. Of those children and teens who have had a trauma, 3% to 15% of girls and 1% to 6% of boys develop PTSD. Source: www.ptsd.va.gov

Girls and women have a two to three times higher risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) compared to men and boys.

The other thing that makes childhood trauma both complex and seemingly unpredictable is the context of the trauma that greatly impacts the outcome. Dr. Kathy Ahern gives the example of a four-year-old child that is trapped in a demolished house after an earthquake strikes in the middle of the night. She is left without food or water, help, or support for three terrifying days. In a different city, another child the same age is neglected by her self-absorbed parents. They ignore her cries of hunger and fear for three days. Despite the physical and emotional traumas being identical, the earthquake victim suffers no ill effects from her experience years later. While the child who was physically and emotionally abandoned grows into an adult suffering from complex PTSD. Here we see that the context of the trauma also factors in to what degree someone becomes traumatized by a traumatic experience.

In the above example, Dr. Kathy Ahern attributes the difference to the element of betrayal that is present in the child that is left without food or water and support by her parents for three days which creates a different context to the child caught under the rubble who’s parents are searching for her and will hug her and hold her close once she is found. Source:  Lovefraud.com

But I would argue that it is also due to a third factor that can impact the degree of traumatization and that is duration. The girl in the earthquake had a one-time traumatic event that she was afterward lovingly supported in and she was surrounded by that same love and support both before that experience and after. While the child neglected by her parents may have experienced the three days as an extreme, but because the parents are who they are – they would have shown a similar level of basic neglect and lack of support both before and after those three days. The difference then is that the one child experienced a one-time traumatic experience, while the other child will most likely have experienced chronic neglect and lack of support (perhaps to a lesser degree than those three days) for the duration of her entire childhood.

In other words, you don’t have to be chained to the radiator in the basement to be traumatized chronic mild mental, emotional, or physical abuse that lasts for a longer period of time can also traumatize even when it was never ‘extreme’.

The fourth factor is how loving and supportive is the environment the child is growing up in. Parents, siblings, grandparents, and other extended family members as well as neighbors, teachers, and other professionals that the child interacts with on a regular basis. How much love and support is available to the child to help them in a way restore their faith in humanity or the goodness and safety of the world? This ties into another trauma theory that we will discuss later called shattered assumptions theory.

So to recap, the four main factors are who is it happening to (the individual)? In what context is the trauma taking place? How long is the duration of exposure to the traumatic experience? And how much love and support is available to the child before, during, and after experiencing trauma? There are of course other sub-factors that play a role, but the function of this teaching is not to define the ins and outs of trauma but rather to help those that have experienced childhood trauma get a better understanding of their experience and how this has impacted their lives.

You may think, that this is a given because they have lived it but living the experience doesn’t necessarily mean that people identify themselves as having childhood trauma. In many cases the awareness of the abuse was diminished as a survival mechanism, nor does it guarantee that someone even when they are aware of childhood trauma, are aware of how deeply they have been affected by this trauma throughout their lives simply because they don’t know that there is a correlation between the symptoms they experience in their lives and their past traumatic experiences.

Another factor that makes childhood trauma so complex and life-altering is that children are still in development in every way; mentally, emotionally, and physiologically which is why experienced trauma can deeply change who we are, how we see ourselves, how we see the world and how we respond to the world and others after our traumatic experience.

Most people never truly heal their childhood traumas

What makes matters even more complex is that multiple factors keep people from self-identifying themselves as someone who has experienced childhood trauma. Very complicated emotions that involve both loyalty and survival can make us turn a blind eye as it were to the abuse we experienced as a child. This is especially true when it comes to betrayal abuse, which often creates what is considered the fourth trauma response called fawning. Fawning is a trauma response where you please and appease your abuser to survive, human beings are hardwired to choose to please the caregiver because as a child our survival depends on them.

‘One way you can please your abusive caregiver is by suppressing your awareness of the abuse. According to Betrayal Theory, in order to obtain basic needs for survival (e.g., food, shelter, and emotional support), you will try to maintain the relationship with the abusive caregiver by not identifying the abuse as abuse. You see it as “normal,” or you blame yourself for deserving or causing the abuse.’ Source: Lovefraud.com

Trauma bonding or Stockholm syndrome also comes into play in these dynamics where children of abusive parents become increasingly loyal to the degree that the abuse escalates. Author of the book Traumatic Experience and the Brain, David Ziegler writes “I have often noticed that the degree of loyalty from a child to an abusive parent seems to be in direct proportion to the seriousness of the abuse the child received. In this counterintuitive way, the stronger or more life-threatening the treatment, the stronger the loyalty from the child.”  In many ways, abused children are like hostages to their abusive caregivers, which explains why they respond in a similar protective manner towards their abuser as adults will do in cases where trauma bonds were created.

This is true in extreme cases, but also in less extreme cases that the loyalty of the child towards and the dependency on the parent prevents the child from being able to allow themselves to see the parent and their behavior as they really are. To a certain degree, it’s creating this skewed perception of reality, which involves downplaying the extent of the abuse that is the survival mechanism. Seeing themselves as causing or deserving of the abuse is another aspect of survival, this allows them to continue to be able to please and appease their abuser which their survival depends upon. Directing their anger inward at themselves is safer than directing it outward at the person that is already abusing them and who they need to survive.

The problem is that this skewed perception is so deeply ingrained to ensure survival that it isn’t that easily dropped or altered after the situation has ceased to exist. Their perception of what happened can remain skewed for decades long after the child has matured and become an adult. This is provided they consciously remember the traumatic experience happening to begin with, depending on the age that the abuse happened as well as the severity of the abuse the memory of the abuse can also become completely repressed. In the examples before the awareness of the abuse was suppressed, but not fully forgotten – when a certain memory becomes repressed the conscious access to that memory is lost until it is retrieved through therapy or remembered spontaneously.

But even when we had good enough parents, trauma can still take place through siblings, other family members, neighbors, teachers, and other professionals that we had frequent contact with as well as strangers. In fact, even the soundest of parenting doesn’t guarantee that no trauma was created think of Alex Loyd’s ‘Popsicle incident’ that I have written about before in the teaching on Sibling rivalry

The problem is that we are rarely aware of the extent to which we have experienced childhood trauma because in many cases we would have to first self-diagnose ourselves in order to get the help that we DON’T KNOW we need.

Many people reason that because they don’t have painful memories from their childhood that they have had no traumatic experiences as a child, but as we have discussed above there are various reasons that we perhaps downplayed our own abuse and considered it normal or pushed it away altogether. Even as an adult, we can still be stuck in the loyalty we felt as a child toward our parents or other circumstances without us even realizing it.

As an expert on past life healing, I would dare to say that we all have childhood trauma to some extent whether we remember it or not simply because that is how the soul makes past life wounding relevant to be healed in this lifetime. When childhood trauma is seen on a soul path level, we always see that there is a connection with past life trauma. This does not mean that the child created their own abusive experience because it’s not a conscious process. You can never blame someone for a subconscious creation, because subconscious creations are involuntary as they happen outside of our conscious awareness.

It also doesn’t mean that abuse is somehow good for children or spiritually beneficial because that is obviously not true and we will discuss all the negative effects of abuse and trauma in a bit. It doesn’t absolve the abuser of his or her responsibility for their own behavior either nor should it protect them against the consequences of their actions or failure to act when they should have. Of course, not all past-life trauma automatically translates into childhood trauma but we can say that all childhood trauma has past-life roots that help us heal what was left unresolved in previous lifetimes which is true for all current life wounding in childhood, adolescence, and adulthood as all our current life experiences offer us the chance to heal our unresolved past. This is also true for ancestral wounding passed down through our family lineages which also has past life roots.

It’s often not until we face challenges so great that we can’t work through them that we seek help and start to understand how our childhood factors into who we are and how we live our lives. And although some people are aware of what went wrong in their childhood and how that impacted their lives, most are not aware of this either. In many cases, unless you end up in therapy for something else or are perhaps forced to go to therapy because of secondary consequences of childhood abuse and trauma such as for example addiction. aggression or criminality you may never have thought to look into your childhood because you didn’t self-identify with having experienced childhood trauma and therefore never fully or only to a limited degree self-diagnosed yourself as having childhood trauma.

This means that most people never fully get to heal from their childhood traumas and live their lives in a wounded state.

What are the adverse effects of childhood trauma?

The statistics don’t lie, child abuse and child sexual abuse is rampant. 1 out of 3 girls (that’s 33%) and 1 out of 5 boys (20%) will be sexually abused before they reach the age of eighteen. 90% of child sexual abuse victims know the perpetrator in some way. 68% are abused by a family member. Source: www.childprotect.org

It’s estimated that at least 1 in 7 children in the US has experienced child abuse and/or neglect in the past year. Neglect is the most common form of child abuse, followed by physical abuse, sexual abuse, and psychological abuse. In 2018, 76% of child abuse perpetrators were a parent to their victim. Source: dosomething.org

Shocking numbers especially when you consider that many cases are underreported, but what are the actual consequences of experiencing childhood trauma?

It’s more than just PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder) and PTSS (Post-traumatic stress syndrome or even CPTSD (Complex Post-traumatic stress disorder). However, people with a history of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse tend to be more susceptible to PTSD. Such experiences contributed to previous trauma and their effects may be reinforced by any additional trauma. Source: winchesterhospital.org

Some primary and secondary effects of all kinds of child abuse include: negative effects on a child’s health, relationships, and education, adults who were abused as children may find it harder to cope with life’s stresses, get a good job, or be a good parent, they can develop mental health problems, drug or alcohol issues, criminal behavior – or showing signs of harmful behavior themselves. Source: www.nspcc.org.uk

In a study on incest, they found that rates of anxiety disorders (panic disorder, agoraphobia, social and simple phobia), major depression, and alcohol abuse and dependence were significantly higher in the incest group than in the comparison group. More severe types of incestuous abuse were associated with a higher risk for the development of psychiatric disorders. Source: ajp.psychiatryonline.org

Exposure to trauma during childhood can dramatically increase people’s risk for 7 out of 10 of the leading causes of death in the U.S.—including high blood pressure, heart disease, and cancer—and it’s crucial to address this public health crisis, according to Harvard Chan alumna Nadine Burke Harris Source: Harvard.edu Other physical effects associated with childhood trauma are anxiety, cancer, depression, diabetes, heart problems, obesity, stroke, and substance use disorders.

Betrayal trauma

In the statistics we see that children are often hurt the most by people that are meant to love and protect them, this is called betrayal trauma. The after-effects of childhood abuse by a parent or other type of main caregiver are considered betrayal trauma, but betrayal trauma can also occur in adult intimate relationships.

Betrayal trauma is different from other types of trauma because it involves not just the experience of abuse but also the experience of being betrayed by a key relationship, such as a parent, caregiver, guardian, significant other, or another individual who is relied upon for love, support, and safety.

The signs and symptoms of Betrayal Trauma vary, but generally include symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), such as:

  • Intrusive thoughts and images
  • Nightmares or flashbacks
  • Avoidance behaviors
  • Hypervigilance (constantly scanning your environment for potential threats)
  • Irritability or angry outbursts
  • Insomnia
  • Fearfulness
  • Social withdrawal
  • Feeling emotionally numb
  • Physical symptoms of tension headaches, migraines, and fatigue
  • Shame, guilt, and self-blame
  • Depression
  • Low self-esteem and self-worth
  • Negative beliefs about self and others, such as “I am unworthy,” “Everyone is dishonest,” or “No one can be trusted”
  • Unexpected mood swings
  • Difficulty regulating emotions
  • An inability to trust
  • Difficulty maintaining relationships or allowing others to become close to you
  • Difficulties with intimacy
  • Difficulty believing in your own decision-making abilities

Source: mindwellnyc.com

Shattered assumptions

On top of all these physical and mental effects childhood trauma has on us, one often less discussed effect is how trauma alters our view of the self, others, and the world. The shattered assumption theory is proposed by social psychologist Ronnie Janoff-Bulman who states that people generally hold three fundamental assumptions about the world that are built and confirmed over years of experience: these assumptions are that the world is benevolent and meaningful and the self is worthy.

These are fundamental assumptions that serve as a basis of our well-being and our guides in navigating daily life. Together these assumptions provide us with a sense of relative invulnerability that enables us to wake up each morning and face the day unafraid of the dangers that we could face.

When we experience trauma, these three assumptions shatter as the world is no longer benevolent, we struggle to find any meaning in our painful experience and the experience in and of itself makes us wonder if we are worthy because deep down we all subconsciously tend to believe that bad things only happen to bad people. We see ourselves as positive, moral, and decent – and therefore deserving of good outcomes in life. When bad things happen to us it rocks our faith in the world, other people, God, or the Universe and our own innate goodness because we grapple to understand why this is happening to us.

According to the shattered assumption theory, we not only need to heal the effects of our trauma but rather in order to heal them fully we need to rebuild/restore these three assumptions to undo the damage the experienced trauma created in our perception of the world and ourselves. Bringing in the past life and ancestral aspect to our lived experience is as far as I am aware the best way to restore these assumptions if done correctly of course. It answers all three questions; Is the world benevolent? How was this experience meaningful? How does this experience relate to the worthiness of the self? I would even argue that without this soul path perspective (broader than the current incarnation experience) you can’t fully answer these questions. This is one of the most healing aspects of the Soul Embodiment® Therapy method in that it exposes these underlying connections between childhood, current life, ancestral and past life wounding.

Healing inner child wounding

Most popularized inner child healing doesn’t go deep enough, even though inner child work can be incredibly valuable. There is great value in reparenting the inner child and doing other forms of inner child work preferably one-to-one with an experienced inner child healer or therapist. Trust me when I tell you that all your work on your own is only scratching the surface of the real work that needs to be done. The whole notion that you can self-heal everything is highly questionable, to begin with, but this is especially the case when it comes to healing the inner child.

Inner child wounds are the child-aspect wounds created by childhood trauma, because they happened to you as a child even when you are an adult it remains the child aspect of you that stays wounded at the age that it was wounded. In a way, because they were created in the child aspect of yourself that part of you remains the age it was when it happened and becomes a separate aspect of the self until it is healed and reintegrated.

I have been doing inner child healing work for the past 25 years and it is only recently that I have really been able to get to the depths of my childhood wounding. Partially this is because I took the reversed route, I started on a soul path level with my healing journey and did the lion’s share of my past life healing before I healed my childhood despite having known for two decades that I had been sexually abused by my father as a child. At the same time, it has also taken me longer to be able to access these deeper layers of my childhood trauma simply because they were hidden so deeply within my subconscious. It’s only very recently that I understand my current incarnation and childhood into adulthood in the same way that I have understood my soul’s journey from my first incarnation to the current incarnation.

Like all healing, there are multiple layers to healing our childhood traumas which doesn’t mean that no healing took place, but rather that we are ready to heal it to a different level.

In my recent Mastermind childhood trauma was of course a part of what we looked at in order to bring about change, we even identified unresolved childhood trauma as one of the biggest blocks to what the mastermind members wanted to create (manifest) in their lives today. One of them was extremely frustrated that the incest that she had already worked so much on to heal, was coming up again. This wasn’t because she had not already worked on her healing, but because she was ready to heal a deeper aspect of it that kept her living in disconnection from others because it felt safer.

Part of the work she and I did together was to change her perception of her parents from the dependent child’s perspective into the independent adult’s perspective which helped her finally allow in all the emotions she couldn’t allow herself to feel as the dependent child. I helped her see where her loyalty toward her parents as well as her survival mechanisms were keeping her showing up as the wounded child in her relationship with her parents and other people even now as an adult. Helping her heal this deeper layer of childhood trauma in tandem with the connections to ancestral and past life wounding helped her heal her ability to connect with others which before had been her way to keep herself safe but at the high price of feeling lonely and isolated. As she healed this protection mechanism in herself, she started receiving more invitations from others to connect.

This is yet another example of how childhood trauma can impact us and how our shattered assumptions force us into patterns of self-protection that may well protect us but do so at a high price and often limit us in ways that don’t serve us. Another mastermind member for example uncovered a deep pattern of codependency from both her childhood as well as a series of past lives that had created this prison that she felt she couldn’t escape from, only to realize that she was the one that had imprisoned herself based on a past life traumatic experience that had imprinted the false belief that she couldn’t trust herself.

She had decided lifetimes and lifetimes ago as a young boy that in order to survive she needed to depend on others to ensure her survival, this created the high-functioning codependent pattern where she would ensure her own survival by pleasing and appeasing whomever she had entrusted her survival to which was initially her parents and now her life partner. Being in a constant state of subconsciously pleasing and appeasing someone to ensure your survival creates huge resentment, which was poisoning all of her relationships as she felt that she was giving much more than she was getting.

Exposing the true cause of this underlying dynamic and breaking the pattern, allowed her to not only trust herself more but also helped improve her relationships with her loved ones. In a very short time, she was able to turn her cold and hostile marriage into a warmer and mutually more caring relationship. Her inner shift even increased their level of intimacy.

She had joined the mastermind because she desired to manifest a second child, our work together created the circumstances in which this desire could manifest more easily and be the blessing that children can be instead of adding to the feeling of being trapped in her life and a relationship she didn’t even know if she still wanted to be in. We shifted her relationship with her husband from the wounded child in her that was trying to heal a relationship with a parent through the relationship with her spouse, to her being able to be the adult woman that she was in her marriage and him responding to her from his adult self instead of his wounded child.

Playing out our mutual inner child wounding is the death of most marriages, healing our inner child wounds and childhood trauma can quickly turn things around. The partner is not always able to respond in kind, but in this case, he was very open to her shifts and changed behavior and it didn’t take long for him to start reciprocating with more softness and love toward her.

Developing survival, defense & protection mechanisms

Just because there are deeper roots to our childhood wounding doesn’t mean that we can somehow skip over the childhood unresolved pain that we carry and go straight to the underlying original wounding. It’s not either/or, it’s and/and. We need to acknowledge the inner child’s pain because if we don’t – if we try to brush over it – we betray and abuse our inner child in much the same way that our parents potentially did even if it was only in that one single instance when they didn’t even mean to.

What adds to the complexity of childhood trauma is that this is where we develop our survival, defense, and protection mechanisms on a current incarnation level. On a soul path level, we are already predisposed to the protection, defense, and survival mechanisms we develop within childhood but because our childhood experiences belong to the current self and are the freshest in our minds they have to be healed on this level as well.

I wrote a separate teaching on why we can’t take our survival, defense & protection mechanisms with us into 5D – that you can read here.

Even though or perhaps because the inner child is the youngest aspect of us, it can have a stronghold on us and our lives that most of us are unaware of. In my own healing journey, the majority of this deeper layered childhood wounding was found through working with the Voice Dialogue method facilitated by a healer. As I have mentioned before, this level of depth cannot be accessed alone because it is so deeply protected within the self.

I will use my own survival, protection, and defense mechanisms created through childhood trauma to illustrate how these early childhood patterns continue to influence us today. Your survival mechanisms including defense and protection mechanisms may look different, similar, or even the same. These examples are just to give you an idea of what you are looking for and to get an understanding of the complexity of how our traumatic experiences impact us and prevent us from being who we really are, as they continue to force us to be who we became (the false identity) to be able to survive our experience and continue to function as ‘normally’ as possible given the circumstances.

To understand the connection with my childhood I will give you a brief summary of my childhood for background context. I grew up in a dysfunctional, violent, and incestuous home life until my parents divorced when I was seven years old. My now-deceased father was a high-functioning alcoholic. He had a very high IQ and a doctorate in Economics. He worked at the University of Amsterdam, my mother worked as a nurse in the hospital. My father’s mother came from money, but we were a middle-class family. My father beat my mother and my two older half-sisters and he sexually abused me and my nine-years older half-sisters from his previous marriage. He had an insatiable appetite for sex and would in our current understanding be considered a sex addict. He himself was a deeply wounded man, emotionally unavailable with deep mother wounds. I was first sexually abused around the age of two.

My survival mechanism – the shattered child

I became extremely high functioning as a child, teenager, and adult. This was a pattern created in direct response to the incest I experienced at an extremely young age. What I was shown was that a part of me had shattered in the experience and the immense betrayal by my father who had been the one who should have protected me from any man who wanted to touch me inappropriately including himself. I had built a wall around that shattered part of me to protect me, which allowed me to pretend that I was strong when this part of me desperately needed others to take care of her because she was too hurt and fragile. An ancestral pattern that I shared with my father as he had developed the same kind of survival mechanism to survive his in other ways than mine, painful childhood traumas.

Among other ways the incest has impacted me, this experience led to the collapse of the inner masculine and in his absence the rigidification of the inner feminine that was left to defend herself and fend for her own. When the inner feminine takes on the task of the inner masculine, it comes at the cost of her own femininity and her feminine qualities such as being vulnerable, open, and able to receive. Despite outwardly presenting as a feminine woman, inwardly I became very masculinized to protect myself and this fragile inner part of me that I had sealed off in order to be able to survive my experience at such a young age.

However, this fragile part of me kept me far into adulthood believing that I couldn’t make it on my own and feeling I was dependent on others to survive (which of course created a pattern of codependency) this pattern went all the way back to my incarnation wound in ancient Egypt, where I had been cast out of the community and died because as a young boy, I couldn’t make it on my own i.e. survive without the tribe I belonged to, to help feed and nourish me. The shattering that took place and the collapsing of the inner masculine as a young child in my current life was my soul’s attempt to help me heal my incarnation wound. Something that I was later shown I had attempted many times before in other previous lifetimes, in fact, many of the past lives I saw underlying my current life survival, defense, and protection mechanisms had all been deeply connected with each other and were attempts to heal the same unresolved wounding.

My protection mechanisms

I found multiple protection mechanisms instead of just one and just to be clear all defense and protection mechanisms are survival mechanisms as they serve to ensure our survival.
The Invisible child – one of the most prominent ways I kept myself safe during my childhood was by making myself invisible so that I would not get caught in the crossfire once the violence erupted within my childhood home. But it was through a Heart healing session with a healer that I found the true childhood trauma that I had blocked out and this was when my nine years older half-sister who was also being sexually abused by our father choked me after my dad had reacted to something I did in an endeared way. I had not meant to do anything, I was just being myself and my father had responded to me positively. My half-sister, twelve or thirteen at that time had become jealous and had taken out her frustration on me when we were alone.
I don’t know if she was jealous of my ability to be a child or because she felt threatened in her womanhood, but it made me decide that it was not safe to be seen nor was it safe to shine. She was my favorite half-sister and we were extremely close, but looking back now I can see she had several deeply narcissistic traits and one of them was that she always had to be the center of attention even as an adult she couldn’t stand it if anyone ‘outshined’ her. She and her full sister, my other half-sister have been in a lifelong feud to steal each other’s shine.
This of course greatly impacted my ability to be visible as an adult when it came to my work, business and even receiving recognition. This pattern went back to one of the only more historically famous lifetimes in my timeline as queen Marie-Antoinette who was executed after the French Revolution by the guillotine in 1793. In her lifetime Marie-Antoinette was considered the most hated woman in France and she was openly vilified and even demonized through political pamphlets being distributed throughout the country. Being in the public eye as she had been had left deep imprints of trauma and a fear of being visible. I later understood that this was one of the previous lifetimes where I had attempted to heal my incarnation wound as the young boy in that lifetime had also been unjustly demonized and cast out of the community – who all shunned him believing the lies and rumors that interestingly enough his older jealous half-sister (my current life mother) had started and spread about him.
The ‘No’ child – the other protection mechanism that I came to see made me live my life with one foot on the brakes at all times. I was shown that out of fear of being overstimulated and losing control over myself through the big emotions of either too much or too little affection from my father I had shut down my ability to allow myself to experience joy or pleasure. I was constantly on guard, not being able to fully let go or surrender. I saw that all my life I had used control to keep myself safe from the huge emotions caused in me as a little girl by my father who was either overstimulating me through the abuse or absent in pursuit of his sexual conquests elsewhere.
Allowing myself to feel the repressed emotions underneath that I had refused to let in healed my lifelong phobias including claustrophobia and agoraphobia which are both known after-effects of this type of childhood trauma (incest).
It was only last week that I accessed the past life connected to this pattern, where I had been a young girl in Lapland in her late teens who had a pet moose that she would play with. The whole past life had this immense Disney vibe to it of joy and laughter, the moose and I had been playing on the ice. He was pulling with his teeth on the blanket I had wrapped around me and giving me soft nudges with his snout. It was a glorious day, the sun was shining, and we were having fun – our spirits soaring high, when suddenly the ice broke beneath my feet and I hit the ice-cold water. I died imprinting the false belief that life is unfair and that I couldn’t trust life or nature anymore (with whom I had felt so at One). In that life, I felt nature had turned on me and that I couldn’t trust the natural order of things any longer. I had to stay alert 24/7 to keep myself safe because if I let loose and threw caution in the wind disaster would strike. Feeling such as joy, pleasure, and playfulness were deemed unsafe.
In fact, the worst accidents in my life happened when I let my guard down and was enjoying the moment. They happened on the most beautiful days, when the skies were clear, and I was laughing and having fun. On one occasion I nearly drowned when our car hit the water upside down and in the other accident, I lost my footing and broke my foot falling down a flight of stone stairs. I was shown that these had all been attempts to heal this false belief ‘that life is unfair’.
I had not crashed through the ice because life was unfair, I had crashed through the ice in that lifetime to heal something that had been unresolved from my past but because I had no idea that there was a deeper meaning to my experience (a past life relevance) I saw the experience as meaningless and unjust. That false belief created the false illusion that in order to be safe, I had to remain in control at all times which is a deeply exhausting way to live your life. Yet, surprisingly that is how many of us subconsciously live our lives because of similar current and past life wounding.
Consciously I believed that both life and our experiences have meaning and this is a mistake many people make thinking that because they believe something consciously that they can’t believe the opposite subconsciously. It’s actually quite common that our subconscious past life imprints contradict what we consciously believe. The problem is that because the subconscious is infinitely stronger than the conscious anything it believes, cancels out our conscious beliefs.
Subconsciously there was still a past life trauma imprint (a samskara as it is called in Sanskrit) that had me believe that life is unjust and that if I don’t make sure I am safe nobody will. And this doesn’t mean you need to go walk through dark alleys in the middle of the night now or behave recklessly and put yourself in danger on purpose, it’s a more subtle shift in which you can still be sensible and relax into the deeper knowing that you are safe and that only what is meant for you can come to you.
It’s the letting go of the hypervigilance you thought you needed to stay safe.
Hypervigilance is of course a trauma response that is created in response to our shattered assumptions of the world being benevolent, the world or life having meaning, and the self as being worthy. This past-life imprint is a good example of how our shattered assumptions change our perceptions and how our skewed perceptions alter our behavior. It also shows us how strong our past life pre-programming is that will have us respond to life through the conditioning that we bring in from ‘our’ previous traumatic experiences that have already predisposed us to the survival, defense, and protection mechanisms that we will create in our current embodiment.

My defense mechanism – Making myself bigger than I really am

My defense mechanism was already created in the womb when I was unborn. Childhood trauma can start as early as in our mother’s womb, this is called in-utero trauma. This can happen directly as my example illustrates but also indirectly as generational trauma that is passed down, scientists have found that mothers who have suffered childhood trauma can pass this memory down to an unborn baby – scans showed altered brain circuitry in young children. Source: openaccessgovernment.org

It was during my mother’s pregnancy with me that my father beat her for the first time, despite them already being together three years prior. This triggered a past life memory where we had all three incarnated before in the same roles as father, mother, and child, except in that lifetime my mother’s pregnancy was involuntary. My father had been her uncle who had raped her and because of the shame as she was married to someone else my mother had hung herself while pregnant with ‘me’.

We aren’t actually our past life selves, but just to keep it understandable for everyone I often still write it as if we are. There’s a separate teaching on reincarnation that explains in detail why we are not our past life selves but rather share the same ‘sense of self’ with our past life predecessors, which you can read here.

I died that lifetime in the womb of my mother, which isn’t always an instantaneous death in this case I lived longer than my mother whose body was already dead while I was still alive in it. Because of the symbiotic relationship between mother and child, I had imprinted her death by strangulation as my own death even though I died differently. When my father beat my mother that one single time during the pregnancy, it triggered this past life childhood trauma and in order to survive I made myself energetically as big as I could – to protect my mother and through protecting her, protect myself from dying this time around.

This was a pattern that continued after I was born, where I would also protect my mother during fights and in general as my mother has always claimed the more fragile in need of protection role forcing me into the masculine role.

But more than that it became my go-to response to trauma and potentially traumatic experiences – I fought. My response would always be ‘You can’t keep me down!’ even if my first response might have been flight, freeze, or fawn depending on the situation – my secondary response was to fight by pretending to be bigger or stronger than I actually was (hello hyperfunctioning) to keep myself standing and not falling apart. After the death of my youngest child, which coincided with many other extremely stressful and even traumatic circumstances I gained excess weight that has been extremely difficult to shed in the past sixteen years since her death. I needed that weight at that time to keep myself standing and not shatter into a thousand pieces in the way I had as a child.

Revisiting all of these vulnerable feelings has made me gain weight again even though I had finally successfully lost some of it.

Self-blame as a defense mechanism

Last but not least it’s important to address this final counterintuitive but very universal defense mechanism. Within the shattered assumptions theory, self-blame is seen as an attempt to regain a sense of control in order to avoid the feelings of utter helplessness we feel when we are victimized whether we are a child or an adult. By creating the idea that you could have somehow prevented your attack or abuse, you create the illusion that you can somehow keep yourself safe in the future. Admitting that you were helpless and could not have prevented what happened, shatters the assumption that the world is benevolent and that the world is meaningful. Self-blame is therefore seen as a subconscious attempt to restore the shattered assumptions. Provided the self-blame doesn’t shatter the assumption of the worthiness of the self, it can be a way to temporarily regain a sense of control that is factually incorrect but beneficial nonetheless.

Blame is a Defense Against Powerlessness – Trauma victims commonly blame themselves. Blaming oneself for the shame of being a victim is recognized by trauma specialists as a defense against the extreme powerlessness we feel in the wake of a traumatic event. Self-blame continues the illusion of control shock destroys, but prevents us from the necessary working through of the traumatic feelings and memories to heal and recover.” Source: Sandra Lee Dennis 

Self-blame is common among adult sexual trauma survivors and it is very common among children who grew up in situations where abuse occurred. Guilt and self-blame are closely connected guilt says, “I could have done something”, while self-blame says “You should have done something.” Guilt is a sign that the person has not completed his or her grief. However, both mechanisms are an attempt to regain a sense of safety in the world. A sense of safety that is also needed to get to a place where one can work through the traumatic feelings and memories necessary to heal and recover.

In this way, it’s a defense and survival mechanism that buys us time and in the instance of children allows them to maintain the relationship with their abuser when they depend on them for their survival. Rather than direct their negative feelings outward, they are directed inward at the self which is another ingenious way we can continue to function (survive) in an environment that is less than ideal or even potentially lethal if we would not be able to redirect our anger away from the person hurting us.

This latter example shows again how complex these mechanisms are that we create to survive, protect and defend ourselves from the pain of our childhood traumas. To fully be able to fully embody the true self, we have to release these no longer needed parts of ourselves that aren’t really us (rather a false self) but have become so familiar over time that they feel like they have become a part of us. Of course, grateful for how they have helped us through our most difficult times but simultaneously understanding that they are not who we truly are and in fact keep us from fully being our true selves because they were created to shield, defend and protect this true part of us when it wasn’t safe to express the truth of who we are. As we are no longer living our childhood circumstances, we no longer need these mechanisms to hide our true essence behind.

I pray this soul teaching has helped you get a deeper understanding of how our childhood trauma stands in the way of fully embodying our true selves and soul essence. Healing the inner child is a vital part of our Soul embodiment and Ascension work because as you have been able to read in this extensive exploration of this complex topic of how our childhood survival, defense, and protection mechanisms keep us hostage in a distorted state that does not allow us to be who we truly are. Until we can restore the safety within ourselves to embody the truth of who we are, it’s tempting to think that there are shortcuts and that we can somehow bypass the very stories that created this distorted state. But the reality is that in order to release the stronghold these mechanisms have over us we need to release the false imprints these stories created. We can only do so by making these subconscious stories conscious.

If you are interested in healing your survival, defense, and protection mechanisms I offer an Soul Embodiment® Therapy package to assist you in finding the root cause of these mechanisms on a soul path level and how this connects with ancestral and current childhood trauma. You can book this package here.

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