When I was a child, my father was always busy, so it’s not too surprising that often his business came first, home came second—and children came a definite third.
Most of the time that didn’t bother me. I had my own life with my friends. I rarely thought about my parents. But one time, about middle-school age, I was part of some troop or other (I don’t even remember) and there was to be a father-daughter banquet. A very strange concept for me, because I had never really done anything alone with my dad. He was either at work or we’d do things together as a family.
So this was a very special event for me. Not so special for him. In fact, so unspecial that he totally forgot about it. It probably hadn’t even registered for him in the first place. There I was, in my pretty dress, waiting for him to come home to take me to the banquet. After a while, I figured out he wasn’t going to come home—he was at work.
Suddenly, an interesting thing happened inside of me. I realized that I could make a big deal out of his forgetting me. I could let it etch into my mind as “my father doesn’t think I’m important; my father doesn’t care about me; I’m not important.” It was, in fact, starting to etch itself in like that. But then I realized I didn’t need to do that, and I realized I was going to let it go, because I knew my father. Father-daughter banquets were not in his reality. I knew he loved me because he worked really hard and came home every evening and we all had dinner together. We always had a stable home where the kids played outside with their friends and the parents did whatever they did to make sure everyone was clothed, fed, and safe. My father was not “touchy-feely” with the kids. We all knew that; it was our life.
Mind Loops Cause Emotional Pain—Uneccesary Emotional Pain
In my private practice, I see a lot of people who get into mind loops where something that happens with another person seems to “mean” something, or represent something, and it gets etched in and petrifies—and causes a lot of emotional pain. Because of something a person said or did, the relationship becomes stuck in a loop and it can’t get out and breathe again.
This often happens when painful family relationship patterns develop in childhood.
When childhood family patterns become overlaid onto an interaction with the person in front of us in the present, the interaction might represent something in our minds that’s not actually there, or that’s there in only a homeopathic dose, so to speak. The current interaction becomes etched in and rigidified, and the relationship suffers because of it. Coupling together the two—past pattern and current event—can easily etch an emotional interpretation into the mind.
For instance, if I had not had the luck to realize I didn’t need to etch in the interpretation that my father didn’t care about me or that I’m unimportant to him, I could have started generalizing and feeling slights all around me. I could have imploded into myself and made myself more and more invisible, and increasingly hurt when people didn’t see me or ignored me.
Process Work and EFT Help
I’ve found that combining Process Work (ala Arnold Mindell) and EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) is wonderful for getting at the core of these patterns that affect current relationships and transforming them into self-acceptance. Check out my Families and Relationships pages for more on how I work with childhood family patterns, relationship counseling and more.
Wishing you a free and joyous life,