Friday, July 21, 2017

Childhood Trauma: Invisibility

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness

Sadly, children are often “invisible” to adults.

Children are regularly devalued for not thinking or behaving like "mature grown-ups" and often punished for the same. They’re routinely whipping boys (literally and/or figuratively) for their parent's unintegrated emotional discord.

"My way or the highway," say mother and father.

If the children express disagreement, they are judged and maybe punished—something for which they will carry guilt, shame, and worthlessness about likely through the whole of their lives. Should the children agree with their parents instead in order to avoid punishment, the cost is regret and self-abandonment.

Since children, like most adults, believe that their external experience defines reality—is reality—children come to perceive life as an experience of interminable despair (helplessness and hopelessness).

Related beliefs are thus created, such as:
  • "Who cares about me?"
  • "My opinion doesn't matter."
  • "I'll be punished if I speak up."
  • "I don't deserve to get what I want."
  • "I'm unimportant."
  • "Damned if I do; damned if I don't."

Essentially, these children come to see themselves as “invisible.”

If I were really here, if I were of any real value, I would be treated as a human being, as an equal. I would be acknowledged for my presence. I would be accepted for my differences in opinion and personality rather than being rejected. I would be respected for that which makes me “me” rather than being scorned.

Because beliefs dictate perceptual “reality,” invisibility becomes an underlying energetic theme in the life of the children. Meaning, “I’m invisible” is believed as “true,” so situations reflecting the programming are commonly attracted into the child’s life: They’re chosen last on a team when playing sports, they’re ignored in school or seen only enough to be picked on, they continue being demoralized at home as though little more than vents for mother and father, their primary “friends” are critical or abusive, and so on.

Generally, their life contributions tend to be nil as all their self-esteem and zest for life have been shot to hell. They thus pass opportunity by either in blindness or apathy.

And let’s not forget how plenty of other “mature grown-ups” play their part in supporting the apparent invisibility...

[I apologize if my deft artistic skill has left you overwhelmed.]

Time and again, children are reminded how apparently incapable they are of being worthy of having life; of how their voice, their personality, their joys and sorrows are not worth being heard.

To Whom It May Concern:

Being “invisible” hurts terribly.

If you’re one such as the “long unseen friend” above, please do your best to see children as equals.

In saying this, yes, if you're going to ask a child's parents questions about him or her when he or she is standing right there looking at you like, "Why the F don't you just ask me?" then do just that. But otherwise, you could simply smile, wave, or say, "Hey, kid." Just something to let them know that others honor the fact that they exist. If you make an attempt and they shut down to you, so be it. But at least you’d made an attempt. If such is not comfortable to you, please do the inner work to find out why.

If you are a parent who fits the description provided (even if to a small degree…be honest!), please stop taking out your own hurt on your children. It is not their fault. It’s yours. Face it.

Each child is born an individual to be an individual. They are not here to validate you.

Perhaps you could even thank them:
Thank you, son/daughter, for revealing to me the unaddressed [anger, frustration, resentment, ignorance, etc.] I carry within but hadn’t been aware of until you’d driven it to the surface. I see that it’s mine, not yours. I see that, although there’s nothing inherently wrong with what’s happened, what I want to reject you for is the same as what my discontent mother and father had rejected me for when I was your age.

Being locked down now, myself, what really tweaks me is your ability to be free. To me, freedom is fear—fear of punishment, of rejection, of abandonment. Plus, your reluctance to listen to and obey me makes
me feel invisible—my hostility toward you is my “grown-up” way of being seen.

I must remind myself, I was once a child just like you. Free… yet fragile, ignorant, impressionable, and quick to hurt. I know what it’s like to reach out for the love of a parent only to be ignored, judged, or slapped.

I now acknowledge that in seeing the problem I can begin to heal it. It need not be passed on to you. I now acknowledge that hurting you in any way will not get me what I want, which is a lessening my own hurt. Indeed, it will make it worse, for as I harm you I harm myself.

When I first began my spiritual awakening process during the summer of 2009, one of the first books I’d come across was The Presence Process by Michael Brown. I recommend this book to anyone, whether they consider themselves to be awakening, are interested in emotional healing, or are simply looking for clarity about themselves and life. (Note that you need not do the process; such is best but reading alone can have a major positive impact.)

There’s one particular line from the book that I’d immediately realized as true yet hit me like a slap in the face, nonetheless. In fact, I’ve read the book multiple times and the line is one of the only things I remember clearly. Michael says:

“Adults are dead children.”

Contemplate that for a little while. See in your mind and experientially how free, joyful, energetic, and fearless children are in their earliest years of life.

Now consider what you’d experienced as you we’re growing up. Consider the hurt you experience yourself and put others through, past, present, and probable future. See how this applies in all aspects of life.

At home, maybe you’re a parent and you've shrieked at your kid when she’d come into the house from the backyard carrying a worm in her dirty hands. “Look what I have,” she says so innocently and with a big, bright smile on her face. To which you reply, “Oh, God, that’s disgusting! Get that out of my house! You’re going to get everything dirty! Ick, you’ll make me puke!” …Sound like something your mom would say, or like something the TV programmed you to say? It’s probably not even original to you.

Regarding certain religions, look at the horrendous guilt and shame that children are indoctrinated with. “You’re a sinner from birth,” they’ve driven into so many of us. Unfathomably worse is it for those who're born into groups in which violent sexual trauma is "standard procedure." These types of issues make getting anywhere in life intensely difficult. Being truly happy, fearless, and so forth—what a joke! We could do everything in the most upstanding fashion, yet the guilt-sense would still nag at us as though, “I must be doing something wrong. I don't know what it is, but I'm going to be found out and people are going to hate me for it.”

Or the school system, ceaselessly separating “the wheat” from “the chaff”—in academics, in sports, as based on popularity and looks—all on wildly false yet accepted-as-true principles.

These psycho-emotionally wrecked children are the very same children to become the adults of the world. Just like your parents and their parents and so on back. Just, very possibly, like you and your kids. Physically grown, but dead inside. The truth of you invisible, nowhere to be seen.

Until we’re truly willing to see and heal what we’ve hidden.

Then children will be safe.

Children, collectively, yes. But so, too, the child within each of us.


Please click the link for "Childhood Trauma – Invisibility – Part 2"

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