We are all surrounded by echoes from our past. We may not be able to see them, but they are there — in our behavior, our beliefs and our consequences. Echoes are the unresolved issues or trauma that show up in our present. We all have them. And we all have a choice in how we deal with them. They are, for want of a better word our “stuff,” — our work that we have to deal with.
There are only two kinds of people in this world: those who are dealing with their “stuff” and those who are not. You can spot the difference. Our behavior is merely an outward expression of our inner feelings. We behave how we feel, and our behavior is shaped by our echoes.
Were you told, or did you feel like, you were worthless when you were small? If you were, that’s going to show up all the time in your romantic relationships.
Was your home life as a child unsettled or stressful? Was there arguing or uncertainty? That’s going to appear in your choices as an adult.
Did you experience some kind of trauma when you were younger? Were you in abused in some way? That’s showing up … well, just about everywhere, but most certainly in all your relationships.
These are all echoes. And the ones that affect us the most are the ones that keep echoing down from childhood.
I was thinking about this when I worked with a client today. She's a middle-aged lady in her late fifties, and we were discussing the history of her drinking. We went back to her childhood, and she told me about her parents and how both her parents would hit and slap her when she was “bad” or when she disobeyed them. They told her it was for her own good. She never knew when the next blow was coming.
As she was talking, she began to break down. All I could see was the frightened little girl inside of her who was so desperate to be loved and accepted by the two people on this planet who were meant to love and accept her. Fifty years later, the shock, disbelief, and terror she experienced as a child shows up in her daily life. Instead of teaching her “a lesson” and providing safety and reassurance, her parents installed fear and shame in her that never went away.
Those feelings that became embedded in her as a child molded and shaped every single area of her life. Do you wonder why she drank? Alcohol provided an escape from them.
Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE’s)
The research into Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE’s) is now proving beyond any doubt that not only to these experiences affect our mental health but they also impact our physical health. Adverse childhood experiences literally change our brains.
There is good news once we realise what the problem is (and that’s half the battle, right there) then we can begin to do something about it.
The echos from the past don’t go away of their own accord. They require your attention, validation, and care. It’s up to you when you decide to give it to them. You can’t outrun them, numb them or ignore them. They will stay with you, showing up in your behavior, emotions , and consequences until you decide to release them.
I know — that feels really big and scary, doesn’t it? It also sucks.
The reason this feels like such a big scary thing is we are, I feel, in this culture mostly incapable of dealing with our traumatic feelings in healthy ways. We have this bootstrap, “just get on with it” attitude, and feelings are viewed as a weakness, something you should just “get over.” But we can’t. Obviously.
It sucks because it doesn’t feel fair that we have to deal with the stuff that happened to us in childhood. It wasn’t our fault but we have to live with the consequences.
When we think of childhood trauma we often think it is the big stuff like sexual and physical abuse which of course is going to leave no child unscarred. However, it is also the smaller stuff that is often ‘normalised’ like spanking or hitting, or, emotional neglect. Things that remain ‘hidden’ in families. Just like my client, her family looked ‘normal’ and loving and despite her parents caring very deeply for her and believed their actions were designed to help her be better they caused life-long wounds.
Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)
Luckily, it can be undone, and the damage can even be reversed. You can silence these echoes. I use EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) with Matrix Re-Imprinting to heal the trauma that is in the echo. It is the most powerful tool I have ever used, and I am still in awe of how effectively it can change moments in our past.
Its power lies in not being able to change the past but in changing the meaning that we gave past events. We re-frame events so we feel differently about them. In the example of my client above, I would use Matrix Re-Imprinting to change the meaning of these events from her feeling “bad” or worthless to her coming to the understanding that her parents failed her in their actions and this wasn’t her fault. They resorted to hitting her because of how they felt and because of how they were parented, and this was nothing to do with her own worth. This seems like a small thing, but it is actually life-changing when we experience it. Once we change the meaning we give to past events, our thinking and behavior are transformed. This process also shifts how we perceive and feel about the past. It allows the happier childhood memories to come out and replace the bad ones.
There is much we can do to eliminate childhood trauma but we won’t ever be able to completely get rid of it. Traumatic events will still occur. But what we can do is get much better at responding to trauma. We can become a trauma-informed society and respond to it earlier, more effectively with strategies that work. Imagine that. To be blunt imagine the $$ we would save on healthcare and mental health services. Think of the potential we could unleash.
Healing our childhood is the work of our adulthood. It is necessary work and we all have to do it, you are no different; the only choice you have is when you start.
Whatever your echoes are, if you engage in this work you can heal the trauma of your childhoodand change the meanings of these events that shaped you. Because it is never too late to have a happy childhood.
Want to find out how to work with me so you can transform. Then book a call here.