Dismantling the Scaffold of Abuse

Childhood is a time when our neural pathways are developing. We are highly susceptible to and influenced by the world around us.  The Theta brainwave is the primary brainwave used until about age seven and is associated with flashes of creativity, intuition, daydreaming, and inspirational thinking. It is connected with shifts in consciousness and healing abilities. This brainwave can also entrench us in patterns of abuse that become structurally difficult to dismantle. Children living with abuse look at the world through the eyes of abuse. This perspective hinders development of healthier approaches to life.

As a young adult I was riddled with a lack of self-love and self-esteem. Secrets, shame, self-loathing and insufficient support were the scaffolding that kept my abuse patterns functioning.  These patterns of energy and emotion hindered the development of my wisdom, grace and power.  The secrets I carried told me ‘I cannot trust anyone’. Shame told me ‘I am not okay’. Self-loathing told me ‘I am inadequate ’.  And lack of support told me ‘I am not enough’. Underneath each of these was the belief ‘I am unlovable’.

This core belief shows up in almost every client with a history of chronic dieting or disordered eating.  Feeling unloveable becomes self-fulfilling.  At the mental level we internalize life as our fault.  Physically we can experience  anxiety, aches and pains, digestive problems and other health problems. We may not  know how to develop new, more helpful, neural pathways to replace these negative patterns. Even if there is plenty of evidence to the contrary, we stay stuck in our old story and can’t experience the freedom we deserve.

It wasn’t until memories of abuse surfaced in my late twenties that I was able to actively began dismantling my negative beliefs and emotional patterns. In order to open myself  up to acceptance and self-love, new neural pathways were  required. I developed these by challenging my habitual thoughts and releasing emotions as they surfaced.  The use of Theta Healing helped, too.

I had  the opportunity to experiment with more positive, if contradictory, information.  Practices involving mindfulness and gratitude also proved helpful and have much scientific merit. Journalling about my  experiences of mindfulness and gratitude allowed me to observe my progress. I could use  the old patterns in new ways: as red flags for self-development opportunities.

I encourage my clients in a similar way:  A desire to restrict or binge eat is the red flag to discover where secrets, shame, or self-loathing are hiding.  Learning to  be vulnerable with someone safe  can build trust.  Writing ‘I am enough’ on a mirror with lipstick or a white board marker and looking through loving eyes can alleviate self-loathing. Self-compassion can replace shame. At first this might be challenging.   Be gentle. Take your  time.  It will feel unnatural  at first but over time  change will come.  Eventually you will believe it when you say, “I am okay. I trust myself.  I am enough.”

This post can also be found on page 43 in the March Issue of Sibyl Magazine: for the Spirit and Soul of Women.