Thursday, November 3, 2016
From birth to death any human is inundated with information, input, stimuli, internal goings on and all sorts of chaos. For the infant and growing up child it is their job to sort all that out and make sense of the world. As they grow things happen around them that force a conclusion about their world and a subsequent decision on how to handle that conclusion.
Unfortunately all the decisions we made at three and seven and twelve and all the years in between are as operational today as they were the day they made them. So we end up in the absurd position of having a three year old in charge of our lives, because we haven’t made any new or different decision, these decisions are very difficult to access for two reasons.
First they were often made before we had much language or the ability to conceptualize, second they were survival tactics and strategies for us as children. Literally our survival was at stake. The strategies and tactics defended a child so the overwhelming pain of their emotions wouldn’t kill them. These decisions are actually implemented over time, through trial and error -what is less painful then that action-and what fits a particular child’s way of being in this world.
Let me give an example; Let's say a three year old witnesses a parent hurting a sibling and in the indignation only a three year only can muster, intervenes in the abuse. Assuming, that, of course, the parent will do what is right. Instead the abuse gets turned on this child. So what happens internally to this child the next day, and the next and the next? And for years, watching the abuse go on. If she intervenes she gets hurt, and if she doesn’t she has to endure a sibling getting hurt. So how does the child learn to handle that impossible ethical dilemma?
This small example sets the stage for how to unravel our inexplicable responses/behaviors to certain events that puzzle us and we haven’t a clue how to undo.