Hidden Wounds: Letting Go of Pain That Isn’t Yours and Healing Yourself from Shame

Hidden Wounds: Letting Go of Pain That Isn't Yours and Healing Yourself from Shame
Your shame is not completely yours. For centuries it has dripped through time and space into your psyche via an IV. Then you have absorbed the shame and it is up to you to heal from it so that it cannot continue along the path of psychological inheritance. You can see this as a burden (why me?) or you can embrace the shame and see it as a gift from your high sensitivity.
That shame only settles in the heart of the most sensitive child in the constellation of a family, in which the stories are passed on. Your legacy can be a burden until you understand that you can learn from it and grow.

‘The story of how our lives came to be, inherited from a father and a mother, who in turn inherited an imperfect script from their parents. Whatever we got, it certainly isn’t ours.’ – Derren Brown in his book Happy.

Unprocessed traumas

Hidden Wounds: Letting Go of Pain That Isn't Yours and Healing Yourself from Shame

Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Jung understood years ago what experts are only discovering in intergenerational trauma processing and epigenetics when he wrote: “The greatest burden a child must bear is the unlived life of the parent.” (If you have children of your own, read the footnote at the bottom of the article.) As a child and as an adult, you carry with you the legacy of certain stories, unresolved traumas, and unlived dreams.

All things that have not been processed in the generations before you. From a very young age, before you can talk, you subconsciously enter into a contract that says that your parents’ pain can be passed on to you and that you will take responsibility for their miserable life.

This mainly happens between father and son and between mother and daughter. The order in which children are born also plays a role in how much a child inherits the unlived life and pain of its parents. The firstborn will almost always inherit the lion’s share, but if you’re the only girl, for example, you’ll inherit most of your mother’s pain and trauma. Or vice versa if you are the only boy, you inherit most of it from your father.

Feelings of shame and guilt

Hidden Wounds: Letting Go of Pain That Isn't Yours and Healing Yourself from Shame

Here are some examples of shame and guilt that are passed on unconsciously through the umbilical cord or silently through the arteries:

1. The core of the guilt: It’s always my fault.

2. The core of the shame: I am incomplete or broken and I will never be good enough.

3. The core of the experience: I am the embodiment of my mother’s/father’s pain.

Healing Process

At some point in the healing process, you will realize that some aspect of your pain is not yours and that the shame you feel is extra skin that you can peel off and give back to its rightful owner. At some point, you will realize that that “dirty” feeling that accompanies the shame comes from your mother, something she got from her mother, who in turn got it from her mother, and so on.

This continues until the circle is complete, ends with you again and the shame becomes part of you. Dani Shapiro beautifully describes this process in her book Devotion, in which she writes about a number of therapy sessions she had with her mother in order to mend their painful and broken relationship.

“It didn’t take long for him (the therapist) to side with me. I did not expect this. I know they don’t normally get to choose sides, but he did. “Irene, you’re not listening to Dani. Hello? Hi, Irene? Irene!” Instead of feeling justified, I felt guilty. It somehow seemed cruel and my fault. My relationship with my mother has always made me doubt myself, whether I was a good and decent person . I must have influenced the psychiatrist.’

I am responsible for my mother’s well-being. If she was in pain, it was my fault. The evil in her is also in me and when I am with her, I no longer believe that I am a good person.

Letting go of the pain that isn’t yours

Hidden Wounds: Letting Go of Pain That Isn't Yours and Healing Yourself from Shame

A mother’s sense of shame is projected onto her daughter until the daughter genuinely believes that there is something evil in her mother, especially when she is with her. If you want to imagine this, try to see a mother’s shame as a person, almost a second soul, floating in the room and falling on her daughter. Shame is a poltergeist that you absorb into yourself until you feel it is part of yourself.

But that poltergeist isn’t part of you. As soon as you realize that shame is not yours, you can return it, even if the owner is no longer a part of your life or does not live anymore. This is possible because the contracts are in a subtle layer between your skin and psyche. You can release them in your head through a ritual. Are you ready to let go of the legacy of an intergenerational story?

Then try the following:

Think of the contract as a rolled-up piece of paper describing your soul’s agreement. The letters are faint, like hieroglyphs. An ancient language that existed long before you were born.

Imagine being able to place the scroll in a field between you and the person who gave you the scroll. Try to envision the place where you will send the scroll. In the water or the ground, the sun or the moon, trees or caves. A sacred place is overgrown with grass or where sea monsters live. Imagine being able to send your grief there too. The grief of a child who still longs for a parent who can help him cope with the pain.

There is a room in this sacred place, especially for your tears, a river of tears you have shed for the one who has passed on his burden to you. You can now let go of that burden. It’s time to let him go.

Note: If you are reading this and have children of your own, please remember that it is not possible to be fully healed before having children. I’ve come to the conclusion that this is part of the plan: we can take responsibility and heal as much as we can before we have children, but they will also carry a portion of your unlived life and unprocessed pain with them. If it were possible, we wouldn’t be able to have children until we were 50 and even then we would still have to keep working on ourselves!


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