We have all been wounded in childhood to one degree or another. I am discovering more about the idea that birth trauma can emotionally shape us, as well as the events that take place during infancy and pre-verbal communication. It is important to know and understand the wounds of our own inner child so that we can take care of that precious being within. However we also need to be aware where we might be taking on the wounds of a lover’s disowned inner child.
If the lover hasn’t done a significant amount of introspection he, or she is likely to be carrying a hefty emotional load. Especially if that person is out of touch with his or her emotions. Anger, for example is an emotion that if disowned will likely surface as passive aggressive behavior. When someone is passive aggressive that person will harbor resentment towards the primary person in his or her life because of an inability to express that anger in a healthy way. That resentment is felt by you and can be very confusing. Especially if it seemed that person really loved you, cared about you and admired you. This is where you might find yourself experiencing idealization and devaluation from your lover. One minute he is telling you that you are the greatest and the next minute he is pulling you into a dark place that you didn’t even know existed. “Is that how you feel about me, really? Wow! I had no idea!”
The danger of this kind of relationship is eventually the final devaluation will likely be visited upon you. This is the purging of the lovers disowned self, the wounds of his inner child. These wounds are projected upon you, you are bad, that person cuts you off and doesn’t allow any avenue to communicate what is going on. It is a highly traumatic state because you have gone from believing you were the love of his/her life to feeling like you never existed to that person. If you carry that projection in any way you may end up feeling that you don’t exist. Life may seem very surreal and you may experience an emotional crash.
Bouncing back from such a devaluation is a long road but there are some powerful things you can do to make the road a little smoother. One is to remember all the beautiful things that person said about you. This is the truth. The ugliness is not you. It is the rejection of that person’s inner child and its accompanying pain. That inner child was simply projected upon you. You may be the one crying the tears of that little child’s pain because your lover doesn’t even acknowledge there is an inner child. Having a frightened, wounded little boy or girl within doesn’t fit up to the image of the self as strong and powerful. And so when this disowned child is cast upon you, and you unconsciously take it on, you end up feeling weak and insecure while he or she projects an image of strength and self assurance.
To complicate matters if you projected your Father/Mother upon your lover, which most of us do to some degree, and you have an abandonment wound from feeling that Mommy or Daddy left you, this wound will be triggered at the abandonment by the lover. That childhood wound may be as small as your parents taking a two week vacation when you were a baby and you felt abandoned by them. Or it could be death or divorce at a young age. Whatever your personal case, your own abandonment issues will be compounded by taking on the wounds of the lover’s disowned self. If you interpreted the early childhood abandonment as “I did something wrong” and you get a big dose of “you are wrong” by the abandoning lover, you may sink into a pretty dark place, believing there is something seriously wrong with you.
As an infant we are dependent on the primary person in our lives and when that person is gone we can feel as if we need them back or we will die. That is actually a reality as an infant. An abandoned infant if left alone without love or caring will die. We can access that kind of panic as an adult and it can feel like sheer terror. We may feel that if we don’t have that primary person in our lives back, we will die.
Our adult self knows this is ridiculous. Our adult self may feel like the lover is a mean, cruel, jerk that doesn’t deserve a moment more of our time, but our inner child is desperate to get that primary person back into our lives. And so begins the obsession. That obsession carries a message “I need you for my survival!” That is pretty intense.
There are many layers going on here. We have a lot of unconscious childhood emotions surfacing that carry messages like “I’m wrong, I’m bad, I don’t deserve love, I don’t deserve to be here, I am unlovable.” Of course none of this is true, but our pre-verbal consciousness, which is emotionally driven, interprets its world by simple emotional messages. Shame is born from the emotional message “I am bad,” or “I am wrong.” The unconscious lover who projects his disowned shame upon you will reinforce your own feeling that “I am bad, I am wrong.”
Our obsessive nature will keep us analyzing the events of the relationship trying to figure out “where did I go wrong? What did I do wrong?” It is helpful to have your inner parent come forth and tell that little child within “you are O.K. . You didn’t do anything wrong. You are good. You are loved. You are loveable. “
The best thing you can do in a situation like this is stop owning his/her stuff. It’s not yours. Get rid of it! Take out the trash. Stop building your reality on that serious misconception. Remember who you were in the beginning. Remember how your beauty, your strength and your intelligence attracted that person into your life. You are an attractive force. This is not gone for you. It is merely buried under layers of toxic emotion. Dig yourself out. Instead of idealizing the passive/aggressive abuser and longing for his/her return, allow yourself to get angry and start recognizing the stuff that has been dumped onto you so that you can give it back. This is all an invisible or psychic process. No need to contact that person. You might start telling yourself things like “that person really is a jerk and what he did was not at all nice. I don’t care if he pretends to be nice and everybody else bought his story, I know he isn’t nice. I believe the appearance all along and ignored the red flags and the gut feelings that something wasn’t right, but now I am seeing the truth.”
There is a lot of punishment dished out in passive/aggressive rebellion. You are being punished for the way he or she feels inside and that hurts. Especially if the abandoning lover has cut off communication with you. He or she does this so you can’t defend yourself or throw it back on that person. “I’m going to dump this crap on you and disappear so that you can’t give it back to me. If I listen to what you have to say I might have to take ownership for some of this and I can’t do that. It would be too painful!”
The discarding is how the lover reinforces his own concept of himself as good. It really doesn’t have anything to do with you. Yes, you weren’t perfect. Nobody is and nobody will be. So don’t start dwelling on your perceived imperfections. Relationships are about acceptance and working with the issues. If a lover is far too unconscious to acknowledge there are issues to begin with, you won’t have much success working through them and there will never be any true resolution to the issues that surface in the relationship. The thing is, issues will always surface, in any relationship. Either you deal with them or the relationship is guaranteed to either fail or become entirely superficial.
Don’t feel guilty for feeling Mr. or Ms. Wonderful isn’t so wonderful. Let yourself go to that place. Put yourself back up on that pedestal he or she has ripped you off of or at the very least pull yourself back up to a place of inner power and recognize your own beauty and deservingness. “I deserve love and that person couldn’t give it to me, so rather than trying to squeeze blood out of a turnip, I’m going to find someone who is truly capable of being with me.“
Yes it is important to love ourselves first, however; Eckhart Tolle says rather than focus on loving yourself try just being yourself. I like that. Because we often try to be something we are not in order to please others and once we release this burden we can relax into ourselves and just be who we are. What prevents us from relaxing into our true nature is the fear that who we are isn’t good enough. So the work is to accept who you are is good enough. You are great!
The ex-lover still has his disowned childhood wounds. He may have projected them upon you, but they are still there, under the surface of his/her consciousness, waiting for the right opportunity to come out again. And when they do you will be long gone. Think of it this way. You don’t have to play this role anymore. You don’t have to be the one to shoulder the burden anymore. You are free! You are free to be your beautiful, loving, kind, caring, generous self! Own it! Own your own dark side, your light, your own inner child, your wounds, your innocence, your fear, and embrace it all. It is all what makes you beautiful. It isn’t in the owning of who we are, in its entirety that is a problem. It is when we disown it and project it onto others that issues become unsolvable.
Accept the strong possibility that your lover may be much more wounded than you are. His wounds may be much deeper and much more unconscious than you had realized. If this is where that person is, then what chance do you have to get through? The energy that has gone into erecting those stone walls is strong. What makes you believe you can break those walls down? Why would you make this your mission? Is it because you need that person to be available to you? Why not try being available to yourself? You are an adult now. You can meet your own needs. You can find what you need out there in the world. Believe that you can. Love is not lost to you. It is waiting for you to recognize it.