As trainee counsellors, we have been told ‘Counsellors without self awareness are limited in their ability to operate with any degree of honesty or integrity with clients‘. Therefore before working with clients, most training providers require that their trainee counsellors have at least 40 hours of personal therapy. And so it was during my 40 hours of personal counselling and beyond that I practically learnt how to identify my innate emotions of anger, sadness, fear and joy. That may sound a little bit strange, how do you not know what emotion you are feeling?
Let me use Transactional Analysis (TA) to explain, when we were growing up it may not have been acceptable for us to have display our real emotions in front of the influential adults around us. When we were sad we may have heard ‘boy’s don’t cry’, if we were fearful perhaps ‘no son of mine is scared’, if we were angry ‘that’s not very lady like’ and if we weren’t feeling the emotion of joy ‘come on give us a smile. So to survive our childhood and gain positive regard around us we often masked our real feelings with ones that were more acceptable. In TA the acceptable emotions are known as racket feelings, they are not the real ones we are actually feeling. This concept can explain why perhaps as a woman if you are really angry, you can burst into tears and perhaps as a man you display anger behaviour rather than sadness or fear. A lot of people can smile to indicate they are happy when this is the last thing that they feel. Our view of the world is pretty much determined when we are under the age of five, so our racket emotions are there as our protection, safety and survival, therefore they are not easy to let go of.
I am not unique in discovering my fear is masked by sadness, which in turn was masked with joy when I was younger, but later in life with anger, or more accurately resentment. Resentment is one of the most common stored-up emotions that people work on in therapy. Resentment comes under the anger umbrella, but at some developmental stage it was not appropriate for us to express so it was suppressed and became resentment. Over time it can build up and become destructive, it some cases it can cause us to drink or end relationships, even go as far as attempt suicide or kill someone. Resentment also has that has the biggest emotional link to cancer according to Louise Hay. Each place in our body has an emotional link, breasts are linked to nurturing and testes to masculinity and so on. Under our anger layer is usually sadness and under our sadness usually there is usually fear. And so it was for me. What am I afraid of? An answer without thinking, everything.
Most of us appear to have fear at our core because we are wired this way, to detect fear, our lizard brain is excellent at this task, it must be as we are still alive. Tim Wilde who works closely with Arch Angels, talks about the Great Awakening which started in Dec 2012 and will continue until 2032. We all had an energetic upgrade in 2012, but we have to make the choice to switch fear over to love. The ego, as in the term used in western psychology, will fight against change and there will be ‘interesting’ times around the world which will confirm our belief in fear. But if we can get through the fear layer, we can step into our own power. Not the ‘power’ we can observe from the few who control the many by fear based methods, but power in terms of our own light energy. In counselling terms this could be known as self actualising or the organismic self.
I am currently working on my fear layer, as with other layers tracing back my childhood scripts, attachment styles, my self, my personality, my history, my patterns of relating and so on. Depending on your beliefs, it is possible that there is also ancestral baggage for us to shift as we are the living from our blood line, so sometimes the emotions we are carrying in our body do not really belong to us. We have signed up to try and shift it for them. To add to this, if you are an old soul, you have other lifetimes to consider and their subsequent blood lines. All things considered, it’s a lot of work to get through, but on a soul level this is what you had planned for yourself. On hearing this belief, or even a more accepted belief in TA that we have already mapped out this life by the time we are five years old, we may choose to discount this information as it doesn’t fit our frame of reference. We can opt ‘to take the blue pill’ and return to what we know our world to be, and our soul work will be allocated to a future soul to work through instead. But I decided to ‘take the red pill, to stay in wonderland to see how far down the rabbit hole goes’.
One of my stops through my fear layer lead me to contact someone from the past. A significant chapter of my story, one which I had almost blocked out because of how it ended. All the years that followed I only remembered the negative dialogue directed at me, as this matched my childhood script. I can recall the pain, the sadness and the fear of the past, in the present. Not my innate anger which was masked at the time due to my unchallenged script of it not being acceptable. Making contact with this person was a positive experience so it allowed me to challenge some of my negative self beliefs. I had a genuine apology and positive dialogue which I was able to receive and not discount, because I am willing to change my view of the world. This contact seems to have shifted something and enabled me to rewrite some of my childhood scripts. One of the most interesting aspects of this experience was realising that I had held a version of this person in my head which in the present no longer existed. I was the one who was continuing with the negative script against myself. So with this knowledge, although I know I could not contact my father to help with my inner work as he continues to speak negatively about me, I can rewrite my scripts without him. It is actually the father in my head that I need to challenge. In TA we call this the Critical Parent Ego State, and it has a corresponding Adapted Child, she is also someone I can work with, I can parent her and allow her to grow up and re-write what she thinks about herself and head towards self-actualising.
How many of us accept negative statements about ourselves? How many of us discount the positive? If you are interested in learning more about scripts and racket emotions, a TA101 workshop is well worth investing in.
Image: Jeremy Bishop