Note: The work described in this article usually requires Guidance and support by a person experienced in this work.
ANALYSIS OF UNPLEASANT CHILDHOOD EXPERIENCES
The following questions will facilitate your understanding and expression concerning specific experience.
a. Describe an experience or general situation which was unpleasant, that made you feel fear, sorrow, guilt, rejection, danger, injustice, jealousy or any other unpleasant emotion.
b. What were the exact emotions you felt as a child?
c. What thoughts did you have, or what conclusions did you reach as a child because of this experience or situation?
d. In what way did you react then as a child?
e. What effect did this experience have upon you later in life, or even today?
f. If you could have been absolutely open and honest at that time, what would you have said to your parents, teachers, God or to any others who played a part (or who were with you) in this event or in this situation concerning:
1. What you felt?
2. Your needs and desires?
3. What you wanted them to do or not do?
(Write the answers in the second person, as if you were speaking directly to them or writing them a letter).
When you finish with one experience or situation, go on to another and another, answering the same questions. You can then move on to various forms of expression or simply employ some of the methods of energy psychology for the specific experience and emotions. You can try expressing yourself and then employ the techniques.
EXPRESSING THE EMOTIONS OF OUR CHILDHOOD YEARS
Once we have established contact with some of the unexpressed emotions, needs and beliefs of our childhood years, the next stage is to express and release them without, of course, hurting others. Some ways in which we can do this are listed here.
1. Write letters to the people who played an important role in the unpleasant and pleasant experiences of your childhood (parents, teachers, uncles, aunts, siblings, grandparents, others). We will probably not send these letters. We simply need to write them, in order to recognize and express what is hidden within us.
a. Communicate totally, openly and honestly.
b. Add new thoughts and feelings each day.
c. Do not concern yourself with chronological order.
d. Express how you felt at that young age (not how you see it or explain it now).
e. Release and express your negative and positive feelings.
f. Express the needs, feelings, desires and thoughts you had at that time.
g. We will also want to express our positive feelings, love and gratitude.
2. Read these letters to someone who is experienced in active listening and psychodrama.
a. If you find that reading these letters causes strong feelings, take time to express and release those feelings before you continue reading. You may then need to switch to an emotional release technique such as crying, shouting, beating a pillow or other method. Do not keep these emotions locked inside you.
b. You may need to read these letters additional times until the emotional charge is released. You can read it as many times as necessary until you are able to read it without feeling upset about the letter's content.
3. Below is a more detailed questionnaire that will help with the clarification and expression of exactly what we felt, needed and believed as children. It is best if we write with the opposite hand than the one with which we usually write. In this way, we can more easily connect with the weakness, difficulty and vulnerability we experienced in those childhood years. It also stimulates the opposite side of the brain, bringing more memories to the surface.
We can employ this process of getting free for each experience moving down our list and choosing the next experience we want to become free from. The process is:
1. Remembering experiences that may have affected us.
2. Realizing how we may have been programmed
3. Discovering the aspects of how that programming may be working today.
4. Expressing our feelings and needs.
5. Getting free from the stored emotions with Energy Psychology techniques.
6. Understanding, forgiving and loving the others and ourselves
Also we some may benefit from the following question designed to enable us to remember, clarify and express details concerning experiences in which we felt hurt by others.
Questions that aid in expressing our feelings as children
We imagine that one of the persons who played an important role in our childhood experiences is asking us these questions. We answer the questions separately for each person with whom we want to communicate.
It does not matter if the soul we are writing to has left his or her physical body. It does not matter whether the other can fully understand what we are writing. We are not writing this to give it to anyone. We are writing this in order to discover, understand and express ourselves more deeply.
We have everything to gain by being as honest as possible by answering from our inner child. If there are matters about which our inner child feels differently from our adult, we can express both sides if we choose, but it is best to place emphasis on the inner child's opportunity to express it self.
These are the questions we are being asked by this person:
1. Tell me, when you were a child, did I do anything which upset you, hurt you or made you feel fear, rejection, guilt, injustice, bitterness, disappointment, guilt, anger or some other negative emotion?
2. Please tell about each occasion, situation or behavior separately. Give me the complete details:
a. What exactly did I do or not do?
b. How did you feel?
c. What did you think then?
d. What conclusions did you draw about yourself?
e. What conclusions did you draw about me?
3. Did you feel that I had high expectations of you, that I wanted you to be something special? Please explain to me exactly what you believed I wanted you to be physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, spiritually, etc. Perhaps because I praised or rejected you for some things, you believed that I accepted and loved you only if you excelled in those areas?
a. How did you feel about that?
b. What did you think then?
c. What conclusions did you draw about your self worth and love in general?
4. What other emotions would you like to express to me?
5. What did you need from me then which I did not give you enough of?
6. What would you have liked me to do then, which I did not do?
7. What would you have preferred that I not do which I did?
8. Did you ever feel guilt, shame or self-rejection as a child?
a. At which times and for what reasons? What did you do, say or think?
b. What did you believe which made you feel guilty?
c. Did I, in any way, cause you to feel guilty in those situations? How?
d. Were others also instrumental in causing you to feel guilty? Who, and for what?
e. What would you like to say to me or to the others concerning those situations?
9. What could I do now, to help you feel better?
10. What could you yourself do now in order to feel better?
The above questions help us clarify what we need to express and release. The rest of the questions have to do with the process of transformation, and are best left until we feel we are ready to accept what happened, to forgive the others, and move on with a clean state. We will present them here but they should be used only when we are ready.
Questions that aid in transforming:
11. What thought-forms (conclusions, beliefs) were created in you then due to those experiences?
12. Which of those thought-forms (conclusions, beliefs) have you totally overcome, and which are still alive in you, even to a small degree?
13. What do you think was my inner state, which caused me to behave the way I did then? (Remember that we are imagining that the person who may have hurt us with his behavior is asking us these questions.)
14. What do you think were the motives, needs, fears, feelings, and beliefs that caused me to behave the way I did then?
15. If the spiritual truth that "life gives us exactly what we need as souls in evolution in order to evolve and develop spiritual virtues," is actually true, what could be the lessons or the virtues which you chose as a soul to work on here?
16. What do you need to learn here in order to be happy?
17. Which beliefs do you need to change here in order to free yourself from the false beliefs of the past?
18. What do you need to do or believe in order to forgive me and free yourself from my presence in your subconscious?
19. What do you need to do or believe in order to forgive yourself and enjoy your purity and goodness?
20. What changes do you want to make in your lifestyle in order to find harmony and strength? How and when will you make these changes?
Having answered the questions in the above questionnaire, we are then ready to employ any methods for releasing and transcending the particular experiences.
Continued in the next issue.
Adapted from the book The Psychology of Happiness by Robert Elias Najemy