Shifting Patterns of Learned Helplessness

Growing up with developmental trauma* can cause patterns of learned helplessness where we shut down, get small, space out, disassociate and eventually get depressed. Another response would be to go into the big one where we puff up and present ourselves as bigger than we are (see “Being the Big One” article https://www.changeworksinc.com/being-the-big-one/). And we can alternate between being the big one and helplessness. This article is dealing specifically with “learned helplessness” and how to shift that pattern. When we grow up with developmental trauma, we are helpless. We cannot leave our situation because we are children and we have…

Being a Witness to Our Suffering

Repetition compulsion* is a pattern we get stuck in where we are trying to ease the pain that manifests because our needs as a child were not met. The pain occurs when we are younger and because our feelings weren’t acknowledged, the emotions (of fear, anger and grief) are not resolved and we get stuck in a loop of recreating the pattern in an attempt to resolve the feelings that get triggered in us. As children when our pain is not seen, it is traumatic and we often end up questioning if there is something wrong with us and we…

What Do Kids Need?

Children need to be seen and appreciated for who they are and what they feel. Our job as an adult is to look at a child and ask, “Who can you be?” This means we create an atmosphere of curiosity and attention, which nurtures a child to find the essence of who they are. We support their way of being, their emotions, and provide freedom for them to be who they are while teaching them how to be a kind and authentic human. When we tell children not to feel something (don’t cry, don’t be sad, don’t be angry) we…

Being the Big One

Sometimes when we are little and things go wrong, we think we have to take charge and fix things. We feel it’s up to us to make it better. We think we have to be the big one and we’ll show the adults how to do it. Or we feel like no one else is seeing what a mess things are, or how unsafe things are, so we try to make it better. It might be that the parents aren’t loving, so we decide we’ll be the loving one. It might be that we have to protect someone (siblings, one…

Healing Trauma in War Torn Countries

Abstract: Women for Women International (WFWI) helps victims of war become self sufficient in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, Kosovo, Nigeria, Rwanda, and Sudan. WFWI conducts year-long programs for participants, providing financial aid, job training, rights awareness and leadership education. They also want to help participants deal with the often severe trauma they experience during war. I have adapted my Energy Psychology methodology called Clearing Limits Energetically with Acupressure Release (CLEAR™) so that it may be used in groups in short, one-hour sessions as a part of WFWI’s program. In July 2008, WFWI sent me…

Creating Dynamic, Adaptable Organizations

How do you make your organization highly adaptable and dynamic so you can adjust to the marketplace easily? Make sure your leaders are free of limiting beliefs and issues that prevent them from seeing necessary information clearly and acting effectively. Leader behavior is often governed by self-limiting beliefs originating from our history. A negative experience can create blocks in our system. For example, I may have been yelled at as a child, so I may fear taking risks or speaking my mind. The blocks take the form of blocking beliefs, such as, “If I speak up I’ll be humiliated,” or…

Accepting Feelings Leads to Inner Peace

Many of us were raised to resist our feelings (don’t be angry, don’t cry, don’t be so wild, etc). We do most anything to not feel: we eat, do drugs, drink, exercise, work, text, play computer games, and in doing all of this doing, we fight reality. When we resist feeling, we block reality, and this leads to a pattern of fighting that distances us from a sense of peace and contentment and ability to be present in the here and now. We live according to the belief that I have to resist or fight in order get what I…