Healing Your Life
Below you will find the text for Step Seven of the Healing Your Life Course. You will also find a link to the video of Paul Ferrini teaching this step. Please read through the text and then watch the corresponding video.. Then, when you are ready, answer the homework questions in the journal that follows. When you have finished, save your answers so that you can refer back to them in the future.
End the Patterns
Goal: Have the Courage to Be Yourself
Strategy: Take Your Power Back
Patterns of Domination, Submission, Passive-Aggression, and Escape
You reactive behavior pattern is connected to your energetic stance. You tend to be dominant or submissive in your relationships. You tend to give your power away and allow others to make decisions for you, or you tend to be controlling and to make decisions for others.
Your energetic stance sets up the way your relationships are structured at home and at work. It may limit the amount of creative freedom you have in your life. There are four basic energetic patterns: dominant, submissive, passive- aggressive, and evasive-withdrawing.
If you have a dominant energetic pattern you tend to make decisions for others and to be controlling. You generally attract a submissive partner. If you have a submissive energetic pattern you tend to allow others to make
decisions for you. You generally attract a dominant partner.
If you have a passive-aggressive energetic pattern, you may appear to submit to others, but you will fight back secretly. You generally attract a dominant partner or a passive aggressive one like you. If you have evasive-withdrawing pattern, you will avoid commitment and intimacy. You generally attract a partner who is unavailable.
You may find it helpful to compare your energetic stance to that of each of your parents. Often you will emulate one parent and attract someone who is like the other parent. It is important for you to understand your energetic stance and to know the type of person you are attracting into your energy field. The only way you can attract a
different type of partner is to shift your energetic pattern.
People Pleasing Patterns
Some people have a pattern of trying to please parents and other authority figures in their lives. They constantly seek approval and validation from others. They try to live the way others want them to live. This prevents them from growing up, individuating, living their own lives and making their own choices.
Even after they leave home, they continue this pattern by seeking approval from and giving their power away to their spouse/partner. Their relationships become codependent. They give up their power and the partner is happy to take charge and make decisions for them.
You cannot have an equal relationship with someone you are caretaking or who is caretaking you. There is an inherent inequality there. One person is taking too much responsibility and the other person is not taking enough responsibility.
When you take power from someone else and agree to protect and make decisions for him/her, you are entering into a parental relationship with that person. You become the parent, and s/he becomes the child. Such contracts recreate and re-circulate your family of origin wounds.
The following actions will help you to disengage this pattern.
• Stop trying to please others or win their approval.
• Set limits with parents and the other authority figures that try to control you, rescue you, or run your life.
• Stand up for yourself and dissociate from people who criticize you or treat you disrespectfully, unfairly or unkindly.
• Stop being a parental figure who tries to influence, control, rescue, criticize, or fix others.
• Understand that you give your power away when you decide for others.You take a false responsibility that does not belong to
you. That often prevents you from taking appropriate responsibility for your life.
• Make your own choices and be responsible for them. Allow others to do the same.
• Learn to set healthy limits and boundaries with others.
• Learn to accept the limits and boundaries that others set with you.
• Make the best choice you can and take responsibility for it.
• Be compassionate with yourself. Acknowledge your mistakes and learn from them.
• Understand that no choice is perfect and all choices carry a lesson to be learned.
These are not things that you are going to accomplish overnight, but they are essential for you to begin doing so that you stop giving your power away or appropriating the power of others. The patterns of inequality — dominant/submissive, victim/victimizer, master/slave, masochist/sadist — are mutually abusive and prevent
all of us from stepping into our true power and purpose here.
Archetypes of Self Betrayal
Your core wound, core belief and reactive behavior pattern lead to the creation of a False Self designed to help you deal with the pain of your wound, find safety and/or get the love and approval you want. This False Self represents the way you betray yourself in order to get your needs met.
Your specific pattern of self-betrayal often crystallizes into an archetype or subpersonality. For example, suppose your wound is abandonment because mommy was very ill when you were young and she was unable to take care of you. You manifested the archetype of The Caretaker because you developed the core belief my needs do not matter and the reactive behavior pattern of staying and shutting down emotionally. As The Caretaker you believe that you can find love and acceptance only if you deny your own needs and take care of the needs of others. So that becomes your MO in life, not just with mommy, but in all close relationships.
On the other hand, suppose mommy ignores you because she has a demanding job and five other children to care for. You have to find some way to get mommy’s attention, so you become The Bad Boy or The Bully. You develop the core belief If I don’t make trouble I won’t be seen and your reactive pattern is stay and fight. The Bad Boy archetype works for you because whenever you beat up one of your siblings or get in trouble at school you finally get mommy’s attention. Since negative attention is better than no attention, you learn to accept mommy’s anger as the price you have to pay for love.
The Defender, the Victim, and the Escape Artist
Each of the three reactive behavior patterns – fight, flight, stay and shut down emotionally --has archetypes associated with it. Here are a few to think about:
• Defender archetypes are an attempt to protect the child. They are connected with the Stay and Fight Reactive Behavior Pattern. Examples include The Bully,The Bitch, The Bad Boy/Girl, The General or Drill Sergeant, The Amazon Warrior, The Judge/Critic. Defenders usually exhibit dominant, controlling behavior. They externalize their anger.
• Victim archetypes are an attempt to shoulder adult responsibilities at an early age in order to gain the acceptance and love of parents or siblings. They are connected with the Stay and Shut Down Reactive Behavior Pattern. Examples
include The Caretaker, the Workaholic, The Nurse, The Martyr, The Slave, The Whore, The Good Boy/Girl, The Clown. Victims usually exhibit submissive or passive aggressive behavior. they internalize their anger.
• Escapist archetypes are an attempt to avoid conflict and responsibility. They are connected with the Withdrawal/Flight Reactive Behavior Pattern. Examples include The Wild Horsie, The Wild Child, The Hare, The Artist, The Hermit, The Magical Child, The Don Juan, The Femme Fatale. Escapists usually exhibit isolating, disconnecting, avoiding behavior. They tend to internalize their anger until it is triggered and they leave.
There are two primary reasons that a child does not grow up to be a full-fledged adult. One is that the parents are overprotective and the child is controlled and overpowered. The other is that the parents are under-protective and the child is given too much freedom and too little support.
The over-protected child is given too many limits and never becomes confident, skillful or independent. The parent gives the child the subtle or not-so-subtle message: “You can’t do it.” The child is rewarded for staying small and weak. Later in life, s/he will have great difficulty taking responsibility for self. S/he may have trouble keeping
a job, going to school, or raising a family. For example The Good Little Girl/Boy does what mommy/daddy wants him or her to do. Clear limits are set for the child. The wounding in this case happens because those limits are not relaxed as the child grows up, and the child often has a difficult time breaking away from the parental control and becoming self sufficient.
On the other hand, the under-protected child can also have a difficult time keeping a job, going to school, or raising a family. S/he goes out into the world with a false confidence, without sufficient skill or preparation, and inevitably fails. It isn’t her fault, but she cannot help concluding, “There must be something wrong with me . . . I
can’t do it.” For example, The Bad Boy/Girl fights any kind of control or domination. S/he learns to scream, hit, throw temper tantrums, or run away. S/he has discipline problems and is often an embarrassment to the parents. Although defiant toward authority figures, s/he does not have real self-confidence, but rather a kind of bravado/overconfidence
that results from being allowed to act out without limits or consequences.
Like The Bad Boy/Girl, The Wild Child is under-protected. S/he is neglected, abandoned or ignored by parents and doesn’t receive any limits, rules, or supervision. S/he is left to supervise herself because the parents don’t show up to do the job. The parents are insecure and unconfident. They do not assert their authority as parents or set limits for the child. The child is allowed to do what s/he wants to do. Given this adult-like freedom, without discipline, limits, or expectations from the parents, The Wild Child becomes selfish, entitled, and unsocial.
Both under-protected and overprotected children can be severely wounded. Usually, in an attempt to avoid the type of parenting they grew up with, they adopt the opposite parenting pattern with their own children. Overprotected children give their kids too much freedom. Under-protected children are often controlling of their kids.
What was your experience as a child? What is your parenting style with your children?
The Sub-personalities of the False Self
All of the sub-personalities that comprise the False Self are wound-driven and created in shame and in fear. These sub-personalities lock you into limiting roles that arbitrarily separate you from others or saddle you with inappropriate responsibilities that burden you and prevent you from growing and stepping into your power.
All sub-personalities are psychological/energetic structures that cause you to abandon and betray your Core Self. They all lead to dysfunctional, co-dependent relationships that keep the cycle of abuse in place.
As long as you are living out these archetypes of self betrayal you will be showing up as a victim or a victimizer. You will be someone who plays a dominant role, a submissive role, a passive-aggressive role or an evasive role. While all of these roles are adopted as survival strategies they ultimately do not satisfy you. In the end, you will come to realize that self-betrayal is too high a price to pay for survival.
Until you have that recognition, your False Self remains in place, along with all of its archetypes of self-betrayal. But one day the psychological pain of self betrayal escalates. You grow weary of attempting to show up as other people want or expect you to. You quit the job and/or leave the relationship in which you abdicate your power or attempt to control others. You refuse to take another step forward as a victim or a victimizer.
Some people make a conscious choice to shift their lives out of self-betrayal, while others need a little help from the universe. When we can’t take the bull by the horns, the bull may take us on and it may not be pretty. Jobs and marriages can end suddenly. Unexpected health issues can arise. Accidents can happen. Something
generally occurs that gets our attention and tells us unmistakably that the status quo must change.
Taking your Power Back
In order to take your power back you must first see how you give it away. Do you trade your freedom for security? Do you let others make decisions for you because you lack confidence or fear failure? Do you find that you frequently play a submissive role in close relationships? Do you hate change and avoid taking risks? In what ways do you hold yourself back or depend on others?
Conversely, are you a caretaker who likes to take on responsibility and enjoys making decisions for others? Do you get inappropriately involved in other people’s lives? Are you intrusive or controlling? Do you cross boundaries and ignore limits that others have tried to set? Do you impose your ideas and values on others?
Do you frequently play a dominating role in your close relationships? Or are you an escape artist who refuses to control or be controlled? Are you so sensitive to the words and actions of others that at the first sign of struggle or discord you are off to the races? Do you fear intimacy with others? Do you have trouble making commitments? When a relationship ends or job, are you the one to leave?
What are the behavior patterns that keep repeating in your life? What do you fear? What do you try to avoid? What pushes your buttons and sets your reactive behavior pattern in motion?
It is not easy to look at all this, but it is essential if you want to stop giving your power away and start learning to trust yourself and others. We all give our power away and/or misappropriate the power of others. We all have trust issues. You don’t need to be ashamed about this. You just need to see your pattern so that you can begin to make different choices.
For example, if you are showing up as the martyr or the caretaker in all of your relationships your emotional needs will not be met. Your belief “my needs don’t matter” is running your life. People who are looking for caretakers are spontaneously attracted to you. And if you meet someone who doesn’t need a caretaker, there is no attraction on your part. Your belief “I won’t get love if I don’t take care of you” compels you into the same type of role over and over again.
You can change this only if you become aware of it and begin to consciously say “No” when needy people come into your life. When the person with crutches approaches you and asks for a place to stay, you override your desire to invite him home and nurse him back to health. You tell him “I see you are attracted to me because I have been a good caretaker in the past, but I am done with that role. Now I am learning how to take care of myself.”
As you learn to stand up for yourself and reject the old dysfunctional roles you played in order to get love from others, you find that you are able to bring love and acceptance directly to yourself. You care for yourself. You become your own nurse. And you begin to heal the wound behind the false belief “my needs don’t matter.” As the wound heals, the belief falls away, and so does the role that results from it. Now when someone asks “Will all the caretakers please stand up,” you learn to hunker down in your chair. The muscles in your legs may tighten because they are
used to answering the call, but they will learn in time to relax. You have shifted from the inside out. You no longer have the same MO.
As your self betrayal and the patterns that support it come to an end you are free to be yourself. That is the moment of true liberation. At that moment your healing journey is substantially complete and you can begin to step into your true power and purpose.
Step Seven Teaching Video
Homework for Step 7
Important Questions to Ask Yourself
- What is your reactive behavior pattern: fight/flight or stay and stay and shut down emotionally?
- From whom did you learn this reactive behavior pattern: mommy or daddy?
- Do the partners you attract emulate mommy or daddy?
- Are you dominant and controlling, passive and submissive, or evasive and afraid of
intimacy/commitment? What type of partner do you attract?
- Do you have a pattern of making decisions for others or allowing other to make decisions for you?
- Another version of the same question: Do you have a pattern of taking care of others(caretaker archetype) or needing others to take care of you in order to get love and acceptance?
- Do you have a pattern of making excuses for why you can’t do something or why someone else has to do it for you?
- Do you refrain from taking responsibility because you are afraid that you will fail?
- Do you resent others for taking charge, even though your passive/submissive behavior invites them to do this?
- If you are a dominant type, do you see how your life is controlled by the needs of others? Do you see how you are taking too much responsibility for others and carrying an oppressive burden? Do you see how this artificial responsibility for others prevents you from meeting your own needs?
- If you are a submissive type, do you see how by being weak or not making decisions, you invite others to take charge and do things for you? Do you see how this keeps you in the victim role and insures your continued dependency?
- In what ways do you need to make your own decisions and tell others to back off and allow you to choose for yourself?
- In what ways do you need to refrain from making decisions for others and begin to pay more attention to your own choices in life?
- Please explain any other ways that you give your power away to others or take power from others?