Since very early in my life, I have had to live in survival mode. That means, my controller was fully in charge. They made all the decisions in my life and they were all made from a fear-based view of the world. All my decisions were safe decisions. I needed to stay alive and this is what worked. But as I have worked through my memories in recovery, my controller has stepped into a more appropriate and helpful role. And my grounded adult self has come forward to heal my other parts. I am not suggesting I live my entire life in my grounded adult self, but I spend a lot of time there. And I spend a lot of time holding space for the trauma of my inner parts. As you know, the work isn’t fun. But the insight I have gained about my true self has been amazing.
This shift has afforded me new understandings about a group of inner parts I had locked away when I was a child. And for the past several years of my recovery, I have spent time with them. I refer to this group of inner parts as freedom fighters, and they are extremely powerful when they are freed from their inner prison. In their grounded state, they represent a force for authenticity. They bring you back to self and the body, and they end the constant war within. When they are ungrounded, they hold futility, and they will often sabotage the survival strategies of the defenders. This leaves us frustrated and paralyzed in a battle between survival and total defiance. But when we heal the freedom fighters and bring ourselves to a grounded balance, life gets much more tolerable on all fronts.
I have noticed my freedom fighters having a lot of strong reactions to the intense oppression in the world today. My freedom fighters want everyone to be who they were meant to be. And I’ll be honest, they don’t have much tolerance for the inner defenders who are “holding everyone back”. So today, I wanted to give you some advice from my (relatively grounded) freedom fighters so you can move toward your authentic self.
Stop Punishing Yourself. Contrary to what you might think, self-punishment is not very noticeable. It is hard to see it because you have been doing it all your life. Sometimes it comes in the form of expectations that things will go wrong. The controller believes you can only have what you want if you go through hell (again). The karma kid believes you are worthless and anything you really want is out of reach. So you stop yourself from what you really want. You put up barriers to your deepest desires and you don’t even know you are doing it. But you are continuing the very abuse that started in childhood.
Stop Silencing Yourself. How many times per day do you stop yourself from saying what you want to say? Most importantly, what is your reason? You don’t want to upset them. You don’t want to lose their friendship. You don’t want to have to explain yourself. Or maybe, you have just given up. While it is important to use discernment in picking battles, avoiding conflict by silencing yourself can be retraumatizing. You are continuing your abuse by stopping your authentic expression.
Stop Believing the Criticism. This might be internal or external criticism. But the source of all criticism comes from scared people. They might be abusive. They might be living life in fear and wanting to protect you. But when someone tells you that you aren’t good enough or need to tone down your goals in life, that source is not credible. That source is traumatized and fearful about life. They have told you lies and those lies are running your life. And when you believe those lies, you are likely retraumatizing yourself and holding yourself back.
Stop Doing Things the Same Way. I am not trying to be negative, but if the things we have been doing were working, things would be better. The world needs new ways of doing things and it needs them now. If someone (or yourself) is telling you to do it the same way, don’t listen. If someone is using the word “should”, don’t listen. Bring something new. Try something that might change everything. Your defenders will warn you that it will fail. But they don’t really know that. And failure is not nearly as bad as you think. Do it anyway.
Stop Quitting. Your inner defenders were set up to make you quit. It is hard to see because it isn’t consistent. They might be obsessively dedicated to some things. But as soon as you try something new, purposeful or exciting, they will fill your head with all the reasons you should give up. This is a strategy and it works too often. Stick with what you started. Don’t listen to the “just give up” language in your mind (but write from it). It is meant to stop you in your tracks, but you can bring awareness to it and step out of it.
My freedom fighters want to get their message out to the world. There is a way to step out of the fear-based survival strategies you have come to see as normal. You can question them. You can acknowledge they come from our trauma (and other traumatized people). You can detach from them through grounding and expression. And you can take steps to move past them. Watch for how survival is ruling your life. Bring it to your awareness. You are here to do more than survive. Your freedom fighters have another plan for you.