The unconscious mind is organised by association. Lovely Jane aged 24 came to me with feelings of rejection. This week she came for the second time.
At her first session a week ago, she described how she was feeling overwhelmingly rejected. She and her fiancée had parted company some five months previously, but even after the lapse of time to the appointment day, her feelings had not subsided one jot. Whilst the two had been reasonably close, it seemed to her that her still-strong reaction was a little over the top. I listened to her “story” of course. As a twelve-year-old, and the youngest of four daughters, her mother died. Her first thought was “How can she leave me?” This was followed by feelings which she listed as: “shocked, very upset, gutted, had a pain in the stomach, helpless, powerless” (and wait for it -) “rejected; wants to die too; (and) guilty about leaving the rest of the family should she take this course of action”.
We worked together with these feelings in a variety of psychotherapeutic ways (using a therapy called Mnemodynamic Therapy) leaving her image of that same little girl, by the end of the session “relieved”. I knew she would feel better by the next session, not because I said so, though I did, but because she said so. “Relieved” was how she’d left the image of herself. At the start of the second session my young woman looked wonderful, wholesome, and with a glow about her. I asked “On a scale of nought to ten (not that anyone’s at nought, but if you had been when you last came to me, and ten is “wellness”), where are you up to?
“Seven” was her immediate reply. “Brilliant” I thought. How hard she had worked. This time she dealt with two incidents. The first was when she was fourteen. Her father had a row with an older sister, who was then thrown out of the house. Her feelings were: “very upset, stranded, trapped, helpless, powerless, anger and resentment to father, furious, enraged, murderous”. She worked with those feelings, and left the younger person “comforted”.
After that, we moved to another incident, the parting of the ways from her partner, six months previously. They’d had a row, and she said that she would move out, and left the house. When she returned, “to make it up” she found all her things in dustbin sacks. She felt, “very hurt, gutted, powerless – want to turn the clocks back and can’t, helpless, guilty, angry, alone, unsupported, and (of course, again) rejected”. She intervened in several ways, and left herself “Better, laughing. I’m telling her she’s too good for him!”
Now you can see the long reach of the statement that the unconscious mind is stacked associatively. Jane’s feelings of rejection had a little to do with the incident six months ago, but were so much more strongly associated with those of the twelve and fourteen year old. Of course a mother does not reject a twelve-year-old by dying – but that’s not the point. The youngster felt rejected. The sister didn’t reject the younger one when fleeing from the wrath of her father, of course not, but the youngster felt “stranded”. The feelings, which reached from the far past are now, mercifully, laid to rest.
You can deduce therefore, that a small incident as a child – say of a grazed knee, may be stored in the same ‘file’ or ‘box’ as a traumatic motor accident in which we were made to feel insignificant, and a shattered love affair, in which our feelings were denied. When the box or file is opened, not only will the feelings associated with the grazed knee emerge, but also the associated feelings from the other ‘items’ stored with it. Fortunately, however, most of the time these ‘files’ remain password protected. It’s usually only when the whole storage system gets too full and overflows, that a little leakage occurs. This usually shows up as one of a whole range of symptoms and we have a clear message that something is wrong. If the illness or sense of ‘wrong’ persists, we usually do something about it by seeking help from the professional we believe will be able to solve the problem for us …
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