Have you ever thought that you’d never feel normal again after a heartbreak?
The last month has been a roller-coaster of emotions for me. After Amy left, I was left reeling in self doubt, confusion, betrayal and most noticeably, feeling abandoned.
Every day I’d wake up and not know if the hole in my heart was going to cripple me or heal me.
Abandonment has always been my core wound, my deepest seated fear…
… and in romantic relationships, I have often found myself in the same place I did recently, having my partner leave and feeling abandoned and then spending weeks ‘getting over it’.
I’ve unconsciously attracted women who are afraid of commitment and ultimately run away when the going gets tough.
Why We Attract The Same Type Of Person Over And Over Again…
We all have a core childhood wound (for want of a more accurate term) that emerged as a result of a need not being met.
Mine wound is the fear of being abandoned… Yours might be feeling not good enough or feeling unlovable.
These core childhood wounds are intrinsic to life and we all have them…
Until you 1) become aware of and 2) heal your core wounds you won’t be able to help unconsciously attracting the same people and situations into your life.
Often, these same people and situations bring you the exact opposite of what you consciously say that you want to experience in life.
If you look back at your previous relationships, you may notice a pattern…
Often our relationships end in the same way or for similar reasons.
Once you see your pattern in relationships, you’ll see it everywhere in your life. Your pattern is driven by your core childhood wound.
The good news is that your core childhood wound us heal-able.
The problem is that most of us have no idea what our core issue is and how to resolve it.
I’m going to show you how to begin healing your core issue, using my breakup as an example of how I am doing this myself.
How To Resolve Your Core Issue In Life…
What’s the one thing you want more than anything after a breakup?
For me, it’s to make the horrible feeling of loss go away so I can get on with my life.
I spent a month not being able to function properly after Amy left. I couldn’t bring myself to work and I couldn’t concentrate. I was constantly being pulled back into thinking of Amy and how horrible my life was going to be without her. Dreams shattered. Love lost. That kind of stuff…
All I wanted was for the horrible feelings to go away fast!
After doing the exercise I described in From Heartbreak To Healing – Part 1 I got myself to a place where I felt normal again.
However, I knew that I still had work to do if I didn’t want to attract another relationship like my last and wind up feeling abandoned all over again.
I had to first identify my own core issue, get to the root of it, and then heal it.
I’m going to share my own personal process with you, so you can use it to transform your own core wound from your past.
Your process will be different from mine, but if you complete it I believe you’ll find yourself in a space where you experience having choice about what kind of people and situations you want to attract into your life and begin doing that consciously.
The one place where our core issue always rears its head is in romantic relationships, so the first thing I did was identify my pattern in my relationships.
I wrote down the story of how every relationship ended, why I felt it ended and the feelings I felt when it ended.
Here’s the pattern I discovered from reading back the stories of my past romantic relationships:
- Most of my relationships have ended with my partner leaving me.
- Most of my relationships have ended because I became attached to the relationship not ending. I didn’t want to feel abandoned, so the minute I felt like my partner was withdrawing from me, I would take my focus off my own life and put it on saving the relationship. Often, the relationship didn’t actually need saving because nothing was wrong. I’d just interpret it that way e.g. when my partner would withhold communication or go quiet or show an interest in other men, I’d perceive that they were going to leave, so I’d go straight into “save the relationship” mode. This change of focus would make my partner feel that something was wrong, and instead of communicating my fear to her, I’d become needy and go into pleasing her to try to make her stay. Neediness is not exactly attractive. And so I would unconsciously drive my partner away and eventually my partner would leave…
- Whenever this pattern has played out in my life, I have ALWAYS (as in every time) felt abandoned (my core issue and biggest fear).
That’s my pattern. Now, let’s discover yours…
Here’s How To Discover Your Own Unconscious Patterns In Relationships And Your ‘Core Wound’…
The important part in discovering your core issue is to identify what you feel whenever you play out your pattern. Your feelings will point in the direction of your core wound.
Take a moment now and do this exercise:
- Write down the story of all your past relationships. Every one you can remember. A quick paragraph on each will do. Write down what happened to end the relationship and the feelings you felt when it ended…
- Now, read all your stories back and if you haven’t already, find the common threads in what you wrote. Underline emotionally charged words you use in each story. You should easily be able to see your pattern emerging in your stories. Maybe you cheat because you feel unable to express your desires. Maybe they cheat and you feel abandoned. Maybe you leave because you feel trapped. Maybe your relationships never last for more than 6 months, because you feel unheard and then leave to find a new partner. Maybe you can’t commit because you feel like committing is a sure path to feeling hurt if your partner leaves. Maybe you don’t speak up because you’re scared that you’ll get into trouble. Maybe you attract abusive partners and stay with them, feeling loved, because at least someone is giving you attention, even if it manifests as abuse…You get the idea…
- Look over what you write in the previous step again and identify the common feelings you felt in most of your relationships.Usually these feelings surface as fears, particularly when you perceive that you are somehow under threat. These fears will point you to your issue that you keep on inviting into your life.
- Then write down the following now: My pattern is relationships is ______ (describe your repeating pattern).
When my pattern is playing out in my life, I feel ______, _____, _____ and _____.
My believe that my core wound is ______.
WARNING: If you skip over the exercise above, you’ll be cheating yourself out of identifying your core wound. The end result is that you will end up repeating your negative patterns in relationships over and over until you heal your core wound (or die – whichever comes first).
What might feel like a curse is intended as a blessing, if you’re willing to confront your fear.
So, do the damn thing!
How I Got To The Heart Of My Core Wound
Once I discovered my core childhood wound was fear of being abandoned, I began to dig deeper to discover when I first remembered feeling abandoned.
Usually it begins early on in life.
It’s important to locate the earliest time you can remember your core issue playing out in your life, because that is usually the time when your core issue was created, and if you can heal that experience, you’re well on your way to being free of it.
For me, I remembered being about 6 years old and wanting to get my mother’s attention…
So, one day, I played dead. I lay on the carpet in our passageway and pretended I was dead. I was secretly hoping Mom would find me and panic and then come and love me.
She did find me, but instead of panicking, she told me to stop being silly and come to dinner.
In that moment, I decided that my mother didn’t love me.
I felt abandoned and alone – a feeling I have lived with for most of my life. I stayed on the carpet a little while longer, and then must have stood up and gone to eat dinner.
However, when I stood up, I was a changed little boy. The world was no longer a place where I felt I belonged or felt safe. It was a place where I felt alone… abandoned.
I bottled the feeling away, not wanting to show my mother how upset I was, and from that day on the feeling of abandonment haunted me for 31 years!
Of course my mother loved me (and still does). She had no idea what was going on inside me and I was too young to be aware enough to communicate to her what I needed most – to feel her love.
Discover When Your Core Issue Started…
Now it’s your turn to remember when you first created your core issue. This exercise will help.
- When do you remember the first time as a child that you felt the way you do whenever your core issue surfaces? Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths and relax.Now ask yourself, “When did I first feel this way?” You may be flooded with memories or you may get none.Relax and allow them to surface. Let go of your attachment to finding the right one… The memories that surface may not make sense to you, but write them down anyway. Then allow the next one to surface and so on until you don’t get any more. It’s important to stay with the exercise, even if the memories that arise may be painful to remember. If you’ve had something really traumatic happen to you, like rape or physical abuse, stop this exercise and go see a good therapist, unless you are sure you can handle what you remember on your own.
- Now write down the following: I remember experiencing my core issue was when _____ (write down what happened). Another time I remember experiencing my core issue was when _____ (write down what happened)… and keep writing until you have written down every time you can remember experiencing your core issue as a child.
- When you had this experience, what did you decide about yourself, your life, and people you love? Write that down.
- Then complete this sentence… The first time I remember experiencing my core issue, which is _____, I decided _____ about myself, I decided _____ about life, and I decided _____ about the people I love. This plays out in my life as an adult like this: _____
Reading the above sentence back, may explain your entire life to you (or it may not).
Once you’ve gotten clear on what you decided, you’ll have discovered the driving force behind the people and experiences you attract into your life.
You come hard-wired to prove your core issue right.
Please remember, this kind of work is not an exact science, but more of an art… You may have to do some more thinking and remembering before you get to exactly what you decided about yourself, your life, or people you love.
Stick with it and take what you get.
How To Stop Your Core Issue Repeating For The Rest Of Your Life…
In order to stop repeating your past patterns in your life, you’ve got to experience your core issue completely and allow it to move through you until it is no longer there.
When something happens to us that causes our core issue to surface for the first time, we usually feel enormous emotional stress.
Our brain then tries to shut those feelings down as fast as possible to prevent us from feeling more pain than it thinks we can handle.
This causes a problem for us, because our brain doesn’t allow us to feel our feelings until they are completely gone.
Usually, we suppress our feelings long before they can even begin to move through us.
…and any feeling that we do not allow to move through us completely, is a feeling that stays with us until we do…
Read that again. It is critical to understand this if you want to heal your core issue and create a more fulfilling future.
Knowing this, I took some time out to completely re-experience (or re-feel) how I felt that day when I played dead.
I closed my eyes and imagined being 6 years old again, lying on the floor waiting for my mother to find me. I held my breath and tried to imagine what I was thinking, feeling and hearing at the time.
The things I couldn’t remember, I made up in my imagination as best I could to fill in the blanks.
After a while, I got in touch with what I felt that day and allowed myself to re-feel those feelings as a 6 year old (not as an adult).
I felt alone, lonely, unloved, disconnected, and abandoned.
Then, instead of blocking the feelings again, I let them loose. I allowed them space to move through me.
For me, this was not a hugely emotional process as I had already done most of the work to heal my core issue as I described in part 1 of this series.
However, for you, this may be a really painful process. Stick with it. You deserve to.
At the end of my process, a little voice on my head said, “Bruce, you’re done with this issue now. Move on.”
You may not have a little voice say exactly that, but hopefully, you’ll get to the point where you just know that you have resolved your core issue.
Also, you may not heal your core issue the first time you do the exercise I am about to describe. It may take several attempts… Keep at it…
So, over to you again…
How To Complete Your Core Wound
- Find a quiet space where you won’t be disturbed. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths and allow yourself to relax.
- Remember as vividly as you can the first time you can remember experiencing your core issue.Use visuals, sounds and feeling to get in touch with that memory. Stick with it. It may take a little while for you to really get into it.Remember to see out of your own eyes when remembering. If you end up seeing yourself as a child in front of you, just mentally jump into your child’s body and experience being in your body back then.
- Now here is the most important part. Allow ALL of your feeling to be and then make them more intense in your imagination. Imagine the feeling flowing through your entire body. If you feel that they are too intense, stick with it. Only by allowing them the space to move through you, will they leave you. If you are doing this properly, you’ll probably want to cry or scream in despair, or beat a pillow to express your feeling.
- Keep feeling your feelings until they subside and then stay there… Another wave of feeling may be around the corner. Keep feeling.
- You will know you are done, because you will feel empty inside and the emptiness will feel like a relief. At this point you are done.
If you don’t get to emptiness the first time round, stick with it, or come back later and do the exercise again.
Eventually, you’ll find emptiness and after a while, love will begin to replace that emptiness.
I can’t express to you what a relief it is to me to have allowed my fear of abandonment to move through me. I feel free again.
I don’t know of those feelings will surface for me again, but I do know that if they do, I’ll keep feeling them until they disappear for good.
If you haven’t done the exercises yet, book a time to do it as soon as you can. Your life depends on it.
Good luck and I hope that reading this has been as helpful to you as writing it was for me.
I wish you freedom.
P.S. What are you learning about yourself? Leave a comment below and let me know…
P.P.S. The next installment, Part 3 of this post is here.