Shadow Notes


Rituat space is where the mythologicat and the psychological mosre into the work ptace. In this space we create a tension that atlows the mythologicat to be experienced on a daily level.

The ritual space invites us to move towards integrating the conscious and the unconscious. The space must contain the opposite or shadow of our conscious thought to allow a radical and permanent change.

Ritual space is temporary, we move into it to begin and out at completion. Addictive

space is different in that we compulsively must repeat ourselves over and over as the change is not permanent.


3. When False Threats Are Encountered

But, there is one more reason for wounding. It is to cover up deeper wounds, below the natural and normal one's mentioned above. Wounds so painful, they

are masked even to our closest friends. Great lengths are taken to avoid even the slightest chance of these wounds being awakened within our psyches. This

is where the Mother of all wounds lives in her underwater den in the deep unconscious. The core of our being, where we were hurt, abused, abandoned,

neglected and deprived of being seen, understood, chosen and valued by

caregivers who suffered the same wounds by their caregivers. These are the core wounds or Family Secrets.

With some training, normal and natural wounds (insistence on what is 'right' and 'normal' for our family) are relatively easy to spot in the highs and lows of

everyday behavior and specifically in personal preferences. As mentioned above, underneath the normal and natural wounds lies the "Mother" of these two hardwired wounds, keeping her and our family secrets hidden far away from consciousness. Family secrets are the underlying cause of why we act out in

ways like rage, divorce, illness, high risk, etc., that do not give us the results desired, i.e., love, acceptance, respect, etc. Instead of learning how to get seen, understood, chosen and valued from our caregivers, we feel ashamed that we have no idea where to start.

Family secrets can be seen in many of our behaviors and statements. When we ask ourselves the question, "What's Missing?" When we are discouraged and

sense emptiness in our life, thoughts come up that say, "I'm feeling out of control, what's missing?" Another way Family secrets can be glimpsed is when the

natural wound statement, "I'm not OK the way I am" is heard in a thought or

verbally. Asking these types of inquiry questions will often result in a sinking

feeling at the center of our being. ***********************************************************************

The sinking feeling reminds and warns us of a possible danger when we are

caught off guard by a demand or inappropriate tone of voice. For example, a man picks up the telephone at work and the boss says, "I do not care what you

are doing, get into my office, now!" Caught off guard, the sinking feeling instantly forms in his belly. He feels an underlying shame that he might have done

something wrong or that he is about to be caught unprepared. His family secrets are vulnerable. Momentarily he has lost control, but is unable to identify the source.

There are many ways we verbalize this loss of control. Let's look at a few

examples. TOP


4. Family Secrets

Indicators of Family Secrets are in the phrases we use:

"Something is wrong. I can sense it. Can't seem to put my finger on it." "I don't like her looking at me that way. It scares me."

"Why do I feel so out of place here? I feel like a duck among swans." "I hope he doesn't ask me a question. I'll freeze up."

"That conversation did not go well. She sees right through me."
"I feel transparent when my husband asks me accusatory questions. I

retreat inside myself."
The psyche is indicating a possible loss of control and steps are taken to

protect us through family, acceptable, chronic behavior. TOP

Manifestations of the Family Secrets
Hidden just below this sinking feeling, deeper in the unconscious, is where the core wounds or Family Secrets reside. Below is a list of a few manifestations of chronic behavior acted out in daily life to hide the Family Secrets. However, these are not the actual 'root' causes, just yet.

When we need an excuse for being or feeling dumb, unacceptable, or less than a whole human being we may develop chronic:

Depression, Alienation, Self-Doubt or Isolating Loneliness Thrill Seeking, Death Defying Hobbies or Sports

Racism, Bigotry, & Hatred
Inferiority, Inadequacy, Worthlessness & Failure

Negativity, Moodiness or Blaming Colds or Flu's

Accident Proneness

Conspiracy, Argument, Fear or Propaganda Targets Unemployment or Being Fired Patterns
Multiple Marriages & Divorces Patterns

Compulsive Disorders, Perfectionism or Narcissism
Pattern's of Never Completing School, Projects, Plans or Promises

Paranoid & Schizoid Behavior
Jealousy, Rage, Suspiciousness and Doubt

When someone says to me, "I'm sick," I ask, "Sick of what?" The question asks the person a deeper question than do you have a stomachache, the flu or some chronic disease. The deeper inquiry is asking the person, "Do you know the answer to why you are manifesting sickness as a pattern? Do you know the underlying cause of the pattern? Do you know that when you finally find the true cause of the sickness pattern, the answer will reverse the syndrome and return you to good physical, mental and emotional health?" So, why do we avoid a healing solution?

The truth is, we have a powerful, vested interest in our chronic manifestations to

protect us from worse pain, even if they are hurting others or killing us. We are

willing to loose relationships, jobs, money, love, opportunity and many other valuable gifts of life, because of these deep unconscious, seemingly irreversible,

chronic patterns. The deep vested interest in our chronic patterns has worked so far, why look for something more?

Each of us has a set of chronic patterns that appear when we are under attack, stressed out or facing a perceived threat of which we are unable to cope. This

personal and family set of chronic behaviors is the acceptable, 'normal' path we learned in order to stay safe, in a some times unsafe family situation. This is our

reasoning and our excuse for not going deeper into the family's secrets.

I am not suggesting here that there are no techniques available and we just

choose not to use them. But, I will make a rigorous point that most practitioners

of the techniques are using a shotgun approach instead of a rifle. These are

good people with committed intentions to help us integrate our chronic patterns.
I have experienced physical, mental, emotional as well as spiritual therapies, and

alternative healing modalities, over the past 35 years. The conclusion I've

reached, in my early fifties, is hard core and relatively unique. It is the very standard I have used in my professional practice for almost two decades.

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"A therapy is no deeper, no more effective in reaching the core patterns of behavior in

relationships, than the therapist's personal relationship health with their spouse, children, boss, co-workers, waitresses, panhandlers, angry teenagers, mental patients, stranger or

any other acquaintance they might interact with in the world."

To sum up, we can only give to others what health we have in relationships with ALL others!

5. Sustaining And Nurturing Unproductive, Chronic Patterns
So, what is behind our vested interest in keeping chronic behavior patterns?

A metaphor, in the form of the story "Beowulf," gives us a symbolic description of

the misunderstanding surrounding a resolving of chronic patterns of behavior.

When our psychology only works with the 'natural' and 'normal wounds, we often

mistakenly awaken the 'Mother' of those wounds. She is only waiting patiently for the right opening to seek her revenge. If there is no next step beyond "feeling

better," more than likely the person will retreat and avoid further probing into their pain.

What it takes to dive down to those root causes of pain and resolve them for

good are heroic measures. By resolve, I am suggestion not an ending, but the

integration of the root cause of pain into our conscious awareness, instead of it

being hidden where it continues to act out. In the psyche, nothing dies. It is, either brought to the surface and integrated into consciousness, or it slips away

into the unconscious waters, to return unexpectedly to avenge it's lessor rival - US!

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The Story of Beowulf

Grendel, a monster from the deep, has repeatedly come ashore to slaughter the counselors & warriors of the Kings court.

Grendel is like next sickness, depression, adrenaline rush, promotion,

marriage, job, compulsion, vacation or jealousy that returns whenever we need to hide the family secrets. Grendel is a distraction.

The King was disparate to stop the bloodshed of his people. Finally, Beowulf shows up and gives Grendel a mortal wound by cutting off his arm. Grendel then slithers back into the water and fades away into the watery depths.

This is the business as 'normal' mode. When a major threat to our 'normal' raises its ugly head, like Beowulf s habit of cut and slice first,

ask questions later, our chronic behavior is used at the first sign of fear to cover up the problem. Yet, this chronic behavior, "our drug of

choice," always fails to solve the problem it for good. The fix is short lived and the shadowy Grendel returns over and over again.

For example, let's say the primary stressor in a family is Mary's career.

Mary works 12 to 16 hours a day at the company. With a husband and two kids, Mary is always stretched to the breaking point. Mary uses the

family priorities as the excuse for why she must work so many hours - the kid's college, their lifestyle and retirement. A monster (Grendel)

shows up repeatedly in the form of an exhausted immune system,

requiring several weeks of bed rest. She is abandoning the family while working and while recovering.

After much ceremony, gift giving to Beowulf (an ancient, magic, golden sword and armor) and grand speech making, life goes on as before with one difference. A heavy price has been paid for Grendel's destructive episodes.

Everyone is so happy that Mary is recovered and back to her old self. After all, it is what the family feels is 'normal' behavior. The heavy

price Mary's body pays for each burnout will over time add up to flame out, or the complete inability to function.

More victories over the King's enemies are fought, and peace finally returns to the Kingdom. With Grendel gravely injured or possibly even

dead, the warriors and members of the court laid down to a well- deserved sleep in the great hall.
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As Mary continues to add success to success at work, and the family accepts her absence for the safety created by her income. They are relieved that she is well again. Friends, family and co-workers take their rest after the crisis and dream of more happy times.

However, the court is unaware that the Mother of Grendel, armed with the power of the past deeds of her son, is stealthily approaching to seek revenge for his wounds inflicted by Beowulf. Savage in her grief, the monstrous ogress lays waste to the court as the men scrambled to fetch their swords. Once the Mother has felt avenged, she grabs a

man, who was deeply loved by the King, and returns to the watery escape.

Mary's body begins its silent revenge. Because everyone has become

complacent they don't see the signs of weakness becoming worse each day. Mary is unable to change her chronic behavior. Her false

notion that if she tries to bring moderation into her days, things will turn from bad to worse. She lets her guard down. Following many bouts

with her compromised immune system, Mary suffers with a sever case

of pneumonia. Mary's life force is draining back into the watery depths

of the unconscious. This may be the initiation required for her to begin

understanding the core wound that drove her to neglect her health. The part of her represented by the "man, who was deeply loved by the

King'" is the Original Child she lost when she was conditioned as a child.
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Beowulf, who slept in separate quarters, was summoned. After being told of the destruction by the Mother of Grendel, Beowulf heads out to

find the monsters den. At the place where the waters swirled with

blood, Beowulf dons the magic armor and sword and plunges into the water.

Now, deep in her illness, Mary's Higher Self comes to the rescue. This most often occurs when we have reached a state where we are ready to look at the raw origins of our chronic behavior patterns.

The monster Mother grabs Beowulf and brings him into her underwater den. Beowulf draws his sword, but his best attempt fails to penetrate the monster's flesh. She pins him and is about to strike a death-blow to Beowulf to avenge her son Grendel, when Beowulf sees a sword within reach, more ancient than his own, grabs the sword and with a true blow opens her neck. Beowulf brings the Mother's severed head to the surface and proceeds to the King's court to show off the trophy.

If Mary survives the pneumonia, it is possible she will bring to surface the Family Secret- Why she had to split her psyche to survive and become her parents 'normal' beliefs and behaviors. She may even begin to understand why she acts compulsively around work, neglecting her health and her family.

People make all kinds of crazy repetitious statements when their chronic behavior has damaging results. As we have seen, this to protect the family

secrets from being revealed. We can also hear them in the standard, repetitious

spoken phrases by others. Our own are much more difficult to hear or believe that they are anything but 'normal.' A prime indicator is when we hear a

caregiver says something to a child or another adult that does not solve the current problem.

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Family secrets are shame-based, hardwired wounds passed on in families from generation to generation. Examples may be:

"You'll do it because I'm your Father."
SECRET: The Father does not have a model for finding out what the child really needs, he is ashamed, so he repeats this statement when his options run out. His parents were also without a model. No caregiver is holding back a better model. Their best is always used, even if it does not work.

"It was good enough for me, it is good enough for our family." SECRET: The psyche is ingrained with the family 'normal' and cannot

step beyond the boundaries of what was learned. During stressful times caregivers make obvious their limited boundaries. Unconscious shame

^ \ is acted out by putting down the child's new idea or need. "You'll do it because I said so."

SECRET: Again, this shows that the Mother or Father does not know what to do next. There is no reasoning used, just a power play that frustrates both caregiver and child. So that the caregiver does not feel the family shame, it is projected onto the child. The child then carries the same shame based reaction to their children and the cycle continues.

"I give you a roof over your head and food in your belly, what else could you want from me?"
SECRET: The caregiver is unable to feel what's missing in themselves, the need to be seen, touched, reassured, and verbally & physically loved. Dad or mom is unaware of the child's simple need to be loved. Their shamed-psyche diverts the feelings of shame to the offspring, unaware of the consequences.

"We don't have money for you to keep up with your friend. They're a bunch of

jerks anyway."
SECRET: This caregiver lives in a scarcity consciousness. This is another

example of shame projection, i.e. onto the child's friends. In Mom and dad's model there is never enough money, time, love, value to give it away. The issue

is never about physical things, but always about being seen, understood and valued.

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6. Core Needs: To be seen, understood, chosen and valued.

Why are shame based, hardwired wounds so destructive? When the core needs (to be seen, understood, chosen and valued, through verbal, emotional and

physical means) are being demanded from the child, the caregiver either reacts or responds. When the caregiver has a hardwired model that know how to get

be seen, understood, etc., the child will be taught how to get their core needs met. If the caregiver never learned how to get their core needs fulfilled, the child will continue to act out in ways that upset the caregiver. In a stressful interaction with a child, the caregiver's split-psyche steps in and lays down the family law.

The caregiver's avoids feeling the shame-based pain locked away in it's unconscious by projecting the pain on the child. This is what we mean by shame-based families.

It is obvious that all children will develop negative

complexes from receiving the family shame. Yet, the focus of most therapy is on the client's complex.

The caregiver is seen as holding back love, concern, time, and resources, rather than the fact that the

caregiver could not give something that they never received.

Instead, therapists' need to focus on two important factors. First, that the caregiver never learned how to get core needs met.

Second, that if this is the case, the core needs will never be available from the

caregiver to give to the child. When the child grows to adulthood it needs to understand the truth that the caregiver did not hold back love, caring,

understanding or patience. The caregiver never received a model for them from their parents. Everyone needs to accept the fact that hardwiring, and the wounds

received along the way, are part of life. It was the way each family is wired, then each child was uniquely wired, and there is no changing this reality. However, the good and bad news is, that in every childhood wound there is a gift, and in every childhood gift there is a wound.

Our unique gifts are the talent, skill, attitude, patience, healthy relationship

model, education, perspective, spirituality, and abilities we developed BECAUSE of our wounds.

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7. Wounds Become Gifts
Here are some examples of gifts and wounds that are easy to see, yet

distressing if it is understood how these wounds repressed the child.
A boy is repeatedly told that he would never amount to anything. Any coaching

he had was the back of his Father's hand or an abusive stepfather. Overcoming all odds he may use this pain in later years to become a superstar on the basketball court; the President of a large corporation; an engineer who builds space craft; or he may become President of the United States of America.

The energy contained in the wound is often used as the motivating influence to excel some young men beyond any preconceived idea of success they held as children. The world around him says that it was his talent, good luck or fate that allowed him to succeed. The process of hardwired wounding says that he turned his rage into productive use.

A young girl repeatedly held back from expanding her horizons, because she was told her career was to get married, create a home, raise her children, and

she should count herself lucky. Late at night many years later, when she is

closing the books for the day on her multi-million dollar software company, she feels the pain of not being seen, understood and valued by her family. She also

troubled by her collage-aged daughter dating men who only see her as a

housekeeper. What really distresses her is her daughter's complete acceptance of this role.

Here the motivating influence of the wound has helped her expand beyond her

family wiring to build a successful corporation. She is out of the stereotype for women held by her family and culture. However, she is perplexed by the

daughters attitude, so opposite from hers. She is unaware of the psyche's ability to project hardwiring into the next generation. This is a very common story for

successful people today. What is meant by "success" in the world is not the same as "success" in a life of relationships.

In a household of old money, a boy is given everything he desires. The

caregivers have no limits, even to the point of bailing him out whenever he is in trouble. They are frustrated by their son's lack of stability and direction. When

the boy leaves home and marries, he is abusive to his wife and children. Never able to find peace, he is often traveling to distant places, getting into trouble and

calling his parents for a loan.
He hits bottom. A light turns on when he sees the need of an inner city gang. It

occurs to him why they act the way they do, even if it causes heartache for their families. The gang members are just trying to be seen as people, understood from their point of view and valued as potential contributors to their families and society. This is exactly what he was doing over the past decade. Starting from the bottom, he is able to get the community leaders to come together and begin building a youth center. He has never been so busy, nor has he ever been happier.

The obvious question is, "Would he have been sensitive to the gift of seeing what was missing at the core of each gang member, if he did not receive his core

family wounds many years earlier?" It could have gone many different ways, but a needy person is sensitive to the needy. As my own alcoholic Father said to me

in my late twenties, "Thanks for trying to be supportive, but true support comes best from fellow alcoholics." I got it, quit trying to cure him, and went forward

trying to cure my own wounds.

Many years later I have remembered this bit of wisdom of my Father. At the center of my consulting practice, friendships and marriage is the philosophy that

people are not defective. By defective I mean born evil. People are hardwired, wounded and limited in relationship skills. The betterment of our lives is gained

through understanding how this happened, why it happened and what each of us can do to use our wounds as springboard towards a more fulfilling life. Our

wounds show us what we don't want to become what we don't want to do and

how we don't want to be treated. However, without understanding the Core

Wounds, those deeper pains underlying our conscious awareness inherited from our families, there can be little free will to see the choices that always lay before

us.

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8. When Wounds Fester?

So, what about the majority who are not able to turn their wounds into gifts into

personal, professional, sport or community success? If a path works to turn a wound into a gift for one, why does it not apply to another who tries a similar

path? There are two reasons.

First, the sheer complexity and diversity of each person's unique hardwired,

wounding process. We all have some similar traits, but it is the unique combinations and nuances of wounds that set our course.

Second the lack of mentors in most people's lives. Mentors are people who love the same things we do - business, money, health, exercise, trains, Tupperware or books. Mentors never have all of their relationships figured out, they may even struggle harder than our own caregivers, but they SEE us. Mentors take the time to mine the wound nuggets and mold them into talent, self-confidence and pride. Exceptional mentors have had exceptional mentors. They have been

seen, understood, chosen and valued to some degree and they have passed it on to the next in line. There can be no fee for mentoring. Paying for love or

paying to be seen, understood, chosen and valued ends up in an empty wallet and with empty relationships.

In the wound transforming examples above, each of the people had met one or more significant mentors who saw them and continually pointed out their good

qualities. It may have been a teacher, coach, boss, stepparent, grandparent, or someone met by chance in a foreign land.

For those whose wounds did not lead to a mentor's doorstep, they find themselves surrounded with mirrors of themselves and those who agree on what's 'right' and 'normal.' The law of 'like attracts like,' and 'what we sow we

reap' is a reality. Whiners befriend whiners, naysayers chant with other naysayers, sour grapes people make sour grapes together, complainers

complain with complainers, zealots hang with zealots, revolutionaries fight other revolutionaries, and glass half full folks become thirsty with glass half full folks.

They may even be very successful in business, religious, political, restaurant, academic, scientific, therapeutic, or healthcare professionals. Yet, they fall short in the knowledge that will align them with the reason for life - relationships.

Spoken from the collective 'normal' viewpoint, we hear, "People are the result of their behavior. They have free will to modify it and make their life better.

Everyone has the same opportunity to choose success or failure, reward or punishment."

Theoretically I would agree that there is an innate part in us that has free will to

change circumstances. All over the world we have seen this use of will to make things better. Democratic government, shelters for victims of disasters and the down trodden, community action groups, the civil and human rights movements and benevolent foundations and non-profit organizations trying to make this a better world for all.

However, seen from the hardwired perspective presented here, we are not our behavior. We react to the environment and people around us from our

caregiver's model of 'normal,' not our own free will.

Natural and normal wounds, and to a greater degree our core unconscious wounds, set our life's course. There is no denying the value in the heart-felt

creation of organizations to help the needy. What is missing is the giving of what will sustain life - the tools that show how to be seen, understood, chosen and

valued by others. If the benevolent person who helps others is unable to have

deep, loving relationships with their spouses and children, they are only giving a small part of what people they are helping really need.

The adage, "Give a starving man a fish, and you have eased his hunger. Teach a him how to fish and you have erased his hunger" applies here. Said another

way, "Show a man you love him and you have eased his pain. Teach him how to love others and you have erased his pain."

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9. Personal Experience; Wounds Turned to Gifts
I have interacted with families, friends, clients, and countless people around the

world who struggle with their wounds in personal relationships. This also includes the masses, seen on television and read about in periodicals. People who desire to be valued for who they are, not as celebrities, but as regular human beings. I observed them acting out in ways that brought momentary attention, but just as quickly their bubble burst and they felt worst than before.

In my professional career as an Executive Coach, I have worked with thousands of top business people and their families. Success for them was measured at

work, not in the home. Most of them said they loved their wife's and children, but their obsession with success behavior, betrayed their words. Work relationships

are often difficult, but a piece of cake compared to miscommunications going on at home.

The problem "Why do wounds fail to turn into gifts?" has consumed me since adolescence. At that time I began to reflect on the world of relationships around me. In my own life I struggled with inner feelings, that when expressed, were often misunderstood or rejected. I could not understand why people attractive to me, looked at me as a threat or a nuisance. Why was I was unable to find someone who could understand my need to be chosen, selected as someone worthy of their love, respect and attention? I observed this same struggle in my parents & their friends, in siblings & their friends, in classmates, Army buddies, collage friends and professors.

It's not that we are without successful relationships and friendships some of the time. What became clear was that people were unable to articulate a model that

brought them healthy relationships all of the time. We are just too willing to write difficult people off as unacceptable and unworthy of our time. People readily

accept the collective idea that most relationships are iffy at best. You do what seem 'normal.' If it turns sour, move on to the next person.

Today, with the healthy relationship models developed from my quest, I have a worldwide network of acquaintances, co-workers, mentors, friends and a

wonderful marriage. In my fifties, I can look back and see that the wounds I received in childhood were behind the powerful inner drives to find out why

relationship communications were so problematical for most people. As Albert Einstein said, when asked about his achievements, "It's not that I'm so smart, it's

just that I stay with problems longer." Like Albert, who during his remarkable life was obsessed with finding a simple explanation for how the Universe works, I

have been attached to the question of, "Why are relationships so difficult." My

early childhood wounds, which left unfulfilled desire to be seen, understood, chosen and valued, turned into an odyssey to find the answer why this happens.

Daily experience showed me that it was not a common desire of adults to be in conflict. In fact all one needed to do was read romance novels, watch TV

sitcoms, documentaries & movies, and listen to the thousands of song about the desire to make love work, to see there is a deep longing for core needs to be

received. People love the tension of being 'right', yet longed for deep connection to other people. On the other side of the coin, to assure the psyche of the need

to be cautious, books, movies and songs are made and published daily that reveal the impossibility of healthy relationship. So, we are left a bipolar psyche

that says, "I need to be seen, understood, chosen and valued, yet this is impossible."

I will make a case that the bipolar coin is a gift to humankind as will as a wound. 


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