I remember that when I was ten or eleven years old, my mother and I saved money to be able to purchase, a Raleigh ten speed English “racing” bike from the bike shop.

The small bike that I learned to ride on, had the pedal break off a few years back and the man at the bike shop told me I would need a new bike.

I worked doing an evening paper route during the weekdays and a morning paper route on the weekends. My mom was a “single parent” and worked as an accountant in an office downtown. My mom gave me all the money she could, so I could have a new bike as soon as was possible.

We went to the bike shop and picked out the bike that fit me. The bike was a ten speed bike and the man in the shop said it would be wonderful to have for all the hills in San Francisco where we lived.

When we got the money to buy the bike we were so excited. The bike shop said they sold the last one in stock but we could pay for one and they would place an order for it from England. We paid for the bike and it was six weeks time before the bike shop called saying the bike had come in and they would need a few days to put it together before we could pick the bike up.  

My mom suggested that I ask my father to help me get the new bike home in his station wagon when he visited me on Saturday.

I was so excited when it was Saturday, I remember walking in the bike shop, knowing in a few minutes I would be riding the bike I thought about all the time. 

The men in the bike shop may have recognized me by my beaming smile. I saw smiles on the faces of all the men working behind the counter when I told them my name and asked them for my bike. The men working in the bike shop were already standing by a golden ten speed bicycle talking to each other and smiling. 

A man said in a loud voice, “Bob is here to pick up his new ten speed racer.”

I looked over the counter and I noticed they were looking right at me as they moved the golden Raleigh bike with white tape on the handle bars, towards me. “Bob, this Raleigh is the nicest bike we have had in the shop. This bike has the new top of the line derailleurs and it is a big upgrade from the red bike you saw before.” 

One man was moving the bike by holding the seat, another man brought the books that go with the bike, another was still shining the bike with a polishing cloth… as my bike moved, the light hit the chrome spokes…my bike was the most beautiful thing in the world.

A man opened the swinging wooden doors in the counter, so my new bike could come out to me. I touched the seat and handlebars.

The bike made a beautiful sound I had never heard before…. click click click click click click.

I had a playing card held with a clothespin on my old bike.

The sound of the Raleigh was like a fine clock, as I pushed the bike, a loud tick tick tick click click click…became a song and my heart danced.

One of the men said, “Bob do you like the gold color of your new bike?”

I was speechless. 

I was pushing my bike towards the front door. One of the men opened the door for me and I began running with my bike, the bike was so light and moved so easily.

I saw my father putting down the back door of the station wagon.

My father said, “I have no time, give the bike to me so I can put it in the station wagon.”

I handed my bike over to my father and just as he was almost to the back of the station wagon… my father turned around and smirked at me.

My father laughed and ran away from me, down the street with my bike.

My father jumped on my bike and looked over his shoulder glaring at me, laughing as he rode away.

My father entered Golden Gate Park.

It was not far ahead that he pulled away from me.

I could hear my father far away, he was still laughing.

I was standing in the same spot in the park when my father drove up and honked the horn,

“Come on Bob, get in the car!” I looked at the clock in the car, from the time we entered the bike shop, over an hour had passed.

 

I remember bringing the bike upstairs to the apartment where my mother and I lived.

I remember telling my mother that I would never be able to ride the bike.

“Oh my God Bobby, what happened?”

I told my mother I was not able to talk. I asked if I could be alone.

I put the bike in a storage room in the apartments. I didn’t look at the bike for over a year.

The first few months after I came home with the bike, my mother would just break out crying like someone close had just died.

I had no idea at the time that my mother had lost more than I did when I went numb.

My mother would ask if there was anything she could do to help, or if I might want to try the bike and maybe I would enjoy it?

My mother reminded me of what I had lost that day…and feeling my pain would make me physically ill.

I would get angry with my mom for “making me feel horrible”, when she would try to help me find my way back to life.

I loved my mom and hated being angry at her and I had no idea why I was angry at her.

I was numb most of the time. If my mother reminded me of who I was that day or how much I wanted the bike before…I would suddenly feel everything I buried…buried deep so my father could not smirk and mock me….suddenly the rage of having someone I loved betray me would rise up and over time I came to fear my emotions.

I could ride other bikes.

Friends would loan me an old junker they had. I loved bike-riding. I loved every bike but my own.

The same feeling I had about my bike I had about my own life. The bike was really a metaphor for my connection to self…a connection to my own heart, soul and God.

I stopped dreaming of things I hoped for and stopped appreciating the things I cared about.

I was miserable and would enjoy a diversion from the pain inside.

When I was a few years older, I was not imagining a sexy girl I would love. I wanted many girls. I did not want to care about someone and be hurt again.

I did not want to see how dark it was inside my heart…Eastern religions taught “non-attachment” and I told myself my pain was only because I had expectations. I was free to have “fun.”

I met someone wonderful and I thought I would be fine because I would not allow myself to fall in love. I was not able to have great physical intimacy with one person many times and not feel infatuated. When I had emotions I suddenly became frightened or jealous, because of my old fear I had developed, losing what I wanted and loved…. and it was the most horrifying feeling.

I remember a feeling that came up in me not long after I realized I was falling in love with someone.

The woman I was falling in love with invited me to see a lecturer that the people from her work were going to see. We both went to the event but in separate cars. I met the woman I cared so much about outside and we went in to the building together. The woman I was with sat next to her boss from work and I sat next to her.

I was introduced to her boss and then when the lecture began. I turned to the woman I loved and saw that her boss had put his arm around her. I remember thinking “she hates me putting my arm around her, it won’t be long before she throws his arm off!”

When the speaker announced the break for lunch, I realized her boss still had his arm around her shoulder.

I remember feeling fear of so much emotion and I just walked away.

I left the person because I felt awful inside. I realized later that the feeling I had was something I had that “not having ego or attachment” would not remove because I was going to want to be with someone I could love.

I decided I would do whatever it took to feel comfortable having emotions and I knew that meant I would need to heal my pain.

When I first started “my own work” I wanted to heal anything in my past that made me feel that I should be afraid to care about something or someone. I knew that I was happy and cared about things when I was young and I wanted to have that reconnected to my life so I could be happy again.

Object permanence is what we get when we have healthy bonding as a child. Object permanence is the sense we have of being valuable, wanted and needed… and it is also the feeling that we can have things that are ours.

Object permanence develops when we are heard and seen as an infant. We cry and are fed or changed and we smile and our parent smiles back. In this way we realize we get what we want and need effortlessly. It is a wonderful sense to have about ourselves.

I suddenly realized that I lost the object permanence I had, the day my father “stole my bike and enjoyed hurting me.”

I also realized that losing my feeling of object permanence was just a part of what happened to me that day because of my father’s abuse.

The worst of the problems occurred because I wanted to believe my father loved me.

In order for me to believe my father loved me, I had to place my father’s feelings over my own.

By not valuing my own feelings and making my father’s feelings about me, more important than my own feelings… I “took on” my father’s feelings about me and accepted them as my own feelings about myself. This is what people mean when they say someone has “internalized” the feelings of their abuser and become insecure as a result.

As I accepted the behavior of my father as “good for me because he loves me” I replaced what I understood to be love, with a new idea of what love was.

I became “blind” to real love and chased after the love of someone abusive.

I became blind to my fathers abuse, selfishness and narcissism too.

I had to see my father’s abuse for what it was, in order for me to feel safe having real love.

I realized the delusion that my father loved me…and blindness to my emotions during the neglect, betrayal of trust and abuse….created a wound inside me that I feared feeling or looking at.

I had given up on having good things for myself. I had relationships with women that were in their own words, way past jaded and angry…

The day I went numb because I lost my bike, I became lost myself.

I needed to feel the feelings and emotions I had blocked out about my father, in order to become myself again.

It was hard to feel my emotions at first but after feeling and honoring my emotions again, my connection to my heart was opened again.

I reconnected with all my emotions and felt compassion for myself for not being cared about and loved. .

When I could feel my emotions, I could feel and see what real love was and what it was not.

I got angry at my father’s selfishness and narcissism. After being upset about my father betraying my trust, I could see that my insecurity was created when my father took away the things that had meaning to me.

I had listened to the excuses my father had for not loving me… I would be loved but I never got love. I got angry and yelled and beat a plastic bat on whatever did not break.

I never realized before that my father was just telling me why other things meant more than me….

Being numb to my own emotions….allowed the fear of realizing my father did not love me, to take away all the chances I would have in the future of having real love.

I felt an insecurity that was created when my father’s feelings about me became more important than they should have. When I was angry at my father, I was also able to connect to the respect for myself I had before my father made me feel so small.

When I felt emotions about my abuse, I could separate my “fathers feelings about me”….from how I felt about myself. 

I worked to remember what hurt me and what was stolen from me, from the perspective of an “enlightened witness.”

When I could see the selfishness and narcissism of my father again, I could see what I had become blind to in other selfish and narcissistic people and not be fooled or taken advantage of.

I was my own judge and saw myself with eyes of love.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I decided I was going to be a better “father” to myself than the abusive father I had and care about myself.

I had compassion and love for myself that my father did not have for me.

What happened to the kid that got lost and was gone for years….right after his trip to the bike shop? I found him and rescued him!! That kid is me writing this blog…

I am that happy to tell you the I am the “Bobby” I once was before, and have been ever since.

I am happy to help others re-connect to the selves they lost too. How do empathic healers develop? We begin with compassion, respect and love for ourselves.

Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own pain and have worked to heal ourselves, can we be present with the pain of others and help them discover how they may allow healing and love for themselves. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity and have a way of opening our heart so that we can open another.

 

If I “won’t ride my bike” because of the memory of abuse related to my bike…I will avoid someone that is excited to tell me about their new bike. 

If I am angry because someone that I loved hurt me, I will avoid love. If someone talks about love I may avoid them too.

If I was abused and then abused for complaining, I may be frightened to look at my abuse. If someone else is being abused and feeling empathy for them makes me upset, I will avoid empathizing with them.

How could we ever heal the fear in the world that separates us if we do not heal ourselves?

 

EXERCISE SEVEN:

This exercise requires at least two people.

Part One:

Please take off one of your shoes and place in your shoe, where your foot hits the ground when you run, a small rock about the size of a pea.

The rock should be between your big toe and the arch of your foot in your shoe so when you stand it is uncomfortable but not painful.

Please ask the person helping you do the exercise, to experience a range of emotions. Ask the person helping you to feel the various emotions deeply.

Tell the person to focus on feeling the emotions more and not focus on expressing or acting the emotions out. This should take around five minutes.

After you are done with the exercise, you should both write the emotions you remember down and see if your lists resemble each other.

Intermission:

Take a small break so your foot is not hurting too much before starting again.

Part Two:

Place the small rock in the same place, in your shoe again.

This time take a few minutes to mask the pain from the rock as much as possible. You can do a meditation, N.L.P., positive affirmation… if you can, put the feeling of discomfort or pain from the rock out of your mind.

Do not place the rock in a more comfortable position, just try not to feel the rock.

This time make sure as best you can, not to let anyone know you have discomfort from a rock in your shoe.

Again have someone experience a range of emotions focusing on the feelings the emotions create in them and not focus on the expression of the emotions. Continue to conceal the pain of the rock, while the person is experiencing their emotions.

After about five minutes, both of you write down the feelings you remember the person having and compare lists.

Conclusion:

Compare your memory of the person’s emotions when you experienced your own pain and their emotions, versus your experience of their emotions when you were trying not to feel your own pain.

Empathy is begun in our body in a physical way and is related to us by our mirror cells. Mirror cells create a similar situation in our body, when we see someone’s body language and facial expressions.

This is why people can watch sports or dance and learn them and even grow stronger just watching others.

We actually feel how someone else feels, “in our own body” because of our mirror cells….”as long as we are feeling.”

If we are hiding our own pain or have become numb to our own feelings, we are much less in touch with our own experience of our own mirror cells.

Because of the lack of sensitivity to our own feelings, we have the same lack of sensitivity to other’s feelings as well.

Of course the best thing of all, if we want to feel another person’s emotions deeply, would be for us to remove the rock from our shoe.

Removing our pain, is quite different than masking our pain.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If we ever are frightened or made so sad about something we go numb, we may also have given up.

The numbness that kept us from feeling our fear….was too big for us at the time…so we stopped feeling.

If we do not have feelings about the memory of abuse now, the fear is still in our brain, altering us.

The healing we give our brain and soul when we associate emotions with the memory instead of withdrawal, will release us from the changes in our brain that cause our autonomic nervous system to keep us guarded, unable to experience deep relaxation, love and presence.

As our brain reconnects to our old emotions, we instantly become our whole selves.

A happy childlike life requires us to be a good parent and show our inner child we are safe now.

 

My work is different than traditional psychotherapy. My work is based on removing the conditioning from abuse.

The numbness we associate with a memory, may not belie the conditioned responses from past abuse.

“Distress” is created by old conditioning from abuse, that persists in our brain.

No matter how desensitized we become to abuse, the conditioning that abuse created will create distress for us.

When we rewrite the conditioning from abuse, we no longer have distress.

Our autonomic nervous system will give us a different experience of everything, when we rewrite the old conditioning, that separated us from ourselves and created a sense of vulnerability within us.

From the conditioning of neglect, betrayal and abuse, some things that would have made us comfortable now frighten us and some things that would have frightened us may now make us feel safe.

The sad part of conditioning from abuse is, no matter if we are upset by the abuse or not, the conditioning will make us less capable of creating neurotransmitters so we can experience love, relaxation, pleasure, creativity and health. The conditioning of abuse is also worse for our health than smoking.

What do I do when I rewrite conditioning?

The most important part of the work I do with people is to rewrite the response to a “preparation.” If we are discussing conditioning and we use the “light comes on and then there is a shock” example, the “preparation in the example” is the light coming on.

I rewrite the response to the “preparation” which is the light coming on. So for instance if we were upset and frightened to feel upset with someone we were frightened by, that “fear of being upset” is the preparation.

If we did something for ourselves and afterwards when we felt good, we got upset with the person that abused us, they may have hurt us for being upset with them. This is how we became conditioned to withdraw from emotions over time, so we would not be hurt.

The reluctance to experience wanting something special for ourselves, feeling someone’s love or feeling we can be ourselves and relax, are not something we may be conscious of. If we sometimes withdraw from the things we care about the most, it is because we have old conditioning that is still controlling our lives.

I am trying to help people have a life they can live happily “when the light comes on.”

I will be giving examples of specific ways to do various exercises, that can be modified to fit your particular needs in the future.

The work does not take a lot of time, we do need to connect to our emotions and feelings and then feel happy, relaxed and comfortable afterwards, to rewrite our conditioning.

From my personal experience, there is bad and good in everyone’s life. I know what the past was like, I want to have some hope of having it better in my future.

“Suddenly she realized that what she was regretting was not the lost past but the lost future, not what had not been but what would never be.”

― F. Scott Fitzgerald, A Nice Quiet Place.


Category: Brain Science

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