The Power of Nurturing Touch

“The analogy which often comes to mind for people who have been abused is the beaten dog: if an animal is continually mistreated, even though it wants to love its owner, and its natural instinct is to give unconditional love, the trauma will eventually become too much, and it will withdraw into its shell, ‘flinching’ when another human comes near it, whether that human is well-meaning or not”.

In my clinical practice I mostly work with people who have experienced emotional, physical and sexual abuse in childhood, which later leads them to become chronically ill. These early experiences create deep scars which need to be healed, which is not an overnight job.  Usually these people have tried many things before we meet.

I find there is a multi-level approach needed to heal such pain, including clearing emotional and physical trauma, reversing the perpetual ‘stress-fear’ response, learning how to manage people, (especially creating clear boundaries and saying no), learning how to put oneself first without guilt, selfcare, self love and more*.

Today I want to focus on just one aspect of this healing: nurturing physical touch.

When we have experienced physical or sexual abuse (and the emotional trauma which goes along with this), our body will store the memories and trauma in every cell. On a mind-body level we may feel it is no longer safe to be touched, because touch in the past equaled pain.

For example, if a child was often hit, but never experienced loving, nurturing touch, the body-mind will ‘equal touch with pain’ and create a ‘guard’ against further touch. This is part of the body’s natural self-preservation system, whose role it is to protect us and keep us alive.

Until the trauma is healed and cleared, the body will automatically and instinctually do its best to protect us from further pain or damage in a number of intelligent ways.

These instinctual, auto-responses will manifest for example:

  • in ‘flinching’ if anyone comes near you or touches you
  • an inability to ‘reach out’ to others for support
  • feeling uncomfortable reaching out to touch others, even in a non-sexual way
  • keeping people at a distance emotionally
  • not feeling safe around others, always feeling on edge
  • being defensive and ‘prickly’
  • living alone because it feels safer
  • not having relationships
  • fear or discomfort with sexual intimacy

I can personally attest to being an expert in many of these protective strategies!

The analogy which often comes to mind when thinking of people who have been abused is the beaten dog: if an animal is continually mistreated, even though it wants to love its owner, and its natural instinct is to love, the trauma will eventually become too much, and it will withdraw into its shell, ‘flinching’ when any human comes near it, whether that human is well-meaning or not.

And so it is with us humans. We can only tolerate so much pain and abuse. As a child, without support or protection from the very people who are charged with looking after us, eventually we will create our own strategies for survival. Whilst these strategies may serve us at the time short-term, long-term they can create problems, including aloneness, isolation, unhappiness, depression and sickness.

I worked with a client a while back who had been horrendously abused in childhood. Both parents were mean, cruel, unkind and distinctly unloving. His mother would constantly put him down, humiliate and chastise him, making it abundantly clear she had no interest in giving him the loving attention he needed to feel worthy and develop healthy self-esteem, self-love and self-belief. His father would come into his room at night, haul him out of bed and throw him around the room like a rag doll. I felt sick to my stomach when I heard his story, although this type of story is quite common. Even though we can understand that people behave in this way out of their own unhealed childhood pain, it still leaves us having to deal with the consequences.

It was no surprise to me that as an adult, despite being well educated, above average intelligence and trained as a medical doctor, he found himself homeless, penniless and unable to work with severe chronic fatigue. Through working together he learned to recognize that this parental treatment was not normal or healthy, and that holding in the pain from the past had led his body to become ill. Within 6 months, through learning selfcare strategies and emotional healing techniques, his body reversed many of the symptoms and he was well enough to get on with his life.

But coming back to our theme of nurturing touch – at some point we are going to want to go beyond our old protection strategies, and one of the most safe and effective ways to do this is through receiving loving, nurturing, non-sexual touch from someone we feel safe with and trust.

All humans need loving, nurturing touch. It’s an essential need, and if it is neglected, or even worse, we receive abusive touch, we will create compensatory habits to protect us from further emotional or physical abuse.

“Many people who experienced emotional, sexual or physical abuse as a child will find themselves in unhealthy or dysfunctional partner relationships as an adult if they have not cleared the original trauma. For example, they may find themselves being sexually promiscuous because getting attention sexually is the only way they know how to get any attention at all”. 

Interestingly enough, many people who experienced emotional, sexual or physical abuse as a child, and therefore did not receive enough caring, loving touch, will find themselves in unhealthy or dysfunctional relationships as an adult if they have not cleared the original trauma. Such is the deep and natural desire to receive human love – we will do whatever we can to receive it.

For example, they may find themselves being sexually promiscuous because getting attention sexually is the only way they know how to get any attention or touch at all.

Or they may find themselves in an unhealthy relationship where they are treated by their partner the same way they were treated by their parents – ie, they are hit, put down, humiliated, punished, undermined etc. This comes about for many reasons (too many to list in this article) and have to do with a feeling of familiarity with this type of treatment, not feeling deserving of anything better, not knowing any better and the energetic attraction through ‘the law of attraction’ to an equally dysfunctional partner.

So what is the way out of this unhealthy pattern of abusive or lack of loving touch?

In my experience, despite the importance and necessity of cognitive emotional clearing therapies, in order to fully heal the physical trauma of loss of healthy touch or physically abusive treatment, we must experience loving, nurturing, healing touch as an adult. In other words, the very thing we have been avoiding (loving touch) is the very thing our body most needs to bring itself back into complete harmony.

One of the reasons we need this type of touch in order to heal is because much of the abuse we experienced happened at a pre-cognitive age. When we originally experienced the trauma, we were too young to speak or think, but just because these faculties were not developed does not mean the pain was not registered inside our body. Indeed it was – at an emotional, energetic, cellular, body level.

These experiences create what is called a ‘limbic imprint’ which is set up in the brain and memorized unconsciously. These limbic imprints can even be set up in the womb and during traumatic birthing experiences. Just because we don’t consciously know they happened does not mean they did not happen or are not there. The body remembers everything!

In order to fully heal, our body needs to be ‘re-programmed’ into experiencing the very thing which was lacking: safe, loving, nurturing touch.

But how do we get this if we are alone, partner-less, afraid to be near people, or in a toxic relationship where we are experiencing even more unhealthy touch?

I’ve found the best way is to find a bodywork practitioner who you feel safe with and explore what it feels like to be touched safely and lovingly in a non-sexual way. It’s not so much the particular therapy which is important here, but rather the ability of the practitioner to be able to understand this theme and give this type of safe, loving touch.

There are many other ways we can rebuild this trust within ourselves, including self-love practices, self care, healthy boundaries and more, but receiving safe, loving touch from another human is absolutely essential, because there is nothing that can substitute caring physical human touch which can only be received from another human being.

Sometimes it can be as simple as someone putting their hand on your back over your heart area. Interestingly enough, this is one of the few areas on our body we cannot reach ourselves – the back of the heart. Try it! Have someone put their hand on your back over your heart area and experience what it feels like. And then do the same for them, because you will know how good it feels!

If it has been your experience and you are still not receiving, enough loving touch, I encourage you to explore healing this way. It can be life-changing and literally give you your life back.

Kim 🙂

www.kimknighthealth.com 

* See my free program ‘9 pillars of health mastery’ which explains these different approaches in more detail.

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The power of en-courage-ment to heal

This weekend a friend told me he doesn’t ever recall being encouraged by family or even many friends. It’s a sad and common truth which many people experience, including most of my clients, and which I can unfortunately relate to myself.

In fact, in my experience, the habit of encouragement is such an important part of wellbeing and health, it’s worth a blog to itself.

So what makes the act of encouraging others so important?

The clues are in the etymology (meaning):

According to the English dictionary ‘encourage’ means to ‘give support, confidence, or hope to (someone)’.

We will have more clues however if we look at the French dictionary. Encourage has its origins in Old French ‘encoragier’, to ‘make strong or hearten’. Encoragier comes from the word ‘coeur’ which means ‘heart’ in French. When we encourage someone we literally ‘lift their heart’, the seat of the Soul or Spirit.

The act of encouragement is so vital for physical, mental and emotional wellbeing that not receiving enough can leave us with rock-bottom self-esteem, self-worth and self-belief.

The act of encouragement is so vital for physical, mental and emotional wellbeing that not receiving enough of it can leave us with rock-bottom self-esteem, self-worth and self-belief.

In turn, deep unconscious feelings of ‘I’m not good enough, I don’t deserve’ (happiness, success, abundance, to be loved etc…) lead to dis-ease as a direct result of unhealthy behaviours and lifestyle habits which stem from these core limiting beliefs.

For people who are chronically sick, they have often endured a lifetime of criticism, judgement, punishment and abuse, all of which are the direct opposite of encouragement.

When we are criticized, chastised, humiliated and put down by others, (often the very people who were charged with our wellbeing, ie parents, caregivers, teachers), we come to believe we are unworthy and ‘bad’. We become ‘dis-heartened’ and ‘dis-spirited’ , which leads to hopelessness, helplessness and despair, which turn into anxiety, depression and even illness.

When we are encouraged, we feel ‘light-hearted’, optimistic, positive, hopeful and self-confident. We trust in our ability to navigate our way through life.

By contrast, when we are encouraged, we feel ‘light-hearted’, optimistic, positive, hopeful and self-confident. We trust in our ability to navigate our way through life. We feel we can cope and manage the challenges which come our way. We feel that people around us will support us in times of need, and that we can ask for help. If we grow up without encouragement, our heart is literally ‘broken’ because it’s ‘soul-destroying’.

I cannot emphasize enough the importance of encouragement for health and happiness. If we have grown up without it, and even worse experienced the opposite, we will also find it difficult to encourage ourselves; instead we may be quite hard on ourselves, always putting ourselves down, comparing ourselves to others, beating ourselves up… It’s not a pretty sight (in our mind), but it’s what we’re used to, because it’s what we experienced growing up and it’s what we know. It’s familiar. 

So what is the way out?

As always the number one step is AWARENESS. Becoming aware of what is, whether that be recognizing the lack of encouragement, or our own self-defeating habits and behaviours.

The number one rule for recovering from unhappiness and chronic illness is self care. We have to give to ourselves what we never received.

The next step is SELF-LOVE and SELF-CARE. In fact the number one rule for recovering from chronic illness is self care. We have to give to ourselves what we never received. This is no easy task, because initially we don’t even have the neural pathways in our brain to know what love, care and encouragement are.

And we have to learn how to RECEIVE. We have spent so long protecting ourselves from receiving love because of the pain of rejection which led us to close our hearts, that we don’t know how to receive positive attention, including love and encouragement. As we say in Tong Yuan (Creating a Barrier-Free Heart) ‘it’s an art to love, and it’s an art to be loved’.

And we have to learn how to praise ourselves. I call this SELF-APPRECIATION. We have to learn how to appreciate who we are, just for being alive, and recognize our achievements. We must practice this daily.

When I work with clients, they learn all of this: they learn how to recognize past pain and clear it. They learn how to appreciate and love themselves in practical, tangible ways. They learn how to put a stop to continuing unfair treatment from others. They learn how to put themselves first without feeling guilty. All of this can be learned, and we must do this if we never learned to do it when we were children. I also encourage my clients a lot!

One of the ways I help people re-learn encouragement is by teaching them a daily meditation called ‘Tong Yuan’. Tong Yuan is a Chinese term which means ‘create a barrier-free heart’.

When we are hurt in the past, we automatically and unconsciously (energetically) ‘close’ our hearts  to protect from further hurt. A closed heart prevents us from experiencing and receiving love. It also perpetuates the lack of trust and fear which has built up inside us. The way out is to open the heart back up so we can experience what are called the ‘5 essential qualities of the heart: trust, openness, love, gratitude and respect. 

There are many ways to open the heart back up, but practicing Tong Yuan is a safe, easy, practical and efficient way to do so. It’s a daily practice which one can use for the rest of one’s life to keep building love, trust and self-awareness.

Whatever method you choose, the most important thing is to reverse the damage that a lack of encouragement has created. It’s also essential to have patience, because this is not something which changes overnight. But with persistence we can re-build courage and love in our heart.

Bon voyage!

If you want to learn more about Tong Yuan and how to open your heart check out the following links”

Introductory Tong Yuan program

Full Tong Yuan program

All Kim’s online DIY programs

www.kimknighthealth.com

 

Healing the scars of narcissism and emotional abuse

Whoever said ‘sticks and stones can hurt my bones, but words can do no harm’ obviously never grew up with a narcissistic parent.

Words cut deep.

Verbal and emotional abuse cuts to the core. It hurts. A lot.

Every time a supposedly loving parent (and later in life – friend, colleague, partner…) puts you down, humiliates you, shames you… you feel like you just got stabbed in the heart again… and again… and again…

It’s emotionally devastating and mentally exhausting.

It’s the reason why people end up with rock-bottom self-esteem and self-worth.

It’s also why people end up chronically sick.

I know, because I was one of those people.

Often when we grow up with a narcissistic parent or caregiver, because experiencing neglect or abuse was the norm, we did not know any different.

I’ve spent many years climbing back out of the hole of depression, chronic illness and low self-esteem which resulted from childhood emotional neglect and psychological abuse. It’s not a fun job, and at times it feels like it’s a journey which will never end.

The key, I have found, is in claiming back one’s power, one’s birth right to be happy and fully self-empowered. It’s about finding the inner strength which was taken away.

So how do we do this?

Well, first of all we have to recognize (re-cognize) that the abuse happened. The first step is always awareness.

Often when we grow up with a narcissistic parent or caregiver, because experiencing neglect or abuse was the norm, we did not know any different. It can take years to recognize what really happened and often that recognition comes when we find ourselves in a similar relationship as an adult. This is because whatever is not resolved from childhood will turn up again and again in adulthood until we get the lesson and can move on.

“It’s perfectly normal to want and need to be loved. But it’s the right type of love which is important. Unhealthy, dysfunctional ‘love’ is not love at all – it is unhealthy craving and attachment coming from a place of lack and fear”.

For me the recognition came when, through the law of attraction, I found myself in an abusive relationship at the age of 28.

Initially he was very nice, very charming (a classic sign of a manipulator). But once the ‘honeymoon’ period was over (not that there really was a honeymoon), another side of his personality started to reveal itself.

It was literally like living with Jekyll and Hyde. But because I had grown up with a similar dynamic, I could not see that there was something very wrong with his behaviour, and tolerated it for some time, my brain feeling totally confused over what was right or wrong. (Being confused is another classic sign that something is not right, but we don’t know how to discern healthy behaviour from unhealthy abuse).

A classic sign of managing abusive people is we always want to give them another chance, because our naturally empathic nature wants to be loving and fair.

One part of me (the gut and heart) kept on telling me ‘this doesn’t feel right’ whilst another part of me (the head) made excuses for his nasty comments and selfish behaviour. It was just my Mother playing out all over again, so I was used to it. The fact that my body was so stressed in his presence and wasn’t getting any proper sleep didn’t help. No-one can function on 3 hours broken sleep a night.

So for some months I tolerated the abuse, one minute thinking “I’m going to leave”, the next rationalizing (‘rational-lies’) to myself “Oh, he’s got a lot on his plate, I’ll give him another chance” (another classic sign of managing abusive people – we always want to give them another chance, because our naturally empathic nature wants to be loving and fair).

I was in an abusive relationship, and I had had no idea! If no-one had pointed it out or told me, I would never have known!

Fortunately the universe knew I needed help. I was in the library one day and whilst browsing the shelves a book literally, as they say, ‘jumped off the shelf’ at me: ‘Men who hate women and the women who love them’.

I opened the book up, and the chapter heading said ‘Jekyll and Hyding’. It started to describe the Jekyll and Hyde-like behaviour of emotionally abusive people: how one minute they will be nice as pie, and the next totally obnoxious and venomous. It was like I was reading my life in this book. I checked it out and devoured every page.

I continued to make excuses (rational lies) for his Jekyll and Hyde behaviour – there was always a reason to justify the angry outbursts, sullenness and nastiness.

It was as if I was the person in the book. Finally there was an explanation for what was going on in my life. Everything became crystal clear. I was in an abusive relationship, and I had had no idea! If no-one had pointed it out or told me, I would never have known!

Even so, I carried on in the relationship for a while, not really knowing what to do (another classic sign of getting out of an abusive relationship: we tolerate it far beyond the time we should walk away). I was freshly arrived in New Zealand and had no friends (another classic sign of a manipulator – they isolate their prey – I hope you’re taking stock of all these tips!). The prospect of moving out and getting on with my life by myself in a new country was scary.

In any abusive relationship there will at some point come a time when this last straw moment happens. It can often be something quite innocuous.

I continued to make excuses (rational lies) for his Jekyll and Hyde behaviour – there was always a reason to justify the angry outbursts, sullenness and nastiness. Often I would think to myself ‘I’m going to move out’, and then I’d find myself giving him another reprieve.

Then one day the ‘final straw moment’ happened. In any abusive relationship there will at some point come a time when this last straw moment happens. It can often be something quite innocuous. And so it was for me.

I came home on a Friday afternoon after a long week at work to find him washing the dishes after cooking his dinner. At the time I was earning for us both while he set up a new business. I couldn’t believe it. He had made himself dinner and not thought about cooking for me. It was the last straw.

Dysfunctional relationships tend to be very ‘sticky’. There’s a sticky energy which keeps the two dysfunctional parties together, and it’s not so easy to disentangle oneself.

Calmly and silently in my mind I decided I would move out. The next day I looked in the paper, found a place, and announced I was moving out.

His only words were “So, you’ve had enough then?”. Ha! So he really had known what he was doing!

Even though I moved out within a few days, it did take some time to completely extricate myself from the relationship because dysfunctional relationships tend to be very ‘sticky’. There’s a sticky energy which keeps the two dysfunctional parties together, and it’s not so easy to disentangle oneself.

For months he begged me to come back, promising he would change although he never did (another classic sign of a narcissistic personality: even after visiting a counsellor for one session he declared the counsellor had told him he didn’t have any problems).

It took every ounce of strength to walk away, because the part of me inside that had never been fully loved was just desperate to receive love and attention, even if it was unhealthy, dysfunctional love.

Wow, he was good at pulling the wool over peoples’ eyes. Abdicating any sense of personal responsibility for inappropriate behaviour is another classic sign of a narcissist. They just don’t want to admit any part or responsibility in what is going on, and will usually turn the ‘fault’ or blame around on others.

Finally an invitation back to the UK for a wedding drew me far enough away (you can’t get much further than the other side of the world) to be able to start creating very clear boundaries and find the strength to fully say ‘no’.

I remember sitting on the phone as he begged me to come back. It took every ounce of strength to say ‘no’, because the part of me inside that had never been fully loved was just desperate to receive love and attention, even if it was unhealthy, dysfunctional love.

This is what keeps so many people stuck in emotionally dysfunctional relationships: our human need to be loved.

It’s perfectly normal to want and need to be loved. But it’s the right type of love which is important. Unhealthy, dysfunctional ‘love’ is not love at all – it is unhealthy attachment coming from a place of lack and fear.

When I work with clients I take them through an ‘emotional needs audit’ to measure how much these essential childhood needs were met (or not) in childhood. Usually if someone experienced childhood neglect and abuse, the score will be very low, along with rock bottom self-esteem and self-worth. Fortunately this can all be turned around, with commitment, desire and dedication.

The 3 steps to getting out of an emotionally abusive relationship

Experiencing authentic love and care is a basic human need. When we experience emotional, psychological or verbal abuse as a child, it erodes our sense of self, self-value, self-belief, self-worth… all the healthy ‘selves’.

So step one of getting out of an abusive relationship is awareness of what is really going on.

Step two is doing something about it.

This is when we have to put up boundaries, say no, stop tolerating the behaviour, and if necessary, if nothing improves and the situation is not resolved, move on.

Step three is refilling our emotional needs and learning to love ourselves again. This takes time.

Our solar plexus is where we energetically ‘attach’ to our parents. We literally have invisible ‘chords of energy’ connecting us from our solar plexus and / or heart. Once it’s time to extricate ourselves from these toxic relationships, these chords must be cut.

Experiencing authentic love and care is a basic human need. When we experience emotional, psychological or verbal abuse as a child, it erodes our sense of self, self-value, self-belief, self-worth… all the healthy ‘selves’.

Instead we end up with low self-confidence, self-doubt, shame, guilt, uncertainty, frustration and fear. It’s not a pretty sight, and it affects every part of our life because it sits so deep inside us.

One of the classic end-results of such a childhood is that we feel dis-empowered – a victim of life. This is intimately connected with our solar plexus, our power centre. Our solar plexus is not only a brain in itself (gut brain), with a complex ganglion of nerves and gathering of neurons, it is also where we energetically ‘attach’ to our parents (and other people in our life).

We have to re-build self-love and self-empowerment. These are two absolute essentials if we want to restore ourselves to our true self, to the part of us which we disconnected from and gave away as a bargaining chip for love.

We literally have invisible ‘chords of energy’ connecting us to other people either from our solar plexus and / or heart. When we have experienced abusive or dysfunctional relationships, once it’s time to extricate ourselves from these toxic relationships, these chords must be cut. This is another process I lead clients through called ‘cutting the ties that bind’.

So we have to re-build self-love and self-empowerment. These are two absolute essentials if we want to restore ourselves to our true self, to the part of us which we disconnected from and gave away as a bargaining chip for love. Not that we can ever give away our true self, because it is who we innately are. So really we have to re-find our true self and reconnect with that part.

All of this is possible with commitment, perseverance and dedication. But we have to be ‘in it for the ride’, which means we have to keep going when it gets tough, which it will do, because those old feelings and beliefs of low self worth, lack of  self-belief etc will keep rearing their heads.

This often will happen if we are still in contact with the people where the original dynamic was set up: our parents (or caregivers). If they do not change, our ‘buttons’ will be pushed when we interact, because they are behaving the same as when we were a child.

Even as an adult it takes great courage to be strong in the face of controlling or abusive parents, because deep down inside there is still a part of us that wants their love, wants their acknowledgement and positive attention. But if they are not going to change, at some point we have to take it upon ourselves to walk away, be strong, stand up for ourselves and believe in ourselves.

That inner strength is to be found in the heart and gut, especially the gut, our power centre. Finally at some point we have to feel strong enough to stand up and proclaim “I’m good enough, I deserve love, and I’m enough as I am”.

It’s not easy, but we have to finally and fully separate ourselves from those people who, because of their own unresolved painful pasts, cannot love themselves or others. We have to stop allowing ourselves to be held back by the pain and people of the past, and claim our right to happiness and success.

It’s all possible, with commitment and perseverance.

Summary of classic signs you may be on the receiving end of emotional abuse:

  1. When we grow up with a narcissistic parent or caregiver, because experiencing neglect or abuse was the norm, we did not know any different. It can take years to recognize what really happened and often that recognition comes when we find ourselves in a similar relationship as an adult
  2. The abuser is initially very charming. They are also often charming with other people and totally different (mean) to you. This leaves you feeling confused because other people can’t see what you see and don’t believe you when you say you are not being treated well.
  3. Feeling confused over their behaviour: your heart and gut don’t feel right, but your head rationalizes (rational lies) away their behaviour and makes excuses for them
  4. You feel stressed and walk on eggshells most of the time
  5. You can’t sleep because your body can’t switch off the stress response in their presence
  6. You keep giving them ‘just one more chance’
  7. It’s like living with Jekyll and Hyde
  8. It’s hard to extricate yourself even when you want to, or even after the relationship has ended, because of the ‘sticky’ dysfunctional energy between the two of you
  9. You are afraid no-one will love you if you leave
  10. If you feel something isn’t ‘right’, and say so, they will turn it around and make you ‘wrong’, leaving you feeling confused and doubting your inner feedback

If you need help dealing with or getting out of a verbally or emotionally abusive relationship, get in touch, it’s my speciality!

Or check out some of my DIY online self-empowerment programs.

I truly wish you an empowered, love-filled life.

www.kimknighthealth.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Worry – Negative Imagined Reality

‘A lot of the time our thinking is ‘imagined reality’. For many people this imagined reality is more negative than positive, and can become more real than reality itself!’ Kim Knight
Many, even most, people are not aware that they ‘worry’. They ‘think’ their ‘thinking habit’ (worry) is normal… when actually the mind is not designed to do nearly as much thinking as they ‘think’ is ‘normal’!
Our mind (or head brain) is a tool to be used, if and when we need to, for certain functions, such as coming up with creative solutions, analysing data, making meaning of information, and when we don’t need to use it, it’s meant to be ‘quiet’ – sort of ‘offline’.
I used to be the biggest worry-wart ever. I never knew I was ‘over-thinking’, and that I didn’t need to. I also never knew that it is possible to stop worrying, even if circumstances in our life are not going the way we want them to go. In other words, even if life on the outside is not looking to great, we can control how we feel on the inside, which in turn affects and improves the circumstances on the outside! This means we have much more control over our life than we may previously have thought!
I also didn’t know that worry is a mental habit, rather than an emotion, which needs curbing asap if we want to feel happy and healthy.

Is it real or is it just all in your mind?

Worry is ‘mentally rehearsing what we don’t want to happen’, without even realizing (most of the time) that we’re even doing so!
According to research, we have 60,000 – 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot!

So how aware are you of these 60,000 thoughts?

  • Could you count them if you tried?
  • What goes on in your mind?
  • Are your thoughts positive?
  • Negative? Happy? Sad? Angry?
  • Churning? Making you sick to your stomach?
 Is your mind mostly focused on positive outcomes and scenarios inside your head, which make you feel uplifted, peaceful, free, at ease, happy?
Or does your mind dwell on ‘worst-case-scenarios’ of what could go wrong, the worst thing that could happen, the terrible things your friends might say to you, fear of what your Mother thinks of you, fear of what your boss or colleagues might say to you, what your bank manager might tell you…?
A lot of the time our thinking can be ‘imagined reality’ – and for many people this imagined reality is more negative than positive, and can become even more real than reality!

Actions have consequences

This imagined reality, even though it’s in your head, is going to have consequences, for a number of reasons:
  • Negative thinking leads to negative emotions like doubt, fear, anger, sadness, panic and more.
  • Thoughts create feelings and feelings create thoughts. Negative feelings are not pleasant and beget more negative feelings in a vicious, downward spiral. This, as you are going to see, has negative consequences in your body.
  • Thoughts are real and create reality because ‘energy follows thought’. Just because you cannot ‘see’ your thoughts does not not make them real. (People experiencing NDE’s (near death experiences) have described how they actually can see their thoughts as ‘thought forms in the ethers. Annie Besant and CW Leadbeater explain the structure of thought forms in detail in their book ‘Thoughtforms’)
  • We live in a world which is ruled by universal laws. One of those laws is the law of ’cause and effect’ which means that actions have consequences. Thoughts are a form of ‘action in the mind’. What you think can become real.
  • Negative thoughts and feelings create a change in our physical chemistry. ie, they change our cells, hormones, tissue and organ function. Quite literally.
From my personal experience, the two biggest reasons to stop negative thinking (worry, worst-case-scenario thinking, imagined reality etc), is because:
  1. Thoughts can become reality (so do you really want all those fearful thoughts to become real?)
  2. Negative thoughts create a cocktail of toxic hormones and secretions inside your body, which can lead to sickness
This is not some flowery hype. This is real. Negative emotions and negative thoughts create toxic chemicals in your body. I cover this in depth in my ‘Smile your way to Inner Peace’ meditation series, where you learn how to dissolve toxic emotions from the internal organs.

Emotions and Organs

Yes, emotions get stuck in the organs, and affect the physiological, biological functioning of those organs!
In particular worry affects the stomach, spleen and pancreas, which according to Chinese medicine work together as a unit. This is why we say things like ‘I was sick with worry’ or ‘my stomach was tied up in knots’.
When we worry our Qi (life force / energy) gets tied up in knots, which stops the stomach functioning in a normal, healthy way. This can lead to digestive issues such as IBS, poor digestion, poor metabolism, nausea, even vomiting. It almost always leads to anxiety, which is a combination of a mental, emotional and physiological state.
So the habit of worry affects our mind (thinking), emotions (feelings) and body (physiology).
  • So why do we worry?
  • Why do we over-think?
  • Why do we dwell on what we don’t want rather than what we do want?
  • Why do we spend so much time on imagined reality in our head, re-hashing conversations which did happen, or imagining conversations which might happen (but probably won’t)?
There are reasons for this, which I explain in my free training video ‘How to be worry free’ which you can catch at the bottom of this page.
In this training I explain:
  • Why worry isn’t an emotion (as most people think)
  • The 2 main causes of worry
  • How and when the worry habit is set up
  • Why worry is connected to what happens to us in childhood
  • How we can learn to stop the worry habit
  • and much more
You can also check out my ‘Worry-Free-Me’ online program which teaches you how to stop worrying in 30 days.
For a full list of online DIY transformation health programs see kimknighthealth.mykajabi.com

Giving your troubles to Mother

“The most important role model for a child is the same sex parent” – Dr Phil

As an emotional intelligence therapist, I tend to mostly work with women (and a few men) who have experienced childhood emotional abuse, neglect, and emotionally absent parents.

One of the core problems if you’ve grown up with emotionally absent or abusive parents is that your emotional needs have not been fully met, or have not been met at all. But the problem is you don’t even know this because you were just used to what you experiencedit was your norm.

So for example you don’t know as a child that it’s not normal to feel afraid all the time, to be on tenterhooks and walking on eggshells, waiting for the next shoe to drop, argument to break out, or punishment to be meted out.

You don’t realize when you’re growing up that it’s not normal to lie in bed at night, feeling alone, isolated, afraid and confused, and that there’s something wrong with not being able to reach out or run to Mummy or Daddy for a comforting hug.

It’s usually not until we hear stories of what life was like for other people, our friends, colleagues… that we see how radically and fundamentally different our life was, and how actually what we experienced was not normal or healthy at all. 

And it’s often only later in life, when chronic unhappiness and illness set in, that the end-results of the dearth of nurturing make themselves known.

So here are a few questions for you  to help determine if you did, or didn’t, receive a healthy level of nourishing love:

  • When you were a child, how normal and safe was it for you to run to your parents when you felt upset, hurt, angry, disappointed?
  • How often did you get swept up in your parents arms to be kissed and cuddled and told you were gorgeous, beautiful, adorable?
  • How easy was it for you to run to your Mother with whatever upset you or you were experiencing to be held lovingly and told ‘everything’s going to be OK’?

Or did you experience a childhood where you:

  • Kept to yourself, held everything inside, because there was no point going to Mummy – she would just brush you aside, chastize you, shout at you, even punish you?
  • Lie in bed at night holding your teddy bear for comfort because that was the only thing you could hug and would hug you back?
  • Talk to your pets and love them with all your heart because they listened, and they didn’t judge you or be mean to you?
  • Crammed sweets and savouries down your throat every time you got upset because they made you feel better, comforted and safe?

Do you often wonder in awe as an adult, as you walk around the supermarket, and watch parents lovingly pick their children up or speak to their children with gentleness and kindness, and think to yourself ‘Wow, I wish I had been treated like that‘?

The ability to be able to run to our parents for nurturing and consolation is one of the most important needs for a growing child.

Without it we grow up feeling isolated, afraid, lonely, finding it difficult to ask for help, afraid to share our feelings with others, afraid to speak our truth, afraid to be happy, and much more than this.

With it we grow up feeling safe, nurtured, supported, able to move out into the world feeling strong and full of authentic self esteem and self value.

What to do now you’re grown up?

So what to do if you did grow up with a dearth of nurturing and love, and now it’s up to you to provide it and find it for yourself?

Well, for a start, do yourself a favour and don’t get into a dysfunctional relationship where you’re craving to get the love you never got from your parents, from a partner who can’t give you what you want, usually because they didn’t get it either when they were growing up.

By this I don’t mean you are not going to find, or shouldn’t find, a truly loving partner who will love you in a healthy way. What I mean is that when we didn’t get our needs met as a child, later on in life, if we don’t heal these unmet needs, we tend to unconsciously gravitate towards another adult who cannot meet our needs because their needs weren’t met either as a child, and so we unconsciously attract ourselves to a partner with the same issues as our emotionally absent parents! This will keep repeating until we change inside and heal our past.

Secondly, (or really firstly), learn to recognize the truth of how your past was. Many people will say to me “Oh my childhood was good, it was fine…” and yet when we dig deeper we discover they were not as happy as they thought they were. Yes, you might have had good friends, enjoyed school, enjoyed sports etc, but if you were constantly afraid and alone at home, this is not good, and unless the emotional trauma is recognized and cleared, it stays in the body at a cellular level and unconsciously keeps us unhappy and sick.

Thirdly, learn how to heal the past, let go of the trapped emotional energy… learn how to speak your truth, stand up for yourself, and ask for help… learn how to love yourself, appreciate yourself and value yourself. These are all absolutely necessary in order to experience authentic health, happiness and success in life because it is only from a solid rock of self value and self love that we can move out into the world to fulfil our dreams and life purpose.

And remember – no matter what happened, YOU ARE OK, you are a good person, you DO deserve LOVE and to be loved, you DO deserve to be happy, healthy and successful. These are you birthrights and you deserve them.

Never give up hope that you can come out the other side of an emotionally abusive childhood because with the right help and guidance you can!

About the author:

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Kim Knight is an emotional intelligence therapist who specializes in helping adult survivors of emotionally abusive childhoods to transform pain, unhappiness and sickness into health, happiness and fulfilment.

www.kimknighthealth.com

 

Toxic people – do you know how to deal with them?

When we have a backlog of emotions like fear, grief, disappointment, anger, sadness and frustration inside of us, it literally changes the biochemical make up of our cells, and it changes how we feel, think and act the world. We become toxic!

I was reminded this week of what it’s like to experience and have to deal with ‘toxic’ people.

Unfortunately this is a far-too common experience for many of us.

For a long time I did not recognize the signs of a toxic person. This was because I grew up in a family where it was ‘the norm’ to be dumped on by one particular family member. I just got used to being put down, critisized, judged and humiliated and never thought it could be any different.

Unfortunately if we experience such behaviour in childhood we can grow up into adulthood tolerating this kind of behaviour and thinking it’s the norm and ‘we just have to put up with it’.

I can assure you nothing could be further from the truth. It’s never OK to tolerate nasty behaviour from others.

So how do you know if you have a ‘toxic’ person on your hands, and how do you manage them?

First of all let’s define a toxic person and understand why they are the way they are.

A TOXIC PERSON DEFINED

A toxic person will often or usually have a very negative outlook on life, and this will be demonstrated by the words that come out of their mouth, and their actions.

If you say something ‘positive’ they will turn it into a negative. They will put you down, demean, critisize, be sarcastic, judgemental, mean, cruel, unkind and more. They may have an ‘acid’ tongue (and I’ll explain the literal meaning of this in a moment).

For example, you come home with a joyous piece of news, you’re feeling really great, and you just want to share your joy. They immediately belittle, put down or ignore what you have to say, crushing your happiness in a second.

They always seem to be in a bad mood, they have nothing good to say. They are just plain miserable, inside and out.

SO WHY ARE TOXIC PEOPLE TOXIC?

As I mentioned above, toxic people have an ‘acid tongue’. This is literally because they are over-acidic inside at a biochemical level! If you were to get a PH thermometer and pop it in their mouth, it would show high on the acidity scale, and as humans we are meant to have a more alkaline balance.

So why are they so physically and emotionally acidic?

Because of the acid emotions they still have stored inside them!

When we have a backlog of emotions like fear, grief, disappointment, anger, sadness and frustration inside of us, it literally changes the biochemical make up of our cells, and it changes how we feel, think and act in the world! We become physically and emotionally toxic!

So why are all these stored emotions stuck in their body?

Because they have not had the opportunity to heal themselves from the pain they experienced growing up, from the toxic environment around them. Deep inside they are in pain.

And so the hurt and anger that is still inside seeps out onto others.  And sometimes it just splurges out, a pseudo ‘vomiting’ of toxicity onto others.

And what’s really hiding underneath this behaviour?

A deep cry for love and attention. 

As humans we have a deep need for love and affection, and if these needs are not met during the early formative years of life (0-7 years), we will continue to try and get them met in adulthood, but if we are completely unconscious to the back log of stored unhappiness inside of us, it will come out by unconsciously dumping the pain on others.

Dumping and projecting our pain onto others is the universes’ way of trying to get our attention to the fact that we ourselves are not happy.

But the problem is, until we see ourselves we cannot see any of the meaning in all of this. And so we project our unhappiness onto others, blaming the outside world for our own unhappiness, and it’s all happening unconsciously…. until it becomes conscious and we become self aware.

It’s essential to understand that no matter how much another person is hurting or is unconscious about their feelings, they do not have the right to take it out on someone else. This is verbal and emotional abuse.

So how do I know all this to be true?

Because I was one of those people that ‘dumped’ my anger onto others. I had no idea at the time I was doing it. I had no idea I had years of trauma and stored hurt inside of me. I had no idea this was why I sulked and was sullen as a child, or why I often felt impatient and intolerant with others. I had no idea this was why I would get angry at the smallest thing or shout at people down the phone for no reason!

It’s taken years of emotional clearing work to clear away much of this backlog, and there’s still some left! But at least when I feel emotions now, and have the urge to ‘dump’ on someone I have the self-awareness to know it’s MY stuff, not someone else’s. I can now refrain from taking it out on others, and instead own my feelings, process them myself, and then have more self-compassion for the little girl inside who never got the love she desperately wanted and needed from her parents. And if I do ever find the old toxic energy seeping out onto others, I front up, own up and apologize, which in turn heals my own heart.

And this is what we all have to do, especially if we have this backlog of emotions. We have to take full responsibility for our feelings and learn how to heal ourselves.

Because the thing is, only WE can change our life and change how we feel. And all the power to do so is inside of us, we just have to know how.

We teach people how to treat us

SO HOW TO DEAL WITH TOXIC PEOPLE?

So, coming back to how do we deal with people when they are toxic, and unconsciously dumping all their hurt and pain on us?

It’s essential to understand that no matter how much another person is hurting or is unconscious about their feelings, they do not have the right to take it out on someone else. This is verbal and emotional abuse.

You will know when someone has not treated you right because your heart and gut brains will tell you so. You will cringe inside, feel ‘gutted’ (gut brain) and ‘hurt’ (heart brain). This is your body intelligence telling you it doesn’t feel right and it’s not OK. This is your internal emotional self defence system at work. (By the way, I have videos on Youtube about the 3 brains).

Now it’s up to you to do something about it, because no-one else can. It’s up to you to put a stop to such behaviour. And in the words of Dr Phil “we teach people how to treat us”.

So it’s up to us to learn how to put up clear boundaries and say ‘no’. It’s up to us to learn how to express our feelings honestly so that toxic emotions don’t build up inside of us. We have to learn it’s OK and necessary to meet our own needs. We have to learn we have a right to be happy and stand up for our self.

Teaching people how to be assertive and self-confident is something I spend a lot of time doing with clients. Learning how to be self-empowered is one of the most important and valuable lessons we can and must learn. And in every case so far, anyone I have worked with who has a chronic illness (eg chronic fatigue, depression, fibromyalgia, IBS etc) has a backlog of old hurts and emotional pains inside which need clearing).

You are not here to be anyone’s emotional punching bag. 

So next time you have a toxic person in your life dump on you, know that it doesn’t have to be this way. You are not here to be someone else’s emotional punching bag so that they don’t have to deal with their own unhappiness. (Unless you choose to do so. It’s really up to you!)

So have you had enough of this behaviour? Do you want a different way?

If you want to know how to say no, how to speak your truth, how to put a stop to toxic people in your life, this is exactly what I love helping people do.

Do join me in one of my online self help or live training programs. Because I want to help you be the happiest person you can be, and deserve to be.

And here’s a handy tip I’ve learned from 12 years of helping people put a stop to toxic partners, children, parents, friends, bosses, colleagues….

When we change our behaviour towards these people, they change their behaviour towards us, because they can no longer play the game! It works I can assure you, but often we are the ones who have to take the first step, or nothing will change.

And another tip – they become happier once a healthier emotional environment is established!

I will be going into more detail on this on my ‘Stop Bullies Now’ program (coming soon – keep an eye on my website or if you are signed up on any of my free programs you will get notification!).

Or you may wish to join my ‘Stop Depression Now’ program which also teaches how to identify and clear the backlog of emotions which build up to become ‘de-pression’.

Until then, stay strong and don’t put up with toxic people in your life! You are not here to be someone else’s emotional punch bag.

Kim

The Kiwi Health Detective

www.kimknighthealth.com

Image courtesy of www.stockunlimited.com