Ross Bishop

The Mask

By Ross Bishop

We all get caught in shame surrounding what happened to us at home. We end up feeling not good enough, unworthy, unlovable and a hundred other things. Now, we can’t be any of those things, but we can certainly believe that we are.

This is not an accident. In order to accomplish what you came here to do, The Universe needs to hook you on your “soft spots” – the places where you are “vulnerable.” So life (especially your relationship with your parents) leads you to believe that you are ______. Whatever it is, it cannot be true, but so long as you believe it, there is work to be done. I want to reiterate, the problem isn’t the “thing,” it is your propensity to believe it.

We can cling to our false beliefs with incredible tenacity. We generally stay stuck with them until we get so sick and tired of being unhappy that we search out some other way of being. This isn’t a failure on your part. It is a safety mechanism to keep you from changing until you are really ready to do it.

As shaman, one of my jobs is to show people the truth about themselves and offer them a way out of their self-imposed prisons. I’ve been doing this work for 30 years and am still occasionally surprised at how creative people can be in finding their own solutions to these dilemmas. I want to tell you about my experiences with one client – a young woman who was carrying an incredible burden. Her mother had simply abandoned her when she was three. She just left. Plus, her father was a narcissistic task-master and her stepmother was cold and insensitive. Later, this client was sexually abused by an uncle.

She hadn’t done anything wrong, she was just a kid, yet life was delivering her sense of self-worth devastating body blows. That is always the way it is – an innocent child being burdened with a heavy dose of guilt or shame. This is how The Universe makes us aware of the work we have to do. Obviously this woman was being set up for a huge lesson in self-worth. Can you see the pattern? Because it happens to all of us, you have to know something greater is at work here.

My client tended to intellectualize, so to get her out of her head I suggested she draw pictures of some of the traumatic instances of her life. When she did, she drew her “perpetrators” with blindfolds, because they were not really able to see her. They were lost in their own pain. We all do that to some extent, some more than others. We think we see reality, but what we actually perceive is a highly edited version, altered by our fears and beliefs. Behind the mask is a scared child, afraid to step into the light and be seen. The more the hurt, the bigger the mask, the greater the propensity for distortion.

Although the blindfold device was effective, my client’s inner one was troubled by it. This kid was very sensitive to things not working on all levels, so for ideas to work, they needed to be fully true and applicable. She felt that the blindfold was not quite right. The adults who had hurt her were inwardly focused for sure, but they were also responding to external circumstances. They weren’t really responding to my client, they were responding to what she represented to their fears and anxieties. They could not have seen this with real blindfolds on, so my client devised a brilliant solution.

She would make a drawing of a once painful situation, for instance, her dropping and breaking a glass. She would draw her inner child and color her in in bright yellow (the color she used for love) and then she would draw her father, pointing and being angry. She would add the things he would shout at her. This was how she saw the situation. The yellow was to show her inner one that she was always loved.

Now this is where the really creative part comes in: she then took parchment (baking) paper and placed it on top of her drawing so that she could trace it. On the parchment, she would draw how her father saw the situation – his inner child’s projection of what happened. Inside her dad, she would draw his scared inner child, and then she would draw her grandfather – who was a very angry man – shouting at her father when he broke a glass.

Because of the parchment paper, you could hardly see the yellow light inside my client’s little one. The situation changed from her being a defective person for dropping the glass to her father acting out his unresolved childhood issues with his father. Yes, a glass got broken and she may have been careless, but that’s not a character defect and anyway, it still didn’t explain her father’s explosive reactions. . .

She did a number of these illustrations until it became clear, for example, that she really had nothing to do with her father’s outbursts. As I said, he may have been unhappy about the broken glass, but his emotional explosions had nothing to do with that and now my client’s inner child could see that. She could also see that her mother’s leaving had nothing to do with her, that her uncle’s sexual abuse was about his sickness. She wasn’t even a part of these events except for being victimized by them! So when the child blamed herself (even partially) for what was taking place, it could not be! She saw that:

"My parents, stepmom and uncle all had very traumatic upbringings and therefor their inner children were very scared and their wounds were very deep. I guess I hit the jackpot with this group…"

Children are innocent (it’s one of the saving graces of these situations). The adults in her life really didn’t see her at all. They only “saw” the unresolved events of their own childhoods. She wrote:

"Through the pictures, my inner one can now see that it was not even an adult who was running the show, it was their scared and hurt inner children. This really helps her (her inner one) not to be so scared."

"I remember one time when my dad actually saw me. He looked straight at me and said “You have brought so much joy to my life”. . . I could feel that he saw me and it is the only time I remember him being open and loving. The drawing shows that if he had been able to see me more (if he had not had such a wounded inner child himself) then he would have treated me very differently. He would felt real love for me and I would have experienced that love."

She then had this very profound insight:

"In an emotionally charged situation, how people treat you says very little about you, but a great deal about them and how far from reality they live, or said another way, how wounded their inner children are."

Her next challenge will be to get into the feelings the inner one holds about not being loved and that will take her to her relationship with God, but she already has a strong foundation to build on.

Doing this exercise has also made her aware of the illusions she holds. She wasn’t really “seeing” either her daughter or her husband, and the exercise has changed the way she relates to them. After all, it is only by facing your fears and healing your inner inner one that you start to live in reality . . .

copyright©Blue Lotus Press 2016

 

  • By Ross Bishop
  • June 15, 2016

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