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  • Gabriela Moreira

The Healing Process for what was missing

Healing, Practice, & A Trail of Step Stones for Decontamination of the Adult Ego State.

Acting now to fulfill something that was missing in the past is like drinking water to quench the thirst you felt 1 year ago.

There is a void that grows within me,

Big as the ocean, even then, seems no one can see,

My soul is starving for what was missing, dreaming one day to be free

Waiting for the repair that naively would allow me to be.

So, what more horror awaits my broken and damaged heart?

Recreating the past in the now, reborning the people who tore me apart?

A void is now within me, a void that is eating me whole,

Day by day these suppressed feelings of what did not happen swallow my tender soul.

This void seems to eat everything

My future, my now, my relationships, all those who I Love, my spring

Like an insatiable black hole, slowly eating me from within

Waiting to one day, be complete, this can be felt through the skin.

I've been looking for ways to chast the ghosts, to fix the past

But this is a mess that will never be repaired, the missing cast

The way, is to let the past in the past

Feel the grief and accept.

women with open arms, in vulcanic stones, mont batur, Bali, freedom

When you are physically hit, when you have a deep cut on your arm, for example, after the healing process, there is a scar. You can see that something happened there. You can remember what happened.

In your childhood, events happened that were like a cut, you have the memory of them, the scar: when people told you that your ice cream falling on the floor was not enough reason for you to be sad or angry, when your father hit you because you did something different from what he expected, when your parents were fighting and creating hell in your house, when your classmate at school humiliated you, when you were forced to go to school, when your alcoholic father came home drunk every night , when you were sexually abused... and so on.

These traumatic and unprocessed events created scars on your Being and your Heart. These are things that happened and that influenced the construction of your survival engineering system. For each traumatic event you created a creative and functional answer to the question: How does a person like me, get along in a world like this, with people like them?

Even though many of these traumatic events we don't remember as adults, they lie dormant in memory, and they profoundly influence our lives today. The past remains and governs the present.

You recreate the predictable and familiar, even though that predictable and familiar is not what you want to create today. Our survival strategy remains active, even if circumstances today are completely different from those in the past.

For these types of events that have happened, Emotional Healing Processes are miraculous and recommended. In these processes you use the energy of the emotion that was frozen in your body to create cathexis. Cathexis means using energy to transform something into something. You express emotions with another consciousness witnessing you and navigating the space, a spaceholder. From there, you use the energy to transform, to make a new decision, to cut energetic cords, to place a limit that was not placed, to remove an energetic block, to change identity.

And what kind of healing process is there for what did not happen? For essential elements that were missing from your childhood? For example, the lack of touch and physical contact, the absence of a safe space to feel and express oneself, the lack of attunement, presence, security, consistency, Love, adventure, unmet relational needs...

How do you remember what was missing if it never happened? What is the healing process like for what was never there? What is the healing process for emptiness?

Report from one person, in one session:

"As a child I was very alone. My parents were always very busy. I had no one to be there for me, to hug me, to touch me, to tune in to me and hold space for what I felt. I felt what I felt alone .
Today I feel this emptiness, this hollow in my chest, the lack of Connection and Love. And now that I've ended my relationship of 6 years, it's like a death, a giant loss. She was filling that void and now I don't know how to live without her.
How big is this loss, in km?
It's the size of the ocean. The size of the world. (Tears rolling)
My mother said she loved me, but I couldn't feel her presence, she wasn't there for me. There was very little space in it. I felt the same way with my old partner. Everything she did, it seemed like it wasn't enough for me to feel loved.
Wow, how confusing were for you as a child, to listen one thing from her, and experience something totally different"

Today as an adult, you may be unconsciously trying to fill these gaps, this void. You might be trying to fulfill what you lacked in your childhood with a loved one, with your children, with work, with drugs. 

When you try to supply something that didn't happen in the past, in the present, it's as if you are recreating an infinite hungry ghost that is never satisfied.

Imagine you felt very thirsty a year ago when you were on a long walk in the desert, and you lacked water. You were thirsty for 3 days. Today, when you remember that thirst, you take a 2-liter bottle and start drinking it at once, believing that this will quench the thirst you felt last year. You do something today to meet that need from the past that was not met.

Acting now to fulfill something that was missing in the past is like drinking water to quench the thirst you felt 1 year ago.

When you drink this water, you are filled with hope that you will repair what didn't happen, that your memory will be dissolved, that you will stop feeling this emptiness in your chest. You are under the illusion that the hole in your heart and this thirst for Love and Connection will be satisfied in a relationship with your partner, for example.

In some therapeutic lines, as part of Transactional Analysis, for example, it describes processes of self-repair and re-parenting. They bring the concept that the healing for what didn't happen is in providing today, as an adult, those needs that were not met in the past, something like 'feeding your inner child'.

In my experience, this path is a shot in the foot.

Changing the past is going against the laws of nature. By following this path you are fighting against what happened, you are fighting against reality, against what is.

By creating the illusion that doing something to make up for what was lacking in the past, in the present, will fill that void, you are numbing the grief (sadness, fear and anger) into accepting that you didn't have what you needed and that you don't have the power to go back in time and fill that void.

It is not possible to change what happened or didn't happen. However, it is possible to change the relationship you have with the memory of what happened or didn't happen.

The child ego state is the arqueo physique in the human being, the storehouse of unintegrated experiences from the past. In my research, feeding 'the child' does not contribute to empowering and creating more autonomy and spontaneity in the person, on the contrary, you stagnate in the past.

I have been discovering that one of the Healing factors in this Path is processing what has not been processed, practicing self observation and learning skills that have not been learned. As an adult, you want the child ego state to shrink, so there is more room for your heart, for the adult in you, to act and create what you want to create in the World.

Opening the hear

What didn't happen is like a hollow, a void. This void generates waves in all directions until the present moment. You don't know what it is, it feels like mercury, you can't really get it, but you feel like something is always missing in you, that's not 'enough'. Your heart seems to have no space.

In my personal healing process and in the spaces I support for people in my circle, I discovered three fundamental pillars for Healing what was missing and for decontaminating the Adult Ego State: Empty Vacuum Process, Neutral Self-Observation and Practice of new Skills .

1.Empty Vacuum Process

"There are moments, when I am holding spaces for the Emotional Healing Process, that I reach a blind spot, and I don't know which path to take.
For example, in one case a person visited when she was 11 months old, she was alone in her crib, crying and crying. In despair, she called for her mother, no one came for hours. 
The starting point that this person brought to the session was 'I can't, I can't get what I want'. It seems to me that I'm missing something when I'm creating spaces for this type of process. It seems that the person cannot complete the cycle because it was a pre-verbal phase in which they did not make a decision in words."

These healing spaces provide the possibility for you to discover your own experience, discover what was missing and express the related emotions to it. In parallel, it is also valuable to create listening spaces for you to express the grieving of what was missing for you as a child.

Denying what was missing, or trying to change what happened, does not work.

An alternative path is recognition. It's painting the experience of what it was like not to have those things. Go through the crust of the parent ego state (don't feel, don't think, don't express, don't exist, don't experience, don't touch), which suppresses the child ego state beneath the ocean, and go through the process of letting the energies flow again. This happens when the Spaceholder manages to support an empty and vacuum space.

Janet Redmond has a long and in-depth research and experience in holding space for this type of process and also for decontamination and deconfusion in the child ego state. She has been deepening and creating a form of healing that I called the Empty Vacuum Process. I recorded an interview with her on this topic. She describes in detail possible approaches that emerge from her research. Below are some excerpts.

Keyhole diagram model that Richard Erskine

A model that has been empowering me to navigate empty and vacuum spaces is the Keyhole diagram model that Richard Erskine designed. He writes about coping styles and contact with vulnerability in relation to recognizing and appreciating the meaning of what was missing in childhood.

You, as the spaceholder, need to be in attunement with the client's relational needs that were not met. You need to do a phenomenological investigation with the person. 

Phenomenological means going back to the experience, going back to what happened, in micro steps. In this case, you are navigating what didn't happen, what was missing.

EHP's (Emotional Healing Process) works very well to heal what happened.

EVP's (Empty Vacuum Process) work very well to address what didn't happen.

When you're holding space for an empty vacuum process, you're looking for the gaps, for what didn't happen.

What types of questions do you use to uncover the gaps?

I use my sensitivity and my own experience to scan the parts of what people are saying that don't fit, that are off. I use my own experience of the person I am holding space for. 'What impact is this person having on me? What are they transferring to me so I can reflect back to them?'

When a person in the session, for example, is constantly confused in communicating, I ask 'Who in your family was clear and grounded?'

Or when the client talks inside, almost whispering. Your inner sensation, as you hold space, may be something like quicksilver, as if there is “nothing to really hold on to.” So I use my experience of that person. I use the countertransference domain, as it is called in psychological terms.

Transference means when you are being an empty canvas on which the person can paint their own experience. 

Countertransference is when you use the person's reaction to what you say next. This is when you use your own experience as a spaceholder to take the next step. So when the person isn't having any impact on me, that's a clue.

How do you turn your reaction into something valuable for the space? What do you do to not design your own things?

At first it was pure projection on my part, as a new practitioner I didn't know what was mine and what was theirs, so my clients were constantly mirroring me to myself. Over time, doing healing processes within myself, I began to have more space to not react and project my own emotions into them.

In a session, when a person starts by saying:

I had a fantastic, wonderful childhood. Everything was perfect. My parents did the best they could to take care of me.
What was so wonderful about your childhood?
Well, you know, I got everything I wanted. My parents did the best they could.
(Yes, they may have done the best they could. And it's not what they did best that I'm looking for. Otherwise, you wouldn't be here. Right?).
So that was wonderful, you got everything you wanted. Tell me something that wasn't so wonderful. (So you can open a floodgate)
You know, everything was fine (Fine).
You mean fucked up, insecure, neurotic and emotional? That is good?

Therefore, phenomenology is returning to the past. Some examples of phenomenological questions are:

  • Who walked you home from school?

  • Who reads stories to you, before going to sleep?

  • Who went with you to the park?

  • Who was with you when your parents were fighting?

  • Who was there with you when your friend humiliated you at school?

  • Who can you hug when you feel sad?

You start sniffing around for questions to which the answer is 'Nobody', ‘No one’.

No one was there to protect me when I was abused...

Once you hear the story, you will know the gaps and start sniffing them out. It is a new skill to be developed as a spaceholder.

I also look for the construction of language, this is cognitive attunement. When a person does not put the subject 'I' in sentences, for example. 

I’m thinking also in terms of development: “Wow, at two years old… or three. Imagine a three-year-old listening to his parents argue, how scary.”

“There’s nothing scarier than being scared alone.”

You have a fundamental role in recognizing the emotions they have cut off.

“You said you cried yourself to sleep at night. What did you do when you went to bed at night and cried?
Well, my cat came to bed. I cuddled with my cat.
The cat came to you, and which human did come?
Looks like you've found a replacement for humans. You learned to feel sad alone. (Here you recognize and reflect back what happens). You cried yourself to sleep. (And then you bring validation of what happened). How sad that there is no human to be with you in this sadness, what a lonely image. (And it's important to create a space where it's ok that the person did what they did) It's no wonder that if there were no humans available, you would look for a replacement.

This type of Healing space is not so much about the words you say itself. 

It's about the energetic quality of the space you hold for the person to discover their own experience and feelings.

It's about you being involved with your entire presence. “Wow, how scary to be so scared and alone. There’s nothing scarier than being scared alone.”

You are stepping into that person's shoes and you can feel their world on their skin. You accept everything that is. No judgments or labels. You wear her skin for a while. It requires a curiosity to discover what that person's universe is like.

E.V.P is about you being a space where others have the possibility of becoming the artist who paints their own picture.

Healing is not linear, healing happens in the now, you need to be completely present. On the one hand it is magical and on the other it is practice. It's the magic of an artist helping other artists paint their picture, a portrait of their experience.

This type of process is like creating an album of photos that were never taken. You don't have a photo of someone sitting next to your bed while you have a fever if it never happened.

When a photographer is in a development room, he places the photograph in a solution, the negative, and from this solution, the image gains color and becomes sharper. As a spaceholder for this type of process, this is what you are doing. You are being the negative solution so that your client can clearly see the gaps in what was missing. And from that, express grief (sadness, fear, anger). The hungry ghost begins to be seen and honored, as a consequence it begins to calm down. Little by little more space in the heart begins to be created. You have more space to be present and to observe yourself and to hold space for your needs.

“Self-observation brings man to the realization of the necessity of self-change. And in observing himself a man notices that self-observation itself brings about certain changes in his inner processes. He begins to understand that self-observation is an instrument of self-change, a means of awakening.”
―George Gurdjieff

How do I notice? What do I use to notice what I’m noticing?

What do I notice first when I talk to a person, or when I enter a space, when I look at a work of art, when I open a book?

Attention directs observation. Where your attention is allocated is where your observation is being directed.

Self-observation means allocating part of your attention to yourself, to your inner world. This means you need to split your attention. 5 to 10% of your attention is directed to some internal aspects, while you continue to live your life normally.

Self observation does not mean being outside of yourself, looking at you from the outside as if you were separate from yourself. This is dissociation. 

Self observation happens within. "My breathing is short, my fingers are moving as I type, my stomach is tight, I'm erasing and rewriting, I'm thinking you don't understand what I'm saying, I realize I feel scared about this article not being good enough to you ...". 

Self-observation happens in the here and now.

You can choose to allocate your attention to different aspects, such as:

  • what do you say.

  • what do you do.

  • What do you think.

  • What do you feel.

  • your sensations

  • their tensions.

  • your intentions.

  • their postures.

  • their impostures.

  • your achievements compared to what you promise.

  • your sense of things.

  • your incense on things.

  • what offends you.

  • what offends others about you.

  • what in you is fed by offending others.

In the process of decontaminating the adult ego state, Neutral self-observation is one of the main skills. 

Through this skill you have the possibility to have fun with your discoveries about yourself, instead of getting into the swamp and self-criticism.

This website has a series of valuable practices with which you can practice this muscle.

3. Learning and Practicing new Skills

―Miki Kashtan

Cultivating space in your heart for the Adult Ego State is cultivating space for you to be in your full power and manifest your Destiny into action.

When you learn new skills you access more power, because you become able to mobilize resources to meet specific needs.

If you learn the skill of creating videos, you become able to mobilize resources to meet your need to become visible and make it easier for people to find what you create, for example. If you learn the skill of making proposals and invitations, you become able to mobilize resources to meet your need today to create more connections with other human beings. If you learn the skill of asking for what you need, the next time you feel sad or confused, you are able to call or write to someone and ask "are you available for 20 minutes of listening?"

Learning skills is different from learning tools.

Learning tools does not necessarily require you to go through a liquid state. It does not require you to change who you are. You can learn to use a hammer, a drill, Ikigai Mandala, Wheel of Life, Completion Loop, Non-Violent Communication and still be the same person.

However, when you learn a new skill, the shape of your Being changes. To acquire new skills, you need to go through the liquid state.

When I developed the skill to speak in front of the camera, the shape of my Being changed, I became more spontaneous, more centered, I became less shy and I stopped keeping the things I discovered to myself.

When I learned to ask for what I need and want, I went through a huge liquid state. I became more open, I became a person who goes to a cafe and asks for something that is not on the menu, I became a person who traveled to Indonesia and knocked on the door of 4 unknown people's houses and asked for a place to sleep for 5 nights in exchange for helping with the rice plantation.

A fundamental skill that contributes immensely to the process of Healing what was missing is learning to feed your 5 bodies and hold space for what you need and want now.

map of 5 bodies, possibility managment

A while ago I was traveling alone in Bali, and I had a scooter accident. It wasn't anything that serious, I didn't need to go to the hospital or anything. Even then, It was scary not having anyone close and familiar around me, taking care of me.

In the first 5 days after the accident, my body was very sore, my body asked me to stay in bed all the time, lying down. I had to ask strangers who were at the hostel for almost everything: to buy food for me, to get water, to go to the pharmacy to buy medicine. That was an extreme for me, asking so many basic things from strangers.

On the second day in bed, I was feeling pain in my physical and emotional body. I was going through internal chaos. I decided to call a friend and ask "I need 30 minutes to express everything that is here, to complain, to curse, to make me feel like a victim. Are you available for this?". Sometimes that's all we need.

This was possible because I have been practicing for the last 2 years to hold space for my 5 bodies needs.

A fun and effective way to practice a new skill is to put together a team to practice. You choose the skill you want to practice, you invite at least 2 people, create a group, agree on the frequency of meetings and duration. You meet, do exercises, give each other feedback and coaching.

It can be a physical or technical skill, like learning to make a fire, or cook, or play an instrument, or it can be an internal skill, like recognizing the needs of your 5 bodies, listening to another person, expressing your feelings, or self-observation. If you starts doing this, you life will not be boring.

Final Words

The Adult Ego State Decontamination Journey takes years of work and internal research. This journey can be scary, intense, fun, rewarding, profound and horizon-expanding.

The research field for Decontamination of the Adult Ego State is large. If you are making progress in this research I encourage you to share your findings far and wide.

With love,

Gabriela Fagundes

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