As children, we often did not get the type or amount of emotional support that would have felt satisfying for our heart. As a result of this, we also did not receive the support required to develop a solid internal emotional support system of our own, which is the part of us responsible for allowing us to move through the world freely and easily, reaching towards what feels satisfying and moving away from what is dissatisfying. This internal support system is also responsible for allowing us movement towards and away from people/situations/things, according to our own specific and calibrated needs. That is why in the here and now, as adults, we can struggle with “hard” feelings and not always know how to support our self in a way that brings comfort, encourages personal growth and resiliency, and alleviates distress.
Because of the heart wounding and trauma in our childhoods, many people do not yet have a fully developed internal support system to allow us to easily move towards and away from what we need, nor are they able to maintain the degree of realness/power/genuineness or openness that we often attain in our therapy sessions when given adequate support for our needs. As such, we can easily “slip back into the old ways” after our session or find ourselves responding to others or our own distress in the same old dissatisfying ways. Without a solidly developed internal support system, we have to rely on the old childhood supports- that’s all we have access to in the moment.
We also need bonding in every moment of our lives, so if we are in a piece of “the old bonding” from childhood (which is likely the case if we are having an experience that we want to change or feels intolerable inside of us), then the way that we are going to support our need for bonding is going to be based upon our rudimentary and likely dissatisfying childhood supports, and why we cannot seem to alleviate our distress, in the long term, around the experience. So, if a piece of this old bonding is in the way, (i.e., we are getting victimized or in an assault) then this is going to block our ability to fully be in the present moment and adult part of our self, and render us unable to connect to our experience in the present moment or reach out to get our needs met in a satisfying way.
In this case, we have to rely on what is there, the old supports which were never satisfying but are emerging in the moment because that is all that we have access to. All we have to rely on is the support that is there, the old childhood support, that is blocking our path towards present day satisfaction in our adult life. So, when this is happening, combined with our constant need for bonding, then we have to do the work to clear out this next piece of trauma that is blocking our ability to access new supports, which is why therapy is essential: it allows us the opportunity to continue clearing out blocks to satisfaction.
Without a fully developed internal emotional support system that we can easily access whenever we are in distress or need of emotional support, we move back to whatever is available at the moment, and if we are triggered and in another piece of old trauma, what will be available to us is our old childhood supports. And we move back there because the old supports are familiar and our spirit wants us to heal another piece of trauma.
This is why we need to be in ongoing therapy: to keep working on building our own satisfying internal support system, and this takes time and patience. If we are to truly learn how to support ourselves in a more deeply satisfying way, then we have to commit to ourselves and our healing in a deeply ongoing way. The way that we discontinue using old childhood supports, is when we have a repertoire of new satisfying support to take its place. And this takes time.
Kate is an INFJ-3 on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and Enneagram.