During my 15 years as a mental health therapist and more than 25 years as a life coach and spiritual director, I have exposed that the most fear of every human being is rooted in the helplessness of childhood. This kind of fear can be described probably as an instinctual fear. That fear was born at the moment when children had to leave full protective environment in the womb. The cried for the first time is an instinctual reaction to survive.
The helplessness of the childhood indicated at least by 2 factors such as (1) physically handicapped even to fill the basic needs. Because of this physical limitations children is not able to remove themselves from the danger situation, therefore becomes highly dependent on others to give protection; and (2) cognitively limited, which gives limitation to recognizing danger, knowing who can be trusted, but instinctually surrender and trust to parents or caregivers.
Within this dynamic, fear becomes one of the primitive emotion and primitive imprinted dogmatic voice that taught children to surrender and to attach to the caregivers regardless whatever their condition in order to survive. Therefore, they are very highly vulnerable from mentally and emotionally intimidation and manipulation. They are very sensitive with the reality of rejection and abandonment. The instinctual terror arises from the mind that thinks not in words but in feelings and images.
Most of the children that I asked about their nightmares gave descriptions with specific pattern of similarity that they have about being chased and devoured by monsters or wild animals that can talk in their nightmares. Interestingly, these nightmares still occur even in children who have never been exposed to the ideas of a monster.
In the study (2008), published in the journal Sleep, suggests that most children’s nightmares may be linked to the child’s personality traits. Researchers found that most parents of preschoolers reported that their children had nightmares “never” or “sometimes”, with less than 4% having nightmares “often” and “always”.
Children with frequent nightmares were more likely to be considered anxious by their parents and have difficult temperament. They found that the risk factors for nightmares shared common traits that emerged to as early as 5 months of age.
Moreover, researchers also found that young children with frequent nightmares have similarity psychologically and emotionally defects as shown in the study of adults with frequent nightmares. Both of them generally suffer from distress and other emotional problems. Protective factors which included parents or caregivers capability to provide emotional nurturing after children awoke from nightmares play significant role too.
The question now is how to liberate the self from destructive fears that terrorize and paralyze your life?
Based on my experiences, there are at least three level of approaches that need to be incorporated in one’s psyche during therapeutic interventions.
- First, is personal level. Because the root of the fears is probably in the helplessness of childhood then with professional help you need to uproot the deep sense of worthiness, to unveil the hidden self-worth, to redrafting the positive self-image. Through therapy process, you move from pessimism to optimism, you embrace low self-esteem by positive self-talk, and transforming self-critical to self-appraisal & gratitude.
- Second, is interpersonal level. Because of the fears rooted from the defective primitive relationships with parents or caregivers then you need to acknowledging that you are visible and voiceable. You learn to acclaim that you are exist and worthy. With professional therapist, you move from rejection and abandonment thoughts and emotions to self-worth and mutual projected truthful genuine relationships. The maladaptive imprinted dogmatic voices then are to be unlearned by replaying transforming voices from true, genuine, trustful, intimate, non-judgmental positive regards relationships. You are transforming all your senses from the sense of impossibility to possibility.
- Third, is transpersonal level. You embrace the areas of consciousness beyond the limits of personal identity. You embrace greater sense of surrender, awe, and grateful. You allow yourself to be transcended. You move away from your “ego-centered” which continuously restating self-pity and self-stupidity. You come to believe that you are not being alone and the worst victim in this universe. Through the profound healing therapeutic encounters, you and your therapist walk together to find gratitude, happiness, peace, forgiveness, and freedom from the depth that transform you to experience the absolute within.
You learn to see, to hear, and to experience the possibilities. You have multiple chances and ways in the therapeutic process to reconnect with the “unlimited absolute peace, forgiveness, compassion, and total positivity.” You are “there” naturally even without carrying a dust of fear. Beyond all of your accomplishments, you understand that these connectedness experiences are really as free given states of grace. You experience the total worthy of you because actually you allow it happens. You open and allow your mind and heart to be in the therapeutic journey. You interact genuinely in the profound therapeutic healing encounters that are offered, which than becomes sacred healing transforming therapeutic experiences. You believe in it and work on that wholeheartedly and yet you still let the possibilities from the unlimited blessings happen.
You are experiencing “Satori” (i.e., an experience that is often described as a turning over of the mind, surrendering, going through the gate, awakening, as a result of an inner decision to be at harmony with yourself and your physical world. It is a decision of sacred surrender mind and heart, to let go off control). Click here to read more about the meaning of Satori.