This morning my 8-year-old daughter was sitting hugging her knees to her chest, refusing to eat breakfast, with a scowl on her face and a very rigid little body filled with anger. It was cold, dark and we were all grumpy. It was so tempting to lose my temper as departure time for school ticked nearer.
Fortunately, I have been aspiring to (read this as: ‘I don’t always get it right!’) be a more conscious parent and so I was aware that underneath that anger and her rage about breakfast choices was something deeper. So, instead of losing my temper I put her on my lap (which she initially resisted before sinking back into me) and I gently held the boundary that she will need to eat breakfast or go to school without breakfast. THEN it all came out…. “I don’t want to go to school”.
Underneath the anger was anxiety and if I’d focused only on the anger and the superficial problem of what was being offered for breakfast I’d not have been able to hear her and understand her anxiety. (As an aside: under most anger is fear/anxiety – anger is just less vulnerable to express and ‘protects’ us).
While I sometimes manage to get this right, what I can be sure of is that the majority of our parents did not get this right. They were not as conscious – consciousness evolves through generations so previous generations are generally not as conscious as we are – and they just responded to the surface emotions. Most parents did not tolerate anger and would respond with anger in return and most parents also couldn’t even manage the more vulnerable emotions underneath the anger.
When emotional expression is not tolerated children are left feeling unseen, unheard, unsupported and unimportant. They are also left feeling very powerless as to what to do with those emotions that they were trying to express, so in their own ingenious way will adapt themselves to cope better.
An accumulation of not being emotionally supported and the various coping mechanisms that result can lead to the development of physical/energetic imbalance and chronic fatigue in a number of ways:
- When we shut down/adapt the inner child so we’ll be loved, accepted and feel safe we shut ourselves down physically and energetically. This means we cannot receive the life force/vitality that is available to us (in the form of feminine energy) and physical tension and imbalance impacts energy production in the body. We also shut down our authentic selves and spend a lifetime using energy to keep this part of ourselves under wraps and camouflaged.
- We hold ourselves back from receiving support as we don’t believe that others are able to support us (if our parents were afraid of emotions/vulnerability) or we fear rejection or don’t want to burden others. It’s exhausting going through life being self-reliant.
- We repeat old patterns we learn in childhood that are often depleting – e.g. striving for perfection, taking on the emotions of others, trying to control all aspects of our external environments – all of which develop to help us feel safe, powerful and in control versus unseen, unsupported and powerless.
- We don’t believe in ourselves or trust that our emotions and needs are valid and therefore we give our power away to others to provide us with the answers and give our power away in always meeting the needs of others before ourselves.
Also, read this post for more information on the inner child and chronic fatigue.
For those people who really battle to shift chronic fatigue, regardless of what they put in their bodies, stop putting in your bodies or how much they try to rest, it could be that long-held patterns from childhood shape how they experience and respond to life in a way that keeps them exhausted. That is why I support my clients to re-connect with and to re-parent their inner child to overcome chronic fatigue or patterns of burnout.
That reconnection can be so incredibly powerful for health, mood and feeling empowered.
To end off in the words of Elton John
“…..I’m still standing better than I ever did
Looking like a true survivor, feeling like a little kid…”
Does this resonate at all? Comment below if you feel called to share or have questions.