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"I don't get much emotional support - how can I best give myself love?"

Hello Ayal,

I found your website by accident while I was researching candida, of all things. But I read your response to a woman who was trying to figure out her place in life, and I was deeply moved, as if you were talking to me! (great advice to her that applies to me is to try to speak more compassionately and carefully to others... I tend to be too direct). Then ironically, you addressed the "candida" she had and it echoed a conversation I had 15 minutes prior with my naturopath who suspects that may be an issue of mine!

So, thank you already for your incredible insights-- I've learned a lot (and feel more relaxed) from your words, and hope that I can try to incorporate them into my life. I will try to read the notes I took from your response every night for a while-- otherwise I worry that I'll slip back to the old stuff again.

My question is this: how is the best way to give self love? I feel that my family doesn't support me emotionally (my mother particularly is absent emotionally, although financially very generous). My husband has a hard time too giving me his full attention (yes... a repeated relationship... hmmm, though he's not financially generous, I support myself) but I am trying not to blame them. In fact I am trying to be compassionate to them that they had their own issues to deal with. I think my husband does "try" in his way he knows how.

It is my life's challenge to create my own reality, as you suggest. It's just hard sometimes because I do crave their love and feel sad when my hopes aren't met. I have two wonderful and active young sons (7 and 10) and I want to be there for them so I am really trying to work out my own issues so that I can be a better mother than my own mother is to me.

My family of origin certainly didn't take the effort to be at "my" pace-- in addition, I faced a LOT of criticism from my mother and still to this day think that she feels I am inferior to my brother and sister in law (whom she puts on a pedestal). Luckily I'm not under her constant stare anymore (or being ignored by her, either one). So, that leads me again to that question of how to compensate for the lack of support?

I'd also appreciate hearing how to harmonize the pace of my active young sons and husband with a more laid back personality that I am. I sometime wonder if the healthiest thing would be end my relationship with my husband, and find someone who could be more "there" for me. But I fear that wouldn't really solve anything. Maybe it would, maybe not... and with kids involved, it's a decision I don't take lightly.

Thanks in advance for your insights. I look forward to hearing from you.


Hi - well, the first thing that is showing up for you is that you feel defenseless and hopeless. That, in effect, nobody cares. This comes from a strong belief in not believing that you are good enough. This is a denial of the Self. How ones gets to a place of Self love, is to know, first and foremost, that you are part of the Universal design. I suggest that you place your hands on your heart and say this out loud 3 times a day for the next 3 years:

I am part of the Universal design. I am important and I am loved by life itself. I am powerful and capable. I love and appreciate ALL of myself.

Denial seems to be a big part of what you came into this life to transform for yourself. If you deny yourself the good things life has to offer, or God has to offer, or however you wan't to phrase it, it means that you don't think you're worth it or deserve it. Well, you are worth it. You are a spark of the Divine, and the divine spirit is only Love. When you accept this on a deep level and truly "GET IT", then you begin to open up to generating love from the inside out. And when you generate love from the inside out, the Universe brings that back to you. But, if you came in with an issue of denial, then it's no surprise that you would create a mother who could not give love. As you learn to give this to yourself and self generate it, life will change dramatically for you.

Much of this is first chakra stuff... you are dealing with issues of physical energy and the will to love, with tribal or family acceptance and group living dynamics. This deals also with basic survival issues. I invite you to get hold of Caroline Myss's wonderful book, 'Anatomy of the Spirit', and read it, especially focusing on the 1st chakra information. In the meantime, it would be good for you to do a chakra clearing, once a day, for the next 6 months, and then as you sense you need it.

The way you balance the energies of the body through chakra clearing is to sit down each day for perhaps 15 minutes, in a quiet space, with eyes closed, as you would sit quietly in prayer or meditation, breathing slowly and deeply until you are very calm and relaxed. When you are relaxed, beginning at the base of your spine, at the tailbone, you visualize a beautiful, glowing, fire engine red gently spinning wheel of light filling up that area. You ask with each chakra that it be restored 100% to perfect health, form, and functioning - that whatever needs to be restored, be restored, and whatever needs to be corrected be corrected. When you sense that you are complete with that chakra, you move up the body and visualize a beautiful gently spinning wheel of orange light at your reproductive area. Repeat the process. Then, moving up the body, see a bright yellow spinning wheel of light at the navel area. Remember, as you do this, you are asking silently that each area you are visualizing be cleared and brought back to perfect health and functioning. Then you move up to the heart and visualize a glowing spinning wheel of emerald green light there. Then on up to the throat, where you clear that area by seeing a beautiful spinning wheel of sky blue light. Then up to the brow, the center of the forehead, where you see a glowing, gently spinning wheel of indigo light. Then to the crown of the head, where you see a beautiful, gently spinning wheel of violet light.

Even if you are not adept at being visual or seeing these colors, just by saying to yourself that that color is there will begin the healing for you.

To finish, surround yourself with a beautiful, glowing white light. Visualize it totally filling you up from head to toe as well. There are actually minor chakras, or light intersection points, which function and serve as intersecting energy vortexes in the body, bringing energy into the physical body from the universal energy grid. Besides the major seven centers, these minor chakra points number 144, to be exact. Simply ask that they all be lit up with white light - similar to imagining oneself lit up like a bright starry sky or a Christmas tree.

Speaking your truth in a calm and clear, dignified and factual manner is an important step in the process of building self love. When you so so, you are standing up for yourself, like a deeply rooted tree, and putting out to the world what you will accept and what you won't. You are in touch with yourself, which is the opposite of denial, and you are loving yourself by protecting and giving to yourself in this way. It feels great. Then, being willing to act on this truth is important. Backing yourself up, and doing what you need to do in order to feel comfortable and to take care of yourself. With your family and the pace they set, speaking your truth to them about what you need and what you're comfortable with is an important place to start.

For instance, let's say you are visiting a friend or family member, and they are behaving in a way that does not feel good to you. You simply say: "You know, I realize that not feeling comfortable with this conversation, or the way you are sharing with me right now, or the energy happening between us, etc, so if you can share with me in a way that feels respectful, (or kind, or whatever it is), I'm willing to stay here and converse with you. If not, then I'll choose to leave in order to take care of myself." And then, if they don't re-frame their behavior, you follow up on what you said, and you go.

A great book for you to read to help you with this is called 'Nonviolent Communication' by Marshall Rosenburg. It's a wonderful guide, and interesting to read as well. [Summarized here by Ayal.]

It would be good for you to find a special stone and breathe any anxieties you feel during the day into the stone. Then, at night, place it in salt water to cleanse it, and give thanks to the stone and water and salt for helping you.

An important healing to do for you is to release the emotional pain ( pain is resistance, and resistance comes from fear) you still carry, in order to make room for the love to come in. to do this, follow the instructions given here: Facing Deep Fear

  1. Find your fear/ learn its name. You need to acknowledge what your fear is actually about, even though doing so will probably be painful.

  2. Go inside of its presence - feel it completely and relinquish all. Go into the center of the fear and give up everything. Example, in facing the fear that I might be filled with evil the rest of my life, I had to be willing to accept that I was going to die. It seems odd that you have to be willing to die in order to live, but it works. Most fears, fortunately, won't need such a drastic sacrifice, i.e., I'm going to be fat the rest of my life and that's OK.

  3. Heighten your senses/ live to the fullest - In the throes of the anguish and pain of your realization of never having/ being , relish the sensations that at least, you are fully alive in the pain. This command is giving words to Whole Hearted Healing.

  4. Join with the unlike/ slide into place. As the pain begins to subside, you'll see/ feel yourself as being out of phase with what your opposite is. (I'm fat/ I want to be thin.) Both halves are part of you and need to be merged. Imagine that there are two pieces of 35mm film, each with one of the two opposite images of you. See them sliding into place on top of each other, so that now they are lined up perfectly.

  5. Complete the union/ embrace and hold. Envision the two images moving into each other and becoming one.
What's also showing up for you is that you are stuck in some childhood holding patterns. In Reichian terms, you are stuck in what is called the crisis character position. Here's info on that:

Crisis Position (Pelvic block again opening: issues of contact)
This is what psychoanalysts call the 'hysteric' character; just as 'phallic' comes from the Greek for penis, 'hysteric' comes from the Greek for womb. Again this represents a social reality, for in our culture there is much more scope and acceptance for women in the crisis position than there is for men. All children however, boys as much as girls, have to confront the issues around pelvic opening, which arise when self-assertion begins to encounter the reality of another person, and of the social world.

A fundamental fact about human beings is that they have gender. In our society, gender has a very particular set of meanings attached to it. Saying that someone is a man or a woman, a girl or a boy, is doing much more than stating what is between their legs. It establishes a whole set of expectations about their appearance, their range of movements and sounds, their activities, their attitudes, their personality, their 'nature' - it is not too huge a simplification to say that our society splits the range of human behavior into two halves, allowing one half to males and the other half to females.

We can't go into the possible reasons for this process here, beyond pointing out that most societies, perhaps all, do something like this, though they often give very different contents to the male and female halves. From the point of view of a small child, coming face to face with this reality for the first time, its implications are disastrous.

A little girl, even today, is asked to accept that she is cut off from the world of power and freedom offered to her brother - and usually represented by the father. A little boy is asked to accept that he is cut off from the world of warmth and softness usually represented by the mother (an important way in which this is expressed is that he 'can't have babies'). Each is presented with huge deprivations and huge compensations, but the whole issue is handled indirectly and in-explicitly, and is colored by adults' own, often unconscious distress about gender.

The issue is also tied up, both developmentally and by its nature, with that of opening up to loving and pleasurable contact other human beings. The self-asserting little child focuses its erotic energy on the close adults around, usually its parents. The parents themselves have succumbed to gender roles, and are openly or unconsciously telling the child to conform. They do this at the same time as, and partly through, openly or unconsciously reacting to the child's intense sexual energy, either pushing it away or encouraging it - often both at once!

One powerful way of describing all this is to use Freud's term, the 'Oedipus Complex'. This focuses on the issues of power, possession and jealousy in the classic nuclear family. It describes very real events, though in a way that does not sufficiently question gender stereotyping or bring out the underlying issues of social conformity. This is the point at which the child is about to emerge into the social world; its acceptance of gender conventions, and all the subtle seductions and abuses which they imply, is the price of entry.

It's no surprise that a child faced with these vast ramifications, with this elaborate combination of carrot and big stick, will generally react with some degree of panic. The core of this will be what we can describe as 'biological' panic, a response to the opening-up of energy that accompanies the 'first puberty' at around five or six. This involves an increase in charge, similar to that of the teenage 'second puberty', of which anyone will be aware who is around young children with open eyes.

Surrender to pleasure, to the streaming of energy in our bodies, is for almost all of us accompanied by anxiety and fear. We want to open, yet are desperately scared to, Instead we react with some version of freezing or exploding, fighting or fleeing, under- or over-activity; with a frantically erotic style of being (the yearning block) or with retreat, denial of sexual feeling altogether.

For a very large number of children, this natural response gets very much amplified by the interference of adult sexuality. The innocent erotic energy of children at this age can produce sexual excitement in a lot of grown-ups whose own sexual development has been damaged. We are finding out in this decade just how many children have been sexually abused by adults, often during this first puberty but sometimes much earlier. The natural anxiety of opening-up then becomes a fully-fledged panic, as the, child is forced to deal with experiences that are wholly inappropriate for them.

This adult invasion can take very subtle forms as well: it is often an atmosphere of flirting and seductiveness, rather than any overt physical act. The child knows in her body-mind what is going on, but has no way of verbalizing it even to herself. Both physical and emotional interference plug into the general sexual violence' of the situation - the child is being pressurized in many ways to fit his or her erotic energy into the straitjacket of socially accepted gender roles.

The 'crisis character' is a component in all of us, though usually stronger in those who have had to deal with a heavier dose of sexual abuse, physical or emotional (the holding and boundary positions seem the other response to abuse). As we have said, its main tactics are freezing or exploding - opposite ways of trying to flee an intolerable excitement

These responses generally get submerged in children. After the flurry of sexual charge and interest at about five, six or seven, they enter a 'latent phase' of apparent asexuality (in our culture at least) until puberty recurs in the form of physical sexual maturity. But the sexual attitudes which then emerge are essentially re-emerging: they were formed during the 'first puberty', on the basis of how the child's already existing character armor confronted the issue of pelvic opening in the context of adult sexual pressure.

In adults, the crisis position tends to sexualize every issue because it is tied to a development phase which is itself sexual. The process is often unconscious, but it can be very obvious to other people as a sort of continual seductiveness in the person's behavior and body language, or conversely as an 'uprightness', an extraordinary heightened sensitivity to sexual implications which makes one scared of offending them with quite innocent remarks. Both attitudes can even appear in the same person at the same time.

It's clear that these are attitudes traditionally validated in women, either separately or in combination: the virgin and the vamp. They mask panic, and represent an inability to surrender to deep sexual feelings for fear of being overwhelmed and losing control (which may literally have happened in childhood abuse). At the same time, there is a strong need for sexual contact, so there is often a teasing, flirting tone, not necessarily conscious - an exaggeration of healthy playfulness, 'sexiness', foreplay, dressing up, dancing. all sorts of creative and enjoyable behavior which is 'sexy but not sex'. What's missing is relaxation and commitment: the opening block sets up a constant yes/no/yes/no pattern, again traditionally seen as 'feminine'.

But men are as likely as women to occupy the crisis position - perhaps more often in a pseudo-thrusting form. The yearning version will thus be an ersatz macho posturing. all leather and heavy metal, while the denying form might be hysterical puritanism. The only socially viable way for men to express the full crisis character is in the gay subculture.

What makes the crisis position recognizable is its air of panic, of high charge. Everything is life or death. There is often either a theatrical exaggeration to the person's style, or a deathly stillness which is equally theatrical. The body type that develops with a strong crisis position is less clearly defined than in some other cases, but in one way or another it tends to give a strongly sexual impression, which may be attractive or repulsive - or both - to other people. Crisis characters often stir people up, this being their unconscious intention as a way of sharing the panic around, camouflaging their own terror and excitement.

We can think of the energy in a crisis character slopping around the body looking for some other lodging apart from the genitals; any other form of excitement is preferable, safer. So the crisis character mimics all the other character positions - which can be very confusing for therapists! In particular, someone deeply involved in the crisis position often comes over at first as a vulnerable 'schizy', boundary character. In fact crisis characters are quite tough, though they may not feel it There is a special relationship between these two extremes of the character range, of head and tail, and energy can swing powerfully between them.

The underlying strength and resilience often gives people the idea that a crisis character is 'pretending', could 'pull themselves together if they just made an effort'. In a sense they are pretending, but the pretense is an involuntary reaction to deep panic. The panic is completely rational in origin: dangerous and scary things did happen. Freud worked with extreme crisis characters who experienced 'hysterical paralysis' with no physical causation: a pretense in one sense, but outside any willed control or awareness. Often, though, the game-playing is both conscious and unconscious: panic and anxiety fog the ability to look coolly at what one is really doing. It can be amazing how a crisis character in a state of chaos can 'snap out of it' when asked.

Yet crisis characters can play games for very high stakes. Living permanently on their nerves and by their wits, out on the edge, they develop a strange sort of coolness. Like combat veterans, someone constantly in the crisis position learns to live with terror. It is likely that almost everyone who works in a directly life-threatening occupation is either a thruster, testing and proving themselves, or a crisis character fueled by their own panic.

It is when we are occupying the crisis position that we tend to create bodily expressions of our conflicts: the well-known 'hysterical symptoms' which mimic physical illness to act out an emotional state. Yet is there a real distinction? More and more we see all physical illnesses as the expression of a conflict, a life crisis which is potentially healing. Perhaps crisis characters, with their penchant for melodrama and staginess, are simply the ones who get caught at it - accidentally-on-purpose!

There are many attractive and creative features in the crisis character. Perhaps the most obvious is their sexiness, but more generally there is their fun and excitement, the lively energy and 'game-for-anything' attitude, together with the subtle and perceptive understanding of roles and rules (the better to break them). These qualities contribute a great deal of spice to life.

Perhaps the greatest contribution of the crisis attitude in us all is its refusal of patriarchy, and of the gender roles forced on us. Crisis characters may find some weird and exotic modes of rebellion, but rebel they do! At root, what they are demanding is very simple: the right to choose. To choose what sort of sexual contact they have; to choose to be playful and childlike, not always urgent and direct; above all, to choose not to be abused.

This is the hardest position to act out, but try the following: A stands still, breathing into their pelvis with the emphasis on breathing out, while B alternates between trying to attract them - 'Come here', 'I want you', 'Aren't you sweet' etc. - and rejecting them once they respond: 'No, no', 'Not like that', 'Come on, that's enough'. A, try to let your whole body really respond to each message; B, let yourself be fully seductive, and then switch into complete coldness. After a while, make contact with each other before you switch roles.

I think that this is enough for now.

Blessings, Ayal

next 416. "There's this electric chemistry between us, but he won't take it further"

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