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Emotional Parentification And How To Heal From It

Ok, so first things first.

Emotional parentification only happens when a parent doesn’t really want to be a parent.

This may sound harsh, and to an extent, the parent themselves may not even be aware of it, nevertheless it is a reality that we need to see if we want to make sense of and save ourselves from the results of emotional parentification.

The burden of emotional parentification cannot happen unless the parent feels entitled to do so and if they do feel entitled, then it must mean they are not taking care of the child purely out of love (if at all).

One common subconscious and unhealthy compulsion towards becoming a parent when the person doesn’t really want to be a parent has to do with feeling blocked from having one’s emotional needs fulfilled as a child.

This kind of pattern forms like this:

When these parents were children themselves they were treated as if they were “too old” to require what they did, as if their needs were “too immature” or maybe even “insatiable”.

Thus by the time they literally became “old enough” -adults-, they found it perfectly logical to believe (but only due to their conditioned sense of “logic”) that they were then entirely exiled from the opportunity of getting those pending emotional hungers satisfied.

Finding themselves in that predicament, they could easily end up feeling drawn to having children in an unconscious effort to complete their own missing needs.  

So the potential space of their relationships with their children becomes the only remaining possibility for their subconscious, which still needs what it needs just as much.

The period in which these children heard that their needs were supposedly no longer appropriate was a purely manufactured landmark, when in fact they were absolutely still needing them.

Society largely denies the most profound and basic emotional needs to adults too, precisely because of this childhood pattern of the supposed appropriateness of age regarding emotional needs.

The reality is rather simple; when a person feels they need something, they just do. 

So as a result of this pattern, these types of parents carry and pass on to their children the false belief that their need for support, reliance, and dependency is “dysfunctional”.

An emotionally hungry parent who believes their needs to be wrong denies their child those same needs.

Emotional parentification also only happens when the parent does not have a present partner, emotionally or literally (with whom they could have intimacy).

Emotionally parentified children are primarily a partner replacement.

If the parent had originally received what they needed as a child, they would go into adulthood feeling naturally open to receive their adult emotional needs, which means they would simply be asking for them from other, actually able and available adults instead of their children.

So these needs find refuge in their relationship with their children, where they cannot be shamed or denied by other mature, independent minds; and there they hide in the warmth of the false morality of “love”.

Emotional parentification is narcissism dressed in the clothes of codependency.

The parent presents themselves as a person needing love from their child, coercing the child in a type of relationship they did not choose and have no power over.

The parent is actually being covertly narcissistic about their needs and sacrificing their child’s emotional needs in their place, attacking how the child experiences their own needs by painting those as narcissistic and so succeeding at reversing the perception of what is actually occurring.

The child’s mind is imbued with this false morality of “love” by being taught that taking care of a parent is supposedly loving and appropriate, accepting it as something to take pride over or with the positive label of being “equal” to the parent, or worse, through an image of their parent as something akin to a saint in the providing for the child’s needs.

Parental self-sacrifice is a tell-tale sign of emotional parentification.

So, through emotional parentification, the child learns that caring about the parent’s “emotions” requires not really having emotional needs themselves, but always prioritising the parent’s needs, so the concept of intimacy becomes only about giving support and taking responsibility, which is in fact burningly toxic.

Because of this facade of “love”, adult parentified children may be blocked from realising that they have indeed been emotionally parentified.

Coming to the recognition of this as an adult is the primary step towards escaping the pattern, because children that experience emotional parentification do not know the taste of what they have not received.

The basis of safety and love that they are lacking is meant to be the natural emotional and hormonal result of being bonded in a trustworthy connection. 

Children, of course, are not equipped to fulfil the parent’s needs anyway; childhood is just not designed that way.

Children are in the process of growing up themselves, they are just not ready to emotionally support anyone – not even themselves.

This does not mean that children are “naturally selfish” or that they lack empathy. It’s just that their systems are evolving into adulthood and only then can they possibly become able to share their emotional resources with others.

Expecting this of children would be like expecting somebody whose physical body is still developing to provide food for another.

The same way milk is meant to flow from mother to child, a child cannot provide for a parent’s emotional needs at all.

Emotional parentification is in essence “emotional rape”.

Exactly like physical rape, emotional parentification is imposed, one-sided, and predatory and it makes hell out of something that is meant to be an experience of love: intimacy.

This then becomes fertile ground for developing that sickly feeling of fearing “intimacy”, when it is not in fact intimacy that one is ever really afraid of, but the secretive violation and silent feeling of being burdened that masquerades as “intimacy”.

This pattern is a powerful factor in how a person may grow up to feel isolated and detached from the world around them.

So, emotional parentification is in a way even worse than physical rape, because it is invisible, impossible to verbalise, and firmly secured under the belief that it is somehow “love” – IT IS NOT.

Emotional parentification is thus a confusing and debilitating experience; potentially even a panic-inducing one, as the child not only finds themselves alone in their own care and protection – which is a powerless state that simply cannot be fully resolved by the child alone – but they also get drowned under the idea that they are responsible for taking care of their parent’s emotions instead.

This is why emotional parentification in essence feels like incest and also partially why emotionally parentified children may feel like solving this pattern by seeking to parentify their own partners or friends. 

Emotional parentification is in essence a (possibly subconscious) revenge by a parent who has been psychologically dominated as a child.

It’s that restricted, shamed aspect of a person (man or woman) saying: “Fine, you demand that I be disempowered and accept being a codependent in our relationship? Then all of my emotions will be assigned to you!”.

Patriarchy infantilises the “feminine” aspect of people.

And then it controls, marginalises, negates and never fully nourishes it.

When part of us becomes infantilised, it then seeks to parentifies another.

But since the (direct or invisible) patriarchal power game cannot be resolved in the original relationship with the offending parent – because the dominating figure is not usually receptive to feedback -, the child gets stuck in a loop:

The child painfully bounces between the urge to fight that parent and their conditioned belief that they need to relinquish control to them to get what they need.

This then easily may transform into a covert desire for revenge as a (failing) attempt to accommodate for these two conflicting needs.

Thus, emotional parentification doesn’t happen purely because of unmet needs, but also because the parent who has been dominated as a child feels trapped in powerlessness. And in this case, they may decide to seek both the reclamation of their personal power and the satisfaction of their needs against someone they feel they can actually have the upper hand with: their child.

So, when such dominated parents end up emotionally parentifying their children, they will both project on the child the role of the patriarchal model of a parent (responsibility), because they’ve learned they must not embody that power in themselves, and at the same time they will oppose that power by taking revenge towards the parent who disempowered them, still in the face of the child, which of course puts the child in an impossible position.

The parentifying parent however is not only stuck in the unresolved pattern within themselves; they are also confused as to what they actually want because of that same pattern.

Parentifying parents cannot possibly find resolution through their children, also because what they are asking for is a false parental energy to begin with – in the same model which they have learned from their own family and culture.

Parentifying parents operate from the misconception that what they require is a “parent” to take over their will.

Hence, the parentifying parents’ inherited concept is that they need to place themselves in the position of “the child” (dominated) – but which they also resist (to try to claim their power back) – in order to receive their desired healing parental experiences.

And in the same way, their then parentified children learn that being parented is the solution they’re looking for later on in life, but while that type of parenting is already distorted.

Parents should never be figures of authority. That equals abuse.

What these parents did need as children was responsible and loving parents who would be able to combine their personal and practical life wisdom with accurate psychological attunement and genuine care towards their children; not someone to superimpose and force their preferences and ideals onto them.

Emotionally parentified children may feel like the only way to escape their predicament is to either reverse the roles – effectively parentifying their partner/friends in their place, which they feel as “relationship” – or avoid relationships altogether.

Parentified children feel frantically driven to search in all kinds of types of relationships for that daddy and mommy in disguise, in order to finally heal and fill in the gaps (regardless of whether they succumb to these attractions or avoid them.)

So, in these attempts, parentified adult children tend to imagine the solution of the double problem of emotional parentification – feeling responsible for others’ emotions and not having their own emotional needs met – as one, “perfect” person: they hope for someone that fully takes care of them while they adopt zero responsibility in the relationship.

However, they also instinctively feel that this ideal person cannot truly exist and thankfully, they are indeed right, but not because the situation is hopeless, but because their zero-responsibility fantasy is what actually stands in their way. The model they imagine would both exclude their personal power and require the other person to not have a self/needs (as a narcissistic remnant of their parent’s dysfunctional model), which would result in an enmeshed, codependent, and static space, where no-one really exists.

What the emotionally parentified child does need is the realisation that they’ve been conditioned to repeatedly give away their care to someone else as a pre-payment for what they need, but at the same time that they’ve learned that what they do need, they shouldn’t in fact need.

So, what the parentified adult child truly craves when they feel they need a parent, is just a figure that they can trust and rely on – not an actual parent – which just happens to be readily available to adults, as soon as one accepts the validity of their emotional needs and stops looking to false parental roles for rescue.

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Why We Need To Evolve Away From “Work”

Part 1: The Work Virus

I want you to imagine a world where the concept of “work” does not even need to exist.

…Where what is considered healthy is to naturally flow, fuelled by the desire, excitement and impulsiveness of creativity; where it is regarded smart, logical and efficient to succumb to and trust in the rhythm of life, as instructed by our very bodies’ expression; and ultimately, where quality of life is measured by how much individuals are thriving by following their inner guidance and thus being themselves.

You see, individuality is the treasure cove that harbours each human’s gifts. And the sum of our individualities forms our collective highest potential.

The world can collectively be only as happy as each person is being true to themselves.

If we do not value, honour, nurture and support the integrity and uniqueness of self above everything else, we are bound to unconsciously sentence ourselves to environments that feel wrong somehow. And while we may not be able to exactly pinpoint why our worlds don’t seem to be the utopias generations upon generations have fought (worked) so hard for, something about them just feels off.

Effort, seriousness, sturdiness, predictability, persevering, stamina, and mass results have been at the root of our old guiding principles. Yet these concepts have not, cannot and will not get us to a better, fairer, or more evolved reality.

We may have been able to rely on them until now for a certain kind of order, a guarantee of specific practical results, yet those advantages cannot substitute the true, multi-faceted brilliance of our freed expressions.

We’ve only been following these old paradigms on the seemingly logical assumption that moulding ourselves accordingly will somehow serve the good of the whole and/or that we need to do so for our survival.

Yet it is this wrong assumption that breeds and sanctions the unconscious dehumanisation, distortion and sense of futility that modern society suffers from.

We fight against ourselves and expect victory. We reach for “happiness” by destroying happiness.

And as for the argument that we must follow these principles for our survival, for one, we grossly underestimate the value of communal/tribal living, assigning to it traits that are pitifully projected by a self-proclaimed “superior and more civilised, first” world.

Additionally, we forget that the poverty, disease and struggle of many areas of the world are a direct result of imposed wars and imported religious belief.

Where indigenous people are left alone, they do thrive; perhaps not in the way modern cultures are familiar with recognising, but in their own distinct fashion they do.

While dogma may not seem directly relevant to our world’s success, underneath human suffering, there is bound to be a belief system that in some way or another praises and exalts exactly that: suffering.

This may sound harsh, but I’m in no way implying that any being deserves suffering, nor that they are consciously bringing these results to themselves. I only aim to point out the cause at the root of this issue, so that we may untangle it and heal its damage.

I am also not advocating abandoning all the great creations of our technological innovations and scientific discoveries. I am only suggesting that we apply that same knowledge on a more advanced system of values; ones that actually foster happiness.

We sadly accept the misguided idea that in order to survive we need to follow this enforced giving of our energy (work), which is only an inherited, oppressive and destructive value system.

Combined with this, we also get conditioned to find it intelligent and evolved to distrust and separate ourselves from others, as if it was weak, shameful and the ultimate failure to rely on others, thus creating an antagonistic setpoint for ourselves.

We are the source of the problem we think we are trying to solve.

Survival, and indeed happiness, are only possible through (and blissfully enhanced by) interdependence.

In order to properly evaluate the state our world is in -and thus be able to effectively affect it- we must first reassess the tools through which we observe it.

Indeed it is the tools we’ve been using to make sense of the world and to interpret what we’re perceiving that are primarily what disables us from improving on the way we progress. These tools have been external, numerical, and generalistic. In other words, they account for quantifiable basic human needs that don’t necessarily include the subtler, invisible, inner needs that comprise, let’s say, the “souls” of its people. But why should we include “souls” in such an equation? Because we’re looking to create a world that doesn’t just “look” right, but truly is right.

The best lens to look through, if we want to direct ourselves towards a higher, next-level quality world, must be emotion itself.

So, emotion is indeed the most valid and objective tool to measure the world, because emotion cannot be denied or proven by anyone other than the self. And since happiness cannot be forged, emotions must then become the single point of reference when it comes to evaluating where we’re at.

The world’s success cannot possibly be defined differently than its happiness.

Do you see how in all of our old concepts around work, there exists an inherent violence against the self? That we are operating from a set-point that is misdirecting and even offensive to the human spirit?

Underneath all of our values around “work”, there is a basic false belief about human nature itself: That it is not naturally inclined towards love.

And what do we think we need the concept of “work” for, if not to ensure that other people provide something (and enough of it) to our whole?

 


Part 2: Realigning Our Direction

Thankfully, the belief that humans are not loving by nature could not be further from the truth.

In fact, humanity is so inclined towards love that it has been at the mercy of codependency for eons (joke!).

Codependency is in essence the sacrifices we make in the self, in order to achieve acceptance and safety with others. The beautiful, natural reality is that others matter to humans. In fact love is what matters to us the most. If it was not such an all-important motive, we wouldn’t be so susceptible to it. Yet, everything bad for ourselves that we do accept, we accept in the hope of love, whether that comes in the form of belonging, feeling valuable or receiving personal love.

“Work” is indeed a codependent concept (like all moral concepts are).

We do not need morality; our nature is even better than that.

So, if we took it for granted that people, by default, do desire to participate, to give of themselves, and in fact to gladly do so; and even more, that only in their freedom are they be able to produce their best, which would also not be measurable by time spent or amount produced, would we still feel like we ought to oblige people to “work”?

The problem isn’t in human nature supposedly not being loving, but ironically, in what we do to ourselves -and how we raise our children- operating from this false premise:

Believing that we need to mould, even punish our children into not being “selfish”, but towards being giving and performing “work”, we effectively withdraw our love from them.

Precisely because love is humanity’s most desired commodity -whether it can be directly sought after or indirectly pursued (ironically through competition, manipulation and hostility)- we unconsciously set a painful trap for our children.

To cope with this pain of love withdrawal, children will go either towards compliance (codependency)  –  which alters the authenticity of their individuality  – and/or towards rebelliousness.

And when they show resistance, we then take it as supposed proof about their (and our) nature. We don’t take into account in this false conclusion is again, the importance and value of individuality.

When we go against a child’s selfhood and they resist, their rebellion is not proof of how “lazy” and “selfish” human nature is; it is only their innocent and correct communication that we’re steering them wrong.

Forcing children through “morality” to push themselves to produce is emotional and mental violence.

If we do not allow our children the time and space to develop properly towards their unique goals, we never get to the proof of the existence of their intrinsic creative/productive power.

But if we were to respect the appropriateness of each being’s individuality, we would be viewing them as something new, and as something essential, with fresh, unfiltered, and evolved information and inspiration about how to live. We would not assume that children need to be taught who to be.

Instead of trying to direct children, we should be directed by their inherent personal power that guides them towards individuality.

And what could be occurring during every being’s childhood is this unencumbered process of progression that would eventually extend to (and only at the right time) the integration of the individual’s unique talents and offerings within its society, never having been infected by any reason to destroy and depreciate their originality, never broken away from love for any artificial measurement of “worth”.

Joy, leisure, playfulness, pleasure, and rest are our best sources of energy.

And, what do you know, they just happen to enhance our health and wellbeing at the same time too!

Funnily enough, we have forgotten how to be. We also seem to have done so in the name of (economic) progress, taking this manufactured calculation to mean an actual advancement of civilisation, while the obvious manifestation of our realities simply does not prove happiness.

So what does a child need to be happy? (The same as what an adult needs.)

They need freedom, to progressively discover and express their individuality, held and supported by the constant assurement that they will be respected, welcome and cherished, as they continuously explore and unfold themselves into more refinement, definition, intricacy and mastery.

If a child doesn’t naturally produce energy towards a specific goal, then it must be a goal incompatible with who they are here to be.

The missing elements of global happiness must be hidden inside every single one of the inimitable expressions that each being holds within themselves.

So let us imagine…the emotionally satisfying, beautifully abundant, unpredictably exhilarating, and truly alive world we are meant to create, TOGETHER.

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How To Save Yourself From Being “Too Empathic”

Part 1: Wounded Empathy

If you identify as an empath, then unfortunately, this means that you have grown up in an environment which has conditioned you to take in others’ emotional energies to your detriment and also largely, if not completely, to the exclusion of your own.

If what you’d been experiencing was just pure empathy, you wouldn’t have needed to separate it as an identifiable part of your character.

Labeling your empathy means you’ve had to deal with something very traumatising. Pure empathy wouldn’t have felt like a tortured state that you’d want to escape from, it would have just been love and understanding between you and others.

So, this wounded type of empathy is not what people generally would associate with being empathic; it’s not necessarily caring about others’ feelings, but instead it’s primarily about being burdened by and afraid of others’ negative emotional states.

Wounded-empathy is an imposed state which makes us feel trapped, attacked, and powerless. In essence, it is the result of being assigned others’ emotions and not of simply feeling what others feel. 

Natural empathy is not something that automatically happens to us, it is a state of choice, where one desires to tune in to how others feel, out of compassion. While it feels instinctive and spontaneous, it’s not an imposed experience by others, whereas the wounded type of empathy is a helpless and martyric space. 

Additionally, natural empathy cannot be a space that feels negative, even when the emotions are extreme, because it is a secondary space of feeling, a place of sweetness in the face of sadness, grief, anger, fear – the primary space being the one happening inside the owner’s feelings. So, being there with others in their own experience of their feelings does not feel heavy, it’s like the way one might cry at a movie. It is still crying, but in empathy, on the outside of the actual life of the character. 

So how do we end up with this wounded-type of empathy to begin with?

Empaths are the scapegoated children of narcissistic parents, made to identify with giving only, and to be attuned primarily -if not completely- to their parents’ needs, which they then take on to their adult relationships. And the abusive aspect of what we have falsely learned to call “empathy” is that element of responsibility.

Empaths have been conditioned to sacrifice their own experience and substitute it with the other’s. This is not empathy, it is a one-sided, abusive type of relating.

That is why this type of false empathy feels so powerless, because if the feelings aren’t our own, they not only aren’t ours to solve but they cannot even be solved by us.

Emotional energy carries a unique to its bearer message, therefore, if it is transferred, the message does not reach its destination.

But, the empathic child unfortunately learns that it is both their fault and their responsibility to deal with the parents’ emotions instead of them. In that way the child also avoids their parent getting to the point of attacking them through their unresolved emotional energies. 

The empathic child is at the same time disallowed from tending to their own needs. This teaching happens through punishment by the “self-sacrificing” parent whenever the empath-child is acting in self-loving ways, as if self-care was supposedly a hating, rejecting or abandoning act towards the parent, when of course it’s only been assigned this false symbolic meaning for abusive purposes.

Part 2: Empathic Connection As A Substitute To Two-Way Connection

Apart from staying safe with an emotionally abusive parent, there is another important reason the child learns to take on the energy of the feelings of others around him/her: to substitute the much needed connection they are not receiving from their emotionally absent and abusive parents.

This works like so: The parent accepts them only as the negative to their positive; meaning the parent gets to be everything good, while the child represents the bad, when in fact those are the very aspects of the parent which the parent rejects in themselves.

If the child were to abandon this assigned role, there would be no other avenue to experience relating with that parent. It would be as if the child simply did not exist for their parent.

So, negative connection in a twisted way presents itself like a better option than no connection at all. And the child naturally accepts this dysfunctional connection.

However, the objective truth still remains: a negative connection is not a connection (love). It is instead a constant devastation much more detrimental than the acceptance of no connection, but the option to recognise it for what it is and thus deny it is only available to us as adults.

Another reason the empathic child would choose to maintain this connection would be to use it as a continuous plea towards the narcissistic-disconnected parent: “Look! I feel what you feel, therefore I am part of you (=love me)!”.

From these relational wounds, empaths naturally tend to conclude that all other people don’t want to take responsibility for their own emotions and/or that they can’t.

However, others are not only perfectly able, but also in complete freedom as to whether and how much they go into their own emotions. After all, we are all built “human” (with full access to all emotions).

It is not true that their parent(s) “couldn’t” deal with their emotions, that they were “too hurt” or that they “needed the empathic child’s help”.

That’s the original lie: that the parents “couldn’t”, when they simply weren’t allowing themselves to or they didn’t want to. The parents aren’t actually asking for the child’s emotional presence either.

They are simply trying to “receive love” by doing what their parents taught them: to not have any emotional needs. 

What they are asking for is an act of sacrifice that to them means love, but of course isn’t. In a mentality where love is sacrifice, there is only ever space for one; it is impossible to create a loving relationship. As soon as the other has needs, it feels threatening and disapproving to them.

The key to escaping wounded-empathy is to not take responsibility for another’s emotions more than they do.

When we are desperately trying to rescue others, it’s ultimately because we have accepted responsibility for their unhappiness.

The important thing to realise is that they don’t want to be rescued, they instead want to keep receiving “rescue” (=the feeling that somebody is putting their needs ahead of themselves).

The truth is that nobody is emotionally incapable. Choice does not imply disability. Besides, nobody can grow emotionally if somebody else (the empath) is always rushing to save them from developing their own emotional “muscle”.

So, empaths must learn to not take responsibility for others’ emotions and to not confuse this with natural compassion (which includes both people’s emotional needs).

As an “empath”, you must learn how to put your energy towards your own emotions first – and that’s what you crave after all, isn’t it?

Because through these patterns, you have learned it’s appropriate to feel guilty for your emotions taking too much space, too much energy, so you are constantly pulled to take care of others’ emotions for them.

You must reverse this false direction and lovingly apply your energy to yourself too. You will be pleasantly surprised to gradually find both others being happy to tend to you too and that it doesn’t diminish your capacity and desire to be there for them either.

Because your sense of reality has been severely distorted by the lie that your parent’s supposed self-sacrifice was love, and that the parent’s hatred was because of your “selfishness”, you now hope for somebody to release you from that torture, by accepting that the pain you have been in is real: that you have indeed been hated, not loved.

You now have the opportunity to recognise the truth that you have been the subject of pure hatred, that none of it was actually love. That is the saving that you’ve been so desperate for! So give yourself this gift, point those saving efforts towards yourself! 

Real empathy does not negate the self; it does not hold responsibility that values the other more than the self. Empathy is “and”, not “instead”.

Part 3: Helpful Practices

Lastly, let me leave you with some practices to assist you with distinguishing between pure empathy and wounded-empathy, because empathy is after all a beautiful and essential part of relating:

When you find yourself feeling burnt, overwhelmed or broken by “empathy”, notice and ask yourself:

  • Are you relieving the other of their emotional energy in order to be “good” and/or avoid being shamed or punished?
  • Are you tuning into them to be able to solve it for them so that you’re not burdened by them and/or so that they become “healed” enough into choosing to bond/connect with you?
  • Are you subconsciously attuning to them because you feel obliged to give priority to them?
  • Are you assigned their emotional energy so that they don’t feel bad?
  • When somebody is in emotional distress and requires your assistance/presence, do you abandon your own energetic space to show that you’re with them?

Try emotionally disconnecting (temporarily) or even physical distancing to see if your symptoms withdraw, so that you have a clear space to be able to examine what is yours and what’s not from a neutral space.

Finally, lovingly remind yourself: It is not your responsibility. They are powerful to solve their own problems. Tell yourself also that you don’t have to “pay” others to be with you (by accepting being burdened by their emotions). And make this your mantra:

It’s totally ok to feel however I feel. It’s totally ok to be in my own energy.

You are alive to be first and foremost in your own experience of self. That does not negate nor does it disconnect you from other people. Love includes both your energies and others’, simultaneously.

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Why Addiction Is Not The Problem

Addiction is not weak, bad or self-indulgent.

Addiction is the result of denying ourselves pleasure. And pleasure in its natural form ignites, sustains and heals.

When we seek to gratify a desire in a way that has negative side-effects, it isn’t pleasure; it’s a subconscious targeting of both the positive and the negative effects produced by that behaviour.

Here’s how that gets formed in our subconscious:

As children we learn that we don’t “deserve”, that we shouldn’t want what we desire, so we become conditioned to expect punishment in order to appease the condemning parent, as a way to “pay” with self-destruction. That in turns allows us to experience a substitute of the pleasure that we actually want.

Going straight for the real pleasure would make us feel intense shame, as if we were claiming something beyond our “worth”. And this is the same shame that we suffer from even when going for the impure substitute.

So even though we attribute that shame to the addiction itself (as if it was an irrelevant result of character), it is actually the original need that we feel shame for. If the need had been deemed normal to begin with, it wouldn’t have been a “failure” to seek to fulfil it and therefore it would not have been associated to an imagined “weakness” of character.

The shame that’s preventing us from meeting our needs is based on the concept of “selfishness”. We are infected by this idea, even though it is entirely fictional.

If we get addicted to anything it is exactly because we are blocked from having what we need, so our system is going for the next best thing: something that we can control and that destroys us at the same time, so that we don’t mistakenly honour ourselves beyond our worth in receiving the direct pleasure we want.

So you see, addiction is the opposite of selfishness!

If we had been taught that pleasure is normal, strengthening, and enlivening, we wouldn’t be running from it as if it is “selfish”, all the while still needing pleasure, thus reverting to coping mechanisms-addictions- that must at the same time attack the self.

The idea of “selfishness” is born out of a gross misunderstanding of how the human system works.

Loving the self is not shame-worthy behaviour, neither is it in any way a detriment to other people.

It is only because our original environments shamed us for pleasing ourselves that we developed an antagonistic relationship between our pleasure and their wellbeing, thus combining pleasure with shame, limitations, social exclusion and rejection.

In reality, there is no pleasure that hurts others nor ourselves. Again, it is only the shame imbued in seeking pleasure that makes us adopt destructive alternatives which don’t truly satiate, so they become highly addictive.

Indeed, taking care of the self isn’t actually destructive.

Instead, it is self-sacrifice or selflessness, that create a world of struggle, stark emotional poverty and suffering health.

Because we follow society’s/parental demands in that eternal quest for “earning” our “worth”, we learn that we must only be “giving” our love out. So when it doesn’t come back in enough, we become depleted but without being able to remedy that because we’re disallowed to give to ourselves.

And so this is where power trips, control games, and manipulation are born: Not from actual “selfishness”, but from the unavoidable eventual result of selflessness/self-sacrifice.

One of the most damaging associations humanity has ever created is that of suffering with worth, and thus constricting a person’s availability to receiving. That positions pure pleasure totally beyond reach.

This is the perfect set-up for powerlessness.

Selflessness does not result in receiving others’ love, as we are led to believe, however it does make it possible for others to have control and power over the individual.

Sadly, exactly because we cannot allow ourselves to be full, when potential love comes and tries to fill us up, we suddenly feel acutely threatened, and we deny or even disbelieve in the offerings towards us. And that’s because our subconscious has been conditioned to expect punishment, withdrawal, even attack as we’ve learned we “deserve” when we honour ourselves with pleasure.

The reality though is that filling yourself up would disgust only anyone who would want you in that disempowered state, where they would be able to control you by making themselves the sole source of your needs and playing a starvation game against you to establish their hold on you.

Your happiness cannot be a threat to somebody who wants to love you into even more happiness.

So, you see, addictions cannot be seen as a person’s “fault”; they are just disallowed and unfulfilled pleasures/needs.

But because addictions have been formed through shame, they actually overshadow our true needs, so they present an obstacle to us getting our underlying, true needs fulfilled.

The real problem is that we believe we cannot or should not meet the need we have, directly.

The addiction is just a coping mechanism that can easily be remedied in the presence of what we actually need. So it is crucial that we identify and clear the path towards those needs.

Furthermore, it’s very important to realise that in all addictions, the core is a need that can only be covered by others.

Because we had no control over what we received in our original relationships (those with our parents), we learned to search for ways to address our needs that could be entirely controlled by ourselves.

Our cultures worship the ideal of “needlessness” and condemn the concept of “neediness” exactly because of this dynamic, when it is not only human but entirely healthy and beneficial to society for us to need one another. In any case, we actually do need one another, regardless of whether we are in a space of admitting it or not.

Another thing that we must acknowledge relative to addiction is that it is absolutely always a response to recurring violation in one’s life.

Addiction is never a “creation” within the self, a supposedly weak-character response to a normal situation, but a reaction to an environment of psychological abuse, which also presents no hope for change (and so the person resorts to addiction to cope).

It is vital, therefore, to identify emotional violations and change or leave abusive environments before we can become able to replace addictions with our true needs.

It is however important to also note that addiction has an unfortunate negatively-affirming result:

The more one uses these substances or behaviours to escape their reality and induce a substitute for their sought out feelings of relaxation, peace, excitement, safety and joy, the weaker their natural ability to create those things becomes.

Their brain’s ability to release the hormones that are equivalent to the natural positive emotions of a loved individual becomes weaker and weaker. So they gradually and eventually find themselves believing in a nightmare kind of life, which in turn “requires” further substance use to escape the “reality” of their depleted brain.

It is imperative to not believe what years of abuse and lack of love have convinced us about “reality” and about what our life is supposed to feel like.

Life is meant to feel pleasurable! The only reason that it seems otherwise is because as children we are stuck with the (abusive) parents we get. And they most usually are either unaware or unwilling to admit to the emotional violence that they’re inflicting on their children.

No matter how hard abuse/abandonment is however, it is actually much harder to live in a “reality” that disconnects us from our pain.

As soon as we are able to accept that the reality we grew up in was indeed abusive and thus separate it from the potential that is available in our future, we should passionately and willingly start facing our pain.

Facing our pain is loving ourselves. Pain is simply what happened to us, not something that we deserve, should feel shame about or be blamed for.

So while that choice of addiction is completely beautiful, smart and appropriate as sought after by our subconscious, we simply don’t need to keep making it as adults. But that door only unlocks with the key of recognising further and further the details of abuse in our parents’ accidental or purposeful behaviour.

Here, it must be said that our parents’ abilities and intentions do not have an effect in the negative results of their parenting.

While parents can absolutely be well-meaning and innocent, their actions must be measured objectively if humanity is to be set free of abuse and not carry it forward into the next generations.

And that objective measure is only their child’s emotions.

Lastly, anything that we do use as a drug is still part of our healing. Because the drop is actually as beneficial as the high, because the negative emotion becomes both easier to perceive and available for us to access. So if we support the wounded emotion to complete its cycle by allowing it to be felt fully, addiction can be enlisted as an ally to our healing.

Addictions are born only out of our innocent desire for belonging.

We damage ourselves to belong and we seek only the pleasure of belonging/love in everything that we do.

And so it must be that the universal remedy for humanity’s pain of isolation and the addictive coping mechanisms that are only the logical result of a very real and unbearable state of existence is in fact  sweeter relationships.

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