Overcoming a Really Crappy Childhood

A Spider Becomes a Tree

Imagine that you were raised in a trailer by an embarrassing, raging drunk and a mother that excused and covered for him all the time.  Imagine that you spent your childhood depressed and so embarrassed by your family that you never brought any friends to your home.  Perhaps you too would grow up thinking you were not good enough and always worrying about what others thought of you.

If you had such a childhood, how would you keep it from destroying your life? While this young lady learned to deal blackjack, got a job at a casino, and escaped the toxicity of her family culture, it wasn’t enough, because she still had her parents living rent-free inside her head.  She was still depressed and still convinced she was “trailer trash.”

The combination of years of horrible life scripting as a child combined with alcoholism creates a prison from which it is very hard to escape. If you are miserable and your only relief comes from self-medication, you can have the most transformative IDL interviews and the most helpful emerging potentials and you will remain stuck in a living nightmare.

You really can’t overcome a really crappy childhood unless you do at least three things: It’s important to understand that who you were scripted to be is not who you are destined to be. You are not destined to be anyone  everyday you get to choose. You are going to have to recognize and break the addictions that validate and maintain your victimization. To do so you are going to require both external and internal support communities all the time, for years. Small or weak trees require supporting poles that are there constantly, not just sometimes. In time the trees outgrow their need for such poles. We can too, but few people get and use sufficient support to make their recovery permanent.

This is why IDL is an ongoing yoga that includes support and accountability. Interviews like this one provide direction, inspiration, and solid sustenance, but these are temporary state changes. After the interview, we relapse back into our habitual, scripted ways of living. We need support in remembering and applying what we have learned. It is why IDL provides its Coaching Certification, to keep you and your students plugged in to your inner compass so that you maintain the momentum necessary to change your life from a nightmare into a beautiful, strong Oak.

Imagine you are on your deathbed, looking back over your life.  Imagine all your dreams have come true.  What do you see when you look back?  How has your life unfolded?

I have been successful!  I would have a family of my own that I am very proud of, a great marriage and partnership.  I have found success in health, wellness, mental health, to educate a lot of people to live a quality life.  I would feel proud that I didn’t continue the cycle of my family of origin!  I would feel happy that I had changed that cycle and created a better family for future generations.

If I am on my deathbed I would try to look back and see if I tried.  I would like to see that I had at least made an effort to get past my fears and all these horrible things.  If I did, I could accept the fact that it just didn’t work out that way, perhaps find a lesson for why it didn’t work out.  To know that if I was born again I would try to do better.

Now imagine that you are on your deathbed, looking back over your life.  Imagine that NONE of your dreams have come true; in fact, all of your fears have come to pass.  What happened?  How do you feel?

I am a fat, overweight, cat woman. Never married, no children.  Working in the casino, hating that.  No friends.  Hating work, hating men, thinking they are all horrible.  Having my health compromised because of my eating and not getting enough exercise and smoking.  Basically playing the victim.  This is exactly what I thought life would be.  What do I have to live for, anyway?

If those feelings had a color (or colors), what would it be?


Imagine that color filling the space in front of you so that it has depth, height, width, and aliveness.

Now watch that color swirl, congeal, and condense into a shape. Don’t make it take a shape, just watch it and say the first thing that you see or that comes to your mind: An animal? Object? Plant? What?

A spider!

Now remember how as a child you liked to pretend you were a teacher or a doctor?  It’s easy and fun for you to imagine that you are this or that character in your dream and answer some questions I ask, saying the first thing that comes to your mind.  If you wait too long to answer, that’s not the character answering – that’s YOU trying to figure out the right thing to say!

Spider, would you please tell me about yourself and what you are doing?

I am a blue tarantula-type spider, crawling along the counter right here.

What do you like most about yourself? What are your strengths?

I like the fact that I’m crazy and crawly and no one likes to be around me.  I am intimidating to most people.  Basically, they leave me alone.

What do you dislike most about yourself? Do you have weaknesses?  What are they?

I haven’t really thought about it.  Everyone stays away from me.  My strength is also my weakness.

Spider, what aspect of Karla do you represent or most closely personify?

I personify Karla’s especially isolated part of her that on the surface doesn’t want to be bothered but deeper feels that it doesn’t fit in.  I am not even the same species!

Spider, if you could be anywhere you wanted to be and take any form you desired, would you change?  If so, how?

I probably would change but I don’t know what.  A tree.  I am an old, strong oak tree with lots of green leaves and branches.  My roots are deep and strong into the earth.  I get plenty of minerals, water, and sunshine.

(Continue, answering as the transformed object, if it chose to change.)

Tree, how would you score yourself 0-10, in confidence, compassion, wisdom, acceptance, peace of mind, and witnessing?  Why?

Confidence: 10 Because there’s nothing to not be confident about.

Compassion:   8

Wisdom:   9

Acceptance:       9

Inner Peace: 10

Witnessing: 10

Tree, if you scored tens in all six of these qualities, would you be different?  If so, how?

I wouldn’t be different, just stronger.  I would know more.  I would have absolutely no doubt.  I would be more aware.

How would the life of the person who created you be different if she naturally scored high in all six of these qualities all the time?

She would have more energy because she wouldn’t be thinking of mundane, silly things.  She would be happier and healthier and she would accomplish more.

If you could live the life of the person who created you for her, how would you live it differently?

I would be more present for her to help her with more energy, to move faster, and to not doubt herself.

If you could live this person’s waking life for her today, would you handle her three life issues differently?  If so, how?

1. She still has some inferiority issues – not being good enough.  She sometimes compares herself to others and what they are doing.  In doing that she gives up some of her confidence and power.  She’s afraid to express it.  It’s not an issue to me.  I would be more forceful than she, not wasting time doubting or paying attention to what other people are doing.  I would focus more on what she is trying to accomplish.  Have more conviction and not be afraid to show it.

2. She has some doubts about whether moving in with Rod is what she wants.  I would definitely sit down with Rod and say, “OK, this is what I want and where I am going and have him do the same.  Be more outspoken.”  The result would be that she would feel a lot better about having put it out there and letting him know that she is serious about her goals.  Seeing areas where they can help each other to attain goals and know where they need to find help from others.  It would be really healthy for both of them.  She can do it Sunday evening in a week.  Ir would be really helpful for her.

What life issues would you focus on if you were in charge of her life?

Karla has been thinking about nutrition and cooking.  She can go ahead and move some of her things into Rod’s so she can say there.  This will allow her to set up a cooking routine.  She was going to wait until she had her place rented out but if she moves over she can start a routine with their cooking.  She will take one night a week and make meals for three or four days.  She has already talked to him about that.  This weekend she will move her clothes and toiletries over.  It will help with the stress of her work.

In what life situations would it be most beneficial for this person to imagine that they are you and act as you would?

Any situation that requires action.  I am more powerful than her in being forceful for getting things done. Moving in with Rod, getting her condo put on the market.  Better nutrition and working out – anything that requires action and discipline.

Why do you think that you are in this person’s life?

I have come into her life because this is a turning point for her.  She has worked hard on herself spiritually, emotionally, with her condo.  She’s making a transition. Things are changing for her.  Things are starting to manifest for her. The wishy-washiness won’t work any more.

What do you think about Karla’s nightmare?

She has a choice.  If she lets her fears control her that could become a reality, but she hasn’t chosen that.  It is not going to become a reality for her.

What do you think about Karla’s good dream?

I feel confident that she can reach it.  She already is, a little!

How is Karla most likely to ignore what you are saying to them?

Procrastination. Not letting me contribute my energy and my strength to her life.

What would you recommend that they do about that?

She needs to write out daily goals and tasks to get these things done.  She needs to remember to be me!

What have you heard yourself say?

There is a part of me that is very strong, rooted in the earth, very wise and strong in the six core qualities.  It wants to help me move forward on my goals and not waste my time thinking about my old issues of not being good enough or what other people think of me.  Not being affected by all that.

If this experience were a wake-up call from your inner compass, what do you think it would be saying to you?

I am on track.  It is extending help for me to move even quicker, to move even stronger along my path.  That is a really nice validation.  I am so glad that I woke up in my life!

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