When a person’s emotional and spiritual landscape has been eroded by profound childhood losses, it creates great challenges in how to deal with them and continue functioning. One whose system has been contaminated by shame develops coping mechanisms that will allow him to artificially deal with it and find some zone for engaging life.
THE BANDAGED CORE
So the tattered core bandages itself with protective layers that can include anger, sarcasm, denial, avoidance, sleep, inaccessibility, need-lessness, intolerance, isolation, busyness.... These coping mechanisms are the bandages the soul uses to wrap around its collapsing core to try and save it. From these, the person develops a system of responsesthat best suits him and enables him or her to cope with a compromised core. Though many of the items listed here (such as procrastination or humor) don't always originate from core damage, they can and frequently do. Additional items may include:
Perfectionism Rage ControlShyness BrashnessHyper-ActivityAppearance Procrastination PerformanceHumorApathyAmbivalence Over Achieving Minimizing CriticismUnder Achieving Cocky-nessExaggeration Rigidity Superior Attitude
These Compensations Save the Child. Though some of them surface only in adulthood, what the child chooses as his method of coping allows him to navigate the rugged terrain of his soul and arrive in adulthood.The problem that then confronts this child in adulthood, as we have said elsewhere, is:What Saves the Child Cripples the Adult.That which has helped the child survive snares the adult in a web ofbehaviors that are life-capturing at best and life-draining at worst. These range from inconsistencies and dramatic swings of emotions that sabotage the full embrace of living all the way to a despairing termination of life whether intentional or not: suicide, alcohol or drug overdose, risk-taking, alcoholism or severe drug abuse, homelessness, severe chronic depression, chronic joblessness or moving in and out of jobs, in and out of depression, in and out of discouragement, in and out of success; in and out of relationships; in and out of talents and abilities; in and out of opportunities.
So the person, now insulated from his deepest self, presents a mask that represents himself to the world outside. This is the mask he will wear the rest of his life...or until he experiences healing. As an adult, what others know of him is this surface form where relationships connect surface to surface. No one really "knows" him even though he may have a great longing to be known...and a great fear. Eventually, this bandaged core may so conceal the person from himself that even he does not know who he is. What lies beneath his "soul mache" are places he doesn't want to visit any more.
It is when these coping skills (that were salvific for the child) become sabotaging and crippling for the adult that change must happen or life becomes a prison of potential.Persistent roadblocks in one’s life, repeating patterns of struggle or failure, of “almost” and “might have been” suggest the need to look for underlying issues that set up such ambushes.These struggles serve to expose the hidden, unfinished business of the soul.They can help ferret out core issues that undermine the person’s dreams and talents, unravel relationships and erode one’s sense of self.When embraced as disguised blessings, these very frustrations become flags marking points for potential growth and giving your personal path greater clarity and direction:Your map is now marked; your course is laid out.All that remains are some decisions: Do I want to go that route and commit to it?When am I going to get started?Is It Possible for me to Get There?The critical answer for you is that healing is possible.Yes, You Can Get There.These pages are about helping you get started and helping you believe in the possibilities.