In a previous video, I explained the concept of fragmentation. I explained that even though we identify ourselves as one person with one personality and one name, the truth is in fact much different than that. I explained that all people in fact have multiple selves within them. You could think of this like a collection of Siamese twins that lives inside one body and that either get along well or fight to control the body as well as each other. To understand more about this concept in depth, watch my video: Fragmentation (The Worldwide Disease).
When a person grows up in an atmosphere of shame, they fragment internally in a way where some of these selves that develop, develop specifically to hold our shame or to protect us from the vulnerability we feel. You can imagine that that we develop three distinct kinds of selves in response to shaming and circumstances that cause us to feel completely vulnerable.
- Selves that are the embodiments of whatever we were shamed about so we can keep those traits away from the personality that we show to the world.
- Selves that are the embodiments of whatever we believed would protect our vulnerability from the world.
- Selves that are the embodiments of our vulnerability, which the protector selves hide from the world.
For example, if we were the scapegoat of our family, we were constantly seen as the problem. We might have a self that is the embodiment of whatever problem our parents said we had. If they focused at us being mentally ill, we may have a self that appears to us that is desperate and suicidal in a straight jacket. This is the embodiment of what we were shamed about. We might also have a self that appears to us as a black, demonic looking entity that is intent on destroying people. This is the embodiment of what we believed would protect us from the world. We might also have a 4 year old inner child who is powerless to make mom and dad approve of him and who cannot figure out what he did that is so wrong that they are treating him like he is the problem in the family. This is the embodiment of our vulnerability, what our black demon self is trying to hide from the world.
If, like in this previous scenario, we were continually treated as if we were bad, we may have a part within us that appears to be demonic and evil. These shame selves tend to be the ones we are the most resistant to integrating. We have a disapproving and rejecting attitude towards them. We want them to be fixed, to change, to go away or to be exorcised from us. But this attitude we have towards them simply reinforces the atmosphere of shame within our own being.
When we seek to understand these shame selves with compassion, we see that they too, are vulnerable selves. Even those who present themselves as all-powerful, malevolent and evil, contain the pain of being treated how they are treated and of not being able to have the approval and inclusion and safety they really want. If we can get to and directly address the pain these selves contain, we can change the way they manifest themselves in our life. We can dramatically reduce the shame we feel in our life and re-own the incredibly valuable things that have been disowned in the process of rejecting them.
Here is an example, I was raised by a mother who was a ‘bra burner’ in the 60s women’s rights movement. Having watched the continual objectification of women in her childhood, she dramatically rebelled against the sexualization of women. When I began to come into my own sexuality and wanted to wear makeup and high heels and dress sexy and flirt with boys, my mother had a visceral negative reaction to it. She looked at me with disgust, made derogatory remarks and told me that I was destroying everything she and the women of her time worked so hard for. I wasn’t getting enough love from her to begin with to be motivated to alter my behaviors so as to be more sexually conservative. But deep down, I felt extreme shame about myself as a sexual being.
I was also raised in a conservative Mormon town and so I was being treated by the rest of society like I was a slut too. Even though I never ‘hid’ my sexuality, I discovered a shame self within me that took the shape of a Siren. In my mind’s eye, she appeared as a beautiful naked woman on a rocky island, a bit like the old images of Aphrodite. She was affixed to the rock, unable to move and in a state of despair because all around her feet were the skeletons of men. She was starving for partnership, love, secure and permanent connection, but every time a man came to shore, enticed by her obvious beauty, against her will, her eyes would turn into laser beams and they would be struck down to rot at her feet. She couldn’t move, so she couldn’t hide her beauty, so it was fate that they would be lured in and killed. She felt totally powerless to prevent this.
When I first saw this self of mine, my first reaction was to be repelled by it. I judged her as evil. It wasn’t until I recognized the desperation and despair within her as well as the fact that she didn’t want the men to die, she simply couldn’t do anything to prevent it, that I realized the true root of my own shame. It is that I couldn’t hide the fact that I have always been sexually attractive. But I had been led to believe it was harmful and dangerous to others. It was evil. Not being able to stay in touch with this ‘bad/wrong’ aspect of me, I fragmented it off in the form of a siren within myself. To make a long story short, as if in a meditative journey, I imagined cutting her out of the rock and feeding her an elixir that prevented her eyes from shooting laser beams. I took her off of the Island on a small boat and motored her to a city, where I gave her to the care of a man who could be her soul mate and who would cherish her completely. I had a conversation with her about the divine nature of sexuality. I imagined her experiencing the act of making love, but seeing this time that instead of killing him, it made him feel stronger. He was infused by the force of pure creation energy. I spent time in that new feeling of the temptress energy within me being something that is a gift instead of a curse… Something that can be lovable instead of deplorable. By re-owning this aspect of me, I was able to feel a lot more peace with myself when I did choose to dress in sexy ways. Instead of feeling guilt the whole time, I could allow myself to enjoy it. Every so often, I check in with this siren within me to see how she is doing. Sometimes, just like a person, she slips back into feelings of shame that we then find ways to remedy. But each time, it removes a layer of shame and I can feel myself moving towards greater degrees of self-acceptance and integration and internal peace.
To find a shame self, you can do this as well. First, we notice when we are feeling bad about ourselves and we ask to see the part of us that we feel bad about. We then address this self that appears with compassion and the desire to fully understand it and help it to feel accepted as a valuable part of us.
Say for example that we just watched ourself yell at our son or daughter. We instantly felt bad about ourselves. This feeling commonly shows up as a feeling of our heart being crushed. We close our eyes and ask to see the part of ourselves that got angry. Perhaps the image that appears in our mind’s eye will be a furious, raging giant made of fire. Observe your initial reaction to this being. Remember that this self is the embodiment of something you disowned from yourself. Perhaps in this case, you were raised to believe that anger was not ok at all. So this self took all of that anger for you so you could separate yourself from it. Try to understand what is causing it to feel so angry. Are there any vulnerable feelings that you can identify that are fueling its anger? What does it really want and need and why? Perhaps it wants to burn the house down with everyone inside of it. When you dig deeper, perhaps it wants this because it believes that is the only way to keep you safe from the pain people inflict on you. Therefore you can see that its true need is safety. This should tip you off to the fact that this is a vulnerable self. It is not evil. You can then provide messages of safety and imagine creating safety for this self. You can meet its needs in a way that helps it to feel wanted and needed by you instead of unwanted and rejected.
One of the best strategies is to repurpose these selves. For example, you might see if this fire self wants to stand guard for one of your inner child selves that needs a sense of protection. By dong this, we meet our needs internally and create incredible degrees of internal integration.
When we are in the process of integrating one of our inner selves, we
- Unearth and acknowledge the vulnerability and past wounding underneath these shame and protector personalities within ourselves.
- We directly strategize ways to take care of these vulnerable aspects within us by seeking to compassionately understand them.
- We re purpose them, using the unique needs and gifts within each part, to integrate them in with the rest of our internal personalities so they understand that they are both wanted and needed by us. This is to provide connection and belonging within ourselves.
How does all of this fit into the justice system? All ‘evil selves’ that show up when you ask to see your shame selves are a mask for vulnerability. There is no such thing as a truly malevolent act in this universe. Every act in this universe is done for one reason and one reason only, because the person believes that the doing of it, will help them to feel better. The desire to feel better (alleviate suffering in themselves) is the reason for every murder committed, every drug taken, ever robbery, every fight, every purchase made and every relationship we get into. The desire to feel better is not a malevolent desire. These acts are committed because in the moment, we cannot work out a more effective way to feel better. They are all done to escape from vulnerability instead of to caretake it directly.
Did you hear that? Every crime committed is committed in order to try to escape from a vulnerability so the person doesn’t feel it instead of to care-take it directly. For example, a wife cheats on her husband and he kills her because the vulnerable feelings of jealousy, which is about loss and low self worth are so painful to him that the wants to escape from them so he doesn’t have to feel them. Instead of acknowledging that vulnerability and directly addressing it and finding strategies to soothe that vulnerability, he simply kills her so as to get the one that is triggering that vulnerability, out of his life.
Today, when people commit crimes because they are trying to escape from their vulnerability, including vulnerability in the category of shame, we lock them up in harsh and often dangerous environments and punish them and remind them every day about how bad they really are. We separate them from society and we isolate them so as to teach them that they do not belong in society because of how bad they are.
By doing this, we actually reinforce the suppressed vulnerability that creates these crimes in the first place and by doing so; we fuel the parts of them that are protecting the parts of them that are vulnerable. These parts, like any protector, can be hurtful, dangerous and even deadly all in the name of protecting something that is vulnerable. By doing this, we make even more dangerous criminals.
In the future, we will be taking a very different approach. I personally am going to create these very centers and programs that will be the replacement for the justice system we have today. When people commit crimes, our strategy will be the following:
- To unearth and acknowledge the vulnerability and past wounding underneath these actions and underneath these shame and protector personalities within each person.
- To directly strategize ways to take care of the vulnerable aspects within people, which force them to such actions so that they can learn how to care-take their own vulnerability directly instead of taking actions to escape away from vulnerability. This dovetails with learning ways to meet their needs directly and in ways that don’t harm, but instead benefit not only them, but also everyone around them.
- Use the unique needs and gifts within each person that are unearthed during this process so they can be re-purposed and thus integrated into society so they understand that they are both wanted and needed by the rest of society. This is to provide connection and belonging within society. Any of you who feel terrified about this step should watch my video titled: The Secret To Overcoming Your Problems in which I explain the concept of exaltation.
This template as you can see, is a perfect mirror of the integration process that we use within ourselves when we are seeking to integrate one of our internal disowned aspects. It is merely taking place externally within society and with external people. The atmosphere of the places that this process unfolds in is going to be one of rehabilitation and safety instead of punishment and unsafety.
In a state of genuine integration and connection with other people, you cannot hurt other people without feeling the impact of that hurt yourself. This was always meant to be the intrinsic motivation for social harmony, not the extrinsic motivation of punishment and reward, rejection and approval. We have the chance to end this pattern of torment. We will begin by ending this pattern of torment within ourselves. The aspects of you that you are ashamed of, need to be brought closer into a state of belonging with you, not pushed further away. And by doing so, they can use their unique characteristics to benefit every other part of yourself.
The new justice system will operate according to the principle that the people we are most ashamed of, those we label as criminals, need their vulnerabilities and wounds to be unearthed and taken care of and resolved. They then need to be brought closer into a state of belonging and integration within society, not pushed further away.