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In the counseling profession the term inner child is sometimes used to describe a person’s emotional truth. A less common term is trauma child. This is used to describe the subconscious part of the brain that remembers all the emotional trauma a person has experienced, in an attempt to prevent the person from having to feel that emotional pain again.

While the inner child resides in the limbic system of the brain, the trauma child resides in the insular cortex. The insular cortex is also known as the insula and works between the cerebral cortex (conscious part of the brain) and the limbic system (emotional part of the brain).

Emotional trauma is created any time a person has a painful emotional experience and is unable to validate, work through, and let go of the feelings. Emotional trauma can be as small as being asked to stop crying or as large as receiving post-traumatic stress from narrowly escaping death. As long as the feelings and emotions are not worked through and resolved, they become emotional trauma and reside in the limbic system.

The insular cortex recognizes that the unresolved feelings are present in the limbic system and also has been taught in many different ways that the feelings are not to be looked at or let out. Everything that the insular cortex is taught is external and is learned from interacting with the world and other people. While many people indicate they taught themselves these behaviors, when a person is willing to go deep enough at an emotional level, the response of hiding one’s feelings is always taught by others, either directly or indirectly. Most of what has been learned and is stored in the insular cortex is taught in the first five years of a person’s life.

Because the insular cortex has been taught to hide feelings, when it recognizes the limbic system is attempting to work through a feeling, it quickly creates a counter-response it has learned to hide those feelings again. Initially, this learned response meant to hide the emotional pain created relief and comfort from the emotional stress. Eventually, though, it can create more stress and discomfort. This pattern is the foundation for an addiction, in which the insular cortex plays a major part.

Since the insular cortex’s job is to find and/or create comfort for the person and it has been taught to hide a person’s feelings, emotional stress and tension get created. This is where the trauma child resides. As feelings are able to be worked through, validated, honored, and released, the energy the trauma child holds is able to be released.

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Most of us attempt to be as honest as possible in our daily lives, yet there is a part of us that creates a need to withhold, distort, and manipulate information or even lie outright. While it may not be our intention to do so, the urge to hide the truth is so great that these patterns of deceit prevail.

We were taught at a young age to lie when we were taught to hide our feelings. One way we were taught to hide our feelings was through bribery, such as, “If you stop crying I will give you ____.” We may have also been taught to hide our feelings because it was safer to hold our feelings in than to reap the wrath of a parent; for example, “If you’re going to cry, I’ll give you something to cry about.” We may even have been nagged into hiding our feelings with a glance, glare or a sincere message such as, “Please stop crying.” Whatever way we were taught, the outcome is the same—lying about our true feelings.

As children, we may have benefited from lying about our feelings. The question now is, “How does this behavior help us today?” It helps by not allowing another person to really get to know us, or for us to truly know ourselves. It also allows us to remain in what is familiar; it does not require us to change. When we lie, we typically get some type of immediate reward, such as shifting the focus off ourselves. Many of us have learned to lie as a way to protect and defend ourselves. What we need to examine is how this behavior is helping or hindering us today.

Hiding our true feelings by lying keeps us stuck and trapped. Many of us feel and believe we are trapped and without options. When we commit to hiding our true feelings, we are unable to recognize all the options that we may actually have. In every situation there are at least three options, and usually there are more than three. When we hide our true feelings, we typically are able to see one or maybe two options. Without someone’s assistance, we very rarely are able to see three or more options. The lack of options helps create loneliness, and the trapped feelings leave us with no clear solutions.

While most of us desire to be open and honest with our feelings, we do not know how because we have been trained to do just the opposite. When we are ready to move forward, the opportunity is within us. When we just listen to what our bodies are trying to tell us, we can gain clarity on what we are truly feeling. When we connect with our true feelings, feel them, and express them in a straight healthy way, we get freedom. Our bodies also become more congruent with our words and actions. When we connect with the congruence, we develop integrity in this area of our life and no longer have a need to lie.

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Many of us have heard the term codependency and may be familiar with how it plays out in one’s life. Fewer of us are familiar with the term financial codependency.

Financial codependency occurs when we make the financial needs of others greater than our own financial needs. When we focus on the financial needs of another person, expectations and resentments develop on both sides. Financial codependency can be seen in many different ways in a person’s life.

Typically, financial codependency plays out with family members and can also be seen in relationships with friends or significant others. Among friends, it commonly takes the form of one person continually loaning money to friends and seldom getting paid back. With couples, one partner may concede all the finances to the other and be unaware of their financial status or situation. Typically parents give to their children and may continue this giving pattern well into adulthood. Some parents give until they die, which indicates how large an issue financial codependency can be.

Many parents realize they have made mistakes and feel guilty around the way they may have raised their children. As a way to compensate for the inadequacies in their parenting, they create ways to help their children financially to relieve some of that guilt. Different ways that parents may present financial codependency to their children include: giving money for no reason, buying as gifts items the children cannot afford, paying for cars, trips, or household bills because children cannot afford them, making sure they always pay for meals even when children can afford and want to pay, helping children through difficult financial tight spots they placed themselves in, paying for college, paying for a house, etc. While all of these can be supportive ways to help children financially, if the motivation is to enable, tension can be created and the opportunity for the child to learn and grow to become financially independent is lost.

When we attempt to help another person financially, we are denying them the opportunity to grow from their own financial situations. We enable them to rely on us financially. Unless the pattern of financial codependency stops, it becomes a financial enmeshment that is difficult to change.

Looking at financial codependency at a deeper level typically uncovers strings associated with the giving. Conditions like “I want you to love me,” or “Now you have to do what I say,” are a couple of unspoken strings associated with financial codependency.

To create freedom from financial codependency it is important to recognize the underlying motivation for the financial codependency and the underlying feelings that drive this behavior.

While we want the best for our children and will do whatever we can to give them what we believe will be the best for them, we actually are doing a disservice by enabling them. The best way to help our children is to teach them at a young age about money and the role it plays in their lives. As they learn and grow, it is our responsibility as parents to be mentors and supporters while they walk through their own financial obstacles.

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Dealing with Perfectionism

Every time I attempt to write an article, I question myself. Have I used the right words? Will this make sense to others? Am I using proper grammar? Will the article be interesting to others? Have I written it in a fashion that others will understand?

With all these questions running through my head, I realize I want to write the perfect article. These questions prevent me from writing more or addressing topics I believe could be interesting, because they limit my creativity.

When we strive for perfection we are guaranteed to fail, because we can always see flaws in whatever we do. Perfection is not a natural trait, but is something we are taught.

Many people see perfection as a good thing because it can produce positive results, yet there is a down side to perfection as well. Perfection creates much unneeded stress in our lives due to the higher demands and expectations we place upon ourselves. This stress affects everything, including the people we love, because the stress comes out sideways as sarcasm, criticism, and anger.

We are taught to strive for perfection as children when we are criticized for not behaving, looking good, trying hard enough, or feeling our feelings when we are not supposed to. We also learn it when we are told we are wrong or even bad for what we are doing or thinking. When we receive these messages often enough as a child, we take them to heart and start to tell them to ourselves, reinforcing the message that we are inadequate and need to try harder. These messages we learned as children and tell ourselves are actually reflections of other people’s direct or indirect inadequacies that they saw in us.

Since these messages that drive the need for perfection are so engrained, they create a pattern that is difficult to break. When a person is ready to break the pattern of perfectionism, it takes a conscious effort to do something different. Many people that are perfectionistic do not see a need to change because these tendencies can prove beneficial in certain situations. Yet perfectionistic tendencies are destructive in relationships with ourselves and others, which is the typical reason for working on our perfection.

Many people are concerned that when they work on their perfection, they will lower their standards and this will not work well for them in their professional lives. When we work on our perfection, we can still maintain a high level of performance, without the unnecessary and destructive stress. This is where we evaluate when good enough is good enough and not try to push it even further.
In my case, I have found it helpful to let the words free-flow in the document and get help from my gifted writing friend, Kathleen, who polishes the writing. Then I can let go of my internal criticism, relax more when I write, and free myself to focus on what I have to say instead of questioning how I say it.

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Most of us attempt to be as honest as possible in our daily lives, yet there is a part of us that creates a need to withhold, distort, and manipulate information or even lie outright. While it may not be our intention to do so, the urge to hide the truth is so great that these patterns of deceit prevail.

We were taught at a young age to lie when we were taught to hide our feelings. One way we were taught to hide our feelings was through bribery, such as, “If you stop crying I will give you ____.” We may have also been taught to hide our feelings because it was safer to hold our feelings in than to reap the wrath of a parent; for example, “If you’re going to cry, I’ll give you something to cry about.” We may even have been nagged into hiding our feelings with a glance, glare or a sincere message such as, “Please stop crying.” Whatever way we were taught, the outcome is the same—lying about our true feelings.

As children, we may have benefited from lying about our feelings. The question now is, “How does this behavior help us today?” It helps by not allowing another person to really get to know us, or for us to truly know ourselves. It also allows us to remain in what is familiar; it does not require us to change. When we lie, we typically get some type of immediate reward, such as shifting the focus off ourselves. Many of us have learned to lie as a way to protect and defend ourselves. What we need to examine is how this behavior is helping or hindering us today.

Hiding our true feelings by lying keeps us stuck and trapped. Many of us feel and believe we are trapped and without options. When we commit to hiding our true feelings, we are unable to recognize all the options that we may actually have. In every situation there are at least three options, and usually there are more than three. When we hide our true feelings, we typically are able to see one or maybe two options. Without someone’s assistance, we very rarely are able to see three or more options. The lack of options helps create loneliness, and the trapped feelings leave us with no clear solutions.

While most of us desire to be open and honest with our feelings, we do not know how because we have been trained to do just the opposite. When we are ready to move forward, the opportunity is within us. When we just listen to what our bodies are trying to tell us, we can gain clarity on what we are truly feeling. When we connect with our true feelings, feel them, and express them in a straight healthy way, we get freedom. Our bodies also become more congruent with our words and actions. When we connect with the congruence, we develop integrity in this area of our life and no longer have a need to lie.

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Announcing Living True Inc.!

breakingnews_finalsWelcome to Living True Inc.

Living True Inc was founded in —- by Dave Jetson, with the intention of helping people and organizations learn and practice a more congruent and emotionally healthy way of interacting and living. Support at Living True isn’t about ‘fixing’ you, it’s about really seeing you, the real you – and helping you to do the same – so you can live your fullest life.

Our philosophy is this:

We all have a true pearl of great worth within ourselves. We were born with it, yet it is a treasure that few of us actually see in ourselves because it becomes so deeply hidden.

The work of Living True Inc. is to help participants connect with this pearl, the truth of who actually they are.

Living True Inc. is a marriage of this philosophy with workshops, seminars, and other resources to help any person or group find healing in their own lives.

Ultimately, Living True is about connecting to your true, authentic self as an individual and organization, and, in doing so, creating a life – or work life – of peace, connection, success, and joy.

When you visit this site you will find encouraging and supportive information, and a wide variety of resources available to help support you or your team in a journey and vision toward deep appreciation of yourself, participation in an effective team environment, and a life of peace and happiness.

Please feel free to share any of the content you find here to support yourself and others in living a life of purpose and joy.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Pinterest, and LinkedIn to stay connected with us and be the first to hear about exciting new opportunities coming your way.

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Creating Health Sexual Relationships Workshop
Where:  Blck Hills, South Dakota
When:    April 7 thru April 10, 2011

What is sexuality and what components are associated with a healthy sexual relationship? This workshop will explore healthy sexual relationship patterns and the obstacles in creating these relationships. This workshop will:
Explore healthy and unhealthy sexual patterns
Explore what sexuality is and how it impacts every aspect of your life
Explore how the perceptions of our family, friends, school and religion have impacted your understanding of sexuality
Explore how all forms of sexual trauma impacts sexual experiences
Explore communication patterns and skills around sexuality
Create balanced self-care around sexuality
Exploring when to say “No” to sex
Recognize when “No” means “No” around sex
Recognizing sexual preferences
Explore intimacy and infidelity issues around sexuality

Where:        Angostura Lake House
View the resort website at: http://www.findrentals.com/23492.html
When:        Thursday, April 7 @ 5:00 pm thru
Sunday, April 10, 2010 @ 12:00
Cost:        $1,600.00/person includes workshop, food and lodging
Pre-registration with deposit of  $800.00 per person is required due to limited space. If interested Contact Jetson Counseling @ (605) 718-5500 or www.jetsoncounseling.com to register. Deposit is non-refundable after March 25, 2011.

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The word “You” is one many of us use every day in our relationships with others, yet this word alone can be very destructive. When we use the word “You,” most of the time we are blaming the other person for something. Or at least it feels like blame and makes that person defensive. This defensive posture is the catalyst for most arguments and tension in a relationship.

We have been taught to use the word “You” by not taking responsibility for our feelings and actions. Many of us learned at a young age that tension or problems in the family were our fault. As a child, we learned when we deflected blame, it created a release of tension by diverting the attention to someone else. While the word “You” may have served a positive purpose as a child, it creates much stress and destruction in relationships as an adult.

When we use the word “You,” it’s as if we are pointing our finger at the other person and saying, “It’s your fault.” This creates a defensive posture in the other person and then “You” starts to fly in both directions. This defensiveness created by the use of “You” gets both parties to start saying things they do not mean, things that are untrue and hurtful and that they will regret.

Many of us are used to this type of communication and disrespect. We may not like how we feel when the argument ensues, but we do it because this is the way we were taught to communicate, because it is familiar to us. Even though the current way of communicating hurts greatly, communicating in a different fashion can be scary enough that we don’t try to change.

It makes logical sense that if we are hurting ourselves and others, we need to do something different. If our logic were in control, our behaviors would quickly change to make the situation safer and more respectful. Yet feelings, rather than logic, drive these arguments. As long as we talk about the “he-said she-said facts,” no one is heard. In the argument, a portion of the issue may get temporarily resolved until the next argument triggers the underlying feelings again. This gives rise to the same argument and pain over again. Even when people are ready to change this “You” communication pattern, changing takes conscious effort.

When we talk from the “You,” we are communicating from a position of wanting to be heard. We explain all the facts and situations, hoping to be understood, with little or no success. The other person may have heard all the information and can repeat nearly every word, yet the message is not heard. To actually be heard requires the other person to be able and willing to listen rather than determine ways to respond to what is being shared. To listen means we do not have to defend ourselves or figure out ways to fix the problem, it means we just listen and only ask for clarification as needed, while interjecting nothing.

To create a situation where we can be heard requires us to get rid of the “You.” This can keep the other person from getting into a defensive posture. Rather than communicating from “You,” we communicate from “I” to help limit defensiveness. Taking it a step further, we talk about our feelings from the “I” position, since the energy that needs to be heard and worked through is our feelings.

Communicating from “I” takes time, practice and encouragement. When we are able to develop this new format of communicating, many things change in a positive fashion.

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After observing the political atmosphere in America, it seems that American politics can be compared to a dysfunctional family. The Democrats typically present themselves in the role of the codependent, the one that needs to take care of everyone and everything. The Republicans tend to present themselves in the role of the addict with their staunch positions, insuring their needs are more important than those of others.

In this scenario, the children in the family are represented by the American public. Some children—the Democratic constituents—cling to the codependent parent at all costs. Other children in the family—the Republican constituents—cling to the addict parent at all costs. Still other children are interested in supporting both parents by not showing favoritism. This last group could be seen as the swing vote that all the political campaigning attempts to influence.

While some interpret the terms “dysfunctional,” “codependent,” and “addict” as negative, this analogy is not intended to be either positive or negative. Rather, it is a way of framing behaviors that mirror family dynamics which are familiar to many people. While many people recognize these types of behaviors, most have been taught to hide them in some fashion in order to look “perfect” to those outside the family.

Since politics continue to get uglier, it is becoming more apparent that the dysfunctional family roles are being played out on the political scene more intently.  For example, many of us were ridiculed and put down when we were growing up. The same attitudes appear in much of our political rhetoric, from ridicule and dismissal of “tea party” advocates to contempt and dismissal of “bleeding heart liberals.” Many of us resented this type of treatment when growing up. We would attempt to do just the opposite of what we were being told to do. Others would just comply, with resentment, in hopes that their parents would notice them.

When the Democrats won in 2008, they claimed the voters were mandating change, and to some degree they were. Since the 2010 election, the Republicans are also claiming the voters are mandating change. The question is what change is being mandated. This is like the family when children present their needs and wants to parents who can’t or won’t listen. The parents ultimately do what they want or what they believe is right for their child.

When families function in this fashion, no one is heard or respected. In the same sense, no one is being heard in the political arena when issues are presented about how the opposing candidates and political parties are wrong, bad, and incapable of representing the American public. Negative ad campaigns work because, as a society, most of us are used to being treated disrespectfully and not heard. Being heard and treated with respect is foreign to most of us and so, as a society, we revert to what is familiar.

Whether it’s a political party or a member of a dysfunctional family, each one periodically promises that they intend to do things differently and better. Yet change rarely occurs, because the underlying feelings and patterns are so firmly established. For true change to occur in the family or political environment, help is necessary.

As long as members of a dysfunctional family attempt to figure out and modify their problems on their own, they have little success because the feelings and patterns are too entrenched to create any positive change. When family members recognize their problems and are ready to work on creating true change, they recognize they require outside assistance, and they seek help. Help typically comes from a third party like a counselor/psychologist for psychological issues and a financial planner for financial problems.

In the same way, changing our political environment is going to require outside help. The question is what form that help might take. Perhaps the first step toward change will come when enough of the “children”—the American people—become frustrated with both the “addict” Republican Party and the “codependent” Democratic Party and start looking outside the family for a third choice. When more options become available, the entrenched emotional patterns lose some of their power to block positive change.

There are at least three options to every solution. As long as only two strong parties exist, not all options can be explored to create the synergy necessary for positive change in America. When more options are available, the emotional limitations have less power and opportunities for positive change become greater.

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Many of us continually tell ourselves how bad and worthless we are, yet the truth is different. This workshop was created to help people work through the issues related to this negative self-talk. This workshop will:

  • Explore the origins of the negative messages we tell ourselves
  • Explore the truth around the negative self-talk and how negative messages do not represent the truth
  • Explore the truth that sets us free from the negative self-talk
  • Explore how we were taught to believe the negative messages we tell our self
  • Explore what the negative self-talk has taken from us
  • Create emotional freedom from the negative self-talk
  • Recognize choices we have around the negative self-talk
  • Explore ways to create more self-trust in our lives
  • Explore the patterns associated with negative self-talk
  • Explore our beliefs around our distorted self
Where:        Red Lodge, Montana
Cost:            $1,600.00            Deposit: $800.00
When:         Thursday, May 19 thru Sunday, May 22