Resolving Guilt and Letting Go of Being Strong - Embodied Living


Have you ever experienced a pervasive sense of guilt or perhaps a tendency to take too much on? Perhaps you worry too much about how others are feeling?

We can have a pattern of being strong or being the one that others turn to, yet this comes at the expense of being able to accept help from others. This can lead to feelings of resentment or anxiety and can contribute to overwhelm and burnout. Yet we can’t stop ourselves.

The origins of this pattern are often not what we expect. In the Pesso Boyden system of psychotherapy we call this pattern ‘holes in roles’. By this we are alluding to a decision, albeit unconscious, to take on responsibilty to early. Funnily enough the warning sign of this pattern is often compassion.

For example, if at 5 years old, a little girl hears that her father lost his dad when he was 5, that little girl feels sorry for her dad. And in that moment, she sees a mental picture of her dad as a little boy having lost his father. Symbolically, then, she steps into a hole in a role that she notices in her father’s life – that of his father. In a way she becomes a father to her father. You see we all have templates within us, from the earliest of ages, to be a parent, a child, a sibling or husband or wife. But the trouble is, these templates need to come on line at the right development stage. If they are taken on too early, it is a responsibilty that we are not ready for. This can become a gift in our life. Perhaps we become a good listener or carer or have a caring personality. But the flip side of this gift is that our tendency to take on responsilibilty has not had appropriate, in this case age-related, boundaries. So our responsibility pattern does not have limits – meaning that we can take on too much. Too much guilt, too much doing, too much responsibilty for others.

Pesso Boyden psychotherapy is one of the few modalities, in my experience, that can heal this and allow us to live with more energy, freedom and sponteneity, whilst still being a caring person.

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