Happiness, joy and love are not caused by events but by our attitude. We can learn to choose how we want to feel. Why not choose love and joy?

THE WORLD OF FEELINGS AND EMOTIONS

by Walter Last

We all would like to live a happy, healthy and fulfilled life, yet few seem to be able to do just that. Why must we have so much suffering, failures and disappointments? We just want to be secure in a loving relationship and a satisfying job with a good income and enjoy ourselves.

Instead, our relationships turn sour all too soon, we have a job that we do not like or we do not have one at all, there is never enough money and generally there is not much joy to be found anywhere. As a result we feel resentment, hopelessness, depression, perhaps also anger and hatred. Where and why did it all go wrong?

I believe that there is a way out of this depressing jungle of negativity and disappointments. I actually believe that we can make a decision to have a happy, fulfilled life and then really do it. What I cannot promise is that it will be easy. It needs either willpower and determination or the help of good friends. But you have nothing to lose by trying and each step in the right direction is likely to bring some reward.

We can be happy or at least accepting in adversity and unhappy when we seem to have everything. What decides how we will react and how we will feel inside? It is no secret to psychologists that we are programmed since earliest childhood by everything that went on around us, but especially by the way our parents talked to us and to each other, by the way they felt and reacted and by the interactions with our siblings. We became programmed by observing and imitating our role models.

If we were lucky and grew up in a happy and loving family, we probably have an inner program that makes it easy for us to lead a happy life in a loving relationship. If, on the other hand, there was much worry, anger, resentment and other negativity in our childhood, chances are that we will have a hard time being happy and loving as adults. That probably applies to most of us; we are victims of negative programming, during childhood.

If we really want to change, there is only one thing to do: we must change our subconscious programming from a negative outlook on life to a positive one. Unfortunately, we cannot simply decide that from now on we will be happy and loving. Such conscious decisions on their own have little influence on our subconscious programming. In fact, if there is a conflict between our subconscious programming and our conscious will, the subconscious will always win.

Therefore, we must be clever and beat the subconscious at its own game. We must throw the old program out and devise a new one that allows us to be as we really want to be. However, it is not sufficient just to work with our feelings and emotions because these do not arise out of a vacuum. Our emotions are conditioned by our beliefs. We react more to our beliefs than to facts or anything else. Therefore, we must adopt an appropriate belief system.

Where do we find the beliefs we want? It is not sufficient trying to believe that we will be happy ever after. Our proposed new beliefs must be believable to be acceptable to both, our conscious and our subconscious mind. It must be something that gives meaning to our life that makes sense of it all. Meaning is the opposite to the inner emptiness that many of us try to fill with pleasure seeking and power games, causing so much emotional trouble in the end and depression if we fail. My solution is a spiritual philosophy of life that turns emptiness into meaning.

In addition, there is also a strong influence of physical factors on our emotional life, such as nutrition and tense muscle structures. Therefore, in order to heal our emotions properly, we must work on all four levels of our being, the biological, the emotional, the mental and the spiritual level.

OUR LOST FEELINGS

With our feelings and emotions we experience ourselves in this world. They are the driving force, the power, and the motor of our life. Without feelings and emotions we would be like robots, a computer operating a body with the help of electric signals.

It is the feelings and emotions, our likes and dislikes, that give our life meaning, that make us happy or unhappy, fulfilled or dissatisfied and that to a large degree decide our course of action and even our health. Diseases not only make us feel unwell, but negative and suppressed emotions and feelings are a major contributing factor in causing our diseases.

When we are young, we are full of feelings and emotions, we experience them strongly, we are sensitive and react immediately and directly to our social and physical environment. When we are old, our emotions are only a distant memory and even our feelings are greatly diminished, pain is often the only feeling left.

More and more we do act like a robot with compulsive habits and live only in our head, using our body just to carry our brain around. What happened in between, why and how did we lose our feelings and emotions, our sensitivity?

Many scientists at present are so divorced from their feelings and emotions that they actually believe that these originate in the brain, just like a form of thoughts. They come to this conclusion because they do not feel the actual energy of anger in their body or the love in their heart. They just think anger or think love in the brain and act accordingly without really feeling anything or their feelings are only weak and diffuse.

Feelings provide us with the greatest pleasures in life, but also with the greatest suffering. Suffering actually is the key word for our loss of feeling with advancing age. We do not want to suffer, so we intentionally diminish our feelings in order to diminish the amount of emotional pain that we do feel. As an unintended side effect this also reduces the amount of pleasure that we can feel.

Hand in hand with our reduced overall feelings goes also a reduced enjoyment of life, reduced vitality and an increased susceptibility to chronic degenerative diseases. A high price to pay for reducing the suffering that we might feel. In fact, we have exchanged bouts of intense short-term suffering for more low-key long-term suffering.

In this chapter we will look more closely at the mechanism that causes us to lose so much of our feeling and the price we have to pay for this.

SOME DEFINITIONS

You may be somewhat confused about the difference between feelings and emotions and dictionaries are of not much help either. Therefore, I like to define the terms commonly associated with the world of feelings as they are used in this book.

'Feelings' in a general sense, are what we may feel in any part of our body. These may be simple body sensations, such as hot or cold, pain, a touch or else they may be feelings associated with emotions, such as love or hate, joy or anger.

Feelings generated by mechanical or chemical means, commonly from the outside will be called 'body sensations' or simply 'sensations'.

'Emotions', on the other hand, are feelings or reactions about someone or something, and usually involving our ego. We are angry about someone, afraid of something, in love with someone. These emotions may be directly felt in the body or we may just react strongly with thoughts or verbal displays originating from our head.

This means, we may have a strong reaction without actually being aware of a feeling in the body. We may even smash something in anger without feeling the energy of the anger itself in our body. I call this 'cold anger', a strong emotion without feeling.

A 'feeling' is the inner body experience that we have if we can directly feel the energy associated with an emotion. However, we may also deliberately produce feelings as in meditation and feel and radiate love or compassion to our planet or humanity or groups or individuals. I do not regard these as emotions.

Another group of feelings are associated with energy flows within the body that we may experience during meditation, guided imagery, bodywork or other forms of healing. We may experience a part of our body become warm or tingling or notice pleasant streamings in the pelvic area, we may also feel our muscles being tense or relaxed, our head being clear or congested.

Another possibility is a dispassionate feeling about something in an impartial judgement. At a crossroad, for instance, we may feel a preference for one road over the other. In most instances, however, this is not a proper body feeling but an intuition or hunch, which remains just a brain affair.

'Moods' are generalised feelings usually beyond our conscious control, and often with a somewhat negative connotation. 'Sentiments' are more tender feelings but usually about something and may then be grouped with the emotions. 'Desires', too, are about 'something' and, therefore, emotions. 'Passions' are generally regarded as strongly felt and expressed emotions.

Earlier I mentioned the 'ego'. I regard the ego as the self-centred, self-preserving and individualising part of our overall personality. Generally, the ego causes us to react 'emotionally' from suppressed feelings instead of with direct feelings appropriate for the situation at hand.

HOW WE LOST OUR FEELINGS

The widespread emotional misery in our society has much to do with our diminished capacity for feelings, especially for tender, loving feelings. If at all, we seem to experience these only for a short period in our life when we fall in love and then yearn for them ever after.

The repression of our feelings has much to do with the male inspired cultural priority placed on the intellect in our society with a corresponding contempt for soft and tender feelings that are regarded as feminine. It is easier to gain power, to dominate and build an empire if one is not hindered by sentimental feelings. With their present bid for equal power, even many women cannot afford any more to be vulnerable and they steel themselves against feminine softness.

In addition, self-control is highly valued, especially in the Anglo-Saxon culture. We are not supposed to show anger or even displeasure but rather be outwardly polite while we may boil inside. Only in recent years has it become more acceptable to show tenderness in public, but even so, cuddling and touching, except in a ceremonial way, are still largely constricted to those who identify with the 'New Age Movement'. Conventional members of our society are as rigid and inhibited as ever.

We may say that our emotional dilemma arises from two sources. One is the suppression of our feelings enforced by the standards of our society and the other is the lack of role models for the development of tender feelings in our childhood.

Suppression of our feelings starts as infants when we are trained not to cry when we are unhappy. We may be just left to cry without response until we realise it is useless to express our frustration. Especially suppressed are any expressions of childhood sexuality such as playing with the genitals and even cuddling the parent of the opposite sex or generally adults of the opposite sex.

Such contact is important for later developing mature emotional relationships with our adult sexuality. Unfortunately, there is now a perception to regard such adults as potential child molesters and they intentionally hold back, depriving themselves and the children of this essential expression of affection.

Also at an early age we are trained in the use of social lies and social conventions and discouraged to express our true feelings. It is even worse at school and university where we are overwhelmed by purely intellectual activity of an unimaginative kind. This greatly inhibits our creativity and intuitive abilities. Many great inventors and innovative scientists like Einstein, for instance, did not make their discoveries by thinking but rather through intuition. For the rest of his life Einstein reportedly tried to understand on the mental level what he had perceived intuitively in a flash.

Creativity is the active outlet for the meaning we give to our life, and intuition is an important link between both. This combination gives satisfaction and perpetual joy and happiness to our life but it is crushed by our education system in order to prepare us for the later institutionalised conformity in our work place. A more suitable alternative would be an education system based on the model of the Rudolf Steiner or Montessori schools.

ROLE MODELS

The presence of positive role models for our emotional development is most important during infancy because then we are most impressionable and learn the fastest. At this age we learn to feel by absorbing feelings from our surrounding like a sponge. This activates our feeling centres. If we are radiated with love, our capacity to feel love develops, if we are exposed to anger, then that is what we learn.

I believe that because of their own love-deficient upbringing, most parents just act lovingly towards their children from a mental level without actually feeling it. The most common exception is non-intellectual, soft and 'feminine' mothers, especially as personified by the typical Polynesian woman.

In many third-world countries it is common for whole families to sleep in the same room where children may be aware of the sexual activity of their parents. This is natural as it is in the animal kingdom and provides role models for subconscious programming. But it is essential that the sexual interaction, like any other interaction of the parents, is loving. This imprinting is most important for infants and does not need to interfere with our more inhibited western morals for older children who, unlike infants, prefer their own rooms anyway.

The lack of tender feelings combined with an exposure to negative emotions from the parents in early life has much to do with the present culture of violence in our society. This is constantly reinforced by the bombardment with violence on the screens. With their tender feelings undeveloped, many do not feel the suffering of others, they simply cannot feel compassion. That may start with cruelty to animals as children and lead to individualised or institutionalised cruelty and torture as adults.

A national football coach is quoted as saying that to be successful in a contact sport you must build up a hate for the opponent before the game. He is right in that this releases stored up negative energies and it may even be good that it does. Even the many onlookers may release some of their negative energies. But is this the kind of society we want where our role models require hatred to perform? There must be a better way!

MUSCLE ARMOURING

Muscle armouring is a concept discovered by Wilhelm Reich, an eminent psychiatrist and at one time the apparent heir to the position of Sigmund Freud. Reich found that the emotional disorders of his patients were to an amazing degree reflected in their body structures. In particular, patients with repressed feelings commonly had hard, rigid and permanently contracted muscles in certain areas of their body. Different kinds of negative emotions seemed to be associated with specific muscles.

Reich compared these rigid muscle structures to the armour of a medieval knight and called the process of their formation 'armouring'. While the steel armour of the knight had the purpose of protecting him against physical aggression, the muscle armour serves to protect us against emotional aggression.

At first glance it may sound somewhat far-fetched that contracted muscles should have anything to do with how we feel. But we can easily observe ourselves that we become tense when we are apprehensive, while our muscles relax when we are at ease. When we expect someone to cause us pain, such as sticking a needle into us or hitting us, we automatically tense our muscles and we may even hold our breath by contracting our diaphragm.

These are automatic body reflexes designed to diminish the expected feeling of pain. However, we may use the same mechanism if we want to diminish feelings for other reasons. As an infant we may have been afraid of being separated from our mother, of being left alone in a strange surrounding, so we tensed up and held our breath. Eventually we had to continue breathing but we did it rather shallow with contracted diaphragm and chest muscles.

With repeated fear responses these muscle contractions may gradually become permanent. The child may grow to develop a narrow chest with weak lung functions or if only the diaphragm remains contracted, a barrel chest may result. In both instances breathing remains permanently shallow and the child is susceptible to lung infections and asthma. In babies this may be a contributing factor in cot death or SIDS. The advantage of the armoured chest or permanently contracted diaphragm is that we now do not feel our fear any more, it remains subconscious. However, we gradually may develop substitute outlets of our fear, such as being afraid of heights or of public speaking, and so forth.

Another example is the suppression of anger because we are told that it is not socially acceptable to show it openly. We may initially feel an angry emotion rushing upwards from the abdomen to the shoulder in order to hit out or to the throat to shout. When we suppress these impulses the emotional energy of the anger becomes stuck in the shoulder or in the throat and tenses the muscles tension there.

If this tension is not released by other means it may become permanent and if we continue our suppressive behaviour pattern, these muscles become permanently severely contracted. In joints surrounded by contracted muscles we easily develop arthritis, while contracted throat muscles give us a weak voice and possibly stuttering and other speech and throat problems.

The muscle armouring becomes stronger and stronger with advancing age because we tend to repeat our set behaviour pattern over and over again. This then forms our distinctive facial features, our body structures and our increasing rigidity. There are, of course, other factors that contribute to shaping our body and making it more inflexible, such as heredity, nutrition and occupational muscle use.

PAIN AND DISEASE

There are many reports that demonstrate the strong influence of our feelings and emotions on health and disease. One example is a study of the survival rate of women with breast cancer. After ten years 70% of those who reacted to the diagnosis with a fighting spirit were still alive, while those who reacted with denial had a 50% survival rate, stoic acceptance gave 25% and of those who felt hopeless and helpless only 20% survived.

Other findings show that cancer frequently is diagnosed about a year after a traumatic event, such as losing a spouse. Also the negative effect of mental depression on our immune system is well known, while we feel and to some degree are invincible when we are in love. Our digestive juices are inhibited when we are upset or stressed, and asthma attacks may be triggered by fear or apprehension.

Generally, we can distinguish between acute or immediate influences of strong emotions and the long-term or chronic effects of unexpressed emotions. The immediate reaction is due to the direct influence of our feelings on the hormone-producing endocrine glands and on the nervous system. More insidious, however, are the long-term effects of muscle armouring caused by suppressed emotions.

At the physical or body level this leads to poor blood circulation and a reduced supply of nutrients to the affected area while metabolic wastes and toxins tend to accumulate similar to sediments in a slow-flowing part of a river. In addition, permanently contracted muscles generate a great strain on associated joints. A combination of these factors makes us susceptible to the development of arthritis. Armouring of the chest and diaphragm commonly leads to respiratory diseases.

Wilhelm Reich found that his cancer patients had severely inhibited sexual energies caused by strong armouring in the pelvic and abdominal areas. Those patients who could most successfully free their sexual energies had the best chances of recovering. He regarded cancer as a 'shrinking biopathy' of the total energy field of the patient. This shrinking was seen as a forerunner and not as a consequence of the disease. Tumours are only the final stage of the shrinking process. When he succeeded in regressing the tumour, making it disappear, without revitalising the general energy flow, the patient would die anyway. Spontaneous remissions, on the other hand, may in some instances be due to a revitalised energy flow.

Another aspect of armouring is the generation of pain. The resistance of a contracted muscle to the flow of energy produces pain similar to the heat produced by the resistance of a thin wire to the flow of electricity. Short-term muscle contraction uses energy, therefore it causes no pain and can be used as a defence against expected emotional or physical pain.

However, if a muscle remains contracted with continued energy flow, pain is produced either directly or noticeable as tenderness only when the muscle is pressed. I often could stop pain in patients immediately by pressing into tense muscles or relax them with other methods. Finally, in a permanently contracted muscle that has become like a rope or sheet, the energy flow to the area is so diminished that there is no pain, even when pressed. Repeated deep muscle massage may eventually restore energy flow and temporary pain to the muscle. Some individuals can clairvoyantly perceive these energy flows.

Another problem with suppressed negative emotions is the possibility that under provocation they may be released explosively in an act of violence. This pattern is now very common in our society. On the other side of the fence are those sensitive souls who are full of bottled-up feelings and emotions but unable to release and express them. This drains their vitality and they suffer from poor circulation with low blood pressure, cold hands and feet and lack of energy.

BODY LANGUAGE

Our emotions have a strong influence not only on our glands and inner organs but also on our external body structure. Certain emotions are traditionally linked with problems in certain organ functions. Anger, for example, damages the liver and conversely, irritability and quick temper are partly caused by liver problems. In a similar way, grief, negativity and anxiety are linked to the lungs; fear to the kidneys and intestines; excessive laughter or lack of joy to the heart and worry to the spleen.

Emotions, if not released in outward action, solidify by causing muscle contractions. The stronger the energetic charges of the emotion, the stronger the muscle contractions. Other parts of the body, on the other hand, may be more or less blocked off from the flow of emotional energies, and these parts will become weak and start wasting. By examining our body, we can get a reasonably good idea of the kind of emotional problems that have helped to shape it and, furthermore, of the corrective measures to be taken in order to improve ourselves

The following compilation can be only a summary one; for further information see Body-Mind by Ken Dychtwald.

SUMMARY OF BODY LANGUAGE

Legs

Show how we move through life:

Weak, underdeveloped : no firm stand in life.

Massive, overdeveloped : rigidly grounded - needs to explore, let go.

Fat, sluggish : to move through life - needs enthusiasm, jogging.

Thin tight : moves energetically through life but often erratic, not gracefully - needs to develop tranquillity.

 

Pelvis

Shows condition of our sexuality :

Front tipped downward, causing hollow back (lordosis) : usually strong sexual energy, but full flow is blocked through constant self-control, not able to let go - develop faith in higher guidance.

Front tipped upward, causing flat low back : lessening of sexual focus, lack of tender feelings in the lower part of the body - learn to lower attention from chest to lower abdomen, develop tender emotions.

 

Belly

The centre of emotions as they relate to ourselves.

Enlarged in upper half : rugged, outgoing, masculine - develop more tender feelings.

Enlarged in lower half : blocked energy flow to pelvis and legs, especially if abdominal wall is hard - let go.

Moderately enlarged : if belly is soft and back not very hollow -good contact with body vitality, possibly emotionally too soft.

Overall enlarged but obese : usually poor contact with vital energies Overall flat, contracted : too much mental control, no 'gut feelings', strong emotional blocks (fear, anxiety) - develop tender emotions, have faith, let go.

 

Chest

Modifies our emotions as they relate to our intentions with reference to ourselves.

Narrow contracted : feeling of inferiority, lack of power, unexpressive - learn to communicate, to give, chest breathing.

Wide expanded : feeling of superiority, power, expressive - learn to experience tender feelings within, especially in pelvis, learn from others, abdominal breathing.

 

Shoulders

Show how we carry our burdens through life.

Bowed rounded : feel overburdened - develop power, chest breathing, have faith.

Raised : chronic fear - anxiety-releasing therapy, chest breathing.

Square : carries responsibility - relax.

Forward hunched : fear of being hurt, self-protection - develop power, chest breathing.

Pulled back, retracted : forceful control or suppression of unwanted emotions, especially anger - let go, express yourself in a suitable way.

Narrow : cannot shoulder responsibilities - become more powerful.

Right side lower : interacts in a predominantly masculine way.

Left side lower : interacts in a predominantly feminine way.

 

Arms

Show how we express ourselves in physical actions.

Weak, underdeveloped : lack of initiative and physical expression - learn to communicate through your arms.

Massive, over-muscled : insensitive, forceful interactions, lack of grace - learn to be gentle.

Thin, tight : inability to hold on to anything - become more peaceful, settled.

Fat, underdeveloped : sluggishness in expressing yourself - become stimulated, animated.

 

Upper Back

A channel for the expression of forceful or violent emotions.

Soreness, hump : repressed anger or hitting reflex - let go, hit a pillow or sand bag.

 

Neck

Reflects tension between body emotions and mental control.

Bent forward : explores the world first in a rational way, emotional exhaustion - develop your 'gut feeling'.

Bent to the right : arrogance, defiance - become centred.

Bent to the left : playful attitude

Long, graceful : proud attitude.

Heavy, short : forceful attitude.

 

Throat

A channel for vocal expression of emotions.

Tight, sore, weak : blocked verbal expressions of emotions and tears - let go, speak out, weep.

 

Jaw and Chin

A channel for verbal expression, biting.

Receding : frozen, suppressed verbal emotions - learn to speak out.

Protruding : determined.

Strongly protruding : defiance, arrogance - relax.

Clenched : forceful self-control, suppressed anger - let go, relax.

 

Face

An outside mirror of our emotions.

Changing expressions : show how we wish to appear to the world.

Chronically tense muscles : show conflict between what we show and how we really feel.

 

Eyes

The 'windows of the soul', reflecting health and emotions.

Large, round : warm, loving personality.

Protruding : reaching out forcefully (thyroid problems).

Deep-set : critically observing, withholding expression.

Wide-open baby eyes : tries to hold, to draw close, not fully matured.

Nearsightedness : frozen fear (early childhood), focus on immediate problems, introspective, rational - release fear, look into the future.

Farsightedness : suppressed anger, focused outward, extrovert -release anger, develop inner self.

CHARACTER STRUCTURE

The same emotions and suppressed feelings that shape our body and are expressed in our 'body language' form also our character. Wilhelm Reich believed that without suppressed feelings we would not have a character, as we know it. We would all be open, free and loving in our relationships and dealings with each other.

Suppressed feelings, on the other hand, inhibit the free flow of feeling energies in our body and this causes us in our social interactions to react subconsciously to our suppressed feelings rather than to the immediate situation at hand. The various forms of inhibition of the free and natural flow and expression of feelings in different individuals are their 'character'.

Depending on the nature of our suppressed feelings, Wilhelm Reich and his followers in bio-energetic and other forms of psychodynamic bodywork commonly distinguish between five character structures: schizoid, oral, psychopathic, masochistic and rigid. Commonly we represent mixtures of two or more of these types but with one character type usually dominant. The following is a condensation of the works of Alexander Lowen, John Pierrakos and Barbara Brennan.

The Schizoid Character

In the schizoid individual the main emotional trauma occurred around the time of birth. This may have been a distressing birth process or hostility from one or both parents towards the baby, commonly the baby was unwanted and it felt abandoned by the mother, either physically or emotionally.

The baby deals with this by withdrawing into itself, closing itself off from the world. This same technique is then used in later life whenever the individual feels threatened. The basic subconscious fear or anxiety is the feeling of being unwanted, having no right to exist, a psychological split between the desire to live in the physical world and a wish to withdraw into the spirit world.

In communications with others this type tends to intellectualise and use impersonal language. The body structure is with elongated limbs and digits and weak joints, the body appears uncoordinated with right-left imbalances and often cold hands and feet. The energy structure is 'ungrounded' or 'airy-fairy' with frozen core energies. Schizoids tend to be rather spiritual and creative but in need of grounding and becoming an integrated whole.

The Oral Structure

The oral phase of our development is the period when we are totally dependent on the mother and normally breast-fed. The normal emotional development may be interrupted when the baby feels abandoned because the mother may have left or died or is when sick or for other reasons she could not fulfil the baby's need for physical and emotional nourishment.

The child is forced to become independent too early but that leaves it insecure with a tendency to cling and grab, it has a decreased natural aggressiveness with an increased inner need to be taken care of. There is a subconscious fear of being left alone, not getting enough or what one wants or needs. The individual feels deprived and empty and does not want to take responsibility. Resentment is common and a forced show of independence easily crumbles under stress.

The oral personality has experienced many disappointments and rejections and feels a strong need for warmth and support from a mothering partner. In later life s/he may become bitter because there was never enough to be satisfied, 'the world is unjust'.

The body is generally underdeveloped and may look immature with a weak, narrow chest and shallow breathing. The energies are mainly in the head with a good intelligence, while the body energies and emotional energies are rather subdued. The main task in personal development is to give up playing the victim and learn to trust that the universe will provide.

The Psychopathic Personality

The psychopathic structure emerges in early childhood due to a covertly seductive parent of the opposite sex. The child was antagonistic to the parent of the same sex and tried to get what it wanted by manipulating the parent of the opposite sex. This pattern is continued in adult life by trying to gain power, control and desire fulfilment by manipulating others.

Deep inner feelings of inferiority are covered by superficial feelings of superiority and contempt. This person believes: "I am right, you are wrong", s/he wants to win and does not take defeat easily. Inwardly the psychopath feels the need for others but fears appearing to be dependent or even look like a victim. Pleasure comes second to conquest and control. Needs are fulfilled by making others need him or her. The will is the predominant mental function.

The upper half of the body is commonly overdeveloped and the lower half underdeveloped. The chest is wide but the pelvis narrow and the legs weak. Correspondingly, the main energy flows are centred in and around the upper body and the front of the head. The life task is to learn true surrender and humility by admitting the inner longings and needs.

The Masochistic Character

The parents and especially the mother were domineering and gave love in a conditional way. The mother may have been self-sacrificing and the child was made to feel guilty whenever it was resisting and trying to assert itself. This made it feel trapped, defeated and humiliated. Therefore, the real feelings were held inside and creativity suppressed. Much anger, hate and resentment is hidden underneath a submissive and polite exterior.

The individual complains a lot and dwells on the negative side of things. By subconsciously provoking others s/he may be given an excuse to become angry, to let of steam, but generally the outward attitude is to please others.

The body may be heavily built with overdeveloped muscles and short neck and waist. Tensions are strongest in the neck, jaw, throat and pelvis. The energies and emotions are internalised. To become free, the masochist needs to express feelings and become more assertive and aggressive.

The Rigid Structure

The child felt its sexuality rejected, especially by the parent of the opposite sex. Sexuality at this age may mean innocently touching or playing with the sexual organs which is strictly forbidden by the parent, and a longing to be close to the parent of the opposite sex by being touched and cuddled remains unfulfilled. The child deals with this perceived rejection by developing a rigid muscle structure that makes it easier to suppress the feelings of wanting and longing.

As an adult the rigid individual will hold back, remain controlled, holding back the expression of feelings and not daring to surrender. Pride does not allow him or her to reach out to fulfil his or her needs; instead s/he prefers to manipulate to get what s/he wants.

While there is a high degree of outer control and success in the social and physical world, the rigid person tries to protect the inner vulnerability and is afraid of getting hurt. A strong ego is used to avoid letting go of inner feelings. A common complaint is that s/he does not experience strong feelings.

The energies remain on the periphery while the core is contracted. The body is well balanced and appears energetic and integrated. The individual needs to open up and share all feelings.

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