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REPAIRenting® Programme- The Tough Boss Child
May 23, 2022
Tom was referred to me by a doctor. He had been suffering severe chronic pain and migraines for a few years.
The medical route had been explored and had come to its limits.
At that, Tom’s symptoms hadn’t improved much. In the end, the doctor who was aware of the link between chronic stress and pain, had advised him to work on reducing chronic stress.
As well as chronic pain, Tom had been anxious all his life.
Tom shared with me what was making him anxious. This was a closely held secret that he worked hard not to let anyone see: Deep inside, Tom felt that he wasn’t good enough.
That he couldn’t do anything right. That he was a failure. This came from a man who built and owned multiple successful companies!
In his friendships and relationships, Tom was preoccupied with the notion that he may lose control if he shows himself too much.
He guarded his deep secret like a treasure. Nobody should see it.
Love without trust and opening up of course, is not possible in the long run. Hence, his romantic relationships never lasted and now in his mid forties, he found himself quite lonely.
This focus on keeping in control at all times and hiding their vulnerability are hallmarks of the Tough Boss Child.
Typically these children experience a major loss of control in one of their crucial relationships as they are growing up. For Tom, this loss of control occurred mainly with his father who was prone to angry and violent outbursts that were quite unpredictable and could come out of nowhere.
Tom remembered being age seven and passing his father in the hallway one day, only for the father to reach out and deliver a belt around Tom’s ears. From that moment on, Tom started avoiding being alone with his dad as much as possible. Whenever he was, Tom cowered.
Mum could be very loving at times, but here, too, the theme of a loss of control continued. Mum gave only conditional love. If Tom did things according to her wishes, things would go well for him. If he didn’t or couldn’t, she would ignore or reject him.
Ultimately, Tom started to feel that the unconditional love that he had for his parents made him very vulnerable to emotional hurt and pain. His brain now associated the feeling of love with danger. He started to hide his feelings from mum and dad, especially any soft ones.
That habit carried through into adult relationships. That’s what caused him the particular difficulties he was now experiencing in friendships and relationships.
In the first session, we worked on his deep seated belief and feeling that he was somehow not good enough.
A week later Tom told me, he had tried all week to access that feeling as it was so familiar and usually always there just beneath the surface, but now he could no longer feel it. He was very surprised. I was delighted but much less surprised.
The clearing part of the work I do is often the quickest part.
What can take more time and what can be a little tricky at times, is finding the root cause of things. That’s why I work with the Dream Destroyer model.
Throughout my many years of working with people therapeutically I have seen enough to know that childhood is a good place to look for root causes. Dream Destroyers offer a model that allows me to pinpoint possible root causes by deducing from present symptoms and behaviour.
Now in session two, Tom no longer had a vulnerable deeply held secret that he needed to guard. He now felt good about himself. The next stretch of his journey was going to be to allow himself to be seen in his friendships and relationship.
To get there, we worked to strengthen his newly found positive relationship with himself and prepared him for making the necessary changes in his relationships.
By the following week he described some positive new steps he had taken in his work relationships- placing more trust in employees that he knew he could rely on.
Also, he started to share more about himself with a couple of people close to him. Major breakthroughs for a Tough Boss Child.
Interestingly, pain levels started to drop parallel to this.
Physical pain is often a side dish that comes with traumatic encoding. As we were working to un-do this encoding on a biological level, pain started to melt away alongside.
A few weeks later, Tom was getting ready for a cycling trip- free from chronic pain for the first time in years.
He couldn’t quite believe it. But the new state held over a two week break as he was going on his trip- and it continued to hold after that.
Additional work in our sessions was around chronic anger of which Tom was carrying a lot- most of it going back to the circumstances he grew up in.
All through childhood, Tom had bottled up this anger. There was nowhere safe where he could have talked about it or expressed it.
When his chronic anger was released, the migraines became less frequent.
Tom’s facial expression changed dramatically at this point. A worried and tense look now gave way to a softer look and a broad smile.
By the time we were finished working together, Tom’s symptoms had mostly been lifted.
He said he felt the best he had felt in a very long time, like he had a new lease of life.
He had a date coming up- with his ex-partner who he had kept a friendship with since she had broken up with him.
Citing his closed behaviour and lack of soft emotion as the reason, she now saw him changing and was open to spending more time.
A nice turn around for Tom, on every front.
If you are ready to release pain and recover from your hidden anger, hurt and low self esteem so you too can enjoy a new lease of life then contact me to discuss if my 1:1 REPAIRenting® programme could be the right fit for you.
You can watch client testimonials about my work here.
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