Guy Ritchie Nails it – Be the Master of Your Own Kingdom

From one link to another I find another gem, another mirror to my own journey, the universe waves it magic wand and provides what the student needs to learn – or be reminded of.

In the clip below there’s so much layered information and even what he doesn’t say speaks volumes about the world we live in, the hierarchy of control mechanisms, who we are, who we’re told to be, the eternal struggle of Self identity and ancient old teachings we should be taking more seriously.

Guy uses his own words to summarize and describe psychological & philosophical concepts such as the super-ego, false self, true self, individuation, shadow work, Self-remembering, as well as the Hero’s Journey and the Path of the Fool.

Quotes are in bold, surrounded by how I grok it.

First Joe -the host talks about you must really want to do what you are doing” be authentic in what you say and do – and with that opening line we’re deep down the rabbit hole of – who are “you” and are you doing what you WANT or what others want for you, that’s some deep philosophical and psychological opening statement.

Lets get unpacking

Guy Ritchie, it seems, first starts off by checking if Joe has possession of his own Self :- “You must be the master of your own kingdom.” with a pause and a look to get the simpatico confirmation that Joe has the same inner affect – I feel you there you go, a meeting of minds, they’re on the same subliminal level, Joe and Guy are masters over their own kingdom.

“You have to take possession of your Life” – What is not said but implied is that until you do, someone or something else possesses your thoughts/intellect/emotions. (This is linked back to my previous blog about how people identify with the super-ego self-image (pseudo-self) and how this is a reflection of what’s projected onto you/it by society, parents, family etc. (a tax payer, a voter. a bit of a lad, A good boy for mummy who’ll get a good job and marry someone just like her!)

If we take this to the extreme we could say that the energetic forces (powers and principalities) that affect the world systems (the game as GR calls it) can use this gap in your wholeness of Self as a door to project onto your pseudo-self & access your thoughts, emotions and actions.  (Negative thoughts such as – I’m not good enough – I don’t belong – I’m not allowed- I shouldn’t do – I’m not a nice person:- are all examples of this)

A great emphasis is put on having a daily method to re-affirm your own sovereignty, as it is “easy to drift on this point” by using whatever method you want to “self-remember” that there’s a world out there trying to tell you who you are and a world in you trying to tell you who you are. (I’m not feeling myself today). Where do you want to put your eggs?

The external worlds of entertainment, music, fashion, advertising, inster-babe life styles, sport, & technology etc etc. Are all very tempting, noisy, full of glitz & glamour but they only succeed in their sales pitch by making you think you are missing out or you’re not enough, your less than, it’s designed to make you feel bad about yourself so you will that thing to temporarily fill the hole in your soul that is the Self,  – – Implied is, those “worlds” are constructed & designed to prey on those who predominately identify with a pseudo-self that’s projected subconsciously by those “worlds.”

GR then says he doesn’t resent the system or the game, accept the game, love the game, move into the rules. From one level this could be a good prisoner telling the other inmates to be like him a good prisoner. He probably profits more off the game by keeping others in it than helping them climb the ladder to his level.

It’s a ongoing struggle – the eternal battle of the two worlds of energy, your inner world and the external world, the real and the false – and we have to give ourselves enough confidence and reassurance that we are enough and we don’t need to be told who we are by the latest shampoo commercial.


“The essence of narrative is only about this dynamic, there is nothing else in a story other than this dynamic”.  That’s a bold statement! He gives us a few examples the Prodigal Son from the bible and the King Arthur legend. In the middle he drops “Every man in himself is aristocratic, he’s his own king.” This knowledge is one of the things that separates them from us, look back on how the aristocratic would tell the commoners who they were, to stay in their place, not to rise above their station, the son fills the fathers shoes and it got harder and harder for people to step against their family, society, and the system, into their own power, Self, divinity. You no longer look for a sense of self outside your Self. (I’ve been so guilty of this and I didn’t even know it) It’s also the thing that is passed down and taught to their own to help keep the class divides.

Again what is not said is impactful. Extrapolate this out, there is only one story, mix in the esoteric teaching, as above so below, & that the universe is fractal then this story applies to the growth of our solar system, the planet, human development (yuga cycles) and to us personally and individually, our aim at a soul and material level is to “be our Self” to individuate, to know we have a inner world and then be the master of it.

Then comes another interesting bit – After you gain your own power you have to face the demons you’ve created in your history (karma!) be nice to other as you climb the ladder. How do these demons manifest? Have you noticed at all, that after you’ve changed jobs a few times or changed partners you keep meeting the same type of person that eventually annoys you? It’s likely what your pseudo-self is projecting outwards that’s reflected back at you (integration of shadow is needed more than moving to a new job or partner.)

Take away your crutches, stand as the man you are and you’re liberated from the whole thing (system!?) This has a strong connection to Jung’s shadow projection and shadow work – you project onto other your own “demons” but by integrating them, you no longer see them in others.  You accept them the way they are, to the same level you accept your Self as the way you are. The world will be the same but your world could be very different. (smile and the world smiles back at you)

He describes his King Arthur movie as it follows the same story arc in the Hero’s Journey, Whatever level of the ladder you’re on is the level of the movie you can glean, if your ready to glean. When the student is ready the teacher appears. Are you entertained or do you learn more about your own hero’s journey.

Religion has literalised these stories & rubbished the spiritual significance of them,  they have turned a instrument of personal salvation and growth into a method of control and suppression of the individual Self. In our literal mind we see the narrative for what we believe it to be, your not interested in the movies soul your interested in it’s body” Implying that literalised religion is false & of the external world, but the symbolic deeper meaning in ancient stories that resonant with your inner world are what’s important.

When I first started my latest hero’s journey – I had no idea how it would turnout, my conscious mind had all sorts of idea and details of how it should be, as the path unfolded it took me places I had didn’t know existed but I had to “own them.” I had to go through the grief process as I killed the polystyrene pillars of truth I had held up and defended.


It wasn’t just a belief or a thought that I had to “simply let go and relax” (as advised by so many) it was also physiological, the super-ego changes the muscularity system, it physically twists and re-shapes the body to cope with the extra “weight of the world” projected onto it. (a pull i muscle is changed to a push out muscle) I took on these projections as part of the survival mechanism to the stressful, toxic, inauthentic environment I found myself in after my relinquishment to a new family.

A year or so ago I could feel my body tense & armour it’s self in response to a person or situations energy, words or pseudo-self projections (what they wanted me to be) I didn’t like it it troubled me and I needed to solve it or I would just keep encountering it and reflexively responding to the deepest of wounds.

For most adoptees (me) and children of neglectful parents the feeling of NOT “being enough” is very deeply rooted. The first time the newborn offers it’s true-self, it’s inner world to the universe via the conduit (mother) at first it might be accepted and bath in the warm glow of the divine but for a host of reasons that bond is severed and the newborn feels rejected and therefore faulty, broken, unlovable. This deep rooted affect is internalised before the newborn learns basic body functions such as hunger, tired, sad, happy, and before any ego or sense of self identity is formed, the notion of being accepted and enough had very little time, if any to manifest and the internal conflict and pain is at a level similar to the automatic body processes such as digestion and breathing.

The universe does have a mechanism to save the divinity/soul of the newborn and it is to split the psyche, hiding the true self in the archetypal world of spirit until it is safe for it to return to the body all the while the baby adapts to survive by becoming the projected self-image of the caregivers. (Its the ugly duckling story)


Adapting to the self-image while trying to maintain their own inner world can cause major rifts in families, especially where the parents are not master over their own inner world, how can they help grow the child’s inner world of true self, if it is a alien concept to them and they are fully immersed in the external world telling them who they should be.

I liked this quote about external truth vs inner truth, or lack of it.

When we lack an internal sense of truth, meaning, or value, we will seek after external models to live by. Once we have found models that suit us, we then impose them upon our own expression and behaviors. After that, we “naturally” seek to impose them on others as well–for “their own good” of course, but really for our own safety and comfort and to ensure that those adopted values–our crucial fictions–are never questioned. To silence all voices of dissent, both inner and outer, and avoid all “contrapuntal conflict.”  J. Horsley

My Crucial fiction was that believed I was pseudo-self curated by family, friends and society, while holding the notion that I’m not enough, I’m a burden, I don’t belong.

What I’ve learnt has mainly been confirmation of my conflicted inner knowing, having the back up references give me push back, allowing a release and a change in posture and body shape.

And onward to slay my next demon.




Fear the Self?


A good actor can change his physiology to reflect the character he is playing, old man, child, superhero, monster, adapting the body shape, posture, gait, and face to fit what he wants to project.

In a similar but more subtle way people who have suffered developmental trauma, or have a domineering, overbearing, narcissistic parent will unconsciously change their physiology usually through the stress burden to become the projected image from that parent. These changes can be so ingrained, so deep and so early in development that to let go of this conditioning, to release the false-self and become the True-Self will feel like it is suicidal the mind made persona, ego, self, has such a grip on the reality of the body for it to NOT be in complete control will means it’s death.

The past year or so I’ve had a number of somatic memory events where an external influence has triggered my muscles to shake, tremble almost spasm and not in a good way. I had little idea why and I needed to find out – it was part of my hero’s journey.

After the first major set of tremors!? I felt my body posture returning and adapting muscularly to how I had been years before – like the heavy stress monkeys on my back had returned. Reading, research and inner work on the adoption trauma and narcissistic parenting (see the previous blogs) pretty much released them.

But I had another bout similar, not as intense in the body but took over my breathing very short and shallow in breath, like a panic attack. This time it prolonged into a body posture with contraction of certain muscles and I regressed into the survival pseudo-self of years gone by.  Like before the universe provided an answer and presented me with a couple of podcasts that gave me some, maybe all the answers I needed at the time.

I didn’t realise how much the stress contraction affected me, in my mind (idealized pseudo-self) I was doing just fine, day to day living was OK, I was exercising, meditating, writing my journal, but not nearly as much as before I had developed the “stress body.” It was subtly sabotaging my True-Self from developing, unfolding, incarnating.  A internal struggle like Harry Halle in Steppenwolf. It was like the stressed out pseudo-self set of muscles were twisted counter-clockwise, but when allowed to relax and be natural they would be twisted clockwise, my breathing muscles were pushing the breath out rather than just relaxed out breath from the diaphragm.

There were two significant things that showed me I was holding to much stress, it gave danger, warning, not safe signals to the True-Self  so it would not, could not incarnate into the “stress body.” First was meditation, I could only get so far with my daily practice of visualizing clouds or flames filling my body as I breathed in and emptying with the toxins as I breathed out. It was the hypnosis type relaxation guided meditation apps that got me to a level deeper and got the subtle tension in my muscles to let go. The second was weed, cannabis, ganga, I hadn’t smoked any in a couple of years and after just a little, Wham! the muscles let go of the cortisol bath it was etched into, my digestion relaxed the food moved, muscles that were rock hard in my legs from exercise became soft and supple, and my emotional body of feelings and emotions returned to be in my body rather than the detached, dissociated external sense i had been with for too long. I was inside looking out rather than outside looking in.


But I also needed the Why’s and How’s to heal or I’d be picking at the scab like the self destructive saboteur my pseudo-self was, and the universe provide, again.  I came across the video below from the Unslaved series, it gave answers. (the video has been put behind a pay wall now)

I pulled the subtitles from YouTube, highlighted the pertinent points for me,  and bullet pointed them into this blog. Copy of the transcript highlights are at the end

The underlying cause of psychological disturbance is our fear of self-knowledge “ M. Tsarion.

  • The bio-energy of life and it’s flow in and through the body at both a conscious and unconscious level, can be over ridden, supplanted, by the super-ego’s projected self image. – Your pseudo-self, but the idealised you – projected by your family and society.
  • The super-ego filters the energy of thoughts, feelings, emotions and actions, suppressing, redirecting and bottling up all the ones that do not fit it’s self-image.
  • The method used by the super-ego is musculature. Muscles affected will be chronically contracted and hidden from conscious awareness. Preventing impulses from flowing from core to body surface, removing the muscles from conscious control and perception.
  • This “armoring” of the muscles is when a muscular system across the whole body is tense in a “always on” fight or flight type response. Like a boxer ready to take a punch, that tenseness will sink all the way down to ligaments and core muscles.
  • The armoring can also effect basic bodily functions such as digestion, breathing, libidinal, eye focus. As well as distorting the levels of cortisol, serotonin and inflammatory chemicals which can lead to chronic debilitating diseases as the unconscious system such as endocrine and  digestive are working significantly below normal range.
  • The chronic stress and underdevelopment will cause physiological/ biological problems, chemical in-balances, which in adult life leads to alcohol and drug use as a self-soothing mechanism to cope with the internal conflict.
  • The Idealized self if nurtured through love and compassion in a “normal” parent-child upbringing can be positive “go-getter – can do” type outlook. But will become a negative “not allowed – Can’t do” pseudo-self if the child has emotional or physical trauma, even prolonged negative signals and messaging. The deeper and more prolonged the trauma the more prominent & dominant is the pseudo self.
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  • Trauma/stress can start in the womb, if the mother is stressed, alcoholic, even thinking about termination – the baby begins armoring and muscular stress.
  • Once born the baby is on high alert for what it perceives as danger, like a certain tone of voice or “look” of disapproval from the caregivers.
  • Narcissistic parenting is a form of emotional trauma for the child. the child is likely to emulate the narcissistic behaviors as part of the pseudo-self.
  • Narcissists (pseudo self) not only show a lack of concern for others but also for their own true-Self often with self destructive behavior, born out of this internal conflict.
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  • The pseudo-self submits to and is controlled by the subtle disapproval messages given by dysfunctional parents and a society of conformity to an idealized self image. This creates an internal conflict feedback loop where obeying the pseudo causes more stress and further contraction of the unconscious musculature system binding them into a continual struggle.

  • All Narcissistic behaviors stem from dysfunctional parenting, often with an unhealthy special relationship with one parent. – Mother uses the child’s love-affect to replace the missing love-affect from a distant husband, for example

  • To a dominate Super-ego the narcissistic pseudo-self image is more important than the True-Self. Appearance is more important than honoring the feelings of the True-Self. Like Narcissus they identify with and love the pseudo-self image of the super-ego over their suppressed True-Self, true feelings, true emotions and dreams.

And that’s where the podcast ends – but what can be done?

Firstly I am hoping that by publishing this it becomes a cathartic healing feedback loop and a fire wall to stop my empathic mind from picking up the negative super-ego projections of strangers around me, from others in my life and even those of my distant narcissistic mother, I recall one email at Xmas last that said – “are you sure your enjoying life in Thailand?” – hmm… critical of my life path, she knows better, shame, projection of her idealized “son.” she is lonely and wants me to return, :- is what I read between the lines.

As an empath I have to ensure anything that causes alarm to my nervous system doesn’t progress into a prolonged chronic resistance, it’s at that stage the body posture slowly & subtly adapts to the stress-body posture which brings with it the somatic responses to further alarms, Basically – chill the fuck out and allow the True-Self in, and stop the usurping pseudo- self to dominate. easier said than done!?

This video series is excellent

Continue reading

The Guardian Angel that turns into your Diabolical Prison Guard

“When innocence has been deprived of its entitlement, it becomes a diabolical spirit.”

Humans have an in-built automatic mechanism that will split the psyche of an infant if there is unbearable traumatic experience/s, especially where the mother-baby transpersonal bond is broken in the pre-verbal years before a coherent ego is formed.

One part of the psyche splits off the essence of the infant (the true self- the soul) a “spore-self” which falls into the archetypal world (numinous-fantasy-dreams) for safe keeping by a “guardian angel”, whose job is to ensure the spore-self will NEVER suffer the life threatening, disintegrating  trauma ever again.

Another part of the split psyche progresses a false self/survival self to cope with the harsh outer world, quickly adapting to ensure the physical survival of the body in it’s new strange and potentially life threatening environment.  This is intended to be a temporary measure until the traumatized infant has found safety, stability and “good enough” caregivers that can provide the space and nurturing to enable reintegration and become whole again.

If the growing child is subject to continual emotional neglect, physical abuse, or it’s just not safe for reintegration, the guardian angel turns into a diabolical caretaker who will screen all experiences with the outside world to ensure there is no further unbearable trauma. This defense mechanism becomes a self sabotaging prison, the child survives but cannot live creatively.  In adulthood the diabolical caretaker’s job is to soothe the false self with drugs, alcohol or other means. Ultimately if reintegration is impossible it will set about killing the host body (suicide). Possibly as it has knowledge that the spore-self will be released back into the Universal self for reincarnation?


The progressed survival self develops emphatic abilities to scan for and avoid potentially further emotional or physical abuse that will cause a reliving of the original catastrophic traumatic event. The body will be pumped full of adrenaline and cortisol and the child will develop ‘always-on’ radar like hyper-vigilance and is primed and ready to react to perceived threats. Psychic skills, mental telepathy, clairvoyance and/or heightened awareness, the ability to read the subtle subtext, body language and emotions of the abusive caregivers however benign, so that their behavior can be adjusted to either avoid or disconnect from verbal or physical threats. Increase adrenaline and cortisol will lead to sleep disorders, constant anxiety, eating disorders and digestions problems exhaustion. Disassociation becomes normal, it is easy for them to flip flop between states of the psyches, large chunks of memory where there is vague or no recall of events is common.

Breaking of the mother-baby transpersonal bond will lead to abandonment, attachment and co dependency issues, the desperate need to bond will lead the false self to attach to people even if this is against their best interests. Then if the diabolical caretaker assumes the attachment may lead to another traumatic abandonment it will push back the new partner, resulting in broken, unfulfilling, stressful relationships, isolation, social anxieties and loneliness.

It can also leave them vulnerable to sexual abuse – abusers are able to identify needy, willing to please children and if they can easily disassociate, not being able to recall the actual sexual abuse but rather a “screen memory” of it, all the better for the abuser.   

This split psyche and split persona starts before the infant has developed any words to describe their experience and any coherent sense of ego, the child and grown adult knows nothing else, it’s always been this way – they blame the only thing that could be wrong – themselves and grow with an ingrained sense of “I’m unlovable, I’m not worthy, there’s something wrong with me, you’re better off without me, I’m broken” etc. Even with good environments, loving families and supportive friends a child will unconsciously listen to the diabolical caretaker that tells them, “it’s all a joke, they are only tolerating you, they will just abandon you as soon as you let down your guard, just like before…” They can deny the rational obvious evidence in front of them living lives completely unaware of this secret saboteur living within holding on tight to the true essence of their self, while they live out their life believing the outer broken, unlovable false self is their true being.

The diabolical caretaker is absolute, it developed as part of the primitive responses of the ID, the automatic mechanism of living, (like breathing) it can’t be reasoned with, it doesn’t learn. It will becomes a self sabotaging godlike diabolical prison guard, undermining attempts of the outer false self to improve its situation, it sees integration and wholeness as it’s own death and will do anything to prevent this.


If the outer false self can experience and tolerate more events that previously triggered the diabolical caretaker to take over (dissociate) the closer the diabolical caretaker can come to integrating the trauma that originally broke the transpersonal bond. At a certain point the conflicting personas can both enter the same transpersonal space, begrudgingly acknowledge each other and the wonderful job each has done for the other then agree terms of the prisoner exchange!

As capacity grows on each side, the energies can be turned over to integration. “Nobody leaves this dyad without a fight with a truly demonic spirit,” there will be failures and setbacks along the way, if after each unsuccessful attempt the survival self returns to find itself further along the path and in a better place  the closer integration will be. This path must be walked alone, mentoring and coaching allowed, but no one can carry you over the finish line. To give up is to hand back the keys to the diabolical jailer and a life of self-destructing evil.


This is my summary of Donald Kalshed’s Inner World of Trauma and other interviews I have found online. His work is aimed at other professionals using terms not in everyday parlance. My intention is to provide a more accessible summary to help people who have suffered pre-verbal trauma and have not found easy to digest material.

Adoption Always Results in Trauma

Addiction counselor Paul Sunderland noticed adoptee’s are significantly overrepresented in addiction counseling for substance misuse and abuse.

His findings are remarkable. Many adoptees and people with pre-verbal trauma will identify with the symptoms and traits he describes, many have found answers and reasons to lifelong nagging issues in the following presentation.

The main points I noted and have meaning for me are:

  • Adoption always results trauma.
  • Relinquishment is a more accurate term and relinquishment brings drama.
  • The trauma for the infant feels life threatening & catastrophic.
  • The trauma is pre-verbal – therefore they have no words to recall and describe it.
  • Pre-verbal trauma happens before any other developed sense I, ego, or Self, therefore the infant knows no other way of being.
    • The psyche splits into a progressive survival self that’s able to skillfully adapt & cope under high levels of stress and depression into adult life.
    • The regressed self is self blaming & sees it’s self as unworthy, unlovable, at fault/broken, the first time it was it’s Self it was rejected and there was a catastrophic splitting event.
    • There is a slow loss of the individual Self as the infant adapts & attaches to become what the new parents want in fear of repeating the catastrophic event.
    • The original mother-baby bond is broken and if the new parents cannot re[air it – it will create a trauma bond.
  • The trauma is remembered in the somatic memory of the physical and emotional body, it is rarely recalled or able to be described
  • Breaking the mother-baby bond plays havoc with the bonding chemistry in infants.
    • Physiological effects include raised level of cortisol and adrenaline leads to hyper-vigilance, constant anxiety, sleep disorders & eating disorders.
    • Reduced serotonin – the soothing chemical, is replaced with substitutes such as prolonged thumb sucking to sugar and in later life alcohol and drugs are used to self-sooth.
    • There are large chunks of missing memories or selective memories, easy dissociation or daydreaming.
  • Trauma is stored in the limbic system – Which activates the self defensive (self sabotaging – never again) mechanism before the rational mind can respond – Reflexive vrs responsive.
  • There’s enormous attachment issues, people often go against their best interest to bond & adapt to become what the partners want of them, not be themselves.
  • Unexpected events or new situations usually cause deep anxiety and catastrophic thinking.
  • There are many overlaps with D. Kalsched’s – Inner World of Trauma. How the psyche is split by pre-verbal trauma and the affect on the growing child. Summary of his work

A more detailed summary of his main points – from here

Adoption is a word that does not describe what has happened to a child that results in them coming into services at a very high rate. It is a word that works to cover up, or deny the wound of relinquishment, a wound that is a developmental Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). There cannot be relinquishment and adoption without trauma. The word adoption also hides another aspect of the trauma of relinquishment. Adoption usually only happens once, whereas there may be many relinquishments for the separated child.

Adoptees are massively over-represented in therapy. Adoptees are situated within a duality. They have divided attention with two sets of families. They are conflicted over wanting to belong yet fearing belonging.


Adoption is the enormous grief of a child who has been waiting nine months to meet someone they are not going to meet; the enormous grief of a mother who cannot live without her child, and the enormous grief of the adoptive mother who is not able to have a child.

The normal biology of pregnancy has the baby set up for bonding with its mother, and the mother who relinquishes her baby goes against her biology. The child experiences life-threatening abandonment. The ‘chosen child’ is the story of a child entering a family that does not genetically fit them, with an impossible job description to be someone they can never be – to fix a wound of infertility. Infertility is a failure of expectations and contract within a marriage that sex will result in family. There is enormous grief for everyone, but for the child this stuff is pre-verbal and can’t be recalled but it is remembered.

The human brain starts working before it is fully built. Experience is the architect of the brain. Experience is the cue for connections and hook-ups of the billions of neurons formed before birth. In other words, neurons that fire together, wire together. If life begins with a trauma of separation and abandonment, that feels life-threatening, that is how the neurons will fire and wire. The human brain is a reflective organ, reflecting on past experiences, so it would be normal for abandonment issues to always be there in relationships.

For the adoptee there is real fear in relationships. There is a great desire or hunger to attach, causing you to sometimes behave against your best interests, but with the conflicting feelings that this is not safe. The feelings are held in the limbic system which will always override the frontal cortex, but it is the thinking brain – the frontal cortex which takes people into therapy.

So for these adults who have a very early trauma, which cannot be recalled, there is no pre-trauma personality as a reference point. They believe the post trauma personality is part of them. So it is referred to as Developmental trauma, rather than PTSD.

Bowlby was the first person to describe attachment theory and the internal system of a child that means the child is born ready to meet its mother. We now know human infants can detect smells within 24 hours of birth, and they show a preference for their own mother’s milk. Mothers who read aloud to their child before birth had babies who showed preferences for their mother’s voice and the story she read. The preferences are shown by head turning and changes in physiology such as respiration.

Mary Maine asked the question about how an adult will be as a parent after difficult life experiences. People say they try to do the opposite of their parents. But doing the opposite is not necessarily a healthy option either. Maine showed that the emotional stability of the human child is 75% dependent on the parent being able to know herself – to tell an emotionally coherent story about herself. Then the child has a good chance of being emotionally stable. How does this work for an adult who believes their post trauma personality is part of them?

Sunderland sees many adoptees in his addiction clinics. He says people come into therapy in a small window between one relationship and another. They have other addictions as well, but he calls them love addicts, and says he gets incidental disclosures of adoption. He describes love addiction as the need to regulate mood by having the positive regard of a significant other; its about anxiety and shame, and using the positive regard to regulate these. Addiction is genetically proposed and environmentally disposed.

The adopted people he sees often appear very well put together. They rarely talk about being adopted – it’s just by the way. When he does a bank of psychometric tests, he finds these people score very extremely high on the measure of depression, but you can’t actually see it. Sunderland began to question what this was about and found there is an awful lot these people have in common.

It used to be said that; ‘You can’t remember, you were only a baby’, but that is such a nonsense. It is remembered, it just can’t be recalled. Looking at traumatology research it is no surprise that adoptees are over represented in addictions. The break in the mother infant bonding has an enormous impact on brain chemicals and neurotransmitters. Cortisol and adrenaline are raised in trauma, and there are reduced levels of serotonin. These things happen from very early on, and may be repeated with multiple relinquishments, which result in new and unrecognised environments. ‘Where am I’ is the constant question.

trauma brain

Concentration and focus are affected by cortisol and adrenaline levels. Increased concentrations result in the person living on red alert. It is not surprising that Nancy Verrier found 90% of adoptees are diagnosed with ADHD. ‘What do I have to do to get on around here?’ There is a slow loss of self. The child fears they cannot be themselves because the first time they did it was pretty disastrous. ‘I’m going to have to be hypervigilant.’ Being on red alert affects sleep regulation, gastrointestinal disorders and mood difficulties. 

Serotonin levels are decreased in the early trauma, and serotonin is the chemical of soothing. These children can be so hard to soothe, and are often reported as crying, or screaming a lot as babies. Addiction is about self-soothing. Attempts are made at self-soothing with, for example sugar, or early masturbation, sex and love addiction, and drugs. A low level of serotonin means the person will not feel OK. Serotonin helps you manage shame. They will feel ‘I’m not OK’. We know that failed mother child bonding creates this. People become addicted to adrenaline, and return to dangerous situations repeatedly to keep the adrenaline high. They try to create stress to manage mood, and develop rashes, nervous disorders, gastro problems and sleep disturbances.

Because the trauma can’t be recalled, many other life events can’t be recalled either. These clients will often record counselling sessions, because they can’t recall the sessions once they’ve gone. This is due to the link with the preverbal condition – there is some link to not being able to recall the session. (easy dissociation)

There are clients who ‘give up on themselves’. They start out with good intentions on any new project, and manage well at the start, but then just give up. When you listen to their words, you hear what they are saying about themselves. In early life, they were given up on. It is no wonder they then give up on themselves repeatedly.

There is so much evidence for a trauma of relinquishment. They exhibit enormous amounts of hyper vigilance, anxiety and catastrophic thinking – because the wound was a life-threatening one. They develop shame and anxiety, afraid to show who they really are. And they develop self-reliance – ‘if you want to get something done, do it yourself’.

Shame and Anxiety are the underpinnings of addictions. Anxiety is played out in the script – the world is not a safe place; they’ll kick you when you’re down; better not be vulnerable; don’t show who you are. Shame is the ‘bad baby’ script – there’s something wrong with me; I’d better not tell anybody; how do I need to be to be accepted because being me in not acceptable, I’m unlovable’. People who were adopted have this in bucketloads.

Addictions are places to put the shame and anxiety and make it acceptable. And when addicts try to reform, and get near their goal, they often self-sabotage, because the reform does not have anywhere to put the shame and anxiety. There is a need to create a new catastrophy as a creative attempt to contain the anxiety.

This is why 12 step programs are successful – because they are mood altering, and shame and anxiety management programs. And all addictions are about shame and anxiety and how to manage insecurity. Compulsive behaviour is another way to manage. ‘As long as I keep busy I can focus all my attention on what I have to do.’ Compulsive debtors think it will be OK when the debt is paid off, but when they get near their goal they get really anxious again – because the money was just a stage for anxiety.

Shame for adoptees – If my mother gave me up, I don’t have value – I’m a bad baby. It’s an attempt by the infant to explain the unacceptable by saying it is their fault; to organise it by taking responsibility – to make it manageable. Freud talks about “his majesty the baby’ – the frontal cortex is not fully there even at age 20. The child up until the age of 10-12 sees itself as responsible for everything bad that happens – self-centredness of a human child. Bad baby hypothesis plus, taking all the responsibility for everything bad that happens. So for a child with no pre-trauma personality – this will be the way they resolve their insecurity.

Bowlby – divided up secure and insecure attachments. We now know, it’s not what happens to you in life that throws you, but how secure your beginnings are. Looking at the storm analogy – the trees that blow down in a storm are the ones whose roots are not strong enough to hold them up; it is not because the wind is strong – it is the poor attachment to the ground. For children with a secure base, they have more resilience when the wind comes along. These early experiences make an enormous difference.

One of the functions of trauma is that the part of the brain that regulates time is missing. (selective memories and dissociation). The child’s brain has to adapt like a tree that has to grow around a rock.

What we are talking about is not adoption, but adaption, due to relinquishment. Not talking about adoption may be because of the insecurity of the adoptive family who may have infertility problems.

The original trauma, remembered but not recalled, results in a compulsion to repeat itself later in life, which is played out with anxiety and fear and catastrophic thinking, such as with sex and love addiction. There is an enormous hunger for attachment which often has people acting against their own best interests; a desperate need to bond and the need is so great that partners can’t possibly provide because of the enormous need for attachment.

Catastrophic thinking has the person saying ‘what does it matter, I’m on the streets now; everyone knows it’s my fault’.

The person believes the person they have become is who they are, and that is not the case. But they have no reference point of a pre-trauma personality.

baby is adoption trauma.png

Addiction and adoption/adaption will often go together. Sunderland sees them as having co-occurring disorders of addiction and PTSD, due to developmental trauma from relinquishment. The developmental PTSD is stored in the limbic system, where the fight, flight or freeze response is initiated. And the limbic system deals with trauma and kicks in straight away before there is a chance to experience the feeling of rejection. These people often feel schizophrenic – living with a duality, and have an ambivalence in decision making because making decisions feels life-threatening. Never give advice to a person with developmental trauma.

In couples work – If you have an attachment wound you have not managed to become a separate person – you spend your time trying to work out what you have to do to be accepted here. The challenge in a relationship is to be ‘myself’ and everything in the limbic system says ‘DON’T!’ Relationships can’t work when one person is trying to please the other, rather than be themselves.

A transcript pulled from the YouTube subtitles  edited to remove some of the verbiage  Paul Sunderland Remembered not Recalled

Another blog on the same lecture Shining a light on adoption

The Road of Trials in The Belly of the Whale

‘After crossing the call to adventure and the first threshold, the belly of the whale represents the final separation from the old world and old self. It’s a time to clear and cleanse imposed ego programming to strip back any conditioning or entrainments’

By entering this stage the person shows their willingness to undergo a significant change that the coming stages will present.

Living in Thailand was crossing the first threshold where I made significant adjustments but I recognise I also carried over many of the patterns and habits from the UK not necessarily bad habits but they could be better. Travelling onto Cambodia definitely felt like entering the big bad belly of the whale, a testing ground for the old self.

My original plan was to go to Sihanoukville to have a knee’s up – a bit of a party, it’s the Pattaya of Cambodia apparently. Well it has a dirty beach, beer bar area, a bit of a sleazy atmosphere, Karaoke bars, but that’s about it. It does have a laissez faire attitude to smoking weed, most bars are tolerant, some almost encourage it, and if you order your pizza “happy” in the right restaurant you’re in for a night of the giggles.

The pharmacies will dish out just about anything and if you find the right places they will dish out the stuff they shouldn’t. Access to many other vices are available but you have to really want them and seek them out, the place has a well deserved reputation for being like a wild west frontier town.

This loose travel plan was hatched all the way back in the UK, while I still had most of the old patterns and hooks in me, not many but enough. Those hooks are subtle they sit there light as a feather but deep in the back of you mind. Sitting waiting for whatever is the trigger that will catch that hook and start to reel you in.

We’ve all got them and some are practically impossible to evade like sugar, wheat, cheese, coffee, cake! All of them addictive, probably designed that way to get people hooked at a young age, then there’s the grown up ones, sex, alcohol, nicotine, prescriptions meds- all legal so far, then we move onto more nefarious things like recreational drugs.

The door to officially sanctioned addiction  is built at an early age, sugar treats used as rewards or to shut up a noisy child will do it. Additiction doesn’t have a proper door it’s more like a swing door with a kick plate, no latch, no lock, damn easy to open. But at the back of the first addiction room if you look carefully and use your hands to search for the outline you’ll find more doors with tamper evident paper seals. First one breaks then another and another but not that one, the one to the hard stuff, not until you’ve peaked through the window to glimpse probable fates, it’s like a movie trailer where they only show you what will entice you in, you weigh up whatever trauma that pokes you in that direction with the soothing oblivion of couldn’t care less.


Well, my doors had been prized opened years ago and like a whack-a-mole game as I shut one, another would open, after some years I got them shut all shut even the legal stuff but that just left the that legal swing door flapping and even easier to open if a trigger would pull on that hook and the cycle would start again. Each cycle was a  wheel that got smaller in size, time and weight but the wheel had to turn a full circle before it could be put away.  Before I left the UK I probably had only a couple of small wheels in the air but they were the hardest – booze, food, sugar,  oh and ganga but that’s medicinal.

Even after years of clean living an old trigger would appear and I could feel that hook twitch and tug and I’d reminisce on those fleeting feel good moments of absolving care and responsibility but forget about the old “black dog of the night” that came afterwards where obliteration was the aim, in times gone by even the smallest trigger would be enough to get me flinging the doors wide open again and start another cycle.

It was on the bus to Sihanoukville I got hopefully the final obliteration vision. Maybe it had been waiting, knowing that I had planned to enter the vipers pit once more, a few triggers and easy access to all and sundry would surely lead to a big bad new wheel for me to turn around.

Don’t get me wrong I got it, the trigger, the twitchy hook the reminisce of obliteration, even pictures in my minds eye, but I met it with incredulity, I don’t want this, why is it even coming to mind after all this time? Maybe it was the final death throws as the hook tugged and tugged but slipped and pulled free.

“The idea that the passage of the magical threshold is a transit into a sphere of rebirth is symbolized in the worldwide womb image of the belly of the whale. The hero, instead of conquering or conciliating the power of the threshold, is swallowed into the unknown and would appear to have died” — (Campbell 90)

The Road of Trials

The Sihanoukville whale ate me, chewed me up and spat me out, this was just the start of my road of many trials.

The road of trials is a series of tests, tasks or ordeals that the person must undergo to begin the transformation, Often the person fails one of more of these tests which often comes in 3’s

I’m starting off positive and claiming success in losing the hook of oblivion as a successful trial what are the other trials did I pass of fail? I’m on the road at least.


“This popular motif gives emphasis to the lesson that the passage of the threshold is a form of self-annihilation. . .[I]nstead of passing outward, beyond the confines of the visible world, the hero goes inward, to be born again. The disappearance corresponds to the passing of a worshipper into a temple – where he is to be quickened by the recollection of who and what he is, namely dust and ashes unless immortal. The temple interior, the belly of the whale, and the heavenly land beyond, above, and below the confines of the world, are one and the same. That is why the approaches and entrances to temples are flanked and defended by colossal gargoyles: dragons, lions, devil-slayers with drawn swords, resentful dwarfs, winged bulls. These are the threshold guardians to ward away all incapable of encountering the higher silences within. . .The devotee at the moment of entry into a temple undergoes a metamorphosis. His secular character remains without; he sheds it, as a snake its slough. Once inside he may be said to have died to time and returned to the World Womb, the World Navel, the Earthly Paradise. . .Allegorically, then, the passage into a temple and the hero-dive through the jaws of the whale are identical adventures, both demoting in picture language, the life-centering, life renewing act” — (Campbell 91-92)

I know I’ve got issues, many many issues, socialising is one, previously it I didn’t get much pleasure out of it. Ever heard of energy vampires? The type of people who drain you in a friendly way, I seem to encounter more than my fair share and now avoid these vampiric elements like the plague. I’m not anti-social just intolerant of bullshit, drama, and banal chitter chatter.


The apartment block I stayed in had a long walkway that doubled up as the balcony for all apartments, mine was at the end so there was no dodging anyone sat out front. My preference was to dodge them, it’s the best way to avoid the energy vampires. But after all the calming time in Thailand it wasn’t so difficult to be neighbourly pleasant and converse, great I thought this is going ok, then all of a sudden it changed.

My first proper encounter with Jasmine spiraled me back to days I don’t want to remember. She embodied the co-dependant addicted personality I used to have. She found it almost impossible to be alone and she’d latch onto to me when her favorite’s weren’t there. It didn’t take me long to realise she was the lord high chief energy vampire in the block.

It was early morning and she was still high from the crystal meth she’d been smoking all night, eyes dilated and jaw gurning, not a pretty sight, her boyfriend (or as she called him her ATM from England) had just set off to return to England. She walked into my apartment and started babbling, at first it was entertaining like watching a funny drunk when you’re sober but as time wears on and they don’t get a partner crime they turn a bit more unpleasant.

I politely declined to join her party, I wasn’t going to seek out those doors to addiction again especially not with her. I was fresh blood for this energy vampire I was drained fully and quickly and it placed me right back to the feelings and situations of the unpleasant past, the ones I’d rather forget, those weren’t good times for me and it triggered some old personality traits that lingered around and I couldn’t shift (quickly anyway.)

I declined further invitations, but to be honest I didn’t want to join in with their co-dependant boozed up gang and I’m not swallowing any of their bullshit mutterings. Accepting that first can of beer after 6 months dry, was only a hairs breadth away while in their company,  I could also sense deceit, betrayal and disappointment in their game. With my newer wisdom and foresight of probable outcomes I justified I was better off watching a movie than an evening caught in their cross talk.


This negative experience spun me way back but on reflection I’m glad I didn’t sooth the burn with booze, the last time I did it took more than a month to get myself off it again.

As for the another trial maybe it’s my money issues, I’m tight, I look for the cheapest deal, I used to scour the supermarkets for those price reduction stickers, find the cheapest hotel, etc etc.

But slowly I could feel the need to save money slowly ebb away, I still sort any internet search into low to high price but I look for value the best room for a lowish price.

It struck home when I discovered the thieving gits at the mountain caves had lifted my power bank from my rucksack that they were entrusted and paid to look after. The usual feeling of loss just didn’t arrive, if you’ve ever been burgled or had something stolen you might have also got that cold shudder of loss wash over you that would give way to anger and a bit of resentment but not for me this time. Yes I mourned the loss of a useful gadget but no visceral feelings, it was more of a contemplation of the bad karma he brought upon himself.

At this point in time I still have a few weeks left before returning to Thailand there’s gonna be some more trials and lessons to learn in preparation for what might lie ahead.


The Road to Apotheosis


My hero’s journey is still sticking to the script albeit loosely and dependent on perspective. Perhaps I’m riding a pendulum swinging from the road of trails to apotheosis.


The titles are a little ambiguous and they’re not to be taken literally, firstly to recap recent events.

Meeting with the Goddess –Can also represent the female side of the hero (his anima or ‘soul’) which, if he can join, will make him whole. The Goddess can be good and evil often in the same package, in a sense all women represent the Goddess.

I’ve met with a number of Goddess/Woman as the Temptress they’re usually good at first then turn ‘bad’, controlling or for a more woo-woo explanation, unwillingly channel the invisible adversarial spirit that will try to halt my progress to Apotheosis.

Temptation/Temptress – Is to test (and hence demonstrate) the integrity of the hero by placing easy gratification or other gain in their path. By refusing this, the hero demonstrates himself to be true to heroic values and dedicated above all else to achievement of the primary goal.

Since overcoming forms of temptation in Cambodia, I’ve had comparatively minor examples of temptations recently, but I feel like I could be swishing around in this whales belly until I fully expunge all my temptations.

Atonement with the Father – The father represents power, and particularly what ever power is ultimately over the hero. If this power can be taken, removed or incorporated, the hero is permitted to a higher plane. Similar to the Goddess the father figure may be benevolent or “monstrous” and are often both in the same package reflecting what the hero needs at that point in the journey.

Recognizing, challenging and removing this ultimate power has seemingly been the main feature over the past few months.

I’ve experienced far too many anomalous, weird, bizarro events over the years and right from the start finding context, answers and solace for the strange high weirdness has always been there. Years of peeking behind the veil of normality hasn’t satisfied me or given peace of mind that I’ve slayed that monstrous dragon.

Maybe now that I have conquered temptation I’m allowed further down the rabbit hole as the Zen proverb says- “When the student is ready, the teacher appears”

In the past few months, coincidentally (if you believe in that sort of thing) events, people, personalities and behaviors that I’ve encountered reflected precisely what I was discovering and learning from new sources of research and peoples testimonies of similar experiences. It was like a practical lesson along with academic context with reasons and answers. My previous inclinations of what on earth was happening to me were being confirmed, experiences I had that previous friends/’handlers’ were quick to ignore and dismiss, were exactly described by other experiencers, the type of events, reactions, feelings, thoughts and so on were startlingly the same. I could now attach a label to them, and a bit like Rumpelstiltskin where naming the demon takes it’s power away (also how Magicians conjure and bind incorporeal spirits) I take back control –  Ignorance is a slave, knowledge is freedom. – Gospel of Phillip

I still have plenty to learn but I know better now what I’m looking at, identifying and removing the adversarial invisible power that wields it’s influence in this world that wants you to live in ignorance of it, gives me the clearance to a higher plane and in some sense onto Apotheosis.

Apotheosis – After trials such as resisting Woman as Temptress and the reconciliation of Atonement with the Father, the hero transcends, achieving a higher place. This is a point of realization in which a greater understanding is achieved. Armed with this new knowledge and perception, the hero is resolved and ready for the more difficult part of the adventure.

The dictionary describes ‘apotheosis’ as ‘The elevation of a person to the status of a god’ a better interpretation i would posit is the realization of the divine spirit that lies within.


If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you. – Gospel of Thomas

Ignorance is a slave, knowledge is freedom. If we know the truth we shall find the fruits of the truth in us. If we join it, it will fulfill us. – Gospel of Phillip

An un-examined life is not worth living – Socrates
The un-lived life is not worth examining. – Alphonso Lingis added.

Shadow work itself has turned out to be spiritual work of the highest depth and quality and is indeed a Hero’s Journey and a Great Work. – Jung

By actually doing the esoteric inner works one gains salvation – Boris Mouravieff

One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious – Jung

Before I was enlightened, I chopped wood and carried water, after I was enlightened I chopped wood and carried water.  -Zen proverb

That force that is wielded in the world cannot touch one who is not identified with it.

I found the above quotes a bit more meaningful recently. I take from them that we don’t have to grow a mature mighty oak before gaining salvation and enlightenment, but to  germinate that divine seed within, nurture it, and not letting it wither is the key to letting the universe ‘see’ you and unfold the archetype path that lays in front of you.

What lies ahead? is still a mystery but I think the pendulum will continue to swing possibly repeating and allowing the lessons to sink in deeper before the Ultimate Boon is revealed.


Supernatural Aid, Coincidence or Just Lucky?

I’m lucky or so it seems, and what happened the other night could have been more than just luck.

Before I get onto the other night there’s been a couple of other fortunate incidents that’s happened. One of which was getting my place to stay, as I prepared to move here I looked over the various websites to check the affordability of Condo’s and I reckoned I could get a nice place with pool and gym of £150 a month and budgeted for that. Then i discovered the closer i got to my flight date, Yes I could at a push but it would’ve been on the outskirts, for a 12 month contract and probably without the pool or gym, Gulp…

After I’d flown and crossed the threshold I was in a layover for a couple of days, I contacted a new agent, and as luck would have it they came up with a great condo for my budget in the right location with a pool and gym. Fantastic, a weight of my mind, alright the pool didn’t get much sunlight I had to commit to 7 month contract, there were a couple of other niggles but after I met the Finnish man who rented the same room the year before for around £120 more per month than I was paying even he said I was a lucky.

Back to the other night and some real synchronicity / supernatural aid, maybe? I’d gone to local restaurant and parked my bike outside, it’s a rare occasion a place like would have a parking attendant but there he was and he got me for 5 baht and handed over a little blue ticket, this interruption had disrupted my usual flow of remove helmet, mask and keys and I left the keys in the ignition. Oh No!

After an hour or more and a full belly had gone by at Grill & Chill, after the bill and ready ready to leave, I noticed a little boy walking close to our table with his hand over his eyes, strange and quirky and it gave me a smile, he took his hand away at just the right moment next to my table and offered the fragrant flower display, I’ve seen these before but never bought one, I rarely do. (yeah I’m also a bit of a cheap charlie at times) But this time I had a 20 baht note out ready to tip the waiter which was just the right amount -as luck would have it – now I’ve got my lucky charm he goes on his way.

img_20160318_124004.jpg I wanted to find out why the restaurant next to the one I’ve just been in was so much more popular (ice cream included in the buffet price!) So off I go on the short walk and found there were no keys in my pocket. Oh No.

My bike was out of sight round the corner and it was a tense few moments as I walked back. Yes! Thankfully it was there, I walked over and double Yes! the keys were still in the ignition, phew, I try to explain in pigeon English to the young Thai couple getting on the bike parked next to mine that I left my keys – cos I’m stupid farang- (Thai for foreigner) they say they didn’t even see them.

It was the next day before I made the association of buying the lucky charm from the boy who at first couldn’t see, was this an example of supernatural, perhaps to other people those keys just couldn’t be seen?

I don’t know, I suppose it depends if your a coincidence theorists or not.