By Jenny Peterson
(For an audio version of this blog, listen to episode #45 of my podcast)
Your symptoms reveal how you respond to life...........and how you respond to life is based on your conditioning.
The root to all your “problems” is rooted in this.
Are you willing to let go of this conditioning and be a cycle breaker in order to heal?
Today, you will find out what it means to be a cycle breaker and why it's necessary in order to heal your chronic conditions.
If your symptoms could talk, do you know what they would say? No they wouldn’t say you shouldn’t eat that piece of cake or you need to do that liver cleanse.
They would say, this way of responding to life isn’t working for you, its going against your soul. When you let this go, we are willing to heal, but until then, we are taking the hit until this gets resolved.
Geez, kind of harsh huh….. But it's true. Remember that your symptoms are all about survival and if the way you are responding to life isn’t sending a message of safety to your body, then the body will adapt in order to survive.
So what do I mean when I say respond to life? What I am referring to here is your survival patterns.
When something happens in life, what is your typical way of responding? Is it to get angry? Is it to not feel good enough? Is it to get overwhelmed or to be fearful?
How you respond to life is based on your survival patterns, subconscious patterns that were established at a young age. Now these patterns are going to be based on what you had or didn’t have as a child when it comes to your emotional needs being met, but they are also the patterns that you learned from how your parents responded to life.
This is called your conditioning and it all comes from the environment in which you grew up in. But your conditioning didn’t just come from the time you were born. It stems from generations before you. These generational patterns are passed on from generation to generation often without conscious awareness.
The only time these generational patterns get changed is if something dramatic happens in a person's life that requires them to change.
Something like, I don’t know...........................chronic illness? Others could include addiction, financial losses, relationship problems, etc. Basically any problem in your life.
When we face a problem, we either have the option to do nothing, which will just continue to keep us miserable, or to do something different that will require change.
This change that is required is going to be connected to shifting old subconscious patterns, your conditioning.
Let me simplify where all conditioning comes from.
Before you were born, the stage was set (an environment existed with cultural and family dynamics).
"They" (your care givers) already had their coping skills, beliefs, talents and problems before you arrived.
"They" affected, influenced and taught you to the best of their ability, based on what they knew at the time.
From your experiences, you developed coping skills and learned how to survive. Your perspective of how the world works was created.
From your experiences, you formed beliefs about yourself; a self-identity or the "I am" was formed.
From this identity, you began to operate and survive in the world.
Your subconscious references these files of conditioning every time something happens to you.
They are your automatic responses to life.
When you respond to life from these old survival patterns that feel unsafe, your body adapts out of survival. These are the biological connections to symptoms. On the contrary, your brain is acting out of survival patterns as well. Because it too, wants to keep you safe.
So to heal, do you shift the way the body is adapting or do you shift the survival patterns in the subconscious?
Well, we’ve all tried to shift the way the body is adapting by trying to control it with detoxing, diets, drugs, supplements, etc and that hasn’t worked.
The root cause of symptoms starts with a message, specifically messages from the subconscious because it is the cell tower to our entire body. So the messages need to change in order for there to be a different response in the body.
These survival patterns stem from your conditioning. The environment in which you grew up in. They are often generational patterns that are passed down from generation to generation.
To give you an example of how this works, I’m going to tell you about Sara.
Sara came to MBR with a very high level of anxiety, had many chronic symptoms and was down to eating just one food.
Sara responded to everything in life with fear which was a major reason why she had anxiety.
When we dug into where this stemmed from, it went back to childhood. Sara didn’t have a childhood where her parents physically or emotionally abused her.
In fact, she was hesitant of doing this work because she thought her childhood was good and there wasn’t anything that we would be able to make connections to.
But that wasn’t the case, because there are always connections that can be made whether they are consciously seen or not.
Sara learned how to be fearful because of how she saw her parents respond to life.
Her parents were what you would call worry warts. They cautioned her about everything and basically programmed her to be scared of everything in life. Whether it was trying new foods, going to school, riding a bike, trying a new hair style, they would always find ways to make her feel fearful of everything she did. Always painting a “scary picture” of what “could” happen.
On top of that, they had food sensitivities, just not as bad as Sara did and also had chronic health conditions. Whenever the family got together, it was tradition to sit around the dinner table and talk about their health issues in addition to all the “bad things” happening in the world.
Being fearful to Sara was a generational pattern. When she looked at her grandparents she saw the same exact pattern. They too were big worry warts and were always looking to the future with fear.
It was no mystery to where this pattern of fear stemmed from for Sara. It was her conditioning. But when she saw that her own daughter was following in her footsteps, she said enough is enough. I’m stopping this family pattern of fear. Within a short period of time, Sara and her daughter were eating all foods again.
Sara was choosing to respond to life differently not just to help herself but to change the patterns that she passed on to her daughter. She also chose to break the pattern in her family of talking about all the doom and gloom in the world and their chronic health conditions. This was a risk to her and was a big secondary gain because it risked her “feeling rejected” by her family when she no longer participated in being a victim. It was a risk that she had to be willing to take to heal.
This is an example of being a cycle breaker.
Now this example may feel like it's not that big of a deal, but it was for Sara. Fear was consuming her and was the root to a majority of her health issues.
For others with trauma in their childhood, we can also find conditioning that can lead to chronic health conditions.
Jeff’s story is a good example of this.
Jeff’s mom grew up in a home where her parents were always arguing and there was domestic violence. Jeff’s dad grew up in a home where his dad was an alcoholic and he was one as well.
His mother and father married at a young age, have 3 kids and struggled with stress of struggling financially and managing the kids. Jeff’s mother struggles with anxiety and depression.
With low stress tolerance and limited coping mechanisms, his mother is disconnected from her children. She tends to them, but she's highly dissociated (physically present and mentally gone.)
His father is always working, and provides little emotional support to his wife and children. He also engages in multiple extra-marital affairs, continuing the pattern of secrecy he was modeled.
His mother turns a blind eye to her husband's affairs, just as her mother did. She knows better than to question him. As her and her husband become more distant, the mother creates a codependent relationship with her children.
She looks to them to get her needs met. Specifically her oldest son (Jeff) who becomes her "pseudo-partner." He's regularly told by both parents to be the man of the house while his father works.
By age 7, he's taking care of both of his siblings and tending to the emotions of his mother. All the children feel abandoned by their father who's rarely home. And, because it's never spoken about (denial), they learn to suppress how they feel to cope.
They also lack an authentic connection to their mother. At the same time, they feel a fierce loyalty and need to protect her because they've witnessed their father's repressed rage. It's the same rage he was subjected to as a child that he promised he would never repeat.
From the outside, they look like a normal "happy" family. But, none of the children have been given the environment needed for healthy development.
By their teenage years, the children each struggle with the dynamic of the home, but they've learned to mask it.
Jeff begins drinking heavily.
The middle daughter has met a much older man and is looking for the love she never received from her father. She's also binge eating.
The youngest has low self worth and is easily influenced. She also has extreme anxiety and has attachment issues.
None of them talk about their issues to their parents.
Transparency and open communication has not been modeled. The implicit message is: you deal with your own issues in this home.
This story has generational trauma all over it.
addiction is present
secrecy and denial are a way of life
lack of boundaries
lack of autonomy and sense of self
emotionally immature coping
inability to tolerate *any* level of stress
low self worth/self depreciation
high emotional reactivity (instant fight or flight)
"doomsday" view of life and the world
lack of trust of people
This type of conditioning sets up a person to not be able to handle life with ease.
Jeff was taught to be a people pleaser, so he very rarely speaks up for himself. He has no idea what boundaries look or feel like and lets everyone walk all over him. He has low self worth and thinks that he’s not good enough.
All of these beliefs that he has about himself and his survival patterns are reflected in how he responds to life and also in his body.
He has chronic muscle pain, chronic bladder issues, and IBS.
Now, this doesn’t mean that just because you had a childhood like this or similar that you are going to have these health issues. It simply means that this his how Jeff perceives situations that happen to him because of his conditioning.
It is all about perception.
Yes, there are usually specific events that happen in a person's life that are connected to a chronic condition and those events are important to work on. But, the big picture that needs to be looked at is that how you respond to life is based on your conditioning.
So if you don’t shift those old survival patterns, you will continue to respond to life in the same way which sets you up for chronic conditions to not go away.
Being a cycle breaker means that you break these cycles of conditioning that have been passed down by your family. This changes you and your children's lives. It can even have an effect on others in your family by just you doing the work.
Some of the most common generational patterns that I see with our students are:
Lack of boundaries
The need to always be busy in order to feel worthy
Lack of sense of self
Low self esteem
When you start to break these cycles there is a risk. That risk can be what is called a secondary gain to staying sick.
If you break these cycles you may risk family getting mad, feeling rejected, judged or alone. Those are some pretty scary risks for a nervous system that has had this type of conditioning.
But with the right work, it can be done.
Rather than it being scary, or feeling like your being rejected, it can make you feel liberated, confident and free. You are no longer bound by your conditioning and you can be the master of your own life. It's when you let go of these old patterns and take back your power that your chronic health conditions go away.
They go away because your body is getting a message of safety now. You no longer respond to life in ways that feel unsafe. Your body no longer needs to adapt to survive.
So my question to you is…. Are you willing to be a cycle breaker if that means that your health conditions would go away?
Because that is what it's going to take.
Cycle breakers are those who choose to do the inner work and are open to learning a new way of navigating life.
They change the future of every generation after them.
This is why this work is so powerful. You want to change the world? Start cleaning up your old survival patterns. You want to better your relationships? Heal your chronic health conditions? Help your kids?
Change your old survival patterns.
If you ever said to yourself, “I don’t want to be like my parents”, it's important that you know this: Focusing on the parts of them that you don’t like and don’t want to be, will attract you to being exactly like that.
That is how the brain works. What you focus on is what grows.
But if you are able to take a deep dive into your old survival patterns, even look at theirs based on their history, that is where you can make the change. When you bring to the surface what is unconscious to the conscious, you are then able to do something about it because you see its roots, those old patterns are no longer hiding and you can choose to stop them.
Your willingness to be a cycle breaker will be a determining factor in your healing. All of us that have overcome chronic health conditions have done this work.
From the outside it can look scary because you're seeing it with eyes that have those old survival programs.
But, when you work on those old patterns in a healthy way, this cycle breaking thing is the best and most exciting part of your healing journey.
It's the part where you realize that you no longer have to live by your conditioning, you are the creator of your own life!
If you're ready to identify and resolve the unconscious patterns connected to your symptoms so you can finally heal for good, fill out an MBR application to see if you're a good fit for MBR.
You can also Download my free healing guide, “Why Can’t I Heal” where you will learn the 5 reasons that you haven't healed despite everything you've tried. These are the missing pieces to your healing and the key to resolving your symptoms for good.
Jenny Peterson is the founder and CEO of Mind Body Rewire (MBR). She teaches those with chronic symptoms how to stop fearing their body, identify the root cause to their symptoms and how to be their own healer. Learn more about MBR here.