There was a clear theme present throughout this week in my work. Many a chronic health or psychological issue is motivated by love. A love that only the small child knows. A love that operates according to magical belief systems: “Mom, I love you so much that I want to be with you, always. I will follow you, even in your illness and your inner wish to die. It’s better that I go instead of you. It's either you or me, mom. I don't want you do die, mom. Therefore I am going to die for you. I am going to take your pain and suffering. I give up my childhood to save you. I can't bear seeing this darkness in you. Someone has to step up, and it's going to be me, the 'little one' taking the burden of the 'big one'."
"Now I am the 'big one', choking on a piece of food that was too big for me to break down. It's overwhelming. I am now a pre-mature mini-adult. I now live in the in-between realm of child- and adulthood. I am neither here nor there. I am identified with you and your problem. But I have forgotten what decisions were made and why. I feel that I am you. I am lost. Amnesia blurs my identity. I am estranged. I feel guilty, and I don't know why. I feel that there is something wrong with me, but my pride and fear keep me from returning to where I belong."
Whenever someone loves in this way, he or she naturally is vulnerable to becoming chronically ill. This deep desire to atone and compensate for someone else's fate resides deep in the unconscious. By bringing these fundamental dynamics to light, it is possible to dismantle them of their power and disentangle the person from much suffering and pain.
While some parents may consciously appreciate and reward the child's act of shared loyalty and love, deep down the parent usually feels bad. Naturally, most parents don't want to see that his or her illness is causing a child to become ill. Parents usually try to protect their children from them taking on their pain, but it happens anyway.
The movement forward:
For healing to occur, a child most honor the parent's fate. "I did it out of love, mom. I didn't know what I was doing. Taking your pain created a lot of confusion and overwhelm for me. I am now allowing myself to be a child again, free from the burden of what was not meant to be mine. I am the "small one", you are the "big one". This belongs to you, and I know you want it back. We both need to grow up and face reality. May order be restored in the system. My the greater love inherent in the "big one" now replace the ignorant love of the "small one". May we see each other for who we are. Magnificent beings in no need for rescuing. I am not you. You are you. I am who I am. May this fusion be broken, now and forever. May the truth set us free.
Painting: Mother Tender by Liane Collot d'Herbois