For the past 4 years I have been very aware of the behavior of my little dog Sami at times.
When she first came to us and I would walk her, she was pulling desperately at the lead, there was no enjoyment of walking, there was just a desperate ”getting somewhere” happening. To add to this she appeared terrified of any noise, bush and rubbish collection day heightened these fears. I felt distressed for her, yet I had awareness that our pets often mirror their owners deep fears and unconscious behaviors and will very often (dogs in particular) will take on their owners dis-ease to “save” the owner from the suffering etc.
So with this awareness I asked myself – what is she trying to show me? It became very clear that she was showing me a deep unconscious feeling in me that the world is a very unsafe place, and no one and nothing could be trusted.
So, not just for me, but also so Sami could settle in to be a carefree dog and enjoy walks, like dogs do, I set about addressing these deep beliefs and fears. As time has gone on she just LOVES her walks, although when on a lead still pulls, as there is just so much to see, experience and discover (still reflecting me) however there is no irrational fear or desperation when on the lead – when she is off the lead – her favorite way to walk – she is totally in doggy mind and body, and just loves chasing rabbits, exploring and sniffing everything.
As time has gone on there has been many other things I have noticed, that have caused me to question again what is going on, have discovered, worked on it and seen the change in her.
Over the years though, I have noticed that she will act aggressively towards other dogs sometimes, and will “rush” people as we are walking. This is not every day, and we can go for weeks before it will happen again. There seems to be no pattern, and I have continued to ask – what can I learn, understand and resolve for myself and her around this.
Well after many times of awareness and asking this question I have had an answer – have seen clearly what is going on. I always thought it had something to do with the bullying and abuse from my past and was a protective thing because there was part of me that still felt unsafe…close, but not the answer.
Today I learnt that while I still carry feelings of victim-hood, while I feel resentful, indifferent, unheard and invisible, I am coming from a place of defensiveness.
When one has been abused, any kindness, attention or potential attention can be regarded with big warning signs. Often kindness and attention was given before being abused, or afterward – so there was an ulterior motive behind it and one became very sensitive and mistrusting because of this.
To protect the self from further attention apart from becoming invisible and quiet, the other way was to go on the offensive, to attack before you got attacked.
Hence Sami, when greeting another dog will be snappy and appear aggressive, or when passing other people will “charge them” as a warning to keep back, or to intimidate. And even now as writing this I feel the truth clearer than before, I see where I have been just like this, where I have used intimidation to keep others away, or at a distance.
So, with this new awareness and the understanding that I am safe, I am not a little 3yr old vulnerable of being abused again, that I am not needing to defend myself, or protect myself, I can let this go, I can choose to feel safe, knowing I am. I am looking forward to observing Sami in the coming days and months to watch her behaviour change.
It is amazing how the traumas of the past can still be so alive, intrusive and destructive 46 years later.
What I am most grateful for is that I have the awareness, understanding and because of my journey, the proof of how our emotions get stuck in our physical body and are at the root of our dis-eases, and how our beliefs become self-fulfilling prophecies in our bodies, why some people seem to experience challenging health more easily than others, others experience mental & emotional health issues more than others and many factors behind these diversities.
Because of this awareness I have been able to quickly and easily address the health challenges I have, and most importantly, auto-immune symptoms my body has created because of trauma and abuse, bullying, feelings, emotions and beliefs that were not addressed and dealt with at the time. No one knew, understood or knew how to help me or support me way back then.
I am grateful for this awareness and understanding and that I now have tools and strategies to help others who have experienced abuse, bullying, trauma, without having to go back and relive the past.
I also know that the old ways of addressing these things using judgment, blame, shame and criticism does not work, it only adds to the trauma and keeps the current misery and suffering alive.