Issue 83 –
Vulnerability: Part 3
Disowning The Vulnerable Child
Drs Hal & Sidra Stone
Most of us have learned early in life to disown our vulnerability. Instead, we have identified with other selves that bring with them more power in the world. It is usually in relationship, whether a love relationship, a therapeutic relationship, relationship to a guru, or a very deep friendship, that there is a chance to learn for the first time about this very sensitive vulnerable child that lives deep within each of us.
In our travels around the world, we have had the good fortune to meet many beautiful vulnerable children within people. It is amazing to see how similar they are, despite great differences in culture. The neglect these vulnerable children have faced as a result of being disowned is graphically illustrated in the dreams that often follow the first awareness of their existence.
Nothing gives the picture of the disowning and neglect as well as these dreams, which have come from all over the United States, from Australia, Israel, England, Ireland, Wales, Switzerland, and Holland.
In the following dream, Jim’s disowning process is shown quite clearly. Jim sees his vulnerability as ugly, something to be resented, and, most of all, something that threatens to keep him from an adult sexual relationship:
I came into the room and there was a big double bed covered with white sheets. I was planning to get into it. I saw a little bit bed next to it, and on the bed was a heap of white bedclothes with a little bit of hair sticking out. I went over to look at it and saw an ugly little child, 4 or 5 years old. I didn’t want to go near it, and I resented it. I felt that it was going to keep me from getting into the big double bed.
Jim was so disgusted by his own vulnerability that he would have nothing to do with it. He had identified strongly with his achieving selves and pushed himself in his work to such an extent that he finally became ill. It was only through illness that Jim’s vulnerability could be expressed, and that he could finally allow himself to be cared for. He found he enjoyed his convalescence very much, because it was the first time he had been allowed by his overactive pusher to stop and rest.
For people like Jim, there is a distinct negative reaction to the first discovery of the vulnerable child.
Steve felt much the same as Jim did about vulnerability. After contacting his vulnerability for the first time, he had the following dream:
I’m in a houseboat. I know that this is the life that I’ve created and I’m happy with it. I like being strong and self-sufficient. As I realise that I really don’t want to change my way of being in the world, I see two men, a large strong man and a smaller one who is naked and has a beautiful body. The large one tells the other one to run. As he begins to run, his beautiful body becomes deformed. Then he has a heart attack. He continues to run as he was told, and then becomes sick and throws up. Now I think that he may be too damaged to live.
In this dream, Steve is given an objective picture of his reaction to the discovery of his vulnerability. His dominant power side, in the form of a strong pusher, holds onto its primary position, refusing to allow the newly discovered, smaller, less powerful, but beautiful side to live its life undisturbed.
In the disowning process, the powerful pushing self drives this less powerful part until it is almost completely destroyed. This pushing self continues to hurry Steve mercilessly through life keeping others at a safe distance. It has absolutely no time for relating.