Imagine the trunk of a tree cut so that we can see its multiple rings. These rings chronicle the tree’s growth and development. In like fashion, we humans have “rings” that chronicle our growth and development.
Starting at the center and moving outward, our first ring is called, The Wound. All of us were deeply wounded or hurt in some way early in our lives. Some people are more aware of this wound than others, and these wounds certainly vary in degree, but all of us, without exception, have an inner, emotional wound.
This wound is then interpreted to mean something about who or what we are. It crystalizes into a self-image or an identity. This is the second ring and it’s called, The Core Story of Deficiency.
Now, this wound/story is so painful that it cannot be ignored. Something must be done with it. So we create a false-front or what’s called a Persona.* This is the third ring. The sole purpose of a Persona is to either hide the story or compensate for it. (An example of this would be the bully persona. It’s compensating for the story of being weak and powerless.)
Now as the Persona moves into the world he or she magnetically attracts its reciprocal opposite, some other person who is also caught in persona. In other words, the Persona finds a Playmate. This is the fourth ring.
Persona and Playmate go together like cookies and milk. They “love” each other in a way that seems to heal each other’s wound/story. This way of “loving” is called a Pattern, and forms the fifth ring.
All is well for the happy couple until one or both of them don’t adequately or consistently continue to “love” in a way that the wound/story demands. They’re no longer “there for each other,” and the result is blame, anger and conflict, i.e., drama! This is the sixth ring—pain.
The relationship that was supposed to heal the wound actually reinjures it! And instead of ending the core story of deficiency, it actually reaffirms it! This sets in motion what becomes a vicious, looping circle:
Wound > Story > Persona > Playmate > Pattern > Pain > Reinjured Wound > Story >… on and on.
Let’s take this out of the realm of theory and make it personal. I’ve lived in this vicious loop. What follows is a true story, with me playing the part of “Jack” in this little diddy.
The first ring, The Wound, was that I was not seen or valued by my mother. This led to a core story of being invisible or not good enough. In response to that, I created a persona I’ve named Casanova. He tries to get girls to like him by being nice and taking care of them.
Casanova magnetically attracted his reciprocal playmate, a damsel-in-distress that we’ll call “Diane.” Her life was very complicated and Casanova swept in and rescued her. We created a pattern where she gave me attention and affection in exchange for me taking care of her kids, house and life.
This worked well until we both stopped doing our “jobs” for each other. When that happened we started arguing and fighting a lot. The relationship became filled with pain and she broke off our engagement. I interpreted that to mean I wasn’t good enough. The old wound was reopened and the core story reaffirmed.
What did I do? Well, I doubled down on Casanova and attracted another damsel-in-distress, and continued to live in the vicious loop. On and on it went until—drum roll please—I looked for the one who is “invisible” and “not good enough.” Believing that the wound/story was real and true, believing that I was, in fact, invisible and not good enough fueled the whole thing and kept me in the vicious loop. But when I inquired, when I actually looked for those “selves,” I couldn’t find them! I personally discovered that they are nothing more than thoughts! That discovery led to the whole thing dissolving!
A persona like Casanova isn’t necessary when there’s no wound/story to compensate for. And with no persona, there’s no need to attract a playmate to act out a pattern with. And with no pattern there’s no pain.
What I now experience—and I attribute this to Inquiry—is an essence-to-essence relationship with the woman who is now my wife. Our love is given without obligation or manipulation. We don’t have “jobs” for each other. There’s no pattern and no pain, just authentic intimacy and harmony—usually. We’re human, not gods. ☺
When we do get triggered, we both look within and see what core story is being reflected. This allows us to look for that story and discover it’s not real. When the story drops away, we’re able to truly listen to each other and take appropriate action, if any is necessary.
Two questions for you: (1) Can you frame your life like this? I strongly encourage you to write out your particular vicious loop. While the entire story is unfindable, you will become very motivated to do Inquiry when you chronicle your relationships like I just did. (2) Have you done Inquiry on the “inner rings” to find out if they’re real? Have you directly faced the wound/story and not just created a life in reaction to it?
I strongly encourage you to do an Inquiry process with me. In my experience, these kinds of dynamics aren’t like acne. You don’t grow out of them and they don’t just go away. Without addressing it directly, you’ll most likely repeat the loop over and over again. I know I did.
So, Jack and Diane! Isn’t it time to inquire? Isn’t it time to rewrite this little diddy of yours? It’s time to end the loop. Call me and begin the journey to freedom. 407-687-3387
* While creating a persona is the primary way we cope with the wound/story, it’s not the only way. There are at least two other ways: (1) Compulsion/Addiction. We often turn to substances or activities and use them compulsively to medicate or numb the pain produced by the story. (2) Anxiety. We create walls made of anxiety, fear, worry, suspicion, distrust in an effort to protect the wound/story and keep it safe.
I am trained in both the Compulsion Inquiry and the Anxiety Inquiry. They are incredibly effective in overcoming addiction and compulsion and living life free of fear and anxiety. Please call me if you’re life is being hindered by either of these issues.