Understanding what has caused you to be emotionally numb and how to release your painful feelings

Linda sat opposite me at one of my five-day Inner Bonding Intensives. She had decided to attend the Intensive because her depression, which had plagued her for years, was not being helped by medication or by the numerous forms of therapy that she had tried.

As she sat opposite me, telling me about her past and her depression, I felt like I was sitting with a person who had stuffed herself into a box and closed the door. There was a sense of emptiness and numbness that emanated from her.

“Linda,” I asked her. “When did you first feel this numbness that I feel coming from you?”

Linda started to cry. “I was 9 years old when my uncle sexually abused me. He and my aunt lived a few blocks from our house. I went to visit my aunt and she wasn’t home but my uncle was, which had never happened before. He told me not to tell anyone but I ran home and told my mom about what he had made me do to him. As traumatic as the sexual abuse was, I was equally traumatized when my mother didn’t believe me and punished me for lying. I felt so devastated and alone. Everything changed for me from that moment on. Before that, I was a happy girl who did well in school. After that, I don’t remember feeling happy and my grades kept going down.”

“Linda, there is an incredibly painful feeling that you felt when your uncle abused you and when you mother didn’t believe you and punished you. You were too young to handle this feeling so you did the best thing you could do, which was to shut down and numb out. Our language doesn’t have a good word for this feeling. The closest words we have are heartbreak and intense loneliness.”

“Yes,” said Linda. That’s the feeling. I remember how overwhelmed I felt by that feeling. I felt like if I kept feeling it I would die or go crazy, so I shut it down by numbing out.”

“Right. But now, as an adult, you can actually handle the feelings of loneliness and heartbreak, yet you are still avoiding them. By avoiding them with numbing out, you are stifling your true Self, your core Self. And so you end up depressed. We will always end up depressed when we put a lid on ourselves to avoid feelings we believe we can’t handle.”

“But I still don’t think I can handle those feelings.”

“Linda, are you willing to find out if that is true?”


“Close your eyes and put your focus into your body. Imagine the 9-year old that you were. Let yourself remember that awful day and let yourself remember what you felt like being abused and then not believed and punished. Imagine that you are an adult holding yourself as a 9-year old, believing her and allowing her to cry while you comfort her. Breathe into the feelings, acknowledging the heartbreak and loneliness, bringing deep love and compassion to your 9-year old.”

Linda held a stuffed animal that represented her inner child, holding and rocking her crying 9-year old for about 5 minutes.

“Linda, what is happening with the feelings?”

“I am feeling much better, much lighter. I don’t have that numbness right now. And I don’t feel depressed right now!”

“So by acknowledging, embracing and moving into compassion for your feelings of heartbreak and loneliness, they moved through you. You CAN manage these feelings. You no longer have to avoid them by numbing out.”

Linda had become addicted to numbness as her way of managing her feelings, but once she learned to acknowledge them and be with them with compassion, she no longer needed the numbness. I heard from her a couple of months after the Intensive and she was still feeling light and happy, with no sign of depression.

Alanis Morrissette
Alanis Morissette
“Inner bonding really nurtures and fosters the relationship between self and spirit. Personally, it has helped every relationship that I have. I’m so grateful.”- Alanis Morissette   Find out how Inner Bonding has helped singer/songwriter Alanis Morissette to evolve in her courage to love>>

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© Copyright 2015 Margaret Paul. Ph.D, All rights Reserved.
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CO-CREATOR OF INNER BONDING Dr. Paul is the author/co-author of several best-selling books, including Do I Have To Give Up Me to Be Loved By You?, Inner Bonding, Healing Your Aloneness, The Healing Your Aloneness Workbook, Do I Have To Give Up Me to Be Loved By My Kids?, and Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By God? Dr. Paul's books have been distributed around the world and have been translated into eleven languages. Margaret holds a Ph.D. in psychology and is a relationship expert, noted public speaker, workshop leader, educator, chaplain, consultant and artist. She has appeared on many radio and TV shows, including the Oprah show. She has successfully worked with thousands of individuals, couples and business relationships and taught classes and seminars since 1967. Margaret continues to work with individuals and couples throughout the world -- mostly on the phone. She is able to access spiritual Guidance during her sessions, which enables her to work with people wherever they are in the world. Her current passion is working on and developing content for this Website, as well as distributing SelfQuest®, the software program that teaches Inner Bonding® and is donated to prisons and schools, as well as sold to the general public. Margaret is passionate about helping people rapidly heal the root cause of their pain and learn the path to joy and loving relationships. In her spare time, Margaret loves to paint, make pottery, take photos, watch birds, read, ride horses, and spend time with her grandchildren.