Releasing Toxic Beliefs

Person running down country lane

How Unexamined Assumptions from Childhood affect our Adult Life

Sometimes my clients ask “how can I possibly know what’s going on in my subconscious mind?” The answer is most unexpected. Look to the people, situations and challenges that surround you in your day to day life. Especially observe the situations that seem to keep repeating over and over again. They’ll manifest as some painful recurrent theme that we can’t seem to get past. Issues such as illness; relationship problems; recurrent fears or lingering feelings of just not being “good enough”. What lies at their core? Unexamined assumptions from childhood that have a very detrimental effect on adult life.

If we have a deep desire to grow beyond these limitations, life will engineer a series of triggers to keep bringing them up into our conscious awareness. It’s as if our very soul is urging us to become aware of and then release these toxic beliefs, fears or illusions that keep us locked in the past.

These limitations are always founded on unexamined toxic beliefs that were formed in our childhood. Beliefs that prevent our joy, freedom and growth.

Here is a story that shows how outer situations can keep bringing a deep wound from childhood up to the surface of the conscious mind. It is a true story that tells the experience of one of my clients and it is told with her full permission.

It also illustrates how we should never assume our lives are a failure when things go wrong. Paradoxically, it may be that we are drawing to us the very people, challenges and situations that will provide the life lessons we need.

Sybil’s story of Transformation – Releasing toxic beliefs

Sybil struggled for years with profound feelings of “I’m not good enough”. She suffered a severe lack of confidence – frequently comparing herself unfavourably to others. Believing them to be so much more successful than her, she’d think “I’m just a fraud – they’ve really got their act together, I’ve accomplished nothing with my life”.

Unrelated outer events seemed to keep confirming that she was “not good enough”. She’d be excluded from social events, not consulted in business meetings or not invited to family get togethers. She felt angry and frustrated as if constrained in a small narrow box that wouldn’t allow her to participate with others.

However she was also aware that she was the one who was truly keeping herself within this small box.

The profound symbolism of this “box” revealed itself at the end of our session!

How children misinterpret adults’ behaviour

At one point in our session she said – “it’s as if my mother and father just didn’t love me enough to keep me protected from my sister Jane. She was allowed to bully me as much as she wanted to. That’s how insignificant I am. I didn’t deserve their protection”

This is a classic example of the false interpretations of a child and the toxic beliefs that then form around them. As children we NEED to see our parents as always being right. We will even make ourselves completely wrong in order to maintain this belief! We need to make them “good” because our very existence depends upon them taking care of us. Children often see themselves as being the cause of parental disharmony. They can make themselves responsible, for the shortcomings of the parents. The child doesn’t yet have the maturity to understand for example “it is they who didn’t have the capacity to love and protect me” or “they’re not even aware of my suffering”

The child will make themselves wrong , turning the blame back upon themselves.

Authentic connection to the Inner Child

Under hypnosis I asked Sybil to connect to the child she was when she first formed this belief. She responded “there’s a little four year old child kneeling in front of me with her head in her hands”. I invited her as the compassionate, wise adult to connect to this deeply wounded little “child“. It took some time before her inner child would respond to her words of love and wisdom. This is actually a very good sign because it reveals that what’s happening in hypnosis is authentic and real – not wishful thinking made up by the rational mind.

Child sucking thumb

When I asked her to describe the room where this connection was taking place, she didn’t see any surroundings – only that she was surrounded by darkness. I then asked her to tell me how this toxic belief would manifest if it could be represented symbolically. She was surprised that it didn’t appear as a black box, but instead it appeared as a dark evil amorphous shape. Her 4 year old self was holding onto this shape by a lead in the same way as you’d hold onto a dog to prevent it from running away.

She was scared to let it go. Why? Because this belief was very familiar and releasing it would be like stepping out into the unknown.

The Healing Sanctuary – A safe haven

I then invited her to find a symbol or a metaphor that would represent the very opposite to this toxic belief. Something that was loving, safe, warm and inclusive. An image of her “safe sanctuary” formed before her all by itself.

Every client’s Sanctuary is different. Sybil’s image of this Healing Sanctuary is a beautiful beach filled with golden sunshine – a place of safety, joy and healing. This is where so many of her other younger selves were who had undergone profound transformation from earlier therapy sessions.

She reported seeing this sunlit beach through an open door frame. Her 4 year old knew that to enter this magical place, she would have to release this toxic belief. A lovely smile then lit her face as her “child” let go of the “lead” and stepped through the door out onto this beautiful beach.

The amazing symbolic language of the Subconscious

As her 4 year old stepped out onto this golden beach however Sybil became aware that her adult self still felt constrained. As mentioned earlier, instead of seeing a room from her childhood, she was only aware of being surrounded by darkness. The reason for this was because her adult self was still held within a dark space. Her metaphor of a constraining box was revealed quite literally as a dark room that still surrounded her. This whole healing catharsis had taken place within this box.

Light at the end of tunnell

Engaging Will, Intention, and Choice, to Release Toxic Beliefs

In conclusion, she the adult would also now have to step clear of this limiting box. This is where it is necessary to engage our Will, coupled with a strong deliberate Intention and then make that crucial choice. To do this really well, it’s as if we need to slow down time and really DECIDE – this is what I want.

And so a smile lit her face as she stepped out and away from this “box” of pain and limitation and chose the bright beach of joy and freedom. Without her saying anything, I could see that a profound shift had taken place. She was able to relax back more deeply into her body and her whole Being opened in peace and joy.


I’ve related this story because it shows how we must never judge ourselves by the outer events in our lives, and make them wrong. Sybil was able to do profound and significant work precisely because these outer events acted as a magnet – drawing up to the surface a belief that she needed to jettison.

When we remain within our comfort zone and encounter no challenges in our lives, nothing much changes. Our false beliefs, fears and limitations can remain resting undisturbed within us, running our lives from behind the scenes.

This story also illustrates how the child’s belief that they are somehow wrong or not good enough, creates a false platform. This imbalance then influences the rest of their adult lives. Beliefs that are formed during moments of pain, trauma and neglect can be very powerful. It’s as if the ego in trying to protect us decides “Don’t ever forget this lesson, live by this belief for the rest of your life”. Therefore, such beliefs will always need to be reexamined, discarded and then replaced with something that supports life, joy and spiritual growth.

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